previous next

[140] fortunate, and suffered comparatively little loss. Undoubtedly large numbers of the command will yet return, but it is impossible to speculate upon the number.

I have the honor to ask attention to the reports of the remaining officers of the First Maryland regiment who participated in the engagement, giving their account of the same, and that of Lieut. Atwell, commanding the battery. Other reports will doubtless be made by officers having a more perfect knowledge of the affair and a more exact statement of the losses, but are not at this time available.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

N. P. Banks, Major-General Commanding.

Lieutenant Thompson's account.

Hagerstown, May 29, 1862.
Messrs. Editors of the Baltimore American:
According to promise I give you a brief account of the battle of Friday, the twenty-third day of May.

Having been relieved from picket duty on the morning of the battle, I was lounging about in my tent, between two and three o'clock P. M., when a negro man came riding into camp much excited, stating that the rebels had taken the town--“Front Royal.” Our camp was about a mile and a quarter from the town. I went out to see the negro and commenced making fun of him, for he was frightened nearly to death. Thinking it to be only a skirmish with a party of guerrillas, whom we knew to be in the mountain, Lieut.-Col. Dushane and Dr. Mitchell mounted their horses and rode out towards town. They had been gone but a short time when they came dashing back to Colonel Kenly, the “long roll” was beat, and we were immediately drawn up in line prepared for a fight. Our force was small, there being four companies detached from the regiment, one at a town called Linden, about eight miles from camp, two doing picket duty a short distance from Front Royal, and one on provost duty in the town of Front Royal. A number of our men in this company were killed by the citizens of the town of Front Royal, by shooting from their dwellings. This left us but six companies in camp, five of the six were ordered to support a section of Knapp's battery, on the left of our camp, leaving one company to guard the camp. The three companies in town fell back to camp, when the four companies then in camp were deployed as skirmishers by Lieut.-Col. Dushane, on the right with the battery, and five companies on the left. We had scarcely been placed in position, when the rebels were seen advancing in great force. A brisk fire was opened by our men and the battery, doing great damage to their rank and file, and throwing them into confusion, but they again rallied in such numbers that our Colonel ordered us to fall back, which we did in good order, the men showing a coolness that was truly remarkable. Before we left our camp, we succeeded in burning all our camp equipments and stores.

We continued to retreat until we had crossed the two branches of the Shenandoah river, when we were halted and again thrown in line of battle, after burning the bridge over the north branch. At this time the battery was placed on our right and again commenced throwing shells into the lines of the rebels. The rebel artillery had been placed in position opposite to us on the banks of the south branch and threw a number of shell into our midst. While this was going on, I noticed the rebel infantry coming up the railroad and were fording the north branch. I remarked to Major Wilson who, at this time, had not noticed it, that if we did not look out they would flank us on the left. He rode down the line and we were brought to a right face, with our left in front, and ordered to march up the turnpike, allowing the battery to get in front. We had marched but a short distance when the New-York cavalry, who were covering our retreat, were over-powered and driven into our lines by about two thousand rebel cavalry, on a bold charge, flanking us right and left. They closed in upon us, literally cutting us to pieces, our men fighting desperately. Colonel Kenly, seeing our position, called our men to rally around their colors, which was the last order I heard from him. He was fighting hand to hand with the rebels, receiving a sabre-wound in the head, which was the last I saw of our beloved Colonel. I then ordered what men I had left to take to the wheat-field, but the men could do nothing with their muskets, as they had become so gummed up as to render it impossible to get a cartridge down to its proper place. Seeing this, we took to the woods near by, I getting off with a slight sabre-cut, which nearly severed the sleeve from my coat. With several of my men I remained in the woods all night, in sight of the battle-ground, and made Winchester in the morning. We lost everything we had, except one wagon and eight horses, which Quartermaster Lyeth succeeded in getting to Winchester, where he found Lieut. Taylor, of company B, who had been on detached service, and was to join his company the next morning. He assisted Quartermaster Lyeth in getting the horses from Winchester.

Our little band of patriots only numbered a little over seven hundred, while the rebels had near eight thousand.

Your obedient servant,

George W. Thompson, Second Lieutenant Co. D, First Md. Regt.

A rebel account.

in camp, Jackson's division, valley of the Shenandoah, May 27, 1862.
We got to Front Royal, where we met the First Maryland regiment, and after a fight and a charge we captured every man of them save fifteen. Our cavalry then dashed ahead and took two hundred more prisoners, at a little town between Front Royal and Strasburgh, on the railroad. In all we took nine hundred prisoners at Front Royal, including one colonel, one lieut.-colonel, one major, two pieces of cannon; horses, arms, etc., in

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George W. Thompson (2)
Lyeth (2)
John R. Kenly (2)
Dushane (2)
Winchester (1)
James Wilson (1)
J. R. Taylor (1)
Robert B. Mitchell (1)
Knapp (1)
Editors (1)
N. P. Banks (1)
Atwell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 29th, 1862 AD (1)
May 27th, 1862 AD (1)
May 23rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: