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[318]

Report of Captain Leigh.

headquarters First Virginia battalion, Provisional Army, C. S. A., camp near Port Republic, June 15, 1862.
Captain: I have the honor to transmit to you for the information of the officer commanding the Second brigade, a report of the operations of the First Virginia battalion, Provisional Army C. S. A., on the eighth and ninth instant.

At about half-past 8 o'clock, on the morning of the eighth instant, the battalion, along with the rest of the brigade, was ordered to load the wagons, form quickly, and proceed from their encampment, which was situated on the road from Harrisonburgh to Port Republic, about a mile from the latter place, in the direction of Port Republic.

On our reaching the brow of tile heights, on the left bank of the Shenandoah, overlooking Port Republic, the battalion was detached from the rest of the brigade, and ordered to support a rifled piece belonging to Cutshaw's battery. The piece moved off to the left and assumed a position on the bank of the river. We followed it, and laid in a hollow nearly in its rear, until about half-past 2 o'clock in the evening. During this time, we saw parties of the enemy retreating in confusion, under the fire of our batteries, down the right bank of Shenandoah. They were pursued by our cavalry until they reached the point where the road enters the woods. At that point the enemy made a stand, and their artillery drove our cavalry back. About half-past 2 o'clock in the evening, the battalion was ordered to rejoin the brigade. In order to do so, it was necessary for us to march back on the Harrisonburgh road to a point near the three-mile sign-post from Port Republic. At that point we were met by Captain Nelson, of General Ewell's staff, and conducted to a position occupied by Colonel Letcher's regiment, (------Virginia,) a short distance to the left of the road, about a mile further toward Harrisonburgh. We took our place in line of battle, on the left of that regiment in prolongation of that line. It was then about four o'clock in the evening. We remained here about an hour, and during this time a number of shells and Minie balls passed near us. In the mean time, Colonel Patton, who commanded our brigade, came up with the Forty-second regiment of Virginia volunteers and drew it up in line of battle to our left. About a quarter after five o'clock in the evening, the brigade moved forward in line of battle through the woods. A line of skirmishers preceded us and drove out a few skirmishers of the enemy, with some loss on each side. After proceeding a short distance, we changed direction to the right, and proceeding down a considerable declivity and across a small stream, approached the road. Shortly before we reached the road the Seventh Louisiana regiment of volunteers joined us, and formed on our left. As we reached the road a sharp fire from the enemy drove in our skirmishers, and we halted. We remained in this position from about half-past 7 o'clock in the evening until a little before daybreak the next morning. From the side of the road a few yards in front of us, I observed a battery of the enemy about five hundred yards to our left at an angle of forty-five degrees with our line. A short distance in front of the battery a line of the enemy's infantry, composed of about two regiments, according to my estimate, were drawn up behind a rail fence. A small wheat-field in front of them was occupied by a number of their skirmishers, and another body of their troops occupied a large piece of woods in front of us. At dark the latter body moved across the wheat-field and joined the troops drawn up behind the fence. They all immediately built fires, and we could see a number of camp fires behind them. We could distinctly hear the voices of the skirmishers in the wheat-field. In the course of the night a scouting-party, consisting of a sergeant and four men of the Fifth Connecticut cavalry, rode up to a picket which we had put out on the road, and were captured. They said they were entirely ignorant of the fact that we were in their vicinity. In the early part of the night, I sent back a detail from each company to cook provisions at our previous encampment, whither some of our wagons had been ordered to return for that purpose.

A little before daybreak, on the morning of the ninth instant, we marched back through the woods to a point near the three-mile sign-post, which I have mentioned. Here the Forty-second regiment and the battalion were ordered to join General Trimble's brigade. While we were at this point, Major Seddon rejoined the battalion and assumed the command of it; but as that officer is now absent, I shall continue to give an account of the operations of the battalion during that day.

About eight o'clock we heard a cannonade to our rear in the direction of Port Republic. About half-past 8 o'clock we commenced our march back toward Port Republic. On the way we halted at our old encampment and furnished the men with the provisions which had been cooked for them, as I have already mentioned. At ten o'clock we crossed the bridge at Port Republic. About a quarter past ten the bridge was burned. We crossed the south branch of the Shenandoah on a temporary bridge, and proceeded about two miles down the right bank of the river. At about three quarters after eleven o'clock, large bodies of the enemy's infantry, cavalry, and artillery commenced to appear on the heights. About half-past 12 o'clock, our troops filed to the right, and marched along a cross-road to the road from Port Republic to Brown's Gap. On reaching that road we continued our march across the mountain, and, a little before dark, halted a short distance from the summit on the eastern side of the mountain.

During the whole of the two days in question, not a single man in the battalion was killed or wounded, nor did the battalion fire a single shot. We were nevertheless exposed to the fire of the enemy, both artillery and infantry, for several


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J. R. Trimble (1)
John Seddon (1)
J. M. Patton (1)
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B. W. Leigh (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
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June 15th, 1862 AD (1)
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