Jackson's Valley campaign of 1862.

Address delivered before the Virginia division, A. N. V., October 31st, 1878, by Colonel William Allan, late Chief of Ordnance, Second ( “Stonewall” ) corps, A. N. V.

[Published by unanimous request of the association].

After the disastrous termination of Braddock's campaign against Fort Duquesne, in the summer of 1756, Colonel George Washington, to whom was entrusted the duty of protecting the Alleghany frontier of Virginia from the French and Indians, established himself at Winchester, in the lower Shenandoah Valley, as the point from which he could best protect the district assigned to him. Here he subsequently built Fort Loudoun, and made it the base of his operations. A grass-grown mound, marking the site of one of the bastions of the old fort, and Loudoun street, the name of the principal thoroughfare of the town, remain to recall an important chapter in Colonial history.

It was this old town that Major-General T. J. Jackson entered on the evening of November 4, 1861, as commander of the Valley [2] district, and his headquarters were established within musket-shot of Fort Loudoun. He had been made Major General on October 7 for his services at the first battle of Manassas, and was now assigned to this important command because of the expectations formed of his capacity, and because of his acquaintance with the country. His district embraced the territory bounded north by the Potomac, east by the Blue Ridge, and west by the Alleghanies. Born and reared in Western Virginia, and filled with a patriot's devotion to the land of his birth, he had manifested a strong desire to be employed in the operations in that region, and had cherished the ambition of freeing his former home from hostile domination. The Confederates, during the summer, had in that region been unsuccessful. General Robert Garnett had been forced to retreat by General McClellan, and had then met defeat and death at Corrick's Ford on Cheat river, July 13th. This gave the Federals control of the greater part of Virginia west of the Alleghanies, and the subsequent efforts of Generals Floyd and Wise, and still later of General Lee, availed only to prevent further encroachments of the enemy — not to regain the lost territory.

When, therefore, General Jackson assumed command of the Valley of Virginia, the enemy had possession of all the State north of the Great Kanawha and west of the Alleghanies, and had pushed their outposts into that mountain region itself, and in some cases eastward of the main range. Thus, General Kelly had captured Romney, the county seat of Hampshire, forty miles west of Winchester, and now occupied it with a force of 5,000 men.1 This movement gave the Federals control of the fertile valley of the south branch of the Potomac. Another, though much smaller force, occupied Bath, the county seat of Morgan, forty miles due north of Winchester, while the north bank of the Potomac was everywhere guarded by Union troops. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad was open and available for the supply of the Federal troops from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry, and again from a point opposite Hancock westward. The section of this road of about forty miles from Harper's Ferry to Hancock, lying for the most part some distance within the Virginia border, had been interrupted and rendered useless by the Confederates, but this gap was now supplied by the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, which was open all the way from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown in the District of Columbia. [3]

The plan of operations, that Jackson had conceived for regaining West Virginia, was to move along the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and the turnpikes parallel to it, and thus enter Western Virginia at the northeastern end. In this way he could turn the left flank of the enemy's forces, place himself on their communications, and force them to evacuate or fight under circumstances of his own selection. Having seen how his predecessors had been hampered in trying to operate from Staunton westward, by the difficult and inaccessible nature of the country, composed almost entirely of mountains destitute of supplies, and penetrated by nothing but indifferent wagon roads, he was anxious to try a mode of approach which, if more exposed to the enemy, had the advantage of being easier, of lying through a much more populous and cultivated region, of affording to some extent the use of a railroad for supplies, and which would soon place him in the midst of some of the most fertile parts of West Virginia. In order to carry out this scheme he asked for his old brigade, which had been left at Manassas, and that all the forces operating along the line of the Alleghanies southwest of Winchester, and lately commanded by General Lee, should be concentrated under his command. This would have given him 15,000 or 16,000 men, the least force with which he thought it possible to undertake so bold an enterprise.

His wishes were complied with in part. His own brigade was promptly sent to him, and one of the brigades of Loring's troops (General Loring had succeeded General Lee) reached him early in December. Subsequently two more brigades under General Loring himself were added, but all these troops only increased the small force of 3,000 State militia which he had assembled in the district itself to about 11,000 men.2 The greater part of General Loring's force did not arrive at Winchester until Christmas, thus preventing any important movements during November and December.

But meantime Jackson was not idle. He spent the time in organizing, drilling and equipping the militia and the scattered cavalry commands, which he consolidated into a regiment under Colonel Ashby; and in sending expeditions against the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, by breaking which he annoyed the enemy and interrupted an important line of communication.3 [4]

By the last week in December all the troops that the War Department thought it judicious to spare him had arrived, and though the season was far advanced, he determined at once to assume the offensive. The winter had so far been mild, the roads were in excellent condition, and though his force was not large enough for the recovery of West Virginia, important advantages seemed within reach.

The forces and positions of the enemy opposed to Jackson at the beginning of 1862 were as follows: General Banks, commanding the Fifth corps of McClellan's army, with headquarters at Frederick, Maryland, had 16,000 effective men,4 the greater part of whom were in winter quarters near that city, while the remainder guarded the Potomac from Harper's Ferry to Williamsport. General Rosecrans, still holding command of the Department of West Virginia, had 22,000 men scattered over that region,5 but was concentrating them on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He says in his testimony (Report on Conduct of War, 1865, volume III): “On the 6th of December, satisfied that the condition of the roads over the Alleghanies into Western Virginia, as well as the scarcity of subsistence and horse-feed, would preclude any serious operations of the enemy against us, until the opening of the spring, I began quietly and secretly to assemble all the spare troops of the department in the neighborhood of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, under cover of about 5,000 men I had posted at Romney, with the design of obtaining General McClellan's permission to take nearly all these troops and suddenly seize, fortify and hold Winchester, whereby I should at once more effectually cover the northeastern and central parts of Western Virginia, and at the same time threaten the left of the enemy's position at Manassas, compel him to lengthen his line of defence in front of the Army of the Potomac, and throw it further south.”

This plan of Rosecrans was anticipated and foiled by Jackson's movements. On the first of January, 1862, the latter left Winchester at the head of between 8,000 and 9,000 men,6 and moved towards Bath, in Morgan county. The fine weather of the preceding month changed on the very first night of the expedition, and [5] a terrible storm of sleet and snow and cold set in, which for the next three weeks subjected the troops to the severest hardships, and finally forced their commander to suspend his forward movement. At first the troops marched cheerfully on in spite of cold and sleet. Bath was evacuated, but General Lander, who within a day or two had superseded Rosecrans, hurried reinforcements to Hancock, in time to prevent Jackson from crossing the Potomac.7 Jackson having made a demonstration against Hancock, done what damage was possible to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and placed himself between Lander at Hancock and Kelly at Romney, moved toward the latter place as fast as the icy roads would permit. While Jackson was on the road, a part of Kelly's force made a reconnoissance towards Winchester, and at Hanging Rock, twelve miles from Romney, surprised and defeated a force of Confederate militia, of some 500 or 600 men, taking two guns. But alarmed at Jackson's movements, Kelly did not attempt to follow up the advantage, and hastily retired from Romney on January 10th. Jackson entered it on the 14th, and though the weather and roads grew worse held to his intention of advancing further. He aimed at Cumberland. Preparations were at once begun for a movement on New Creek (now called Keyser), but when the orders to march were given, the murmuring and discontent among his troops, especially among those which had recently come under his command, reached such a pitch that he reluctantly abandoned the enterprise and determined to go into winter-quarters. Leaving Loring and his troops at Romney, he returned with his own old brigade to Winchester, January 24th, and disposed his cavalry and militia commands so as to protect the whole border of the district.

This expedition, though it had cleared his district of the foe and effectually broken up all plans of the enemy for a winter campaign against Winchester, was disappointing to Jackson, as well as to the public. Though believing that results had been obtained which outweighed all the suffering and loss, he was conscious that the weather, and the lack of cordial support, had prevented the accomplishment of far more important ends. But this did not abate his self-reliance, nor diminish his clear-sightedness. The discontent among his troops left at Romney resulted on the 31st of January in an order from the Secretary of War, sent without consultation, to withdraw Loring from that place. Jackson obeyed the order, [6] and at once resigned, on the ground that such interference by the Department at Richmond, with the details of military affairs in the field, could only lead to disaster. After explanations, and upon the urgent request of Governor Letcher and General J. E. Johnston,8 he withdrew the resignation. Subsequently, there was no desire on anybody's part to interfere with him.

For the next month Jackson remained quietly at Winchester. General Loring and all his troops that were not Virginian were ordered elsewhere; and in order to induce re-enlistment, furloughs were freely granted. The Confederate force was in this way reduced to about four thousand men, exclusive of militia.

With the 1st of March opened the great campaign of 1862 in Virginia, in which Jackson was to bear so prominent a part. In other sections of the Confederacy fortune favored the Federal cause, and the Union armies were on the full tide of success. On the 8th of February Roanoke Island fell, on the 16th Fort Donelson, on the 26th Nashville, and on the 27th the evacuation of Columbus, Kentucky, was begun.

These successes made the Federal Administration impatient to push forward operations in Virginia. At the urgent representation of General McClellan, President Lincoln had yielded his favorite plan of campaign — an advance against the Confederate lines at Manassas — and had reluctantly consented to the transfer of the Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe, and its advance thence on Richmond. Before he would allow McClellan, however, to begin the transfer, the Potomac river below Washington must be cleared of Confederate batteries, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad must be recovered and protected, and all the approaches to Washington must be made secure.9

To fulfill a part of these conditions, Banks' and Lander's commands were ordered forward, and on February 24th General Banks occupied Harper's Ferry. Soon after, McClellan began the movements on his other wing, that were preparatory to an attack on the Confederate batteries along the lower Potomac. These indications of activity announced to General Johnston that the time had come for carrying out his plan, already determined upon, of retreating behind the Rappahannock. On the 7th of March Johnston, began the withdrawal of his army, and by the 11th all the infantry and artillery east of the Blue Ridge had reached the new position. [7]

Jackson meanwhile remained at Winchester, watching closely the advance of Banks, and doing what was possible to impede it. General Johnston thus describes the duty assigned to him: “After it had become evident that the Valley was to be invaded by an army too strong to be encountered by Jackson's division, that officer was instructed to endeavor to employ the invaders in the Valley, but without exposing himself to the danger of defeat, by keeping so near the enemy as to keep him from making any considerable detachment to reinforce McClellan, but not so near that he might be compelled to fight.” 10

At this time Jackson's entire force did not amount to 4,000 men exclusive of the remnants of the militia brigades, which were not employed any more in active service. It consisted of the five regiments of his old brigade, now under Garnett, of three regiments and one battalion under Burks, and of two regiments under Fulkerson. He had also five batteries and Ashby's regiment of cavalry. General Banks had his own division, under Williams, and Shield s' (late Lander's)11 division, now incorporated in his corps. Two brigades of Sedgwick's were also with him12 when he crossed the Potomac. On the 1st of April the strength of Banks' corps, embracing Shields, is given by General McClellan as 23,339, including 3,652 cavalry, excluding 2,100 railroad guards.13 If Sedgwick's brigades continued with him in his advance on Winchester, his entire force was over 25,000.

Jackson sent his stores, baggage and sick to the rear, but continued to hold his position at Winchester to the last moment.

Banks occupied Charlestown on 26th February, but only reached Stephenson's, four miles north of Winchester, on March 7th. Here Jackson drew up his little force in line of battle to meet him, but the Federals withdrew without attacking. The activity of Ashby, and the boldness with which Jackson maintained his position, impressed his adversary with greatly exaggerated notions of his strength. Banks advanced in a cautious and wary manner, refusing to attack, but pushing forward his left wing, so as to threaten Jackson's flank and rear. By the 11th of March this movement had gone so far that it was no longer safe for the Confederates to hold Winchester. Jackson remained under arms all day, hoping for an [8] attack in front, but none was made, and late in the afternoon he ordered trains and troops into camp, near the south end of the town. By some mistake the trains went on six miles further and the troops had to follow. Jackson, not aware of this, called a council of his chief officers — the first and last time, it is believed, that he ever summoned a council of war--to meet after dark in Winchester, and proposed to them a night attack upon Banks. His proposition was not approved, and he learned then for the first time that the troops were already six miles from Winchester and ten from the enemy. The plan was now evidently impracticable, and he withdrew from the town, which was occupied by the Federals on the next day, March 12. The Confederates continued to retreat slowly to Woodstock and Mount Jackson, forty miles in rear of Winchester, and Shields' division was thrown forward in pursuit to Strasburg on the 17th.

The retirement of Jackson, and the unopposed occupation of the lower Valley by Banks, relieved General McClellan of all fears in that direction, and induced him, in pursuance of President Lincoln's requirement that Manassas Junction and the approaches to, Washington from that direction be securely held, to send the following instructions to Banks on March 16th:

Sir — You will post your command in the vicinity of Manassas, entrench yourself strongly, and throw cavalry pickets out to the front.

Your first care will be the rebuilding of the railway from Washton to Manassas, and to Strasburg, in order to open your communications to the Valley of the Shenandoah. As soon as the Manassas Gap railway is in running order, entrench a brigade of infantry, say four regiments, with two batteries, at or near the point where the railway crosses the Shenandoah. Something like two regiments of cavalry should be left in that vicinity to occupy Winchester, and thoroughly scour the country south of the railway and up the Shenandoah Valley. * * * Occupy by grand guards Warrenton Junction and Warrenton itself, and some * * more advanced point on the Orange and Alexandria railroad.

--McClellan's report.

In compliance with these instructions, Shields' division was recalled from Strasburg, and Williams' division began its movement toward Manassas on the 20th of March.

On the evening of the 21st Ashby reported that the enemy had evacuated Strasburg. Jackson, divining that this meant a withdrawal toward Washington, at once ordered pursuit with all his. available force. The whole of his little army reached Strasburg [9] on the afternoon of the 22d, the greater part after a march of twenty-two miles. Meantime Ashby was following close behind the retreating enemy, and late in the afternoon of the 22d, as Jackson was entering Strasburg, Ashby was attacking the Federal pickets one mile south of Winchester. After the skirmish, Ashby camped for the night at Kernstown, three miles south of Winchester. General Shields, who commanded the troops Ashby had attacked, and who was himself wounded in the skirmish, had displayed but a small part of his force, and this fact, combined with information gotten within the Federal lines, misled the Confederates. The last of Williams' division of Banks' corps had left on the morning of the 22d for Manassas, but Shields' division of three brigades still remained. The reports brought out led Ashby to believe that all but one brigade had gone, and that it expected to leave for Harper's Ferry the next day.14 This information, transmitted to Jackson, caused the latter to push on with all haste the next morning. At daylight he sent three companies of infantry to reinforce Ashby and followed with his whole force. He reached Kernstown at 2 P. M., after a march of fourteen miles.15

General Shields had made his dispositions to meet attack, by advancing Kimball's brigade of four regiments and Daum's artillery to the vicinity of Kernstown. Sullivan's brigade of four regiments was posted in rear of Kimball, and Tyler's brigade of five regiments, with Broadhead's cavalry, was held in reserve. Ashby kept up an active skirmish with the advance of Shields' force durng the forenoon.

But though thus making ready, the Federal generals did not expect an attack in earnest. Shields says he had the country in front and flank carefully reconnoitred during the forenoon of the 23d of March, and the officer in charge reported “no indications of any hostile force except that of Ashby.” Shields continues: “I communicated this information to Major-General Banks, who was then with me, and after consulting together, we both concluded that Jackson could not be tempted to hazard himself so far away from his main support. Having both core to this conclusion, General Banks took his departure for Washington, being already under orders to that effect. The officers of his staff, however, remained behind, intending to leave for Centreville in the afternoon.” 16 [10]

When Jackson reached Kernstown his troops were very weary, Three-fourths of them had marched thirty-six miles since the preceding morning. He therefore gave directions for bivouacking, and says in his report: “Though it was very desirable to prevent the enemy from leaving the Valley, yet I deemed it best not to attack until morning. But subsequently ascertaining that the Federals had a position from which our forces could be seen, I concluded that it would be dangerous to postpone the attack until the next day, as reinforcements might be brought up during the night.”

Jackson therefore led his men to the attack. His plan was to gain the ridge upon which the Federal right flank rested, turn that flank and get command of the road from Kernstown to Winchester in the enemy's rear. He gained the top of the ridge, but Shields was able to hold him in check until Tyler's brigade and other troops could be hurried to that flank, when Jackson in turn became the attacked party. For three hours of this Sunday afternoon the sanguinary and stubborn contest continued. The left half of the Confederate line was perpendicular to the ridge, the right half, which was mainly composed of artillery, ran along the ridge to the rear, and was thus at right angles to the other part. The brunt of the Federal attack was borne by the centre, near the angle presented by that part of the line. Fulkerson's brigade, holding the extreme Confederate left, firmly maintained its position, but the centre was thinned and worn out by the persistent Federal attacks, until General Garnett, whose brigade was there, deeming it impossible to hold his position longer, ordered a retreat. This of course caused a retreat of the whole, which was effected with the loss of two disabled guns, and from 200 to 300 prisoners.

Jackson's whole force at this time consisted of 3,087 infantry, of which 2,742 were engaged in the battle of Kernstown; of twenty-seven guns, of which eighteen were engaged, and of 290 cavalry. General Shields states his force at 7,000 of all arms. The total Confederate loss was nearly 700-the Federal is put by General Shields at less than 600.17

Weary and dispirited was the little army which had marched fourteen miles in the morning to attack a force more than double its own, and which had for three hours wrestled for victory in so vigorous a fashion as to astonish and deceive the enemy. Baffled and overpowered, it slowly retraced its path for six miles more, [11] and sank to rest. In the fence corners, under the trees, and around the wagons, the soldiers threw themselves down, many too tired to eat, and forgot in profound slumbers the toils, dangers and disappointments of the day. Jackson shared the open air bivouac with his men, and found the rest that nature demanded on some fence rails in a corner of the road. Next morning he crossed to the south side of Cedar creek, and gradually retired before the advancing enemy once more to Mount Jackson.

The bold attack of Jackson at Kernstown, though unsuccessful, led to many important results. Its first effect was the recall of the Federal troops then marching from the Valley towards Manassas. General Shields says: “Though the battle had been won, still I could not have believed that Jackson would have hazarded a decisive engagement so far from the main body without expecting reinforcements; so to be prepared for such a contingency, I set to work during the night (after the battle) to bring together all the troops within my reach. I sent an express after Williams' division, requesting the rear brigade, about twenty miles distant, to march all night and join me in the morning. I swept the posts and routes in my rear of almost all their guards, hurrying them forward by forced marches to be with me at daylight. * * * * General Banks, hearing of our engagement on his way to Washington, halted at Harper's Ferry, and with remarkable promptitude and sagacity, ordered back Williams' whole division, so that my express found the rear brigade already en route to join us. The General himself returned forthwith, and after making me a hasty visit, assumed command of the forces in pursuit of the enemy. This pursuit was kept up * * * until they reached Woodstock.”

Thus the design of McClellan to post Banks' corps at Centreville (see letter of March 16th) became impracticable, and that body of over 20,000 troops was thought necessary to guard against the further movements of Jackson's 3,000 and the imaginary reinforcements with which they supplied him. This battle too, no doubt, decided the question of the detachment of Blenker's division of 10,000 men from McClellan, and its transfer to Fremont, recently placed in command of the Mountain Department, which embraced West Virginia. While en route from Alexandria to join Fremont, Blenker's division was to report to Banks, and remain with him as long as he thought any attack from Jackson impending.18 A [12] few days later, the sensitiveness of the Federal Government to the danger of Washington, excited anew by Jackson's movements, led to the detachment of McDowell's corps.

McClellan had left over 70,000 men19 for the defence of Washington and its approaches, and yet, after Kernstown, President Lincoln felt so insecure, that on April 3d he countermanded the order for the embarkation of McDowell's corps, and detained it to replace Banks in front of Washington, and so deprived McClellan of the finest body of troops in his army.

Thus Jackson's bold dash had effected the object of General Johnston in leaving him in the Valley, in a way far more thorough than. either of them could have expected.

The next month was to Jackson one of comparative inaction. Having slowly retreated to the south bank of the Shenandoah near Mount Jackson, he spent the next few weeks in resting and recruiting his forces. The militia of the adjoining counties had already been called to the field, but this resource was superseded on the 10th of April by the conscription act. The time for reorganizing the regiments was near at hand. New officers were to be elected. The ranks were filling up under the impetus given to volunteering by the conscription bill. The weather during the first half of April was very raw and cold, and during the whole month was exceedingly rainy. All these causes rendered quiet very acceptable to the Confederates.

Nor was the enemy in haste to disturb them. Banks was on April 4th placed in independent command of the Department of the Shenandoah, and McDowell of the country between the Blue Ridge and the Rappahannock, while Fremont was in command from the Alleghanies westward. These were all made independent of McClellan and of each other. General Banks followed Jackson but slowly. He reached Woodstock on April 1st, and having pushed back Ashby's cavalry to Edinburg, five miles beyond, he attempted no further serious advance until the 17th. He then moved forward in force, and Jackson retired to Harrisonburg, where he turned at right angles to the left, and crossing the main fork of the Shenandoah at Conrad's store, took up his position at the western base of the Blue Ridge mountains, in Swift Run Gap. This camp the Confederates reached on the 20th of April, and here they remained through ten days more of rain and mud.

Meantime, the advance of McClellan up the peninsula had begun [13] in earnest. General J. E. Johnston had transferred the mass of his army to the front of Richmond, and had taken command there in person. Ewell's division alone remained on the Rappahannock, to watch the enemy there, and to aid Jackson in case of need. This division was now near Gordonsville, and a good road from that point through Swift Run Gap placed it within easy reach of Jackson.

The latter, conscious of his inability with five or six thousand men (his force had nearly doubled since Kernstown by the return of furloughed men and by new enlistments) to resist in the open country the advance of Banks, had availed himself of the nature of the country to take a position where he could be attacked only at great disadvantage, and yet might threaten the flank and rear of the advancing column, if it attempted to pass him. The main Shenandoah river covered his front, a stream not easily fordable at any time, and now swollen by the spring rains. The spurs of the mountains as they run out towards this river afford almost impregnable positions for defence; his flank could only be turned by toilsome and exposed marches, while good roads led from his rear to General Ewell. Thus secure in his position, Jackson at the same time more effectually prevented the further advance of the Federal column than if he had remained in its front; for he held the bridge over the Shenandoah, and was but a day's march from Harrisonburg, and should Banks threaten to move forward towards Staunton, he was ready to hurl the Confederate forces against his enemy's flank and rear. General Banks at Harrisonburg was in the midst of a hostile country, and already one hundred miles from the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, with which a long line of wagon communication had to be maintained. To push on to Staunton, with Jackson on his flank and rear, was virtually to sacrifice his present line of communication, with no practicable substitute in view; to attack the Confederates on the slopes of the mountains, with even a greatly superior force, was to risk defeat.

On the 28th of April Jackson applied to General Lee, then acting as Commander-in-Chief under President Davis, for a reinforcement of five thousand men, which addition to his force he deemed necessary to justify him in marching out and attacking Banks.

Next day he was informed that no troops could be spared to him beyond the commands of Ewell and of Edward Johnson, the latter of whom was seven miles west of Staunton, at West View, with a brigade. [14]

Jackson at once decided upon his plan of campaign, and the very next day began to put it in execution. This campaign, so( successful and brilliant in its results, and now so renowned, shows in its conception the strong points of Jackson's military genius — his clear, vigorous grasp of the situation — his decision, his energy, his grand audacity. It recalls the Italian campaign of 1796, when Napoleon astonished, baffled, defeated the armies of Beaulieu, Wurmser and Alvinzy in succession. Jackson was now with about 6,000 men at the base of the Blue Ridge, some thirty miles northeast of Staunton. Ewell with an equal force was in the vicinity of Gordonsville, twenty-five miles in his rear, and east of the mountains. Edward Johnson was seven miles west of Staunton with 3,500 men,--such the Confederate position. On the other hand, Banks, with the main body of his force of about 20,000 men, occupied Harrisonburg, twelve or fifteen miles in Jackson's front. Schenck and Milroy, commanding Fremont's advance of 6,000 men, were in front of Edward Johnson, their pickets already east of the Shenandoah mountain, and on the Harrisonburg and Warm Springs turnpike. Fremont was preparing to join them from the Baltimore and Ohio railroad with near 10,000 men, making the total of Fremont's movable column some 15,000.20 McDowell with 30,000 men had drawn away from the upper Rappahannock and was concentrating at Fredericksburg. This movement of McDowell had released Ewell, and left him free to aid Jackson, who, with a force of about 16,000 men (including Ewell and Edward Johnson), had on his hands the 35,000 under Banks and Fremont. The Warm Springs turnpike afforded Banks a ready mode of uniting with Milroy and Schenck, in which case Staunton would be an easy capture. Fremont was already preparing to move in that direction. Jackson determined to anticipate such a movement if possible, by uniting his own force to that of Johnson, and falling upon Milroy while Ewell kept Banks in checks. Then he would join Ewell, and with all his strength attack Banks.

To accomplish this Ewell was ordered to cross the mountain and occupy the position Jackson had held for ten days at Swift Run Gap, thus keeping up the menace of Banks' flank. As Ewell approached, Jackson left camp on the 30th of April, and marched up the east bank of the Shenandoah to Port Republic. No participant in that march can ever forget the incessant rain, the fearful mud, the frequent quicksands which made progress so slow and [15] toilsome. More than two days were consumed in going fifteen miles. Meantime Ashby was demonstrating against the enemy, and keeping Jackson's line close to prevent information from getting through. At Port Republic the army turned short to the left, and leaving the Shenandoah Valley altogether crossed Brown's Gap in the Blue Ridge, and marched to Mechum's River station on the Virginia Central railroad. Thence by road and rail it was rapidly moved to Staunton, and by the evening of May 5th it had all reached that point. The movement by this devious route mystified friends as well as foes. One day is given to rest, and on the next Jackson hurries forward, unites Johnson's troops with his own, drives in the Federal pickets and foraging parties, and camps twenty-five miles west of Staunton. On the morrow (May 8th) he pushes on to McDowell, seizes Sitlington's hill, which commands the town and the enemy's camp, and makes his dispositions to seize the road in rear of the enemy during the night. But Milroy and Schenck have united, and seeing their position untenable, make a fierce attack in the afternoon to retake the hill or cover their retreat. For three or four hours a bloody struggle takes place on the brow of Sitlington's hill. The Federals, though inflicting severe loss, are repulsed at every point, and at nightfall quietly withdraw.21 They light their camp fires, and in the darkness evacuate the town. They retreat twenty-four miles to Franklin, in Pendleton county, where they meet Fremont advancing with the main body of his forces. Jackson follows to this point; has found it impossible to attack the retreating foe to advantage, and now deems it inadvisable to attempt anything further in this difficult country, with his 10,000 men against Fremont's 14,000 or 15,000. Screening completely his movements from Fremont with cavalry, he turns back (May 13th), marches rapidly to within seventeen miles of Staunton,. then turns towards Harrisonburg, and dispatches General Ewell that he is on his way to attack Banks with their united forces.

Meantime, important changes have taken place in the disposition of the Federal troops in the Valley. McClellan is calling for more troops, and complaining that McDowell is withheld. The latter having gathered Abercrombie's and other scattered commands from the country in front of Washington into a new division to replace one sent to McClellan, now lies at Fredericksburg, impatient to take part in the movement on Richmond. Banks, hearing of [16] Ewell's arrival in the Valley, fears an attack from him and Jackson combined, and retires from Harrisonburg to New Market.

Jackson's inaction for some weeks, and now his movement to West Virginia, reassures the Federal Administration, and Shields, with more than half of Banks' force, is detached at New Market, and ordered to Fredericksburg to swell McDowell's corps to over 40,000 men.22 Banks is left with only some 7,000 or 8,000, and falls back to Strasburg, which he fortifies.23 He assumes a defensive attitude, to hold the lower Valley, and to cover the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

These movements of the enemy, which had taken place while Jackson was after Milroy, had nearly disarranged Jackson's plans. Upon the march of Shields towards Fredericksburg, General J. E. Johnston, commanding in-chief in Virginia, thought it time to recall Ewell to meet the new danger thus threatened, and the orders reached Ewell while Jackson was yet one day's march short of Harrisonburg. After conference with Ewell, Jackson took the responsibility of detaining him until the condition of affairs could be represented to General Johnston, and meantime they united in a vigorous pursuit of Banks.24

Ashby has followed close on Banks' heels, and now occupies his outposts with constant skirmishing, while he completely screens Jackson. The latter, having marched rapidly to New Market, as if about to follow the foe to Strasburg to attack him there, suddenly changes his route, crosses the Massanuttin mountain to Luray, where Ewell joins him, and pours down the narrow Page Valley by forced marches towards Front Royal. This place is about one hundred and twenty miles (by Jackson's route) from Franklin, and the Confederates reached it on May 23d, ten days after leaving Franklin. Front Royal is held by about one thousand men under Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland Federal regiment, who has in charge the large stores there gathered, and the important railroad bridges on the Shenandoah. This force also covers the flank and rear of Banks' position at Strasburg. Kenly is taken by surprise, makes what resistance he can, is forced across the bridges he vainly attempts to destroy, and flies towards Winchester. Jackson, too [17] impatient to wait for his tired infantry, places himself at the head of a few companies of cavalry, and pushes after the foe. He over-takes, attacks and disperses Kenly's force, and in a few moments four-fifths of it are killed, wounded or prisoners.25 Exhausted nature can do no more. Weary and footsore the army lies down to rest.

General Banks, amazed at this irruption, by which his flank is turned and his communications threatened, begins during the night a precipitate retreat from Strasburg to Winchester. Jackson anticipates this, and presses on the next morning to Middletown, a village between Strasburg and Winchester, to find the road still filled with Federal trains and troops. Capturing or scattering these in every direction, he follows on after the main body, which has already passed him towards Winchester. He overhauls them in the afternoon, pushes Banks' rear guard before him all night, and having given but one hour to rest, at daylight on the 25th of May reaches Winchester, to find the Federal forces drawn up across the approaches to the town from the south and southeast.26 The main part of Banks' army occupies the ridge on which Kernstown had been fought, but at a point two miles further north, while another part holds the Front Royal road, on which Ewell with a part of his division is advancing. A vigorous attack is at once made by the Confederates, Which for a short time is bravely resisted, but the Federal lines begin to yield, and seeing himself about to be over-whelmed, Banks retreats through Winchester. Jackson presses closely, and the Federals emerge from the town a mass of disordered fugitives, making their way with all speed towards the Potomac. The Confederate infantry follows for several miles, capturing a large number of prisoners, and had the cavalry been as efficient but few of Banks' troops would have escaped.27 Banks halts on the north side of the Potomac, and Jackson allows his exhausted men to rest at Winchester.

Thorough and glorious was Jackson's victory. In forty-eight hours the enemy had been driven between fifty and sixty miles, from Front Royal and Strasburg to the Potomac, with the loss of nearly one-half of his strength. His army had crossed that river a disorganized mass. Hundreds of wagons had been abandoned or burnt. Two pieces of artillery and an immense quantity [18] of quartermaster, commissary, medical and ordnance stores had fallen into the hands of the victor. “Some twenty-three hundred prisoners” were taken to the rear when Jackson fell back, besides seven hundred and fifty wounded and sick paroled and left in the hospitals at Winchester and Strasburg, making a total of about 3,050.28

A day is given, according to Jackson's custom, to religious services and thanksgiving, and another to rest, and on the third he is again moving towards Harper's Ferry, in order, by the most energetic diversion possible, to draw away troops from Richmond. How well he effected this, a glance at the Federal movements will show.

As above stated, the quiet that succeeded Kernstown, the advance of Banks far into the Valley and the movement of Jackson to West Virginia, had calmed the apprehensions of the Federal Administration for the time in regard to Washington, and the urgent requests of McClellan and McDowell, that the latter's corps should be sent forward from Fredericksburg towards Richmond, were listened to. Shields was detached from Banks and sent to McDowell, and on May 17th the latter was ordered to prepare to move down the Fredericksburg railroad to unite with McClellan before Richmond. On Friday, May 23d, the very day of Jackson's attack at Front, Royal, President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton went to Fredericksburg to confer with General McDowell, found that Shields had already reached that point, and determined, after consultation, that the advance should begin on the following Monday (May 26th).29 McClellan was informed of the contemplated movement and instructed to assume command of McDowell's corps when it joined him.30 This fine body of troops moving from the North against the Confederate capital, would have seized all the roads entering the city from that direction and would have increased McClellan's available force by from forty to fifty per cent. There was strong reason to expect that this combined movement would effect the downfall of Richmond.

The Federal President returned to Washington on the night of the 23d to await the result. He there received the first news of Jackson's operations at Front Royal the preceding afternoon. The first dispatches indicated only an unimportant raid, and McDowell was directed by telegraph to leave his “least effective” brigade at [19] Fredericksburg,31 in addition to the forces agreed upon for the occupation of that town. Later, on the 24th, the news from Banks became more alarming, and General McDowell was dispatched that “General Fremont had been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg to relieve General Banks and capture or destroy Jackson's and Ewell's forces. You are instructed, laying aside for the present the movement on Richmond, to put 20,000 men in motion at once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line of the Manassas Gap railroad. Your object will be to capture the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fremont, or in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes with his movement, it is believed that the force with which you move will be sufficient to accomplish the object alone.” * * The following was sent to McClellan at 4 P. M. on May 24th: “In consequence of General Banks' critical position, I have been compelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. The enemy are making a desperate push on Harper's Ferry, and we are trying to throw Fremont's force and part of McDowell's in their rear.” Signed, A. Lincoln.

Next day the news from Banks seem to have greatly increased the excitement in Washington. The following telegrams were sent to General McClellan, May 25th, by President Lincoln:

The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive Banks before him, in precisely what force we cannot tell. He is also threatening Leesburg and Geary, on the Manassas Gap railroad, from both north and south, in precisely what force we cannot tell. I think the movement is a general and concerted one, such as could not be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very desperate defence of Richmond. I think the time is near when you must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the defence of Washington. Let me hear from you instantly.

A later one reads--“Your dispatch received. Banks was at Strasburg with about six thousand men, Shields having been taken from him to swell a column for McDowell to aid you at Richmond, and the rest of his force scattered at various places. On the 23d a Rebel force of seven to ten thousand men fell upon one regiment and two companies guarding the bridge at Front Royal, destroying it entirely, crossed the Shenandoah, and on the 24th (yesterday) pushed to get north of Banks on the road to Winchester. Banks ran a race with them, beating them into Winchester yesterday evening. This morning a [20] battle ensued between the two forces, in which Banks was beaten back into full retreat towards Martinsburg, and probably is broken up into a total rout. Geary, on the Manassas Gp railroad, just now reports that Jackson is now near Front Royal with ten thousand, following up and supporting, as I understand, the force now pursuing Banks; also that another force of ten thousand is near Orleans, following on in the same direction. Stripped bare as we are here, it will be all we can do to prevent them crossing the Potomac at Harper's Ferry or above. We have about 20,000. men of McDowell's force moving back to the vicinity of Front Royal, and Fremont, who was at Franklin, is moving to Harrisonburg. Both of these movements are intended to get in the enemy's rear. One more of McDowell's brigades is ordered through here to Harper's Ferry. The rest of his forces remain for the present at Fredericksburg. We are sending such regiments and dribs from here and Baltimore as we can spare to Harper's Ferry, supplying their places in some sort by calling on the militia from the adjacent States. We also have eighteen cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, of which arm there is not a single one yet at that point. This is now our situation. If McDowell's force was now beyond our reach, we should be utterly helpless. Apprehensions of something like this, and no unwillingness to sustain you, has always been my reason for withholding McDowell's forces from you. Please understand this, and do the best you can with the forces you have.” 32

The exaggerations of this dispatch show the panic produced. Jackson had no troops at Orleans, or anywhere east of the Blue Ridge (except a little cavalry), and his entire force, which was all with him, was about 16,000 men.33

This dispatch shows, however, that Jackson was for the time not only occupying all the troops in and around Washington, together with Fremont's forces, but was completely neutralizing the 40,000 under McDowell, and thus disconcerting McClellan's plans.

But if the skill, celerity and daring of Jackson are illustrated in his movement against Banks, these qualities shine out far more brilliantly in his retreat from the Potomac and in his battles at Port Republic. He moved to Harper's Ferry on the 28th of May, and spent the 29th in making demonstrations against the force that had been rapidly gathered there, but which was too strongly posted to be attacked in front. Time did not allow a crossing of the river [21] and an investment of the place. The large bodies of troops which the Federal Administration was hastening from every direction to over whelm him were already closing in.

McDowell, with 20,000 men, was hurrying towards Front Royal and Strasburg, and Fremont, now awake to the fact that his enemy had pushed him back into the mountains, and then slipped away to destroy his colleague, was moving with his 14,000 or 15,000 men towards Strasburg. General Saxton had 7,000 Federal troops34 at Harper's Ferry, and Banks was taking breath with the remnant of his command (some 3,000 or 4,000 men) at Williamsport, Maryland. Thus over 40,000 men were gathering to crush Jackson, whose strength was now not over 15,000. On the morning of May 30th he began his retreat, by ordering all his troops except Winder's brigade, Bradley Johnson's Maryland regiment and the cavalry, to fall back to Winchester. Nor was he an hour too soon, for .before he reached that town McDowell's advance had poured over the Blue Ridge, driven out the small guard left at Front Royal and ,captured the village.

The condition of affairs when Jackson reached Winchester on the evening of May 30th, was as follows: the Federals were in possession of Front Royal, which is but twelve miles from Strasburg, while Winchester is eighteen.35 Fremont was at Wardensville, distant twenty miles from Strasburg, and had telegraphed President Lincoln that he would enter the latter place by 5 P. M. on the next day.36 The mass of Jackson's forces had marched twenty-five miles to reach Winchester, and his rear guard, under Winder (after *skirmishing with the enemy at Harper's Ferry for part of the day), had camped at Halltown,37 which is over forty miles distant from Strasburg!

The next day, Saturday, May 31st, witnessed a race for Strasburg, which was in Jackson's direct line of retreat, but it was very different in character from the race of the preceding Saturday. Orders were issued for everything in the Confederate camp to move early in the morning. The 2,300 Federal prisoners were first sent forward, guarded by the Twenty-first Virginia regiment; next the long trains, including many captured wagons loaded with stores; then followed the whole of the army, except the rear guard under Winder. [22]

Jackson reached Strasburg on Saturday afternoon without molestation and encamped, thus placing himself directly between the two armies that were hastening to attack him. Here he remained for twenty-four hours, holding his two opponents apart until Winder could close up, and the last of the long trains could be sent to the rear. Winder, with the Stonewall brigade, had marched thirty-five miles on Saturday, and by Sunday noon had rejoined the main body. Meantime Shields and McDowell had been bewildered at Front Royal by the celerity of Jackson's movements, and had spent Saturday in moving out-first towards Winchester, and then on other roads, and finally in doing nothing.38 Fremont had stopped five miles short of Strasburg on Saturday night, and on Sunday was held in check39 by Ashby, supported by part of Ewell's division. On Sunday McDowell, desparing of “heading off” Jackson, sent his cavalry to unite with Fremont at Strasburg in pursuing the Confederates, and dispatched Shields' division up the Luray Valley,40 with the sanguine hope that the latter might, by moving on the longer and worse road, get in the rear of Jackson, who with a day's start was moving on the shorter and better

On Friday morning Jackson was in front of Harper's Ferry, fifty miles in advance of Strasburg; Fremont was at Moorefield, thirty-eight miles from Strasburg, with his advance ten miles on the way to that place; Shields was not more than twenty miles from Strasburg (for his advance entered Front Royal, which is but twelve miles distant, before midday on Friday), while McDowell was following with another division within supporting distance. Yet by Sunday night Jackson had marched a distance of between fifty and sixty miles, though encumbered with prisoners and captured stores, had reached Strasburg before either of his adversaries, and had passed safely between their armies, while he held Freemont at bay by a show of force, and blinded and bewildered McDowell by the rapidity of his movements.

Then followed five days of masterly retreat. The failure of McDowell to attack him at Strasburg caused Jackson to suspect the movement of his forces up the Page or Luray Valley.41 McDowell himself did not go beyond Front Royal, but sent Shields' division to follow Jackson. The road up the Page Valley runs along the east side of the main Shenandoah river, which was then impassable, except at the bridges. Of these there were but three in the [23] whole length of the Page Valley--two opposite New Market, but a few miles apart, and a third at Conrad's store, opposite Harrisonburg. Jackson promptly burned the first two, and thus left Shields with an impassable river between them, entirely unable to harass his flank or impede his march. Having thus disposed of one of the pursuing armies, he fell back before Fremont by moderate stages, entrusting the protection of the rear to the indefatigable Ashby. As Fremont approached Harrisonburg on the 6th of June, Jackson left it. Instead of taking the road via Conrad's store to Swift Run Gap, as he had done when retreating before Banks in April, he now took the road to Port Republic, where the branches of the main Shenandoah unite. He next sent a party to burn the bridge at Conrad's store, which afforded the last chance of a union of his adversaries north of Port Republic. The bridge at the latter place, togther with a ford on the South river — the smaller of the tributaries which there form the Shenandoah — gave him the means of crossing from one side to the other — of which by the destruction of the other bridges he had deprived his enemies.

And now came the crowning act of his campaign. When his enemies were already closing in on his rear with overwhelming force, he had with wonderful celerity passed in safety between them. He had continued his retreat until they were now drawn one hundred miles from the Potomac. A large fraction of his pursuers had given up the chase, and were off his hands. Banks had only come as far as Winchester. Saxton from Harper's Ferry had only followed the rear guard under Winder for part of one day, and had then gone into camp, “exhausted,” as he states. McDowell, with two divisions, had remained at Front Royal when Shields moved towards Luray — the latter officer undertaking with his one division to “clean out the Valley.” Hence Jackson had now but Fremont's forces, about equal to his own in number, pressing on his rear, while Shields was making his toilsome way up the Page Valley, and was a day or two behind.

By laying hold of the bridges he had placed an impassable barrier between his two pursuers, and now he occupied the point where their two routes converged. No further to the rear would the Shenandoah serve as a barrier to their junction, for south of Port Republic its head waters are easly fordable. Here, too, was Brown's Gap near at hand, an easily defended pass in the Blue Ridge, and affording a good route out of the Valley in case of need.

In this position Jackson determined to stand and fight his adversaries in detail. [24]

On Friday, June 6th, the foot-sore Confederates went into camp at different points along the five miles of road that intervened between Port Republic and Cross Keys, the latter a point half way between the former village and Harrisonburg. The skirmish on that day, in which Fremont's cavalry was severely punished, is memorable, because in it fell Turner Ashby — the generous, the chivalric, the high-souled knight, who, as commander of his horse, had so faithfully and gloriously contributed to Jackson's achievements. The next day was given to rest; and sorrow for the loss of Ashby replaced all other feelings for the time. But brief the time for sorrow. War gives much space to the grand emotions that lead to heroic doing or heroic bearing, but is niggardly in its allowance to the softer feelings of sadness and grief. As Ashby is borne away to his burial, all thoughts turn once more to the impending strife. Fremont was advancing. He had been emboldened by the retreat of the Confederates, and failing to comprehend the object of Jackson's movements, pushed on to seize the prey, which he deemed now within his grasp. His troops were all up by Saturday night, and his dispositions were made for attack on Sunday morning, June 8th.

But though Fremont was thus close at hand, while Shields, detained by bad roads, with his main body, was yet fifteen or twenty miles off, on the east side of the river, yet the opening of the battle on Sunday was made by a dash of Shields' cavalry under Colonel Carroll into Port Republic. They had been sent on, a day's march in advance, and meeting but a small force of Confederate cavalry, had driven them pell-mell into Port Republic, dashed across South river after them, seized and for a few minutes held the bridge over the latter stream. Jackson had just passed through the village as they entered it. Riding rapidly to the nearest troops north of the bridge, he directed one of Poague's guns and one of Taliferro's regiments (Thirty-seventh Virginia) on the bridge, quickly retook it, captured two cannon,and drove these adventurous horsemen back.42 They retired two or three miles with their infantry supports, and as the bluffs on the west side of the river command the roads on the east side, a battery or two kept them inactive for the remainder of the day.

It was at this time that Shields, from Luray, was dispatching Fremont as follows:43 [25]

June 8th--9 1/2 A. M.
I write by your scout. I think by this time there will be twelve pieces of artillery opposite Jackson's train at Port Republic, if he has taken that route. Some cavalry and artillery pushed on to Waynesboroa to burn the bridge. I hope to have two brigades at Port Republic today. I follow myself with two other brigades from this place. If the enemy changes direction, you will please keep me advised. If he attempts to force a passage, as my force is not large there yet, I hope you will thunder down on his rear. Please send back information from time to time. I think Jackson is caught this time.

Yours, sincerely,

Meanwhile, Fremont had marshaled his brigades and was pressing on in brilliant array to “thunder down” on his adversary's rear. To General Ewell and his division had Jackson assigned the duty of meeting the foe. His other troops were in the rear, and nearer to Port Republic, to watch movements there, and to assist General Ewell if necessary. Ewell was drawn up on a wooded ridge near Cross Keys, with an open meadow and rivulet in front. On a parallel ridge beyond the rivulet Fremont took position. The Federal general first moved forward his left, composed of Blenker's Germans, to the attack. They were met by General Trimble, one of Ewell's brigadiers, with three regiments of his brigade. Trimble coolly withheld his fire until the Germans were close upon him. Then a few deadly volleys and the attack is broken, and the Federal left wing bloodily and decisively repulsed.44 That sturdy old soldier General Trimble, having been reinforced, presses forward, dislodges the batteries in position in his front, and threatens the overthrow of Fremont's left wing. While this last is not accomplished, the handling Blenker has received is so rough as completely to paralyze the remainder of Fremont's operations. The attack on centre and right become little more than artillery combats, and by the middle of the afternoon Fremont withdraws his whole line.45 Ewell's force was about six thousand, and his loss two hundred and eighty seven.46 Fremont's force twice as great, and his loss over six hundred and fifty.47

About the time of Fremont's repulse, General Tyler, with one of Shields' infantry brigades, reached the position, near Lewiston, to which Colonel Carroll had retired in the morning; but so strong was the position held by the Confederate batteries on the west bank [26] of the river, that Tyler felt it impossible to make any diversion in favor of Fremont, and with his force of 3,000 men remained idle.48

Jackson, emboldened by the inactivity of Shields' advance, and the easy repulse of Fremont, conceived the audacious design of attacking his two opponents in succession the next day, with the hope of overwhelming them separately.49 For this purpose he directed that during the night a temporary bridge, composed simply of planks laid upon the running gear of wagons, should be constructed over the South river at Port Republic, and ordered Winder to move his brigade, at dawn, across both rivers and against Shields. Ewell was directed to leave Trimble's brigade and part of Patton's to hold Fremont in check, and to move at an early hour to Port Republic, to follow Winder. Taliaferro's brigade was left in charge of the batteries along the river, and to protect Trimble's retreat, if necessary. The force left in Fremont's front was directed to make all the show possible, and to delay the Federal advance to the extent of its power. The Confederate commander proposed, in case of an easy victory over Shields in the morning, to return to the Harrisonburg side of the river and attack Fremont in the afternoon. In case however of delay, and a vigorous advance on Fremont's part, Trimble was to retire by the bridge into Port Republic and burn it, in order to prevent his antagonist from following.

Jackson urged forward in person the construction of the foot bridge and the slow passage of his troops over the imperfect structure. When Winder's and Taylor's brigades had crossed, he would wait no longer, but moved forward towards the enemy; and when he found him ordered Winder to attack. The Federal General Tyler had posted his force strongly on a line perpendicular to the river — his left especially in a commanding position, and protected by dense woods. Winder attacked with vigor, but soon found the Federal position too strong to be carried by his brigade of 1,200 men. Taylor went to his assistance, but met with a stubborn resistance and varying success. Winder was forced back until other troops came up, and enabled him once more to go forward. Jackson, finding the resistance of the enemy so much more stubborn than he had expected, and that his first attack and failed, determined to concentrate his whole force, and give up all intention of recrossing the river. He therefore sent orders to Trimble and Taliaferro to leave Fremont's front, move over the bridge, burn it, and join the main body of the army as speedily as possible. This was [27] done. Before his rear guard had arrived, however, a renewed attack in overwhelming force on Tyler had carried his position, captured his battery, and compelled him to retreat in more or less disorder. The pursuit continued for eight miles; 450 prisoners and six guns were captured, and 275 wounded paroled in the hospitals near the field. I have seen no official statement of the Federal loss, but the above was, of course, the greater part of it. Jackson's total loss was 876.50

Fremont had advanced cautiously against Trimble in the afternoon, and had followed, as the latter withdrew and burnt the bridge. By this last act Fremont was compelled to remain an inactive spectator of the defeat of Tyler.

General Fremont thus describes the scene when he reached the river: “The battle which had taken place upon the further bank of the river was wholly at an end. A single brigade” (in fact two) “sent forward by General Shields had been simply cut to pieces. Colonel Carroll * * had * * failed to burn the bridge. Jackson, hastening, across had fallen upon the inferior force, and the result was before us. Of the bridge nothing remained but the charred and smoking timbers. Beyond, at the edge of the woods, a body of the enemy's troops was in position, and a baggage train was disappearing in a pass among the hills. Parties-gathering the dead and wounded, together with a line of prisoners awaiting the movement of the Rebel force near by, was all in respect to troops of either side now to be seen.”

Thus the day ended with the complete defeat of the two brigades under Tyler. Gallant and determined had been their resistance, and Jackson's impetuosity had made his victory more difficult than it otherwise would have been. In sending in Winder's brigade before its supports arrived, he had hurled this body of troops against more than twice their number. Taylor next attacked, but the repulse of Winder enabled the Federal commander to concentrate his forces against Taylor, and drive him from the battery he had taken. It was then that Jackson renewed the attack with the combined forces of three brigades, and speedily forced the enemy from the field. The Confederate trains had been moved in the course of the day across South river towards Brown's Gap, and during the afternoon and night the Confederates returned from the battlefield and pursuit, to camp at the foot of this mountain pass. It was midnight before some of them lay down in the rain to rest. [28]

This double victory ended the pursuit of Jackson. Fremont on the next morning began to retreat, and retired sixty miles to Strasburg. Shields, so soon as his broken brigades rejoined him, retreated to Front Royal, and was thence transferred to Manassas.

The battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic closed this celebrated campaign. Just three months had passed since Jackson, with about 4,000 troops badly armed and equipped, had fallen back from Winchester before the advance of Banks with 25,000 men. So feeble seemed his force, and so powerless for offence, that when it had been pushed forty miles to the rear, Banks began to send his force towards Manassas, to execute his part of “covering the Federal capital” in McClellan's great campaign. While a large part of the Federal troops is on the march out of the Valley, and their commander is himself en route from Winchester to Washington, Jackson, hastening from his resting place by a forced march, appears most unexpectedly at Kernstown, and hurls his little army with incredible force and fury against the part of Banks' army which is yet behind. He is mistaken as to the numbers of the enemy. Three thousand men, worn by a forced march, are not able to defeat the 7,000 of Shields'. After a fierce struggle he suffers a severe repulse, but he makes such an impression as to cause the recall of a strong force from McClellan to protect Washington. The Federal Administration cannot believe that he has attacked Shields with a handful of men.

Falling back before his pursuers, he leaves the main road at Harrisonburg, and crossing over to Swift Run Gap he takes a position in which he cannot be readily attacked, and which yet enables him so to threaten the flank of his opponent, as to effectually check his further progress. Here he gains ten days time for the reorganization of his regiments (the time of service of most of which expired in April), and here, too, the return of furloughed men and the accession of volunteers nearly doubles his numbers.

Finding that no more troops could be obtained beside those of Ewell and Edward Johnson, he leaves the former to hold Banks in check, while he makes a rapid and circuitous march to General Edward Johnson's position, near Staunton.

Uniting Johnson's force with his own, he appears suddenly in front of Milroy, at McDowell, only eight days after having left Swift Run Gap. He has marched one hundred miles and crossed the Blue Ridge twice in this time, and now repulses Milroy and Schenck, and follows them up to Franklin. Then finding Fremont [29] within supporting distance, he begins on May 13 to retrace his steps, marching through Harrisonburg, New Market, Luray, Ewell joining him on the road and swelling his force to 16,000 men, and on May 23 suddenly appears at Front Royal (distant, by his route, nearly one hundred and twenty miles from Franklin), and surprises and completely overwhelms the force Banks has stationed there. Next day he strikes with damaging effect at Banks' retreating column, between Strasburg and Winchester, and follows him up) all night. At dawn he attacks him on the heights of Winchester, forces him from his position and drives him in confusion and dismay to the Potomac with the loss of immense stores and a large number of prisoners. Resting but two days, he marches to Harper's Ferry, threatens an invasion of Maryland and spreads such alarm as to paralyze the movements of McDowell's 40,000 men at Fredericksburg, and to cause the concentration of half of this force, together with Fremont's command, on his rear. The militia of the adjoining States is called out; troops are hurried to Harper's Ferry in his front; more than 40,000 troops are hastening under the most urgent telegrams to close in around him. Keeping up his demonstrations until the last moment — until, indeed, the head of McDowwell's column was but twelve or fourteen miles from his line of retreat, at a point nearly fifty miles in his rear — he, by a forced march of a day and a half, traverses this distance of fifty miles and places himself at Strasburg. Here he keeps Fremont at bay until his long line of prisoners and captured stores has passed through in safety and his rear guard closed up. Then he falls back before Fremont, while by burning successively the bridges over the main fork of the Shenandoah he destroys all co-operation between his pursuers. Having retreated as far as necessary, he turns off from Harrisonhurg to Port Republic, seizes the only bridge left south of Front Royal over the Shenandoah, and takes a position which enables him to fight his adversaries in succession, while they cannot succor each other. Fremont first attacks and is severely repulsed, and next morning Jackson, withdrawing suddenly from his front and destroying the bridge to prevent his following, attacks the advance brigades of Shields and completely defeats them, driving them eight or ten miles from the battlefield.

A week of rest, and Jackson, having disposed of his various enemies, and effected the permanent withdrawal of McDowell's corps from the forces operating against Richmond, is again on the march, and while Banks, Fremont and McDowell are disposing their broken [30] or baffled forces to cover Washington, is hastening to aid in the great series of battles which during the last days of June and the early ones of July, resulted in the defeat of McClellan's army and the relief of the Confederate capital.

I have thus tried to give you, fellow-soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, an outline of one of the most brilliant pages of our history. Time has not permitted me to dwell on the great deeds which crowded these few months, nor to characterize in fitting terms of panegyric the mighty actors in them. I have attempted nothing beyond a simple and carefully accurate statement of facts. This may help to clear away from one campaign the dust and mould which already gather over the memories of our great struggle. It may do more. It may, by touching the electric chord of association, transport us for the time into the presence of the majestic dead; and of the mighty drama, the acting of which was like another and a higher life, and the contemplation of which should tend to strengthen, elevate, ennoble. It is wise in our day — it is wise always — to recur to a time when patriotism was a passion; when devotion to great principles dwarfed all considerations other than those of truth and right; when duty was felt to be the sublimest word in our language; when sacrifice outweighed selfishness; when “human virtue was equal to human calamity.” Among the heroes of that time Jackson holds a splendid place — an illustrious member of a worthy band — aye, a band than which no land in any age can point to a worthier!

1 Rosecrans' testimony before “Committee on the conduct of the war,” volume III, 1865, page 14.

2 Dabney's Life of Jackson, page 257.

3 Jackson was employed from December 16th to December 21st in an expedition against Dam No. 5 on the Potomac. Here Captain (now Governor) Holliday, of the Thirty-third Virginia, and Captain Robinson, of the Twenty-seventh Virginia, volunteered, with their companies, to go into the river and cut away the cribs. This was done in the cold water under an annoying fire from the enemy on the Maryland bank.

4 General Banks says that he had 17,500 men in all, or “16,000 effective men.” See his testimony before the Committee on Conduct of the War, 1863, part II, page 414.

5 Rosecrans' testimony before Committee on Conduct of the War, 1863, part I, page 202.

6 On January 10th, Jackson reported the entire force in his district to General J. E. Johnston as 10,178 infantry and 648 cavalry. He had at that date 24 guns, having lost two at Hanging Rock, January 7th.

7 One of Banks' brigades was sent to aid Lander at hancock. See Banks' testimony, above cited.

8 See Johnston's Narrative, page 88; Dabney's Life, page 278, &c.

9 See McClellan's report.

10 Johnston's Narrative, page 106.

11 General Lander died at his camp at Pawpaw, March 2d, and General Shields succeeded to his command.

12 McClellan's report.

13 McClellan's report — Rebellion Record, companion volume I, page 546.

14 Shields' report — Rebellion Record, volume IV; Ashby's reports.

15 Jackson's report. Confederate Official Reports.

16 Shields' report.

17 Jackson's and Shields' reports.

18 McClellan's report.

19 McClellan's report.

20 See Fremont's report.

21 Schenck's report — Rebellion Record, volume V. He puts his total loss at 256. Jackson's loss was 461; see his report.

22 McDowell says his corps at this time “consisted of the divisions of McCall, King and Ord. * * * There were about 30,000 men altogether. Then General Shields came with about 11,000 men, making my force about 41,000 men.” He had also 100 pieces of artillery. See McDowell's testimony before the Committee on Conduct of the War, part I, 1863, page 267.

23 Shields left New Market May 12th.

24 Dabney's Life of Jackson, page 359.

25 See Confederate official reports; also Camper & Kirkley's History of the First Maryland Regiment (Federal).

26 See Banks' and other Federal reports — Rebellion Record, volume V, page 52.

27 See Jackson's and Ewell's reports.

28 Jackson's report.

29 See McDowell's testimony before referred to.

30 See McClellan's report.

31 See McDowell's testimony.

32 For foregoing dispatches see McDowell's testimony and McClellan's report.

33 Dabney's Life, page 364. Major Dabney was at this time Chief-of-Staff to General Jackson.

34 Saxton's report — Rebellion Record, volume V.

35 McDowell's testimony.

36 Fremont's report.

37 Jackson's and Winder's reports.

38 McDowell's testimony.

39 Fremont's report.

40 McDowell's testimony.

41 Jackson's report.

42 See Jackson's, Winder's, Tallaferro's and Poague's reports.

43 Fremont's report.

44 Trimble's report.

45 Fremont's report.

46 Ewell's report.

47 Fremont's report.

48 Tyler's report.

49 Dabney's Life.

50 See reports of Jackson and his subordinates; also of General Tyler, Rebellion Record, volume V, page 110.

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