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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.1 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:2

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

2 Fremont's report.

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