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[104]

On the 7th Jackson's advance at night reached the vicinity of Port Republic. This village is situated in the angle between the North and South rivers, which here unite and form the South Fork of the Shenandoah. The North River is the larger of the two, and the road from Harrisonburg crosses it by a wooden bridge. The South River was fordable.

On the morning of Sunday, the 8th, Jackson had sent two companies of cavalry across the river to scout on the Luray road toward Shields's advance. About 8 A. M. these companies were driven back in a rout and followed into the village by a body of Federal cavalry, who, with four guns and a brigade of infantry following, formed Shields's advance.

Jackson himself was in the village and narrowly escaped capture, riding across the bridge over the North River. Three of his staff were captured, but afterward escaped. Three brigades of infantry, however, and three batteries were near at hand, and the Federals were soon brought under a fire that sent them back in confusion with a loss of about 40 men and two guns, which had been brought across the South River. As their leading brigade, Carroll's, fell back, it met a second brigade of Shields's division, Tyler's, with artillery, and the two brigades, selecting a position about two miles north, decided to await the arrival of Shields with the rest of the division.

Jackson left two brigades to protect the bridge, and with the remainder of his force marched back about four miles to Cross Keys, where he had left Ewell's division holding a selected position against Fremont. Fremont was now in reach of Jackson, and, by all the maxims of war, should have exerted his utmost strength to crush him. He could afford to risk fighting his last reserves, and even to wreck his army, if he might thereby detain or cripple Jackson, for other armies were coming to his help and were near at hand. His attack, however, was weak. He had about 10,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, and 12 batteries. Ewell had at first but 6000 infantry and 500 cavalry. Fremont brought into play about all of his artillery, but he advanced only one brigade of infantry from his left flank. This was repulsed and followed, and the whole of Fremont's left wing driven back to the shelter of his line of guns. Elsewhere there was no more

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