of a body of Fremont
's cavalry under Sir Percy Wyndham
, an English soldier of fortune, Ashby
followed the infantry toward Port Republic
, halting in a body of woods on a ridge about two miles south from the Valley turnpike
moved through Harrisonburg
at a rapid trot and followed after Ashby
, having in hand about 800 New Jersey
, New York and Connecticut
He advanced some little distance, but seeing no enemy, halted and sent skirmishers ahead.
These returned after some time and reported no force of the enemy visible.
Impatient and fearing that he had lost an opportunity to capture Ashby
, a job he was said to have undertaken, Wyndham
again pushed forward contrary to his orders, and soon discovered the Confederate cavalry drawn up across the road, but with its flanks concealed in the woods and in a field of standing grain.
Making an impetuous dash on these forces, the Federals
were met by volleys in front and on their flanks, and were quickly thrown into confusion and retreat, Sir Percy himself, in a remarkable personal encounter with Captain Conrad
's staff, and 63 of his men being taken prisoners.
, whose command was next to Ashby
, coming back at the sound of this engagement, responded to a call for infantry by sending back Johnson
's First Maryland and Letcher
's Fifty-eighth Virginia, Ashby
rightly concluding that the Federal
attack would be renewed.
This was soon done, and General Bayard
, with the Bucktail rifles, the First Pennsylvania cavalry, and Cluseret
's brigade of the Sixtieth Ohio and the Eighth West Virginia infantry, was ordered forward, the first to attack the Confederates
and the second to hold the farther end of the town and its approaches.
and West Virginia regiments and the Pennsylvania Bucktails
moved forward and attacked the Confederates
in a fierce combat, especially with the Fifty-eighth Virginia, which they had approached under cover of a heavy rail fence.
Seeing his men waver, Ashby
galloped to the front and ordered them to charge.
At that moment his horse fell, mortally wounded, and leaping from his saddle he shouted, ‘Charge, men!
For God's sake, Charge!’
waving his sword, when a bullet pierced him in the breast and he fell dead.
The Virginians heeded the command of their dying general and rushed upon the front of the foe,