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 Ashby's force was recruited to the dignity of a brigade, though his commission as brigadier-general was not issued until May 23d. He pursued the Federals after the battle of McDowell, played a prominent part in the rout of the Federals at Middletown, and defended the rear during the Confederate retreat up the Valley early in June. On the 3d his horse was shot under him while his men were burning the bridge over the Shenandoah. ‘Ashby has infernal activity and ingenuity in this way,’ Shields reported to Washington. On June 6th, near Harrisonburg, he repulsed an attack, capturing the Federal commander, Sir Percy Wyndham. He immediately planned an ambush of the pursuing Federal advance, and a fierce combat ensued. As Ashby led the attack, his horse was shot under him, and he rushed forward on foot, urging his men to charge, when a ball pierced his breast and he fell forward dead. His death was felt as a severe loss to the army. Jackson wrote to General Imboden: ‘Poor Ashby is dead. He fell gloriously. I know you will join with me in mourning the loss of our friend, one of the noblest men and soldiers in the Confederate army.’ In his official report he wrote: ‘As a partisan officer, I never knew his superior. His daring was proverbial, his powers of endurance almost incredible, his tone of character heroic, and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the purposes and movements of the enemy.’ In October, 1866, his body was reinterred with impressive ceremonies in the Stonewall cemetery at Winchester, where the anniversary of his death is annually commemorated by the strewing of flowers upon the graves of the unknown dead.
Brigadier-General Seth Maxwell Barton was one of four sons of Thomas Bowerbank Barton, a lawyer of Fredericksburg, Va., all of whom served in the Confederate States army. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1849, and promoted brevet second lieutenant, Third infantry. After serving a year at Fort Columbus, N. Y., he was promoted second lieutenant, First infantry, and assigned to duty in the Southwest, where he served mainly until 1861, winning promotion to first lieutenant in 1853 and captain in 1857. He was stationed during most of this period at the Texas forts, was adjutant of his regiment, 1855 to 1857, fought against the Comanche Indians in 1857, and in 1861
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