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 Shields' first brigade, commanded by General Carroll, comprising about one thousand men and a battery, appeared on the opposite side, repulsed his skirmishers, entered the town and took possession of the bridge. This bridge had played an important part in the campaign plans forwarded direct from Washington to the Union generals. They had been alternately directed to destroy and to save it. Colonel Carroll, having been ordered to preserve it, held it for nearly twenty minutes; adhering strictly to the letter of his instructions, he suffered the opportunity to escape which presented itself for preventing the Confederates from crossing the Shenandoah; and when the enemy's cannon, whose fire had been quickly concentrated upon him, compelled him to abandon the bridge, he did not even attempt to destroy it. The result of his blind obedience was to leave Jackson in possession of a sure means of retreat at the moment when he was on the point of being thrown upon an impassable river. Once master of Port Republic, the Confederate general had nothing more to fear, and his only object in holding his adversaries in check was to intimate to them that all pursuit was at an end. He determined, however, to take advantage of their separation to deal them successively a last blow. On the 8th, Ewell, with five thousand men, was waiting for Fremont at Cross Keys, a point of junction of several roads in the neighborhood. The six Federal brigades were prompt in attacking him. But Fremont, being under the impression that he had the whole of Jackson's army before him, allowed himself to be held back a long time by the resistance which the Confederates offered in a difficult country, where clearings alternate with woods. At last, after a brisk musketry engagement, which cost him many men without securing him any marked advantage, he had just ordered a general attack, when, seeing a German brigade borne back by the enemy, he suddenly abandoned his project and gave the signal for retreat. The battle of Cross Keys cost the Federals from six to seven hundred men, while the Confederates lost three hundred. The latter, by holding the enemy in check during an entire day, had accomplished the object they had in view. In the mean time, Jackson, crossing the bridge which had been
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