details of Thursday's operations — the battles at Front Royal and Winchester — the three days operations.
From the account of the New York World's
correspondent we make the following abstract:
Hagerstown, Md. Sunday, May 25.
First had been sent from Strasburg
to Front Royal
, a small village twelve miles distant, just beyond the Massanuten range, which commences its course just at this point, and upon the eastern bank of the Shenandoah
, over which is the large bridge of the Manassas Gap Railroad, which has now, again, for the third time, been destroyed by the rebels.
Yesterday they were known to be in danger, and so much had our apprehension for them increased before night, that the commanding officers
were ordered to remain at their posts to await instruction.
At midnight, word came to the different brigades that the ‘"news from Front Royal
was very unfavorable,"’ with orders to prepare to march immediately.
, the lamented officer of the Maryland First, received notice of the approach of the enemy only by the surprise and capture of some of his pickets.
No intimation of their coming had been received, and it was, therefore, impossible to have supported him in season to have prevented the sad havoc which succeeded.
But he defended himself through the entire day with an ability and energy which speak loud praises for him in the hearts of all his loyal countrymen.
With scarcely a thousand men in his command, he was compelled to sustain himself against the three full brigades of General Ewell
, who had abandoned his camp, fifty miles above in the Valley
, for the purpose of making this descent upon a regiment of loyal Marylanders.
Three o'clock, and a detachment of cavalry, one hundred men, Companies B and I, of the Ira Harris Guard
, commanded by Major Vought
, arrived from Stresburg, and reported immediately to Colonel Kenly
, who ordered him at once to charge the enemy.
The cavalry obeyed the order, charging upon them with great force, though greatly inferior in numbers.
Wm. H. Mapes
, commanding pioneer corps, arrived and reported to Colonel Kenley
, who gave orders immediately where they should be stationed, and they continued with the remainder of the little force, doing noble service, and holding in check successfully not less than six times their number.
Seeing the danger of their position, the commander of the brigade gave the order to retreat, which they did in excellent order, across the Shenandoah
was then ordered to burn the bridge, which was accordingly fired, by placing upon it piles of fence rails, but was not destroyed.
The rebels came on so closely and hotly that they were driven away, and did not succeed in the attempt.
They soon arrived at and crossed the bridge on the north branch of the Shenandoah
, which they succeeded in firing and destroying, but not, however, in detaining the rebels, who, cavalry and infantry, plunged in and forded it, and were soon upon the other side.
Soon was received the unwelcome news that the enemy had surrounded them, flanking them with superior numbers both by right and left.
Our men, undaunted, dashed upon them with such vigor as to effect their escape, and cut their way out from the coils of the rebels thrown around them, not however, without being again surrounded and so effectually beset on every side, behind and before, with the most insurmountable superiority, both in the numbers and freshness of the rebel troops, that they were completely destroyed or captured, together with their noble Colonel
and other field officers.
The severity of the fight beggars all attempts at description.
The forces engaged upon our side comprised eight companies of the Maryland First, two companies of the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania, two companies Ira Harris Guard, two pieces artillery of Capt. Knap
's Battery, and Capt. Mape
's Pioneer Corps of fifty men.
One gun, which was carried off the field and brought to within a few miles of Winchester
, was abandoned necessarily, and was captured by the enemy before the following morning.
A considerable number of the Maryland Regiment have come in.
At 1 o'clock Saturday morning I was awaked to make preparations for immediate retreat.
The remnant saved from the battle at Front Royal
had retreated upon the road which connects Strasburg
with Front Royal
, and the enemy were known to be in close pursuit.
Their movement, too, seemed evidently intended to cut off our connection with Winchester
, and we saw, very naturally, before us the respect of an enemy (Ewell
) in our front, while Jackson
, whom we had known to be behind us near Harrisonburg
, seemed more than probable intending to push upon us in our rear, placing us between two fires, each doubtless larger than the little command which remained to General Banks
after the withdrawal of so large a portion of it to reinforce other less exposed
divisions of the army.
We soon learned that the forces of Ewell
were on the road upon which we were retreating, and in front of us. But we moved on, and had proceeded three miles beyond Strasburg
, had crossed Cedar creek
bridge, and ascended the bill beyond.
A consternation seemed to have been created ahead of us, indicated by the return of sutlers, teamsters, and servants, frightened themselves, and giving warning to others to look out for the shells, which would immediately be bursting over our heads.
There was for a few moments a rush of men, mounted and dismounted, back upon the road and through the fields, as if they had already seen large numbers of the enemy.
Everything seemed to indicate an immediate battle.
The soldiers received the intelligence with a shout and with animated faces.
Orders to halt, right face, were immediately shouted from the head of the column, and repeated all the way down to the other end. In a moment all were ordered to take off their knapsacks, which were immediately stacked on by the roadside, and guards were appointed over them.
All were ordered forward at once, and the men, though ordered to march, moved almost at the speed of double-quick.
Presently Gen. Williams
, who had not yet left Strasburg
, came riding rapidly, with his Staff, to the head of the column, and the soldiers raised a hearty cheer as he passed, which continued up the column as he advanced to the front.
soon followed, and was greeted with similar manifestations of pleasure and confidence in their commander.
We followed closely, and the road was filled with wagons, some broken down, others with the mules cut suddenly away, and all deserted by their drivers, who had taken fright on the appearance of a few of the enemy's cavalry, and fled in a miniature Bull Run
The infantry were kept somewhat in the rear until the General
and his body-guard had advanced to ascertain the position of the enemy, and the space between was filled with the baggage wagons, which were being repossessed by their timorous guardians, under the inspiring influence of the wagon master's whip, who, enraged at their cowardly rout, was driving them back with most unmerciful lashes to their deserted charges.
Men were now seen flicking back, and the baggage train was again supplied with monsters.
On again we moved into and thought Middletown
, and when we reached Newtown
, eight miles from Winchester
, number of the enemy's cavalry were seen, and we dashed into the village, and into a smell grove at the amethyst end or the town, in which several of the enemy were seen as soon as we arrived in sight.
Forty of our soldiers had been captured