While General Jackson
was hurrying back from Franklin
, critical events were occurring at Richmond
, which must be known in order to appreciate the value of his victories, and their effect upon the public mind.
The destruction of the ship Virginia
by her crew, on the 11th of May, has been narrated.
This blunder left the River James
open to the enemy's fleet, up to the wharves of the city.
The Confederate engineers had indeed projected an earthwork upon an admirable position, seven miles below, where the lands of a planter named Drewry
overlooked a narrow reach of the stream, in a lofty bluff or precipitous hill.
But so nerveless and dilatory had been their exertions, that when the river was thus opened to the enemy, there were neither guns mounted upon the unfinished ramparts of earth, nor obstructions completed in the channel beneath.
The Legislature of Virginia had urged upon the Confederate
War Department, the vast importance of defending this avenue to the Capital
of the Commonwealth
, and had received promises; but they remained unfulfilled.
The hurried removal of military stores to the Southwest
; the packing of the archives of the Confederate Departments
, and the significant movements of their occupants, now indicated the purpose of the Government
to desert Richmond
to the enemy.
Not only was it left approachable by water; but the grand army of McClellan
had pressed from the
peninsula up to the neighborhood of the city on the east, while a strong and increasing army under General McDowell
, at Fredericksburg
, threatened it by a northern route of only three marches, with no adequate force to oppose him. It was in this gloomy hour, that the spirit of the General Assembly of Virginia
, and of the citizens of her Capital, flamed up with a lofty and unshaken heroism, worthy to be compared with the noblest displays of patriotism in all the ages.
The former body addressed to the President
of the Confederate States
, a Resolution, requesting him to defend the city, if necessary, until one stone was not left upon another, and proposing to lay it as a sacrifice, with all its wealth, upon the country's altar.
The Town-council met, and amidst the stern and unanimous enthusiasm of the citizens, seconded this resolve.
They were determined, that if the city could not be successfully defended, it should only be yielded to the enemy as a barren heap of rubbish, the sepulchre, and glorious monument at once, of its defenders.
The General Assembly sent its Committee to lay their wishes before the President
; who thanked them for their devotion, and assured them that the evacuation of Richmond
, if it occurred, would by no means imply the desertion of Virginia
Even while they conferred together, a courier brought him news, that some Federal ships of war, availing themselves of the absence of the Virginia
, were ascending the river, with the evident intention of reaching Richmond
Rising from his seat, he dismissed the Committee
, saying, “This manifestly concludes the matter ;” and proceeded to arrange for the removal of his family.
But the timidity of the Federalists, afraid of torpedoes, or some other secret annoyance, and incredulous that so vital a point could indeed be left open for them, for this time saved the city; which, so far as its proper defenders were concerned, was already lost.
The ships paused to make soundings, and to
reconnoitre the banks; and meantime, the citizens went to work.
The City Council called upon the Confederate Engineers, to know what they lacked for the immediate completion of their works; and pledged themselves to supply everything.
The citizens themselves turned laborers, and drapers and bankers were seen at the port, loading barges with stone.
Two or three excellent guns were mounted; great timbers were hewn, floated to the foot of Drewry's Bluff
, and built into a row of cribs; which, when ballasted with stone and bricks, promised to resist the momentum of the heaviest ships.
By the 15th of May, when the advance of the Federal fleet appeared, after their cautious dallying, these beginnings of defences were made; and the three guns, manned by Confederate marines, gloriously beat off the gunboats Monitor
, with no little damage of their boasted invulnerability.
The benefit wrought by these events upon the temper of the people, which was before tending fast to abject discouragement, cannot be described by words.
The Confederate authorities had doubtless decided with perfect correctness, according to the technical maxims of war, that Richmond
was untenable; but fortunately, the great heart of the “Unterrified Commonwealth” was wiser than the intellect of the Government
Her glorious example sent a quickening pulsation of generous shame, of hope, and of courage, through the veins of the army and of all the States.
Throughout the Confederacy
, her high determination was re-echoed; the people everywhere resolved rather to sacrifice their homes to the magnanimous work of defence, than to yield them a coveted prey to the enemy; the Government
began, in good earnest, to prepare for holding the Capital
against every assault.
This was, properly, the main object of the campaign, and all other movements were auxiliary to it. General Jackson
command was expected to concur in securing the Capital
, by so dealing with that of General Banks
, as to neutralize his cooperation in movements against Richmond
, whatever might be the form they assumed.
, reasoning from the strategic principles which he thought should have governed McClellan
, and from news of partial movements of the forces of the latter towards Eastern Virginia
, anticipated the sudden withdrawal of his whole army from the Valley
, to Fredericksburg
, for a combined movement with McDowell
; or even to the peninsula.
was steadfast in the opinion, that Banks
's objective point was still Staunton
, and the command of the Central Railroad; and he therefore confidently expected to fight him in the Valley
. General Joseph E. Johnston
, who, as commander of the Department of North Virginia, was still General Jackson
's immediate superior, constantly instructed him and General Ewell
, in his despatches to them, to observe these two injunctions: If General Banks
moved his army to McDowell
, to march immediately by way of Gordonsville
, and join General Anderson
at some point in front of the former town; or if he remained in the Valley
, to fight him there immediately, only avoiding the effusion of blood in assaults of a fortified position.
But he left it to them to decide which of these alternatives was about to become necessary.
In the case that they were compelled to follow Banks
, General Edward Johnson
was to be left with his six regiments, to hold the Valley
, as he best might.
Two more fine brigades were sent from Richmond
, to assist General Jackson
in his movement against Banks
; but before a junction was effected with him, they were suddenly ordered back to the neighborhood of Richmond
, to defend the approaches on the side of Fredericksburg
; where they soon after suffered a disastrous
defeat from McClellan
's advance, at Hanover Court House.
was also very nearly deprived of the assistance of General Ewell
, by the same uneasiness concerning an attack from the side of Fredericksburg
After a series of despatches, varying with the appearances of danger, the latter General was finally instructed by the Commander-in-Chief
, that it would be necessary for him to move at once from Swift Run Gap towards Gordonsville
But he had just been informed by General Jackson
, that he was hastening back, to effect a junction with him near Harrisonburg
, and to assail Banks
Mounting his horse, without escort, General Ewell
rode express, night and day, and met Jackson
on the Sabbath, May 18th, at Mossy Creek
, to inform him of this necessity for inflicting so cruel a disappointment upon him. The latter uttered no complaint, and made no comment; although the sleepless energy with which he had been pressing forward, told how dear the project was to his wishes.
He meekly replied; “Then Providence
denies me the privilege of striking a decisive blow for my country; and I must be satisfied with the humble task of hiding my little army about these mountains, to watch a superior force.”
The warm and generous heart of Ewell
was touched with such an exhibition of unselfish devotion, and was unwilling to desert him. He therefore proposed that if Jackson
, under whose immediate orders he was, as ranking Major-General
, would assume the responsibility of detaining him until a remonstrance could be uttered against his removal, he would remain.
The contingency under which General Johnston
had authorized him to leave the Valley
had not yet occurred; and the discretion which their general instructions conceded to General Jackson
, for regulating his movements according to circumstances, authorized such an exercise of power.
It was therefore concluded between them, that the junction should be completed at New Market
, a day's
march below Harrisonburg
The unwearied Ewell
, after resting his limbs during public worship, again mounted his horse and returned to hurry on his division.
It is now time to pause, and explain the proceedings of General Banks
His precipitate withdrawal from Harrisonburg
, upon the movement of Generals Jackson
, has been described.
He retired first to New Market
, and then, leaving a heavy rear-guard in that region, to Strasbourg
, twenty miles above Winchester
; where he began fortifying himself in a strong position, commanding at once the great Valley Turnpike leading to Winchester
, and the Manassa's Railroad leading towards Alexandria
The cavalry of Ashby
, following close upon his rear, watched all the roads of the main Valley; while that of General Ewell
guarded the communications between the Masanuttin Mountain
and the Blue Ridge
A system of strategy was now begun by the Federalists, dictated by the senseless fears of the Executive
, and by the judicial blindness dispensed to them from a Divine Providence merciful to the Confederates
, in which every movement was a blunder.
The aggressive attempt upon Staunton
was postponed, at the precise juncture when it should have been pressed with all their forces combined; and General Banks
was consigned to the defence of Strasbourg
Whereas, if Staunton
was not won at once, then his whole force should have been transferred without delay to aid an aggressive movement from Fredericksburg
, as General Lee
having been caught, beaten, and chased, like a hunted beast, through the mountains, Blenker
's division was now hurried to the support of him and General Fremont
It arrived just when Jackson
had left them alone, and it left General Banks
just when he was about to be assailed by him. Worse than all: as though an army of nearly forty thousand men, under Generals McDowell
, were not enough to protect the road from Fredericksburg
against the embarrassed Confederates, Banks
detached the best brigades he had,--those of Shields
, containing seven thousand men,--and sent them on the 14th of May, by way of Luray
and Front Royal
, to support the forces on the Rappahannock
It was this movement, so unaccountable in its folly, which, being observed by General Ewell
, led him to believe, for a moment, that Banks
's whole force had gone to assail Richmond
from that quarter.
This unlucky General thus reduced himself to about eighteen thousand men, at the critical moment when the storm was about to burst upon him. And he completed the chapter of errors in this, that by sending away General Shields
he evacuated the New Market Gap
, and gave to General Jackson
the fatal option to assail him either in front or in flank.
The latter watched all his mistakes with a silent intelligence; and while nothing escaped his eagle eye, it never betrayed his purposes by even a sparkle of elation.
That the measures now taken by General Jackson
may be comprehended, the reader must recall the outline already given of the topography of the Valley of Virginia
From the neighborhood of Elk Run
, General Ewell
's recent position, to that of Strasbourg
,--a distance of fifty miles,--the Valley
is divided by the Masanuttin, a high and precipitous mountain, parallel to the Blue Ridge
, which, at both its ends, terminates suddenly in lofty promontories dominating the plains.
The valley between it and the Blue Ridge
is more narrow and rugged than that west of it; but it is watered throughout its whole length by the South Shenandoah, and gives space enough for the fertile and populous county of Page
, with its seat of justice at the village of Luray
. One good road only connects this subordinate valley laterally with the main Valley — the turnpike across New Market Gap.
But, longitudinally, the county of Page
is traversed by several
excellent highways, parallel to the general course of its river and mountain barriers.
Just west of the base of the New Market Gap
is seated the village of that name, upon the great Valley Turnpike, and in the midst of a smiling champaign.
The force which occupied this Gap, and commanded this village, was, in a sense, master of both valleys.
This was the position which Banks
deserted without cause, when he detached General Shields
to Eastern Virginia
As the traveller proceeds northeast down the county of Page
, he enters the county of Warren
, lying just where the lesser valley merges itself again in the greater.
The north fork of the Shenandoah River
, which coasts the western base of the Masanuttin Mountain
, turns eastward around its northern end from the neighborhood of Strasbourg
, and meets the south fork emerging from the other valley, near Front Royal
, the seat of justice of Warren county
The excellent paved road from this village to Winchester
leads by a course of eighteen miles, across both branches of the river, just above their union, and through a country of gentle hills, farms, and woodlands, converging towards the great Valley Turnpike as it approaches the town.
evacuated New Market
, Colonel Ashby
advanced his quarters to it, and extended his pickets to the neighborhood of Strasbourg
, where he closed the whole breadth of the great Valley, there much contracted, by a cordon
Every movement above was thus screened effectually from the observation of General Banks
. General Jackson
, leaving Mossy Creek
Monday, the 19th of May, proceeded by two marches, to the neighborhood of New Market
He there met the fine brigade of General Richard Taylor
, which had marched from Elk Run valley by the Western
side of the Masanuttin Mountain
On Wednesday, the 21st he crossed the New Market Gap
, and in the neighborhood of Luray
, completed his union with the
remainder of General EwellPs
His army now contained about sixteen thousand effective men, with forty field guns.
It was composed of his own division, embracing the brigades of Winder
, and Taliaferro
, of General Ewell
's division, which included the brigades of Taylor
, and Stewart
, and the cavalry regiments of Ashby
, and Flournoy
, with eight batteries of artillery.
At Mossy Creek
, he had been met by Brigadier-General George H. Stewart
, a native of Maryland
, whom the Confederate Government had just commissioned, and charged with the task of assembling all the soldiers from that State into one Corps
, to be called The Maryland
To begin this work, General Jackson
at once assigned to his command the First Maryland regiment of Colonel Bradley T. Johnson
, and the Brockenborough Battery, which was manned chiefly by citizens of Baltimore
, as the nucleus of a brigade.
He had determined to march by Luray
and Front Royal
, in order to avoid the necessity of attacking Banks
in his strong fortifications.
This route offered other advantages: it placed him between his enemy and Eastern Virginia
, whither General Lee
feared he was moving: it enabled him to conceal his march from Banks
more effectually, until he was fairly upon his flank: and it ensured the issuing of that General from his entrenched position in order to save his communications.
Leaving the picket line of Ashby
's front, he marched with all his other forces towards Front Royal
: where, he was aware, a Federal detachment of unknown force was stationed.
The advance of the army, consisting of the First Maryland regiment and the battalion of Major Wheat
's brigade, under the command of General Stewart
, reached the village about two o'clock P. M., on Friday, May 23d.
They had been ordered to diverge from the main road which enters the village from the
south, into a rugged pathway across the hills, which led them into another road descending into the village from the mountains on the east.
The surprise of the Federalists was complete, and it was evident that the first news they received of the presence of a hostile army, was the volley fired by Stewart
into their picket, a mile from the village.
Yet they showed themselves prepared to make a spirited resistance.
Their advance was speedily driven through the town, with the loss of some prisoners, when their main force took up a position upon a commanding height on the side next Winchester
, overlooking the village, and the approach of the Confederates
from the opposite side.
From this hill they cannonaded the troops as they approached, but without effect.
The commands of Colonel Johnson
and Major Wheat
, deployed as skirmishers, with a company of Cavalry accompanying them, dashed through the streets, and across the fields in front, with impetuosity; while General Jackson
's Louisiana brigade to support them by a movement on the left flank, through a wood which lay on that side of the village.
Before this effort could be completed, however, the gallant skirmishers had dislodged the enemy, and the General
galloped forward to the height they had just occupied.
On the nearer side of the South Shenandoah, which flowed just beyond this hill, was the enemy's camp, pitched in a charming meadow along the water-side, but now wrapped in flames, and sending up volumes of smoke to the skies, while under its cover, their whole infantry was marching, in excellent order, up the road which obliquely ascended from the other bank, every rank distinctly displayed to view.
Their guns were again posted on the rival height to that on which Jackson
stood, far above the infantry, prepared to protect its retreat.
As the General
beheld this picture, he was seized with uncontrollable eagerness and impatience, and exclaimed: “Oh, what
an opportunity for artillery!
Oh, that my guns were here!”
Then turning almost fiercely to the only aid who accompanied him, he commanded him to hasten to the rear, and “order up every rifled gun, and every brigade in the army.”
Some guns were, after a little, brought up; but the enemy had meantime passed the crest of the ridge, and the pursuit was resumed; the General
riding among the skirmishers and urging them on.
Here occurred a striking effect of a vicious usage, which it was the honor of General Lee
to banish from the armies in Virginia
This was the custom of temporarily attaching to the staff of a General commanding a division or an army, a company of cavalry to do the work of orderlies and couriers.
By this clumsy contrivance, the organization of the cavalry regiments was marred, the men detached were deprived of all opportunity for drill, and the General
had no evidence whatever of their special fitness for the responsible service assigned them.
Nay, the Colonel
of cavalry required to furnish them, was most likely to select the company least serviceable to him by reason of deficient equipments, or inexperience.
At the time of the combat of Front Royal
, the duty of couriers was performed for General Jackson
, by a detachment from one of Colonel Ashby
's undisciplined companies, of whom many were raw youths just recruited, and never under fire.
As soon as the first Federal picket was driven in, and free access to the village won, orders were despatched to the rear brigades, to avoid the laborious and circuitous route taken by the advance, and to pursue the direct highway to the town, a level tract of three miles, in place of a precipitous one of seven or eight The panic-struck boy, by whom the orders were sent, thought of nothing but to hide himself from the dreadful sound of the cannon, and was seen no more.
When General Jackson
sent orders to the artillery and rear brigades to hurry to the pursuit,
instead of being found near at hand, upon the direct road, they were at length overtaken, toiling over the hills of the useless circuit, spent with the protracted march; for they had received no instructions, and had no other guide than the footprints of those who preceded them.
Thus night overtook them by the time they reached the village; and they lay down to rest, instead of pursuing the enemy.
This unfortunate incident taught the necessity of a picked company of orderlies, selected for their intelligence and courage, permanently attached to Headquarters, and owning no subordination to any other than the General
and his staff.
Such is the usage now prevalent in the Confederate armies.
But on this occasion the enemy did not escape through this accident.
In the forenoon, Colonel Ashby
and Colonel Flournoy
had been detached with all the cavalry except a company or two, to cross the south fork of the Shenandoah
at McCoy's Ford, above the position of the Federalists, for the purpose of destroying the telegraphic and railroad communications between Front Royal
, and of preventing the passage of reinforcements or fugitives between the two posts.
, with his own and Colonel Munford
's regiments, kept a short distance west of the river, and having executed his orders, now appeared upon the Winchester
road, in the most timely manner, to join in the pursuit.
At the north fork of the Shenandoah
, the retreating Federalists made an abortive attempt to burn the bridge.
Before they could fully accomplish this purpose the Confederates
were upon them and extinguished the flames, but not until they had made one span of the bridge impassable for horsemen.
, however, accompanied by the General
, with difficulty passed four companies of his own regiment across the river, and ordering the remainder to follow, hurried in pursuit.
The Federals were overtaken near a little hamlet named Cedarville
miles from Front Royal
, where their whole force, consisting of a section of artillery, two companies of cavalry, two companies of Pennsylvania
infantry; and the 1st Maryland regiment of Federal infantry, now placed themselves in order of battle to stand at bay. General Jackson
no sooner saw them than he gave the order to charge with a voice and air whose peremptory determination was communicated to the whole party.
instantly hurled his forces in column against the enemy, and broke their centre.
They, however, speedily reformed in an orchard on the right of the turnpike, when a second gallant and decisive charge being made against them, their cavalry broke and fled, the cannoneers abandoned their guns, and the infantry threw down their arms, and scattered in utter rout.
Other Confederate troops speedily arriving, the fields and woods were gleaned, and nearly the whole opposing force was killed or captured.
The result was, the possession of about seven hundred prisoners, immense stores, and two fine ten-pounder rifle guns.
The loss of the patriots, in the combat and pursuit; was twentysix killed and wounded.
Thus, two hundred and fifty men were taught, by the dash and genius of Jackson
, to destroy a force of four times their number.
His quick eye estimated aright the discouragement of the enemy, and their wavering temper.
Infusing his own spirit into the men, he struck the hesitating foe at the decisive moment, and shattered them.
A glorious share of the credit is also due to the officers and men of the detachment.
declared with emphasis to his staff, that he had never, in all his experience of warfare, seen a cavalry charge executed with such efficiency and gallantry; commendation, which, coming from his guarded and sober lips, was decided enough to satisfy every heart.
While these occurrences were in progress, Colonel Ashby
crossing at McCoy's ford, inclined still farther to the west, so as to skirt the northern base of the Masanuttin Mountain
His route led him to Buckton
, the intermediate station of the railroad, between Front Royal
, where he found a body of the enemy posted as a guard, behind the railroad embankment, and in a store-house or barn of logs, which afforded them secure protection from his fire.
Dismounting his men, he led them in person against the Federals
, and speedily dispersed them.
The track of the road was then effectually destroyed, so as to prevent the passage of trains.
But in this hazardous onset, several of his soldiers were lost, and among them, his two best captains, Fletcher
The latter especially, although the year before but a comely youth taken from the farm of his father, had already shown himself a man of no common mark.
Collecting a company of youths like himself in the valleys of Hampshire
, he had armed them wholly from the spoils of the enemy, and without any other military knowledge than the intuitions of his own good sense, had drilled and organized them into an efficient body.
He speedily became a famous partisan and scout, the terror of the invaders, and the right hand of his Colonel
was ever next the enemy; if pursuing, in command of the advanced guard; or if retreating, closing the rear; and Jackson
had learned to rely implicitly upon his intelligence; for his courage, enterprise, sobriety of mind, and honesty, assured the authenticity of all his reports.
The skirmishers of General Ewell
had now penetrated within four miles of Winchester
, and the whole Confederate army, collected along the turnpike leading from Front Royal
to that place, commanded Banks
's communications, by numerous easy approaches.
On the morning of Saturday, May 24th, that illstarred General, who was beaten before he fought, had only three practicable expedients.
One was to retreat to the Potomac
road: another to defend himself at Strasbourg
: the other, to avail himself of the Confederate
advance on the former town to pass their rear at Front Royal
, and so seek a refuge towards Manassa's Junction and Alexandria
But he was now in the clutches of a master, who had his wary eye upon every contingency.
determined to move the body of his army neither to Strasbourg
nor to Winchester
, but to Middletown
, a village upon the great Winchester road, five or six miles from Strasbourg
, and thirteen from the latter place.
, with Trimble
's brigade, the 1st Maryland regiment, and the batteries of Brockenborough
, was directed to pursue his movement upon Winchester
by the Front Royal
road, observing appearances of the enemy's retreat, and prepared to strike him in flank.
, in temporary command of the cavalry regiments of Munford
, was directed to strike the Winchester
road at the village of Newtown
, nine miles from that town, with directions to observe the movements of the enemy at that point.
himself, with all the remainder of the army, marched by a cross road from Cedarville
's cavalry was in front, supported by Chew
's battery, and two rifled guns from the famous battery of Pendleton
, now commanded by Captain Poague
Next followed the brigade of Taylor
, and the remainder of the infantry.
kept his scouts on his left extended to the railroad, so as to note any signs of a movement towards Front.
Royal. All the detachments of the army were in easy communication; and whether the enemy attempted to make a stand at Strasbourg
, at Winchester
, or at any intermediate point, the whole force could be rapidly concentrated against him. Before the main body was fairly in motion, Brigadier-General Stewart
had already sent news of his arrival at Newtown
, where he captured a number of ambulances,
with prisoners and medical stores, and found evident sins of a general retreat upon Winchester
now advanced upon Middletown
, confident that his first surmise would be confirmed, and that he should strike the retreating army upon the march.
Half-way between that place and Middletown
, his advance was confronted by a body of Federal cavalry, evidently sent to observe him. Captain Poague
's section of artillery being then in front, the General
ordered him instantly to gallop forward, take a position at short range, and fire into them.
This was done with perfect success, and the detachment scattered; which was a novel instance of a charge effected by field artillery.
When the little village of Middletown
came in view, across the broad and level fields, the highway passing through it, at right angles to the direction of General Jackson
's approach, was seen canopied with a vast cloud of gray dust, and crowded beneath, as far as the eye could reach, with a column of troops.
At the sight, the artillery dashed forward in a gallop for a rising ground, whence to tear their ranks with shell.
swooped down upon the right like an eagle; cut through their path, and arrested their escape on that side; while General Taylor
throwing his front regiment into line, advanced at a double quick to the centre of the village, his men cheering and pouring a terrific volley into the confused mass which filled the street.
Never did a host receive a more mortal thrust.
In one moment, the way was encumbered with dying horses and men; and at every fierce volley, the troopers seemed to melt by scores from their saddles; while the frantic, riderless horses, rushed up and down, trampling the wounded wretches into the dust.
But the astute cowardice of the Federals
, made the real carnage far less than the apparent; they fell from their horses before they were struck, and were found, when the victors leaped into the road, squat behind the stone
fences which bordered it, in long and crowded lines, where they all surrendered at the first challenge.
Among the remainder of the Federal
cavalry, the wildest confusion ensued, and they scattered in various directions.
Two hundred prisoners and horses with their equipments, remained in the hands of the Confederates
at this spot.
But it did not yet appear what part of the retreating army was above, and what below, the point of assault.
As soon as the bullets ceased to fly, the astonished citizens gathered around; and when they saw the miserable, begrimed, and bloody wreck of what had just been a proud regiment of Vermont
cavalry, they exclaimed with uplifted hands; “Behold the righteous judgment of God; for these are the miscreants who have been most forward to plunder, insult, and oppress us!”
By some of them, General Jackson
was informed, that dense columns of infantry, trains of artillery, and long lines of baggagewagons, had been passing from Strasbourg
since early morning.
Many wagons were seen disappearing in the distance towards Winchester
, and Colonel Ashby
, with his cavalry, some artillery, and a supporting infantry force from Taylor
's brigade, was sent in pursuit.
But a few moments elapsed before the Federal artillery, which had been cut off with the rear of their army, began to shell the village from the direction of Strasbourg
, regarding this as an indication of a purpose to cut a way for retreat through his forces, immediately formed Taylor
's brigade south of the village, and advanced it, with a few guns, to meet their attempt.
The brigade of Colonel Campbell
soon after arriving, was brought up to support it. But the enemy's courage was not adequate to so bold an exploit; the cannonade was only tentative; and, after a short skirmish, a column of flame and smoke arising from the valley of Cedar Creek
told that they had fired the bridge over that stream, in order to protect themselves from attack.
This fragment of the broken army, which was
probably small in numbers, finally fled westward; and either took refuge with General Fremont
in the valley of the South Branch
, or made its way, piecemeal, to the Potomac
, along the base of the Great North Mountain
A large amount of baggage fell into the hands of the victors at the scene of this combat; entire regiments, apparently in line of battle, having laid down their knapsacks, and abandoned them.
was now convinced that the larger game was in the direction of Winchester
, and returned with his whole force to pursue it. The Stonewall Brigade, which had now come up, took the front, and the whole army advanced towards Newtown
The deserted wagon-train of the enemy was found standing, in many cases with the horses attached, and occupied the road for a mile.
Upon approaching Newtown
, the General
was disappointed to find his artillery arrested, and wholly unsupported by the cavalry; while the enemy, taking heart from the respite, had placed two batteries in position on the left and right of this village, and again showed a determined front.
Nearly the whole of Colonel Ashby
's cavalry present with him, with a part of the infantry under his command, had disgracefully turned aside to pillage; so that their gallant commander was compelled to arrest the pursuit.
Indeed, the firing had not ceased, in the first onset upon the Federal
cavalry at Middletown
, before some of Ashby
's men might have been seen, with a quickness more suitable to horse-thieves than to soldiers, breaking from their ranks, seizing each two or three of the captured horses, and making off across the fields.
Nor did these men pause until they had carried their illegal booty to their homes, which were, in some instances, at the distance of one or two days journey.
That such extreme disorders could occur, and that they could be passed over without a bloody punishment, reveals the curious inefficiency of officers in the volunteer Confederate army.
The rifled guns of Captain Poague
were immediately placed in position upon arriving near Newtown
, oin an opposing eminence, and replied to the Federal
battery upon the right of the village with effect; but it was sunset before they were dislodged, and the pursuit resumed.
The enemy had improved this pause to set fire to a large part of their train containing valuable stores; and, as the army advanced, the gathering darkness was illuminated for a mile by blazing wagons and pontoon boats; while blackened heaps of rice, beef, and bread, intermingled with the bands and bars of glowing iron, showed where carriages laden with these stores had been consumed.
's perfect knowledge of the ground surrounding Winchester
, suggested to him the fear that the Federalists would occupy the range of hills to the left of the turnpike and southwest of the town, so as to command his approaches.
He therefore determined to press them all night, in the hope of seizing the contested heights during the darkness.
Without a moment's pause for food or sleep, the army marched forward in perfect order, some of the brigades enlivening their fatigues from time to time with martial music, while ringing cheers passed, like a wave, down the column for four miles, until their sound was lost in the distance.
The last time Jackson
's division had passed over this road, they were making their slow and stubborn retreat from the bloody field of Kernstown
; and they were now eager to wipe out the disgrace of that check.
The night was calm, but dark.
All night long, the General
rode at the front, amidst a little advanced guard of cavalry, seeking the enemy's bleeding haunches with the pertinacity of a blood-hound.
Again and again he fell, with his escort, into ambuscades of their riflemen, posted behind the stone fences, which here line the road almost continuously.
Suddenly the fire appeared, dancing along the top of the wall, accompanied by the sharp explosion
of the rifles, and the bullets came hissing up the road.
The first of these surprises occurred soon after the burning wagons were passed.
No sooner had the fire begun, than the General
, seeing his escort draw rein and waver, cried in a commanding tone: “Charge them!
They advanced unsteadily a little space, and then, at a second volley, turned and fled past him, leaving him in the road with his staff alone.
But the enemy, equally timid, also retired, seemingly satisfied with their effort.
The conduct of these troopers filled Jackson
with towering indignation; and turning to the officer next him> he exclaimed: “Shameful!
Did you see anybody struck, sir?
Did you see anybody struck?
Surely they need not have run, at least until they were hurt!”
Skirmishers from the 33d Virginia infantry of Colonel Neff
, were now thrown into the fields right and left of the turnpike, and advancing abreast with the head of the column, protected it for a time from similar insults.
But as it approached Barton's Mills, five miles from Winchester
, the enemy, posted on both sides of the road, again received it with so severe a fire, that the cavalry advance retired precipitately out of it, carrying the General
and his attendants along with them, and riding down several cannoneers, who had been brought up to their support.
So pertinacious was the stand of the Federalists here, the 27th, 2nd, and 5th Virginia regiments were brought up, and the affair grew to the dimensions of a night-combat, before they gave way. A similar skirmish occurred at Kernstown
also, in which a few of the enemy were killed and captured.
The army was now not far from its goal; and the General
, commanding the skirmishers to continue a cautious advance, caused the remainder to halt, and lie down upon the road-side, for an hour's sleep.
He himself, without a cloak to protect him from the chilling dews, stood sentry at the head of the column, listening to every sound from the front.
Meanwhile, the wearied skirmishers pressed on, with a patient endurance beyond all praise, drenched with the dews, wading through the rank fields of clover and wheat, and stumbling across ditches, until their tired limbs would scarcely obey their wills.
When the early dawn came to their relief, the heights commanding Winchester
were in sight, and against the faint blush of the morning sky the figures of the Federal
skirmishers upon the crest were distinctly relieved.
The tired Confederates having rested a short time, General Jackson
, in a quiet undertone, gave the word to march, which was passed down the column; and the host rising from its short sleep, chill and stiff With the cold night-damps, advanced to battle.
The town of Winchester
is seated upon ground almost level; and such also is the surface south and east of it, through which the great roads from Strasbourg
The former, especially, passes through smooth fields and meadows, by a smiling suburb and mill-house, a mile from the town; after which it surmounts a gentle ascent, and enters the street.
But toward the southwest, a cluster of beautiful hills projects itself for a mile toward the left, commanding the town, the turnpike, and the adjacent country.
They were then enclosed with fences of wood or stone, and covered with luxuriant clover and pasturage, with here and there a forest-grove crowning the eminences farthest west.
Why the enemy did not post their powerful artillery upon the foremost of these heights, supported by their main force, can only be explained by that infatuation which possessed them, by the will of God, throughout these events.
When General Jackson
arrived near them at early dawn, with the main column, he found them occupied by a skirmish line only.
After a careful examination of a few minutes, he ordered General Winder
to bring forward the Stonewall Brigade; which, forming in line of battle with the 5th Virginia on the right, 3:76
advanced, and speedily dislodged the enemy from the first line of eminences.
The General immediately advanced a strong detachment of artillery, composed of the batteries of Poague
, aid posted them advantageously just behind the crests of the hill.
The enemy's main force now disclosed itself, occupying a convex line upon the high grounds, south, and southwest of the town; and while the Stonewall Brigade, with that of Colonel John A. Campbell
, were disposed as supports to the batteries; a fierce cannonade, intermingled with a sharp, rattling fire of riflemen, greeted the rising sun. The May dews, exhaled by his beams, wrapped a part of the landscape in a silvery veil, into which the smoke of the artillery melted away.
Just at this moment, General Jackson
rode forward, followed by two field officers, Colonel Campbell
and another, to the very crest of the hill, and amidst a perfect shower of balls, reconnoitred the whole position.
Both the officers beside him were speedily wounded, but he sat calmly upon his horse, until he had satisfied himself concerning the enemy's dispositions.
He saw them posting another battery upon an eminence far to his left, whence they hoped to enfilade the ground occupied by the guns of Poague
; and, nearer to his left front, a body of riflemen were just seizing a position behind an oblique stone fence, whence they poured a galling fire upon the gunners, and struck down many men and horses.
Here this gallant battery stood its ground, sometimes almost silenced, yet never yielding an inch.
After a time, by direction of General Winder
, they changed their front to the left, so as to present a more successful face to their adversaries; and while a part of their guns replied to the opposing battery, the remainder shattered the stone fence which sheltered the Federal infantry, with solid shot, and raked it with canister.
and Catshaw also kept up so spirited a contest with
the batteries in the direction of the town, as to silence their fire.
was hard to be convinced that the enemy would be so foolish as to yield the contest, without an attempt to drive his artillery from this vital position, and to occupy it with their own. At this stage of the battle, he rode up to Colonel Neff
, of the 33d Virginia, supporting the battery of Carpenter
, and after ordering the latter not to slacken his fire, said to the former; “Colonel
, where is your regiment posted?”
“Here,” he replied; “the right masked in this depression of ground, and the left behind that fence.”
Said the General
, “I expect the enemy to bring artillery to this hill; and they must not do it!
do you understand me, sir!
They must not do it
! Keep a good look out!; and your men well in hand; and if they attempt to come, charge them with the bayonet; and seize their guns: Clamp them, sir
, on the spot.”
As he gave this order, his clenched hand and strident voice declared the energy of his fiery will, in such sort as to make the blood of every beholder tingle.
But the narrative must pause here, to return to the movements of General Ewell
During the previous evening, he had pressed the enemy back from the direction of Front Royal
, until his advanced regiment, the 21st North Carolina, Colonel Kirkland
was within two miles of Winchester
Here he rested his advance at 10 o'clock P. M., and his command slept upon their arms.
At dawn he moved simultaneously with General Jackson
, and the first guns of Carpenter
were answered from the east, by those of his batteries.
He advanced his left, Colonel Kirkland
still in front, until he was met by a fire of musketry from the enemy's line, posted behind a stone fence, so destructive that the field officers were all wounded, and the gallant regiment compelled to recoil.
This check was speedily retrieved by the 21st Georgia regiment, which in turn drove the enemy's
infantry from their cover.
But General Ewell
, upon the suggestion of Brigadier-General Trimble
, was convinced that his better policy would be to move by his right.
Bringing the remainder of his regiments forward, he executed this movement, and the enemy began at once to give way from his front.
The battle had now reached a stage which General Jackson
perceived to be critical; the hour for striking the final blow had arrived.
The enemy were evidently moving, by a still wider circuit, towards the wooded heights which commanded his extreme left.
He now sent for the fine brigade of General Taylor
, which was at the head of the column of reserve, in the rear of the mill-house.
Before the messenger could bring it up, his eagerness overcame him, and he was seen riding rapidly to meet it. Conducting it by a hollow way, around the rear of his centre, he directed its rapid formation in line of battle, with the left regiments thrown forward to the westward of the enemy's position.
Under a shower of shells and rifleballs, this magnificent body of troops wheeled from column into line, with the accuracy and readiness of a parade.
As soon as General Jackson
saw them in motion in the desired direction, he galloped along the rear of his line toward the centre, giving the word for a general advance.
When he reached the hill occupied by the battery of Carpenter
, where he had so exposed himself at the beginning, he mounted it again, with an air of eager caution, peering like a deer-stalker over its summit, as soon as his eyes reached its level.
His first glance was sufficient; setting spurs to his horse, he bounded upon the crest, and shouted to the officers near him: “Forward, after the enemy!”
No more inspiring sight ever greeted the eyes of a victorious captain.
Far to the east, the advancing lines of Ewell
rolled forward, concealed in waves of white smoke, from their volleys of musketry, and were rapidly overpassing the
suburbs of the town.
On the West
, the long and glittering lines of Taylor
, after one thundering discharge, were sweeping at a bayonet charge up the reverse of the hills, with irresistible momentum.
Nearer the General
, came the Stonewall Brigade, with the gallant 23d Virginia, who sprung from their lairs, and rushed panting down the hill-sides.
Between him and the town the enemy were everywhere breaking away from the walls and fences where they had sheltered themselves, at first with some semblance of order, but then dissolving into a vast confusion, in which the infantry, mounted officers, and artillery crowded and surged toward the streets.
But they found neither shelter nor respite there; the eager Confederates were too close upon them to allow time for any arrangements for defence.
For a few moments, pursuers and pursued were swallowed from view, and the rout roared through every street, with rattling rifle-shots, and ringing cheers of the victors, until it disgorged itself upon the commons north of the town.
The General, with his face inflamed with towering passion and triumph, galloped amidst the foremost pursuers, and urged them upon the enemy.
The sidewalks and doorways were thronged with children, women, and old men, who rushed out, regardless of the balls, to hail the conquerors.
Of these, some ran in among the horses, as though to embrace the knees of their deliverers; many were wildly waving their arms or handkerchiefs, and screaming their welcome in cheers and blessings, while not a few of the more thoughtful were seen, standing upon their doorsteps, with their solemn faces bathed in tears, and spreading forth their hands to heaven, in adoration.
To complete the thrilling scene, two great buildings, in different places, were vomiting volumes of flame and smoke, which threatened to involve all in one common ruin; for the enemy, in cowardly spite, lighted them, and left them in flames in the midst of the town.
But not one of the
endangered citizens sought to arrest any pursuing soldier for this; and after the first frenzy of their joy was passed, the old men and the females set to, and extinguished the fires.
Delicate women were seen bringing water, and rushing into the burning building, stored with the ammunition of the enemy, to drag oft the Federal
sick and wounded, who had been left there by their comrades, to be overwhelmed in the explosion which they expected to follow.
When General Jackson
issued into the open ground again at the Martinsburg Turnpike
, all the fields, which the depredations of the enemy had converted into a waste denuded of fences and crops, were dark with a confused multitude of fugitives, utterly without order or thought of resistance.
From the head of every street, eager columns of Confederates were pouring, and deploying without awaiting the commands of their officers, into an irregular line, in order to fire upon the retreating mass.
As this surged wildly away it left scattered over the common its human wrecks, in the shape of dead and dying, intermingled with knapsacks, arms, and bundles of stolen goods.
Upon glancing around this picture, the General
exclaimed; “Never was there such a chance for cavalry; oh that my cavalry were in place!”
When an officer near him remarked that the best substitute for a cavalry pursuit would be the fire of the field artillery, he replied; “Yes; go back and order up the nearest batteries you find.”
After despatching this order, he sent another member of his staff, with the characteristic command, “to order every battery and every brigade forward to the Potomac
In his official report he says; “Never have I seen an opportunity when it was in the power of the cavalry, to reap a richer harvest of the fruits of victory.”
And again; “There is good reason for believing that, had the cavalry played its part in this pursuit as well as the four companies under Colonel Flournoy
, two days
before, in the pursuit from Front Royal
, but a small portion of Banks
's army would have made its escape to the Potomac
The cause of this untimely absence of the cavalry may be surmised by the reader, as to that part under Colonel Ashby
Disorganized by its initial success, it was so scattered that its heroic leader could gather but a handful around him on the morning of the battle.
With these he had undertaken an independent enterprise, to cut off a detachment of Federalists on their left; and passing around the. scene of action he joined in the pursuit many hours after, at Bunker Hill
The 2d and 6th regiments had been placed under the temporary command of Brigadier-General George H. Stewart
, of General Ewell
As they did not appear after the pursuit had been continued for some time, General Jackson
sent his Aide, Captain Pendleton
, after them.
replied that he was awaiting the orders of General Ewell
, under whose immediate command he was, and could not move without them.
While these were obtained, precious time was wasted, and two hours elapsed before the two regiments were upon the traces of the enemy.
That a superior officer, addressing his commands to persons under the orders of his inferior, should direct them through him, if he is present, is a proper mark of consideration, and a means of regularity in governing.
But it is a most effectual way to rob a commanding general of his command, to assume that he may not claim the services of the subordinate of his own subordinate, in the absence of the latter; when, if he were present, he could legitimately control him and all under him. The utmost which the former could ask, when receiving orders without the intervention of his immediate superior, would be, that his commanding general should remember to explain to that officer the orders thus given in his absence.
After pursuing for a few miles with infantry and artillery,
perceived that the interval between his men and the enemy was continually widening.
The warm mid-day was now approaching, and since the morning of the previous day, the troops had been continually marching or fighting, without food or rest.
Nature could do no more.
At every step some wearied man was compelled to drop out of the ranks by overpowering fatigue.
The General therefore ordered the infantry to cease their pursuit, and return to the pleasant groves of Camp Stevenson
, three miles north of Winchester
, for rest and rations, while the cavalry, which had now arrived, assumed the duty of pressing the enemy.
This General Stewart
performed with skill and energy, picking up a number of prisoners, and driving the Federalists through Martinsburg
, and across the Potomac
was one of the first fugitives to appear at Martinsburg
, having deserted his army long before the conclusion of the battle.
His forces were thus driven without pause, and within the space of thirtysix hours, a distance of sixty miles. At Martinsburg
, enormous accumulations of army stores again fell into the victors' hands.
When the cavalry drove the last of the fugitives across the Potomac
, a multitude of helpless blacks were found cowering upon the southern bank, who had been decoyed from Winchester
and the adjacent country, by the story that Jackson
was putting to death all the slaves whom he met, upon the charge of fraternizing with the Yankees
Many of these unhappy victims of fanaticism, deserted in the hour of alarm by their seducers, were cared for, and brought back to their homes, by the horsemen.
The remainder of the day was devoted by the army as well as their Commander
, to repose.
The tired men, disencumbered of their arms, reclined under the noble groves interspersed among their camp, while the famished horses grazed busily upon
the rich sward.
The thunder of the battles and the shouting of the captains were soon followed by a Sabbath stillness, amidst which the General
slowly rode back to the town.
Having procured quarters in the chief hotel, he refused all food, and throwing himself across a bed upon his breast, booted and spurred, was sleeping in a moment, with the healthy quietude of infancy.
The next day was devoted to a religious rest, in order to pay that honor which General Jackson
ever delighted to render to Almighty God, and to repay the troops, in some sort, for the interruptions of the holy day by battle.
This purpose was announced to the troops in the following General order
Within four weeks this army has made long and rapid marches, fought six combats and two battles, signally defeating the enemy in each one, captured several stands of colors, and pieces of artillery, with numerous prisoners, and vast medical, ordnance, and army stores; and, finally, driven the boastful host which was ravaging our beautiful country, into utter rout.
The General commanding would warmly express to the officers and men under his command, his joy in their achievements, and his thanks for their brilliant gallantry in action and their patient obedience under the hardships of forced marches; often more painful to the brave soldier than the dangers of battle.
The explanation of the severe exertions to which the Commanding General called the army, which were endured by them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given, in the victory of yesterday.
He receives this proof of their confidence in the past with pride and gratitude, and asks only a similar confidence in the future.
But his chief duty to-day, and that of the army, is, to recognize devoutly the hand of a protecting Providence in the brilliant successes of the last three days (which have given us the results of a great victory without great losses); and to make the oblation
of our thanks to God for his mercies to us and our country, in heartfelt acts of religious worship.
For this purpose the troops will remain in camp to-day, suspending as far as practicable all military exercises; and the Chaplains of regiments will hold divine service in their several charges at 4 o'clock, P. M.
At the appointed hour the General
attended public worship with the 37th Virginia regiment, and presented an edifying example of devotion to the men.
had been the great resort of Federal sutlers, who had impudently occupied many of the finest shops upon its streets, and exposed their wares for sale in them.
The headlong confusion of Banks
's retreat left them neither means nor time to remove their wealth.
All was given up to the soldiers, who speedily emptied their shelves.
It was a strange sight to see the rough fellows, who the day before had lacked the ration of beef and hard bread, regaling themselves with confectionery, sardines, and tropical fruits.
Their spoils, however, were about to produce a serious evil.
The stores of clothing captured by the men in these shops, and in the baggage of the fugitives, were so enormous, that in a day the army seemed to be almost metamorphosed.
The Confederate grey was rapidly changing into the Yankee
Had this license been permitted, the purposes of discipline would have been disappointed, and the dangers of battle multiplied.
speedily suppressed it by this adroit and simple measure.
He issued an order that every person in Federal uniform should be arrested, and assumed to be a prisoner of war going at large improperly, until he himself presented adequate evidence of the contrary.
The men of the Provost-Marshal
had not acted upon this order many hours before the army became grey again as rapidly as it had been becoming blue.
The men either deposited their gay spoils in the bottom of their knapsacks, or sent them by the baggage-trains
which were carrying the captured stores to the rear, and donned their well-worn uniforms again.
was not the man to lose the opportunities growing out of such a victory by inaction.
The use to be made of his present successes was dictated by the authorities at Richmond
; but it is believed their designs met the full approbation of his own judgment.
Immediately after the battle of Winchester
he had sent a trusty officer to the Capital
with despatches explaining his views.
The decision of the government was, that he should press the enemy at Harper's Ferry
, threaten an invasion of Maryland
, and an assault upon the Federal
capital, and thus make the most energetic diversion possible, to draw a part of the forces of McClellan
After allowing his troops two days of needed rest, the army was moved, Wednesday morning, May 28th, toward Charlestown
, by Summit Point
, General Winder
's brigade again in advance.
is a handsome village, the seat of justice of Jefferson county
, eight miles from Harper's Ferry
When about five miles from the former place, General Winder
received information that the enemy was in possession of it in heavy force.
Upon being advised of this, General Jackson
ordered General Ewell
with reinforcements to his support.
But General Winder
resolved not to await them, and advanced cautiously toward Charlestown
As he emerged from the wood, less than a mile distant from the town, he discovered the enemy in line of battle about fifteen hundred strong, and decided to attack them.
Upon the appearance of our troops, the enemy opened upon them with two pieces of artillery.
's battery was immediately placed in position, with the 33rd Virginia regiment as support; and was so admirably served that in twenty minutes the enemy retired in great disorder, throwing away their arms and baggage.
The pursuit was continued rapidly with artillery and infantry to
, a hamlet a couple of miles from the Potomac
A short distance beyond that point, General Winder
observing the enemy strongly posted on Bolivar Heights, and in considerable force, concluded that prudence required him to await his supports; and he therefore arrested the pursuit, and returned to the vicinity of Charlestown
On the following day, the main body of the army took position near Hall-town
, and the 2nd regiment, Virginia infantry, was sent to Loudon heights, with the hope of being able to drive the enemy from Harper's Ferry
, across the Potomac
But this movement was no sooner made than General Jackson
received intelligence which imperious!
required him to arrest it, and provide for his own safety.
The Federal Government, awakened by its disasters, to a portion of sense and activity, gave orders to General Shields
, to move upon General Jackson
's communications from tie Rappahannock
, and General Fremont
from the valley of the South Branch
Both these bodies were now threatening to close in upon his rear, with a speed which left not a moment for delay.
At Front Royal
, the 12th Georgia regiment, so distinguished for its gallantry at McDowell
, and previous engagements, had been stationed to watch the approaches of the enemy from the east, and to guard the prisoners and valuable stores captured there the previous week.
Through the indiscretion of its commander, it was driven from the place, with the loss of all the prisoners, and a number of its own members captured; while the stores were only rescued from falling again into the hands of the Federalists, by the energy of a Quartermaster, who fired the warehouses containing them.
Thus a loss of three hundred thousand dollars, in provisions and equipments, was incurred at the outset.
In the afternoon of the 30th, the whole army was in motion, retreating upon Strasbourg
, the point at which it was expected
would attempt their junction.
was ordered to recall the 2nd regiment from Loudon heights, and with the cavalry, to protect the rear of the army.
On arriving at Winchester
, General Jackson
learned that the approach of the enemy to Strasbourg
was so imminent, that it was essential his rear should reach that place by mid-day of the 31st, in order to avoid separation from the main body, and capture.
He, therefore, sent back orders to the Stonewall Brigade, not to pause in its march on the 30th, until it passed Winchester
It travelled, in fact, from Hall-town
, to the neighborhood of Newtown
, a distance of thirty-five miles: and the 2nd Virginia regiment, which had its steps to retrace from the heights beyond the Shenandoah
, accomplished a march of more than forty miles, without rations.
This astonishing effort was made also over muddy roads, and amidst continual showers!
The next morning the rear-guard arose from their wet bivouac
, stiff and sore of limb, and completed the march to Strasbourg
in the forenoon.
When they arrived there, they found the army halted and awaiting them; while General Ewell
, with his division, facing toward the west, was sternly confronting Fremont
, and offering him gage of battle.
The latter had arrived in the neighborhood of Strasbourg
, by way of Wardensville
, and issued from the gap of the great north mountain, as though to attack the retreating army.
But when it stood thus at bay, he prudently withdrew, after a desultory skirmish, into the gorge from which he had issued.
now resumed a deliberate retreat, with his rear covered by his cavalry; seeking some position in the interior, where he could confront his foes without danger to his flanks.
During the week which embraced these brilliant events, the Quartermasters' and Ordnance departments of the army were laboriously engaged in collecting and removing the captured
The baggage trains of the army, and those captured from the enemy were laden with the precious spoils, and sent toward Staunton
Every carriage which could be hired or impressed from the vicinity of Winchester
, was also employed; and yet a vast and unestimated mass which could not be removed, was consigned to the flames.
Only those things which were brought safely away will be enumerated.
It has been related how the soldiers themselves were permitted to dispose of the contents of the sutlers' stores.
A large part of the army was thus equipped with clothing, boots and shoes, blankets, oil cloth
coverings, and hats.
One of the largest storehouses in Winchester
was found filled with medicines, surgical instruments
, and hospital appliances, of the choicest description.
Of these a small portion were distributed to the surgeons for the immediate wants of their brave men; and all the remainder were sent to Richmond
, where they were found abundant enough to replenish the medical stores of the great army.
The mercy of Providence
in this supply, was as manifest as His rebuke of the barbarity of the enemy.
With an inhumanity unknown in modern history, they had extended the law of blockade to all medicines and hospital stores; hoping thus not only to make the hurts of every wounded adversary mortal, (where brave men would have been eager to minister to a helpless foe,) but to deprive suffering age, womanhood, and infancy of the last succors which the benignity of the universal Father has provided for their pangs.
This cold and malignant design was in part disappointed by the victory of Jackson
The stores captured at Winchester
not only supplied the conquering army, but carried solace and healing to the sick and wounded throughout the approaching campaign of Richmond
In bright contrast with this barbarity of the enemy, stands the magnanimity of Jackson
Finding a large and well provided hospital at Winchester
, filled with seven hundred Federal sick
and wounded, he ordered that nothing of their stores or medicines should be removed, and having ministered to the sufferers with generous attention during the week they were in his power, he left everything untouched, when Winchester
was again evacuated.
The seven hundred enemies were paroled, not to fight again until exchanged.
The 31st of May, the 21st Virginia regiment left Winchester
, in charge of twenty-three hundred prisoners of war. The whole number of the enemy captured was about three thousand and fifty. One hundred beeves, thirty-four thousand pounds of bacon, and great masses of flour, biscuit, and groceries, were secured by the Chief Commissary
, while the Quartermasters removed stores in their department, to the amount of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. Two hundred Wagons and ambulances, with a number of horses, which would have been very great, but for the rapacity of the Confederate cavalry, were also secured.
But the most precious acquisition was the ordnance stores, containing, besides ammunition, nine thousand, three hundred and fifty small arms, perfectly new, and of the most approved patterns.
These results of the week's campaign were won with small expenditure of blood by the patriot army.
In all the engagements, from Front Royal
, sixty-eight men were killed, three hundred and twenty-nine were wounded, and three were missing; making a total loss of four hundred men. The General closed his official narrative with these words: “Whilst I have had to speak of some of our troops in disparaging terms, yet it is my gratifying privilege to say of the main body of the army, that its officers and men acted in a manner worthy of the great cause for which they were contending, and to add that, so far as my knowledge extends, the battle of Winchester
was, on our part, a battle without a straggler.”
It was while reposing after his victory at Winchester
, that he wrote thus to Mrs. Jackson
Winchester, May 26th, 1862.
An ever kind Providence blessed us with success at Front Royal on Friday, between Strasbourg and Winchester on Saturday, and here with a successful engagement yesterday . ... I do not remember having ever seen such rejoicing as was manifested by the people of Winchester, as our army yesterday passed through the town in pursuit of the enemy.
The town was nearly frantic with joy. Our entrance into Winchester was one of the most stirring scenes of my life.
Such joy as the inhabitants manifested, cannot easily be described.
The town is greatly improved in its loyalty.
A few days after, while threatening Harper's Ferry
, he sent messages to the Confederate Government by his zealous supporter and assistant, the Hon. Mr. Boteler
of the Congress
, begging for an increase of his force.
He pointed out again that an assault upon the enemy's territory, indicating danger to their capital, was the most ready and certain method to deliver Richmond
from the approaches of General McClellan
. “Tell them,” he said, “that I have now but fifteen thousand effective men. If the present opening is improved as it should be, I must have forty thousand.”
But the Government
was unable to advance these reinforcements, and Divine Providence reserved to him the glory of assisting in the deliverance of our capital in a more direct manner.
This chapter will be closed with a reference to a fact which assists in fixing the seal of infamy upon the Federal Government
, generals, and armies; the authorized robberies now begun in the valley of Virginia
Not only were the inhabitants plundered by the Federal
soldiers as they marched through the peaceful country; but they were systematically robbed of their horses,
and other live-stock by General Banks
, in his march to and from Harrisonburg
This commander officially boasted to his Government, that the results of his conquest had supplied his artillery and trains with enough of excellent horses, besides many other valuable resources.
Now none of these were prize of war; for so accomplished a leader was Jackson
, in retreat as well as in triumph, that nothing belonging to his army fell into his enemy's hands.
These horses, and other animals, were simply stolen from the rich and peaceful farmers of Rockinlgham and Shenandoah
Here was the beginning of a system of wholesale robbery, since extended to every part of the Confederate States
which the enemy has reached!
But if the reader assigned to General Banks
any pre-eminence of crime or infamy, above his nation, he would do him injustice.
The Federal Congress and Executive had already, by formal and unblushing legislation, ordained that the war should be a huge piracy, as monstrous as the rapacity of any of their lieutenants could make it. Under pretexts which could be used by any other nation, in any other war, with equal plausibility, to steal any species of private property whatever, laws had been passed, declaring all tobacco, cotton, and labor of slaves, in the Confederate States
, or coming thence, to be “contraband of war,” and liable to confiscation.
The true intent of this law was to subject these three kinds of property, the most important in our country, to systematic theft, and this purpose has since been most diligently and consistently carried out.