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Banks retreat.

Yankee account of the recent operations in the Valley.

From the New York Werm's correspondence we make up the following account of Banks stampedes from the Valley, omitting and a portions which were manifestly invented by the writer to suit the Northern and European markets.

etown, May 26, 1862.

Will fuller information I resume the stony of our late disasters, and proceed to narrate, in fuller details and with more must worthy information, the events of Friday Saturday and Sunday.

The sudden descant of the enemy's forces, though really a surprise, was not by many all together unexpected.

had been well known to have his still located upon the Shenandoah, at Jackson, was, also known to be in the Valley, upon a road communicating directly with our own and Johnson was also near by, having the advance guard of Gen. Fremont.

Situated as these forces were in relation to our position, it seemed more than likely that we should be by weakened as we were by the untimely withdrawal of Gen. Fremont were in constant expectation of attack, and it requires but the slightest intelligence to persuade that the column of Gen. Banks was desperately .

When, therefore, the 1st Maryland stationed at the bead of the Luray Valley at the other and of which Ewell was known to be was first ascertained to have been attacked, and so disastrously over powered, it was only a result which, it would appear, might have been easily foreseen and prevented.

Let others office the for while our own opinion is firmly established, it is not for us to depart from the sphere of a recorder of events which have actually transpired.

The attack of the enemy, although foreseen; was not expected at the time it was made, and his approach was not observed until he was upon us.

He did not come directly through the Luray Valley, though his pickets, thrown out trough that part, and the position of his camp, would have suggested that would have been his plan of attack.

He descended upon the little force at Front Royal through the narrow gorges which I unparallel with it down between the ranges of hills beyond.

His appearance was sudden, and cutting immediately the telegraph wires and destroying the railroad bridges on either side, he prevented the transmission of dispatches and the sending of reinforcements. Thus, completely cut off, did the Maryland regiment maintain themselves against the three brigades of the rebel, Ewell, until they were completely surrounded, and destroyed or captured.

My conversation with several of those engaged in that fearful massacre, confirms the worst of the terrible statements in regard to the in human ferocity of the rebel soldiers.

The few who escaped at the battle of Front Royal from the enemy surrounding them were surely saved ‘"so as by fire."’

Capt. Mapes, of the Pioneer-Corps, cutting his mules away from their teams, escaped through the cloud of dust and confusion caused by their wild stampede, following immediately in their wake as they broke through the lines of the enemy, who opened their ranks to let them pass.

Upon the same night a force was sent out from Strasburg, by the road which branches from the main turnpike near Middletown toward Front Royal, and proceeded as far as Cedarville.

This is where the stone pike from Front Royal to Winchester approaches closely the broken country through which the stream called Cedar Run flown.

On Saturday morning a strong force was moved toward Middletown, and at the same time a force of artillery and infantry proceeded on the road from Strasburg toward Front Royal.

A reconnaissance was also made on Saturday morning, of cavalry, from Middletown toward. Front Royal When this force reached Middletown, Col. Murphy, with a portion of his regiment, the 19th Pennsylvania, was met with two a The reconnoitering party had expected to have a supporting party of artillery and infantry, but were obliged to proceed without it. They moved on as far as Cedarville, drove in the enemy's pickets, and withdraw, so as not to bring on a general engagement, and also because it was unsafe for unsupported cavalry to proceed further.

Coming back to Middletown., a report-was sent to Gen. Banks, and aid was also sought, and soon after its need became evident, for the enemy advanced in force, with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, upon a blind dirt road, and out off the detachment between our infantry and the baggage train. Their artillery consisted of Armstrong guns.

The most disastrous and bloody slaughter of our cavalry which has occurred during the three days fighting now followed.

Cut off as they were from the main body of our troops by a vastly superior number of the enemy, a most critical situation was before them. There were five companies of the 1st Maine cavalry, and two companies. A and C, of the Vermont.

Lieut Col. Doughty, of the Maine cavalry, was there, and Major Collins, of Vermont cavalry, also, inferior in command to the Lieutenant-Colonel and to Gen. Hatch.

A charge was now made, to describe which is not an agreeable task. In such desperate straits, nothing seemed to daunt the determination of the men, which only served to make their destruction the more sure and terrible.

Dashing onward with drawn sabres at the greatest speed, the foremost were suddenly stopped, and those behind, unable to restrain their homes, fell one upon another forming a large pile of men and horses, some of whom, pierced through with the sabres of their comrades were killed, and many in-the promiscuous heap were crushed, and died unable to holp or extricate themselves.

A few only escaped, across the fields to the mountains.

All the time the rebels kept up a yell, and killed many with their and bayonets who lay wounded upon the ground.

This fatal catastrophe is said to have been the result of an unauthorized order to charge, given by Major Colline, the third officer in command, who was taken prisoner by the rebels.

If so, he has much to answer for, and we hope he may be able to shows himself innocent of so serious an accusation.

There were still in the rear of this ill-fated detachment quite a large force of cavalry. It consisted of five companies-of the. Vermont Cavalry, under Col. Tompkins, and leaven companies of Ira Harris Guard, under Col. De. Forrest, left behind to form the rear guard.

The Vermont cavalry were ordered to make a reconnaissance to Woodstock to ascertain whether Jackson was in the rear.

Our squadron charged through the town, and the whole forenoon was occupied in this movement to ascertain the position of the enemy behind us. It had no result in accomplishing the object which was intended, and they immediately commenced their retreat toward. Winchester. When a mile beyond Cedar Creek they met a stampede among the baggage wagon.

After the affair previously described, in which the Maine and Vermont cavalry suffered so severely, the enemy turned back upon the baggage train which was between them and Strasburg, and caused the greatest confusion which can be imagined. The wagons, some of them, were turned about, and running against others, broke down, filling up the roads, while the mules and horses and cattle, remaining in the greatest fright, produced an indescribable state of confusion.

The cavalry finding the road to Winchester thus barricaded, both by wagons and an enemy, had no other alternative than to turn their horses toward Strasburg.

They had crossed Cedar Creek, and taken with them the Zouaves' Afrique, whom they found upon the bridge. A line of battle was then formed, the Zouaves forming in the rear.

A battery was also there, which they were supporting. This was placed in position, and shells were thrown into the woods beyond.--As soon as the battery commenced firing the rebel skirmishers commenced to advance with yells of defiance, pouring volleys of musketry upon as, and very soon a battery responded to ours.

Two companies of cavalry were now drawn upon each side of the battery and one in the rear, with the intention of making a charge. It soon assume obvious that the enemy were there in strong force, and they knew that we had no infantry.

Major Sawyer, of Vermont cavalry, spoke to his of a mountain road.

Had they now commenced the charge they would doubtless have been all cut to pieces like the others, and best forced to surrender.

Col. Tomson, not knowing the road himself, ordered the Major, if he were acquainted with it, to lead them through.

The Major undertook the task. The cavalry was led back toward Strasburg, recrossing Cedar Creek, and there so closely were they pursued that another line of battle was formed. The enemy obtained the range very accurately, and the shells fell round them so rapidly that they again retreated.

Col. De Forrest, with the New York cavalry, was soon met, who inquired of Colonel. Tomson his intentions, who said he was going to retreat by the mountain road, and they afterward proceeded together, taking a course through the forest and fields which seemed to in the direction of the road for which they were seeking. Soon they reached it.

Col. Tompsons remanned sometime in Strasburg to direct the planting of a battery near the fortifications erected there, but soon left and took the woods for the road along the mountains.

The whole force of cavalry were soon up the mountain road and were proceeding finely, recreating Cedar creek again, and moving rapidly toward Winchester.

At 11 or 12 o'clock at night they arrived in town, receiving the anxiety, which had been who it was supposed had been cut off and captured.

An hour later and, the enemy a lines extended as far as the mountain.

upon the following morning the enemy at required our two brigades seven regiments, containing 5 000 men.

There is a ridge extending along the west of the town, and along the side of this our infantry, was placed — Gordon's brigade on the right and Donatly's upon the left. The enemy occupied apposition where there were woods' in the , with rifle-pits and batteries in font of Gordon's brigade, not more than half a mile distant.

When General Banks came out the centre was rait to be too much weakened; still it was feared that the enemy would attempt to flank one right, which was, in consequence, strengthened by the removed of a from the left.

The enemy advanced firing along the course of the will and soon from two directions poured in after volley upon us with shot and shell from their batteries.

The whole air of the plain to the south ward was and everything obscured by heavy dense

The General's horse took fright, and he was obliged to change him for another.

While this was going on right Col., Donnelly was severely pressed on the left, orders were given for the extreme left to support the centre.

Orders were also given for cavalry to move out and explore upon each flank.

Immediately thereafter the fire of the enemy's batteries on the right , before the cavalry had time to go out and obey the order.

Two regiments were seen advancing along the course of the hill to the right, cheering and firing, and beyond them five other regiments beside. The 27th Indiana was at this time in column of fours, and without giving time to form in line, they were ordered to fire, and then immediately to charge bayonets.

The whole rebel line advanced now with fixed bayonets and heads down, and the 17th Indiana did not withstand the shock, but broke in a confused rout, exposing the flank of the 2d Massachusetts.

About this time our batteries in front of the town, which held apposition raking the course of the hill, along which the rebels were advancing against the 21 Massachusetts, ceased firing, limbered up, and retreated.

The battery in rear of Gordon's brigade limbered up, also, and galloped off full speed.

The guns were taken out at just the proper time. A short time later and they would have been captured.

The infantry of Gordon's brigade retreated through the town, their drums beating, in good order.

Col. Murphy, 29th Pennsylvania, was obliged to dismount from his horse, who had become unmanageable, and the old men, unable to retreat shouted to his men to run with the colors, for he could not.

Donnelly's brigade retreated to the east of the town, and were reported as cut off. Intelligence has recently been received, however, that he effected his escape and was crossing the Potomac at Falling Waters, Dam No. 4. Fuller particulars in regard to the fighting in Donnelly's brigade will be given soon. They are reported to have made an excellent fight, and to have repulsed the enemy brought against them.

The first stand made in the retreat was about three miles from the town. A portion of Ira Harria's Guard and Vermont cavalry supported the battery in the ear, and Majors Davidson and Gardner, New York, and Captain Freston, Vermont cavalry, commanded them with coolness and bravery.

Gen. Banks was in the rear of the retreat, and a shell exploded only four feet from him, fortunately without injuring him.

Winchester is reported to Some ammunition was seen to explode were leaving a loud report was followed by the rising of a large sphere of smoke high into the air, like a balloon.

The enemy bad stationed a force at Berryville to prevent our retreating toward Harper's Ferry, and we were compelled to take the road to Martinsburg.

Gen. Banks this morning, on the other side of the river, made a short address to the soldiers, encouraging them to maintain themselves until reinforcements shall be received, which will doubtless arrive immediately, and we shell soon recross the Potomac and drive back the enemy over the ground we have lost.

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Banks (7)
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May 26th, 1862 AD (1)
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