previous next

Chapter 27: Jackson in the Valley.

On May 8th, General Jackson formed a junction in the valley with General Edward Johnston.

On May 25th Generals Jackson, Edward Johnston, and Ewell, drove the enemy across the Potomac into Maryland. Two thousand prisoners were taken. General Banks, the commander-in-chief, said, “there never were more grateful hearts in the same number of men than when, at midday on the 26th, we stood on the opposite shore.”

General Geary moved to Manassas Junction, burned his tents and destroyed a quantity of arms, and General Duryea telegraphed to Washington for aid. A panic ensued in Washington, and the Secretary of War issued a call to the Governors of the “loyal” States “for militia to defend the city.”

Jackson pressed eagerly on to disperse the garrisons at Charlestown and Harper's Ferry.

General Winder's brigade drove the enemy [296] in disorder from Charlestown toward the Potomac.

When in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, General Jackson, with an effective force of about fifteen thousand men, much less than either of the two armies under Shields and Fremont that were marching to intercept him, by a forced march, arrived on the night of May 31st at Strasburg, and learned that General Fremont's advance was in the immediate vicinity.

General Ewell held Fremont in check with so little difficulty that General Taylor described it as “offering a temptation to make a serious attack upon Fremont's whole army.”

Ashby, vigilant and enterprising, soon perceived this, and pointing it out to Ewell, asked for infantry to attack the pursuing party so as to destroy them before their supports could get up. This force was given to him, and just in the dusk of the evening Ashby came upon them intrenched behind a fence. In a moment Ashby's horse was shot dead, but jumping to his feet he cried, “Virginians, forward!” and in the instant fell dead. As he fell Colonel Johnson with the First Maryland charged and swept the fence clear, and killed and wounded most of the routed enemy; they proved to be the Pennsylvania Bucktails, a crack battalion under Lieutenant- [297] Colonel Kane, who was wounded and captured.

Colonel Johnson's horse was killed, shot in three places. His color-sergeant and three corporals were shot down in instantaneous succession at the colors, but Corporal Shanks seized them and bore them to the end.

Two days afterward, June 8th, as the First Maryland was moving into the battle of Cross Keys they passed General Ewell. He said to the commanding officer, “Colonel Johnson, you ought to affix a bucktail to your colors as a trophy.” Whereupon Colonel Johnson took a bucktail from the cap of one of the men in ranks and tied it to the color lance above the colors, where it was carried in pride and triumph in all the battles of the regiment. After the battle of Port Republic, General Ewell issued the following order:

Headquarters Third Division, June 12, 1862.
General Order, No. 30.

In commemoration of the gallant conduct of the First Maryland Regiment on June 6th, instant, when led by Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, they drove back with loss the Pennsylvania Bucktail Rifles, in the engagement near Harrisonburgh, Buckingham County, Virginia, authority is given to have one of the captured bucktails (the insignium of the Federal [298] Regiment) appended to the color staff of the First Maryland Regiment.

By order of Major-General Ewell. James Barbour, A. A. G.

At Crosskeys, on June 8th, Jackson defeated Fremont, and on the gth, General Shields at Port Republic. With such eaglelike swoop he had descended upon each army of the enemy, that his name had come to inspire terror. It was believed that he was about to come down, like an avalanche, upon Washington, with a vast army.

The magnificently equipped armies of Milroy, Banks, Shields, and Fremont, had all melted away before the resistless charges of Jackson's hard-fighting, hard-marching, ragged “foot-cavalry,” and the Valley of the Shenandoah was our own again.

Jackson went into camp near Port Republic, where the valley was well wooded, and thus closed his famous valley campaign of 1862.

A description of the personal appearance of the now famous “StonewallJackson may prove of interest to my readers. I will therefore insert the interesting account given by General Dick Taylor, of their first meeting.

“The mounted officer who had been sent [299] out in advance, pointed out a figure perched on the topmost rail of a fence overlooking the road and field, and said it was Jackson. Approaching, I saluted and declared my name and rank, and waited for a response. Before this came I had time to see a pair of cavalry boots covering feet of immense size, a mangy cap with vizor drawn low, a heavy, dark beard, and weary eyes-eyes I afterward saw filled with intense but never brilliant light. A low, gentle voice inquired the road and distance marched that day, ‘ Keazle-town road, six and twenty miles.’ ‘You seem to have no stragglers.’ ‘Never allow stragglers.’ ‘You must teach my people, they straggle badly.’ A bow in reply. Just then my Creoles started their band and a waltz. After a contemplative suck of a lemon, ‘ Thoughtless fellows for serious work,’ came forth. I expressed the hope that the work would be not less well done on account of the gayety. A return to the lemon gave me an opportunity to retire. Where Jackson got his lemons ‘no fellow could find out,’ but he was rarely without one.”

He adds:

Ere the war closed the valley of Virginia was ravaged with a cruelty surpassing that inflicted on the Palatinate two hundred years ago. That foul deed smirched the fame of [300] Louvois and Turenne, and public opinion, in what has been deemed a ruder age, forced an apology from the ‘ Grand Monarque.’ Yet we have seen the official report of a Federal General wherein are recounted the many barns, mills, and other buildings destroyed; concluding with the assertion that ‘A crow flying over the Valley must carry his own rations.’ In the opinion of the admirers of the officer making this report, the achievement, on which it is based, ranks with Marengo. Moreover, this same officer, many years after the close of the war, denounced several hundred thousands of his fellow-citizens as ‘ banditti,’ and solicited permission to deal with them as such. May we not well ask whether religion, education, science, and art combined have lessened the brutality of men since Wallenstein and Tilly?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. J. Jackson (10)
Fremont (6)
Ewell (6)
Bradley T. Johnson (5)
Shields (3)
Dick Taylor (2)
Edward Johnston (2)
Banks (2)
Ashby (2)
Charles Winder (1)
J. B. Washington (1)
Wallenstein (1)
Virginians (1)
Turenne (1)
Tilly (1)
Stonewall (1)
Shanks (1)
Milroy (1)
Louvois (1)
Kane (1)
Geary (1)
Duryea (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 8th (2)
June 12th, 1862 AD (1)
1862 AD (1)
June 6th (1)
May 31st (1)
May 25th (1)
May 8th (1)
26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: