obeyed, but with a heavy heart, for, he said, “it is a crushing blow to us all.”
's army made as rapid a march as possible over the mountain region, through drenching rains, and with five days rations of hard bread.
He took a more northerly road to the Valley
than the one from Franklin
, and reached Strasburg
on the evening of the 1st of June, a little too late to intercept Jackson
, for the latter had passed through that town a few hours before.
Next morning Shields
's vanguard of cavalry, under General Bayard
, reached Strasburg
, too late likewise for the intended service of interception.
And now began a race up the Valley
as exciting as the one down it ten days before.
marched vigorously up the South
fork of the Shenandoah
, between the Massanutten Mountains
and the Blue
, Ridge, along the lateral Luray Valley, hoping to head his foe at some point above, while Fremont
followed directly in his rear, up the North
fork, along the great pike to Harrisonburg
The rains had swelled many of the little mountain tributaries of the Shenandoah
into torrents too formidable to ford, with safety, and Jackson
destroyed all the bridges behind him, and sent cavalry through the Massanutten passes to break down or burn those in front; of Shields
Thus he kept his prisoners at least a day in his rear, reaching Harrisonburg
on the 5th of June.
now perceived that his only chance for escape was to cross the swollen Shenandoah
at Port Republic
, where there was a strong bridge; so, after a brief rest, he diverged to the southeast from the pike to Staunton,, for that purpose.
Another object in view was to prevent Shields
, who was. near at hand on the east side of the river, crossing the stream or forming a, junction “with Fremont
, when the united forces would equal his own in” numbers.
's rear was well covered with his cavalry (Second and Sixth Virginia), under General Turner Ashby
About two miles from Harrisonburg
this rear-guard was attacked by a reconnoitering party of cavalry,, under Colonel Percy Wyndham
A smart skirmish ensued, and at first the. Nationals were repulsed, with the loss of that leader and sixty-three of his. men, who were made prisoners.1 General Bayard
and Colonel Cluseret
then pushed forward with cavalry and infantry, when Ashby
, hard pressed, called for an infantry support.
's brigade was ordered up, and was soon engaged in a sharp fight, in which the little band of Kane
's Pennsylvanians (Bucktail Rifles) performed uncommon deeds of valor.
was wounded and made prisoner, and lost fifty-five of his men. Ashby
His death was a severe blow for the Confederates
They regarded his loss as equal to that of a regiment, for he was one of the most fearless.
and enterprising of their cavalry commanders.2
was so close upon the Confederates
, that the latter were obliged to turn and fight before attempting the passage of the Shenandoah
at Port Republic
with three brigades (Elzy