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Doc. 19.-battle at Port Republic, Va.

Report of General Fremont.

headquarters Mountain Department, Port Republic, June 9, 12 M., via Martinsburgh, June 12th.
To Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
there was no collision with the enemy after dark last night. This morning we renewed the march against him, entering the woods in battle order, his cavalry appearing on our flanks, Gen. Blenker had the left, Gen. Milroy the right, and Gen. Schenck the centre, with a reserve of Gen. Stahl's brigade and Gen. Bayard's. The enemy was found to be in full retreat on Port Republic, and our advance found his rear-guard barely across the river, and the bridge in flames. Our advance came in so suddenly that some of his officers remaining on this side, escaped with the loss of their horses.

A cannonading during the forenoon apprised us of an engagement, and I am informed here that Jackson attacked Gen. Shields this morning, and, after a severe engagement, drove him down the river, and is now in pursuit. I have sent an officer, with a detachment of cavalry, to open communication with Gen. Shields.

This morning detachments were occupied in searching the grounds covered by yesterday's action at Cross Keys, for our remaining dead and wounded. I am not yet fully informed, but think that one hundred and twenty-five will cover our loss in killed, and five hundred that in wounded.

The enemy's loss we cannot clearly ascertain. He was engaged during the night carrying off his dead and wounded in wagons. This morning on our march, upwards of two hundred of his dead were counted in one field, the greater part badly mutilated by cannon-shot. Many of his dead were also scattered through the woods, and many had been already buried. A number of prisoners had been taken during the pursuit.

I regret to have lost many good officers. Gen. Stahl's brigade was in the hottest part of the field, which was the left wing. From the beginning of the fight the brigade lost in officers five killed and seventeen wounded; and one of his regiments alone, the Eighth New-York, has buried sixty-five. The Garibaldi Guard, next after, suffered most severely, and following this regiment, the Forty-fifth New-York, the Bucktail Rifles, of General Bayard's brigade, and General Milroy's brigades.

One of the Bucktail companies has lost all of its officers, commissioned and non-commissioned. The loss in General Schenck's brigade was less, although he inflicted severe loss on the enemy, principally by artillery fire.

Of my staff I lost a good officer killed, Captain Nicholas Dunka. Many horses were killed in our batteries, which the enemy repeatedly attempted to take, but were repulsed by canister fire generally.

I feel myself permitted to say that all our troops, by their endurance of this severe march, and their splendid conduct in the battle, are entitled to the President's commendations, and officers throughout behaved with great gallantry and efficiency, which requires that I should make particular mention of them, and which, I trust, will receive the particular notice of the President as soon as possible. I will send in a full report; but, in this respect, I am unable to make any more particular distinction than that pointed out in the description of the battle.


J. C. Fremont, Major-General Commanding.

Report of Brig.-General Tyler.

headquarters Third brigade, near Luray, Va., June 12, 1862.
Gen. James Shields, Commanding Division:
sir: In compliance with your order to proceed to Waynesboroa, 1 left Columbia Bridge on the seventh instant, reaching Naked Creek the same day, going into camp under orders to march at four o'clock A. M., next, that we might reach Port Republic at the time you indicated to me. When within about six miles of the town, I learned Acting Brig.-Gen. Carroll, with the Fourth brigade, had engaged the enemy at or near the town. Immediately I halted my train, clearing the road for the troops and artillery, and pressed forward to his support as rapidly as possible, reaching the position occupied by him some two miles north of the town, at two o'clock P. M., eighth instant.

The position was selected by Col. Daum, I understand, as the only tenable one in that vicinity. From that officer I learned that the enemy had eighteen pieces of artillery planted so as to completely command all the approaches to the town, and from the engagement with Gen. Carroll that morning, had obtained the range of the different points. Immediately on the arrival of my command, Col. Daum urged an attack with the combined force of infantry and artillery, to which I so far consented as to order the infantry into position under cover of a thick wood which skirted the road, and commenced observing the enemy's position myself, which appeared to me one to defy an army of fifty thousand men.

I at once sent for Col. Carroll, Lieut.-Colonel Shriber, Captains Clark and Robinson, who had been over the ground, they all agreeing in the opinion that an attack would result in the destruction of our little force. About this time your order to “Commandant of post at Port Republic” was handed me; upon it, and the opinion of these officers, I ordered the infantry back to bivouac for the night. A heavy picket was kept well to the front to observe any movement of the enemy, and at four o'clock A. M., Gen. Carroll and myself went to the outer videttes, who reported that there had been no movement of the enemy across the bridge during the night, their [111] pickets only appearing, which we were able to discover ourselves.

We returned to camp, and a few moments after your order of June eighth, quarter-past seven P. M., from Columbia Bridge, reached me, and while writing a reply I was informed that the enemy were advancing upon us, or rather into the woods opposite their position, evidently with a view of outflanking us upon the left. Captains Clark and Robinson opened their batteries upon them with effect, and Capt. Huntington's guns were soon doing the same good work. Two companies of skirmishers and two regiments of infantry were ordered into the woods to counteract this movement of the enemy. The fire of our skirmishers was soon heard, and I ordered two more regiments to their support.

A sharp fire was kept up in the woods, for a few moments only, when the enemy retired and was soon seen coming out of the woods, crossing to join a column moving upon our right. In the mean time a section of two guns had opened upon our battery on the left, and another section was taking a position on our right. The Seventh Indiana infantry, Col. Gavin, was sent to the extreme right and was met by two rebel regiments, under cover of the river-bank. A section of Capt. Clark's battery took a position well to the right. The fire of the enemy, from their masked position, compelled Col. Gavin to retire a short distance, which he did in admirable order.

The Twenty-ninth Ohio was sent to support him, moving forward in splendid style on double-quick. The Seventh Ohio was next sent forward to support Capt. Clark's guns; the Fifth Ohio next, to support a section of Capt. Huntington's battery. These two last-named regiments moved forward and engaged the enemy in a style that commanded the admiration of every beholder. Regiment after regiment of the enemy moved upon our right, and the engagement became very warm. The First Virginia, Colonel Thoburne, who had been ordered into the woods on the left, was now ordered down to the right, entering the open field with a loud shout. My entire force was now in position. On our right was the Seventh Indiana, Col. Gavin, Twenty-ninth Ohio, Col. Buckley, Seventh Ohio, Lieut.-Col. Creighton, Fifth Ohio, Col. Dunning, First Virginia, Col. Thoburne, with sections of Captains Clark's and Huntington's batteries.

On our left, the key of the position, was a company of the Fifth and one of the Sixty-sixth Ohio infantry, deployed through the woods as skirmishers. The Eighty-fourth and One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania regiments were also well up in the woods. The Sixty-sixth Ohio, Col. Candy, was directly in the rear of the battery, composed of three guns of Capt. Clark's battery, three guns of Capt. Huntington's, and one of Capt. Robinson's battery, under Lieut.-Col. Hayward, and upon him and his gallant band depended everything at this critical moment, and the duty was well and gallantly executed. Had they given way, the command must have been lost. The left wing of Col. Candy's regiment was extended into the woods, and close in the rear of the battery, which position they held until a retreat was ordered.

Additional reinforcements of the enemy were coining up on our right, having abandoned their position on the left, and I ordered the Eighty-fourth and One Hundred and Tenth down to the right, but before they reached the position assigned them the enemy was in full retreat before our brave men, and I at once ordered them across into the wood again. Under cover of the engagement on our right the enemy had thrown another force into the woods, and pressed them down upon our batteries on the left. So rapid was this movement that they passed the line on which the Eighty-fourth and One Hundred and Tenth were ordered unobserved — making a dash upon the battery so sudden and unexpected as to compel the cannoneers to abandon their pieces.

Col. Candy met the enemy with his regiment with great coolness, his men fighting with commendable bravery. The Seventh and Fifth Ohio were soon supporting him, driving the enemy from their position and retaking the battery. The artillery officers made a strong effort, and used great exertions to remove their guns, but, the horses having been killed or disabled, found it impossible. The enemy had given way along the whole line, but I saw heavy reenforcements crossing from the town, that would have been impossible for us successfully to resist. After consulting General Carroll, I ordered the troops to fall back under his direction, with a. view of retreating until we should meet the reenforcements of Generals Kimball and Ferry.

Gen. Carroll took command of the covering of the retreat, which was made in perfect order; and save the stampede of those who ran before the fight was fairly opened, the retreat was quite as orderly as the advance.

The force engaged under my command could not have exceeded three thousand men. Of the enemy's force (my information comes from the prisoners taken by us) none of them estimated it at less than eight thousand men actually in the engagement.

The loss of our artillery we feel almost as keenly as we should to have lost our colors, yet it was impossible to save them without animals to drag them through the deep mud; the men could. not do it. While we deeply feel this loss, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have one of theirs, captured by the Fifth Ohio, and driven off in full view of their whole force, sixty-seven prisoners following it to this post.

It will not be expected that I can mention the many gallant actions of the different officers upon that hard-fought field. Yet I cannot do justice to my own feelings without remarking that, in my opinion, braver, more determined and willing men never entered a battle-field. Gen. Carroll distinguished himself by his coolness and dashing bravery. Upon him I relied, and was not disappointed. For heroic gallantry I will place Col. Gavin, Col. Buckley, Lieut.-Col. Creighton, Col. Dunning, Col. Thoburne, Col. Candy, and [112] Lieut.-Col. Hayward beside the bravest men of the United States army. The line officers of the different regiments discharged their duty nobly, and deserve special mention by their Colonels, Capts. Clark, Robinson, and Huntington served their guns with great credit, and deserve particular notice.

To the members of your staff, Lieut.-Col. Shriber, Capt. Keiley and Capt. Keogh, I am under many, very many obligations, for the prompt, efficient, and officer-like manner in which they discharged the duties assigned them. The two latter were in the field through the hottest of the engagement, exposed to the enemy's fire from first to last. Capt. Keiley received a severe wound in the face, while urging forward the men, and was carried off the field.

For a list of the casualties of the engagement, I respectfully refer you to the reports of the several regiments, accompanying this paper.

The loss of the enemy must have been very heavy. The grape and canister from our batteries and the fire of our musketry mowed them down like grass before a well-served scythe, and the fact of their heavy force retiring before us is an evidence that they suffered severely.

Aid-de-Camp Eaton was the only officer of my own staff present. Capt. Quay being too ill to take the field, Chaplain D. C. Wright, of the Seventh Ohio, volunteered to serve me. The duties these gentlemen were called upon to perform were arduous, and led them almost constantly under the fire of the enemy. Yet they executed their duties with commendable coolness and energy, meriting my warmest thanks.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

E. B. Tyler, Brigadier-General.

Letter from Colonel Dunning.

camp near Luray, June 11.
The Fourth brigade, under the command of Col. Carroll of the Eighth Ohio regiment, was repulsed on Sunday, the eighth, when the Third brigade, under Gen. Tyler, was ordered to support him. We met some of the men of the Fourth brigade five miles from the battle-field, straggling along the road. We reached the battle-field about five o'clock on the afternoon of the eighth, and lay on our arms till morning, when we were opened upon from the rebel battery. We were soon placed in line of battle, but none too soon, for the enemy's infantry was moving on us. The Seventh Indiana regiment was on the right of our lines, the Fifth on the left of the Seventh, about two hundred yards to the rear, the Seventh Ohio on our left, about two hundred yards to our rear, the Sixty-sixth Ohio on the left, the Seventh Ohio on a line with the Fifth. We had a battery on our right and left. The enemy's battery was in front of the Seventh In-, diana regiment. We were ordered to support the Seventh Indiana, when we moved on the rebels, and soon succeeded in routing the rebels from their position. Our advance was so rapid that we conceived the idea of taking the battery. I gave the orders to take it, when the old Fifth moved forward and drove them from the gun. John Gray mounted the horse and brought that piece off. We were then ordered to support the Sixty-sixth on the left. When I arrived there I discovered the enemy were slaying them from some log-houses immediately in front of them. I found that to remain there was folly; and I ordered the old Fifth forward, by the right flank, advancing rapidly. We again started them on a full run and occupied the houses ourselves. At this time, to my astonishment, I received an order to cover their retreat, when I retired, firing. Before I had rallied my men on the colors, the whole of our force was retiring, if you choose to call it so. Then Col. Daum came to me and asked me to cover his men while he drew off his pieces, which I agreed to do. He drew off two guns and started, leaving the balance behind and me to defend them. When I asked him why he did not draw off his pieces, he said he had not the horses to do it with.

By this time the enemy's battery commenced on me with canister, grape and shell, and their infantry, within two hundred yards of me, when I ordered my men to take to the mountain, where I led them, as far as my horse could go, and told the men to go over the mountain, and bear to the right. I am in hopes that they all got in the roads, but it is doubtful. I was at the head of the column, and could distinctly hear the rebel cavalry call on my men to surrender. I counted the guns in the stacks last night, and found I had only one hundred and eighty-five left, but the boys are getting in. To-day I have two hundred and fifteen, and those that have got in, state that there are more on the road. As to the colors, presented by the city, we carried them through the fight, and if they are captured, they have taken the bearer with them. I send you a list of our killed and wounded, as far as I can ascertain at present.

Your friend,

S. H. Dunning, Colonel Fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteers.

The part borne by Colonel. Carroll.

The first reports of battles are often incorrect. The confusion incident to an engagement of itself precludes the possibility of a fair estimate of affairs at the first, and it is only after the smoke of battle has passed away that a clear view can be had.

The battle of Port Republic forms no exception to this general experience. Appreciating, as everybody could, after the disaster there had occurred, that it might have been avoided by the destruction of the bridge across the Shenandoah at that place, it was taken for granted that it should have been burnt, and that orders had been given to that effect. Upon that assumption, Col. Carroll, who had command of the advance, has been loudly censured, and the failure of the expedition, and the terrible destruction of life consequent upon it, have been visited upon his head. Without reflecting in any way upon others, it is the purpose [113] of this communication to show that Col. Carroll acted strictly according to imperative orders, and that he carried himself in that execution like a true and gallant soldier.

On the fourth inst., while at Conrad's Store, Col. Carroll received orders to go forward at once, with cavalry and guns, to save the bridge at Port Republic. At that time it was impossible for him to move. The heavy rains which had prevailed for some days days had so swollen the streams that Col. Carroll was entirely separated from his command, having with him only his staff, fifteen cavalry, and two pieces of artillery. His infantry was five miles in his rear, and compelled to remain there, by the impassable creeks, between two and three days.

On Saturday, the seventh, Col. Carroll received orders to move forward to Waynesboroa, distant some thirty-five or thirty-seven miles, by the way of Port Republic, for the purpose of destroying the railroad depot, track, bridge, etc., at that place, and to seize Jackson's train and throw his force upon Jackson's flank. Col. Carroll marched, in obedience to these orders, on Saturday afternoon. His infantry, cavalry and artillery had in the mean time come up, and he started from Conrad's Store with less than a thousand of the former, with one hundred and fifty cavalry, and with a single battery of six guns.

Halting, in the night, six miles before reaching Port Republic, Col. Carroll sent forward a party of scouts, who returned with the information that Jackson's train was parked near Port Republic with a drove of beef cattle herded near by, and the whole guarded by about two or three hundred cavalry. On learning this, Col. Carroll pushed forward with the design of capturing the train and cattle, as his orders directed. He halted some two miles from the town, made a reconnaissance, and received further information confirming the report of his scouts, and then dashed into town with his cavalry and two pieces, driving the enemy's cavalry out, and taking possession of the bridge. He halted there for his infantry to come up, and disposed his pieces and little force to prevent a repulse from the train-guard, when, before he occupied the village twenty minutes he was attacked by three regiments of the enemy's infantry, by eighteen of their guns, and by a cavalry force superior to his own. In the face of this he was forced to retire, and the project of proceeding twenty odd miles further up to Waynesboroa had to be abandoned. As stated above, Col. Carroll did not hold the place twenty minutes; and there was no instant of time, after his arrival, in which he could have destroyed the bridge in the presence of such an enemy, even had he been ordered so to do.

Retiring from Port Republic, Colonel Carroll brought his force to a stand at the first defensible position, some two and a half miles distant from the town. Here he was reinforced by Gen. Tyler's brigade, numbering about two thousand. Col. Carroll, appreciating the superior position of the enemy, as well as his vastly superior force, advised a retreat upon Conrad's Store under cover of the night. In this he was overruled, and the battle of Monday occurred on the ground to which he had retired from Sunday's repulse.

It is not the intention to apologize for Colonel Carroll, but to show simply that he obeyed orders. How he carried himself through the hot contest of Monday his superior on the field can testify to more properly and with better knowledge than any one else. In this report of the engagement, as published in the papers, General Tyler says, among other like compliments: “Col. Carroll distinguished himself by his coolness and dashing bravery. Upon him I relied, and was not disappointed.”

It is confidently stated that whatever blame may hereafter be attached to any officer on account of the disastrous battle of Port Republic, none can be fairly laid to the charge of Col. Carroll, but that the more the facts connected with it are investigated, the greater will be the praise accorded to him for his gallant and soldierly conduct on his advance and in the fight.--National Intelligencer,

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