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The latter followed up the retiring enemy till he came tors. Strasburgh. Here, on the eighteenth and nineteenth, a re- sa connoitering force reported that Jackson occupied a strong position at New Market, within supporting distance of the main army
under Johnston. Shields, in command of the advance division, in order to decoy him from this position, fell rapidly back to Winchester, on the twentieth, making the whole distance, nearly thirty miles, in one day, and secreted his main force about two miles from town, on the Martinsburgh road. The next day, Ashby's cavalry showed themselves in front, but no infantry force appearing, Banks concluded the bait had not taken, and so on the following day, the twenty-third, sent off his division to Centreville. This movement convinced the enemy that the place was evacuated, and only a few regiments being left in garrison, the inhabitants supposed so too, and signaled to that effect to the distant enemy. Shields saw the signals, and divining their meaning, stood prepared for any emergency. About five o'clock Ashby's cavalry attacked his pickets, and drove them in. He immediately ordered forward a brigade to arrest their advance, allowing, however, only two regiments to be seen, and a small body of cavalry. This confirmed the delusion of the enemy, who supposed this small force was all that was left to defend the place. As soon as it became dark, Shields ordered a brigade under Kimball to take up a strong position, and pushed forward four batteries to its support, and placed Sullivan's brigade on both flanks to protect them. and prevent surprise, while Tyler's brigade was held in re.
While engaged in these movements, a litte skirmish occurred, in which Shields was struck by the fragment of a shell, that broke his arm, and prevented him from taking the
ehind s still im in
field in person.
About eight o'clock next morning, two officers were sent forward to reconnoiter, who reported no enemy in sight, ex
BATTLE OF WINCHESTER
cept Ashby's cavalry. Convinced from this circumstance that the rebels did not meditate an attack, Banks left, to overtake his division. But about half past ten, it became evident that Jackson was approaching the place in force, though he kept his troops so adroitly concealed by the woods that Shields could obtain no estimate of their numbers. But by degrees, they began to show themselves, and battery after battery came out and took position on commanding points, and opened fire. Our artillery responded, and until half- -past three, a fierce cannonade was maintained on both sides.
THE BATTLE OF WINCHESTER.
The two lines of batteries were posted on two ridges, about a half a mile apart, between which was a ravine, running east and west, free from woods. We stood fronting the north, and the rebels the south. On our left, to the west, ran the turnpike, and beyond it spread an open country. To the east, the two ridges were connected by a belt of forest, through which run a mud road, and on its outer skirt still another, leading to Cedar Creek.
While the heavy firing was going on, our infantry gradually moved
up to the support of the guns, till it stood within a thousand yards of them. The enemy immediately advanced a heavy battery, which sent shells with great rapidity and accuracy both into our batteries, and infantry and cavalry in the rear. Kimball, in command, as Shields was disabled, suw at once that this battery must be taken, and determined on a flank movement to the east, by the mud road in the forest and the one just beyond it leading to Cedar Creek. Captain Shriber of Shields' staff immediately sent to him, asking his approval of it. It was granted, and six regiments moved rapidly into the woods on our right---Colonel Tyler's column reaching to the road just be
A FLANK MOVEMENT.
yond the woods—and swept out of sight down the enemy's left flank. In the mean time, Colonel Daum kept the artillery in front in full play, to distract the attention of Jackson from this important movement.
The columns kept silently on through the woods for about half a mile, when they wheeled, and came suddenly on the enemy's Aank, posted behind a stone wall, only two hundred yards distant. The rebels immediately opened on them with a terrible fire from their rifled pieces. The ranks began to melt like frost-work before it, but “Forward! FORWARD!” ran along the unfaltering line, and the brave fellows, with leaning forms, and without firing a shot, dashed forward with tremendous cheers, till they came within five paces of the stone wall, when they poured one fearful volley into the closely packed ranks behind it. The enemy, appalled at the close, destructive fire, and the faces of wrath and determin. ation that confronted them so closely, turned back over the field. As they did so, they unmasked two iron six-pounders which, as soon as they were cleared in front, opened with canister, and hurled death and destruction into our ranks. They did not stop, however, for a single instant the living mass of valor, and it rolled over them like a resistless wave. Here the victorious regiments came to a halt, when two more brass pieces were unmasked, which sent such a shower of balls into their midst that they were compelled to fall back. Bat just then the Fifth Ohio and Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania came up, and threw themselves forward with fixed bayonets. It was a splendid charge, but the loss of life hers in a few minutes was fearful. The color bearer of the Ohio regiment fell, when a second seized the flag and waved it aloft. The next moment he fell also, when a third picked it
up, but had hardly lifted it from the ground when he fell forward with his face to the foe. A fourth shared the same fate, when Captain Whitcomb seized the colors, and waving
them in front of his men, cheered them on, but fell while the brave words were still on his lips. The carnage was awful. Colonel Murray of the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania was shot at the head of his regiment, and many other brave officers fell, either killed or wounded. In the midst of the fire, Captain Shriber hurried back and brought up the one hundred and Tenth and the Fourteenth Indiana regiments, and hurled them obliquely on the enemy, when they fell back, leaving one gun and several caissons in our hands.
In the mean time, as soon as the rebel flank was turned, a general advance was ordered along the whole line, and the hotly contested field was won. Two
four caissons, a thousand stand of arms, and three hundred prisoners, were the trophies of the victory.
Our loss in killed and wounded was about three hundred and fifty, while that of the enemy, Shields reported to be, over a thousand.
A courier had been dispatched after Banks, and he arrived on the field next morning. A vigorous pursuit was immediately ordered, but he failed to overtake Jackson's main force, though he harassed his rear as far as Woodstock, where the troops were halted from mere exhaustion. For twenty-two miles beyond the battle field, he found the nouses filled with the dead and dying, while along the road were strewed evidences of the the terror and sufferings
of the enemy.
Among the minor incidents of this month was the taking of Pound Gap, in Eastern Tennessee, by General Garfici, in one of his brilliant dashes, and the escape of the Nashville from Beaufort, in the face of our blockading squadron, much to the chagrin of the nation.
Perhaps, however, nothing occurred this month that caused more comment at home and abroad, than the transmission, in the early part of it, of a message to Congress by
327 the President, recommending a joint resolution " that the United States ought to co-operate with any state which may adopt a gradual" abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid” as a compensation for its loss. . The difficulty was, to see the precise object the President proposed to gain by a mere resolution at this time.