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BATTLE OF PORT REPUBLIC.

397

a June 9,

1862

of victory. The Confederates occupied the battle-field that night, and the Nationals rested where their first line was formed in the morning.' So ended the BATTLE OF Cross Keys,

Ewell, whose position was an excellent one, intended to renew the battle with his repulsed enemy at dawn, but was called to aid Jackson in his operations at Port Republic. His troops slept on their arms, and just as day was breaking they silently moved toward the Shenandoah, carrying with them all of their wounded comrades excepting those who were mortally hurt. Fremont followed them closely in battle order, with Milroy on the right, Blenker on the left, and Schenck in the center. The brigades of Stahl and Bayard formed the reserve.

In the mean time there had been stirring events at Port Republic. Jackson had crossed the Shenandoah, and was occupying the town when Fremont and Ewell were fighting at Cross Keys. The vanguard of Shields's force, under acting Brigadier-general Carroll, had been pressing up the eastern side of the Shenandoah from Conrad's Store, and a portion of it had arrived near Port Republic almost simultaneously with Jackson's advance. On Saturday, the 7th, Carroll had been ordered to hasten to that point, destroy the bridge, seize Jackson's train, and fall on his flank. With less than a thousand infantry, one hundred and tifty cavalry, and a battery of six guns, he went forward and halted that night within six miles of Port Republic. He was informed that Jackson's train was parked there, with a large drove of beef cattle. With the cavalry and five pieces of artillery he dashed into the town, for the purpose of capturing the coveted prize; drove Jackson's cavalry-guard out, and took possession of the bridge. Had he burned that structure instantly he might have ruined Jackson, for he would have cut him off from Ewell, who was fighting Fremont a few miles distant. But he waited for his infantry to come up, and during that interval he was attacked by a superior force and driven out to a point two miles from the town, where in the afternoon he was joined by General E. B. Tyler and his brigade, two thousand strong, who had hastened to his assistance, and now took command.3

While awaiting orders from Shields, Tyler was informed that the Confederates were on his front in large force, endeavoring to outflank him on his left, and with all the approaches to the town and bridge covered by artillery. Ewell had escaped the pursuit of Fremont, and had crossed the bridge, and so strongly re-enforced Jackson that the latter justly felt almost invincible. Tyler quickly counteracted the flanking movement by employing nearly his whole force, which did not exceed three thousand men, in opposing it. With these, after being pushed back a little by the assailants, he drove into the woods about eight thousand Confederates, some

June 8

1 The National loss in this battle was 664, of which two-thirds fell on Stahl's brigade. The losses were distributed as follows: Stabl's brigade, 427; Milroy's, 118; Bohlen's, 80; Closeret's, 17; Schenck's, 14; Buck tail's, 8. Schenck's brigade inflicted a severe loss on the foe, chiefly by his artillery, while his own forcu suffered less than the others. One of the companies of the Bucktail Rifles lost all of its officers, commissioned and noncommissioned. Captain Nicholas Dunka, of Fremont's Staff, was killed.

On the battle.ground was once a tavern, whose sign-board had the device of two keys crossed. Near it was a store and two or three dwellings, and a fourth of a mile distant the Union Church. This little settlement was known as the Cross Keys.

: The map on the opposite page shows the theater of events we have just been considering in this chapter, and of some a little later. It may be consulted with profit by the reader of succeeding chapters.

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ESCAPE OF JACKSON'S ARMY.

399

2

of whom then crossed over and joined the regiments of General Winder, of Ewell's division, which was on Tyler's right, and where a battle had begun that soon became heavy. General Dick Taylor's Louisiana brigade, which

, had flanked and attacked General Tyler's left, but was driven back, now made a sudden dash through the woods that completely masked it, upon a battery of seven guns under Lieutenant-colonel Hayward, and captured it. With his own regiment (Sixty-sixth Ohio), and the Fifth and Seventh Ohio, Colonel Candy, who was in the rear of the battery, made a spirited counter-charge, and re-captured it with one of the Confederate guns, but the artillery horses having been killed, he was unable to take it off. Instead of the guns, he took with him, in falling back, sixty-seven of Taylor's men as prisoners.

So overwhelming was the number of Jackson's troops that Tyler was compelled to retreat. This was done in good order, “save the stampede of

, those who ran before the fight was fairly opened." He was pursued about five miles, gallantly covered by Carroll and his cavalry. “Upon him I relied,” said Tyler," and was not disappointed." In the engagement and

“ retreat the Confederates captured four hundred and fifty prisoners, and eight hundred muskets. So ended THE BATTLE OF Port REPUBLIC;) and Jackson telegraphed to Richmond, saying—“Through God's blessing the enemy near Port Republic was this day routed, with the loss of six pieces of his artillery.” The battle was disastrous in its results, but glorious for the officers and men of the National army engaged in it. It was one of the brilliant battles of the war.“

Jackson kept Tyler in check until his main body crossed the bridge, when his rear-guard set it on fire. The sounds of battle and the sight of columns of smoke had hastened the march of Fremont. When he came near Port Republic he found the bridge in flames, the Shenandoah too deep to be forded anywhere, and his enemy beyond his immediate grasp. llere ended the pursuit—here ended the famous race of Fremont, Shields, and Jackson

up the Shenandoah Valley, which was skillfully won by the latter. On the following morning the National army began to retrace its steps, and, in the midst of a drenching rain, it reached Harrisonburg toward evening. Fremont fell back to Mount Jackson and Shields to New Market, when both commanders were called to Washington. Jackson re-crossed the Shenandoah and encamped at Weyer's Cave, two miles from Port Republic, and on the 17th he was summoned, with a greater portion of his army, to assist in the defense of Richmond.

The writer, accompanied by two friends ( S. M. Buckingham and H. L.

« June 9,

1862

6 June 12.

1 Tyler's Report to Shields, June 12, 1862.

? Report of General Tyler to General Shields, June 12, 1862. The National troops employed in this struggle were the Seventh Indiana ; Fifth, Seventh, and Twenty-ninth Ohio; and the First Virginia, with sections of Cap:ains Clarke and Huntington's batteries, on the right; and the Eighty fourth and One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania; Sixty-sixth Ohio, and sections of Captains Clarke, Huntington, and Robinson's batteries, and a company each of the Fifth and Sixty-sixth Ohio, as skirmishers, on the left, which was the key of the position.

* Port Republic is a small village on the eastern bank of the south fork of the Shenandoah Pirer, pleasantly situated on a plain. It is a post village of Rockingham County,

• General Ewell declared to the writer, that in that engagement the Confederate troops were three to one of the Nationals in number, and that it was a most gallant fight on the part of the latter.

400

A VISIT TO THE SHENANDOAH REGIUN.

4 Oct. 5,

1866.

Young), visited the theater of events recorded in this chapter early in October, 1866. Having explored places made famous by the exploits of Sheridan and others at a later period of the war, from Harper's Ferry to Winchester, and at Kernstown, Middletown, Cedar Creek, and Fisher's Hill,

we left Strasburg for Harrisonburg at nine o'clock in the evening, in an old-fashioned stage-coach, making three of nine passengers

inside, with a remainder on the top. Our route lay along the great Valley Pike from Winchester to Staunton, a distance of fifty miles, and we were at breakfast in Harrisonburg the next morning at eight o'clock. An hour later we were on our way to the battle-fields of Cross Keys and Port Republic, in a well-worn and rusty pleasure-carriage belonging to a colored man, the proprietor of a livery-stable, who furnished us with an intelligent colored driver and a good team of horses.

It was a very beautiful morning; and in the clear atmosphere the lofty hills of the Blue Ridge on the east, the Short Shenandoah Mountains on the west, and the Massanutten range northward, were perfectly defined. Our driver was a competent guide, being familiar with the events and the localities in that region, and we anticipated a day of pleasure and profit, and were not disappointed.

A mile south of Harrisonburg we turned to the left up a rough, lane-like road, that skirted the field upon a ridge in which Ashby was killed. The place of his death was at the edge of a wood two hundred yards north of the road. The abrupt southern end of Massanutten Mountain, on which Jackson had a signal-station while Banks lay near him, arose like a huge buttress above the general level, seven miles to our left, while before us and to the right was a beautiful hill country, bordered by distant mountain ranges. We soon came to the battle-ground of Cross Keys, sketched the Union Church (see page 396), that was in the midst of the storm of conflict, and rode on to Port Republic, twelve miles from IIarrisonburg, where we passed over a substantial new bridge on the site of the one fired by Ewell's rear-guard. After spending a little time there, we rode through the once pretty but then dreadfully dilapidated and half-deserted village, forded the Shenandoah (which was very shallow because of previously dry weather) a little above the town, and rode on two miles to the house of Abraham Mohler, the owner of Weyer's Cave near by, where we ordered dinner, and then proceeded with a guide to explore the famous cavern. Near it was the camping-ground of Jackson. We climbed a steep ridge, about one hundred and fifty feet above a tributary of the Shenandoah at its base, entered a rocky vestibule, each with a lighted tallow candle, and went down by rough paths and sometimes slippery acclivities far into the awful depths of the mountain, along a labyrinth of winding passages among the rocks. Chamber after chamber, recess after recess, passage after passage was visited until we were many hundred feet from the daylight. Here we were compelled to stoop because of the lowness of the roof; there its glittering stalactites were ninety feet above us; and everywhere we had the most strange and wonderful visions of cavern scenery. Nowhere did we find regularity of forms, nor abundant reasons for many of the fanciful names given to the localities, which Cooke's valuable little guide-book contains.

This is not the place nor the occasion to describe this really great wonder

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of nature—a wonder worthy of a voyage across oceans and continents to see ;' so we will dismiss the consideration of it by saying that we ascended into upper air and the sunlight at a late hour in the afternoon, with appetites that gave a keen relish to a good dinner at Mohler's, for we had eaten nothing since breakfast. After dinner we rode on by a good highway, parallel with the Valley Pike, toward Staunton, passing the site of what is known as the Battle of Piedmont (to be mentioned hereafter) at sunset, and arrived at our destination at a late hour in the evening. We spent the next day (Sunday) in Staunton, and on Monday morning departed by railway for the scenes of strife eastward of the Blue Ridge, along the hollow of Rockfish Gap in that range, and through the great tunnel. Magnificent was the panorama seen on our right as we emerged from that dark artificial cavern in the mountains. Skirting the great hill-side along a terrace, we saw, a thousand feet below us, one of those beauteous and fertile valleys with which the mountain regions of Virginia abound. Others opened to our view as we descended gradually into the lower country. We passed the seat of Jefferson, near Charlottesville, at noon, dined at Gordonsville, and lodged that night at Culpepper Court-House. Our experience at the latter place will be considered hereafter.

1 This cave is seventeen miles northeast from Staunton, in the northern extremity of Augusta County. It is on the eastern side of a high hill that runs parallel with the Blue Ridge, and a little inore than two miles from il. It was accidentally discovered by a hunter-a German named Barnard Weyer-about the year 1804. A short distance from it, in the same hill, is Madison's Cave, so well described by Jefferson in his Notes on Virginia, at a time when this far greater cavo was unknown.

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