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468

CUMBERLAND GAP TAKEN.

secessionists plotted around him, and spies lurked on every side. Even the mayor and common council of the city refused to take the oath of allegiance, while most of the clergy openly defied him. His sway though quiet, was firm, and his gloved hand closed like iron on traitors, no matter what their rank, or how sacred their profession. The clergy who refused to take the oath of allegiance were thrown into prison to await a convenient opportunity to be sent south to the governme t they upheld.

In the mean time General Morgan took possession of Cumberland Gap, which was considered the key to East Tennessee. The position was too strong to be taken by a direct attack, and after taking his division across a difficult country, he ascende! the precipitous sidəs of the Pine and Cumberland mountains, dragging his artillery up after him by the aid of klock and tackle—two hundred men being required to bring up each piece. He thus succeeded in flanking the position, which, as soon as the astonished rebels discovered, they, on the eighteenth abandoned it without risking a battle. It was now hoped that East Tennessee would be released from its thraldom, and the day of deliverance come to the thousands of Unionists in whom for a long time "hope deferred had made the heax. sick."

CHAPTER XXXVII,

JUNE, 1862

FREMONT STARTS IN PURSUIT OF JACKSON-HIS ENERGY-HIS CAVALRY AM

BUSHED-BATTLE OF CROSS KEYS-RETREAT OF JACKSON AND ATTACK ON SHIELDS' ADVANCE, AT PORT REPUBLIC-ABANDONMENT OF THE PURSUITPUBLIC DISAPPOINTMENT,AT JACKSOY'S ESCAPE-OBJECT OF HIS RAID-PERPLEXITY OF GOVERNMENT-THE PRESIDENT REORGANIZES THE VIRGINIA DE

PARTMENT GENERAL POPE PLACED IN COMMAND-HIS ADDRESS TO THE

ARMY--MOVEMENT AGAINST CHARLESTON-BATTLE OF JAMES ISLAND-HEROISM OF THE EIGHTH MICHIGAN AND SEVENTY-NINTH HIGHHANDCKS-OUR

DEFEAT-CAUSE OF-DISGRACE OF BENHAM.

ments of still greater magnitude were taking place and the Atlantic slope. Fremont no sooner received the orders from Washington to intercept Jackson in his retreat from Winchester, than he put

his
army

in motion. He left Franklin on Sunday, the twenty-fifth of May, and striking across the Shenandoah mountains, carried his enthusiastic columns with all his artillery trains and wagons over roads that would have seemed impassable to a less energetic man. Accomplishing a march of a hundred miles during the week, he arrived on the first of June, within five miles of Strasburg, where he overtook Jackson in full retreat. Colonel Cluseret commanding the advance brigade came upon the enemy strong. ly posted with artillery, which immediately opened on him. Fremont in the rear, rapidly brought forward his main col. umn, and formed in line of battle. The rebel leader however, declined the fight. He could not afford to stop here and risk a battle, while a strong force was marching from Fredericksburg up the Shenandoan to intercept his passage,

and Banks was hurrying back from the Potomac to avenge his late disa

470

FREMONT PURSUES JACKSON.

asters. · A storm was gathering around him which, daring and skillful as he was, would tax all his resources to avoid. Fremont was unable to follow up the pursuit that night, on account of the fatigue of his men, and a heavy thunder storm, which made the night as dark as Erebus. The next morning, however, he commenced the pursuit, and the advance of McDowell's force under General Bayard arriving, it was hurried forward, and cavalry and artillery thundered after the retreating enemy. The latter made successive stands with his artillery, and skirmishing was kept up all'day. Fremont however, with that sleuth-hound tenacity which characterized him, pressed on his flying traces with a vigor bordering on ferocity, and which gave the rebels not a moment's rest. Day after day his cannon thundered on his rear, until Jackson reached the north fork of the Shenandoah, which he rapidly crossed, burning the bridge behind him. Fremont immediately hurried up his pontoon train, but a tremendous rain storm was raging, which so swelled the stream with the torrents it sent tumbling from the mountains, that a day elapsed before he could cross. It was a lucky storm for Jackson, for it gave him an opportunity to rest his wearied troops. The next day, however, Fremont was upon him again, and Jackson found that he had to deal with an enemy as tireless, and rapid in his movements as himself. Continuing to fall back towards Harrisonburg, his rear guard harassed at every step by our cavalry and artillery, he on the fifth passed rapidly through it. The latter entered the town on the evening of the sixth. When the cavalry force had come up, eight hundred in all under Colonel Wyndham, the latter was directed to advance a short distance beyond the town to reconnoitre. Sweeping through the main street of the place at a rapid trot, and turning to the left at the farther end, he passed through some fields to a hill overlooking an open valley beyond. Skirmishers were sent out to ascertain the whereabouts of the

AMBUSH OF CAVALRY

471

enemy, but sailing to get any satisfactory information he decided to advance still further. Proceeding on a brisk trot for about two, miles, he came upon the rebel cavalry drawn up in line across the road, and stretching through the fields to the woods on cither side. Without waiting to send out skirmishers to feel their flanks and ascertain whether there was a supporting body of infantry, he ordered a charge. The bugles rang out, and along the road, up the slope, the clattering squadron dashed on a gallop. A large wheat field, well grown, spread away on the right of the road before the rebel line was reached, and in this lay concealed several hundred rebel infantry. The moment the close packed squadrons came opposite this field the ambushed enemy opened a close and deadly volley which threw into irrecoverable confusion the leading battalion. Colonel Wyndham's horse was shot under him, and he taken prisoner, and Captain Shelmire who bravely endeavored to rally the men was killed. The officers dashed hither and thither to restore order, horses reared and plunged, and the fierce riders jostled each other in the nar. row way, but the broken squadron could not be re-formed and fell back pell-mell down the hill. The second squadron sce. ing the disaster, endeavored to pass into the woods on the left, to escape the fire of the infantry alici a tack the bel cavalry in flank, but the movement came too late radi the whole force fell back in confusion.

A large body of infantry under General Bayard was immediately ordered forward to retrieve the disaster, and among them a portion of the “Bucktail” regiment of Pennsylvania. The latter had scarcely taken position when they were at. tacked by a whole brigade of the enemy. Yet they main. tained their ground with daring resolution, doing fearful execution with their deadly rifles, till, with their commander, Colonel Kane, wounded and a prisoner, and nearly half of their number killed and wounded, they were compelled to

472

BATTLE OF CROSS KEYS

yield the field. The enemy lost a large number in killed and wounded, and among the former was the famous rebel cavalry leader Ashby. From the commencement of the war, he had been distinguished for his daring and successful movements, and his loss was a severe blow to the enemy. Jackson now took up a strong position eight miles from Harrisonburg, determined to give Fremont battle.

BATTLE OF CROSS KEYS.

On Sunday the eighth, Fremont having determined to fight him whenever and wherever found, advanced to the attack. Jackson had planted himself in an amphitheatre of hills, a position so admirably fitted for defense that he was confident double his own force could not dislodge him. He had been over this ground before, and knew the range of every hill, so that from the outset he could fling his shot and shell with terrible precision on an advancing enemy.

Milroy commanded the center, Schenck the right; Blenker the left-the advance being the little brigade of Cluserety consisting of the Eighth Virginia, Sixtieth Ohio, and the Garibaldi Guard. The line advietā slowly and cautiovely, driving the rebel skirmishers before it. Descending intu an open valley, the cluster of hills, covered with woods on their summits in which the enemy were concealed, lay before them. Fremont took his position on a commanding eminence, and anxiously watched the movements of his columns as they advanced to the attack. Wishing to ascertain the position of the enemy's batteries, Schenck threw some shells into the woods in front, but not a shot replied. In the mean time Cluseret's brave little brigade moved steadily over the rolling ground, their bayonets gleaming in the summer sun, till the woods on the right swallowed them fron sight. In a few minutes, the sharp rattle of muskeiry was heard, and by

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