Clement Anselm Evans.

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Schenck's aggressive movement, which Fremont aban-
doned when his left was driven back by Ewell's iiank
movement on Blenker. Ewell's skirmishers followed
closely the Federal lines as they fell back to their origi-
nal position, but his inferior force and the approach of
night rendered it prudent for him to rest on his arms and
make no further aggressive movement, being well assured
that Fremont, after the experiences of the day, would
make no further advances. Ewell's loss was 287; Fre-
mont's, 664; small losses to either army considering the
issues involved, as this battle of Cross Keys, or Union
Church as the Federals call it, not only defeated but par-
alyzed Fremont's army, so that for the time being it
ceased to be a very important factor, in so far as Jackson
was concerned, in the field of action.

Taking a backward look, the movements of Shields
during those of Fremont just described, demand atten-
tion. Marching up the Luray valley, when he reached
Columbia bridge, 8 miles above Luray, he found that
destroyed, so he could not follow the turnpike which
there crossed the river, and found himself condemned to
follow the muddy common road, which made his progress
not only difficult, but extremely slow ; but he hastened
forward his advanced brigades to harass Jackson's flank,
which he expected to reach by the bridge at Conrad's
store, which he supposed his cavalry had held, and with
orders to go as far as Waynesboro and break the Virginia
Central railroad. Carroll's cavalry regiment led the
advance. It reached Conrad's store on the 4th, when
Shields ordered it to move rapidly forward and capture
the bridge at Port Republic ; but he could not follow in
consequence of the condition of the streams, swollen by
heavy rains, which crossed his road at right angles,
descending with rapid flow from the Blue ridge and
breaking up his command into fragments along the road,
his infantry support, on that day, being held back at
Naked creek, five miles below Carroll ; a fact which Cap-
tain Hotchkiss had communicated to General Jackson

Va 17


from his signal station on the Peak. On Saturday, June
7th, Carroll received fresh orders to press forward to
Waynesboro, some 37 miles, by way of Port Republic,
doing all the damage he could, in passing, to Jackson's
flank and rear. He marched that afternoon with less
than 1,000 infantry, a battery of six guns and 150 cav-
alry, and reached the vicinity of the Lewiston farm, six
miles below Port Republic, that night, where his scouts
informed him that Jackson's train, lightly guarded, was
parked near Port Republic. The same day Shields sent
Tyler's brigade from Columbia bridge to aid Carroll;
this reached Lewiston at 2 p. m. of the 8th. while the
battle of Cross Keys was raging.

On the morning of the 8th, while quiet reigned in
Jackson's camps near Port Republic, and just as the gen-
eral was mounting his horse to ride to Ewell's command,
Carroll, who had learned from renegade spies the condi-
tion of affairs at Port Republic, and whom he had for
guides, dashed forward with his cavalry and two pieces
of artillery, drove in the Confederate pickets, and, rapidly
crossing South river, took possession of the little village ;
and a portion of his force, turning to the right, with one
gun, seized the south end of the bridge over which the
road leading to Cross Keys crosses, and planted there a
piece of artillery, while another portion of his force turned
to the left to seize the trains parked to the southwest of
the town. Providentially, Jackson had time to ride rap-
idly across the bridge before the street was occupied by
the Federal cavalry, but a portion of his staff was cap-
tured and affairs were in a critical condition for a short
time. Capt. S. J. C. Moore had a few men of his com-
pany on picket at the western end of the town. These he
promptly rallied behind a fence and poured a checking
volley into the Federal cavalry pushing in that direction.
Carrington's not fully organized battery was in camp just
beyond, near the wagon train; Maj. R. L. Dabney, Jack-
son's chief of staff, who was remaining at headquarters
preparing to conduct religious services in Jackson's camps
at a later hour, hastened to this battery, the guns of
which were soon brought into position, and joined Cap-
tain Moore in a raking fire down the street, which forced
the Federals to retreat toward the bridge and to the shel-
ter of the houses in the cross streets. As soon as Jack-
son got across the bridge and gained the bluff beyond,


he took in the situation of affairs and brought into action
the forces which had encamped there ready for such an
emergency. Three batteries were quickly brought into
position, and fire was opened through the bridge, followed
by volleys from the infantry of Taliaferro's brigade,
which was promptly available as it was just then drawn
up for inspection. The Thirty-seventh Virginia charged
through the bridge and captured the gun, and Carroll's
force was rapidly driven back across South river, aban-
doning another gun. His infantry advance, coming" up
the river road to his support, was soon routed by the con-
centrated fire of three batteries from the bluff on the
north side of the river, and the whole Federal force was
quickly obliged to retreat, first toward the Blue ridge
along the Brown's gap road to get out of range of Jack-
son's artillery, and then back toward Lewiston, but still
subjected to the fire of the Confederate batteries that fol-
lowed along the bluff on the opposite side of the river for
over two miles, and shelled the retreat until it got out
of range. This affair lasted about an hour; Carroll
reported his loss as 40 men, two guns and 14 horses.
Jackson's cavalry that was picketing the road toward
Lewiston, had failed to do its duty and disgracefully fled
when Carroll advanced, and so Jackson had no warning
of his approach. This affair over, Jackson stationed
Taliaferro's brigade in the village, covering the fords of
South river, and marched the Stonewall brigade, with
artillery, to opposite Lewiston, to watch any further
advance of Shields' column, still holding a force in reserve
along the Cross Keys road to aid Ewell, if necessary, in
his contention with Fremont.

At this time Shields was still at Luray and writing to
Fremont, at 9:30 a. m., that he thought that at that
hour there would be 1 2 pieces of artillery opposite Jack-
son's train at Port Republic, and two brigades of infan-
try ; also that some artillery and cavalry had pushed on
to Waynesboro to burn the Virginia Central railroad
bridge, and that he himself would follow with two other
brigades. He wished to know if Jackson changed direc-
tion and hoped Fremont "will thunder down on his rear"
if he attempted to force a passage eastward, concluding,
"I think Jackson is caught this time."

Carroll remained quietly in the woods on the bluff
below Lewiston, to which he had retired on the morning


of the 8th, after his discomfiture at Port Republic, watch-
ing the Confederate batteries and their supports on the
bluffs across the river threatening destruction to his flank
if he should again advance. Tyler's infantry brigade of
about 3,000 men, accompanied by 16 guns, after floun-
dering through the mud from Conrad's store, joined Car-
roll about 2 p. m. Tyler concluded that his force was
too small to attack Jackson and create a diversion in
Fremont's favor, therefore he remained in bivouac with
Carroll the rest of the day.

Convinced that Fremont was either disposed of, or
could be kept at bay by a portion of Ewell's command,
Jackson provided for falling upon Shields' advance on
the morning of the 9th. A foot-bridge, made of the
running gear of heavy farm wagons pushed into the river
in a continuous line and planked over, was constructed
across South river, and at dawn Winder was ordered to
cross both rivers and march down the river road to attack
Shields, whose advance, under Tyler, had taken position
on the bluff of the terrace near Lewiston, overlooking
the wide bottom lands between that bluff and the South
Fork of the Shenandoah, with his infantry so disposed
that he could quickly swing on his left and throw them
into line of battle across the meadows and at right angles
to the general direction of the river and the road to Port
Republic. Ewell was instructed to leave Trimble's bri-
gade and part of Patton's to look after Fremont and to
follow Winder at an early hour with the rest of his com-
mand. Taliaferro's brigade was left with the batteries
■on the bluff north of the river, whence he could aid
Trimble in holding back Fremont at or near Cross Keys,
it being Jackson's intention, if he could quickly dispose
■of Shields' advance, to turn back with his whole force
and again attack Fremont in the afternoon of the 9th,
"but providing, in case he could not do this, for Trimble
to retire across the bridge and burn it, thus leaving Fre-
mont without the means of crossing to aid Shields or to
attack Jackson's rear.

By 5 o'clock in the morning of June 9th, Winder was
crossing South river and Jackson was moving with him
against the Federal troops at Lewiston, without waiting
for Taylor, whose brigade was following, but which was
delayed in crossing South river by a derangement of the
foot-bridge. Tyler had selected a strong position. Upon


his left, on a hearth leveled for burning charcoal, on the
slope of the terrace overlooking the stream valley and
from the crest of which a dense forest extended eastward,
for miles toward the Blue ridge, he placed six guns, with a
supporting force above them in the woods looking across
a ravine, through which a run made its way from the
mountains toward the river. His main body he disposed
along a narrow road at right angles to the main road and
leading to the river at Lewis' mill, the fences of which
were a good defense in his front, which was concealed by
an extensive field of standing wheat just ready for the
harvest. Tyler's command consisted of two Pennsyl-
vania, four Ohio, one West Virginia and one Indiana regi-
ment, with 1 6 guns, and a detachment of West Virginia
cavalry, in all about 3,000 men.

Nearing the Federal position. Winder deployed with
his right in the edge of the woods on the slope of the
same terrace occupied by Tyler's left, with the ravine
intervening, extending his left toward the river, placing
batteries in the road near his right and on swells of the
broad bottoms toward his left. The Lewiston farm-
house, with its numerous outbuildings, was between the
lines of the combatants near the foot of the wooded ter-
race. As he advanced. Winder soon found that his lines
were commanded and enfiladed by the Federal battery on
the coal hearth. He then sent Colonel Allen with two Vir-
ginia regiments and two guns into the forest on the ter-
race, on his right, to attempt to flank the Federal left and
capture the battery that was impeding his progress, but
he was met and promptly driven back by the superior
fire of that battery and by the volleys of the four Federal
regiments that were supporting it. To create a diver-
sion, he sent the Fifth Virginia to his left to attack the
Federal right, in which it met with some success, but
this was promptly checked by Tyler, who reinforced his
right with three regiments and drove the Fifth back
after a stubborn fight. Finding that his 1,200 men were
not equal to the enemy's tactic force, and that he was
getting the worst of the battle. Winder called upon Jack-
son, who was watching the combat just in the rear of its
center, for reinforcements. He sent Taylor's Seventh
Louisiana, with batteries, to the left, but the Federals
were still gaining ground in that direction. Just then
the main body of Taylor's brigade, led by Taylor him-


self, approached by the Port Republic road on which Jack-
son, all alone, was watching the contest and seeing that
the field was in danger of going against him. At that
moment Captain Hotchkiss joined him. Catching sight
of Taylor's advance, Jackson promptly ordered Hotch-
kiss to lead that command around through the forest,
turn the Federal left and capture the battery on the coal
hearth. The head of Taylor's column was promptly
turned to the right, and, in concealment, marched as
rapidly through the woods as the rough character of the
ground and the thick growth of young timber would
admit. Bearing well to the right, to be sure of completely
turning the Federal left, the head of this column had
nearly reached Deep Hollow, or Lewis' run, which flowed
through the ravine between the contending forces, when
an aide from General Winder informed the officer in
charge of the movement that unless an immediate attack
was made upon the Federal left he would be compelled to
give way and abandon the field. After a consultation, it
was agreed, in view of the present emergency, that the
flank movement should be abandoned and an immediate
attack, obliquing to the left, should be made upon the Fed-
eral position and battery across the ravine. Taylor quick-
ly formed his brave Louisianians and charged upon the
Federal position, from which a portion of the infantry
supports had been withdrawn by Tyler to strengthen his
right. Taylor's men, though opposed by a most galling fire
of musketry and artillery at short range, succeeded in cap-
turing the battery, but Tyler soon recaptured it with men
brought from his right, when Taylor again rallied his
forces and retook it ; and so the contention went on for
some time, for the possession of the Federal battery and
the point of vantage for victory.

In the meantime. Winder reinforced his left with three
regiments that had just come up, and ordered an advance
which checked the charge, aided by two regiments under
Scott, which Ewell had just sent in on his left, and capt-
ured and held the battery just as the Federals were start-
ing in retreat and attempting to carry off the guns,
although nearly all their horses had been killed. They
succeeded in taking away one gun, but the Confederate
attack was successful all along the line, and the Federals
were soon in full retreat, followed by Taliaferro's bri-
gade, which had just reached the field, joining with Win-


der in pursuit for over three miles, when Munford took it
up with his cavalry, recaptured the piece of artillery that
had been taken away, picked up many prisoners and fol-
lowed the Federal retreat until dark overtook him.

Tyler made a brave and gallant fight, hotly contesting
the possession of the field, on which he had so skillfully
posted his men and guns, and stubbornly resisting every
effort to drive him from it until Jackson's superior tactics
made it no longer tenable. His loss was 66 killed, 382
wounded, and 382 missing, a total of 830 ; or, as stated by
another Federal authority, 67 killed, 361 wounded and 574
missing, a total of 1,002, or fully one-third of his com-
mand — ^figures which tell the story of his courageous
fight in which brothers and kindred from western Vir-
ginia met in opposing regiments on the bloodiest part of
this decisive field of carnage.

Late in the forenoon, Fremont advanced against Trim-
ble near Cross Keys, and was driving him slowly back,
when Jackson thought it prudent to call him to the Lew-
iston, or Port Republic, battlefield, when he, with Talia-
ferro, withdrew as rapidly as possible, and without loss
crossed the bridge at Port Republic, which he burned
behind him and moved down toward the battlefield.
Fremont arrived on the bluffs, overlooking the field of
combat across the river, just in time to witness the retreat
of Tyler and engage in the safe but shameful business
of shelling the ambulances and the relief parties who
were engaged on the field in looking aftet the wounded
of both armies. Jackson quickly withdrew his men from
the range of Fremont's guns, by byways leading from
Lewiston through the woods directly to the mouth of
Brown's gap, where he established his headquarters, and
within which he gathered all his men in bivouac, but
some of them not until midnight. His losses in the Port
Republic battle were 816, killed, wounded and missing;
290 of these from Taylor's brigade, 199 from Winder's,
190 from Steuart's, and 128 from Elzey's. During the
day all of Jackson's trains were removed to the cove, or
amphitheatral basin, within Brown's gap, so that by the
morning of the loth, he was there concentrated and ready
to either take the offensive or to retire toward Richmond.

Jackson rested his wearied and well-nigh exhausted
men in their camps on the loth. Tyler met Shields com-
ing to reinforce him, at Conrad's store, and Fremont,


baffled at every turn, fell back to Harrisonburg on the
morning of that day and continued his retreat down the
valley on the nth and 12th, followed by Munford's cav-
alry, which crossed North river and reached Mt. Crawford
the night of the nth, and the next day took possession of
Harrisonburg and of the 200 wounded which Fremont
had left there. The latter did not halt, owing to "signifi-
cant demonstrations of the enemy, "as he says, until he
joined Banks and Sigel (Saxton's command) at Middle-
town, in the lower valley, to which point they had
advanced, respectively, from Williamsport and Harper's
Ferry. Shields continued his retreat to Luray, which he
reached on the 13th.

On the 12 th of June, as soon as he could cross South
river by fords made passable by his engineer, Jackson
moved his army from Brown's gap into the noble, park-
like oak forests between the forks of the Shenandoah, in
the vicinity of Weyer's cave and Mt. Meridian, where,
for five days of splendid June weather, he rested, recu-
perated and refitted his army, and where, as he pro-
claimed in general orders, " for the purpose of ren-
dering thanks to God for having crowned our arms with
success and to implore His continual favor," divine serv-
ice was held in the army on the 14th, during which the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered. Jack-
son issued another inspiring order to his men, June 13th,
in these words: "The fortitude of the troops under
fatigue and their valor in action have again, under the
blessing of Divine Providence, placed it in the power of
the commanding general to congratulate them upon the
victories of June 8th and 9th. Beset on both flanks by two
boastful armies, you have escaped their toils, inflicting,
successively, crushing blows upon each of your pursuers.
Let a few more such efforts be made, and you may confi-
dently hope that our beautiful valley will be cleaned from
the pollution of the invaders' presence. The major-
general commanding invites you to observe to-morrow
evening, June 14th, from 3 o'clock p. m., as a season of
thanksgiving, by a suspension of all military exercises,
and by holding divine service in the several regiments. ' '

It is interesting to review this Shenandoah Valley cam-
paign of 1862, which closed with the battles of Cross
Keys and Port Republic. It occupied just three months
— from the evacuation of Winchester. March nth, when


Jackson fell back with about 4,500 badly armed and
equipped men, before the advance of Banks with his.
30, 000, as well equipped and supplied as men could possi-
bly be, to the nth of June, when Fremont and Shields
were in full retreat for the lower valley and Jackson was
resting near the triple forks of the Shenandoah, the
acknowledged hero of one of the most famous campaigns
in history.

Regarding his retreat from Winchester in March as a.
confession of weakness, the Federal government at once
ordered the larger part of Banks' force from the Valley to
the support of McClellan's columns advancing on Rich-
mond. Marching rapidly from his apparent hiding in
retreat, Jackson fell, on the 23d of March, upon the re-
maining Federal force in the vicinity of Kernstown with
3,500 wearied men, and, though mistaken as to his
enemy's numbers, joined issue with Shields' 7,000, and
nearly becoming the victor on the battlefield, he compelled
the return to the Valley of all the Federals that had left
it, and to that extent weakened the Federal army mov-
ing toward Richmond and delayed its operations. Fall-
ing back from Kernstown, he drew Banks and his large
army, still further reinforced, after him to Harrisonburg,
where he disconcerted his pursuer by turning across to the
Blue ridge, to a safe position near Swift Run gap, where
he reorganized his army; submitted to Lee a plan of
campaign for freeing the Valley and the mountains be-
yond, of three threatening Federal advances ; got permis-
sion to carry out his designs, if he could do so with the aid
of Ewell's division, then across the Blue ridge from his
encampment, and with Johnson's brigade, which was
holding back Fremont's advance just west of Staunton.

On the last of April, while he was deceiving Banks at
Harrisonburg with a demonstration in his front, Ewell
crossed to the camps Jackson had evacuated, while he
took up his line of march, with his own immediate com-
mand, to join Edward Johnson, by a circuitous route,
which involved the crossing of the Blue ridge twice, thus
deceiving friend and foe alike. Joining Johnson on the
5th of May, he forced back Fremont's advance to
McDowell, where he defeated him in battle, on the 8th,
and followed after his retreat until it met his main body
at Franklin where he left the whole Federal force safely
disposed of on the 12th. Marching back to the Valley


and down it to near New Market, taking up Ewell's com-
mand in passing, he crossed the Massanutton mount-
ains, marched rapidly down the Page valley, and on the
24th fell on Banks' line of retreat, which his attack on
Front Royal, on the 23d, had forced from Strasburg,
whither he had retired on learning that Ewell had rein-
forced Jackson at Conrad's store (Elkton). Defeating
Banks in a pitched battle at Winchester on the 25th,
capturing many prisoners and great quantities of stores,
he drove the remnant of Banks' army across the Poto-
mac at Williamsport, and made a demonstration at Har-
per's Ferry from the 28th to the 31st, as if he would move
on Washington. Thus he threw the Federal govern-
ment into consternation, causing it to order McDowell,
who with 40,000 men had reached Fredericksburg on his
way to join McClellan, to turn from his course and march
to the Valley to oppose him ; to order Fremont to with-
draw from his advance toward Staunton, to co-operate
with McDowell in blocking Jackson's way out at Stras-
burg, and to order a formidable force to Harper's Ferry,
until more than 60,000 men were on the march to contend
with his 16,000. Keeping up his threatening attitude
until his converging foes were but a day's march from a
junction at Strasburg, he then, having saved his captures
and his prisoners, fell rapidly back and safely escaped
those gathering to entrap him ; divided this great force
by calling to his aid the great topographic bulwarks of
the Valley, and drew a portion of his foes under Fremont
again to Harrisonburg, and to a chosen field of engage-
ment at Cross Keys, where he dealt Fremont a stagger-
ing blow which caused him to halt and hesitate, while on
the next day, June 9th, he met McDowell's advance com-
ing up the eastern valley, which by his precautions he
had kept from joining Fremont, and drove it back in
total defeat. These two armies, which he had so success-
fully outgeneraled, halted not in their retreat until they
were again safe in the lower valley.

During these three months Jackson had marched more
than 500 miles, fought five pitched battles, and had
numerous engagements with the armies of his enemy.
On June nth. General Lee wrote to Jackson from Rich-
mond: "Your recent successes have been the cause of
the liveliest joy in this army as well as in the country.
The admiration excited by your skill and boldness has


been constantly mingled with solicitude for your situa-

The time had now come when it was necessary for Gen-
eral Lee to concentrate all his forces at Richmond to meet
the threatened attack of the great army of the Potomac,
which was now in position to the north and northeast of
Richmond, within sight of the spires of its churches.
Jackson's brilliant Valley campaign had delayed McClel-

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 26 of 153)