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in advance ; and Gordon's and Wharton's divisions crossed
the Shenandoah and encamped on its western side, be-
tween Snicker's ferry and Berry ville, while the other
divisions encamped on both slopes of the Blue ridge.
McCausland followed after the trains to Ashby's gap,
and Johnson marched on roads to protect the right flank
from the enemy at Hillsboro, who had come in from Har-
per's Ferry, but he failed in doing this and an attack was
made on the train, in passing through Purcellville, and
some damage done ; but the attack was soon repulsed, and
a piece of artillery captured from the attacking party.
McCausland crossed the river and went to the vicinity of
Millwood.

On the 1 7th of July, the entire army got into camps on
the western side of the Shenandoah, near Castleman's



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 485

ferry. Imboden went to Millwood, McCausland to
Salem church, Jackson toward Charlestown, and John-
son farther to the left. The cavalry holding the rear
fought the enemy's advance, on that day, at Snicker's
gap of the Blue ridge. On the i8th the pursuing enemy
crossed the Blue ridge at Snicker's gap, and made a furi-
ous attack on the Confederate camps, with their artillery
on the bluffs overlooking the Shenandoah from the east.
They attempted to cross the river at Cool Springs, but
were met by Rodes and Wharton and driven back with
considerable loss, Gordon engaging them at the same
time near Castleman's ferry. In advancing across the
mountain, the enemy met a lively cavalry contention. On
the 19th an attempt was again made to cross the Shenan-
doah at Berry's ferry, from Ashby's gap, but this was
frustrated and considerable loss inflicted on the enemy
by the cavalry brigades of Imboden and McCausland.

On the 20th of July, Ramseur's division, with the cav-
alry of Vaughn and Jackson, which had been sent to
Winchester the night before, marched out three miles
toward Martinsburg, when it was vigorously attacked at
Rutherford's farm, by Averell's Federal division of cav-
alry, its left flank turned and the entire force signally
defeated, but saved from utter rout by Jackson's cavalry,
which charged to the front and covered the retreat. One
of the most notable instances of womanly courage and
devotion was displayed upon this battlefield during the
succeeding night, when one of the many noble women of
the Valley that had gathered to care for the Confederate
wounded, Miss Russell, held in her lap, during the entire
night, the head of a Confederate soldier who could not
be moved without the risk of his life, and thus saved him
from death.

In the afternoon of the 20th, the trains were started up
the Valley toward Newtown, and during the night Breck-
inridge's corps, consisting of Gordon's and Wharton's
divisions, followed by McCausland, marched to Cedarville
by way of Millwood, and on the 20th, to Middletown on
the Valley turnpike. Rodes marched through White
Post and on to Newtown, while Ramseur, having covered
the evacuation of Winchester, marched to Kemstown.

The army marched to Cedar creek on the 21st, slowly
followed by the enemy with a large force ; on the 2 2d the
march was continued to the vicinity of Strasburg, the



486 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

army encamping on Hupp's hill. McCausland moved
to the vicinity of Front Royal. On the 23d, the enemy's
cavalry attacked Early's rear guard near Newtown, but
was driven back to Kernstown. McCausland's brigade
marched up the North Fork of the Shenandoah from near
Front Royal, to the vicinity of Buckton; the army re-
maining in camp near Strasburg, resting and cleaning up.

Having sent his prisoners, and the trains not needed, to
the rear, and concentrated and rested his army, General
Early again made a forward movement on the 24th, and
marched toward Winchester, Gordon in front, preceded by
Vaughn's cavalry, with Johnson on the right flank, Jack-
son on the left on the middle road, and Imboden on the
back road. The enemy's pickets were driven in at Bar-
tonsville, and the cavalry engaged them, at Kernstown,
at 10 a. m. The infantry following soon came up, and a
line of battle was formed, with Wharton on the right and
Gordon on the left of the Valley turnpike, and Ramseur
still further to the left on the middle road. Wharton
soon turned the enemy's left flank, and they retreated in
confusion from Stonewall Jackson's first battlefield of
his famous Valley campaign. Johnson engaged the
enemy's cavalry on the Front Royal road, and Rodes was
moved across to cut off their retreat. They made des-
perate efforts to repulse the Confederate attack, but were
pressed vigorously, not only by the cavalry, but also by
Rodes and Gordon, through Winchester, and the infantry
pursuit continued to Stephenson's and the cavalry to
Bunker Hill, forcing them to burn and abandon
70 wagons and 12 caissons. The Confederate artillery
did excellent work during this second Kernstown- Win-
chester engagement. The army went into camp between
Winchester and Stephenson's. McCausland's cavalry
marched that day by way of [Cedarville to Winchester
and on to Stephenson's. The Federal forces retreated
toward the Potomac, the Confederate cavalry following
to Martinsburg, where it had a lively skirmish with the
Federal rear guard.

On the 25th, there was a heavy rain in the morning,
after which the army marched to Bunker Hill. The
cavalry, following the enemy to Martinsburg, again had
a lively skirmish with its rear guard, covering its retreat
across the Potomac. On the 26th, General Early marched
to Martinsburg and encamped in its vicinity ; the cavalry



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 487

continuing to opposite Williamsport, Md. The 27 th and
38th were spent in destroying the Baltimore & Ohio rail-
road in the vicinity of Martinsburg, the cavalry guarding
the flanks of the army.

On the 27th of July, McCausland, with his own and
Johnson's brigades of cavalry, started on a memorable
raid to Chambersburg, Pa. , by way of Clear Spring, Md. ,
where he encamped that night, reaching Chambersburg,
by way of Mercersburg and St. Thomas, on the 30th, and
demanding a named sum of money as an indemnity for
the wanton burning of the house of Hon. A. R. Boteler,
near Martinsburg, and that of Governor \ Letcher, by
Hunter, in Lexington ; declaring, at the same time, that
if the indemnity were not paid, he would burn the town
in retaliation and to put a stop to such vandalism. Pay-
ment was not made, and the town was given over to the
flames. The same day McCausland marched to McCon-
nellsburg for the night, and on the 31st fell back to the
Potomac, at Hancock, then followed the National road to
Cumberland, August ist, and thence down that river to
Old Town, where he crossed into Virginia and encamped
that night at Springfield. The next day he marched up
the South branch of the Potomac to Romney, where he
spent the 3d ; then on the 4th he crossed over to New
Creek, then back to Burlington and on to Moorefield on
the 6tli, where he was attacked and surprised in his camp
by Averell's cavalry that had been following him, and
driven out with loss and in confusion toward Lost river,
which his shattered forces reached on the 7th. On the
8th, he rejoined the army at Mt. Jackson, in the Shenan-
doah valley.

On the 29th of July, Rodes and Ramseur marched to
Williamsport, their skirmishers driving the enemy to
Shepherdstown and clearing the way for McCausland to
cross at McCoy's ford. The enemy's cavalry fired on
their line of march at Falling Waters. After the passing
•of McCausland, the infantry returned to the Virginia side
to encamp. These divisions fell back to Martinsburg on
the 30th, and on the 31st to Bunker Hill, between which
and Darkesville the entire army encamped, and where it
remained during the ist, 2d and 3d of August.

On the 4th of August, Breckinridge's corps, to draw
attention from McCausland, advanced to Shepherdstown,
"by way of Leetown, while Rodes and Ramseur marched.



488 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

by way of Martinsburg, to Hainesville. On the 5th,
Breckinridge crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and
encamped near St. James college, between Williamsport
and Hagerstown. On the 6th, Rodes and Ramseur re-
turned to Virginia, by way of Williamsport, and encamped
at Hammond's mill, while Breckinridge recrossed to the
Virginia shore opposite Williamsport, by way of Tilgh-
manton. Some of the Confederate cavalry made a dem-
onstration as far as Hagerstown.

On the 7 th of August, the march of the army was con-
tinued, through Martinsburg, to the former camps at
Bunker Hill and Darkesville. There General Early
received information that a large Federal force was being
concentrated at [Harper's Ferry; and on that day the
Middle military division of the United States army, con-
sisting of the Middle department and the departments of
Washington, of the Susquehanna and of West Vir-
ginia, was constituted, and Maj. -Gen. Philip H. Sheridan,
of the United States army, was assigned to its command.
Upon that day it is generally considered that the Val-
ley campaign of Early and Sheridan began.

The preceding details as to the marches, encampments
and engagements of the army of the Valley District,
commanded by General Early, may be thought confusing
and uninstructive ; but in no other way can so good an
idea be given of the boldness and energy, as well as of
the strategic and tactic ability of the commander of that
army. It is hoped that these details will also show the
reader that Early had not only toughened and disciplined
his little army, by keeping it constantly employed and in
fighting trim, but had, in the best manner possible, im-
pressed upon the authorities at Washington the necessity
for bringing from Grant's army a large contingent of
veteran troops and placing them in command of a leader
of acknowledged ability and forceful activity, if they
would protect the capital of the nation from assault, pre-
vent incursions into the rich territory of the adjacent
States of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and especially if
they would keep open the great line of communication
for the transport of supplies and the moving back and
forth of armies that the Baltimore & Ohio railroad had
proven to be.

It is ■y^rell for the narrative to pause, to call attention
to the fact that the bold movements of Early had not



CONFEDERA TE MILITARY HISTORY. 489

only removed the apprehensions of Lee as to an attack in
his rear by the large force that had been intrusted to
Hunter, but had relieved Lee in the defense of
Richmond by the distraction caused by the Maryland
campaign, and the withdrawal of so many men from
Grant's besieging army; also to consider the heroic
achievements of this little army of men in the brief
period from June 13th to August 7th, during which it had
made direct marches from Richmond to beyond Lynch-
burg, into the Valley near Salem, then down the Valley
into Maryland and to the very gates of Washington,
fighting two important battles and engaging the enemy
in uncounted skirmishes and engagements worthy of
record. No less remarkable was Early's masterly re-
treat from Washington, back into the Shenandoah valley,
warding off blows that from all sides were aimed at his
movements, and giving better ones in return, so that he
was not only able to maintain himself and provide for his
army in the lower valley, but to destroy long stretches
of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, and exact tribute from
a wealthy Pennsylvania town for the wanton destruction
of the private property of prominent citizens in Virginia.

The student of military history can but be impressed
with the way in which Early dealt with Hunter; with
the boldness and ability of his treatment of the defensive
garrison occupying the strong position on Maryland
heights at Harper's Ferry, merely toying with it in
advancing and then, unhesitatingly, leaving it in his rear
and ignoring it in passing pn to Washington, a treatment
quite unlike that of Lee's ever memorable Maryland
campaign ; the promptness and originality of his attacks
on Lew Wallace, at Monocacy, when he landed a bri-
gade of infantry on his enemy's flank, across a deep
river, by the unheard of device of having each man of a
brigade of cavalry take an infantrjmian behind him, in a
dash through the river, and thus enable him to surprise
the enemy by turning his flank with an infantry force,
supported by a wing of cavalry, from a direction sup-
posed to be unapproachable, and, so far as the writer
knows, introducing to armies a novel method of move-
ment and attack.

After spending August 8th and 9th in his camps at
Bunker Hill and Darkesville, Early fell back to Ste-
phenson's depot and sent Breckinridge to the mouth of



490 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

Abraham's creek, where he encamped, while Ramseur
marched to Winchester, to meet a reported advance of
the enemy from Romney, Rodes remaining at Stephen-
son's. The Federal advance made demonstrations on
the Martinsburg, the Berryville and the Millwood roads,
in the afternoon of the loth, but was easily repulsed. On
the morning of the nth. Early concentrated his forces
and formed a line of battle covering the approaches to
Winchester from the east and southeast, also from the
south and southwest. Ramseur observed the Front
Royal road, Breckinridge the roads leading to Berr3rville
and Millwood, and Rodes the one leading to Martinsburg.
Some skirmishing and cannonading took place on the Mill-
wood road, but it was soon ascertained that the Federal
forces were aiming to reach the Valley turnpike, in Ear-
ly's rear; to check this, Gordon was moved to the vicin-
ity of Newtown, and took position covering the approaches
to that place from the south and southeast, the remainder
of the army following. About dark, Gordon had a brisk
skirmish with the enemy, repulsing them, at the double
toll-gate, where the turnpike road leading fronl Charles-
town, by way of Berryville, Millwood and White Post,
intersects the turnpike leading from Winchester to Front
Royal, by which Sheridan was advancing to get in
Early's rear. The latter encamped in the vicinity of
Newtown.

On the morning of the 12th, the Confederate army
inarched, took position, and formed a line of battle
behind Cedar creek, the enemy forming on the north
side, and the armies engaged in skirmishing. In the
afternoon Early retired beyond Strasburg to Fisher's
hill, posting cavalry on his flanks and in front. The
next day a line of d.efense was selected on Fisher's hill,
following the bluff on the south bank of Tumbling run
and extending from the North Fork of the Shenandoah
northwest across the valley to the back road and the
Little North mountain. Along this, rude intrenchments
were made. On the 14th the enemy's skirmishers
advanced across Cedar creek and engaged those of Early.
A detachment of Federal troops drove the Confederate
signal men from the peak on the end of Three-top mount-
ain, or Massanutton ; but this was soon driven off, with
loss, by a detachment of sharpshooters, and this admir-
able point of observation recovered. On the 15 th the



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 491

enemy's pickets were driven across Cedar creek and his
position reconnoitered from the commanding point in the
Valley turnpike, near Stickley's, overlooking his camps
along Cedar creek.

The reinforcements sent by Lee to Early, under Ander-
son, marching by way of Front Royal, had their pickets
attacked by the enemy at Guard hill, on the road from
Front Royal to Winchester, to Anderson's disadvantage.
This was followed by the Kernstown-Winchester engage-
ment. On the morning of the 17th, apprised of the
approach of additional troops to Early's assistance,
by the skirmish at Guard hill, the enemy fell back from
Cedar creek, burning barns and hay and grain ricks as
they retired down the Valley, in order to destroy the
subsistence on which Early depended for a supply for his
army. Pursuit was immediately begun, down the Valley
turnpike, with McCausland's cavalry in front, followed
l)y Gordon, and with Jackson's cavalry on the Middle
road and Johnson's on the back road. The enemy was
'Overtaken at Kernstown and his skirmishers driven in,
when if was found that his cavalry was supported by a
brigade of infantry, posted on Bower's hill, in front of
Winchester. Early promptly formed in line of battle,
with a brigade of Wharton's division on his left and Ram-
seur's sharpshooters on his right. These advancing about
dark, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, drove
the enemy from the hill and through Winchester, Mc-
■Causland having helped the movement by marching to
the right of Winchester and coming in by the Berryville
road. General Anderson, with Kershaw's division of
infantry and Fitz Lee's of cavalry, advanced by the
Front Royal road and encamped on the Opequan.

On the 1 8th, Rodes pushed out a reconnoissance on the
Berryville road and Ramseur on the Martinsburg road,
-while Anderson came forward and encamped on the
Front Royal and Millwood road, and Wharton and Gor-
don encamped on Abraham's creek, near Winchester. Mc-
Causland pushed the advance to Stephenson's depot, on
the road to Martinsburg and Shepherdstown. On the
20th there was some cavalry skirmishing along the Ope-
quan.

On the 2ist, Early marched from Bunker Hill to the
vicinity of Charlestown, driving the Federal cavalry
from the line of the Opequan back upon an infantry sup-



492 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

port near Cameron station, and, engaging these about
9 a. m. , he drove them toward Charlestown, in front of
which some severe skirmishing took place; he also
shelled the enemy's position. The Federals threw up
rude fortifications in front of their lines and boldly re-
sisted. Early encamped in front of the enemy near Cam-
eron station. Vaughn's, Johnson's and Jackson's bri-
gades of cavalry advanced to Leetown and then crossed
to the vicinity of Charlestown ; while McCausland's cavalry
brigade followed the enemy's cavalry from the Opequan
to Summit Point and covered the left of Rodes' advance.
Fitz Lee, advancing his cavalry division by way of Berry-
ville, engaged the enemy on that road, while Anderson
forced them back on the Summit Point road. The
enemy retired during the night, and on the morning of
the 2 2d his cavalry was driven through Charlestown, and
Early established his line of battle in the immediate front
of that place, with Fitz Lee on his right and Lomax on
his left. Anderson came to the vicinity of Charlestown.
The army remained in this position on the 23d and
24th, extending its left along the Leetown road. The
Federals drove in Early's pickets on the 24th; but they
were easily repulsed and driven to within the defenses of
Harper's Ferry.

On the 25 th of August, leaving Anderson in front of
Charlestown, with cavalry on his flanks, Early marched
for Shepherdstown, by way of Leetown, with Wharton
in front, and while on the march stumbled on Wilson's
and Merritt's large divisions of Federal cavalry, which
were starting on a reconnoissance up the Valley and had
halted in a piece of woods to feed and rest, about two
miles from Leetown, neither party expecting to meet the
other. After some confusion, which was soon checked.
Early formed a line of battle and boldly advanced, forc-
ing the enemy back rapidly, although he met with bold
and determined contention, during which artillery was
used, through Keameysville, on the Baltimore & Ohio
railroad, to near Shepherdstown, where another brave
stand was made and the opposing forces engaged in com-
bat until dark, when part of the Federal cavalry, under
Custer, escaped across the Potomac and part of it toward
Harper's Ferry. Early's infantry encamped near Shep-
herdstown. The cavalry divisions of Fitz Lee and
Lomax, preceding Early from Charlestown, met at Lee-



CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. 493

town, advancing by way of Smithfield, and went on to
the Potomac at Williamsport, by way of Martinsburg,
where they had an artillery duel with the enemy across
the river, the next day. During the Kearneysville com-
bat. Early sent Gordon's division around to the Federal
flank, where that incomparable fighter and his fighting
division made valorous and telling charges, in one of
which Gordon was wounded in the face, by a saber slash.

On the 26th the army marched back to Leetown, with
Ramseur in advance. The cavalry marched to Shep-
herdstown, after its artillery engagement at Williams-
port. In the afternoon, the Federals from Harper's
Ferry made an attack on Anderson's comparatively
small force at Charlestown, which he repulsed. On the
27th the army marched to its old camps at Bunker
Hill; Rodes by way of "The Bower," and Ramseur by
way of Smithfield. Anderson fell laack from Charles-
town, by way of Smithfield and Brucetown, to Stephen-
son's. The cavalry that had been left at Charlestown
retired to Smithfield, but was ordered back to hold its
position in front of Charlestown. On the 28th the
enemy's cavalry attacked Early's and compelled it to
cross the Opequon. After a brisk engagement at Smith-
field, Fitz Lee retired toward Brucetown, and Lomax
toward Bunker Hill, thus allowing the enemy to occupy
Smithfield, in the vicinity where they burned barns
and houses. To stop this vandalism, Ramseur was ad-
vanced and crossed the Opequon, driving in the Federal
cavalry; and Early's infantry, aided by sharp artil-
lery practice, drove the Federals back across the Opequon,
and from some rude works which they had constructed
in front of Smithfield, and then returned to camp, leav-
ing the cavalry behind. These the enemy again engaged
in the afternoon and drove them back across the Ope-
quon. McCausland advanced videttes on Gordon's right,
from his position at Beeson's ford. Quiet prevailed on
the 30th; but the enemy made some demonstrations
along the Opequon on the 31st, which were met by the
cavalry. On that day Anderson moved back to near
Winchester, and Rodes marched to Martinsburg and
back, on a reconnoissance.

Quiet prevailed September ist, but on the 2d the enemy
was reported as moving in force from Harper's Ferry
and Charlestown toward Berryville. Early marched



494 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

three divisions of infantry, preceded by cavalry, across
the country to near Stone's chapel, on a reconnoissance,
Vaughn's brigade of cavalry, which had been left at Bun-
ker Hill, having been stampeded by Averell's, the
enemy was enabled to get on Johnson's flank and rout
the whole command, capturing wagons, etc. Rodes, who
had been left at Stephenson's, learning of this attack,
moved forward rapidly and drove the enemy back to
Bunker Hill. In the afternoon, in consequence of this
attack. Early returned to camps in the vicinity of Bruce-
town and Stephenson's, McCausland moving from Bruce-
town to Rodes' right. Fitz Lee and Anderson moved
toward Berryville, intending to recross the Blue ridge
the next day, on the way to Richmond ; Lee, hard pressed
at Petersburg, having requested Early to return to him
these troops. Early intended to move toward Charles-
town the next day and engage the enemy's attention dur-
ing Anderson's movement.

On the 3d of September, Sheridan started two divisions
of cavalry, from near Charlestown, through Berryville
and White Post, to raid on Early's rear, while he followed
with his large infantry force to reoccupy his former posi-
tion near Berryville. Fitz Lee, marching to cover Ander-
son's right, encountered the advance of Sheridan's cav-
alry, on the 3d, near White Post. He retired toward
Newtown to guard Early's rear. Anderson, resuming
his march on the 4th, crossed the Opequan, and between
that stream and Berryville unexpectedly encountered
part of Crook's corps, the advance of Sheridan's infantry
movement, occupying an earthwork in front of Berryville
and barring his progress. He promptly massed an attack
and drove the enemy out of its works and back upon the
main body of Sheridan's army, which he found occupy-
ing and fortifying a strong position, extending for over
two miles along the Berryville and Summit Point road.

Informed of Anderson's engagement and the host he
had encountered, and comprehending the critical posi-
tion in which he was placed. Early abandoned his contem-
plated movement toward Charlestown, and at daylight,,
on the 4th, marched with three of his divisions for relief
and support, leaving Gordon's division, the infantry por-
tion of Anderson's command, audaciously extended as a
strong skirmish line along Sheridan's entire front; aware
that the Federal cavalry, returning from its raid, which



Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 48 of 153)