Abbildungen der Seite



to Strasburgh, on March 22d.

The object was to deceive the enemy, with the belief that the main body of our forces had advanced to Centreville. Gen. Shields, in his official report, thus states the movement and its results :

"I fell back to Winchester on the 20th, giving the movement all the appearance of a retreat. The last brigade of the first division of Banks corps d'armee, Gen. Williams commanding, took its departure for Centreville by way of Berryville, on the morning of the 22d, leaving only Shields' division and the Michigan cavalry in Winchester. Ashby's cavalry observing this movement from a distance, came to the conclusion that Winchester was being evacuated, and signalized Jackson to that effect. We saw their signal fires, and divined their import. On the 22d, about 5 o'clock P. M., they attacked and drove in our pickets. By order of Gen. Banks I put my command under arms, and pushed forward one brigade and two batteries of artillery to drive back the enemy, but, to keep him deceived as to our strength, only let him see two regiments of infantry, a small body of cavalry, and a part of the artillery. While directing one of our batteries to its position, I was struck by the fragment of a shell, which fractured my arm above the elbow, bruised my shoulder, and injured my side. The enemy being driven from his position, we withdrew to Winchester. The injury I had received completely prostrated me, but was not such as to prevent me from making the required dispositions for the ensuing day. Under cover of the night, I pushed forward Kimball's brigade, nearly three miles on the Strasburg road. Daum's artillery was posted in strong position to support his brigade if attacked. Sullivan's brigade was posted in the rear of Kimball's, and within supporting distance of it, covering all the approaches to the town by Cedar Creek, Front Royal, Berryville and Romney roads. This brigade and Broadhead's cavalry were held in reserve, so as to support our force in front at any point



where it might be attacked. These dispositions being made, I, rested for the night, knowing that all the approaches by which the enemy might penetrate to this place, were effectually guarded."

After the skirmish of the 22d, Gens, Shields and Banks, on full consultation, did not think that Jackson would hazard a general engagement "so far from his main supports," and, as Gen. Banks had been ordered to Washington, he started for that place on the 24th. Though not expecting an attack, yet the crafty enemy with whom he had to deal, compelled the greatest vigilance on the part of Gen. Shields.

About 10 o'clock of the following day, the enemy was reenforced by five infantry regiments, and two artillery batteries. They were soon ready, and had a strong force, numbering sixteen infantry regiments, five batteries, comprising twenty-eight pieces of artillery, and three battalions of cavalry, under the famous commanders Ashby and Stewart. The enemy's line of battle extended about one mile to the right of the village of Kernstown, and to the left a mile and three-fourths. In the rear of the enemy was a range of hills, along which ran a stone wall about four feet in height.

About half-past 10 o'clock, the rebels made a desperate attempt to turn our right flank. Five times did they rush from the cover of the woods and the stone wall, to be as often repulsed by the steady gallantry of the Union line, conspicnous in which was the 8th Ohio. Gen. Shields thus reports the principal operations of the field :

"Between 11 and 12 o'clock A. M., å message from Col. Kimball informed me that another battery on the enemy's right had opened on our position, and that there were some indications of a considerable force of infantry in the woods in that quarter. On receiving this information, I pushed forward Sullivan's brigade, which was placed, by order of Col. Kimball, in a position to oppose the advance of the enemy's right



wing. The action opened with a fire of artillery on bota sides, but at too great a distance to be very effective. The initiative was taken by the enemy. He pushed a few more guns to his right, supported by a considerable force of infantry and cavalry, with the apparent intention of enfilading our position and turning our left flank. An active body of skirmishers, consisting of the 8th Ohio, Col. Carroll, and three companies of the 675 Ohio, was immediately thrown forward on both sides of the valley road, to resist the enemy's advance. These skirmishers were admirably supported by four pieces of artillery under Captain Jenks, and Sullivan's gallant brigade. This united force repulsed the enemy at all points, and gave him such a check that no farther demonstration was made upon that flank, during the remainder of the day. The attempt against our left flank having thus failed, the enemy withdrew the greater part of his force to the right, and formed it into a reserve to support his left flank in a forward movement. He then added his original reserve and two batteries to his main body, and then, advancing with this combined column, under shelter of the bridge on his left, on which other batteries had been previously posted, seemed evidently determined to turn our right flank, or overthrow it. Our batteries on the opposite ridge, though admirably managed by their experienced chief, Lieut. Col. Daum, were soon found insufficient to check, or even retard, the advance of such a formidable body. At this stage of the combat a messenger arrived from Col. Kimball, informing me of the state of the field, and requesting direction as to the employment of the infantry. I saw there was not a moment to lose, and gave positive orders that all the disposable infantry should be immediately thrown forward on our right, to carry the enemy's batteries, and to assail and turn his left flank, and hurl it back on the center. Col. Kimball carried out these orders with promptitude and ability. He entrusted this movement


[merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors]


Famous for Dashing Raids. to Tyler's splendid brigade, which, under its fearless leader, Col. Tyler, marched forward with alacrity and enthusiastic joy to the performance of the most perilous duty of the day. The enemy's skirmishers were driven before it, and fell back upon the main body, strongly posted behind a high and solid STONE WALL, situated on an elevated ground. Here the

*This wall gave to the rebel commander the soubriquet of STONEWALL JACK. son, by which he has been subsequently distinguished.



struggle became desperate, and for a short time doubtful ; but Tyler's brigade being soon joined on the left by the 5th Ohio, 13th Indiana, and 62d Ohio, of Sullivan's brigade, and the 14th Indiana, 84th Pennsylvania, seven companies of the 67th Ohio, and three companies of the 8th Ohio, of Kimball's brigade, this united force dashed upon the enemy with a cheer and yell that rose high up above the roar of battle, and though the rebels fought desperately, as their piles of dead attest, they were forced back through the woods by a fire as destructive as ever fell on a retreating foe. Jackson, with his supposed invincible stonewall brigade and the accompanying brigades, much to their mortificatiou and discomfiture, were compelled to fall back in disorder upon their reserve. Here they took up a new position for a final stand, and made an attempt for a few minutes to retrieve the fortunes of the day ; but again rained down upon them the same close and destructive fire. Again cheer upon cheer rang in their ears. A few minutes only did they stand up against it, when they turned dismayed, and fled in disorder, leaving us in possession of the field, the killed and wounded, three hundred prisoners, two guns, four caissons and one thousand stand of small arms. Night alone saved them from total destruction. The enemy retreated about five miles, and, judging from his camp fires, took up a new position for the night. Our troops, wearied and exhausted with the fatigues of the day, threw themselves down to rest on the field."

The enemy's loss in this engagement, was six hundred killed and wounded, and three hundred prisoners. The Union loss was one hundred killed and about four hundred wounded.

Near the close of the engagement, Gen. Banks arrived on the field, for which he started to return on hearing the firing, and took command of the troops in person. Gen. Williams was ordered to return with his division, then on the march to Centreville. Gen. Banks pursued Jackson with about ten

« ZurückWeiter »