Today in History:

22 Series I Volume XII-I Serial 15 - Second Manassas Part I

Page 22 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

day from this place. If the enemy changes direction you will please keep me advanced. If he attempts to force a passage, as my force is not large there yet, I hope you will thunder down on his rear. Please send back information from time to time. I think Jackson is caught this time.

Yours, sincerely,


Major-General, Commanding Division.

This was most welcome intelligence. Hitherto I had received no direct information from General Shields, and beyond the fact that he was somewhere near Luray I had no positive knowledge of his where about or intentions. As the moment approached when it became of critical importance that we should act together I had the day before pushed my scouts into the Luray Valley. Several of them were taken by the enemy, but one succeeded in reaching me with this letter. With the certainly now that General shields was already holding the bridge in force I at once decided to defer until morning a renewal of the battle. My men had been marching and fighting since early in the morning. They were fatigued and hungry and needed rest, and I knew they required every advantage I could give. I there fore directed the command to bivouac and operations for the day to be brought to a close. My force was established for the eight upon the line B B, Colonel Cluseret's brigade being withdrawn into the woods near Union Church, and our pickets remaining, as stated, in occupation of other points of the battle ground.

The night was busily spent in preparations to have the command in readiness for a general advance, planned to take place in the morning, and in gathering and caring for the wounded and burying the dead. My loss during the day in killed, wounded, and missing had been upward of 600.* At dawn the enemy was found to have retired from his lines in our immediate front. At about 7.30 a. m. the line was extended, and at a give signal, expecting very soon to come upon the enemy in position, the command moved forward, maintaining admirable steadiness and exactness. The enemy's dead in great number lay upon the field, and some 20 horses lying together upon the height occupied by his center batteries showed the effect of our artillery.

Emerging into the more open ground beyond Dunker Church, a black column of smoke, rising about 5 miles in advance, showed the Port Republic bridge on fire, and soon afterward the sound of cannon and white wreaths from rapidly exploding shells along the line of the river showed an engagement in progress in the vicinity of the bridge. Closing in, the several corps of my command took the direction of the burning bridge, and pushing forward reached as quickly as practicable the crest of a ridge overlooking the Shenandoah and beyond it Port Republic village.

The battle which had taken place upon the farther bank of the river was wholly at an end. A single brigade sent forward by General Shields had been simply cut to pieces. Colonel Carroll, in command, had for his own reasons failed to burn the bridge, though occupying it in time with his guards. Jackson, hastening across, had fallen upon the inferior force, and the result was before us. Of the bridge nothing remained but the charred and smoking timbers. Beyond, at the edge of the woods, a body of the enemy's troops was in position and a baggage train was disappearing in a pass among the hills. Parties gathering the dead and wounded, together with a line of prisoners, awaiting the movements of the rebel force near by, was all in respect to troops


* See revised statement, pp. 664. 665.


Page 22 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.