Reports of Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, C. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations May 23-June 9.
MAY 15--JUNE 17, 1862.--Operations in the Shenandoah Valley.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 15 [S# 15]
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
New Market, Va., June 4, 1862.
Maj. R. L. DABNY,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Department of the Valley.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report the movements of this division from Front Royal to Winchester on May 23, 24, and 25:
The attack and decided results at Front Royal, though this division alone participated, were the fruits of Major-General Jackson's personal superintendence and planning. I will therefore merely state that the attack was made by the First Maryland Regiment (Col. Bradley T. Johnson) and Major Wheat's special battalion (Louisiana Volunteers), supported by the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Regiments Louisiana Volunteers, Colonel Kelly, of the Eighth Louisiana, leading his regiment through the river under fire of artillery and musketry. The Federals, having retired their infantry under cover of their artillery, ceased firing after the engagement had continued about three hours.
The pursuit was immediately commenced under the direction of Brigadier-General Steuart (Maryland Line), and was carried on very successfully by the Sixth (Lieutenant-Colonel Flournoy)and Second Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Watts. These officers pursued with courage and energy, capturing two pieces of artillery, the field and staff officers, and most of the Maryland (Federal) regiment.
A fine Parrott piece, abandoned within 4 miles of Winchester, was brought off, within sight of the enemy's pickets, by Privates Fontaine and Moore (Company I, Sixth Cavalry), who, using two plow horses from a neighboring field, brought it back to Front Royal-- a piece of cool daring hard to match.
At 6 o'clock the next morning my division was again moving toward Winchester. The head of the column had marched about 8 miles, when it was halted by Major-General Jackson. The brigades of Generals Elzey and Taylor were detached from my position on the Front Royal and Winchester turnpike and carried by the major-general commanding with his division of the army to the road leading from Strasburg to Winchester. The service there rendered was not under my observation; but the Federal accounts tell of the havoc in their cavalry by the Louisiana Brigade. Brig. Gen. George H. Steuart, with the Second and Sixth Cavalry, cut the enemy's line at Newtown, between Strasburg and Winchester, capturing some hundreds of prisoners, many wagons, &c.
The Seventh Brigade (General Trimble commanding) remained until 5 p.m. where halted by Major-General Jackson, about 8 miles from Front Royal. Seeing then that the enemy were retreating before General Jackson from Strasburg, I immediately ordered Generals Trimble and Steuart to move forward, and reported to the general commanding what I was doing. I received orders on the march to make this movement. The Twenty-first North Carolina, under Colonel Kirkland, drove in the enemy's pickets that evening and held the position 2 miles from Winchester, occasionally skirmishing during the night. The rest of the command slept on their arms about 3 miles from Winchester.
We moved at dawn, and opened the attack at 5.40 a.m., the Twenty-first North Carolina (Colonel Kirkland) and Twenty-first Georgia (Colonel Mercer) gallantly dashing into the western part of the town and driving back the advanced posts of the enemy. The Twenty-first north Carolina was exposed to a murderous fire from a regiment posted behind a stone wall. Both of its field officers were wounded and a large number of privates killed and wounded. They were forced back, retiring in good order and ready to renew the fight. Colonel Mercer, of the Twenty-first Georgia, drove out this Federal regiment and joined the rest of the brigade in the subsequent movements. The Maryland regiment, under Col. Bradley T. Johnson, had been sent into the suburbs on the left, where it remained. As soon as the balance of my command (the Fifteenth Alabama, under Colonel Cantey, and the Sixteenth Mississippi, under Colonel Posey) came on the field I joined them to the Twenty-first Georgia, and, the mist then admitting a better view, I adopted the suggestion of Brigadier-General Trimble and marched them to the right. This movement was immediately followed by a retrograde one of the enemy, soon converted into a flight, as the attack, conducted by General Jackson in person on the south side of the town, was driving them on. The affair was over between 8 and 9 o'clock.
Captain Courtney having been detached on duty connected with his battery, Lieut. J. W. Latimer was in command of Courtney's battery and was exposed during the whole affair to a heavy cannonade. This young officer was conspicuous for the coolness, judgment, and skill with which he managed his battery, fully supporting the high opinion I had formed of his merits.
Captain Brockenbrough brought his battery into action at a later moment and handled it with energy and effect.
The brilliant service rendered by Taylor's brigade, being immediately under the direction of the commanding general, is not included in my report of the operations.
Except the Maryland regiment and the cavalry, the attack on the cast of the town was made by the troops of General Trimble's brigade-- the Seventh. I am indebted to that officer on more than one occasion for valuable counsel and suggestion.
The Eighth Brigade, General Taylor leading, had the fortune to be so posted as to make a charge, which closed the action.
My personal staff consisted of Lieut. Col. J. M. Jones and Maj. James Barbour, of the Adjutant-General's Department, and Lieuts. G. Campbell Brown and T. T. Turner, aides. These officers performed all the duties required with coolness and efficiency. Capt. Powhatan Robinson and Lieut. J. Innis Randolph, topographical engineers, and Major Snodgrass, Quartermaster's Department, were also on the field.
Above all I was struck by the uncomplaining endurance of the men, marching and lighting almost incessantly for three days without a murmur, willing to endure to the limit of human power, and only asking to come up to the enemy.
I inclose a report of the killed and wounded, except of the cavalry, which I have not been able to procure. I inclose reports of Brigadier-Generals Trimble and Taylor.
R. S. EWELL,
HDQRS. THIRD DIV., VALLEY DIST., June 16, 1862.
Maj. R. L. DABNEY, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Valley District.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of the 8th instant at Cross Keys between the division commanded by me and the forces under Major-General Frémont:
I was ordered on the 7th by the general commanding to occupy the advance, and my division encamped for that night near Union Church. The enemy made a reconnaissance in the afternoon, and going forward I found General Elzey drawing up his own and General Taylor's brigades in position. I at once determined to meet the enemy on the ground selected by General Elzey.
On the morning of the 8th the enemy advanced, driving in the Fifteenth Alabama, Colonel Cantey, from their post on picket. The regiment made a gallant resistance, enabling me to take position at leisure. The campfires left by the regiment-- no tents or anything else-- were the camps from which the enemy report to have driven us. At this time I had present Elzey's, Trimble's, and Steuart's brigades, short of 5,000 men, Taylor's having been ordered to Port Republic. The general features of the ground were a valley and rivulet in my front, woods on both flanks, and a field of some hundreds of acres where the road crossed the center of my line, my side of the valley being more defined and commanding the other. General Trimble's brigade was posted a little in advance of my center on the right, General Elzey in rear of the center, and General Steuart on the left; the artillery was in the center. Both wings were in woods. The center was weak, having open ground in front, where the enemy was not expected. General Elzey was in position to strengthen either wing.
About 10 o'clock the enemy felt along my front with skirmishers, and shortly after posted his artillery, chiefly opposite mine. He advanced under cover on General Trimble with a force, according to his own statement, of two brigades, which were repulsed with such signal loss that they did not make another determined effort. General Trimble had been re-enforced by the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth Virginia Regiments, Colonel Walker and Lieutenant-Colonel Duffy, of General Elzey's brigade. These regiments assisted in the repulse of the enemy. General Trimble in turn advanced and drove the enemy more than a mile, and remained on his flank ready to make the final attack.
General Taylor, with the Eighth Brigade, composed of Louisiana troops, reported about 2 p.m., and was placed in rear. Colonel Patton, with the Forty-second and Forty-eighth Regiments and Irish Battalion, Virginia Volunteers, also joined, and with the remainder of General Elzey's brigade was added to the center and left, then threatened. I did not push my successes at once, because I had no cavalry, and it was reported, and reaffirmed by Lieutenant Hinrichs, topographical engineer, sent to reconnoiter, that the enemy was moving a <ar15_782> large column 2 miles to my left. As soon as I could determine this not to be an attack I advanced both my wings, drove in the enemy's skirmishers, and when night closed was in position on the ground previously held by the enemy, ready to attack him at dawn.
My troops were recalled to join in the attack at Port Republic. The enemy's attack was decided by 4 p.m., it being principally directed against General Trimble, and, though from their own statement they outnumbered us on that flank two to one, it had signally failed. General Trimble's command, including the two regiments on his right, under Colonel Walker, is entitled to the highest praise for the gallant manner in which it repulsed the enemy's main attack. His brigade captured one of their colors.
As before mentioned, the credit of selecting the position is due to General Elzey. I availed myself frequently during the action of that officer's counsel, profiting largely by his known military skill and judgment. He was much exposed. His horse was wounded early in the action, and at a later period of the day was killed by a rifle-ball, which, at the same time, inflicted upon the rider a wound that forced him to retire from the field. He was more particularly employed in the center, directing the artillery. General George H. Steuart was severely wounded, after rendering valuable aid in command of the left.
I had Courtney's, Brockenbrough's, Raine's, and Lusk's batteries. The enemy testifies to the efficiency of their fire. Captain Courtney opened the fight, and was for hours exposed to a terrible storm of shot and shell. He and Captain Brockenbrough have been under my observation since the campaign opened, and I can testify to their efficiency on this as on former occasions. The loss in all the batteries shows the warmth of the fire. I was well satisfied with them all.
The history of the Maryland regiment, gallantly commanded by Col. Bradley T. Johnson, during the campaign of the valley, would be the history of every action from Front Royal to Cross Keys.
On the 6th instant, near Harrisonburg, the Fifty-eighth Virginia Regiment was engaged with the Pennsylvania Bucktails, the fighting being close and bloody. Colonel Johnson came up with his regiment in the hottest period of the affair, and by a dashing charge in flank drove the enemy off with heavy loss, capturing the lieutenant-colonel (Kane) commanding. In commemoration of their gallant conduct I ordered one of the captured bucktails to be appended as a trophy to their flag.
The gallantry of the regiment on this occasion is worthy of acknowledgment from a higher source, more particularly as they avenged the death of the gallant General Ashby, who fell at the same time. Two color-bearers were shot down in succession, but each time the colors were caught before reaching the ground, and were finally borne by Corporal Shanks to the close of the action.
On the 8th instant, at Cross Keys, they were opposed to three of the enemy's regiments in succession.
My staff at Cross Keys consisted of Lieut. Col. J. M. Jones and Maj. James Barbour, Adjutant-General's Department; Lieuts. G. Campbell Brown and T. T. Turner, aides, and Capt. Hugh M. Nelson, volunteer aide. These officers were much exposed during the day, and were worked hard over an extensive field. Their services were valuable, and were rendered with zeal and ability. Lieutenant Brown was painfully wounded by a fragment of shell toward the close of the fight.
I append a list of casualties, showing 42 killed, and 287 killed, wounded, and missing. I buried my dead and brought off all the wounded except a few, whose mortal agonies would have been uselessly increased by any change of position.
Some of the enemy's wounded were brought off and arrangements made for moving them all, when I was ordered to another field. There are good reasons for estimating their loss at not less than 2,000 in killed, wounded, and prisoners. On one part of the field they buried 101 at one spot, 15 at another, and a house containing some of their dead was said to have been burned by them, and this only a part of what they lost. They were chiefly of Blenker's division, notorious for months on account of their thefts and dastardly insults to women and children in that part of the State under Federal domination.
The order of march of General Frémont was found on a staff officer left in our hands. It shows seven brigades of infantry, besides numerous cavalry. I had three small brigades during the greater part of the action, and no cavalry at any time. They made no bayonet charge, nor did they commit any particular ravages with grape or canister, although they state otherwise. Colonel Mercer and the Twenty-first Georgia tried to close with them three times, partly succeeding in overtaking them once. That officer is represented to have handled his regiment with great skill, and, with the Sixteenth Mississippi, Colonel Posey, was the closest engaged.
Brigadier-General Trimble, Seventh Brigade, had the brunt of the action, and is entitled to most thanks. Col. Bradley T. Johnson (First Maryland), Col. Carnot Posey (Sixteenth Mississippi), Col. J. T. Mercer (Twenty-first Georgia), Captain Courtney (of the Courtney Battery) are officers who were enabled to render highly valuable service.
I regret that I cannot go more into details of those lower in rank, whose gallant services are recompensed by the esteem of their comrades and their own self-approval; after all, the highest and most enduring record.
I inclose a copy of General Frémont's order of march on the day of battle, and detailed reports of the killed and wounded, names and regiments of the officers killed and wounded, and tabular statements of the same according to regiments; also the official report of Col. J. A. Walker, commanding the Fourth Brigade.
R. S. EWELL,
MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT, HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Harrisonburg, Va., June 8, 1862.
Order of march.
1. Colonel Cluseret's brigade.
2. The pioneers of all brigades, as also the ax-men of every regiment, to start at 5 a.m.
3. Fourth New York Cavalry.
4. General Stahel's brigade, with Bucktail Rifles as flankers, at 5.30 a.m.
5. Cavalry, under command of Colonel Zagonyi, at 5.45 a.m.
6. General Milroy's brigade, at 6 a.m.
7. General Schenck's brigade, at 6.15 a.m.
8. General Steinwehr's brigade, at 6.30 a.m.
9. General brigade train, at 6.45 a.m.
10. General Bayard's brigade.
Each regiment to be accompanied by its ambulances and a sufficient number of wagons to carry their cooking utensils.
The train will move in the order of brigades.
All horses unable to perform service to be left at this place until further orders.
By order of Major-General Frémont:
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. THIRD DIV., DEPT. OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
July 8, 1862.
Maj. R. L. DABNEY,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Valley District.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report the movements of my division in the battle near Port Republic on June 9:
When I received the order to march to Port Republic, to join in the attack on the forces under General Shields, my command included, in addition to my own division, the Second Brigade of the Army of the Valley District. This brigade, under the command of Col. J. M. Patton, had been attached to my command during the engagement of the day before.
My command had been engaged with General Frémont throughout the day on June 8, and slept upon their arms. The brigades commanded by General Trimble and Colonel Patton (except one regiment) and the Seventh Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Hays, had before night closed in been advanced within range of the enemy's musketry.
Day was breaking on the morning of June 9 before these troops commenced their march from this position to the other field at Port Republic, 7 miles distant, some of them without food for twenty-four hours.
The commands of General Trimble and Colonel Pattern were kept in50 R R-- VOL XII <ar15_786> position to hold the enemy under Frémont in check, and keep him from advancing upon Port Republic or taking any part in the engagement on that day. The difficulty in effecting the crossing of the South Branch of the river at Port Republic occasioned a delay, which separated the forces in my command. When I reached the field the Eighth Louisiana Brigade, commanded by General Taylor, had been sent by Major-General Jackson, under cover of the woods, to attack the enemy in flank and rear. One of the regiments of the Second Brigade of my division was detached to the left, and I placed the Fifty-eighth, Colonel Letcher, and the Forty-fourth Virginia, Colonel Scott, under cover of the woods, with the flank toward the enemy. When, after a severe struggle, from the advantage of position and numbers, the enemy were driving back our forces on the left and the flank of the advancing enemy (at least two brigades)came in front, an advance was ordered. The two regiments, bravely led by Colonel Scott, rushed with a shout upon the enemy, taking him in flank. For the first time that day the enemy was then driven back in disorder for some hundreds of yards. At the same instant, while our artillery was retiring rapidly from the field, one piece was halted and opened fire upon the enemy, showing great quickness and decision in the officer commanding it. These efforts checked the enemy so long that, although Colonel Scott's command was driven back to the woods with severe loss, there was time to rally and lead them to the assistance of the Eighth Brigade, General R. Taylor commanding, which was heard engaging the enemy far to their rear. The remnants of the two regiments reached General Taylor at the moment when, as shown in his report, fresh troops of the enemy had driven him from the battery he had captured. His brigade formed and advanced with these two regiments, and the enemy fled a second time from the battery and the field after exchanging a few shots.
The credit of first checking the enemy and then assisting in his final repulse and of the capture of the battery is due to these two regiments. It would be difficult to find another instance of volunteer troops after a severe cheek rallying and again attacking the enemy.
To General Taylor and his brigade belongs the honor of deciding two battles-- that of Winchester and this one. As soon as his fire was heard in rear and flank the whole force of the enemy turned to meet this new foe.
Colonel Walker, commanding Fourth Brigade, ordered by the major-general commanding to follow the Eighth Brigade, was lost in the mountains, reported to me, and joined in the pursuit.
General Trimble, commanding Seventh Brigade, with part of Colonel Patton's command, was left to hold Frémont in check. The Fifty-second Virginia Regiment was detailed, and fought on the left flank with General Winder.
Colonel Scott reports:
I particularly commend the gallantry of Lieutenant Walker, Company E, Forty-fourth Virginia. There may have been others equally worthy of commendation, but I could not fail to notice him. When the brigade halted in the field and sat down he alone stood erect, went in front, and attempted to get the brigade to advance still nearer the enemy.
I indorse this report and recommend the officer to executive favor. Lieut. Col. J. M. Jones, Maj. James Barbour, Lieut. T. T. Turner, and Capt. Hugh M. Nelson, of my staff, rendered invaluable service in rallying the broken troops. Lieut. G. Campbell Brown was absent, owing to the wound received the day previous.
I inclose sub-reports of Colonel Scott and General Taylor; also a <ar15_787> detailed list of killed and wounded, amounting to 78 killed and 533 wounded and 4 missing; in all, 615 killed, wounded, and missing.
R. S. EWELL,
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