Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]


without partiality. I desire to say that both of- ground beyond, as it now opened to us, that the ficers and men behaved with splendid gallantry, enemy would seek to extend the line of his forces and that the service of the artillery was especial- on his left, so as, if possible, to outflank us. I ly admirable.

hastened, therefore, to press forward to the right We are encamped on the field of battle, which to anticipate any such movement, and to occupy may be renewed at any moment.

an extended ridge of higher grounds, half a mile J. C. FREMONT, further to the south, which I found gave me a Major-General.

more commanding range, and advanced me fur. HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,

ther to the point, while it enabled me also to HARRISON BORGH, Va., June 9.


cover an easy pass leading up from the enemy's Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War : position in front, between the two ridges, and all

In my despatch of yesterday I omitted to state the open ground sloping away to the valley at that Col. Cluseret's brigade, consisting of the the foot of the mountain, by one of which apSixtieth Ohio and Eighth Virginia, afterward sup- proaches the rebels were to be expected to adported by the Garibaldi Guard, formed our advance on that side. This position placed my vance, and commenced the battle of Cross Keys, brigade on the extreme right wing, which I occu. by sharp skirmishing, at nine o'clock in the morn-pied for the rest of the day. To reach this point ing. During the day they obtained possession of advantage I had to cross road in front of my of the enemy's ground, which was disputed foot first position, and passing through the skirt of by foot, and only withdrew at evening when the wood in which Gen. Milroy had advanced, ordered to retire to a suitable position for the went over some wheat-fields, along the edge of night.

another wood. This I accomplished without loss, The skill and gallantry displayed by Cluseret though exposed to a pretty severe fire of shell on this and frequent former occasions during the from the enemy, marching my line, composed of pursuit in which we have been engaged deserve the Seventy-third, Fifty-fifth, and Eighty-second high praise. Respectfully,

regiments of Ohio volunteer infantry, directed by J. C. FREMONT, the flank, detaching the Seventy-fifth and ThirtyMajor-General second Ohio to cover the artillery moving by a

more circuitous route. While effecting this, I

was ordered by a message from the General comHEADQUARTERS SCHENCK'S BRIGADE, MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT, manding to detach Rigby's battery, and send it CAMP AT MT. JACKSON, VA., Juno 12.

to the relief of Gen. Milroy. This was immediCol. Albert Tracy, A.A.G. :

ately done. Reaching the further position which I have the honor to report the part taken by I had selected, I found the line of woods extendthe Ohio brigade, in the engagement at Cross ed still to the right, and shutting in our front. Keys, on the eighth instant.

An examination of these woods by companies of It was about one o'clock p.M. when I arrived the Seventy-third and Thirty-second, immediately near the point of the road leading to Port Repub-thrown forward as skirmishers, discovered the lic, where the advance-guard had already come enemy concealed there in force, and still enupon the enemy. A staff-officer, after indicating deavoring to extend himself to the left, with the the position where my cavalry was to be left in evident object of turning our right, as I had exreserve, informed me that I was to pass into the pected. A few shells thrown into the woods on field and take position on the right, forming my that side by De Beck's battery, checked this line of battle and placing my batteries so as to movement and drove back the rebel infantry fursupport Brig.-Gen. Milroy, whose brigade, pre- ther to our left. The whole of the Seventy-third, ceded mine in the march, was already getting Eighty-second, and Fifty-fifth regiments, being into line. I was entirely without knowledge of then deployed in the woods on my left-front, the ground, but immediately proceeded to find formed in line of battle, and slowly advanced, the best position I could, according to these in- feeling the enemy's position and gradually bringstructions, in the direction indicated. I turned ing the concealed line of the rebels to close quarmy artillery (De Beck's and Rigby's batteries) ters. The firing of small arms at once became into and across the fields, supported by infantry, brisk, especially with the Seventy-third, which throwing the body of my infantry into line of seems to have been brought nearest the enemy's battle, and extending it in the rear of Milroy's line, and at this time had several men killed and brigade. As I advanced, however, upon the wounded by the fire. It was at this point of open ridge first pointed out as probably the best time, too, that Dr. Cantwell, surgeon of the on which to establish my batteries, about one Eighty-second, fell, severely wounded by a shot fourth of a mile from the main road by which through the thigh, received while he was passing our column arrived, I discovered that I was along the line of his regiment, carefully instructbrought into the rear of a line of woods, through ing the men detailed from each company to atwhich Milroy was passing also to the right. tend to conveying the wounded to the ambuThese woods at the same time concealed the lances. enemy and the character of the ground he was I believed that the moment for attacking and occupying, while they afforded no eligible posi- pressing the rebels successfully on this wing had tion for placing my guns so as to reach him. I now arrived, and I brought forward the Thirtybecame satisfied, too, from the character of the second to advance also in the woods and form on


525 295


2188 Men. Guns.

91 .118

the Seventy-third, extending thus the line to the Seventy-third had an encounter with skirnishers right, and intending to order a charge which of the rebels, in the woods inmediately in front should sweep around the enemy's left flank and of us, in which we had one man killed and anpress him back towards our sustaining forces on other man wounded; bnt otherwise we rested un. the left. Never were troops in better temper for disturbed, until called to march in pursuit of the such work. But just as the Thirty-second was enemy again in the morning. marching to the front for this purpose, leaving I regret to have to state that in the night a only the Seventy-fifth in the rear to cover the party detailed from the battalion of Connecticut battery, I received the order of the General Com- cavalry, Sergeant Morehouse and four men of manding to withdraw slowly and in good order company D), being sent to ascertain the position from my position and go to the relief of the left of Col. Cluseret, commanding the advance bri. wing, composed of the brigades of Blenker's divi- gade, lost their way, and were captured, as is sion. I felt reluctant to obey, because I was supposed, by the enemy's pickets. satisfied that the advantageous and promising The whole number of effective men of my briposition and condition of my brigade could not gade that I was enabled to take into action was have been known at headquarters. I held my as follows: place, therefore, and sent back instantly to ascertain whether the emergency was such as to re- Fifty-fifth Ohio,..

Thirty-second Ohio,.. quire me with all haste to retire. The order Seventy-Third Ohio,. came back repeated. To prevent my being fol- Seventy-fifth Ohto.

Eighty-second Ohio,.. lowed and harassed by the rebels while falling back, I then began to withdraw my infantry,

Total Infantry,.. moving them carefully by the flank towards the DeBeck's battery, left, until I could uncover the enemy's line suffi- Rigby's battery, ciently to enable my battery to throw shot and

Connecticut cavalry,. shell into the woods. This done, I returned the

The casualties were, altogether, but four killed, Thirty-second to the support of the battery, and seven wounded, and four missing. I append in commenced drawing off the whole of my force to a separate report the names and corps of the kill. the left along the same lines in which i had ad- ed and wounded. vanced them. Here again, however, I was met

I cannot close this report without expressing by a messenger from the General Commanding, my satisfaction with the officers and men gener. informing me that if I thought I could hold my ally of my command. Although worn down, and ground I might remain, but stating that Milroy's reduced in numbers by days and weeks of conbrigade, my supporting force on the left, had also stant fatigue and privation, under long marches, been directed to retire. I stopped, and threw the with insufficient supplies, which they have necesartillery again into battery, at a point a few rods sarily had to undergo, they were actively and in the rear of the place which it had at first oc- cheerfully eager to meet the rebel forces, and only cupied, and ordered a number of rounds of quick, regretted that it could not be their fortune to ensharp firing into the woods occupied by the rebels. counter them for their share in more obstinate The severe effect of this firing was discovered the and decisive battle. next day, by the number of rebels found lying

To the officers commanding my several region that part of the battle-field. But while thus ments and detached companies who had any opengaged, Captain Piatt, my Assistant Adjutant- portunity to be in the engagement, my acknow. General, ascertained for me that Gen. Milroy, ledgments are especially due Lieut. - Colonel under the order he had received, was rapidly Swinney, of the Thirty-second; Col. McLean, of withdrawing his brigade, passing towards the left; the Seventy-fifth ; Col. Smith, of the Fifty-third; and so I had to follow him or be left separated Col. Lee, of the Fifty-fifth ; Col. Cantwell

, of the from all the rest of the forces.

Eighty-second; Capt. De Beck, of the First Ohio I returned, however, only to the ridge half a artillery, and Capt. Blakeslee, of company A, mile to the left, which I had at first occupied, and Connecticut cavalry, commanding my guard. there remained, in pursuance of orders, encamped

To the officers of my Staff also — Capt. Don for the night.

Piatt, A.A.G. ; Capt. Margedant, of Engineers; My other battery, (Rigby's) which I under- Capt. Crane, C.S., and my two Aids-de-Camp, stood had been very effectively engaged during Lieuts. Chesbrough and Este—I am greatly inthe action, on the left, was here returned home. debted for their constant energy and activity in It was now, perhaps, half-past five or six

o'clock. conveying orders and attending to other duties Late in the evening, the enemy from the opposite during the day. point opened a brisk fire upon our camp and upon

I am, very respectfully, your ob't servant, Hyman's battery, occupying the point of a hill

Robert C. SCIENCE, at our left, with what seemed to be a battery of

Brigadier-General two six-pounders. This was probably a cover to CINCINNATI “COMMERCIAL" ACCOUNT. his retreat. But he was replied to with so quick

HEADQUARTERS Army or FREMONT, and hot a return by Hyman, Rigby and De Beck,

Port RBPUBLIC, Va., June 9. that his fire was very soon silenced, and as after- You have received telegraphic intelligence of a wards ascertained, both his guns dismounted. severe battle having been fought on yesterday, Subsequently, a company of skirmishers from the land no doubt all your readers are anxious for de

[ocr errors]

tails of the engagement. Yesterday we expected spread out before us in full view. To the north, would be a more severe struggle than ever. Many as if standing sentinel and gravely looking down thought the rebels to be in force in their old posi- upon the scene transpiring, rose a lofty mountaintion, while others were of the opinion that they peak, its top enveloped in a blue haze, and its would make a final stand at or near this place. steep sides bathed in the sunlight of the beautiThis, in connection with a desire to present you ful morning. Far off to the east, stretching up a list of Ohio and Indiana killed and wounded, and down the Shenandoah, the distant peaks of has induced me to delay writing till to-day. the Blue Ridge formed a background of inde

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful. scribable beauty. The birds were singing their sweet melodies as if General Schenck was assigned the right. His in worship of Him who made the Sabbath, and forces were disposed as follows : at his left was the soft air that came balmily from the South, the Eighty-second Ohio, Col. Cantwell; next reminded us that the summer was well-nigh here. came the Fifty-fifth Ohio, Col. Lee; SeventyA movement had been ordered that morning. third, Col. Smith ; Seventy-fifth, Col. McLean, They say that history shows that battles begun while the Thirty-second Ohio, Col. Ford, held the on Sunday seldom are successes for the attacking extreme right. The centre, under the command party. Whether this will prove an exception to of the intrepid Milroy, had the Third Virginia, the general rule, I will not say, but leave the se- Lieut.-Col. Thompson commanding, on the left; quel to tell.

next the Fifth Virginia, Col. Zeigler, the Second A reconnoissance made on Saturday by Gen. Virginia, Major J. D. Owens commanding; while Milroy, with the Second, Third, Fifth and Eighth the Twenty-fifth Ohio, under the command of Virginia, and Fifty-fifth and Sixtieth Ohio, clearly Lieut.-Col. Richardson, formed the right. Befevealed the fact that Jackson, after having trav-tween Milroy's right and Schenck's left lay the elled the pike from Winchester, had suddenly Sixtieth Ohio, Col. Trimble, and Eighth Virginia, turned to the left in the direction of Port Repub-Col. Loeser, commanded by Col. Cluseret, in adlic, over a miserably bad road, and with the in- dition to the Garibaldi Guards, of Blenker's divi. tention of crossing the river. At this place, sion. Gen. Stahl's brigade, consisting of the twelve miles south-east of Harrisonburgh, was a Eighth, Forty-first, and Forty-fifth New-York, bridge over the Shenandoah. Other bridges had and Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania, with the inpreviously been destroyed, and it seemed pretty vincible band of Bucktails, that survived the clear that he intended to use this. Part of slaughter of Friday, formed the left. Gen. BohShields's force, as early as Saturday, had a little len's brigade was to support Stahl, while the fight over the bridge, but could not hold it. remainder of Blenker's division was a reserve.

Early in the morning the army was in motion, Thus formed, the line was probably a mile and Col. Cluseret having the advance as usual with a half in length, and moving down the slope, with his brigade. As long as there was an enemy in the old flag floating from every regiment, was a our rear, this brigade was there. As soon as spectacle too grand for description. Now they one appeared in front, then these boys were at begin to ascend, and as they approach the woods, the post of danger there. We passed slowly over the enemy's batteries pour in their shot and shell. the bad roads, feeling our way along, and rather But our boys are not to be daunted. On they expecting the enemy not far distant. About go. A battery or two take position in a wheateleven o'clock our advance discovered the rebels, field that penetrates the woods in the centre, and immediately sent skirmishers forward. Occa- while battery after battery and regiment after sional shells were thrown by the enemy at our regiment disappear in the thick woods in front, troops, who gradually advanced, pressing him Looking across a little to the right of our centre, before them, and compelling him to take more a battery dashes along, and a company of horseremote positions. Sherman's battery soon came men follow it hurriedly across the field. They, up and began a well-directed fire. This increased too, enter the wood. At the head of that band the fire of the enemy, which now became pretty was Gen. Milroy. He never asks his men to go brisk. One of the shells thrown about this time where he will not go himself. Now the cannon. fell only a few feet from Gen. Fremont, who was ading quickens. Our guns are at work, and the early upon the ground, taking observations and enemy are doing all they can. Milroy presses making dispositions of his forces, which now be forward at the head of his men. Johnson's batgan to arrive rapidly. The country through here tery passes through the wood and over an interis rolling ; woods, generally of oak, from the size vening field, taking position near a barn. Now of a small sapling to that of a man's body. Occa- we hear musketry. The skirmishers of the ensionally, too, a pine is seen. The ground upon emy are lying along the fence near by. Here which the battle was fought is a succession of Capt. Charlesworth, of the Twenty-fifth Ohio, falls hillocks. In front, and to the west where our mortally wounded.' Johnson has lost four horses, troops were formed in line of battle, there are but he still deals out the deadly missiles. Gen. several farms stretching two or three miles from Milroy has his horse disabled by a ball, but he north to south. This belt of cleared land is low-exchanges him for another. In the centre, all est in the centre, gradually rising as you approach goes encouragingly. Hyman's and Ewing's batthe timber in either direction. Our line was teries are both at work. formed upon the high lands to the west, where To the right, Gen. Schenck, with his characterthe farms, distant woods, and gentle hills were l istic energy, presses on. De Beck is shelling the


woods, both to the right and in front. Captain "they retire in good order.” But now do time Morgedant, of Gen. Schenck's staff, in a reconnois- was to be lost. For four hours our men had sance, discovered the enemy, in considerable been fighting. For them the roar of artillery had numbers, bearing down upon them as if to turn been incessant. With the left open, of course our right, and such no doubt was their intention. our centre, weak in numbers at best, must be exGen. Schenck, with his keen perception, at once posed severely. The day was far spent, and it discovers the enemy's intention, and frustrates seemed best to have the centre fall back also. A his plans by an increased fire and

by a steady ad- messenger was accordingly sent to Milroy, telling The Seventy-third Ohio, Col. Ford, is ad- him to retire in good order. But this man knows vanced two or three hundred yards, throwing out no such word as “retire," and not having heard skirmishers and pressing the enemy before them. of the misfortune on the left, he replied: "What

Now let us turn to the left. Stahl, with his in the devil are you saying ?" He had driven the German regiments, had long since disappeared. enemy before him, and amid a shower of ball and Capt. Dilger's mountain howitzers had now open-shot, had almost reached their batteries. In a ed fire; the cannonading was furious; the deep little while, he said, he would have had some of thunders of the artillery reverberated through the enemy's guns. Schenck, too, having adthe valleys; the sharp crash of musketry rang vanced, was ready to sweep around upon the rebthrough the woods; shells went screaming on els' left. Of course he was mortified at the netheir errand of death; and the cloud of sulphur-cessity of leaving his position, and only did it ous smoke that hung like a funeral pall over the when he knew the order to be imperative. advancing and receding waves, told too well of It was now half-past three o'clock. There was the work of carnage and death then going on. a lull in the storm. Each party seemed satisfied

Gen. Stahl, with the Eighth New-York, Col. to take a rest. What had become of the enemy? Wutschel, and Forty-first, Col. Von Gilsa, had All was quiet as the grave. As we were revolvpenetrated the woods and passed over to the re-ing this in our mind a puff of smoke rose up in a mote side of a clover-field that lay beyond. Here new position, and here came a shell screaming the ground gradually rose till it came to a belt of like a demon, and falling not far from the position woods, when it descended. This declivity had occupied by Gen. Fremont's staff; another puff, been taken advantage of by the rebels, by posting and here came another of those grim messengers behind a considerable force of infantry, which that sing so unlike anything else, and which a opened a murderous fire upon the columns of our man will always recognise after he has heard the men as they ascended. This, combined with the first. We were being shelled and no mistake, continued stream of shot and shell poured into and the result was a kind of separation among them, produced sad havoc. Their ranks were those who occupied the hill. Our guns, however, terribly thinned. They fell on all sides. Col. soon opened a brisk fire upon the "dog" that Wutschel was wounded. A few moments more, had been barking so fiercely, and a few shot coman advance of a few feet, and the German regi- pletely removed the troublesome visitor. ments could have poured into the enemy fire An occasional discharge of artillery reminded which would have driven him before them. This, us that we were not yet free from the enemy. with a combined movement of Schenck, Milroy The wounded, with their quivering wounds, their having already penetrated the centre, would have lived countenances, their heart-rending groans, swept the enemy along his whole line, and gained and their bloody clothes, were brought in, and as a most complete victory, putting him to rout and fast as possible their wants attended to. Cluseret, capturing his guns. But just at this juncture a with the Sixtieth Ohio and Eighth Virginia, now most unfortunate mistake occurred. Two of Col. fell back some two hundred yards behind the Bohlen's regiments were ordered up to relieve church, and thus our whole line had retired more those in advance. By some means it appears or less. Night came on; the clouds which had that this order was construed into one to retire, obscured the sky disappeared, and the moon and accordingly those decimated regiments with smiled down as peacefully upon the scene where drew from the scene of conflict, while the entire carnage had held high carnival, as if no ghastly left of our forces retired in good order from the features, pale in death, were there. wood, and took a position in the rear.

Feeling that the early position of Col. Cluseret The misfortune of this misunderstanding can was exposed, and not knowing that he had rescarcely be estimated. One more effort and these moved, Gen. Schenck, after dark, sent out Sergt. regiments, which had forced themselves right up John B. Morehouse and four privates of company to the enemy's guns, would have gained a splen- D, Connecticut cavalry, in search of him. But did triumph. But the opportunity was lost, and in the mean time the Colonel had changed his “Stonewall” Jackson again slipped through our forces. Morehouse did not return, and he is fingers, after we had marched through mud and supposed to have been killed. He was a bachelor rain for fifteen days to cultivate a more intimate and a man of wealth, and came from California acquaintance with him. Truly, "there's many a here, when the war broke out, to join a Connecslip 'twixt the cup and the lip." There was more ticut company. than one who saw our forces come from the That night our troops, tired and drowsy, sank woods, but there was one whose eagle eye took down to rest upon the ground which they had in the whole field. How he watched those retir-occupied before going into the thickest of the fight. ing columns. “See, Colonel," said Fremont, This morning we were up betimes. Another

[ocr errors]


bloody day was expected, but the depression work the battle comes, and now what was the which seemed last night to weigh down many condition of our inen? Of course they were not hearts, had been removed. All now seemed con- in the best. Many were sick our force was fident. The troops were early formed in line of weak. The division of Blenker, although strong battle, Schenck now taking the centre and Milroy in numbers, was nevertheless weak, for they had the right. The American flag floated grandly in become so demoralized by their excesses on their the morning breeze, and the boys moved with various marches from Washington, that there elastic step as the bands encouraged them with was a lack of discipline, a thing indispensable to national airs. It was a grand spectacle to see a good soldier. them moving off in the direction of the ground Under circumstances such as these, Gen. Frestrongly contested the day before. Skirmishers mont fought the battle of Cross Keys. Did it were thrown out, and the army advanced rapidly, not require a man with a stout heart and steady but found only the wounded or the silent dead hand ? In spite of all untoward circumstances he in possession of the field. The enemy had left gained much, and but for the misfortune on the the field the night before or early in the morning left would have captured Gen. Jackson with both When arriving at Mill Creek church, which had army and baggage. been used as a hospital by the rebels, we found Do you ask why it is called “Cross Keys ?" twenty-six of our wounded. Thirty had been sent Well, there is, about the middle of the battleahead, they said, with seventeen prisoners taken. ground, a store house, a church, and a house or The hospital had been a scene of woe. Here two; this is called by that name. I believe they stood a pool of blood, there a horribly mangled have formerly had a post-office there. foot, yonder an arm severed from the body, etc. Our loss is severe, and foots up as far as I am Such is war.

now able to say, as follows: Let it be said to the rebels' credit that they treated our wounded humanely. Many left upon Stahl's brigade,......

KILLED, WOUNDED AND MISSING. the field had blankets thrown over them and can

..118 teens of water placed by their side, while they Milroy's brigade, . nearly all say that they were as well treated as

Bohlen's brigade,

80 the rebels themselves.

Cluseret's brigade,

17 But let us go on with our march: The army Schenck's brigade,


8 moves in the direction of Port Republic without

Bucktails, ... resistance. As we draw near that place we see a dense volume of smoke rising. Our troops


1.664 press on to see the cause. The last rebel had This does not include the casualties in Steincrossed the Shenandoah-their almost intermina- wehr's brigade, which is probably small. Some ble train could be seen winding along like a huge of the missing were taken prisoners, yet we have snake, in the distant valley. Several regiments reason to believe the number of such small. Some were drawn in line of battle on the opposite side may yet come in, so that our loss in killed and of the river. An unfordable river was between wounded may be set down at about six hundred. them, and the only bridge was in flames. The What the rebel loss is, of course we cannot tell. battle of “ Cross Keys was now a matter of Their dead were principally removed. Some of history, and the famous pursuit of Jackson and our wounded at the hospital said they had three his army was at an end.

hundred and fifty wounded lying in the field adjaGen. Fremont had left Franklin on Sunday, cent to the church, but this is unreliable. A pit at May twenty-fifth, taking up his line of march for Mill Creek Church is supposed to be a receptacle the valley of Virginia. At Petersburgh he had for many of their dead. They had far more left his tents and heavy baggage. With one ex. horses killed than we. At one battery there are ception, he had marched sixteen consecutive days. seventeen horses lying. Their loss around their The rains had been heavy and severe. Frequent- batteries must have been severe, for the ground ly our soldiers had bivouacked in water and mud, is literally ploughed by our balls and shells. and lain down in their drenched clothes to steal Their loss at any rate must be equal to our own. a little sleep, to have a dream of the loved ones I could relate many incidents that would be inat home, and to have a very few hours of rest teresting, but I will not do it. One instance, how. that they might endure the fatigues of the coming ever, is too amusing to omit. Capt. Morgedant, day. Transportation had been difficult. Forage of Gen. Schenck's staff

, happened, in the midst of was scarce, the country having been cleaned of the fight, to come upon one of our First Lieutensuch things by former armies. Sometimes they ants and fourteen men squatted in a wheat-field, had a short allowance of bread or perhaps none, with plenty of plunder. The brave Lieutenant, while the shoes of some of them had given out thinking with the Irishman that this man was and the poor fellows had to march barefoot. Day about to surround him and his squad of maraudafter day they had pressed forward in good spirits ers, quickly exclaimed, “Captain, I'm your prisand with light hearts, enduring the trials with oner!” handing him his sword at the same time. great patience. For seven days they had had After he discovered that the Captain was of the skirmishing with the rebels and had taken over Union army, he wanted his sword back, but the four hundred prisoners and liberated about thirty Captain said, “No, sir, I will arrest you for cowof Banks' men. After fourteen days of continued ardice," and he did so. This Lieutenant was a

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »