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the enemy were driven from the town. During the afternoon, severe skirmishing was kept up with varying fortune on hoth sides. After dark, the rebels continued their retreat. Their loss was estimated to be very severe, and during the evening many of them were killed by shells from a battery of Stahl's brigade. Ashby, of the rebel cavalry, who was especially serviceable to Jackson on the present occasion, was among the killed*
Very early on the morning of Sunday, June 8th, Fremont left Harrisonburg, with about 10,000 men, in pursuit of Jackson. Having advanced some seven miles on the road to Staunton, he found the enemy at Cross Keys, in a well selected position in the woods to the left and front. Jackson, it appears, had thought it best to fight at this point, and thus check Fremont's pursuit.f An extended line of battle was formed, skirmishing having commeuced about nine o'clock, and the whole line moved forward at noon. Schenck had command on the right, Stahl on the left, and Milroy in the centre. Blenker's and two other brigades formed the reserve. The battle
* Pollard in speaking of Ashby can hardly find words of laudation strong enough for his purpose. He was the " young Paladin of the South;" on one occasion he is said to have cut his single way through 300 Vermont men, repeated the operation, seized the flag and taken 75 prisoners with his own hand; "ho combined the virtues of Sir Philip Sydney with the dash of Murat;" his life " was a beautiful poem, a sounding oration, a sufficient legacy to the virtue of his country men."—" Second Year of the War," pp. 55-58.
f According to rebel accounts only a part of Jackson's army was at this battle. Ewell with some 5,000 men was left to check Fremont's advance, while Jackson with his main body puq»osed to march to Port Kepub. lie, cross the river, defeat Shields, and then rejoining Ewell to fight with Fremont.
soon became general, and was fiercely contested for several hours. Without going into details, we may mention that, along our whole line, the artillery was served with great vigor and precision, and the final driving of the rebels back was largely due to its effect. Fremont's forces encamped that night on the field of battle, with the expectation of renewing the fight at any moment. The night, however, passed without further conflict, and in the morning the march against the enemy was renewed, when they were found to be in full retreat for Port Republic, five miles distant, where the bridge is by which the south fork of the Shenandoah is crossed.
The loss on both sides was severe. Fremont estimated his loss at 125 killed, and 500 wounded. The rebels give 300 as the number of their killed, wounded and missing, asserting at the same time, with singular untruthfulness, that " they (the Unionists), stated their loss to be 2,000."
Jackson's position was now somewhat critical. He must secure the bridge over the Shenandoah, nullify Fremont's further efforts by destroying all means of crossing the river, and then defeat and drive back Shields from Port Republic. Jackson's main body arrived opposite Port Republic on the night of Saturday, June 7th, and the next morning he ascertained that Shields's advance was rapidly approaching the town. Col. Carroll, with his brigade of about 1,600 men, soon after ^ appeared, and his cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, dashed into the tow a and kok position at the southern entrance of the bridge.* Most unfortunately, Cajroll did not, or could not, immediately set to work to destroy the bridge, and thus cut off Jackson's only mode of escape. The astute rebel commander took steps at once to secure this important bridge. He ordered a large force, on Sunday, June 8th, to charge directly upon Carroll's men holding the bridge; this was done, and our troops were driven back some two miles. Being reinforced by Tyler's brigade, making our force about 3,000 in all, a spirited stand was made, and the next morning the battle of Port Republic was fought, one of the most sanguinary of the war. The rebel troops largely outnumbered ours; they charged fiercely upon our men; after a terrible conflict and loss of life, they captured the chief battery; and they finally succeeded in compelling Tyler to retreat to the main body of Shields's division up the valley.
Fremont, meanwhile, followed Jackson and his retreating force. Ewell, having done his work, as above stated, viz., kept Fremont in check at Cross Keys, on Sunday, June 8th, rejoined Jackson, and the entire rebel army
* Esten Cooke tells a curious and marvellous story in regard to the hero of his book. It appears, that when our cavalry and artillery had taken possession of the bridge over the Shenandoah, Jackson and his staff were on the south side, his army being on the north side. Jackson's audacity alone saved his being caught. Cooke says: '* He rode toward the bridge, and rising in his stirrups, called sternly to the Federal officer commanding tho artillery placed to sweep it: 'Who ordered you to post that gun there, sir? Bring it over here!'" Mr. Cooke goes on to say, that this rem arkable specimen of an officer actually bowed, limbered up the piece and prepared to move. Jackson and his staff seized the lucky moment, and dashed across the bridge before the gun could be brought to bear to any effect upon them.
crossed the Shenandoah on Monday morning. Fremont, just too late, reach ed the river during the afternoon of the same day, June 9th; the bridge was destroyed; and any attempt at further pursuit was useless.* The campaign was ended. There was nothing left now for Fremont but to retire, which he did almost immediately, to Mount Jackson, and subsequently to Middletown. Gen. Shields also fell back to New Market.
It is rather mortifying to be compelled to confess it, yet it is evident that Jackson outgeneralled the distinguished Union commanders who were in pursuit of him, and obtained advantages for the rebel cause of incalculable value. "Without gaining a single tactical victory Jackson had yet achieved a great strategic victory, for by skilfully manoeuvring 15,000 men, he succeeded in neutralizing a force of 60,000. It is not perhaps too much to say that he saved Richmond." + Esten Cooke, speaking of the closing contest at Port Republic, says: "It was the final and decisive blow struck at the Federal campaign in the valley. It crushed, inexorably, in a few short hours, the hopes and aspirations of the two leaders who had so long and persistently followed Jackson. It disembarrassed the confederate commander of his adversaries in that direction, and enabled him
* "Fremont appeared on tho northern bank of the Shenandoah, and is said to have been furious at the manner in which he had been outwitted and Gon. Shields defeated. The bridge had been burned, and as the Shenandoah was greatly swollen, it was utterly impossible for Gen. Fremont to ccme to the assistance of his coadjutor."—Cooke's " Life of Jaclxon," p. 181.
f Swinton's "Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac," p. 128.
MITCHEL IN TENNESSEE: EVACUATION OP CORINTH: FORT PILLOW, AND MEMPHIS.
Halleck at Pittsburg Landing — Beauregard at Corinth — Mitchel's movements — Starts southerly with 10,000 men to cat railroad communications of rebels — March towards Huntsville— Place taken by surprise — Effective strategy of Mitchel — Enemy's efforts against him — Bridge over the Tennessee at Decatur destroyed
— Affair at Bridgeport — Crossing of the Tennessee secured — Mitchel not reinforced — Effect — Halleck prepares to advance against Beauregard — State of the troops — Large army gathered — Distinguished officers — Advance of the army — Slow progress on account of roads, nature of the country, etc. — Siege determined upon — Affair at Farmington — Progress of the siege — Corinth evacuated by Beauregard, May 29th — Halleck's dispatch — Colonel Elliott sent to Booneville — Success—False charge against him — Sherman's congratulatory address — Beauregard pursued by our men — Halleck's statement of Pope's doings
— Beauregard resents it — Pope and Halleck leave the West — Cumberland Gap — Com. Foote seta out to attack Fort Pillow or Wright — Capt. Davis takes command — Rebel attack upon our flotilla — Result in our favor — Fort Pillow abandoned by rabals — Col. Ellet with his rams in advance — Arrives near Memptio Naval battle on the 6th of June at Memphis — Lasted an hour or more — Rebels defeated — Memphis surrenders — Position of affairs in Arkansas — Expedition up the White River — Batteries taken— Curtis's expedition to mouth of Arkansas River — Success — Troops at Helena— Curtis leaves the department.
Turning our attention again to operations in the West and South, we resume the narrative at an interesting point. It will be recollected that early in April (see p. 146), the hotly contested battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing was fought, with important results, both to the cause of the Union, and the weakening the rebellion. Gen. Halleck,
towards the close of the month, ar-
and Memphis and Charleston Railroads, it was a point -f strategic value which required to bo secured as speedily as possible by our army. Nashville, on the one hand, was endangered so long as the rebels held Corinth; on the other hand, while this state of things existed, operations against Memphis could not be undertaken to any purpose. Halleck, therefore, saw at once that he must give■this matter his earliest attention.
Previously to this, however, and as greatly assisting the purposes of Halleck, we must note the active and energetic movements of Gen. Mitchel. This noble specimen of a loyal general had, on the departure of Buell from Nashville, (March 28th,) proceeded with his division of about 10,000 men, by the direct southerly line towards the main stations of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, in Northern Alabama. The valuable points of the route in this direction were at Stevenson or Bridgeport, on the east, and Decatur on the west, at each of which places the line crossed the Tennessee River in its winding course. With the destruction of the two bridges, the communication of the rebels with the eastward would be effectually stopped. As the enemy had destroyed extensively the i-ailroad and other bridges on the line of his march, and as it was necessary to keep open communication for obtaining supplies, Mitchel's force was employed, as he proceeded, in reconstructing the bridges. Having built 1,200 feet of heavy bridging in ten days, he reached Shelby ville, on the 9th of April, fifty-seven miles from Nashville and about the same distance from
Huntsville, Alabama. Using extraordinary activity, and with the hearty co-operation of his men, Mitchel, in two days' march, arrived, on the evening of the 10th of April, within about ten miles of Huntsville. Preparations were made with great care to capturo the city before the morning dawned. By three o'clock in the morning the whole column was in motion, advancing silently but rapidly, and not long after they marched into the city. The greatest consternation prevailed; men, women and children were suddenly roused out of their sleep, to find the dreaded and hated " Yankees" in possession. For a time the excitement is said to have been indescribable.
On the 11th of April, Mitchel telegraphed to the war department his brilliant success in "cutting the great artery of railroad communication in the southern states." Stevenson and Decatur were both entered the next day. The bridge at the latter place, which had been set on fire by the rebels, was saved. From Decatur, our troops advanced by the road and occupied Tuseumbia. Hence, "in three days," as Mitchel said in an address to his soldiers, on the 16th of April, "you have extended your front of operations more than 120 miles, and your morning gun at Tuscumbia may now be heard by your comrades on the battle-field recently made glorious by their victory before Corinth."
The extension of Mitchel's lines in order to hold the railroad, rendered his situation somewhat precarious. The enemy began to gather in force and threaten him at various points. Colo
uel Tufchin held Tuscumbia till the 24th of April, when he retired to Jonesborough, a station on the railroad near Decatur, in the face of a
strong body of the rebels, adrancing from the direction of Corinth. It was the enemy's expectation to capture a large quantity of supplies — a 100,000 rations—sent by Halleck, by way of Florence, a few miles distant on the Tennessee River, under convoy of a gun boat. A considerable portion of these was burned, the rest was saved. Turchin crossed the bridge over the Tennessee at Decatur. It was a costly structure, 2,200 feet in length, and while it was burning, the rebel cavalry appeared on the opposite bank. As this was the only crossing of the Tennessee east of Florence and above the head of navigation, and west of Bridgeport near Chattanooga, its destruction was a severe blow to the rebel purposes in that quarter.
On the 27th of April, Decatur being evacuated, our troops returned to Huntsville, and hastened to Bridgeport, where the rebels were now making a stand at the bridge. Col. Sill with the advance brigade, crossed the creek beyond Stevenson by means of cotton bales and planks fastened together. He was joined by Ly tie's brigade, and on the 29th of April, Mitchel took command in person. Having ascertained the position of affairs, he ordered an attack upon the enemy and drove them back upon the Bridgeport road. They attempted to blow up the bridge, but failed, and our men secured its possession. . Having now control of the crossings of the river from Chattanooga westwardly, the
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whole length of his line, with communication by railroad, while the only enemy to be apprehended were on the southern side of the river, Mitchel closed his report to the secretary of war, under date of May 1st, saying: "This campaign is ended, and I now occupy Huntsville in perfect security, while in all of Alabama, north of the Tennessee River, floats no flag but that of the Union."
During the month of May, several expeditions were sent out by Mitchel against the enemy, and did good service; but the want of reinforcements, none of which were sent to him, .prevented Mitchel accomplishing very important results; such as securing and * keeping possession of Chattanooga, advancing to Gunther's Landing, and thence proceeding to Rome, in the northwestern part of Georgia, and destroying the large and valuable foundries and armories of the rebels there. Blows like these would have told with terrible severity upon the insurgents, and had the government promptly furnished Mitchel with the men necessary, he would almost certainly have hastened on' the doom of rebellion. As it was, after various encounters during May and June, our troops were compelled to retire from the outposts of which they had so resolutely taken possession, yet were not able to continue to hold.*
While Mitchel was thus cutting off the rebels at Corinth from their
* Gen. Mitchel was raised to the rank of majorgeneral of volunteers. In July, 1862, he was relieved . of his command, Gen. Rousseau succeeding him; on the 17th of September following, he was appointed commander of the department of the south, where he was making preparations for the campaign, when he fell a victim to the yellow fever.