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GOVERNOR LETCHER'S CALL FOR TROOPS.
States," saithe very hast, de, bears with nor Letc
tivity brought against General McClellan invoked to form guerrilla companies and in his handling of the Army of the Po- strike, when least expected, once more tomac, the long continued blockade of the for the State that gave them birth. With Potomac was not forgotten. The cessa- stern resolve and manly courage uphold tion of so humiliating an annoyance was the flag and the untarnished fame of the evidently a sign of comparative weak- Old Dominion. Scorn the misrule of ness on the part of the enemy. But a traitors who, with usurped authority, are more conclusive proof of the straits to desecrating our soil with a pollution worse which they were put by the movement than that of the direst enemy, and exeof the Union army was afforded by the cute vengeance upon the foe, who accall of Governor Letcher for the imme- knowledges and sustains their treason." diate appearance in the field of the mass A call so made indicated a desperate of the Virginia militia. "The President emergency. Many a battle-field in Virof the Confederate States," says he in ginia, and rude funeral inscriptions over his proclamation of March 10, the very hasty-made graves, many a desolated day of the evacuation of Manassas, “has fireside, bears witness to this exhaustive called for 40,000 additional troops from summons of Governor Letcher... Virginia. This call affirms that the ex- Whilst the grand army of the Potoigencies of the public service require, in mac, disappointed of its prey at Manasorder to repel the invasion of Virginia, sas, was waiting for a new movement in that her sons be called out in her defence the field, a portion of the corps of Genmore speedily than can be done under eral Banks was called into action in the the operation of the law recently enacted valley of the Shenandoah. After the by her Legislature.' No call like this retreat of the Confederate General Jack. has ever yet been made upon the State son from Frederick County, the Union in vain. Every nerve must be strung. forces which had pursued him in his flight Every son of Virginia must respond with were concentrated at Winchester, when an ardent zeal to defend the Common- it was resolved to transfer the greater wealth. Those subject to military duty part of General Bauks's command io the are alone required to perform this sery- central army of General McClellan. Genice, but gallant volunteers who come with eral Shields with his division being in a will to do or die for this great cause command at Winchester, in a reconnoiwill be given a place in our ranks. This sance beyond Strasburg on the 18th and war has attained a point which requires 19th of March, had ascertained that the brave men and true patriots to leave enemy under Jackson was strongly posttheir homes and grapple sternly with the ed near Mount Jackson, in direct comfoe. We will not tamely submit to deg-munication with a force at Luray, and radation or slavery. We will have Virgin another at Washington, on the eastern ia independent, and all our liberties main- side of the mountain. “It became imtained, or perish in the attempt to secure portant, therefore," says General Shields . them. Every private having a service- in his official report of the action which able firearm of any description in his ensued, “to draw Jackson from his popossession, or who can procure one from a sition and supporting force if possible. neighbor not able to perform duty, will To endeavor to effect this, I fell back to carry it with him. If lost, the arms will Winchester on the 20th, giving the movebe paid for by the State. Those who ment all the appearance of a retreat. have no arms will be provided with them The last brigade of the first division of at the respective rendezvous. The loyal Banks's corps d'armée, General Williams citizens of the West and Northwest, in commanding, took its departure for Cencounties not herein named, are earnestly treville by way of Berryville on the
morning of the 22d, leaving only Shields' ter is approached from the south by three division and the Michigan cavalry in principal roads—the Cedar creek road Winchester. Ashby's cavalry, observ- on the west, the valley turnpike road ing this movement from a distance, came leading to Strasburg in the centre, and to the conclusion that Winchester was the Front Royal road on the east. There being evacuated, and signaled Jackson is a little village called Kernstown, on to that effect. We saw their signal fires the valley road, about three and a half and divined their import. On the 22d, miles from Winchester. On the west about five o'clock p. m., they attacked side of this road, about half a mile north and drove in our pickets. By order of of Kernstown, is a ridge of ground which General Banks, I put my command under commands the approach by the turnpike arms and pushed forward one brigade and part of the surrounding country. and two batteries of artillery to drive This ridge was the key point of our posiback the enemy, but, to keep him deceiv- tion. Here Colonel Kimball, the senior ed as to our strength, only let him see officer in command on the field, took his two regiments of infantry, a small body station. Along this ridge Lieutenant of cavalry, and part of the artillery. Colonel Daum, chief of artillery, posted While directing one of our batteries to three of his batteries, keeping one of his its position I was struck by the fragment batteries in reserve some distance in the of a shell, which fractured my arm above rear. Part of our infantry was first the elbow, bruised my shoulder and in- placed in position in the rear and within jured my side. The enemy being driven supporting distance of these batteries, from his position, we withdrew to Win- well sheltered in the windings and sinuchester. The injuries I had received osities of the ridge. The main body of completely prostrated me, but were not the enemy on the ridge was posted in such as to prevent me from making the order of battle about half a mile beyond required dispositions for the ensuing day. Kernstown, his line extending from the Under cover of the night I pushed for- Cedar creek road to a little ravine, near ward Kimball's brigade nearly three the Front Royal road, a distance of miles on the Strasburg road. "Daum's about two miles. This ground had been artillery was posted in a strong position so skilfully selected that, while it affordto support his brigade, if attacked. Sul-ed facilities for maneuvering, it was comlivan's brigade was posted in the rear of pletely masked by high and wooded Kimball's, and within supporting distance ground in front. These woods he filled of it, covering all the approaches to the with skirmishers, supported by a battery town by Cedar creek, Front Royal, Ber- on each flank, and so adroitly had this ryville and Romney roads. This brig-movement been conducted, and so skilade and Broadhead's cavalry were held fully bad he concealed himself, that at in reserve, so as to support our force in 8 o'clock A. M. on the 23d nothing was front at any point where it might be at- visible but the same force under Ashby tacked. These dispositions being made, which had been repulsed the previous I rested for the night, knowing that all evening. Not being able to reconnoitre the approaches by which the enemy might the front in person, I dispatched an expenetrate to this place were effectually perienced officer, Colonel John T. Mason, guarded.
of the Fourth Ohio Volunteers, about "I deem it necessary in this place to nine o'clock A. M., to the front, to pergive a brief description of these ap- form that duty and report to me, as proaches, as well as of the field, which promptly as possible, every circumstance next day became the scene of one of the that might indicate the presence of the bloudiest battles of the war. Winches- enemy. About an hour after, Colonel BATTLE OF WINCHESTER.
Mason returned, and reported to me that and gave him such a check that no further he had carefully reconnoitered the coun- demonstration was made upon that flank try in front and on both flanks, and found during the remainder of the day. The no indications of any hostile force except attempt against our left having thus failthat of Ashby. :
ed, the enemy withdrew the greater part "I communicated this information to of his force to the right, and formed it Major-General Banks, who was then with into a reserve to support his left flank in me, and after consulting together we a forward movement. He then added both concluded that Jackson could not his original reserve and two batteries to be tempted to hazard himself so far away his main body, and then, advancing with from his main support. Having both this combined column, under shelter of come to this conclusion, General Banks the bridges on the left, on which other took his departure for Washington, being batteries had been previously posted, already under orders to that effect. The seemed evidently determined to turn our officers of his staff, however, remained right flank or overthrow it. Our batbehind, intending to leave for Centreville teries on the opposite ridge, though adin the afternoon. Although I began to mirably managed by their experienced conclude that Jackson was nowhere in chief, Lieutenant Colonel Daum, were the vicinity, knowing the crafty enemy soon found insufficient to check, or even we have to deal with, I took care not to retard, the advance of such a formidable omit a single precaution. Between eleven body. At this stage of the combat a and twelve o'clock A. M., a message from messenger arrived from Colonel Kimball, Colonel Kimball informed me that another informing me of the state of the field, battery on the enemy's right had opened on and requesting direction as to the emour position, and that there was some indi-ployment of the infantry. I saw there cations of a considerable force of infantry was not a moment to lose, and gave posin the woods in that quarter. On re- itive orders that all the disposable inceiving this information I pushed forward fantry should immediately be thrown Sullivan's brigade, which was placed, by forward on our right to carry the enemy's order of Colonel Kimball, in a position batteries, and to assail and turn his left to oppose the advance of the enemy's flank, and hurl it back on the centre. right wing. The action opened with a Colonel Kimball carried out these orders fire of artillery on both sides, but at too with promptitude and ability. He engreat à distance to be very effective. trusted this movement to Tyler's splendid The initiative was taken by the enemy. brigade, which, under its fearless leader, He pushed forward a few more guns to Colonel Tyler, marched forward with his right, supported by a considerable alacrity and enthusiastic joy to the perforce of infantry and cavalry, with the formance of the most perilous duty of apparent intention of ensilading our po- the day. The enemy's skirmishers were sition and turning our left flank. An driven before it and fell back upon the active body of skirmishers, consisting of main body, strongly posted behind a high the Eighth Ohio, Colonel Carroll, and and solid stone wall, situated on an elethree companies of the Sixty-seventh vated ground. Here the struggle beOhio, was immediately thrown forward came desperate, and for a short time on both sides of the valley road to resist doubtful ; but Tyler's brigade being soon the enemy's advance. These skirmishers joined on the left by the 5th Obio, 13th were admirably supported by four pieces Indiana and 620 Ohio, of Sullivan's of artillery under Captain Jenks and brigade, and the 14th Indiana, 84th Sullivan's gallant brigade. This united Pennsylvania, seven companies of the force repulsed the enemy at all points, 67th Ohio, and three companies of the 8th Ohio, of Kimball's brigade, this as the light of day would enable them to united force dashed upon the enemy with point their guns, and to pursue him witha cheer and yell that rose high above out respite, and compel him to abandon the roar of battle, and though the rebels his guns and baggage, or cut him to fought desperately, as their piles of dead pieces. These orders 'were implicitly attest, they were forced back through the obeyed as far as possible. It now apwoods by a fire as destructive as ever pears that I had rightly divined the infell upon a retreating foe. Jackson, with tentions of our crafty antagonist. On his supposed invincible stone wall brigade the morning of the 23d a reinforcement and the accompanying brigades, much to from Luray of 5,000 reached Front their mortification and discomfiture, were Royal, on their way to join Jackson. compelled to fall back in disorder upon This reinforcement was being followed their reserve. Here they took up a new by another body of 10,000 from Sperryposition for a final stand, and made an ville ; but, recent rains having rendered attempt for a few minutes to retrieve the the Shenandoah river impassable, they fortunes of the day; but again rained down found themselves compelled to fall back upon them the same close and destructive without being able to effect the proposed fire. Again cheer upon cheer rang in junction. At daylight on the morning their ears. A few minutes only did they of the 24th our artillery again opened stand up against it, when they turned, on the enemy. He entered upon his redismayed, and fled in disorder, leaving | treat in very good order, considering us in possession of the field, the killed what he had suffered. General Banks, and wounded, three hundred prisoners, hearing of our engagement on his way two guns, four caisons, and a thousand to Washington, halted at Harper's Ferstand of small arms. Night alone saved ry, and, with remarkable promptitude him from total destruction. The enemy and sagacity, ordered back William's's retreated above five miles, and, judging whole division, so that my express found from his camp fires, took a new position the rear brigade en route to join us. for the night. Our troops, wearied and The General himself returned here forthexhausted with the fatigues of the day, with, and, after making me a hasty visit, threw themselves down to rest on the assumed command of the forces in purfield.
suit of the enemy. The pursuit was “Though the battle had been won, kept up with vigor, energy, and activity, still I could not have believed that Jack- until they reached Woodstock, where son would have hazarded a decisive en- the enemy's retreat became flight, and gagement at such a distance from the the pursuit was abandoned because of main body without expecting reinforce- the utter exhaustion of our troops. ments. So, to be prepared for such a "The killed and wounded in this encontingency, I set to work during the gagement cannot even yet be accurately night to bring together all the troops ascertained. Indeed, my command has within my reach. I sent an express been so overworked that it has had but after Williams's division, requesting the little time to ascertain anything. The rear brigade, about twenty miles distant, killed, as reported, are one hundred and to march all night and join me in the three, and among them we have to demorning. I swept the posts and route plore the loss of the brave Colonel Murin my rear of almost all their guards, ray, of the 84th Pennsylvania volunhurrying them forward by forced march-teers, who fell at the head of his regies to be with me at daylight. I gave ment while gallantly leading it in the positive orders also to the forces in the face of the enemy. The wounded are field to open fire on the enemy as soon | four hundred and for:y-one, many of