ePub 版

Jackson, the brave, eccentric and beloved commander,* who had achieved so many victories against so many extraordinary odds and obstacles; all the movements of the campaign being directed by the self-possessed, controlling and earnest mind of General Lee.

The insolent enemy received his first lesson at the hands of the heroic Jackson on the wooded sides and cleared slopes of the mountainous country in Culpeper. In consequence of the advance of the Confederates beyond the Rapida«n, Major-General Rape had sent forward two army corps, commanded by General Banks, to hold them in check.

On the evening of the 8th of August, a portion of General Jackson's division, consisting of the 1st, 2d and §d brigades, under the command of Gen. Charles S. Winder, crossed the Rapidan river, a few miles above the railroad, and, having advanced a mile into Culpeper county, encamped for the night. The next morning, the enemy being reported as advancing, our forces, Ewell's divrlion being in advance, moved forward on the main road from Orange Court-house to Culpeper- Courthouse, about three miles, and took position—our left flank resting on the Southwest Mountain and our artillery occupying several commanding positions. At 12 M., our forces commenced cannonading, which was freely responded to by the enemy, who did not seem ready for the engagement, which they had affected to challenge. Indeed, some strategy seemed necessary to bring them to fight. About 3 P. M., Gen. Early's brigade (Ewell's division) made a circuit through the woo$s, attacking the enemy on their right flank, the 13th Virginia regiment being in the advance as skirmishers. At 4 o'clock the firing began, and soon the fight became general. As Gen. Jackson's division, then commanded by Gen. Winder, were rapidly proceeding to the scene of action, the enemy, guided by the dust made by the artillery, shelled the road wifh great precision. It was by this shell that the brave Winder was killed. His left arm shattered and his side also wounded, he survived but an hour. At a still later period, a portion of Gen. A. P. Hill's division were engaged. Thf battle was mainly fought in a large field near Mrs. Crittenden's house, a portion being open, and the side occupied by the Yankees being covered with luxuriant corn. Through this corn, when our forces were considerably scattered, two Yankee cavalry regiments made a desperate charge, evidently expecting utterly to disorganize our lines. The result was precisely the reverse. Our men rallied, ceased to fire on the infantry, and, concentrating their attention on the cavalry, poured into their ranks a fire which emptied many a saddle, and caused the foe to wheel and retire, which, however, they effected without breaking their columns. For some time the tide of victory ebbed and flowed, but about dark the foe finally broke and retreated in confusion to the woods, leaving their dead and many of their wounded, wjith a large quantity of arms and ammunition upon the field. Daylight faded and the moon in her full glory appeared, just as the terrours of the raging battle gave way to the sickening scenes of a field where a victory had been won.

* There have been a great many pen and ink portraits of the famous "Stonewall" Jackson; the singular features and eccentric manners of this popular hero affording a fruitful subject of description and anecdote. A gentleman, who was known to be a rare and quick judge of character, was asked by the writer for a description of Jackson, whom he had met but for a few moments on the battle-field. "He is a fighting man," was the reply; "rough mouth, iron jaw, and nostrils big as a horse's." This description has doubtless much force in it, although blunt and homely in its expression. The impression given by Jackson is that of a man perhaps forty years old, six feet high, medium size, and somewhat angular in person. He has yellowish-grey eyes, a Roman nose, sharp; a thin, forward chin, angular brow, a close mouth, and light brown hair. The expression of his face is to some extent unhappy, but not sullen or unsocial. He is impulsive, silent and emphatic. His dress is official, but very plain, his cap-front resting nearly on his nose. His Mil horse diminished the effect of his size, so that when mounted he appears less in person than he really is.

The battle of Cedar Mountain, as it was entitled, may be characterized as one of the most rapid and severe engagements of the war. In every particular it was a sanguinary and desperate struggle, and resulted in a complete and decisive victory for our arms. Our forces engaged amounted to about eight thousand,'whilst those of the enemy could not have been less than fifteen thousand. Our loss was near six hundred killed, wtunded and missing; that of the enemy little, if any, less then two thousand. We captured nearly five hundred prisoners, over fifteen hundred stand of arms, two splendid Napoleon guns, twelve wagon loads of ammunition, several wagon loads of new and excellent clothing, and drove the enemy two miles beyond the field of battle, which we held for two days and nights.

The battle was remarkable for an Extraordinary and terrific "artillery duel." In fact, the fire wTas conducted with artillery alone for more than three hours. The opposing batteries unlimbered so close to each other that, during the greater part of the firing, they used grape and canister. Those working our battery could distinctly hear the hum of voices of the infantry support of the Federal battery. The Louisiana Guard artillery and the Purcell battery were ordered to take position and open on the enemy from the crest of a hill. Here they found themselves opposed by five batteries of the enemy within short range. The battle raged fiercely, the enemy firing with great precision. •■ The accuracy of our fire was proved by the fact, that the enemy, though their guns were more than twice as numerous, were compelled to shift the position of their batteries five different times. Once during "the fight, the enemy's sharpshooters, under cover of a piece of woods, crept up within a short distance of our batteries and opened on them, but were instantly scattered by a discharge of canister from one of the howitzers.

. The battle of Cedar Mountain was the natural preface to that larger and severer contest of arms which was to baptize, for a second time, the field of Manassas with tho blood of Southern patriots, and illuminate it with the splendid scenes of a decisive victory. It convinced the North of the necessity of a larger scale of exertion and a concentration of its forces in Virginia to effect its twice-foiled advance upon the capital of the Confederacy. It was decided by the Washington government to recall McClellan's army from the Peninsula, to unite his columns with those of Pope, to include also the forces at Fredericksburg, and, banding these in a third Grand Army more splendid than its predecessors, to make one concentrated endeavour to retrieve its unfortunate summer campaign in Virginia, and plant its banners in the city of Richmond.

Not many days elapsed before the evacuation of Berkeley and Westover, on the James river, was signalled to the authorities of Richmond by the large fleet of transports collected on the James and the Rappahannock. It became necessary to meet the rapid movements of the enemy by new dispositions of our forces; not a day was to be lost; and by the 17th of August, General Lee had assembled in front of Pope a force sufficient to contest his further advance, and to balk his threatened passage of the Rapidan.

After the battle of Cedar Mountain, the forces under Stonewall Jackson withdrew from the vicinity of the Rapidan, and were for some days unheard of,, except that a strong force was in the vicinity of Madison Court-house, some twelve miles to the westward,'in the direction of Luray and the Shenandoah valley; but it was supposed by the enemy that this was only a wing of the army under Ewell, intended to act as reserves to Jackson's army, and to cover his retreat back to Gordonsville. Not so, however. These forces of Ewell, as afterwards discovered by the Yankees to their great surprise, were the main body of Jackson's army, en route for the Shenandoah valley.

It was probably the design of Gen. Lee, wTith the bulk of the Confederate army, to take the front, left and right, and engage Gfen. Pope at or near the Rapidan, while Jackson and Ewell were to cross the Shenandoah river and mountains, cut off his supplies by way of the railroad, and menace his rear. The adventure, on the part of Jackson, was difficult and desperate; it took the risk of any new movements of Pope, by which he (Jackson) himself might be cut off. It wTas obvious, indeed, that if Pope could reach Gordonsville, he would cut off Jackson's supplies, but in this direction he was to be confronted by Gen. Lee with the forces withdrawn from Richmond. With the movement of Jackson the object was to keep Pope between the Rapidan and the Rappahannock rivers until Jackson had attained his position at Manassas, or perhaps at Rappahannock bridge; but Pope's retreat to the Rappahannock's north bank frustrated that design, and rendered it necessary for General Lee to follow up his advantage, and, by a system of feints, to take Pope's attention from his rear and divert it to his front.

On Monday, the 28th of August, at daybreak, Gen. Jackson's corps, consisting of General Ewell's division, General Hill's division, and General Jackson's old division, under command of General Taliaferro, and a force of cavalry under General Stuart, marched from Jeffersonton, in Oulpeper county, and crossed the Rappahannock eight miles above that place, and marched by Orleans to Salem, in Fauquier. The next day they passed through Thoroughfare Gap, of Bull Run mountains, to Bristow and Manassas Stations, on the Orange and Alexandria railroad, effecting a complete surprise of the enemy, capturing a large number of prisoners, several trains of cars, and immense commissary and quartermaster stores, and several pieces of artillery. The distance marched in these two days was over fifty miles. On Wednesday, Manassas Station was occupied by Jackson's old division, whilst Ewell occupied Bristow, and Hill and Stuart dispersed the force sent from Alexandria to attack what the enemy supposed to be only a cavalry force.

The amount of property which fell into our hands at Manassas was immense—several trains heavily laden with stores, ten first class locomotives, fifty thousand pounds of bacon, one thousand barrels of beef, two thousand barrels of pork, several thousand barrels of flour, and a large quantity of oats and corn. A bakery, which was daily turning out fifteen thousand loaves of bread, was also destroyed. Next to Alexandria, Manassas was probably the largest depot established for the Northern army in Virginia.

« 上一頁繼續 »