Reports of Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, U. S. Army, commanding the Mountain Department, of operations May 24-June 17, and including instructions from the President and Secretary of War. 
MAY 15--JUNE 17, 1862.
Operations in the Shenandoah Valley.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 15 [S# 15]
 


WAR DEPARTMENT,
May 24, 1862--9.45 a.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Franklin:

       Yesterday the enemy attacked and drove Banks' force from Front Royal, and are threatening Strasburg and Winchester. If you can operate so as to afford him any support do so.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


Franklin, May 24, 1862.
(Received 2.30 p.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       General Banks informs me this morning of an attack by enemy. This is probably by Jackson, who marched in that direction some days since. Ewell's force with him. General Banks says he should be re-enforced immediately. May I ask if you will support him? I have no information concerning the real situation of affairs in Eastern Virginia. My own movements are being directed to the object proposed in plan approved, and in connection to the speediest possible support of General Cox, while at the same time protecting country behind our lines from New Creek to Flat Top Mountain, where General Cox now is. Between him and the railroad is a largely superior force. Enemy seems everywhere re-enforced and active. Under the circumstances my force cannot be divided, and if I abandon this line and move eastward to the support of General Banks this whole country to the Ohio would be thrown open, and General Cox also immediately exposed to disaster. If conditions elsewhere will permit General Cox to fall backward and upon my lines, I could in such case cover him without much exposure. Want of supplies has kept this force at Franklin. Beef is now secured, but during the last eight days there has been but one ration of bread, two of coffee and sugar, and nothing else. There is nothing but beef now in camp. This want of food has been nigh to produce disorder, and rendered advance hazardous. Transportation collected at New Creek will begin to tell to-day, and the few days' advance supplies will be accumulated here which are required for active operations. Continued rains have flooded the streams. Raining today. Needing much the use of my cavalry. I telegraph to General Meigs asking that he authorize the chief quartermaster and my quartermaster here to purchase immediately, wherever they can be had, 400 horses. Will you approve the requisition

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
May 24, 1862--4 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Franklin:

You are authorized to purchase the 400 horses or take them wherever and however you can get them.

       The exposed condition of General Banks makes his immediate relief a point of paramount importance. You are therefore directed by the President to move against Jackson at Harrisonburg, and operate against the enemy in such way as to relieve Banks. This movement must be made immediately. You will acknowledge the receipt of this order and specify the hour it is received by you.

A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Franklin, May 24, 1862. (Received 6.35 p.m.)

His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Your telegram received at 5 o'clock this afternoon. Will move as ordered, and operate against the enemy in such way to afford prompt relief to General Banks.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


WAR DEPARTMENT,May 24, 1862---7.15 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT,
Franklin, Va.:

Many thanks for the promptness with which you have answered that you will execute the order. Much--perhaps all---depends upon the celerity with which you can execute it. Put the utmost speed into it. Do not lose a minute.

A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
On the march, May 25, 1862.

President LINCOLN.

       Dispatch received. Our army will do the best to answer your expectations.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


WAR DEPARTMENT,
May 25, 1862.

General FREMONT:

General Banks fell back yesterday from Strasburg to Winchester. To-day he has been driven from Winchester toward Harper's Ferry. You must direct your attention to falling upon the enemy at whatever place you can find him with all speed. McDowell will also operate toward the same object with his force. You must not stop for supplies, but seize what you need and push rapidly forward; the object being to cut off and capture this rebel force in the Shenandoah.

EDWIN M. STANTON.


WASHINGTON, May 27, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT, Petersburg, Va.:

       General Banks was defeated, and forced to cross the Potomac at Williamsport, which he accomplished with no great loss of troops or stores. Well conducted retreat; brought off all his guns and 500 wagons. The enemy threatened General Geary at Thoroughfare Gap, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, yesterday, but whether in large or small force is not definitely known, nor is the present position of the enemy known. General McDowell has a strong force concentrated at Manassas to pursue the enemy and cut off his retreat, if he can be overtaken. Harper's Ferry strongly occupied by our fresh troops and artillery, and no enemy known to be on the Lower Shenandoah. It is desirable that you move with celerity to prevent the escape of the enemy.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


MAY 27, 1862--9.58 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT:

       I see that you are at Moorefield. You were expressly ordered to march to Harrisonburg. What does this mean?

A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,May 28, 1862--6 a.m.
(Received 10.50 a.m.)

The PRESIDENT.

       My troops were not in condition to execute your order otherwise than has been done. They have marched day and night to do it. The men had had so little to eat that many were weak for want of food, and were so reported by the chief surgeon. Having for main object, as stated in your telegram, the relief of General Banks, the line of march followed was a necessity. In executing any order received I take it for granted that I am to exercise discretion concerning its literal execution, according to circumstances. If I am to understand that literal obedience to orders is required, please say so. I have no desire to exercise any power which you do not think belongs of necessity to my position in the field.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


MOOREFIELD, May 28, 1862.
(Received 11.30 a.m.)

Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President.

       The reasons for my being in Moorefield are, l st, the point of your order was to relieve General Banks. At the time it was issued it was only known that he had been attacked at Front Royal. When my march commenced I knew he had retreated from Winchester. 2d. Of the different roads to Harrisonburg all but one, and that one leading southward, had been obstructed by the enemy, and if the loss of time by taking the only open road were no consideration, it was still a simple impossibility to march in that direction. My troops were utterly out of provisions. There was nothing whatever to be found in the country except a small quantity of fresh beef, from the effects of which the troops were already suffering, and, in fact, all my men were only saved from starvation by taking the road to Petersburg, where they found five days' rations. With these we are now moving with the utmost celerity possible in whatever direction the enemy may be found.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General


WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862--1 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Moorefield:

       The President directs you to halt at Moorefield and wait orders, unless you hear of the enemy being in the general direction of Romney, in which case you will move upon him. Acknowledge the receipt of this order and the hour it is received.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


CAMP TEN MILES EAST OF MOOREFIELD,
May 28, 1862---5 p.m.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       Your two dispatches of this date reached me together here at 4.45 p.m. I am camped here, 10 miles east of Moorefield, at fork of roads leading, respectively, to Woodstock, Strasburg, and Winchester. Except Milroy, at Moorefield, my whole force is here. Scouting parties thrown forward to Wardensville. It being late and the men fatigued, I will remain in camp to-night and return to Moorefield in the morning, unless otherwise directed by you. Sent telegraph to Moorefield at 3.30 p.m., directing commanding officer at Romney to make cavalry reconnaissance 15 miles on road to Winchester. My courier will await answer.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862---4.50 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Moorefield:

       The following dispatch has just been received from General Hamilton, at Harper's Ferry:

HARPER'S FERRY, May 28.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

There is very little doubt that Jackson's force is between Winchester and Charlestown. His troops were too much fatigued to pursue Banks. A large body of rebel cavalry is near Charlestown now. Jackson and Ewell were near Bunker Hill yesterday at noon. Of this last there is no doubt.

C. S. HAMILTON,
Brigadier-General.

       The above probably indicates the true position of the enemy at this time. President directs you to move upon him by the best route you can.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS NEAR MOOREFIELD,
May 28, 1862.(Received 11 p.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

       Your telegram conveying information from General Hamilton was received at 7 o'clock this evening. The President's order will be obeyed accordingly.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, May 28, 1862--11 p.m.

Maj. Gen. John C. FREMONT, Moorefield:

       The order to remain at Moorefield was based on the supposition that it would find you there. Upon subsequent information that the enemy were still operating in the vicinity of Winchester and Martinsburg you were directed to move against the enemy. The President now again directs you to move against the enemy without delay. Please acknowledge the receipt of this and the time received.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


WASHINGTON, May 29, 1862--2 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Moorefield:

       Dispatches from General Saxton, at Harper's Ferry, state as follows:

HARPER'S FERRY, May 28.

Hon. E. M. STANTON:

I have learned from a Union prisoner that my reconnoitering party captured at Charlestown to-day that General Steuart is moving from Winchester to Point of Rocks, intending to cross there, move upon my rear, break up the line of railroad, and burn the bridge. I have sent 100 men to guard it. My troops are posted in strong positions, and unless they disgrace themselves they will hold it, provided the rear is safe.

R. SAXTON,
Brigadier-General.

       This is all the information we have of the enemy's position. Banks is at Williamsport, having retreated from Winchester. Please acknowledge the receipt of this.

EDWIN M. STANTON.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Army in Field, May 29, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       Your dispatches of 8 and 10 p.m. were received by me this morning at 2.5 by courier. The President's order will be obeyed as promptly as possible, and I am now engaged in drawing forward my force. My reconnoitering parties out last night 22 miles, to Wardensville, report Jackson's force 4 miles below Winchester; rear guard at Strasburg; headquarters, Winchester. Reconnaissance returned to Romney at 11 last night from 15 miles out. Report Jackson, Johnson, and Ewell at Chester, and rebel cavalry sent from Winchester toward Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, May 29, 1862--12 m.

Major-General FREMONT,
Moorefield, Va.:

General McDowell's advance, if not checked by the enemy, should, and probably will, be at Front Royal by 12 (noon) to-morrow. His force, when up, will be about 20,000. Please have your force at Strasburg, or, if the route you are moving on does not lead to that point, as near Strasburg as the enemy may be by the same time. Your dispatch No. 30 received and satisfactory.

A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Near Moorefield, May 29, 1862.

The PRESIDENT.
(Copy to McDowell May 30.)

       Our advance occupies to-night the bridge at Lost River, 16 miles ahead. The scouting party of Maryland cavalry, sent out last evening under charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Downey, drove the enemy's pickets through Wardensville this morning, killing 2. Colonel Downey's horse was shot under him. My command is not yet in marching order. It has been necessary to halt to-day to bring up parts of regiments and to receive stragglers, hundreds of whom from Blenker's division strewed the roads. You can conceive the condition of the command from the fact that the medical director this morning protested against its farther advance without allowing one day's rest, the regiments being much reduced, and force diminished accordingly. I could not venture to proceed with it in disorder, and cannot with safety undertake to be at the point you mention earlier than by 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon. At that hour I will be at or near it, according to position of the enemy. Companies in the rear are marching night and day to bring up the entire force. Will be on the road early to-morrow morning, and couriers will be provided to bring on your answer, which please send to-night, and let me know if General McDowell's force can be so controlled as to make this combination.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


MOOREFIELD, May 30, 1862.
(Received 11.30 a.m.)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President.

        Scouts and men from Winchester represent Jackson's force variously at 30,000 to 60,000. With him Generals Ewell and Longstreet.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


Washington, May 30, 1862--11.30 a.m.

Major-General FREMONT,
Moorefield, Va.:

       Yours of this morning from Moorefield just received. There cannot be more than 20,000, probably not more than 15,000, of the enemy at or about Winchester. Where is your force? It ought this minute to be near Strasburg. Answer at once.

A. LINCOLN.


WASHINGTON, May 30, 1862--.230 p.m.

Major-General Fremont,
Moorefield, Va.:

       Yours, saying you will reach Strasburg or vicinity at 5 p.m. Saturday, has been received and sent to General McDowell, and he directed to act in view of it. You must be up to time you promised, if possible. Corinth was evacuated last night and is occupied by our troops to-day; the enemy gone south to Okolona, on the railroad to Mobile.

A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS,
May 30, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

       Colonel Latham, with a detachment of the Second Virginia, and a company of Connecticut Cavalry, under Captain Fish, who were sent to Saver's River, surprised and routed a gang of guerrillas at that place, killing their captain and 3 men, wounding several others, and capturing and destroying more than thirty guns.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, May 30, 1862---9.30 p.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Moorefield:

       I send you a dispatch just received from General Saxton, at Harper's Ferry:

HARPER'S FERRY, 30th.
(Received 6 p.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

The rebels are in line of battle in front of our lines. They have nine pieces of artillery in position and cavalry. I shelled the woods in which they were, and they in return threw a large number of shells into the lines and tents from which I moved <ar15_649> last night to take up a stronger position. I expected a great deal from the battery on the mountain, having here nine 9-inch Dahlgren's bearing directly on the enemy's approaches. The enemy appeared this morning, and then retired with the intention of driving us out. I shall act on the defensive, as my position is a strong one. In a skirmish which took place this afternoon I lost 1 horse; the enemy 2 men killed and some wounded.

R. SAXTON,
Brigadier-General

       It seems the game is before you. Have sent a copy to General McDowell.

A. LINCOLN.


WASHINGTON, May 31, 1862--1 a.m.

Major-General FREMONT, Moorefield, Va.:
Major-General McDOWELL,
Rectortown, Va.:

        I have just returned from Harper's Ferry. The enemy has been before that place and threatening an attack for two days. Deserters report that Jackson is in command, and that in a speech made to his men in Charlestown on Wednesday morning he promised them less marching and better fare in a few days, when they would enter Maryland. It is supposed that the attack on Harper's Ferry has been delayed by an apprehension of the advance of your force to cut off retreat. When do you expect to reach Winchester? Where is Shields?

P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Wardensville, May 31, 1862. (Received 8.30 p.m.)

To the PRESIDENT.
(Copy to McDowell.)

       Your telegram of 31st [30th?]received. Main column at this place. Roads heavy and weather terrible. Heavy storm of rain most of yesterday and all last night. Our cavalry and scouts have covered the roads 10 to 15 miles ahead. The enemy's cavalry and ours now in sight of each other on the Strasburg road. Engagement expected today. The army is pushing forward, and! intend to carry out operations proposed.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS,
Five miles from Strasburg, June
1, 1862.

To the PRESIDENT.
(Copy to McDowell.)

       Our advance reached this point last night; became engaged this morning. Main body reached here at 10 a.m. to-day. Advance is under Colonel Cluseret, aide-de-camp. He has eight pieces and two small regiments. Was attacked by enemy in considerable force. Reported by prisoner 15,000, with 8,000 coming up. We hear nothing of McDowell. Our force marched hard all night, and crossed the Shenandoah during an uninterrupted storm. Expect to bring up our entire force by night-fall. Our advance holds its place, and I shall accept battle in our present position, which is an excellent one. Will do more <ar15_650> according to opportunity. General engagement will probably take place during the afternoon.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Near Strasburg, June 1, 1862--6 p.m.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

        Your telegram of this date received at 5 o'clock. The skirmish of this morning was confined to infantry and artillery of our advance and lasted about two hours, at the expiration of which time the enemy retired. Our loss only 7 wounded. State of rebels not known. I am now (6 o'clock) about driving in their pickets, and if that does not bring on a general engagement shall close with him early to-morrow morning.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN FIELD,
Strasburg, June 1, via Moorefield, June 2, 1862.

To the PRESIDENT.

       A reconnoitering force just in reports the enemy retreating, but in what direction is not yet known. Our cavalry will occupy Strasburg by midnight. Terrible storm of thunder and hail now passing over. Hailstones as large as hens' eggs.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Strasburg, 2d.

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

       The engagement of yesterday was renewed and continued until 10 o'clock at night, at which time my advance had driven the rear guard of the rebels into their main camp at a place called Round Hill, some 4 miles from Strasburg. At this point my cavalry attacked and dispersed a body of rebel cavalry, but pursued no farther on account of the storm. The enemy lost many in killed and wounded. We took 11 prisoners. Several wounded on our side, but none killed. My whole force is now (9 o'clock) up and in rapid pursuit of the enemy. I meet here General Bayard, with a regiment of cavalry, one company of infantry, and four guns, forming the advance of General McDowell. The officers who particularly distinguished themselves in the cavalry charge last night are Colonel Figyelmesy, of my staff; Major Finch, temporarily of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, and Captain Fish, of the Connecticut cavalry.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-- I have opened and read General Frémont's message and forwarded it, 12.30. General Bayard's brigade, I understand from the messenger, has joined General Frémont, and Hartsuff is on the way. General Shields, who advanced for Luray last night, has his whole division on the march to try and intercept Jackson up the valley.

IRVIN McDOWELL.


WASHINGTON, June 2, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT, Strasburg:
Major-General McDOWELL,
Front Royal:

       Your dispatches received. We are glad to hear you are so close on the enemy. McClellan beat the rebels badly near Richmond yesterday. The President tells me to say to you do not let the enemy escape from you. Major-General Sigel is advancing with two brigades from Harper's Ferry toward Winchester. Let us hear from you often.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Camp by Woodstock, Va., June 2, 1862-- 6 p.m.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.

       The enemy was pressed by our advance this morning until about 10 o'clock, when he made a determined stand of an hour. He was attacked by about 1,000 cavalry, under General Bayard, 600 cavalry of my command, under Colonel Zagonyi, and Schirmer's and Buell's batteries, of General Stahel's brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Pilsen, aide-de-camp. He repeatedly faced about, and was as often driven from his position during a running fight of four hours. Our force marched 18 miles in five hours. The pursuit was so rapid that it was impossible to get the infantry up before he reached for the night the heights beyond Woodstock.
       His retreat was reckless. About 100 prisoners and 200 stand of arms were taken, and there are at least 1,000 stragglers in the woods along the road and country adjoining. Clothing, blankets, muskets, and sabers are strewn also upon the road.
       We have a few killed and wounded. Among the hurt is Colonel Pilsen, though not seriously.
       At their last stand the enemy lost 6 or 8 killed, and his loss during the day was undoubtedly considerable. With the infantry at hand we should have taken his guns.
       At 4.45 p.m. General Stahel's brigade occupied Woodstock.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Mount Jackson, June 4, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON

       The pursuit of the enemy was continued to-day, and their rear again engaged. The rebels attempted to destroy all the bridges, and succeeded in burning several, the most important of which was that over the Shenandoah at this place. Our loss to-day is but 1 killed. We have begun to release prisoners taken at Front Royal, about 30 having been recaptured to-day. The late violent rains, which still continue, have raised the rivers so that they are not fordable, but arrangements are being made to-night for crossing, and the pursuit will be continued early in the morning. I hope tomorrow to force the rebels to a stand.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Mountain Department, June 4, 1862.
(Received June
6, 1.05 p.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       It has rained continuously and hard for twenty-four hours, producing one of the two greatest freshets known for many years. The Shenandoah rose 10 feet in four hours, breaking up the temporary bridge just thrown across. The bridge at Edenburg, partially demolished by the enemy, is also now entirely swept away. A regiment of infantry and two companies of cavalry succeeded in crossing the Shenandoah before the bridge was broken, and are now encamped on the other side of the stream. The effort to cross will be renewed to-morrow morning. The prisoners now number 400. We hear nothing yet of General Shields.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


HDQRS. MOUNTAIN DEPT., ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Harrisonburg, June 7, 1862.
(Received June 9, 9 a.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       The army reached this place at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, driving out the enemy's rear guard from the town. Severe skirmishing continued from that time until dark, the enemy's rear being closely pressed by our advance. At 4 o'clock the First New Jersey Cavalry, after driving the enemy through the village, fell into an ambuscade in the woods to the southeast of the town, in which Colonel Wyndham, of that regiment, was captured and considerable loss sustained. Colonel Cluseret with his brigade subsequently engaged the enemy in the timber, driving him from his position and taking his camp. At about 8 a battalion of Colonel Kane s (Pennsylvania) regiment entered the woods under the direction of Brigadier-General Bayard, and maintained for half an hour a vigorous attack, in which both sides suffered severely, driving the enemy. The enemy attempted to shell our troops, but a few shots from one of our batteries soon silenced his guns. After dark the enemy continued his retreat. Full particulars will he forwarded by mail. The condition of the force is extremely bad, for want of supplies. We have been obliged to leave our single pontoon train at one of the bridges behind, in order to get our supplies over, and are now without any.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Harrisonburg, June 7, 1862-- 9 p.m.
(Received June
9, 7.40 a.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

       The attacks upon the enemy's rear of yesterday precipitated his retreat. Their loss in killed and wounded was very severe, and many of both were left on the field. Their retreat was by an almost impassable road, along which many wagons were left in the woods, and wagon loads of blankets, clothing, and other equipments are piled up in all directions. During the evening many of the rebels were killed by shells from a battery of General Stahel's brigade. General Ashby, who covered the retreat with his whole cavalry force and three regiments of infantry and who exhibited admirable skill and audacity, was among the killed. General Milroy made a reconnaissance to-day about 7 miles on the Port Republic road, and discovered a portion of the enemy's forces encamped in the timber.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJT. GEN.'S OFFICE,
Washington, June 8, 1862.

Maj. Gen. JOHN C. FREMONT, U.S. A.,
Commanding Mountain Department, Mount Pleasant, Va.:

       GENERAL: I inclose herewith for your information a manuscript copy of General Orders, No. 62. The Secretary of War directs that you take position with your main force at or near Harrisonburg, with the double object of guarding against any operations of the enemy down the valley of the Shenandoah, and also, in conjunction with your force under General Cox, against any such operations in Western Virginia.
       The cavalry force known as Bayard's cavalry brigade, with the artillery and battalion of Bucktail Rifles, heretofore under command of Major-General McDowell, but now operating with you, will be immediately ordered to rejoin General McDowell at Fredericksburg.
       Major-General Banks is instructed to take position in force at or near Front Royal, on the right or left bank of the Shenandoah, with an advance at Luray or other points in supporting distance of you, and also to occupy with sufficient detachments the former positions of General Geary on the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad as far as the Manassas Junction.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Camp near Port Republic, June 8, 1862-- -9 p.m.
(Received June 10, 9.30 a.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       The army left Harrisonburg at 6 this morning, and at 8.30 my advance engaged the rebels about 7 miles from that place, near Union Church. The enemy was very advantageously posted in the timber, <ar15_654> having chosen his own position, forming a smaller circle than our own, and with his troops formed in masses. It consisted undoubtedly of Jackson's entire force. The battle began with heavy firing at 11 o'clock, and lasted with great obstinacy and violence until 4 in the afternoon. Some skirmishing and artillery firing continued from that time until dark. Our troops fought occasionally under the murderous fire of greatly superior numbers, the hottest of the small-arm fire being on the left wing, which was held by Stahel's brigade, consisting of five regiments. The bayonet and canister shot were used freely and with great effect by our men. Loss on both sides very great. Ours very heavy among the officers. A fall report of those who distinguished themselves will be made without partiality. I desire to say that both officers and men behaved with splendid gallantry, and that the service of the artillery was especially admirable. We are encamped on the field of battle, which may be renewed at any moment.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Port Republic, June 9, 1862-- noon, via Martinsburg.
(Received June 12, 8 a.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

       There was no collision with the enemy after dark last night. This morning we resumed the march against him, entering the woods in battle order, his cavalry appearing on flanks.
       General Blenker had the left, General Milroy the right, and General Schenck the center, with a reserve of General Stahel's brigade and General Bayard's. The enemy was found to be in full retreat on Port Republic, and our advance found his rear guard barely across the river and the bridge in flames. Our advance came in so suddenly that some of his officers remaining on this side escaped with the loss of their horses. A cannonading during the forenoon apprised us of an engagement, and I am informed here that General Jackson attacked General Shields this morning, and after a severe engagement drove him down the river and is now in pursuit. I have sent an officer with a detachment of cavalry to open communication with General Shields, and in mean time preparing to bridge the river, having no pontoon.
       This morning detachments were occupied in searching the grounds covered by yesterday's action at Cross Keys for our remaining dead and wounded. I am not fully informed, but think 125 will cover our loss in killed and 500 in wounded. The enemy's loss we cannot clearly ascertain. He was engaged during the night in carrying off his dead and wounded in wagons. This morning upon our march upward of 200 of his dead were counted in one field, the greater part badly mutilated by cannon-shot. Many of his dead were also scattered through the woods, and many had been already buried. A number of prisoners had been taken during the pursuit.
       I regret to have lost many good officers. General Stahel's brigade was in the hottest part of the field, which was the left wing from the beginning of the fight. The brigade lost in officers 5 killed and 17 wounded, and one of his regiments alone-- the Eighth New York-- has buried 65. The Garibaldi Guards, next after, suffered most severely, and following this regiment the Forty-fifth New York, the Bucktail Rifles of General Bayard's, and General Milroy's brigade. One of the Bucktail companies has lost all its officers, commissioned and noncommissioned. The loss in General Schenck's brigade was less, although he inflicted severe loss on the enemy, principally by artillery fire. Of my staff I lost a good officer killed, Capt. Nicolai Dunka. Many horses were killed in our batteries, which the enemy repeatedly attempted to take, but were repulsed by canister fire.
       Generally I feel myself permitted to say that all our troops, by their endurance of this severe march and their splendid conduct in the bat-tie, are entitled to the President's commendation. The officers throughout behaved with a gallantry and efficiency which require that I should make particular mention of them, and which I trust will receive the particular notice of the President. As soon as possible I will send a full report, but in this respect I am unable to make any more particular distinction than that pointed out in the description of the battle.

Respectfully,
J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


WASHINGTON, June 9, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT:

       Halt at Harrisonburg, pursuing Jackson no farther. Get your force well in hand and stand on the defensive, guarding against a movement of the enemy either back toward Strasburg or toward Franklin, and await further orders, which will soon be sent you.

A. LINCOLN


ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, June 10, 1862.

Major-General Frémont, Harrisonburg:

The Secretary of War directs that you immediately order the cavalry force known as Bayard's cavalry brigade, with the artillery and bat talion of Bucktail Rifles, heretofore under General McDowell, but now operating with you, to rejoin General McDowell's command, and to march to Luray and report to General Shields.

L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Harrisonburg, Va., June 10, 1862. (Received June 12, 4 p.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       In my dispatch of yesterday I omitted to state that Colonel Cluseret's brigade, consisting of the Sixtieth Ohio and Eighth Virginia, afterward supported by the Garibaldi Guard, formed our advance, and commented the battle of Cross Keys by sharp skirmishing at 9 o'clock in the morning. During the day they obtained possession of the enemy's ground, which was disputed foot by foot, and only withdrew at evening, when ordered to retire to a suitable position for the night. The skill and gallantry displayed by Colonel Cluseret on this and frequent former occasions during the pursuit in which we have been engaged deserve high praise.

Respectfully,
J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS,
Port Republic, June 10, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       The officer sent with a detachment of cavalry to open communication with General Shields returned at 3 o'clock this morning, having found the troops on the march under orders for Richmond. He learns from the adjutant-general of General Shields that the Union forces engaged yesterday were only three brigades, which were almost cut to pieces. Jackson having received re-enforcements, General Shields having been ordered to Richmond with his force, and my own being very much weakened by battle and the hardships and exposures of a severe march, 1 deem it best to fall back until I can form a junction with the forces of Generals Banks and Sigel and am made acquainted with your wishes.

J. G. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DIVISION,
Harrisonburg, June 11, 1862. (Received June 12, 10 a.m.)

Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States.

       Your dispatch of yesterday morning finds me here withdrawing upon Mount Jackson, a strong, defensible position behind the Shenandoah, and the key to the surrounding country. General Shields' withdrawal after his action of the 9th, together with the condition of my troops, made this movement imperative. Will you allow me to halt at Mount Jackson instead of Harrisonburg, which is not a line of defense, and exposes me to be cut off from my supplies and communication? My troops are much distressed for want of supplies, which are far in the rear and come up very inadequately. We are greatly in need of surgeons and ambulances.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Mount Jackson, June 12, 1862. (Received June 13, 10 a.m.)

 

Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States.

       Upon intelligence of General Shields' defeat and withdrawal toward Richmond I retired upon this place, which is a defensible and good position. The regiments composing my command have been rendered very weak by illness, casualties, and deaths. I request that orders be given to recruit them to full strength immediately. Their condition necessitates that they have some days' rest and good and sufficient food. The demand made upon them in the pursuit of Jackson has exhausted them for the present, and they should be supported by fresh troops. At any hour they may be attacked by the enemy, now reported strongly re-enforced, and I ask that General Sigel be telegraphed to report to me with his force without delay. I respectfully suggest to the President that it may prove disastrous to separate the small corps now operating in this region. Consolidated, they could act offensively and efficiently against the enemy. I also suggest that General Shields may be attacked in his march eastward unless supported. My strength should be sufficient to enable me to occupy the Monterey passes and aid General Cox and Colonel Crook, against whom I think the enemy is likely to concentrate a superior force. I have asked for Sigel if possible. Banks also should come. A disaster now would have consequences difficult to remedy.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General


WASHINGTON, June 12, 1862-- 11 a.m.

Major-General FREMONT:

       Your dispatch of yesterday to the President has just been received. He directs me to say that Mount Jackson will serve the purpose he had in view as well as Harrisonburg, except that it does not so well guard against the enemy's operations toward Western Virginia. But if, in view of all the circumstances, you prefer the position of Mount Jackson, you will occupy it instead of Harrisonburg.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Mount Jackson, Va., June 12, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Washington, D. C.

       I arrived at this place to-day. My officers have been so much engaged with marching duties since the battle of the 8th, at Cross Keys, that full reports of that engagement have not been made to me. Still, wishing to give you a fuller account of that battle than that contained in my telegraphic dispatch, I make the following statement:
       The forces under my command left Harrisonburg on the 8th instant, the advance consisting of the Eighth West Virginia and Sixtieth Ohio, being under the command of Colonel Cluseret, aide-de-camp, who was temporarily supported by the Thirty-ninth New York Volunteer Regiment of General Stahel's brigade.
       At 9 a.m. the skirmishers of the advance discovered the enemy most advantageously posted in the woods at Cross Keys, on the road to Port Republic. A spirited bayonet charge was immediately made by the Garibaldi Guard, and his right driven back in some confusion. The main body of the army now coming up, General Stahel, commanding the First Brigade, of General Blenker's division, supported by the Third Brigade, 42 R R-- VOL XII <ar15_658> General Bohlen commanding, entered the woods on our left with the Eighth, Forty-first, and Forty-fifth New York Volunteers and the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. After an obstinate contest of three hours, during which the bayonet was used to extricate one of our batteries from more than three regiments of the enemy, and after some desperate struggles, in which canister-shot was used to repel him from an attempt to take Johnson's and Schirmer's batteries, the brigade (Stahel's) withdrew from the wood in good order, taking up another position under the support of Bohlen's and Steinwehr's brigades.
       Meanwhile, on the right, Brigadier-General Milroy, with the Twenty-fifth Ohio, the Second, Third, and Fifth West Virginia, supported by the brigade of General Schenck, drove the enemy steadily forward until the withdrawal of General Stahel's brigade and the near approach of night prevented any farther advance. Colonel Cluseret, commanding the advance, maintained his position throughout the day, steadily resisting the attempts of the enemy to turn his flanks, until, at the approach of night, he was ordered to take position on the right wing. The enemy's force was so largely superior that he was enabled to attempt turning both flanks, and massed overwhelming forces against the brigade of General Stahel, on our left, with the obvious design of interrupting our line of communication. The plan was frustrated by the coolness and courage of our men.
       Our troops slept on their arms through the night of the 8th, expecting to renew the contest at an early hour on the following morning. The enemy, however, retreated during the night, leaving behind on the field of battle the most of his dead and many of his wounded. His loss in killed, wounded, and missing cannot be less than 1,200. More than 200 dead were discovered in one field alone and buried by our men.
       Our own loss amounts to 106 killed, 386 wounded, and 126 missing.(*) Of these 43 killed, 134 wounded, and 43 missing are from one regiment, the Eighth New York Volunteers, which fought with the greatest bravery, and yielded ground only when opposed by four rebel regiments at once.
       Our artillery, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pilsen, aide-de-camp, was served with the greatest effect and precision, and contributed largely to the final result of the action.
       Brigadier-Generals Milroy and Stahel and Colonel Cluseret deserve particular mention for the cool and effective manner in which their troops were handled. For a list of names deserving special commendation I refer to the reports of the brigade and division commanders.
       Capt. Nicolai Dunka, one of my aides, and a brave and capable officer, was struck by a rifle-ball and instantly killed while carrying orders to a distant part of the field.
       The steadiness and gallantry displayed by the army, after the hardships to which they had been exposed during their forced marches to the scene of action, elicited my warmest admiration, and I hope will give pleasure to the President.

Respectfully,
J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


Mount Jackson, June 13, 1862.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President United States.

       I think General Shields' position at Luray very much exposed. If you will direct him to join me here I will cover his passage over the river. Jackson's force is reported to me by one of General Shields' officers this morning at 38,000.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, June 13, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT:

We cannot afford to keep your force and Banks' and McDowell's engaged in keeping Jackson south of Strasburg and Front Royal. You fought Jackson alone and worsted him. He can have no substantial re-enforcements so long as a battle is pending at Richmond. Surely you and Banks in supporting distance are capable of keeping him from returning to Winchester. But if Sigel be sent forward to you and McDowell (as he must be put to other work), Jackson will break through at Front Royal again. He is already on the right side of the Shenandoah to do it and on the wrong side of it to attack you. The orders already sent you and Banks place you and him in the proper positions for the work assigned you. Jackson cannot move his whole force on either of you before the other can learn of it and go to his assistance. He cannot divide his force, sending part against each of you, because he will be too weak for either. Please do as I directed in the order of the 8th and my dispatch of yesterday, the 12th, and neither you nor Banks will be overwhelmed by Jackson. By proper scout lookouts and beacons of smoke by day and fires by night you can always have timely notice of the enemy's approach. I know not as to you, but by some this has been too much neglected.

A. LINCOLN.


MOUNT JACKSON, June 13, 1862.
(Received June 14, 8.30 a.m.)

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       Your dispatch of yesterday received. Will you permit me to have put in running order the railroad from Strasburg to this place! For all reasons this is a military necessity and would be a great economy. The repairs mainly would consist in temporary trestle work in place of bridges destroyed.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, June 14, 1862-- 10 a.m.

Major-General FREMONT,
Mount Jackson :

       You are authorized to put the railroad in running order, as requested in your telegram of yesterday, just received, in such manner as you <ar15_660> deem proper. The Quartermaster-General will answer requisitions for what you may need.

EDWIN M. STANTON.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Mount Jackson, June 14, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       I suggest for the consideration of the President that the condition of affairs here imperatively requires that some position be immediately made strong enough to be maintained. As it now stands, a largely superior force can be directed against any one of our small corps in twenty-four hours. It would then be too late to concentrate, and they could not support each other. This position should by all means be maintained. If you design to maintain it, re-enforcements should be sent here without an hour's delay. The enemy's pickets are 10 miles this side of Harrisonburg. Is Sigel under my command? Pray oblige me with an immediate answer.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, June 14, 1862.

Maj. Gen. John C. FREMONT,
Mount Jackson:

       General Sigel is under command of Major-General Banks. Major-General Banks will co-operate with you, but he is commander of a separate corps, and does not come under your command.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Sec
retary of War.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Mount Jackson, June 15, 1862.

 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President United States.

       I respectfully remind the President that when assigned to this command I was informed that I should have a corps of 35,000 men. I now ask from the President the fulfillment of this understanding, and ask it only because, under the conditions of the war here, I should be able to render good and immediate service. Such a force would enable me to take Staunton, hold the railroad there, go down through Lexington, seize the railroad between Lynchburg and Newbern, and hold it for General Banks' troops, or destroy it, according to circumstances. Whether from Richmond or elsewhere, forces of the enemy are certainly coming into this region, which the great wheat crop makes a granary for him, and which he will not abandon without a struggle. Casualties have reduced my force to such numbers in many of the regiments as 176, 250, 300, and so on. This makes me very weak, and the small corps scattered about the country, not being within supporting distance of each other, as the topography of the country will show, are exposed to sudden attack by greatly superior force of an enemy, to whom intimate knowledge of country and universal friendship of inhabitants give the advantages of rapidity and secrecy of movements.
       I respectfully submit this representation to the President, taking it for granted that it is the duty of his generals to offer for his consideration such impressions as are made by knowledge obtained in operations on the ground.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, D. C., June 15, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT:

       MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 12th, by Colonel Zagonyi, is just received. In answer to the principal part of it I repeat the substance of an order of the 8th and one or two telegraphic dispatches sent you since:
       We have no indefinite power of sending re-enforcements; so that we are compelled rather to consider the proper disposal of the forces we have than of those we could wish to have. We may be able to send you some dribs by degrees, but I do not believe we can do more. As you alone beat Jackson last Sunday I argue that you are stronger than he is to-day, unless he has been re-enforced, and that he cannot have been materially re-enforced, because such reenforcement could only have come from Richmond, and he is much more likely to go to Richmond than Richmond is to come to him. Neither is very likely. I think Jackson's game-- his assigned work-- now is to magnify the accounts of his numbers and reports of his movements, and thus by constant alarms keep three or four times as many of our troops away from Richmond as his own force amounts to. Thus he helps his friends at Richmond three or four times as much as if he were there. Our game is not to allow this. Accordingly, by the order of the 8th, I directed you to halt at Harrisonburg, rest your force, and get it well in hand, the objects being to guard against Jackson's returning by the same route to the Upper Potomac, over which you have just driven him out, and at the same time give some protection against a raid into West Virginia. Already I have given you discretion to occupy Mount Jackson instead, if, on full consideration, you think best. I do not believe Jackson will attack you, but certainly he cannot attack you by surprise; and if he comes upon you in superior force you have but to notify us, fall back cautiously, and Banks will join you in due time. But while we know not whether Jackson will move at all, or by what route, we cannot safely put you and Banks both on the Strasburg line, and leave no force on the Front Royal line, the very line upon which he prosecuted his late raid. The true policy is to place one of you on one line and the other on the other, in such positions that you can unite on either once you actually find Jackson moving upon it. And this is precisely what we are doing. This protects that part of our frontier, so to speak, and liberates McDowell to go to the assistance of McClellan. I have arranged this, and am very unwilling to have it deranged. While you have only asked for Sigel I have spoken only of Banks, and this because Sigel's force is now the principal part of Banks' force.
       About transferring General Schenck's command, the purchase of supplies, and the promotion and appointment of officers mentioned in your letter, I will consult with the Secretary of War tomorrow.

Yours, truly,
A. LINCOLN.


HEADQUARTERS MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Mount Jackson, June 16, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

       A portion of the Sixth Ohio Cavalry, under command of Captain Barrett, sent out this afternoon to recover a small foraging party of 15 men and 3 wagons cut off this morning, was charged by the enemy's cavalry, but repulsed them and drove them in upon their pickets, 7 miles from this place. We lost 1 man killed. Enemy left 2 dead on field and 4 prisoners, with a number of horses. Sabers, carbines, and revolvers were taken. Sergeants Austin and Wood distinguished for bravery. Harrisonburg is reported occupied by a large body of enemy's cavalry, and Jackson's main body reported crossing Shenandoah to this side at Port Republic yesterday morning. 'Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, commanding at Buckhannon, reports that he has captured 3 leading guerrillas-- Haymond, Coal, and Goff-- killed 3, wounded 5, and taken 11 prisoners and some arms. He reports enemy at Alleghany Summit with one regiment, a squadron of cavalry, and a battery. If you will send the heavy battery by express it may arrive in time to do good service. Pray send a few artillerists with it.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.


WASHINGTON, June 16, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT,
Mount Jackson, Va.:

        Your dispatch of yesterday, reminding me of a supposed understanding that I would furnish you a corps of 35,000 men, and asking of me the "fulfillment of this understanding," is received. I am ready to come to a fair settlement of accounts with you on the fulfillment of understandings.
       Early in March last, when I assigned you to the command of the Mountain Department, I did tell you I would give you all the force I could, and that I hoped to make it reach 35,000. You at the same time told me that within a reasonable time you would seize the railroad at or east of Knoxville, Tenn., if you could. There was then in the department a force supposed to be 25,000, the exact number as well known to you as to me. After looking about two or three days, you called and distinctly told me that if I would add the Blenker division to the force already in the department you would undertake the job. The Blenker division contained 10,000, and at the expense of great dissatisfaction to General McClellan I took it from his army and gave it to you. My promise was literally fulfilled. I have given you all I could, and I have given you very nearly, if not quite, 35,000.
       Now for yours: On the 23d of May, largely over two months afterward, you were at Franklin, Va., not within 300 miles of Knoxville nor within 80 miles of any part of the railroad east of it, and not moving forward, but telegraphing here that you could not move for lack of everything. Now, do not misunderstand me. I do not say you have not done all you could. I presume you met unexpected difficulties; and I beg you to believe that as surely as you have done your best, so have I. I have not the power now to fill up your corps to 35,000. I am not demanding of you to do the work of 35,000. I am only asking of you to stand cautiously on the defensive; get your force in order, and give such protection as you can to the valley of the Shenandoah and to Western Virginia.
       Have you received the orders and will you act upon them?

A. LINCOLN.


MOUNT JACKSON, June 16, 1862,

The PRESIDENT.

       (Received 5.30 p.m.) Your dispatch of to-day is received. In reply to that part of it which concerns the orders sent to me I have to say that they have been received, and that as a matter of course I will act upon them, as I am now doing.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General.


WASHINGTON, June 17, 1862.

Major-General FREMONT,
Mount Jackson:

       It is reported here that you understand the President's order to you as requiring you to remain at Mount Jackson. The President directs me to say that he does wish you to hold your position at Mount Jackson if you can safely do so; but if pressed beyond your strength that you will then fall back toward Strasburg for support from General Banks. General Banks is now here, and will see you immediately upon his return to his command.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


WASHINGTON, June 17, 1862.

       Ordered, That the military protection and defense of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad east of Cumberland to the city of Baltimore, and of the railroad between Harper's Ferry and Winchester, is especially assigned to the command of Maj. Gen. John E. Wool. Officers on the line of that road will report to him.
       2d. That the Winchester and Potomac Railroad being the line of supply for General Banks, operating the road will remain under his direction.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.


HEADQUARTERS,
Mount Jackson, June 17, 1862.

Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretrary of War.

       Both your telegrams of this date, including the order assigning rail roads, received.

J. C. FREMONT,
Major-General, Commanding.

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