The Union had over 11,000 men, while the Confederates had just under 6,000.
Casualties were modest, the Union losing 664 and the Confederates 287.
Lincoln reacted to Banks’ whipping at Winchester by ordering substantial reinforcements into the Shenandoah. The plan was to trap Jackson in between, but by hard marching, a clumsy Union command structure, luck with the weather, and feeble leadership on the part of Frémont, he eluded the pursuit.
Just as soon as he got his prisoners and wagons (newly filled with Yankee booty) safely away, Jackson gave his men some rest and drew up plans to counterattack. The two Union forces that had threatened to cut off his retreat had failed. So far so good for ‘Stonewall’, but even better they still hadn’t joined – and nothing attracted him like scattered enemy forces. He planned to attack the eastern Union troops, under Shields, while holding off the western ones (Frémont) with Ewell’s division.
Frémont had been extremely cautious during his move east, and that caution was a big part of why Jackson had survived. Not only had he moved slowly, when there was fighting Frémont had done little more than skirmish, even when facing obviously inferior numbers.
He did it again at Cross Keys. With Jackson’s men finally penned between Shields and Frémont, the opportunity was there for a coordinated attack to conceivably crush Jackson. Shields and Frémont had even agreed to do it; Frémont was to “thunder down on [Jackson’s] rear”. But the first advance, Brig. Gen. Julius Stahel’s brigade from the Union left, was stunned by a surprise volley and driven back in confusion. Frémont froze. The rest of the day all he did was tentatively probe other parts of the Confederate line and then withdraw to the Keezletown Road, with his guns covering the infantry.
The next day, Trimble’s and Patton’s brigades held Frémont at bay, while the rest of Ewell’s force joined Jackson’s main attack at Port Republic.
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American Battlefield Protection Program, Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service.