War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0016 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

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taken. The rebel General Ashby barely escaped capture at this point by Captain Congre's company of Third Virginia Cavalry. This company, pressing forward under their persevering leader, were in season to come upon a body of the enemy about to fire the large rand more important bridge beyond Mount Jackson, crossing the North Fork of the Shenandoah. A gallant charge was made, but volleys of grape and musketry drove back the small command. General Bayard in the mean time arrived with the main body of the cavalry upon an elevation overlooking the bridge, but it is to be regretted that artillery could not possibly be gotten up in time to warrant his demonstration in heavier force. The brigade was successfully fired, burning rapidly, with thick volumes of flame and smoke. By the time my main column entered Mount Jackson village it had fallen to the stream below.

A body of the enemy incautiously attempting to go into camp within range across the river were speedily shelled by batteries run up upon the bluffs, and after some excellent practice on the part of our artillerists driven out. Our total loss during the day was 1 killed and a few wounded.

The pontoons procured by me at Pittsburgh, having been kept well up with the column, were now ordered to the front, and preparations immediately made to gain passage by rebridging the Shenandoah. The stream was at this point wide and rapid, and had been swollen by recent rains. Major Haskell, of active California experience, plunged with his horse into current, and by swimming to the opposite bank was enabled to fix fast the preparatory ropes. A corps of employees, acting as pontoniers, under Lieutenant Robinson, Ohio troops, together with liberal details from infantry regiments, were also put promptly at work. A heavy rain set in, but operation were continued throughout the night. By 6 in the morning the bridge was made available for crossing and a force of infantry and cavalry gotten over. Suddenly however, the river began to rise to a yet greater height. In the space of four hours, flooded by the storm and its mountain tributaries, it had gained fully 12 feet, with a current correspondingly turbulent and swift. The drift born down was working rear mischief, and several of the boats were swamped. To save the bridge from utter destruction the ropes were cut and the pontoon swung road to the northern shore. Much of the planking and timber was lost.

The troops already across being well posted and amply covered by our batteries upon the bluffs, little apprehension was left as regarded their immediately safety. Toward night the stream, as suddenly as it had risen, began to subside, and parties at work renewed their efforts. Their task was arduous, and it was not until 10 a. m. of the next day that the bridge was again in condition for crossing.

It will be remembered that at the date of my march from Franklin information wa conveyed to me that General McDowell would operate toward the same objects as myself, in capturing or driving out Jackson. Very earnest assurances to this effect were subsequently given me while upon the route both by the President and Secretary of War. Whether in General McDowell's case, as in my own, departmental lines or technicalities of previous orders were temporarily to be lost sight of, was not explained. Arriving, however, within the Shenandoah Valley, I deemed it not extravagant to expect of that officer that he should so far co-operate as, if not himself in advance to sent me troops to secure and hold fast prisoners, as well as to keep intact points of my line in rear. Accordingly, during the delay at Mount Jackson, I dispatched