War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0023 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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of either side now to be seen. A parting salvo of carefully aimed rifled guns, duly charged with shell, hastened the departure of the rebels, with their unlucky though most gallant convoy, and the whole were speedily out sight.

My pontoon bridge having of necessity been left behind at Mount Jackson to keep whole my line of communication and supply, measures were at once taken to construct a bridge out of such material as might be found at hand. Meantime Major Haskell, of my staff, was sent with a strong party of cavalry with orders to cross the river and find out what had become of General Shields.

Proceeding rapidly down the river, and discovering on his way down bodies of the enemy-cavalry, infantry, and artillery-returning from the pursuit of Shields' troops, Major Haskell left his force concealed at a ford about 7 miles below and crossed the rive in rebel disguise with a single attendant.

After imminent risks in getting by parties or partisans of the enemy he came up late at night with the remnant of Colonel Carroll's command, moving rapidly in the direction of Luray. From Colonel Carroll he learned that General Shields' corps was on its way to Richmond. Pushing forward, Major Haskell succeeded in finding General Shields' assistant adjutant-general, by whom he was informed that General Shields, with his whole force,w as under immediate and imperative orders for Richmond by way of Fredericksburg. Having executed his mission with his usual boldness and celerity, Major Haskell reached me toward morning with this report.

The subjoined letters, all received within a few days following from General Shields, more fully explain the circumstances of Jackson's escape:


Columbia Bridge, June 8, 1862-6.30 p. m.

Major General JOHN C. FREMONT:

I pushed forward Colonel Carroll with one brigade and for pieces of artillery to move on Port Republic to burn the bridge and check the advance of the enemy. He went forward, i fear, imprudently, crossed the bridge, which is still standing, and drove the small force there defending it before him. While pursuing this force he was attacked by the enemy in force, lost two pieces of artillery, and is now in retreat to Conrad's store. Part of the enemy, it seems is on this side and part on the other side of the river. There is one brigade en route for Conrad's store from this direction and another brigade a this point which I am moving forward to re-enforce them in front. I will also order a fourth brigade, with the exception of one regiment, which i will leave at Luray to check Longstreet, who is supposed to be in the mountains.

I will earnestly urge that you attack the enemy in their rear at once with all you force, and will get my command up as quickly as possible to operate in front.




Columbia Bridge, June 8-8.15 p. m.

Major-General FREMONT,

Commanding U. S. Forces, Harrisonburg, Va.:

The enemy, as you are aware, is on the Port Republic road, with perhaps four or five of his brigades on this side of the rive. If not attacked in force to-night and hurled upon the river by your command, I apprehend that he may pass the bridge during the night and then burn it, so that you could render me no assistance. If such be the case, having but two brigades in front, I might find it difficult to resist him. Your only resource then would be to come around by way of New Market and cross the ferry at Columbia Bridge. If you are unable to employ your whole force sufficiently in his rear, I would respectfully suggest that a portion of it join me in this way anyhow.