War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0033 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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led my advance (2,500) committed two grave errors: One in not burning the bridge at Port Republic; the other in taking up an indefensible position and waiting until he was attacked in force by Jackson. But the gallantry with which my poor fellows fought is beyond is beyond all praise. But the odds were too great. General Tyler stripped the left and left two batteries without support, and their sharpshooters rushed from the woods and shot down the men. Forty horses were killed of our batteries. They were then compelled to fall back, which they did in good order. I joined them with the main body, and then Jackson fell back in haste. I hurried to attack him next day. You be throwing a pontoon-bridge across and I attacking him at the same time would have cut him up. This was my proposition to your messenger, which he started to take to you when peremptory orders arrived to set out for Fredericksburg. This was one of the mistakes of the war. We ought to have ended Jackson first. He should not have been left behind in this valley. Had we fallen upon him next morning he would never have come back to this valley, and we could have destroyed the railroad at Waynesborough and Gordonsville. General McDowell knew nothing of our situation. He acted upon some preconceived plan, without reference to the condition of things in this valley. We must still destroy the railroad at Gordonsville before we march on Richmond. Any other course would be madness. Pray represent this at the War Department. I want to do that from Fredericksburg.

With my best wishes for your private and public success, I remain, general, yours, sincerely,

JAS. SHIELDS,

Major-General, Commanding.

[Numbers 25.]

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,

Front Royal, Va., June 18, 1862-8.30 p. m.

Major-General FREMONT:

In pursuance of the following extract of a telegram from General McDowell, dated Manassas, June 18, 1862, to wit:

Let Major-General Fremont be informed by General Shields of the withdrawal of his division from Luray to Front Royal, to the end that if the enemy return down the valley on Front Royal General Fremont may fall on his rear.

I take this occasion to communicate to Major-General Fremont that I arrived in Front Royal on the evening of the 16th. Scouts came in from Sperryville and Luray the evening of the 17th, and report no indications of the enemy, but that 40,000 were approaching. My pioneers are sent out to try and establish some means of crossing the Shenandoah. If the pontoon train which you have could be spared a short time it would make our communication between Front Royal and General Banks' command practicable. I would ask as a favor that this be done, and also to know your position and intelligence.

Yours, respectfully,

JAS. SHIELDS,

Major-General, Commanding Division.

[Numbers 26.]

HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, WILLIAMS' DIV., DEPT. SHENANDOAH,

Near Front Royal, Va., June 23, 1862.

Colonel ALBERT TRACY, A. A. G., Mountain Department:

COLONEL: The general commanding the brigade desires me to ex-

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