War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0337 Chapter XXIV. BATTLE OF KERNSTOWN, VA.

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covered by darkness, and established themselves within about 4 miles of our position, which was an advantage of the battle-field. During the night I gave strict orders to watch his movements, with directions to attack him and pursue if he should attempt to retreat. I spent the whole night bringing forward all re-enforcements within my reach, stripping the different posts and routes on my rear of permanent guards. For this purpose I also sent orderlies after General Williams' division, en route for Centreville, requesting him to halt, and to send back rear brigade to be in time to re-enforce in morning. General Banks, whom I believed in Washington, was still at Harper's Ferry. He also sent prompt orders to the whole division to fall back to my support. At early down on morning of 24th these re-enforcements began to arrive here. General Banks arrived soon after. The attack upon the enemy had already commenced, he retreating in order and our command in vigorous pursuit. As I was utterly unable to leave my bed, General Banks put himself at the head of my division and pushed on in pursuit, forcing the enemy back to the other side of Strasburg last night. I pushed forward re-enforcements as they arrived. At this moment our forces are 5 miles the other side of Strasburg, on turnpike route to Mount Jackson, driving the enemy still before them, and General Banks informs me just now by express that he finds houses along the road filled with the dead and wounded of retreating foe, whom they had been compelled to abandon in their hasty fight. The loss on our side in killed and wounded is naturally great, say 150 killed and 300 wounded.* Most of wounded, I am sorry to say, are not likely to survive, the struggle being so close-most hand-to-hand. The wounds both sides are terribly fatal. The loss of the enemy it is impossible as yet to estimate, he having loaded all his wagons with the dead and dying in order to carry them off and the inhabitants of towns in the vicinity having taken them to their loss. I can only, therefore, guess at it-say between 400 and 500 killed and about 1,000 wounded. This battle being a close fight of infantry, the wounded bear no proportion to killed.

My cavalry is very ineffective. If I had one regiment of excellent cavalry, armed with carbines, I could have doubled the enemy's loss.

Our prisoners are not very numerous, not exceeding 200. These were taken on the battle-field, together with two guns and five caissons. Other guns and prisoners are sure to be captured during the retreat. This is mere information, sent for your own private gratification, and not a report, which will be prepared and made soon as full details are ascertained.

I wish I could have Captain Munther, able engineer, now in Washington, sent to me to superintend construction of bridges, &c. I would also beg permission to liberate two rebel prisoners on parole, not to leave our lines or to serve against us until exchanged. Their names are Lieutenant Junkin and Captain Morrison. I make this request for special reasons, which will benefit the service, and which I will communicate hereafter.

JAS. SHIELDS,

Brigadier-General.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

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*See revised statement, p.346.

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22 R R-VOL XII