was to guard the river at Port Republic at the place used as a ford in low water, but now impassable, and cut the railroad at Waynesborough-an easy job if the bridge had been burned as reported-while I remained with two brigades (the First and Second), not exceeding 4,000 men, to confront Longstreet, reported to have 10,000, if he should fall on Luray.
These arrangements having been made, and while awaiting the result, at 7 o'clock p. m., 8th instant, I was startled by a dispatch from Colonel Carroll from Port Republic giving me intelligence that he found the bridge at that place still standing; that he dashed upon it, drove the enemy from it, captured it, and pursued him some distance on the other side, when on a sudden he was assailed by three brigades and eighteen pieces of cannon, and compelled to retreat with the loss of three guns, and that he was then in full retreat on Conrad's Store, and should be well satisfied if he could effect it decently.
Conrad's Store is about 15 miles on the Luray side of Port Republic. I acted at once upon this intelligence; sent instant orders to General Tyler, who had command of the advance, as well as to Colonel Daum, chief of artillery, to take up a defensible position at or near Conrad's Store, and that I would join them with the residue of the command as speedily as it could march. I communicated the intelligence to General Fremont at Harrisonburg, with the request that he would fall with his whole force on the enemy's rear, while I would attack him in front in the morning. I sent a dispatch to Front Royal, giving the same intelligence to the general commanding, and earnestly urging that two brigades should be sent to protect Luray against Longstreet during my absence, as I was under the necessity of pushing forward my whole command to support the advance. This being done, I put my two other brigades in motion that night and moved forward as rapidly as the men could march.
About 9 o'clock next morning I reached Conrad's Store, and my surprise and disappointment may be imagined when I learned by a messenger from General Tyler that they were still posted within 2 miles of Port Republic, and urging me to push forward re-enforcements. I cannot describe my feelings when I received this intelligence. I saw our previous efforts and strugglers to prevent the escape of the enemy were now worse than thwarted. I needed no further information to assure me that the enemy must secure his only avenue of retreat. He had from Sunday morning till Monday morning to cross his troops without interruption to effect this object, and no enemy could neglect such an opportunity. I sent an order for them to extricate themselves from their false position and fall back as speedily as possible, but they were compelled to fall back before the order reached them.
I pushed forward my command, and placed it in a position upon which the whole force of the enemy would break itself. I proceeded next to post guns and fresh troops on commanding points to cover their retreat, but before I had advanced 10 miles beyond Conrad's Store a crowd of fugitives from the field gave evidence of retreat. It required all my influence to get these fugitives to deploy in the woods as skirmishers. Soon after the main force came in sight, not, however, as fugitives or an army in retreat, but marching as proudly and calmly as if they were on parade, while the Fifth Ohio, a gallant regiment, with two pieces of artillery, under Colonel Carroll, brought up the rear, and by their noble conduct kept the advancing foe in check; but I just arrived in time, as the enemy's cavalry, which is very active, was enveloping the column, and our cavalry, the First Virginia, was nowhere