George H. Steuart; and the Second and Sixth Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Flournoy.
On Thursday, the 22nd, my entire command moved down the road leading from Luray to Front Royal, the advance (under General Ewell) bivouacking about 10 miles from the last-named place.
Moving at dawn on Friday, the 23rd, and diverging to the right, so as to fall into the Gooney Manor road, we encountered no opposition until we came within 1 1/2 miles of Front Royal, when about 2 p. m. the enemy's pickets were driven in by our advance, which was ordered to follow rapidly. The First Maryland Regiment, supported by Wheat's battalion of Louisiana Volunteers, and the remainder of Taylor's brigade, acting as a reserve, pushed forward in gallant style, charging the Federals, who made a spirited resistance, driving them through the town and taking some prisoners.
The main force of the enemy now retired a short distance beyond Front Royal, and took position on a commanding height, to the right of the turnpike. From this point they opened rifled artillery upon our troops as they advanced beyond the town.
Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery, placed some rifled guns in position to dislodge them, and the Sixth Louisiana Regiment was moved to the left, through the woods, to flank their battery; but in the mean time Wheat's battalion, Major Wheat, and the First Maryland Regiment, Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, advancing more directly, and driving in their skirmishers, the Federals retreated across both forks of the Shenandoah, attempting in their retreat to burn the bridge over the North Fork; but before they could fully accomplish their purpose our troops were upon them, and extinguished the flames, crossed the river, the enemy in full retreat toward Winchester, and our artillery and infantry in pursuit.
The cavalry, under General Ashby and Colonel Thomas S. Flournoy, had crossed the South Fork of the Shenandoah at McCoy's Ford, above the enemy's position, for the purpose of destroying the railroad and telegraphic communication between Front Royal and Strasburg, and also to check the advance of any re-enforcements from Strasburg or the retreat of any portion of the enemy in that direction from Front Royal. Colonel Flournoy kept a short distance west of that rived, and, having executed his orders, was now in readiness to join in pursuit of the retreating Federals.
Delayed by difficulties at the bridge over the North Fork, which the Federals had made an effort to burn, Colonel Flournoy pushed on with Companies A, B, E, and K, of the Sixth Virginia Cavalry, and came up with a body of the enemy near Cedarville, about 5 miles from Front Royal. This Federal force consisted of two companies of cavalry, two pieces of artillery, the First (Federal) Regiment Maryland Infantry, and two companies of Pennsylvania infantry, which had been posted there to check our pursuit.
Dashing into the midst of them, Captain Grimsley, of Company B, in the advance, these four companies drove the Federals from their position, who soon, however, reformed in an orchard on the right of the turnpike, when a second gallant and decisive charge being made upon them, the enemy's cavalry was put to flight, the artillery abandoned, and the infantry, now thrown into great confusion, surrendered themselves prisoners of war.
In this successful pursuit our loss was 26 killed and wounded. Among the killed was Captain Baxter, of Company K, while gallantly leading his men in the charge.