range he poured such an effective fire into their ranks as to empty a number of saddles and check their farther pursuit for that day. Having transferred the Second and Sixth Virginia Cavalry to Ashby, he was placed in command of the rear guard.
On the 3rd, after my command had crossed the bridge over the Shenandoah near Mount Jackson, General Ashby was ordered to destroy it, which he barely succeeded in accomplishing before the Federal forces reached the opposite bank of the river. Here his horse was killed by the enemy, and he made a very narrow escape with his life.
We reached Harrisonburg at an early hour on the morning of the 5th, and passing beyond that town turned toward the east in the direction of Port Republic.
On the 6th General Ashby took position on the road between Harrisonburg and Port Republic, and received a spirited charge from a portion of the enemy's cavalry, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy and the capture of Colonel Wyndham and 63 others. Apprehending that the Federals would make a more serious attack, Ashby called for an infantry support. The brigade of Brigadier General George H. Steuart was accordingly ordered forward. In a short time the Fifty-eighth Virginia Regiment became engaged with a Pennsylvania regiment called the Bucktails, when Colonel Johnson, of the First Maryland Regiment, coming up in the hottest period of the fire, charged gallantly into its flank and drove the enemy with heavy loss from the field, capturing Lieutenant-Colonel Kane, commanding.
In this skirmish our infantry loss was 17 killed, 50 wounded, and 3 missing. In this affair General Turner Ashby was killed.
An official report is not an appropriate place for more than a passing notice of the distinguished dead, but the close relation which General Ashby bore to may command for most of the previous twelve month, will justify me in saying that as a partisan officer I never knew his superior; his daring was proverbial; his powers of endurance almost incredible; his tone of character heroic, and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the purposes and movements of the enemy.
The main body of my command had now reached the vicinity of Port Republic. This village is situated in the angle formed by the junction of the North and South Rivers, tributaries of the South Fork of the Shenandoah. Over the larger and deeper of those two streams, the North River, there was a wooden bridge, connecting the town with the road leading to Harrisonburg. Over the South River there was a passable ford. The troops were immediately under my own eye; were encamped on the high ground north of the village, about a mile from the river. General Ewell was some 4 miles distant, near the road leading from Harrisonburg to Port Republic. General Fremont had arrived with his forces in the vicinity of Harrisonburg, and General Shields was moving up the east side of the South Fork of the Shenandoah, and was then at Conrad's Store, some 15 miles below Port Republic, my position being about equal distance from both hostile armies. To prevent a junction of the two Federal armies I had caused the bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah at Conrad's Store to be destroyed. Intelligence having been received that General Shields was advancing farther up the river, Captain Sipe with a small cavalry force was sent down during the night of the 7th to verify the report and gain such other information respecting the enemy as he could. Captain G. W. Myers, of the cavalry, was subsequently directed to move with his company in the same direction, for the purpose of supporting Captain Sipe, if necessary.