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SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGNS


of the Shenandoah near Port Republic to await developments, for Shields had pushed forward a strong advanced guard under General Tyler, whose vanguard (two squadrons) crossed the river while Frémont was engaged with Ewell. Tyler's cavalry was driven back with heavy loss. Jackson retained possession of the bridge by which Tyler and Fremont could unite, and next day he crossed the river to attack Tyler's two brigades. The engagement of the oth of June is called the battle of Port Republic. Jackson with 13,000 men attacked Tyler with 3000 men, and Tyler, after stoutly resisting in the vain hope that the main body under Shields would come up from Conrad's Store or that Fremont would cross the river and fall upon Jackson, retired with a loss of some 800 men, leaving as many Confederates hars de combat. Tyler's brave efforts were in vain, for Shields had once more received orders from Washington which appeared to him to justify leaving his detachment to its fate, and F rémont could not reach the river in time to save the bridge, which Ewell's rear-guard burnt after Jackson had concentrated his forces against Tyler on the right bank. A few days later Jackson received orders to quit the Valley and join the main army before Richmond, and President Lincoln simultaneously discovered that he could not afford to keep the divisions of F rémont, Banks and McDowell engaged in operations against Jackson: so the Valley was at peace for a time.

In stricter connexion with the operations of the main armies in Virginia, the Confederates brought off two great soups in the Valley-Jackson's capture of Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg in the autumn of 1862 and Ewell's expulsion of Milroy from Martinsburg and Winchester in June 1863. The concentration of the Federal forces in N. Virginia in May 1864 for the campaign which ultimately took Grant and Lee south of the James involved a fresh series of operations in the Valley. At first a Union containing force was placed there under Sigel; this general, however, took the offensive and unwisely accepted battle and was defeated at Newmarket. Next Hunter, who superseded Sigel in command in West Virginia and the Valley, was to co-operate with the Army of the Potomac by a movement on Staunton and thence to Gordonsville and Lynchburg, with the object of destroying the railways and canal north of the James river by which troops and supplies reached the Confederates from the West. Sigel meanwhile was to cover the Ohio railroad at Martinsburg. Hunter encountered Jones's division at Piedmont (Mount Crawford) on the 5th of June and caused General Lee to detach from his main army a division under Breckinridge to aid Jones. Grant then detached Sheridan to join Hunter at Charlottesville, but Lee sent Hampton's cavalry by a shorter route to intercept Sheridan, and a battle at Trevillian Station compelled Sheridan to return and leave Hunter to his fate. The losses in this cavalry combat exceeded 1000, for the dense woods, the use of barricades and the armament of the mounted troops caused both sides to fight on foot until lack of ammunition brought the action to an end. Sheridan during his three months' command of the Federal cavalry had steadfastly adhered to the principle of always fighting the enemy's cavalry, and, though now compelled to return to the Pamunkey, he contrived to draw Hampton's force after him in that direction. Meanwhile on the 13th of June General Early had moved from Cold Harbor to add his command to the Confederate forces in the Valley. Early succeeded in interposing between Hunter and Lynchburg, and within a week drove Hunter out of Virginia by the Kanawha river route. Early then moved down the Valley turnpike unmolested. Expelling Sigel from Martinsburg on the 4th of July and crossing the Potomac opposite Sharpsburg, he soon appeared before Washington, after defeating an improvised force under' Lew Wallace on the Monocacy. Grant then detached Wright's corps (VI.) from Petersburg and called Emory's corps (XIX.) from the West to oppose Early, who after creating serious alarm retired, on the 13th of July, by Leesburg and Snicker's Gap into the Valley at Winchester. Hunter had meanwhile gained Harper's Ferry via the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and, when Early withdrew towards Strasburg, -General Crook collected the forces of Hunter and Sigel to follow the Confederates, but Early turned upon Crook and drove him back to the Potomac. Early then sent a detachment into Maryland to burn the town of Chambersburg-. The alarm in the North for the safety of Washington was only quieted by the appointment of General Sheridan to command in the Valley.

He arrived on the scene early in August. His mission was to. drive Early up the Valley or, if the Confederates crossed into Maryland, to intercept their return, and in any case, he was to destroy all supplies in the country which fggrgfgnf could not be consumed by his own army. Sheridan made Harper's Ferry his headquarters and concentrated at Halltown. Early retained his position about Bunker's Hill, destroyed the Ohio railroad, and held the main road up the Valley until Sheridan moved out in force on the 10th of August. Early then retreated up the Valley to Fisher's Hill (Strasburg), where he expected to be joined by Anderson's corps from Richmond. Sheridan had followed Early, but hearing of this reinforcement to the enemy, he decided to take up a defensive line at Halltown—the only point in the Valley which did not favour flanking operations-and await reinforcements. Sheridan's retrograde movement from Cedar Creek on the I7th of August was, however, regarded in the North as a sign of pusillanimity, and his removal from the Valley command was loudly called for. During the retreat Sheridan's cavalry encountered Early's reinforcements, Anderson's corps and Fitz Lee's cavalry, about Winchester. Early had observed the Federal movements from the heights south of Strasburg, and now followed Sheridan down to Halltown. On the 21st of August he again attacked Sheridan at Summit Point south of Charlestown. A few days later Early detached a force to raid Williamsport, and concentrated his main body behind the Opequan near Bunker's Hill, leaving outposts on the railway, a position which he held at the end of August. Sheridan meanwhile h ad moved out between the Shenandoah and the Opequan to seize all routes towards Washington, from Martinsburg on Early's left as far up as the Winchester-Berryville turnpike by which his own reinforcements reached the Valley through Snicker's Gap. Sheridan also held the Smithfield crossing of the Opequan in Early's front. Each commander, however, hesitated to bring on a battle, Sheridan because the result of the Presidential election would be seriously affected by his defeat at this moment, and Early because with his inferior forces he was content to know that his position on Sheridan's Hank effectively covered the Valley. But Sheridan was now at the head of the most formidable army that had ever invaded this region. It consisted of three sma.ll army corps under Wright (VI.), Emory (XIX.) and Crook (VIII.) and Torbert's cavalry (6000) in three divisions under Averell, Merritt and Wilson, the whole numbering 30,000 infantry, 6000 cavalry and 27 batteries. Early continued to hold Winchester with four divisions under Rodes, Gordon, Breckinridge and Ramseur and two cavalry divisions under Fitz Lee and Lomax. He had soon been deprived of Anders0n's corps which was sorely needed at Richmond, a fact which Sheridan discovered through his spies in Winchester, and indeed Sheridan had been waiting a fortnight for this movement by which Early's command was to be reduced. For a month the two armies had manoeuvred between Halltown and Strasburg, each commander hoping for such an increase to his own or decrease of his enemy's numbers as would justify attack. The Valley operations were aided indirectly by assaults and sorties about Petersburg. Grant aimed at preventing Lee sending reinforcements to Early until Sheridan's plans had been carried out. Meanwhile Early had been gathering up the harvests in the lower Valley, but on the 20th of August Sheridan was able to report “ I have destroyed everything that was eatable south of Winchester, and they will have to haul supplies from well up to Staunton.” Sheridan in September could put 2 3,000 infantry and 8000 cavalry into action, and at this moment he was visited by Grant, who encouraged his subordinate to seize an opportunity to attack the enemy.

The first encounter of Sheridan and Earlyi took place on the