Report of Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, U. S. Army,
commanding the Mountain Department,
of the Battle of Cross Keys

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Mount Jackson, Va., June 12, 1862.

        I arrived at this place to-day. My officers have been so much engaged with marching duties since the battle of the 8th, at Cross Keys, that full reports of that engagement have not been made to me. Still, wishing to give you a fuller account of that battle than that contained in my telegraphic dispatch, I make the following statement:

        The forces under my command left Harrisonburg on the 8th instant, the advance consisting of the Eighth West Virginia and Sixtieth Ohio, being under the command of Colonel Cluseret, aide-de-camp, who was temporarily supported by the Thirty-ninth New York Volunteer Regiment of General Stahel's brigade.

        At 9 a.m. the skirmishers of the advance discovered the enemy most advantageously posted in the woods at Cross Keys, on the road to Port Republic. A spirited bayonet charge was immediately made by the Garibaldi Guard, and his right driven back in some confusion. The main body of the army now coming up, General Stahel, commanding the First Brigade, of General Blenker's division, supported by the Third Brigade, General Bohlen commanding, entered the woods on our left with the Eighth, Forty-first, and Forty-fifth New York Volunteers and the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. After an obstinate contest of three hours, during which the bayonet was used to extricate one of our batteries from more than three regiments of the enemy, and after some desperate struggles, in which canister-shot was used to repel him from an attempt to take Johnson's and Schirmer's batteries, the brigade (Stahel's) withdrew from the wood in good order, taking up another position under the support of Bohlen's and Steinwehr's brigades.

        Meanwhile, on the right, Brigadier-General Milroy, with the Twenty-fifth Ohio, the Second, Third, and Fifth West Virginia, supported by the brigade of General Schenck, drove the enemy steadily forward until the withdrawal of General Stahel's brigade and the near approach of night prevented any farther advance. Colonel Cluseret, commanding the advance, maintained his position throughout the day, steadily resisting the attempts of the enemy to turn his flanks, until, at the approach of night, he was ordered to take position on the right wing. The enemy's force was so largely superior that he was enabled to attempt turning both flanks, and massed overwhelming forces against the brigade of General Stahel, on our left, with the obvious design of interrupting our line of communication. The plan was frustrated by the coolness and courage of our men.

        Our troops slept on their arms through the night of the 8th, expecting to renew the contest at an early hour on the following morning. The enemy, however, retreated during the night, leaving behind on the field of battle the most of his dead and many of his wounded. His loss in killed, wounded, and missing cannot be less than 1,200. More than 200 dead were discovered in one field alone and buried by our men.

        Our own loss amounts to 106 killed, 386 wounded, and 126 missing. Of these 43 killed, 134 wounded, and 43 missing are from one regiment, the Eighth New York Volunteers, which fought with the greatest bravery, and yielded ground only when opposed by four rebel regiments at once.

        Our artillery, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pilsen, aide-de-camp, was served with the greatest effect and precision, and contributed largely to the final result of the action.

        Brigadier-Generals Milroy and Stahel and Colonel Cluseret deserve particular mention for the cool and effective manner in which their troops were handled. For a list of names deserving special commendation I refer to the reports of the brigade and division commanders.

        Capt. Nicolai Dunka, one of my aides, and a brave and capable officer, was struck by a rifle-ball and instantly killed while carrying orders to a distant part of the field.

        The steadiness and gallantry displayed by the army, after the hardships to which they had been exposed during their forced marches to the scene of action, elicited my warmest admiration, and I hope will give pleasure to the President.

        Respectfully,

        J. C. FREMONT,
        Major-General, Commanding.

        Hon. E. M. STANTON,
        Washington, D. C.                     

John C. Fremont

Music of the War for Southern Independence

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