Report of Brig. Gen. Richard Taylor, C. S. Army, Commanding Eighth Brigade, of the Battle of Port Republic
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH BRIGADE,
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the Eighth Brigade as connected with the actions of the 8th and 9th instant:
On the morning of the 8th I received orders to march the brigade to Port Republic to assist in repelling the attack commenced on the bridge at that point by Shields' forces. When within 1 miles of the bridge the column was halted, by order of Major-General Jackson, to await further orders. These were shortly received-- in effect to return to the front and act as a reserve to the troops there engaged against Fremont. Here the brigade became separated, two regiments, the Seventh and Eighth Louisiana, being ordered to Major-General Ewell to the support of a battery in the center or on the left, of our line, while I marched the remaining two regiments and Wheat's battalion to the right to support General Trimble's brigade, then much pressed. The display of force caused the enemy to retire still farther from the position to which he had been driven by the vigorous charge of Trimble's command.
The brigade, though not actually in action on this day, was much exposed to the enemy's shell, and suffered a loss of I private killed, 1 officer (Captain Green, Seventh Louisiana) and 7 privates and non-commissioned officers wounded.
On the 9th I marched from camp near Doukard's [Dunkard's?] Church, according to orders, at daylight, and proceeded across Port Republic Bridge to the field where General Winder's troops had already engaged the enemy. Here I received orders from the major-general commanding to leave one regiment near the position then occupied by himself, and with the main body to make a detour to the right for the purpose of checking a formidable battery planted in that locality. The nature of the ground over which we passed necessarily rendered our progress slowOn reaching the position indicated the charge was made, and the battery, consisting of six guns, fell into our hands after an obstinate resistance on the part of its supporters, our troops being at the same time subjected to a most destructive fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, posted in a wood above the battery. After holding the battery for a short time a fresh brigade of the enemy's troops, moving up from their position on my left flank, and where they had been fronting the troops of Winder's brigade, made a determined and well-conducted advance upon us, accompanied by a galling fire of canister from a piece suddenly brought into position at a distance of about 350 yards. Under this combined attack my command fell back to the skirts of the wood near which the captured battery was stationed, and from this point continued their fire upon the advancing enemy, who succeeded in reclaiming only one gun, which he carried off, leaving both caisson and limber. At this moment our batteries in my rear opened fire, and re-enforcements coming up, led by Major-General Ewell, the battle was decided in our favor, and the enemy precipitately fled.
The Seventh Louisiana Regiment, Colonel Hays, being the regiment left in the front by order of General Jackson, was meanwhile engaged in another portion of the field, and suffered heavy loss. The guns captured by the brigade were five in number, and one other-- a brass 12-pounder howitzer-- was afterward discovered deserted in the woods near the Brown's Gap road by Lieutenant Dushane, quartermaster of Wheat's Battalion, and by him brought off.
The above record is a mere statement of facts, but no language can adequately describe the gallant conduct of the Eighth Brigade in the action of the 9th instant. Disordered by the rapidity of their charge through a dense thicket, making the charge itself just as the loud cheers of the enemy proclaimed his success in another part of the field, assailed by a superior force in front and on the flanks with two batteries in position within point-blank range, nobly did the sons of Louisiana sustain the reputation of their State. Three times was the captured battery lost and won, the enemy fighting with great determination.
Colonel Seymour, of the Sixth Louisiana, and Major Wheat, of the battalion, on the left; Colonel Stafford, of the Ninth, in the center, and Colonel Kelly, of the Eighth, on the right, all acted with the most determined gallantry and were as gallantly supported by their officers and men. Members of each of the regiments engaged in the charge were found dead under the guns of the captured battery. Captain Surget, assistant adjutant-general, distinguished himself greatly, and rendered the most important service on the left. Lieutenant Hamilton, aide-de-camp, gave me valuable assistance in rallying and reforming the men when driven back to the edge of the wood, as did Lieutenant Killmartin, of the Seventh Louisiana Regiment, temporarily attached to my staff. Circumstances unfortunately retained the Seventh Regiment, under the gallant Colonel Hays, in another part of the field. Its record of 156 killed and wounded-- -50 per cent. of the number carried into action-- shows the service it performed.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,