Report of Brig. Gen. Charles S. Winder, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, Jackson's Division, of the Operations near Port Republic

                                                HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, VALLEY DISTRICT, 
                                                                                Camp near Weyer's Cave, Va., June 15, 1862. 


        Maj. R. L. DABNEY, 
        Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Valley District.

        SIR: I have the honor herewith to report the part taken by this brigade in the operations of the 8th and 9th instant near Port Republic, Va.: 

        While quietly in camp on Sunday morning, the 8th instant, between 8 and 9 o'clock, I heard artillery to our right and rear, which I inferred must be that of the enemy. Captain Poague came in at this time and informed me he had ordered his battery to be prepared for action. I approved it, and requested him to transmit to Captain Carpenter, camped just by him, instructions to the same effect. The good judgment of both these officers had anticipated such orders--a most fortunate circumstance indeed, as the enemy were pressing rapidly on our rear. General Jackson rode to my tent at this time and ordered me to send a regiment to the bridge over the Shenandoah at Port Republic in double-quick time. I at once sent orders to Col. J. W. Allen, commanding Second Regiment, to conduct his regiment to that point. Mounting my horse, I rode in the direction of the bridge. Passing Poaguc's battery, I observed a Parrott gun hitched up and ordered it to follow me. About one-fourth of a mile from camp I discovered the position of a battery of the enemy across the river, it sending shell just across the road, but too high to do any damage. The gun arriving, I turned it to the left, to bear on the aforesaid battery, when General Jackson directed me to send it to him on the right. This I did and awaited the arrival of other guns, which were soon brought up and placed in position on the hill commanding the opposite side of [the] river. The second shot silenced the enemy's battery, causing it to limber up and move off. Carpenter's battery arriving, I ordered it placed on the left of Poague's, and the eight pieces of the two batteries to be directed on the retreating battery and column of infantry advancing up the road. The guns were rapidly and admirably served, pouring a heavy and destructive  fire upon the enemy. His column halted, staggered at so warm a reception, wavered, and then retreated down the road, being signally repulsed by the artillery alone. I directed pieces to move to the left, keeping up a constant fire upon him so long as he was within range. Two or more guns were moved a mile beyond the original position. Colonel Allen, Second Regiment, arriving, I directed him to move to the left (General Taliaferro's brigade having gone to the bridge), throwing out skirmishers, guarding against a flank movement by the enemy. The Fourth Regiment, Colonel Ronald, was ordered to support this regiment. The Fifth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Funk, supported Poague's battery. The Twenty-seventh, Colonel Grigsby, supported Carpenter's battery. The Thirty-third Regiment, Colonel Neff, was advanced on the left and held in position to repel a flank movement, and at night picketed near same point.

        Some few unimportant changes occurred during the day, but the enemy did not again advance within range of our guns. So heavy and well directed was our artillery fire he was obliged to abandon a howitzer and two limbers, which were found in the woods on the following day, being a portion of the battery used against us in the morning. I had observed him trying to remove it and succeeded beyond my expectations in forcing him to leave it, though I knew he had not taken it off by the road on which it advanced. The brigade moved to camp at dark just above Port Republic. The total strength of brigade was 1,334 rank and file in action. 

        On the morning of the 9th instant, at 3.45 o'clock, I received orders to have my brigade in Port Republic at 4.45 o'clock. Orders were immediately given, and the head of the brigade reached the point indicated at that hour. I met General Jackson shortly thereafter, who ordered me to move across South River on a temporary foot-bridge being constructed. I sent Lieutenant Garnett to recall Colonel Neff's regiment from picket, and then moved the brigade as indicated. I was ordered to follow the road down the valley. I placed the Second Regiment Colonel Allen, in front, throwing forward two companies as an advance guard. Having proceeded about a mile, the cavalry in front reported the enemy's pickets. General Jackson being near, I referred the officer to him. I then received orders to drive them in, occupy the woods in front, and attack the enemy. I directed Captain Nadenbousch, commanding advance, to deploy skirmishers on either side of the road and move forward; Captain Carpenter to advance two pieces, take post on left of road, and shell the pickets. These orders were rapidly and well executed; the enemy's pickets disappeared and the skirmishers advanced, the line being supported by Colonel Allen. The enemy here opened a rapid fire of shell with great accuracy on the road and vicinity. I was then ordered to send a regiment through the woods to endeavor to turn their battery, also a battery to get a position above them. I directed Colonel Allen to move with his regiment, he being in advance and near the wood, to accomplish this, and Colonel Ronald, Fourth Regiment, to support him; Captain Carpenter to take his battery in same direction to execute the above order. Captain Poague's two Parrott guns I ordered in position on left of road in a wheat field and opened on enemy's battery, the smoke of which only could be seen, the remaining pieces being under cover. Colonel Grigsby, Twenty-seventh Regiment, I ordered to support this battery. Lieutenant-Colonel Funk, Fifth Regiment, was placed on left and to rear of Twenty-seventh Regiment. The Thirty-third Regiment, Colonel Neff, to take position on right of road, but, being detained in crossing the river, this order never reached him. The enemy's fire was so well directed I found it necessary to separate Poague's two guns, placing one some distance on left, ordering Funk's regiment to follow the movement. Here the fire was resumed. The enemy soon placed a battery of two pieces in front and in a commanding position. I sent Lieutenant Garnett, and afterward Captain Poague, to look for a position nearer and more desirable, but none could be found unless the enemy were driven off. I then learned his skirmishers were advancing, and ordered Funk's regiment forward to support extreme left of line, at same time sending to General Jackson for re-enforcements, being greatly outnumbered. Col. H. T. Hays soon reported to me with the Seventh Louisiana Regiment. I directed him to take position on the right of Funk's, and ordered Grigsby's regiment up, placing it on the right of Hays'. 

        This line under Hays I ordered to move forward, drive the enemy from his position, and carry his battery at the point of the bayonet. I at the same time directed the remainder of Poague's and a section of Carpenter's battery--the latter having reported it impossible to get through the thick woods or find any position--to be advanced. Colonel Hays moved his command forward in gallant style with a cheer. Seeing his movement I advanced with the artillery, placing the guns in battery just in rear of Hays' line, which I found had been halted behind a fence, the enemy being in such strong force and pouring in such a heavy fire of artillery and rifles. I then sent for re-enforcements, but received none. The men stood it boldly for some time and fought gallantly-many until all their cartridges were gone. Captain Raine reported with two pieces of artillery, one, however, without any cannoneers; this piece I sent from the field, the other being brought into action. I had directed Captain Poague to move with a Parrott gun to the right, and sent Lieutenant Garnett to Carpenter to endeavor to place his section so as to enfilade the enemy. The Thirty-first Regiment Virginia Volunteers (Colonel Hoffman)arrived about this time to relieve Colonel Hays, who was ordered to join his brigade. This change it was impossible to effect, and I held Colonel Hoffman in rear of the batteries for their security, as the infantry line began to waver under the storm of shot, shell, and balls which was being rained upon them. The batteries were moved to rear and I tried to rally the men, placing Hoffman's regiment in live on which to rally; here I partially succeeded, but the enemy so greatly outnumbered us, and, getting within such easy range, thinned our ranks so terribly, that it was impossible to rally them for some time, though I was most ably assisted in my endeavors by my staff, the gallant Hays, Grigsby, Funk, Major Williams (Fifth Regiment), Captains Nadenbousch (Second), and Burke (Fifth Regiment); these came particularly under my observation, though doubtless others did their duty as nobly and bravely. Here one piece of Poague's, I regret to say, fell into the enemy's hands, I having ordered it to halt and fire on his advancing column, where it was disabled, as shown in Poague's report. 

        I still endeavored to rally the remainder of this force, and succeeded in getting the Seventh Louisiana, under Major Penn, the colonel and lieutenant-colonel both being wounded, and Fifth Regiment, under Funk. I placed two pieces of Poague's battery in the position previously occupied, and again opened fire on the enemy, he having halted in his advance. A sharp fire from the wood on [the] right told General Taylor's and Allen's forces were engaged. I directed the Parrott gun on the enemy's battery, which was now turned on those forces. I was gratified to loam from General Taylor this fire was of service to him.

        The enemy now moved to his left flank, apparently to surround this command in the woods. Seeing two regiments lying quietly on their arms to the right under the woods, I dispatched Lieutenant Garnett to order them forward rapidly to press the enemy's rear. I then moved forward the artillery with its supports and obtained a far better position. Captain Chew here reported to me and did good execution with his battery, displaying great skill and accuracy in his fire. 

        I soon met General Jackson and reported my impressions to him, and was told he had ordered up other troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Garnett (Forty-eighth Regiment) came up, reporting for orders. I directed him to follow the road in double-quick, pressing the enemy hotly in rear and driving him from his position. Major Holliday (Thirty-third Regiment) rode up at this time, and through him I sent orders to Colonel Neff to do the same. The batteries arriving, I continued to advance them as rapidly as possible, pouring in a heavy and well-directed fire on the retreating columns of the enemy, who were now driven from the field, routed at every point. A section of Captain Brockenbrough's battery joined me just as the retreat commenced and was ably handled. The road and woods were shelled and the enemy scattered, in every direction. The pursuit was continued some 4 miles, when I met General Jackson, who was in advance, and by his orders halted all the artillery except two pieces of Chew's battery. The enemy being again driven from their ambuscade, I followed with my command to a point some 8 or 9 miles below Port Republic, when I received orders to return and camp with my wagons, which order was executed, my advance reaching camp on the summit of the Blue Ridge at Brown's Gap at midnight and the batteries at daylight. 

        It again affords me sincere and great gratification to bear testimony to the courage, gallantry, fortitude, and good conduct of the officers and men under my command, and to them I return my heartfelt thanks. They fought gallantly and desperately, as our holy cause urged them to do, and though temporarily repulsed, it was only from overwhelming numbers. Although exposed to such a withering fire, the killed are few in number, a kind Providence having guarded many from the great dangers to which they were exposed. Colonels Allen and Ronald were so far separated from me I must refer to their respective reports for the operations of their regiments. To my staff, Captain O'Brien, Lieutenants Howard and Garnett, I tender my sincere thanks for their assistance in transmitting my orders to different points (though under heavy fire frequently after the fight became general), ever ready and prompt. 

        The casualties were: Killed--officers, 2; privates, 11. Wounded--officers, 6; privates, 148. Missing--privates, 32. Total, 199. The strength of the brigade was 1,313, rank and file.

        For detailed accounts of the affair I respectfully refer to the reports of the several commanders herewith transmitted. 

        I am, sir, very respectfully, 
        CHAS. S. WINDER, 
        Brigadier-General, Commanding

        Source: O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 15 [S# 15] 

Charles S. Winder

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