Chapter 9 

 

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THE SCOUTS OF STONEWALL

THE STORY OF THE GREAT VALLEY CAMPAIGN

by JOSEPH A. ALTSHELER 

   IX.    TURNING ON THE FOE

 Harry was awakened at the first shoot of dawn by the sound of trumpets. It was now approaching the last of May and the cold nights had long since passed.  A warm sun was fast showing its edge in the east, and, bathing his face at a brook and snatching a little breakfast, he was ready. Stonewall Jackson was already up, and his colored servant was holding Little Sorrel for him.

The army was fast forming into line, the new men of Ewell resolved to become as famous foot cavalry as those who had been with Jackson all along.  Ewell himself, full of enthusiasm and already devoted to his chief, was riding among them, and whenever he spoke to one of them he cocked his head on one side in the peculiar manner that was habitual with him.  Now and then, as the sun grew warmer, he took off his hat and his bald head gleamed under the yellow rays.

"Which way do you think we're going?" said the young staff officer, George Dalton, to Harry--Dalton was a quiet youth with a good deal of the Puritan about him and Harry liked him.

"I'm not thinking about it at all," replied Harry with a laugh.  "I've quit trying to guess what our general is going to do, but I fancy that he means to lead us against the enemy.  He has the numbers now."

"I suppose you're right," said Dalton.  "I've been trying to guess all along, but I think I'll give it up now and merely follow where the general leads."

The bugles blew, the troops rapidly fell into line and marched northward along the turnpike, the Creole band began to play again one of those lilting waltz tunes, and the speed of the men increased, their feet rising and falling swiftly to the rhythm of the galloping air.  Jackson, who was near the head of the column, looked back and Harry saw a faint smile pass over his grim face.  He saw the value of the music.

"I never heard such airs in our Presbyterian church," said Dalton to Harry.

"But this isn't a church."

"No, it isn't, but those Creole tunes suit here.  They put fresh life into me."

"Same here.  And they help the men, too.  Look how gay they are."

Up went the shining sun.  The brilliant blue light, shot with gold, spread from horizon to horizon, little white clouds of vapor, tinted at the edges with gold from the sun, floated here and there.  It was beautiful May over all the valley.  White dust flew from the turnpike under the feet of so many marching men and horses, and the wheels of cannon.  Suddenly the Georgia troops that had suffered so severely at McDowell began to sing a verse from the Stars and Bars, and gradually the whole column joined in:

        "Now Georgia marches to the front         And close beside her come         Her sisters by the Mexique sea         With pealing trump and drum,         Till answering back from hill and glen         The rallying cry afar,         A nation hoists the Bonnie Blue Flag         That bears a single star."

 It was impossible not to feel emotion.  The face of the most solemn Presbyterian of them all flushed and his eyes glowed.  Now the band, that wonderful band of the Acadians, was playing the tune, and the mighty chorus rolled and swelled across the fields.  Harry's heart throbbed hard.  He was with the South, his own South, and he was swayed wholly by feeling.

The Acadians were leading the army.  Harry saw Jackson whispering something to a staff officer.  The officer galloped forward and spoke to Taylor, the commander of the Louisiana troops.  Instantly the Acadians turned sharply from the turnpike and walked in a diagonal line through the fields.  The whole army followed and they marched steadily northward and eastward.

Harry had another good and close view of the Massanuttons, now one vast mass of dark green foliage, and it caused his thoughts to turn to Shepard.  He had no doubt that the wary and astute Northern scout was somewhere near watching the march of Stonewall.  He had secured a pair of glasses of his own and he scanned the fields and forests now for a sight of him and his bold horsemen.  But he saw no blue uniforms, merely farmers and their wives and children, shouting with joy at the sight of Jackson, eager to give him information, and eager to hide it from Banks.

But Harry was destined to have more than another view of the Massanuttons.  Jackson marched steadily for four days, crossing the Massanuttons at the defile, and coming down into the eastern valley. The troops were joyous throughout the journey, although they had not the least idea for what they were destined, and Ewell's men made good their claim to a place of equal honor in the foot cavalry.

They were now in the division of the great valley known as the Luray, and only when they stopped did Harry and his comrades of the staff learn that the Northern army under Kenly was only ten miles away at Front Royal.

The preceding night had been one of great confidence, even of light- heartedness in Washington.  The worn and melancholy President felt that a triumphant issue of the war was at hand.  The Secretary of War was more than sanguine, and the people in the city joyfully expected speedy news of the fall of Richmond.  McClellan was advancing with an overwhelming force on the Southern capital, and the few regiments of Jackson were lost somewhere in the mountains.  In the west all things were going well under Grant.

It was only a few who, recognizing that the army of Jackson was lost to Northern eyes, began to ask questions about it.  But they were laughed down.  Jackson had too few men to do any harm, wherever he might be. Nobody suspected that at dawn Jackson, with a strong force, would be only a little more than three score miles from the Union capital itself. Even Banks himself, who was only half that distance from the Southern army, did not dream that it was coming.

When the sun swung clear that May morning there was a great elation in this army which had been lost to its enemies for days and which the unknowing despised.  They ate a good breakfast, and then, as the Creole band began to play its waltzes again, they advanced swiftly on Front Royal.

"We'll be attacking in two hours," said Dalton.

"In less time than that, I'm thinking," said Harry.  "Look how the men are speeding it up!"

The band ceased suddenly.  Harry surmised that it had been stopped, in order to suppress noise as much as possible, now that they were approaching the enemy.  Cheering and loud talking also were stopped, and they heard now the heavy beat of footsteps, horses and men, and the rumble of vehicles, cannon and wagons.  The morning was bright and hot. A haze of heat hung over the mountains, and to Harry the valley was more beautiful and picturesque than ever.  He had again flitting feelings of melancholy that it should be torn so ruthlessly by war.

If Shepard and other Northern scouts were near, they were lax that morning.  Not a soul in the garrison at Front Royal dreamed of Jackson's swift approach.  They were soon to have a terrible awakening.

Harry saw Jackson raise the visor of his old cap a little, and he saw the eyes beneath it gleam.

"We must be near Front Royal," he said to Dalton.

"It's just beyond the woods there.  It's not more than half a mile away."

The army halted a moment and Jackson sent forward a long line of skirmishers through the wood.  Sherburne's cavalry were to ride just behind them, and he dispatched Harry and Dalton with the captain. At the first sound of the firing the whole army would rush upon Front Royal.

The skirmishers, five hundred strong, pressed forward through the wood. They were sun-browned, eager fellows, every one carrying a rifle, and all sharpshooters.

It seemed to Harry that the skirmishers were through the wood in an instant, like a force of Indians bursting from ambush upon an unsuspecting foe.  The Northern pickets were driven in like leaves before a whirlwind.  The rattle and then the crash of rifles beat upon the ears, and the Southern horsemen were galloping through the streets of the startled village by the time the Northern commander, posted with his main force just behind the town, knew that Jackson had emerged from the wilderness and was upon him.  Banks not dreaming of Jackson's nearness, had taken away Kenly's cavalry, and there were only pickets to see.

The Northern commander was brave and capable.  He drew up his men rapidly on a ridge and planted his guns in front, but the storm was too heavy and swift.

Harry saw the front of the Southern army burst into fire, and then a deadly sleet of shell and bullets was poured upon the Northern force. He and Dalton did not have time to rejoin Jackson, but they kept with Sherburne's force as the group of wild horsemen swung around toward the Northern rear, intending to cut it off.

Harry heard the Southern bugles playing mellow and triumphant tunes, and they inflamed his brain.  All the little pulses in his head began to beat heavily.  Millions of black specks danced before his eyes, but the air about them was red.  He began to shout with the others.  The famous rebel yell, which had in it the menacing quality of the Indian war whoop, was already rolling from the half circle of the attacking army, as it rushed forward.

Kenly hung to his ground, fighting with the courage of desperation, and holding off for a little while the gray masses that rushed upon him. But when he heard that the cavalry of Sherburne was already behind him, and was about to gain a position between him and the river, he retreated as swiftly as he could, setting fire to all his tents and stores, and thundering in good order with his remaining force over the bridge.

These Northern men, New Yorkers largely, were good material, like their brethren of Ohio and West Virginia.  Despite the surprise and the overwhelming rush of Jackson, they stopped to set fire to the bridge, and they would have closed that avenue of pursuit had not the Acadians rushed forward, heedless of bullets and flames, and put it out.  Yet the bridge was damaged and the Southern pursuit could cross but slowly. Kenly, seeing his advantage, and cool and ready, drew up his men on a hill and poured a tremendous fire upon the bridge.

Harry saw the daring deed of the men from the Gulf coast, and he clapped his hands in delight.  But he had only a moment's view.  Sherburne was curving away in search of a ford and all his men galloped close behind him.

Near the town the river was deep and swift and the horsemen would be swept away by it, but willing villagers running at the horses' heads led them to fords farther down.

"Into the river, boys!" shouted Sherburne, as he with Harry and Dalton by his side galloped into the stream.  It seemed to Harry that the whole river was full of horsemen in an instant, and then he saw Stonewall Jackson himself, riding Little Sorrel into the stream.

Harry's horse stumbled once on the rocky bottom, but recovered his footing, and the boy urged him on toward the bank, bumping on either side against those who were as eager as he.  He was covered with water and foam, churned up by so many horses, but he did not notice it.  In a minute his horse put his forefeet upon the bank, pulled himself up, and then they were all formed up by Jackson himself for the pursuit.

"They run!  They run already!" cried Sherburne.

They were not running, exactly, but Kenly, always alert and cool, had seen the passage of the ford by the Virginians, and unlimbering his guns, was retreating in good order, but swiftly, his rear covered by the New York cavalry.

Now Harry saw all the terrors of war.  It was not sufficient for Jackson to defeat the enemy.  He must follow and destroy him.  More of his army crossed at the fords and more poured over the bridge.

The New York cavalry, despite courage and tenacity, could not withstand the onset of superior numbers.  They were compelled to give way, and Kenly ordered his infantry, retreating on the turnpike, to turn and help them.  Jackson had not waited for his artillery, but his riflemen poured volley after volley of bullets upon the beaten army, while his cavalry, galloping in the fields, charged it with sabers on either flank.

Harry was scarcely conscious of what he was doing.  He was slashing with his sword and shooting with the rest.  Sometimes his eyes were filled with dust and smoke and then again they would clear.  He heard the voices of officers shouting to both cavalry and infantry to charge, and then there was a confused and terrible melee.

Harry never remembered much of that charge, and he was glad that he did not.  He preferred that it should remain a blur in which he could not pick out the details.  He was conscious of the shock, when horse met horse and body met body.  He saw the flash of rifle and pistol shots, and the gleam of sabers through the smoke, and he heard a continuous shouting kept up by friend and foe.

Then he felt the Northern army, struck with such terrific force, giving way.  Kenly had made a heroic stand, but he could no longer support the attacks from all sides.  One of his cannon was taken and then all. He himself fell wounded terribly.  His senior officers also fell, as they tried to rally their men, who were giving way at all points.

Sherburne wheeled his troop away again and charged at the Northern cavalry, which was still in order.  Harry had seen Jackson himself give the command to the captain.  It was the redoubtable commander who saw all and understood all, who always struck, with his sword directly at the weak point in the enemy's armor.  Harry saw that eye glittering as he had never seen it glitter before, and the command was given in words of fire that communicated a like fire to every man in the troop.

The Northern cavalry cut to pieces, Kenly's whole army dissolved. The attack was so terrific, so overwhelming, and was pushed home so hard, that panic ran through the ranks of those brave men.  They fled through the orchards and the fields, and Jackson never ceased to urge on the pursuit, taking whole companies here and there, and seizing scattered fugitives.

Ashby, with the chief body of the cavalry, galloped on ahead to a railway station, where Pennsylvania infantry were on guard.  They had just got ready a telegraphic message to Banks for help, but his men rushed the station before it could be sent, tore up the railroad tracks, cut the telegraph wires, carried by storm a log house in which the Pennsylvanians had taken refuge, and captured them all.

The Northern army had ceased to exist.  Save for some fugitives, it had all fallen or was in the hands of Jackson, and the triumphant cheers of the Southerners rang over the field.  Banks, at Strasburg, not far away, did not know that Kenly's force had been destroyed.  Three hours after the attack had been made, an orderly covered with dust galloped into his camp and told him that Kenly was pressed hard--he did not know the full truth himself.

Banks, whose own force was cut down by heavy drafts to the eastward, was half incredulous.  It was impossible that Jackson could be at Front Royal.  He was fifty or sixty miles away, and the attack must be some cavalry raid which would soon be beaten off.  He sent a regiment and two guns to see what was the matter.  He telegraphed later to the Secretary of War at Washington that a force of several thousand rebels gathered in the mountains was pushing Kenly hard.

Meanwhile the victorious Southerners were spending a few moments in enjoying their triumph.  They captured great quantities of food and clothing which Kenly had not found time to destroy, and which they joyously divided among themselves.

Harry found the two colonels and all the rest of the Invincibles lying upon the ground in the fields.  Some of them were wounded, but most were unhurt.  They were merely panting from exhaustion.  Colonel Leonidas Talbot sat up when he saw Harry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hector St. Hilaire also sat up.

"Good afternoon, Harry," said Colonel Talbot, politely.  "It's been a warm day."

"But a victorious one, sir."

"Victorious, yes; but it is not finished.  I fancy that in spite of everything we have not yet learned the full capabilities of General Jackson, eh, Hector?"

"No, sir, we haven't," replied Lieutenant-Colonel Hector St. Hilaire, emphatically.  "I never saw such an appetite for battle.  In Mexico General Winfield Scott would press the enemy hard, but he was not anxious to march twenty miles and fight a battle every day."

Harry found St. Clair and Langdon not far away from their chief officers. St. Clair had brushed the dust off his clothing, but he was regarding ruefully two bullet holes in the sleeve of his fine gray tunic.

"He has neither needle nor thread with which to sew up those holes," said Langdon, with wicked glee, "and he must go into battle again with a tunic more holy than righteous.  It's been a bad day for clothes."

"A man doesn't fight any worse because he's particular about his uniform, does he?" asked St. Clair.

"You don't.  That's certain, old fellow," said Langdon, clapping him on the back.  "And just think how much worse it might have been.  Those bullets, instead of merely going through your coat sleeve, might have gone through your arm also, shattering every bone in it.  Now, Harry, you ride with Old Jack.  Tell us what he means to do.  Are we going to rest on our rich and numerous laurels, or is it up and after the Yanks hot-foot?"

"He's not telling me anything," replied Harry, "but I think it's safe to predict that we won't take any long and luxurious rest.  Nor will we ever take any long and luxurious rest while we're led by Stonewall Jackson."

Jackson marched some distance farther toward Strasburg, where the army of Banks, yet unbelieving, lay, and as the night was coming on thick and black with clouds, went into camp.  But among their captured stores they had ample food now, and tents and blankets to protect themselves from the promised rain.

The Acadians, who were wonderful cooks, showed great culinary skill as well as martial courage.  They were becoming general favorites, and they prepared all sorts of appetizing dishes, which they shared freely with the Virginians, the Georgians and the others.  Then the irrepressible band began.  In the fire-lighted woods and on the ground yet stained by the red of battle, it played quaint old tunes, waltzes and polkas and roundelays, and once more the stalwart Pierres and Raouls and Luciens and Etiennes, clasping one another in their arms, whirled in wild dances before the fires.

The heavy clouds opened bye and bye, and then all save the sentinels fled to shelter.  Harry and Dalton, who had been watching the dancing, went to a small tent which had been erected for themselves and two more.  Next to it was a tent yet smaller, occupied by the commander-in-chief, and as they passed by it they heard low but solemn tones lifted in invocation to God.  Harry could not keep from taking one fleeting glance.  He saw Jackson on his knees, and then he went quickly on.

The other two officers had not yet come, and Dalton and he were alone in the tent.  It was too dark inside for Harry to see Dalton's face, but he knew that his comrade, too, had seen and heard.

"It will be hard to beat a general who prays," said Dalton.  "Some of our men laugh at Jackson's praying, but I've always heard that the Puritans, whether in England or America, were a stern lot to face."

"The enemy at least won't laugh at him.  I've heard that they had great fun deriding a praying professor of mathematics, but I fancy they've quit it.  If they haven't they'll do so when they hear of Front Royal."

The tent was pitched on the bare ground, but they had obtained four planks, every one about a foot wide and six feet or so long.  They were sufficient to protect them from the rain which would run under the tent and soak into the ground.  Harry had long since learned that a tent and a mere strip of plank were a great luxury, and now he appreciated them at their full value.

He wrapped himself in the invaluable cloak, stretched his weary body upon his own particular plank, and was soon asleep.  He was awakened in the night by a low droning sound.  He did not move on his plank, but lay until his eyes became used partially to the darkness.  Then he saw two other figures also wrapped in their cloaks and stretched on their planks, dusky and motionless.  But the fourth figure was kneeling on his plank and Harry saw that it was Dalton, praying even as Stonewall Jackson had prayed.

Then Harry shut his eyes.  He was not devout himself, but in the darkness of the night, with the rain beating a tattoo on the canvas walls of the tent, he felt very solemn.  This was war, red war, and he was in the midst of it.  War meant destruction, wounds, agony and death.  He might never again see Pendleton and his father and his aunt and his cousin, Dick Mason, and Dr. Russell and all his boyhood and school friends. It was no wonder that George Dalton prayed.  He ought to be praying himself, and lying there and not stirring he said under his breath a simple prayer that his mother had taught him when he was yet a little child.

Then he fell asleep again, and awoke no more until the dawn.  But while Harry slept the full dangers of his situation became known to Banks far after midnight at Strasburg.  The regiment and the two guns that he had sent down the turnpike to relieve Kenly had been fired upon so incessantly by Southern pickets and riflemen that they were compelled to turn back.  Everywhere the Northern scouts and skirmishers were driven in.  Despite the darkness and rain they found a wary foe whom they could not pass.

It was nearly two o'clock in the morning when Banks was aroused by a staff officer who said that a man insisted upon seeing him.  The man, the officer said, claimed to have news that meant life or death, and he carried on his person a letter from President Lincoln, empowering him to go where he pleased.  He had shown that letter, and his manner indicated the most intense and overpowering anxiety.

Banks was surprised, and he ordered that the stranger be shown in at once.  A tall man, wrapped in a long coat of yellow oilcloth, dripping rain, was brought into the room.  He held a faded blue cap in his hand, and the general noticed that the hand was sinewy and powerful.  The front of the coat was open a little at the top, disclosing a dingy blue coat. His high boots were spattered to the tops with mud.

There was something in the man's stern demeanor and his intense, burning gaze that daunted Banks, who was a brave man himself.  Moreover, the general was but half dressed and had risen from a warm couch, while the man before him had come in on the storm, evidently from some great danger, and his demeanor showed that he was ready for other and instant dangers. For the moment the advantage was with the stranger, despite the difference in rank.

"Who are you?" asked the general.

"My name, sir, is Shepard, William J. Shepard.  I am a spy or a scout in the Union service.  I have concealed upon me a letter from President Lincoln, empowering me to act in such a capacity and to go where I please.  Do you wish to see it, sir?"

Shepard spoke with deference, but there was no touch of servility in his tone.

"Show me the letter," said Banks.

Shepard thrust a hand into his waistcoat and withdrew a document which he handed to the general.  Banks glanced through it rapidly.

"It's from Lincoln," he said; "I know that handwriting, but it would not be well for you to be captured with that upon you."

"If I were about to be captured I should destroy it."

"Why have you come here?  What message do you bring?"

"The worst possible message, sir.  Stonewall Jackson and an army of twenty thousand men will be upon you in the morning."

"What!  What is this you say!  It was only a cavalry raid at Front Royal!"

"It was no cavalry raid at Front Royal, sir!  It was Jackson and his whole army!  I ought to have known, sir!  I should have got there and have warned Kenly in time, but I could not!  My horse was killed by a rebel sharpshooter in the woods as I was approaching!  I could not get up in time, but I saw what happened!"

"Kenly!  Kenly, where is he?"

"Mortally wounded or dead, and his army is destroyed!  They made a brave stand, even after they were defeated at the village.  They might have got away had anybody but Jackson been pursuing.  But he gave them no chance. They were enveloped by cavalry and infantry, and only a few escaped."

"Good God!" exclaimed Banks, aghast.

"Nor is that all, sir.  They are close at hand!  They will attack you at dawn!  They are in full force!  Ewell's army has joined Jackson and Jackson leads them all!  We must leave Strasburg at once or we are lost!"

Shepard's manner admitted of no doubt.  Banks hurried forth and sent officers to question the pickets.  All the news they brought was confirmatory.  Even in the darkness and rain shots had been fired at them by the Southern skirmishers.  Banks sent for all of his important officers, the troops were gathered together, and leaving a strong rear-guard, they began a rapid march toward Winchester, which Jackson had loved so well.

Swiftness and decision now on the other side had saved the Northern army from destruction.  Banks did not realize until later, despite the urgent words of Shepard, how formidable was the danger that threatened him. Jackson, despite all the disadvantages of the darkness and the rain, wished to get his army up before daylight, but the deep mud formed by the pouring rain enabled Banks to slip away from the trap.

The Southern troops, moreover, were worn to the bone.  They had come ninety miles in five days over rough roads, across streams without bridges, and over a high mountain, besides fighting a battle of uncommon fierceness.  There were limits even to the endurance of Jackson's foot cavalry.

Harry was first awake in the little tent.  He sat up and looked at the other three on their planks who were sleeping as if they would never wake any more.  A faint tint of dawn was appearing at the open flap of the door.  The four had lain down dressed fully, and Harry, as he sprang from his board, cried:

"Up, boys, up!  The army is about to move!"

The three also sprang to their feet, and went outside.  Although the dawn was as yet faint, the army was awakening rapidly, or rather was being awakened.  The general himself appeared a moment later, dressed fully, the end of a lemon in his mouth, his face worn and haggard by incredible hardships, but his eyes full of the strength that comes from an unconquerable will.

He nodded to Harry, Dalton and the others.

"Five minutes for breakfast, gentlemen," he said, "and then join me on horseback, ready for the pursuit of the enemy!"

The few words were like the effects of a galvanic battery on Harry. Peculiarly susceptible to mental power, Jackson was always a stimulus to him.  Close contact revealed to him the fiery soul that lay underneath the sober and silent exterior, and, in his own turn, he caught fire from it.  Youthful, impressionable and extremely sensitive to great minds and great deeds, Stonewall Jackson had become his hero, who could do no wrong.

Five minutes for the hasty breakfast and they were in the saddle just behind Jackson.  The rain had ceased, the sun was rising in a clear sky, the country was beautiful once more, and down a long line the Southern bugles were merrily singing the advance.  Very soon scattered shots all along their front showed that they were in touch with the enemy.

The infantry and cavalry left by Banks as a curtain between himself and Jackson did their duty nobly that morning.  The pursuit now led into a country covered with forest, and using every advantage of such shelter, the Northern companies checked the Southern advance as much as was humanly possible.  Many of them were good riflemen, particularly those from Ohio, and the cavalry of Ashby, Funsten and Sherburne found the woods very warm for them.  Horses were falling continually, and often their riders fell with them to stay.

Harry, in the center with the commander, heard the heavy firing to both right and left, and he glanced often at Jackson.  He saw his lips move as if he were talking to himself, and he knew that he was disappointed at this strong resistance.  Troops could move but slowly through woods in the face of a heavy rifle fire, and meanwhile Banks with his main body was escaping to Winchester.

"Mr. Kenton," said Jackson sharply, "ride to General Ashby and tell him to push the enemy harder!  We must crush at least a portion of this army! It is vital!"

Harry was off as soon as the last words left the general's lips.  He spurred his horse from the turnpike, leaped a low rail fence, and galloped across a field toward a forest, where Ashby's cavalry were advancing and the rifles were cracking fast.

Bullets from the Northern skirmishers flew over him and beside him, as he flew about the field, but he thought little of them.  He was growing so thoroughly inured to war that he seldom realized the dangers until they were passed.

Neither he nor his horse was hurt--their very speed, perhaps, saved them and they entered the wood, where the Southern cavalry were riding.

"General Ashby!" he cried to the first man he saw.  "Where is he? I've a message from General Jackson!"

The soldier pointed to a figure on horseback but a short distance away, and Harry galloped up.

"General Jackson asks you to press the enemy harder!" he said to Ashby. "He wishes him to be driven in rapidly!"

A faint flush came into the brown cheeks of Ashby.

"He shall he obeyed," he replied.  "We're about to charge in full force! Hold, young man!  You can't go back now!  You must charge with us!"

He put his hand on Harry's rein as he spoke, and the boy saw that a strong force of Northern cavalry had now appeared in the fields directly between him and his general.  Ashby turned the next instant to a bugler at his elbow and exclaimed fiercely:

"Blow!  Blow with all your might!"

The piercing notes of the charge rang forth again and again.  Ashby, shouting loudly and continuously and waving his sword above his head, galloped forward.  His whole cavalry force galloped with him and swept down upon the defenders.

Nor did Ashby lack support.  The Acadians led by Taylor swung forward on a run, and a battery, coming at the double quick, unlimbered and opened fire.  Jackson had directed all, he had brought up the converging lines, and the whole Northern rear guard, two thousand cavalry, some infantry and a battery, were caught.  Just before them lay the little village of Middletown, and in an instant they were driven into its streets, where they were raked by shot and shell from the cannon, while the rifles of the cavalry and of the Louisiana troops swept them with bullets.

Again the Northern soldiers, brave and tenacious though they might be, could make no stand against the terrible rush of Jackson's victorious and superior numbers.  They had no such leading as their foes.  The man, the praying professor, was proving himself everything.

As at Front Royal, the Northern force was crushed.  It burst from the village in fragments, and fled in many directions.  But Jackson urged on the pursuit.  Ashby's cavalry charged again and again, taking prisoners everywhere.

The people of Middletown, as red-hot for the South as were those of Front Royal, rushed from their houses and guided the victors along the right roads.  They pointed where two batteries and a train of wagons were fleeing toward Winchester, and Ashby, with his cavalry, Harry still at his elbow, raced in pursuit.

 

 

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