THE WAR NEWS.
The most important news we have is the report of a complete victory by our forces in the Valley, near Winchester.
Information, believed to be authentick, was received here yesterday evening [July 26, 1864] that, last Sunday [July 24, 1864], our army fell upon the combined forces of Averill, Crook, Wright and others, numbering fifteen thousand men, at Kernstown, four miles south of Winchester, and routed them utterly; drove them through Winchester to Martinsburg, and at last accounts were still in pursuit. We are said to have retaken all of our prisoners lost by Ramseur, and captured a large number of the enemy, with much of his material. All accounts agree in representing the rout of the enemy as complete and disastrous. His dead and wounded are said to strew the road from Winchester to Martinsburg. General Halligan is among the Yankee killed.1
This almost wiped out the recollection of Ramseur’s defeat, which, if the reports we receive are not most monstrously exaggerated, was a nasty affair. It is said that, though advancing to meet the enemy, Ramseur led his division up the turnpike with empty guns; at the route step and in route order—that is, in that extreme degree of irregularity and confusion in which only Confederate troops know how to march. While slouching along in this disorder and absence of preparation, a small body of our cavalry, who had been engaged with the enemy, ran through the division at a point about four miles north of Winchester, and, immediately afterwards, the enemy, who were in pursuit of the cavalry, fired into our troops, who, with scarcely a show of resistance, took to their heels and ran back to Winchester, leaving some two hundred and fifty prisoners in the enemy’s hands. They were rallied in the works at Winchester, and the enemy did not attack.2
Ramseur’s affair occurred last Wednesday [July 20, 1864]. The next day there was a cavalry fight at Berry’s ferry, in the lower end of Clarke county, about twenty miles southeast of Winchester, in which we beat the enemy. The enemy, having come through the Blue Ridge at Ashby’s gap, was met at Berry’s ferry, on the Shenandoah. We held the west bank of the river, and repelled three successive attempts of the enemy to cross at a charge. Our loss was alight, the enemy’s heavy.
THE LATEST—GENERAL JUBAL A. EARLY ACHIEVES A GREAT VICTORY IN THE VALLEY.
At a late hour last night the following despatch was received at the War Office:
“HEADQUARTERS, July 26, 1864.
“HON. J.A. SEDDON, SECRETARY OF WAR:
General Early states that he attacked Major-General Crook on the 24th inst. [July 24, 1864], on the old battlefield of Kernstown, completely routing him, and pursued him five miles beyond Winchester, when he was compelled to halt, from the exhaustion of his men, they having marched twenty-five miles that day. The pursuit was continued by the cavalry. Among the prisoners captured was General Mulligan, mortally wounded, Brigadier General Lilly, and our officers and men captured on the 20th [of July, 1864 at Rutherford’s Farm] were recovered. The strength of the enemy is stated to have been fifteen thousand infantry, besides the cavalry under Averill.
“R. E. LEE, General.”
General Early, for the first time since he left Grant’s front at Cold Harbour last June, now appears before the world as the leader of the Confederate army that recently overran Maryland.—This great victory, we are pleased to know, renders further mystery as to who commands our forces unnecessary. He has broken and routed the combined Yankee armies mustered for the defence of Washington, and that city again lies at his feet.
In his despatch to General Lee, General Early, we are informed, gives the particulars of this victory and graphically describes the rout of the enemy. He says the roads are covered with the abandoned material of war of the enemy.
This Mulligan is the Irishman who was captured by Ben McCulloch when that General took Lexington, Missouri. He hailed from Chicago, and was a very blood thirsty fellow.
FROM THE LINES IN FRONT OF PETERSBURG AND RICHMOND.
There appears to be nothing of interest going on at Petersburg. The press telegram, to be found in another column, tells us nothing that we did not know, except that Grant’s RIGHT rests upon the Weldon road, and that we do not believe. Grant’s right rests, if there is any rest for things so wicked, on the north bank of James river, at a place known as Deep Bottom, so called because at this point the river is very deep.
At this Deep Bottom on Monday night [July 25, 1864] some of our forces, perhaps militia, captured forty nine Yankees. We have not heard the particulars of the affair, but they are of little consequence.3 It is sufficient for us to know that our troops at that point are on the alert, and that we have secured the Yankees. They were received at the Libby at one o’clock P. M., yesterday [July 26, 1864]. They are part of the One Hundred and Sixty-second New York, of the Nineteenth corps, and had just arrived from New Orleans. They were, at the time of their being made prisoners, on some detached service, under the command of Captain Luxford, who, with several other commissioned officers, was also captured. The Nineteenth corps is Franklin’s, and has recently been operating in the Trans Mississippi. We may here mention a report concerning General Franklin. It is said he is in such disfavour with the powers at Washington that they were glad when we caught him, and that therefore we permitted him to escape, well knowing that his Government would never exchange him. He is reported to be one of the few gentlemen still left in the Yankee army. His being a gentleman is alone a sufficient ground for his being in disgrace with Lincoln and his minions.
FROM NORTH GEORGIA.
We have nothing from Georgia except the press despatch, to be found under the telegraphic head.
General Hood’s address to his victorious troops will be read with interest.4
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: The previous paragraph is reporting on the July 24, 1864 Second Battle of Kernstown. Union Sixth Corps commander Horatio Wright, then in command of the combined Union forces in the Valley, though Early was no longer able to do much damage, and so he planned to return troops to the Siege of Petersburg. To prevent this, Early attacked him near Kernstown, scoring a route which had several important consequences. First, with Wright’s forces shattered, Early was able to burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in retaliation for David Hunter’s earlier burning of houses and other non-military buildings in the Valley. In addition, in early August Grant would appoint Phil Sheridan to lead the combined Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley going forward. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: On July 20, 1864, Ramseur’s Division had been routed at the Battle of Rutherford’s Farm. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: This small fight was between two regiments of Henagan’s South Carolina Brigade (Kershaw’s Old Brigade) and two regiments of Currie’s Brigade (3/1/XIX), recently arrived from Louisiana. In reading the Official Records correspondence of the Union generals, it appears Currie’s two regiments, the 162nd New York and the 165th New York, had not been trained in fighting as a skirmish line, and they paid dearly for this lack of experience. By the time the Union Second Corps crossed over the James River to start the First Deep Bottom Campaign, the 11th Maine of Foster’s command had regained the lost ground, something it had done multiple times in the previous week! ↩
- “The War News.” Richmond Examiner. July 27, 1864, p. 1 col. 1-2 ↩