Cross Keys Battlefield Virginia

Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
491
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
#1
In an effort to have a better understanding of the Civil War battles fought in my home state I hope to visit as many as possible this year. Yesterday I took my first trip after consulting my Virginia Battlefield Guide by John S. Salmon. Below are the photos I took and a brief history borrowed from Shenandoah Valley History. I hope you enjoy.


THIS IS THE GENERAL AREA IN WHICH THE ENGAGEMENT TOOK PLACE
InkedCross Keys Battlefield_LI.jpg


The Battle

Early on Sunday morning, June 8, Frémont's men marched down Port Republic Road by the Cross Keys tavern and there made contact with the Confederates' advance guard. Ewell had three brigades—headed by the generals Isaac R. Trimble, George Steuart, and Arnold Elzey—along with four artillery batteries, or about six thousand men total. They readied for a hard fight. What they received, however, was a very cautious approach by Frémont. The Union general commanded 11,000 soldiers, but he mistakenly understood the force in his front to be Jackson's entire army and not just half of it. Rather than attack, he allowed his long-range artillery to duel with the Confederates. Ewell, meanwhile, took advantage of the delay to fortify his position.

Eventually, Frémont concluded that his enemy's right flank was vulnerable and ordered forward a brigade of German emigrants from Louis Blenker's division. They were abruptly halted by the men of Trimble's brigade, who hid along a fence line, waiting until the Germans were close before unleashing a series of deadly volleys. Sensing that the Union troops had been caught off guard, Trimble counterattacked and had Blenker's men scurrying northwest to Keezletown Road. As night fell, he petitioned Ewell to continue the attack, but Ewell refused. Night attacks were notoriously risky, and Ewell, well aware that he was outnumbered, worried about extending his line too far from Jackson's support. With Ewell's permission, Trimble—a Marylander born in Virginia who has been described by the historian Douglas Southall Freeman as "perhaps disposed to be contentious and certainly a dandy in dress, but of the most conspicuous courage and a furious, insatiable fighter"—rode to Port Republic and made his case to Jackson personally. The general was noncommittal. "Consult General Ewell and be guided by him," he told Trimble. When Ewell repeated his first refusal, the battle ended.

Aftermath

arrow-bubble.png
671thm_2a0c5d408e79fa0.jpg


Turner Ashby

Confederate casualties were light: 288 men, forty-one of whom were dead. In Frémont's command, as many as half of the 684 casualties were dead or mortally wounded. The Confederate cavalry general Turner Ashby—a dark-complected, myth-encumbered figure who, at the age of thirty-three was known as the "Black Knight of the Confederacy"—had been killed as Ewell's forces moved from Harrisonburg on June 6. Jackson, meanwhile, was busy becoming a myth himself, both before and after the battle. Newspapers throughout the South were hailing him as a hero, with the Charleston Mercury predicting he would lead "his unconquerable battalions through Maryland and Pennsylvania."

Jackson did not go north, however, but summoned Ewell and his three brigades south to Port Republic. There, they helped chase Shields's soldiers from the field, resulting in another, even more important victory. Frémont was noticeably absent from the fighting on June 9; when Ewell's men set North Bridge afire, he was unable to cross the Shenandoah and join Shields.

DSC_4253.jpg


DSC_4254.jpg


DSC_4255.jpg


DSC_4256.jpg


DSC_4257.jpg


DSC_4258.jpg


DSC_4260.jpg


DSC_4261.jpg


DSC_4262.jpg


DSC_4263.jpg


DSC_4266.jpg


DSC_4268.jpg


DSC_4272.jpg


DSC_4276.jpg


DSC_4277.jpg


DSC_4278.jpg


DSC_4280.jpg


DSC_4281.jpg


DSC_4282.jpg


DSC_4285.jpg


DSC_4286.jpg


DSC_4287.jpg


DSC_4288.jpg


DSC_4289.jpg


DSC_4292.jpg


DSC_4293.jpg


DSC_4294.jpg


DSC_4296.jpg


DSC_4297.jpg
 

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!



Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top