On the first day of March, everything being in readiness, the movement on Winchester commenced. Gen. LANDER was known to be in very feeble health, but was
expected to be able to be. out on the next day and to overtake us.
     The Fourth and Eighth Ohio were still with the Artillery Brigade which had been augmented by the arrival of Capt. CLARK's regular battery. This brigade started about two o'clock in the afternoon and moved up a grade road to the right of Bloomey Gap, continuing its march until ten o'clock, when we took position on the summit of a ridge, which could be easily defended, and bivouaced for the night. It was very cold, and the men, having no tents and but few blankets, suffered greatly. In the morning the snow began to fall and soon covered the ground to a considerable depth. We remained in our position until two o'clock, p. m., when we began to retrace our steps, and soon after it was generally known throughout the army that Gen. LANDER was dead. He had laid down to rest and died with paralysis of the heart. This was a sudden and melancholy blow to the troops. The General had won the affection of his men; they were pleased with his person, liked his dash, believed in his style of dealing with and foraging upon the enemy, and the more so as it was in broad Contrast with Gen, KELLEY's notion of things. His pioneer life and his part in several battles during the war, furnished the themes for conversation and admiration among all.
     On arriving late at night at our old camp our tents were put upon the old ground, the men remaining quietly in camp for several days, except the picket details. On the 3d of March the remains of Gen. LANDER were forwarded to Washington by railroad; the troops being under arms the remains were escorted to the cars with military honors amid great solemnity.
     The preparations for the movement of the troops, however, went forward under Col. KEMBALL of the Fourteenth Indiana, on whom, by the death of LANDER, devolved the command.
     On the 5th of March we broke up camp and embarked on cars and about dusk moved down the railroad. In the morning we found ourselves at Sir John's Run, where
we built fires, breakfasted and remained until toward
night, when, the railroad being patched up, we moved up to Back Creek, where we debarked and put up our tents for the night. Here our railroad ended. The bridge
across the Creek at this point had been destroyed by the rebels and not yet rebuilt. Next morning at eight, we were ordered to march for Martinsburg, some sixteen
miles distant. Col. CARROLL being absent the writer was in command of the regiment. Our horses not having arrived we were compelled to make the march on foot.
     We crossed Back Creek on a rope bridge and then set forth over the worst possible roads, and, after toiling forward all day, reached Martinsburg about dusk. The
teams had gone around and were on hand at our arrival with tents and provisions so that the tired and hungry soldiers were soon in a comfortable way for a night's
     On the 11th, Kimball's force and baggage trains had all arrived and we moved forward toward Winchester; we came up with Gen. BANKS' force during the night, near Winchester, and were formed in line of battle and lay on our arms till daylight. The enemies position was to be assaulted in the morning, and a great battle was expected. We got permission and rode forward in company with Col. Carroll and other officers, in the morning, to see the advance line move. It was in command of Gen. SCHUYLER HAMILTON. The spectacle was most imposing to one who had never before seen an army "set in battle array," or columns and lines properly formed for battle. We watched the advance of this line until it entered and passed the enemies out works, and until news came back that the enemy had left. A battle being out of the question our order of battle was no longer preserved and we were dismissed to our rations of chickens, ham, etc., picked up by foraging parties, and to very welcome rest. Toward evening we moved up to the north part of the town of Winchester and went into camp.
     At this point Gen. JAMES SHIELDS assumed command of our division which was, during our stay in the Valley, known as SHIELDS' Division. Gen. BANKS was in command of the Department. Here the Division was re-brigaded, the Fourth and Eighth Ohio being assigned to Col. KIMBALL's Brigade, which was composed of the Fourth and Eighth and Sixty-seventh Ohio, Fourteenth Indiana, and Seventh Virginia; and with this Brigade the Fourth and Eighth Ohio, Fourteenth Indiana; and Seventh Virginia remained during their entire term of service, under various commanders; sometimes enlarged by other regiments, temporarily, but constituting of .themselves, really, the Brigade which became one of the best and one of the most celebrated of the Potomac Army.
     On the 18th, Gen. SHIELDS led a reconnaissance in force up the valley, the object being to ascertain the strength and whereabouts of the enemy. The Eighth, with one company of the Fourth Ohio and CLARK's battery, started at three o'clock in the morning, and moved by a circuitous route to the left of the pike road, with the object of cutting off a retreat of the enemy toward Front Royal and of seizing the bridge at Strasburg, and assisting in the capture of rebel troops stationed at Newtown and other points along the pike.
     Before our arrival at Strasburg, however, the rebels had made safe their retreat. We found the bridge in flames and the enemy posted with his artillery on a hill on the other side, and from which he opened on us spiritedly as soon as the head of our column came into view. CLARK ran his battery forward, which the writer supported with three companies of the Eighth, while Col. CARROLL deployed the balance of the regiment for­ward along the bank of the river as sharp-shooters and skirmishers. During this skirmish two cavalrymen were wounded on our side, but no other damage was done.
After dark the Regiment withdrew to a dense cedar grove to the right of the road, and bivouaced for the night.
     During the night a temporary bridge was constructed across Cedar Creek, and as soon as daylight appeared the artillery again opened, and .our advance troops commenced to cross. The rebels, however, fell back rapidly, giving our pursuing columns no trouble. We passed one dead rebel, literally cut in two by a cannon ball, and learned that several others had been killed and wounded.
     It was further ascertained that this was a force under Ashby consisting of about a thousand cavalry, a company or two of infantry and some artillery. This ASHBY was the terror and the wizard of the Shenandoah. He was represented as being always mounted on a white horse, of being everywhere present, and of wearing a charmed life; consequently everything astride of a white horse in front, in rear, along the mountains, near at hand or in the distance, was at once conjured up in the minds of the soldier to be Ashby. His apparition had presented itself frequently during the day, evening, and morning, and still hovered about fitfully in the advance.
     The troops rapidly passed through Strasburg, the infantry and artillery taking position on a hill overlooking the country to the south, while the cavalry wound around among the mountains in pursuit of ASHBY.  Col. DAUM seeing the head of this line emerge from a glen at some distance, ordered Capt. CLARK to fire into it, believing it to be ASHBY.  CLARK expostulated, believing the column to be our own men, but finally obeyed the peremptory order of DAUM, the result of which was two of our own men wounded and three horses killed. The entire force soon crossed the ravine and formed on the opposite bank. Col. CARROLL deployed the Eighth forward, himself leading the left wing and the writer the right wing.  The apparition of the white horse and rider was far up the road on a hill, in our front and the nearer we approached the more evident it became that there were two pieces of artillery in position by its side. We kept on, however, and as we rose with the right wing over a ridge which still hid Col. CARROLL and the left, we saw the puff of smoke, and instantly my horse—(Old Timothy)—fairly squatted to the ground as the shell passed above us and exploded in front of the line, and which line ducked as gracefully as the horse Timothy had done. Another and another shot passed in fearful proximity as we double quicked forward, until the seventh shot struck with an ugly thud in the ground almost between Old Timothy's feet.
     By this time the right wing was down in the ravine, and Col. CARROLL, with his left wing, was in view. Some nine shots were sent after him in quick succession, at the second he dismounted, and said the shot would have cut him in two had he remained on horse back.
     The skirmishers now began to fire,, and in the twinkling of an eye, ASHBY, white horse and artillery were dashing up the road and away with commendable speed.
     The pursuit ended here, and the troops marched back to Strasburg, where, as it was raining, the Eighth took possession of a church, sheds, &c, and enjoyed a night's rest most profoundly.
     The next day we returned to camp in a drenching rain and over terrible roads, tired, a little cross, and not over well pleased with the reconnaissance.




CLICK HERE to Return to

CLICK HERE to Return to

This Webpage has been created by Sharon Wick exclusively for Ohio Genealogy Express  ©2008
Submitters retain all copyrights