Friday, June 8, 2012

Battle of Port Republic

Battle of Port Republic marker JD-10 in Rockingham County, VAMarker No. JD-10
Rockingham County, VA

Marker Text: The cross road here roughly divides the Confederate and Union lines in the battle of June 9, 1862. Jackson attacked Shields, coming southward to join Fremont, but was repulsed. Reinforced by Ewell, Jackson attacked again and drove Shields from the field. At the same time he burned the bridge at Port Republic, preventing Fremont from coming to Shields' aid.

Location: On U.S. Route 340 (East Side Highway) at the intersection with County Route 708 (Ore Bank Road / Lynnwood Road) on the west side of the Highway. Erected by the Virginia Conservation Commission in 1941.

Battle of Port Republic marker JD-10 along Route 340 in Rockingham County, VA

Photo taken looking south on Route 340.  The crossroads in the background is roughly where the battle line between the two armies existed as the battle began.  Click any photo to enlarge.

  One hundred and fifty years ago on June 8-9, 1862, the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic were the culmination of “Stonewall” Jackson's Valley Campaign. Jackson had been given the task of keeping as many Union troops occupied in the Shenandoah Valley chaseing his army so they could not be sent to Richmond to aid Gen. McClellan in his Peninsular Campaign and his efforts to take Richmond from the Confederates. Between late April and early June, Jackson was able to maneuver around a superior Union army and defeat them using surprise, swift marching, and concentration of force.

Observation platform for the Battle of Port Republic

You can walk to an observation platform toward the top of this hill.  This overlook of the battle is located on the road to the east of the state marker and is where artillery was located. 

  Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Valley, which never exceeded 17,000 men, inflicted more than 7,000 casualties on his opponents at a cost of only 2,500 of his own men, and tied up Union forces three times its strength. Jackson's victories infused new hope in the Confederate cause and contributed to the defeat of McClellan's campaign against Richmond.

  The battle of Port Republic was a fierce contest between two equally determined foes and was the most costly battle fought by the Army of the Valley during its Valley campaign. At its conclusion, the Union army forces withdrew down (north) the Valley, freeing Jackson's command to go to Richmond and aid the Confederate army facing Maj. Gen. George McClellan's army east and north of Richmond.

Two Circle Tour markers for Battle of Port Republic on Route 340

These two markers are located further south on Route 340 from the state marker.  Text is below.

  The battle got its name from the village of Port Republic where the fighting occurred all around the village. Today's traveler would find the main body of the battle around State Route 340 between Route 659 on the south and Route 708 to the north and west toward the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The crossroads near the state historical marker above is where the battle lines between the two armies was located.

Roadside Map of the Battle of Port Republic along Route 340  The battlefield area covers quite a wide area with many Civil War Trails markers to help the visitor to understand the battle. When I took these photos I was only passing through and did not have the time to explore the area and take other photos to help in understanding the battle. I hope to get back and take other photos. Some buildings and other landmarks related to the battle still exist and some are now museums where you can visit.

Battle of Port Republic marker JD-10 along Route 340 looking north

Photo taken looking north on Route 340.

  The Battle of Port Republic was a significant and final battle of the Valley Campaign and the importance of victory for both sides motivated the fierce fighting to take bridges and gain ground. Union Gen. Frémont wanted to destroy Jackson's army and maintain control of the Shenandoah Valley for the Union and Jackson wanted to get the Union army to leave the Shenandoah Valley while keeping them from going to Richmond.

  Stonewall Jackson's troops gradually as the day drew late withdrew along a narrow road through the woods and concentrated his army in the vicinity of Mt. Vernon Furnace, which is located within the boundaries of the Shenandoah National Park today. Jackson expected Gen. Frémont to cross the river and attack him on June 10, the following day, but during the night Frémont withdrew toward Harrisonburg and the Valley Campaign was finished.

Battle of Port Republic, Circle Tour marker on Route 340Battle of
Port Republic

June 9, 1862

Marker Text: General Stonewall Jackson, with 6,000 Confederates, attacked James Shields' vanguard of 3,000 under E.B. Tyler, which had marched down Luray Valley to join General J.C. Frémont's army. Jackson's first attack by General C.S. Winder's brigade, bolstered by the 7th Louisiana, was repulsed. Counterattacking, the Federals captured one Confederate cannon. Jackson was reinforced by units from General R.S. Ewell's division and General Dick Taylor's Louisiana brigade swung to the East, charged and captured the six guns emplaced at the intersection of U.S. 340 and Route 569. The Federals counterattacked and recovered the guns. Reinforced by Colonel W.S. Scott's command, Taylor's Louisianans again pressed forward and the Federals were once more driven from the cannons. Tyler's troops abandoned the field and retreated towards Conrad's Store. As the Federals retreated, General I.R. Trimble's and Colonial J.M. Patton's brigades retired across North River and burned the bridge, preventing Frémont from coming to Tyler's assistance.
Erected 1964 by Virginia Civil War Commission.

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