<A fuller understanding of the larger context of this battle would be gained from reading these remarks in conjunction with yesterday’s post on the Battle of Cross Keys.>
On this date of June 9th, 1862 – a Monday – the final conflict of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign transpired just north of the town of Port Republic, VA. A total of about 3,000 Union forces of General Shields, along with at least six artillery pieces, were deployed on a high mound called
the “Coaling” and stretched acrosss a plain to the west (facing south). It was a strong position… attacked unsuccessfully by the Stonewall Brigade – that was driven back about one-half mile toward town. There in Port Republic, Confederate reinforcements from Ewell (victorious a day earlier at Cross Keys) joined to counter-attack to the north. As well, they burned the bridge over the Shenandoah at Port Republic to prevent Fremont’s forces from following.
Especially assaulting the “Coaling” (an area bare of trees at that time – for the purpose of charcoal) – was the Louisiana Brigade of Richard Taylor. After a back and forth contest on the hill – with Union artillerists fighting with their implements – the Rebels proved successful in driving the Yankees back while capturing five guns.
The Valley Campaign was a near total success for Jackson, as it established his credentials for strategic fighting and accomplished the goal of diverting Union forces from more fully supplying and enhancing McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. The focus will now shift to Richmond, as will Jackson’s troops to reinforce Lee’s defense of the Capital in the pending contests of the weeks ahead.