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Newspaper report - Battle of Harrisonburg

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Newspaper report - Battle of Harrisonburg

Post  Father General on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:34 am

Confederate forces under the command of Maj. General Hebert have suffered a second defeat inviting doubts that the food supplies in the Shenandoah will be available to sustain the Confederacy though the next year. Richmond is evaluating options.

Yesterday, Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. M.T. Georgia, marched into Harrisonburg with little initial resistance. The swift capture of the town by Union soldiers was part of a scheme concocted by Maj. Gen. Hebert and his staff to string out the enemy division then strike vulnerable elements with local superiority. The plan failed.

Reports indicate that although the initial plan worked, and Union troops took the bait which lured them into a vulnerable position, Confederate troops concealed behind a ridge, were unable to maneuver quickly enough to strike the decisive blow.

The eighth and ninth brigades of the Union corps received and stopped the Confederate attack, repulsing our gallant troops with great losses. Several officers fell.

Notably, Col. Neal, commanding his Mississippi brigade, made a valiant effort to stem the tide of Union reinforcements into the area, but to no avail. His brigade, who did not receive orders to withdraw to safety with the others, courageously remained in the fight until the troops were spent and forced to backpedal away in the face of the enemy. His brigade is reported lost at this time. It is unknown if the Colonel himself survived the battle.

However, the courage of Neal’s Mississippians was by no means singular. Several units, including the Texans under command of Gen. Joshua Ray, courageously did their part.

As the Confederate Army retreats to New Market – a northerly retrograde, there is report that several Confederate commanders are embroiled in sharp disagreements. The men themselves are in downcast spirits.

In Richmond, President Davis called for a special session of his cabinet and requested that special Sunday prayers be said throughout the Confederacy.

It is unknown what decision the President and his cabinet may make in the face of this crisis. Rumors have circulated including mention that Gen. Johnston should be sent to the valley, or perhaps on a mission into Maryland to cut Federal lines of communication.

There is a bright note, however. Confederate cavalry did deal a decisive blow against Union horse in the eastern valley.
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