The SAML. V. FULKERSON Letters

Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson's
home in Abingdon, VA




ROMNEY, VA., January 23, 1862.
Hon. WALTER R. STAPLES:

MY DEAR SIR: I write you a few lines to enlist your influence as a public man in behalf of that portion of the Army of the Northwest now stationed at this place. This part of the army, during the last summer and fall, passed through a campaign in Northwestern Virginia, the character of which in. point of suffering, toil, exposure, and deprivations has no parallel in this war, and scarcely can be equaled in any war. After all this hardship and exposure, and many, with much labor, had built winter huts, a call was made upon them to march some 150 miles to Winchester. This march was made about the 1st of December, in very inclement weather... After arriving at Winchester an expedition was ordered to Morgan County and to this place...Now we are ordered to remain here during the remainder of the winter. A more unfavorable spot could not be selected. This place is of no importance in a strategical point of view; the country around it has been exhausted by the enemy, and its proximity to the enemy and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad will wear us away by heavy picket and guard duty. Besides this, there is no suitable ground and not sufficient wood here...We have not been in as uncomfortable a place since we entered the service. I will ask you, in view of these facts, to see the Adjutant.General, the Secretary of War, and the President, if necessary, and impress these considerations upon them.

Yours, respectfully,

SAML. V. FULKERSON, [Colonel, Thirty-seventh Virginia Infantry.]

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Winchester
9 March 1862


My Dear Mother

Not having written or heard from home for sometime, I will write you a short letter today. You will see from the heading of this that we have not yet gone to Manassas and I cannot tell when we will go. We will not get away, unless Winchester is evacuated, while the present state of things exists here.

Genl. Banks with his army has been maneuvering about twelve miles in our front for several days. On day before yesterday we thought that we were certainly in for a fight. Banks attacked our outer posts, when we packed our baggage and sent it to the rear, and marched the men on the Martinsburg road about two miles from Winchester, where we drew up and waited for the approach of the enemy. But after skirmishing with our pickets an hour or two, he withdrew again. We lost only one man, but not of my Regt.

We have not a large force here, and I do not know what Genl. Jackson will do if the enemy advances upon us. All of the public stores have been sent away, and many of the citizens have left. There are a good many here who sympathize with the Yankees, and will be rejoiced if they get possession of Winchester. This is such a beautiful country that I should regret to see it fall into the hands of the Yankees.

Since we came back from Romney we have had three different encampments. First on the Romney Road, but when the enemy crossed at Harper's Ferry we moved and took position on that road about three miles from Winchester; and on yesterday we moved to this place, which is on the Strasburg road about three and a half miles from Winchester near a village called Kernstown.

It is doubtful about how much I will write as I have been over six hours in getting this much written. In a letter from Col. Gibson he asked what I wished you and Kate to do in case the enemy got into our county. If they should get in, and you are willing to do so, I think that you had better remain at home. Refugees have a hard time, and when people leave their homes everything is destroyed. Mr. Faulkner (Honl. Charles J.) told me that his wife had saved his property by staying at home. But if it should come to the worst, and you prefer it, leave and let the property go. I care little for the property except on yours and Kate's account. For myself I feel that I have no home so long as it is threatened by the enemy, and I would willingly give up all I have, and commence the world anew without a thing, rather than that the enemy should subjugate us.

We are very hardly pressed now, and it depends upon the spirit of our people whether we bear up against it, or give way under it. When I see so many men and especially officers shirking duty and who seem to make it a study as to the best manner in which they can get around duty, I almost despair. Many are all the time seeking personal ease or pursuing schemes of personal advancement, and would appear to be willing to sacrifice their country to attain their object. I suppose though that all wars produce the same class of selfish men, and that we must expect to be cursed with them. I do not intend to be troubled hereafter with the reflection that I did not do my duty in this conflict.

I did have some hope that I could go home for a short time this winter, but do not now expect to do so. If I had the permission I would not go now, while we are so near the enemy. Besides, so many of the officers are absent that it would be highly improper for any more to leave. In the absence of Col. Taliaferro I still have command of the 4th Brigade, which now only consists of two regiments and four pieces of artillery.

I learn that we have had very high waters in our country and that much damage has been done. I was sorry to hear that Uncle James had lost his dam. I take it that he will not get his mills to running again for some time. If any of the fence about the creek washed away, get Mr. Hughes or some one to help Lee put it up. Today (Sunday) has been a very spring-like one. Citizens say that this has been a very wet winter here and not as much cold as usual, but still the ground has not been clear of snow since the first of Jany. Scarcely any ploughing has been done here yet, and little else in the farming line. See if you can't get meal and flour from Mrs. Hopkins' mill; If not try at some other place. Henry Roberts might furnish you with meal.

I suffered for two or three weeks with a severe cold, but kept up and am now nearly well again. Jas. Vance is well. He spent this Sunday in building a chimney to his tent. He has said several times that he would not fix up any more. He has built a good many chimneys, but had soon to leave them.

Give my love to Kate and Selina. Tell Selina that she ought to write to me. You and Kate must write soon, and tell me where Ike and Abe are. Tell Amelia Vance that I will write to her when I can. I have nothing to write about but army movements, but they will have as much interest to you as anything else.

Your son,

Saml. V. Fulkerson.


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Camp Near New Market
3 Apl. 1862


Dear Kate

A few days ago I wrote you giving some account of our fight near Winchester. Since that time we have been marching up and down the valley, one day falling back before the enemy and the next advancing towards him, skirmishing with him almost daily. He is now in strong force about ten miles off. Genl. Jackson has taken a position here, but whether he will fight at this place or not I am unable to say. If he has sufficient force he would not wait to be attacked.

I have been unable to hear from Jas. Vance, though I have [missing word or words] letter to Judge Parker of Winchester about him. I cannot think that he was mortally wounded, from what the men say who put him in the ambulance. I feel very much for Uncle James and family in their repeated bereavements. I miss Jimmy greatly, and would be greatly pleased to hear that his wound is not dangerous. I have seen a list of the prisoners who were taken to Baltimore but Jimmie's name is not among them. However, I am not surprised at this, as the wounded would not for awhile be removed from Winchester. I may yet get some information from Winchester about him.

Capt. Cowan (of Russell) died of his wounds. He was a brave man and good officer. James King was as good a soldier as ever entered the line. He went off with Capt. Jones Co., was transferred to Col. Cummings Regt. and then transferred to mine. After the fight was half over, he remarked that "he was proud of being in the 37th." The poor fellow was shot through the head and did not speak afterwards. Leroy Sherman among others was taken prisoner and is in Baltimore.

The [people along the valley] claim our fight as a victory, but it is not so. We attacked a greatly superior forces and were repulsed with heavy loss. If night had not set in we would all have been captured or killed. The enemy's loss was very heavy, for our men fought with desperate courage. our loss is 469 killed and wounded. The killed wounded and missing amount to 689. This is an uncommonly heavy loss when we did not have over 3000 men in the fight. A loss of 10 per ct. is regarded as great, but ours was but little less than on fourth. My Regt. sustained the greatest loss, the killed and wounded alone being a little less than one fourth, and including the missing is a little less than one third. The northern papers speak of the terrible slaughter on their side in front of the stone fence behind which I had my Brigade. I learn that at this point the 5th Ohio Regt. was nearly [ruined]--they were a part of the rascals who aided in chasing us from Laurel Hill.

The conduct of the late North western army (Loring's) [missing words] the fight, is spoken of by the Genl. in high terms of praise. There is a difficulty with Genl. Garnett who commanded the Stonewall Brigade, but I can't speak of particulars. Genl. Winder is now in command of that Brigade.

Our men are in fine spirits and I think will fight as well now as they did at Winchester, although they feel sad, when they think of the fall of their comrades. Our flagstaff was shot down, but the flag bearer instantly raised it again and kept it floating throughout the fight. The days work hurt my horse worse than anything which he has gone through. He was under the saddle from daylight till 11 at night and was greatly excited. The reports of the guns did not scare him, but the whistling of the balls and particularly the minnie ball excited him to the highest pitch. He has not yet recovered. You will see many exaggerated accounts of the fight in the papers. If we can't get a better and more substantial reputation than a mere newspaper one, I don't want [missing words].

I told Judge Parker [missing words] stay with you at nights during court. He is a refugee and I want to do all for him that I can. Tell Selina that here she can't write to Abe, she can write to me. Try and get the fence put up in some way. Send the enclosed to Mr. Belkin for Judge Camden. Wrtie soon. Love to Mother & S.

Your brother, Saml. V. Fulkerson.


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Report of the Battle of McDowell, May 8, 1862

Head Qrs. 37 Regt. VA. Vols.
Mason's Cabins, Augusta Co., Va.
16 May 1862


Sir- In making my official report of the part borne by my Regt in the battle near McDowell on the 8th inst., I have to say; that when I was ordered to the field, being about one mile distant, I had to pass on a portion of the way, up a very rocky & brushy hollow, which embarrassed the advance of my men greatly, and it being nothing but a defile, and the men having to advance in a single file, the Regt. necessarily stretched out over a long line. They were also much annoyed on the march after entering the field, by the shell from one of the enemies guns.

When I reached the line of battle at the head of my Regt. (marching by flank) Brig. Genl. Taliaferro informed me that the enemy were endeavoring to turn our right flank by passing over a brushy and thickly wooded ridge, and that the 31st Va Vols were there to prevent the flank movement & he ordered me to support the 31st. I at once filed into the woods, but not knowing the position of either the 31st or of the enemy, for they were not at that time firing, I got in between the two, but nearer the enemy. On halting to put my men in line, I found that I had with me only my two front companies, Co. A Capt. Terry & Co. F. Capt. Graham. In pushing forward up the ravine these two companies got ahead of the others, and when the remainder got to the line of battle, I with the two first were in the woods. As soon as I formed the two companies I ordered them to give a shout which they did with a hearty good will, and we charged down the hill directly at the enemy, and when we got within forty or fifty yards of him he broke and fled, when we instantly opened fire upon them as they ran. He did not stop running till he got entirely out of the woods around the hill.

When the remainder of the Regt. reached the line of battle in the field they joined in the fight there, but after awhile Maj. Williams brought a portion of it to me in the woods, not knowing that I might be hard pressed there. But before he reached me the woods were clear of the enemy, and I marched all back to the main fight in the field.

When I got on our line it was nearly dark and we could only see the outline of the enemy on the hill side below us, & that soon disappeared, when we could only direct our fire by the flash of the enemy's guns. The fight was kept up till 9 at night when the enemy withdrew, leaving us in full possession of the field. During the fight some of my men were out of ammunition, but I had them to supply themselves from the boxes of the dead and wounded.

I have to report the loss of some good officers and brave men. Capt. Terry, a gallant man and model officer, was severely wounded in the leg. Lieuts. Wilhelm, May, Dye, and Fletcher were badly wounded, and the two latter have since died. These Lieuts were young officers, but they nobly did their duty. All of my officers and men who went upon the field acted in the most gallant manner, and it would be unjust to discriminate by name, except in the case of the wounded. The loss of my Regt. is thirty nine killed and wounded and one missings, a list of whom I herewith enclose.

I feel indebted to Surgeon Hinkle and Asst. Surgeon Butler for their prompt and untiring attention to the wounded. My Acting Adjt. C.T. Duncan also deserves special mention for the manner in which he discarged his duties upon the field.

I cannot close this report without saying that my chaplain the Revd. A.B. Carrington deserves the highest praise for his conduct during and since the fight. He was struck by a spent ball, and although it made him very sick for awhile, he was and continued to be unremitting in his attention to the wounded.

Respectfully
Saml. V. Fulkerson
Col. 37 Va. Vols


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Camp at Mason's Cabins. Augusta Co.
16 May 1862


Dear Kate

It has been a good while since I wrote and the reason is that I have not had an opportunity of writing, and I feel little like it now. We have been constantly marching, fighting and watching for more than a month, and the consequence is that we are all nearly broken down, with fatigue, loss of sleep and irregularity in eating. But his being the day set apart by the President for humiliation and prayer, Genl. Jackson has orderd his army to observe it, and to abstain from all military duty, and that divine service be had in all of the Regts. But as it is now and has been raining for two days, there will be little chance for preaching out of doors.

I believe that I wrote you from Meecham's River Depot in Albemarle Co. A portion of the Regt. took the cars there for Staunton and the remainder marched on to the side of the Blue Ridge where they went on to the cars and got to Staunton about day, not having eaten anything or slept any since the night before. We stayed at Staunton that {night} and left the next day in this direction. We joined Genl. Johnson's (Alleghany) forces about six miles from Staunton. The enemy had one Regt at the east foot of the Shenandoah mountains near this place. This we came near surprising and taking with four pieces of their cannon. But they escaped, leaving all of their baggage and camp equipage and commisary stores in our hands. They fled cross the mountain to the western foot where they had two other Regts, which became alarmed & fled leaving everything, and all fell back to McDowell where their main body (Genl. Milroy in command) was stationed.

We then went into camp and on the morning of the 8th we moved towards McDowell. This is a village in Highland county about thirty miles from Staunton and ten from Monterey. Genl Johnson with his brigade was sent forward as the advance and our Brigade (10th, 23rd, and 37th Va. Vols) followed. When within about a mile of McDowell light skirmishing began, which was kept up till evening, we in the mean time having been halted about a mile in the rear. In the evening our advance Brigade and the enemy became engaged in a general fight and we were ordered forward at a double quick. A portion of the way over which we had to go was up a very rocky and brushy hollow, and when we reached our line of battle we were nearly out of breath. All along the way we were exposed to the enemy's file by their shooting at our advance and the balls striking among and around us. The whistling of the bullets excited my horse so much that he became unmanageable and I had to send him to the rear before I got upon the field. When I got on the field I asked the Genl. where my Regt. should be placed, when he said that the enemy were trying to turn our right flank over a brushy and thickly wooded ridge, and that the 31st Va. was there for the purpose of holding them back and that I must support the 31st. I at once double quicked into the woods. When I got there I found that I had but two companies (Capt. Terry's & Capt. Graham's) in consequence of my having hurried the front up the hollow so fast that they left the remainder behind and out of sight. One of the enemy's cannon was also brought to bear upon the Regt. which also embarrassed the rear. I did not know the position either of the 31st or the enemy in the woods, as they were not firing. The consequence was that I entered the woods between the two, but nearer the enemy.

I at once formed my two companies, gave them the order to raise a shout, which they did very lustily, and we charged down the hill right at the foe. They stood till we got within forty or fifty yards of them when they broke and fled and we opened fire upon them as they ran. We ran them entirely out of the woods. Our movement was so sudden and unexpected that the enemy seemed to be surprised and much frightened. It seemed like a bold move, but I think it was the best for my men, as I only lost two men wounded (one of them mortally) at this point. The remainder of the Regt. not knowing where I was went into the main fight when they came upon the field, but after a while a portion of them wee ordered to join me in the woods which they did, but there being no enemy in the woods at this time I took them all back and entered the fight in the field.

It was nearly dark and we could only see the outlines of the enemy, which was soon lost & we had to fire by the flash of their guns. The fight lasted till 9 oclk at night, when the enemy withdrew leaving us in possession of the field. The ground selected by the foe was well chosen and particularly advantageous in a night fight. The enemy had been reinforced the day before by Genl Schenck with three or four thousand men, and they fought obstinately. At one time they approached through the bushes to within 20 yards of two of my companies, but were driven back, leaving their flag bearer and flag upon the field. This was an Ohio Rgt. (32nd). I had the wounded flag bearer taken up & sent back with my wounded, but I believe he died next day. The flag was so torn to pieces that my men took some of it and some other men some. Col. Campbell's Regt. got into the fight about dark and the remainder of his Brigade did not get in at all I believe. The Stonewall Brigade, being several miles off, did not get on the field till after the fight was over.

I lost forty men in killed and wounded. Some of the wounded have since died, and others are dangerous. Three have had their legs amputated. We stayed upon the field nearly all night gathering up and sending off the killed and wounded. The 12th Geo. Regt. suffered most terribly. They were in the advance and ordered to hold a very exposed position. They lost about 180 men killed and wounded. After their ammunition gave out, they lay down and held the place at the point of the bayonet. Many of my men got out of ammunition, but I had them to supply themselves from the boxes of the dead and wounded, and in that way kept them shooting. We had no cannon in the fight. After the dead were collected on the field and laid in rows of then or fifteen, the dim moonlight gave to their countenances an unusual unearthly appearance. Our loss in officers is heavy, and I think that our whole loss is not less than 400. Genl. Johnson was wounded. Col. Gibbons of the 10th was killed. He was one of the best men I ever saw. Maj. Campbell (James C.) was wounded before he got on the field, but I think not dangerously.

I cannot tell what the enemy's loss was. They left some on the field, some in McDowell and scattered along at other places. Immediately after the fight the enemy burned all their baggage and stores at McDowell and retreated. At daylight they had all gone, and we started in pursuit. We followed three days march and came up with their rear at Franklin in Pendleton Co. We skirmished with them over a day, when we were ordered back, I do not know for what cause. It was reported that Genl. Fremont had brought on reinforcements and that a portion of Rosencranz force had joined Milroy. But I do not know that these reasons influenced Genl. Jackson. I do not know where we are goint to, but think that we will not go to Staunton.

I received your letter enclosing copies of Abe's & Arthur's. I am very anxious to hear what Abe's fate has been. Write about him and Ike. Mr. Carrington is going to preach, and I do not feel lkie writing more. He was struck by a spent ball in the fight, but it only made him sick for awhile. Write soon and direct to Staunton. My love to Mother and Selina. I have heard nothing from J. Vance since I last wrote.

Your brother Saml. V. Fulkerson


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Report of the Battle of Winchester, May 25, 1862

Head Quarters 3 Brigade, Valley District
Camp near Winchester, VA
28 May 1862


Sir-

In making my report of the part acted by the 3rd Brigade in the battle near Winchester on the 25th inst., I have to say that on the morning of the 24th the Brigade left its bivouac four miles south of Front Royal at daylight and marched to Middletown, and thence down the main valley Pike in the direction of Winchester. Owing to delay occassioned by the enemie's skirmishers embarrassing the advance of the head of the column, daylight came upon us near Kernstown, after which we quickly advanced to the mills south of Winchester, at which time a vigorous fire was going on between our own and the enemy's batteries.

I was ordered to file my Brigade to the left of the Pike and take position under shelter of a hill for the purpose of supporting one of our batteries. I was also ordered to report to Genl. Winder who was already upon the ground. I placed the 23rd & 37th Va. Vols in the position indicated, when Genl Winder ordered me to occupy a wooded hill in an adjoining field, with one Regt, which position he informed me, the enemy were on the move to occupy. I at once ordered Col. Warren with the 10th Va Vols to take position on the hill which he quickly did. In a short time Genl. Winder ordered me to place another Regt. on the hill with the 10th, when I ordered Maj. Williams to march the 37th there which he did with dispatch.

During all of the time of these movements, and in fact from the time when the Brigade first entered the field, it was exposed to a severe fire from the enemy's batteries and long range small arms. After these movements had been executed Col. Taliaferro was ordered to move the 23rd forward and charge a battery of the enemy in his front. He pushed forward with his Regt. in gallant style. But in the meantime Genl. Taylor's Louisiana Brigade had come upon the field, formed and moved in the direction of the enemy, coming up upon the left of Col. Taliaferro.  The 37th & 10th followed immediately after Genl. Taylor's Brigade. On rushing the top of the ridge on which the enemy's batteries had been placed, a sharp musketry fire ensued, but soon a general charge was made by our whole line when the enemy gave way and fled precipitately through Winchester in the wildest confusion.We followed in immediate pursuit on the Martinsburg road, for four miles from Winchester, where we were halted. A list of the casualties is herewith furnished, from which it will be seen that the loss of the Brigade is, comparatively, very light.

Col. Taliaferro commanding the 23rd, Col Warren commanding the 10th and Maj. Williams commanding the 37th acted in the most gallant & efficient manner. I refer to the reports of Col. Taliaferro, Col. Warren, & Maj. Williams for the conduct of the officers & men of their respective Regts. I with pride bear testimony to the gallant conduct of the whole Brigade both officers and men.

I am indebted to Capt. Wm. B. Pendleton A.A.A. Genl. for his gallant conduct and prompt and cheerful manner with which he executed my orders. Capt Wooding's battery was not placed in position during the day. Respectfully-

Saml V. Fulkerson. Col. Comd. Brigd.


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Port Republic, Rockingham Co.
8 {June} 1862


Dear Kate

The place at which this letter is written is a pretty village near the foot of the Blue Ridge and about twelve miles from Harrsonburg, at the junction of the North and South Rivers, which form the Shenandoah.

I wrote you last from Winchester shortly after our arrival there, giving you an account of our march and proceedings up to that time. Since then we have undergone and almost incredible amount of hardship. We stayed at Winchester two days after taking the place and then proceeded to Charlestown and Harper's Ferry. We found a few of the enemy at Charlestown, but soon drove them down to the Ferry, where they made a stand having been largely re-enforced from Washington & elsewhere. The enemy were in position on Bolivar Heights on the Va. side and on the heights on the Maryland side of the river. Both of these positions had been fortified by Genl. Johnston last summer.

A portion of our forces crossed the Shenandoah river and took possession of Louden Heights. This was in the evening, a brisk cannonading going on, which was renewed the next morning, and continued till the enemy was driven from the Bolivar across the Potomac. About this time Genl. Jackson received information that Genl. Shields was crossing the Blue Ridge and Genl. Fremont was coming from Moorfield to form a junction at Strasburg and thus cut us off. This placed us in the hardest place that we have ever yet been. Genl. Jackson immediately ordered us to march back. We had about fifty miles to make to pass Strasburg, and our men were already terribly broken down by continued and hard marching. We marched to our camps near Winchester that night and next morning at day light started to Strasburg, which we reached before night. We had now marched about 70 miles in less than three days, in going to and returning from Harpers Ferry.

Gen. Shields was now at [Front] Royal, some 8 or 9 miles from Strasburg, and Genl. Fremont was 7 miles from Strasburg on the Moorefield road. So you see that we had only a gap of about 15 miles wide to get out at. During Saturday night I received an order from Genl. Jackson (I was still in command of our Brigade) to proceed next morning (Sunday) at daylight, some two or three miles on the Moorefield road, take position and resist the advance of the enemy. Before I could get a position, our scouts informed me that the enemy was advancing, when I hurried forward to a suitable position, and made disposition of my own and two other Brigades which were for the time under my command.

I sent forward a company of cavalry, which soon returned at the top of their speed with the enemy's cavalry close after them. We drove these back, but in a very short time the enemy's infantry came down the road and through the woods at double quick, and when they got within range halted and opened a brisk fire upon us, which was kept up for some time when they were driven back again. By this time Gen. Ewell came upon the field and assumed command of the whole. After the enemy's infantry were driven back, they placed two pieces of cannon in position and the two forces kept up a very pretty and brisk artillery duel for an hour or more, when the enemy withdrew from the field. After this Genl Jackson came out and said that he did not want to bring on a general engagement then, and ordered us to fall back towards Strasburg. I do not think that we had more than 10 or 15 men killed and wounded. My Regt. had none hurt.

At this point, according to the sentence below, the date is now June 10th

A little after dark we left Strasburg for Woodstock to which place the waggon had been sent, and we had a terrible march. (This writing above was suddenly stopped about 8 oclk on Sunday morning last by the enemies cannon, and I will now try to finish on this the 10th). We got to Woodstock about daylight, all broken completely down and seemingly half dead. We were dogged all night by the enemy's cavalry, and I know that they picked up many of our broken down stragglers. I have between thirty and forty men missing, most I fear were taken. It is not to be wondered at. Many of the poor fellows actually walked much of that weary night, fast asleep, so worn out and exhausted were they with their terrible duty. I do not thak that our Genl. exercised due diligence in getting his captured stores to a secure place. There was a vast amount of them, the greater portion of which he saved. But Genl. Shields made his appearance so suddenly at Front Royal that a portion of the stores captured there were re-taken together with some of our wagons.

We marched from Woodstock to near Harrisonburg, and the next day to near Port Republic, which place we reached on Satuday evening. I thought the next day, being Sunday, that we would rest, and I began to write this letter, when I was stopped by the roar of cannon down at the town. The town is located in the fork of the two rivers, the north and larger branch being bridged, the other not. The enemy's cavalry had dashed into town, with two pieces of artillery, one of which they planted at the end of the bridge, and with a third they began a fire from the opposite side of the river. Genl Jackson was in town and was taken completely by surprise and came near being captured.

We were camped about three quarters of a mile from town on the north side of the river. The enemy (Genl Shields force) had come up the river on the south side from Elk Run. In a very short time we were ordered to double quick to the bridge. My Regt. was just in the act of forming for inspection, and we got the start of the others. We passed through a wheat field with the enemy's gun from the other side of the river playing upon us. When we got to the top of the hill near the bridge the gun at the other end opened with grape upon us. My men returned the fire, when Genl. Jackson ordered me to charge through the bridge and take the gun. I led off and my men followed. We rushed through the bridge, captured the gun, and pursued the enemy through the town and until he crossed the south branch. I could have captured the other cannon in town, but I did not know of but one ford. We rushed to that, but found the enemy crossing higher up. We opened fire on them, killing some horses and two or three men and taking six or eight prisoners.

Charging in at one end of a bridge with a cannon yawning in at the other is no very pleasant past time. But my men went in so well, that it elicited the praise of the Genl. and all who witnessed it. When we got to the cannon, the smoke of the last fire was still issuing from its mouth. We charged them so quickly and so vigorously that my loss was little. Yancey Smith (brother of the Capt) of Russell was killed, and Sergt. E. Johnson and Walter James of Capt. Terry's company each had a thigh badly broken. I fear that Johnson is mortally wounded. We had put some of our artillery in position, which soon silenced the enemy's guns on the opposite side of the river, and drove them back, and they did not again advance on that day.

While this was going on, Genl. Fremont made an attack on our forces next to Harrisonburg. Our Brigade was ordered to hold the bridge and town against Genl. Shields, which we did, but could hear the fight on the other side, which lasted till nearly night with heavy loss on both sides. Our loss in officers was considerable. Genls Elzey & Stewart were wounded, though I think not dangerously. Our men drove the enemy back about a mile and held possession of the field during the night, having captured more than 100 prisoners.

On our march the day before from Harrisonburg, Fremont pressed our rear very hardly, and our protection subjected us to the heaviest and saddest loss that we have sustained in the valley. Ashby (but a short time a Brigadier) was killed. He had just made a brilliant charge on the enemy, capturing a Col, Maj., and a number of prisoners. Afterwards and about dark he was leading on foot (his horse having been killed), on Infantry Regt. when he was shot through the heart, and the saddest part of it is, that it is generally believed that he was shot by our own men. He was the most gallant man I ever saw, and withal a good man. When Ashby was between us and the enemy we felt perfectly secure against any surprise, and he was always on the enemy's heels. They had great fear of him. He kept them in constant dread. His place cannot be filled, and his death cast a gloom over the whole army. He had performed more feats of daring and had done more hard and perilous service than any man in the army.

As I have placed Sundays proceedings before Saturday, I will now pass over to Monday. During Sunday our train had been sent on the road towards Waynesboro in Augusta Co. But on Sunday night Genl. Jackson threw a foot bridge across the north branch, ordered his train to turn back and take the road through Brown's Gap into Albemarle, and by a little after sun rise he had the greater portion of his army across the foot bridge and marching against Genl. Shields force, which camped the night before in sight of us about three miles off. Our Brigade and Genl. Trimble's were ordered to hold the large bridge and to resist the advance of Fremont. Our force and Shield's soon became hotly engaged, and the fight became a very hard one. Our men were being severely pressed and suffering a great loss, when Genl Jackson galloped back and ordred me to move forward my Regt at double quick, which I did. He also had the other two Regt of the Brigade ordered forward.

When I got upon the field, and was putting my men in position for action, the enemy gave way and we rushed forward, passing his battery which he abandoned, having first killed all the horses. In coming up we received a sharp fire. The enemy rallied and partially formed, but we kept on and they gave way again, and commenced a general run, and scatterment. My Regt happened to get in advance, and hounds never pursued a fox with more eagerness than they pursued the flying yankees. Some kept the road and some took the bushes, all intent on capturing a yankee. We captured about 400 prisoners most of whom were taken by my men, among them a number of officers from Col down. We also captured two Regimental flags, all of the enemies artillery (seven or eight guns), all of his ambulances & c., and a number of small arms.

The Infantry followed about six miles, and the cavalry having come up followed about six further. My men performed many individual acts of bravery one of which I notice, and you may send it to the Abingdon paper for publication. The rout was complete and entire. The prisoners say that Genl. Shields was not present, but that Genl Tyler was in command. We captured a number of our old acquaintances, the 5th Ohio, and our boys were glad to meet with them. After our Brigade crossed the north branch, Genl. Trimble crossed the large bridge and then set fire to it & burned it down. In a short time Genl. Fremont appeared at the burnt bridge, but culd do nothing but listen to the fight and pursuit. On our return from the pursuit we quietly passed within plain view of Genl Fremont's camp, and marched to this place on the Blue Ridge, where we are staying today.

Our camp extends back to within four or five miles of Port Republic. Men were worse mangled in this fight than any that I have been in. Heads & limbs off and bodies torn open were frequent sights for several miles. On Sunday night Capt. Jno. Preston & Lieut. Jno Humes with fifty men were sent out on picket and were left out when we went into the fight on Monday. After Fremont made his appearance I sent back my Regt to bring in the picket, but he thought that he could not get to them, and come back about midnight last night. I have heard nothing from them since, but think and hope that they have gone to Staunton or Waynesgoro, about 18 miles off. I am not in the habit of gathering spoils on the field, but one of me brought me a Col's horse, saddle, bridle & c. Another gave me a very pretty sword. The horse belonged to Col. Lewis of Pa. He has been a fine horse, but is getting old and is not a good riding horse. I also got the Col's Regimental flag.

You will see from this narrative that we have had a very active and exciting time. We have fought on three Sundays in succession, which will do pretty well for a religious Genl. I got Selina's letter the other day & will write her when I can. Write soon to Staunton. Don't know when we will go next. Love to Mother & Selina.

Your brother
S.V. Fulkerson


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Portion of a letter to his sister-in-law
Weyer's Cave, Virginia
14 June 1862.


I wrote Kate a few days ago giving her an account of our late troubles and victories on the 8th and 9th instants. We are now five or six miles from the battlefields. After the rout of Shields' column on the 9th General Fremont became alarmed and retreated down the valley, and the last I heard of him he was at New Market. Jackson could have put him to total rout on the 9th if he had not been attending to Shields. This is the second day we have been at this place, but I think it is more than probable that we will be on the march again tomorrw. We thinking that two days of quiet at one place is a wonderful resting spell.

Our general will certainly not give us much time while there is an enemy to meet. He is a singular man and has some most striking military traits of character and some that are not so good. A more fearless man never lived and he is remarkable for his industry and energy. He is strictly temperate in his habits and sleeps very little. Often while near the enemy, and while every body except the guards are asleep, he is on his horse and gone, nobody knows where. I often fear that he will be killed or taken. Our men curse him for the hard marching he makes them do, but still the privates of the whole army have the most unbounded confidence in him. They say he can take them into harder places and get them out better than any other living man and that he cannot be caught asleep or taken when awake.

But they came very near getting him on the 8th. If it had not been for the promptness and boldness of my regiment the whole army would have been in a bad fix. He is an ardent Christian. On the 8th when he ordered me to charge through the bridge and take the enemy's guns at the other end, he turned his horse around, raised both hands, closed his eyes and prayed till the guns were taken and the enemy put to flight. All this has at least a good moral influence over the men."


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Gen. Jackson to Capt. James Vance, 37th Virginia regiment,
Headquarters, Valley district, July 17, 1862

Captain--Your letter of the 8th inst. has been received.  If your brave kinsman [Samuel V. Fulkerson] was neglected by others, he was highly prized by me, you may rest confident, and should my report of the battle of Kernstown ever be published, those who read it will see the high estimate in which he was held.  In his death the army and myself, as well as you, his kinsman, have sustained a great loss.  I hope soon to see you exchanged.

   Respectfully yours, T. J. Jackson


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Culpepper Courthouse
Sept 2d 1862


Mr. F.M. Fulkerson

Sir-
In reply to your letter of the 7th ult. permit me to say that Col. S.V. Fulkerson was an officer of distinguished worth. I deeply felt his death. He rendered valuable service to his country, and had he lived, would probably have been recommended by me before this time for a brigadier generalcy. So far as my knowledge extends, he enjoyed the confidence of his regiment and all who knew him.

I am Sir your obdt. servt
T.J. Jackson


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