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Posted June 14, 2013 | Leave a comment
Patrick Farris: May 23 was an important day in Front Royal's history
By Patrick Farris
For the Warren Heritage Society, the actions of Confederate spy Belle Boyd during the war, and especially as they relate to the Battle of Front Royal, have been an integral part of our organization since the 1980s when the cottage in which she lived and conducted much of her local espionage was moved to our grounds on Chester Street. Today's visitor can relive the drama of the Battle of Front Royal and the dramatic life of Belle Boyd in the very house associated with the woman and the battle through a tour of Belle Boyd Cottage and by reading her autobiography.
The Battle of Front Royal Committee, created by the Town of Front Royal with a grant from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Association, released a CD to accompany the driving tour of the battle as described in the Civil War Trails markers throughout the town and county. An invaluable tool in understanding the battle as it unfolded here in Front Royal. Belle Boyd's autobiography and the Battle of Front Royal CD are available at the Warren Heritage Society's Ivy Lodge Gift Shop on Chester Street.
The New York Times covered the battle in a column devoted to the event, appearing in print on May 25, 1862 - only two days after the battle. Reprinted here, it should be recalled that this piece was written from the Northern perspective. Readers should note the changes in spelling from today's standards, as is the case with the spelling of the town of Strasburg.
The New York Times May 25, 1862
A Defeat in Gen. Bank's Department
Our Forces Driven from Front Royal with considerable loss
THE REVERSE AT FRONT ROYAL DISPATCH FROM GEN. BANKS
Col. Kenly's command of infantry and cavalry had been driven from Front Royal, with considerable loss in killed and wounded and prisoners. The enemy's force is estimated at from five to six thousand, and is reported as falling back on Front Royal. He probably occupies this place this morning.
REPORTED DEATH OF COL. KENLY.
The reported death of Col. Kenly produces intense feeling here, where he was widely known and highly esteemed, and where his regiment, The First Maryland, was raised. His numerous friends have been thronging the vicinity of the newspaper offices all the afternoon, evening the greatest anxiety to learn the particulars of the fate of the gallant Colonel and his men. The families of the soldiers are painfully alarmed by the numerous rumors flying about.
GENERAL BANKS FALLS BACK TO WINCHESTER
Dispatches were received at the War Department at 10 o'clock tonight, from Gen. Banks, at Winchester. He had moved from Strassburgh to Winchester for the purpose of securing his stores and trains from the enemy and to prevent his communication from being interrupted. His advanced guard entered Winchester at 5 o'clock, with all his trains and stores, in safety. A strong attack was made upon the trains at Middletown by the rebel infantry, cavalry and artillery, but it was repulsed and a few wagons abandoned by teamsters were secured. Gen. Banks will return immediately to Strassburgh.
Col. Kenley, in command of the force at Front Royal, was not killed, but only wounded and taken prisoner. No particulars of the engagement at Front Royal yesterday have been received.
The enemies are in possession of Front Royal. Gen. Geary occupies a strong position on the Manassas Railroad, at White Plains. He was been reinforced. Gen. Banks has also been strongly reinforced.
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