Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Battle of Port Republic - Walk

Reading Cozzen's Shenandoah 1862 reminded me of the rush through the Valley on my 2010 ACW battlefield barnstorming trip.  One of the stops during the 13-battle tour was in Port Republic.  Actually, the battlefield walk consisted of only a single stop and that was at the location of the 'Coaling' (coal hearth on the game map below from SPI's Jackson at the Crossroads) opposite 'Lewiston' or the Lewis mansion.  Much of the battlefield today is in private hands.
From the road looking up the hill, is the 'Coaling' as seen today.  The house at the top of the hill was built in 1886 by a member of the Lewis family and is clearly seen in the old photo of the Coaling in the placard below. 

Placard provides a brief narrative of the battle
Federal guns of Clark and Robinson were deployed at the top of the hill and had a commanding view of the valley floor.  It was up this slope that Wheat's Louisianans under Taylor attacked out of the woods towards the Federal guns and the 66 Ohio.
Battle of Port Republic (source: Wikipedia)
The 'Coaling' anchored the Federal left with Tyler and Carroll deployed across the valley along today's Rt 708 to the South Fork of the Shenandoah. In the distance can be seen the building tops of Port Republic. The site of the Lewis mansion is in the middle ground. 
View from Coaling
Although the ground appears flat in the photo above, it is quite undulating and would have offered some protection to the combatants against long range artillery fire.  The photo below illustrates the ground undulations looking towards the Lewis mansion from the church.

Today, there is a small church at the base of the Coaling which doesn't appear on period maps.  Perhaps this building was added after the war?
Church at the Coaling
Reading Cozzen's account of the battle has piqued my interest to follow up with a more detailed accounting.  Having enjoyed Krick's work on Cedar Mountain, I'll give his Conquering the Valley a go.  After that, perhaps, a replay of Port Republic on the tabletop will be in order.  A quick glance at Conquering the Valley reveals that only casualty returns are listed.  No troop strengths for the battle, itself.  For troop strengths, I will have to rely on the game, Jackson at the Crossroads unless another source turns up.


  1. Looking forward to your tabletop version after this overview.

    2013 HAS to be the year that I paint up some ACW troops. How can I love a period so much and not have any minis for it?

    1. many periods, so little time...

      I finished the narrative of the battle in Blue & Gray this afternoon and Scott sent me a good OB and scenario information. Very interesting little battle! The group ought to move this one up in our queue.


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