Port Republic, Va., Sept. 26, 1864
There was minor skirmishing and movements in the Port Republic area by Union cavalry forces in late September 1864.
Union cavalry forces pursued the retreating Confederate army after the Battle of Fisher’s Hill on September 22, 1864. They encountered some resistance from Confederate cavalry and small squads of prisoners were picked up. On September 26, they were attacked by Confederate infantry from Kershaw’s division as they were driving the enemy towards the mouth of Brown’s Gap. A lively battle occurred in which the First New York Dragoons lost three men killed and some wounded.
After that engagement, the Union forces encamped for the night near Weyer’s Cave and visited the cave, which was known for its natural beauty and grandeur. In the following days, the Union cavalry swung around the Port Republic area, burning barns containing hay and grain, mills, and driving in cattle and sheep.
While this was a minor engagement in the larger context of the Civil War, it is interesting to note the tactics employed by the Union forces as they pursued the retreating Confederate army. The burning of barns and mills was a common tactic employed by Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign to disrupt the Confederate supply lines and weaken their ability to continue the fight.