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the army. But the gallant Custer was equal to the emergency. He immediately charged the cavalry and drove them about a mile in the most beautiful manner behind their infantry support, from which they did not show themselves in force again during the day.
Wright, commanding the army (temporarily, and cavalry-over Cedar creek on the right of Major-General Sheridan being temporarily absent), to move my whole cavalry force on the left of the army; this I was opposed to, but proceeded to obey the order; but on my own responsibility I left three regiments to picket the right, and to this fact thousands of our stragglers are indebted for their safety, for these brave men held their position against great odds for five hours.
On the left the battle was going well for us; in fact it could not be otherwise, with the cool and invincible Merritt on the ground, supportThe First and Third divisions (Brigadier-ed by such soldiers as Devin and Lowell. Generals Merritt and Custer) were ordered to the left of the army. The First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) was put in position across the pike, just north of Middletown. The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) was formed on the left of the First division. The First brigade, Second division (Colonel Moore), was formed on the left of the Third division. The horse batteries "B" and "L," Second Artillery, U. S. A. (Lieutenant Taylor commanding), was left on the right fighting on the infantry line, where it did admirable service, and was the last artillery to leave the front.
Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men of this battery, for their coolness and gallantry on this occasion. When the infantry was forced back, and the battery was obliged to retire, it joined its brigade (Second, First division) on the right of the pike, where it immediately went into action. As soon as the cavalry was in position on the left of the army, they attacked the enemy. Colonel Lowell, commanding Reserve brigade, First division, dismounted a part of his little band, and they advanced to a strong position behind a stone wall, from which the enemy's infantry failed to drive them after repeated attempts. The cavalry fought infantry and artillery only on the left of the army.
About twelve o'clock, M., the cavalry was moved to the left about three hundred yards, thus bringing it on the left of the pike. Thus matters stood with cavalry until three o'clock P. M., bolding on to their ground with more than their usual dogged persistence, displaying gallantry which has never been surpassed, while most of the infantry was reforming several miles on their right and rear.
During this time the Second brigade, Second division (Colonel Powell commanding division), fell back slowly (by order) on the Front Royal and Winchester pike, to Stony point, and then to a point near Newtown, followed by the rebel General Lomax's division of cavalry, where they remained during the greater part of the day; Colonel Powell thus prevented the enemy's cavalry from getting on the pike to attack our trains and rear.
About two P. M., Major-General Sheridan arrived upon the ground, and directed me to send one division of cavalry on the right of the army. I immediately ordered the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) to that position, where he arrived just in the nick of time, for the enemy had just succeeded in crossing-infantry
At this time the First brigade, Second division, was temporarily under the orders of Brigadier-General Merritt, who was constantly annoying and attacking the enemy whenever an opportunity presented itself, although his men were completely within range of the enemy's sharpshooters, his shot and shell, and many a horse and rider was made to bite the dust. They held their ground like men of steel-officers and men seemed to know and feel that the safety of the army in no small degree depended upon their holding their position, and they can never receive too much credit for the manner in which they did their duty.
About four o'clock P. M., Colonel Moore, commanding First brigade, Second division, was ordered to join his division at Newtown, and Colonel Powell, commanding the division, directed to shove out a strong force to hold the Front Royal and Winchester pike. About four o'clock, in a charge, the gallant but lamented Lowell received a severe wound in the arm and side, but still kept his saddle.
About 4:15 a general advance of the army was made, and 'twas truly grand to see the manner in which the cavalry did their part. In this general advance, Colonel Lowell, Second Massachusetts cavalry, commanding Reserve brigade, First division, while charging at the head of his brigade, received a second wound, which proved to be mortal; thus the service lost one of the most gallant and accomplished soldiers. He was the beau ideal of a cavalry officer, and his memory will never die in the command.
In the general advance Brigadier-General Custer, commanding Third division, left three regiments to attend to the cavalry in his front, and started with the balance of his division to take part in the advance against the enemy's infantry. Thus the cavalry advanced on both flanks, side by side with the infantry, charging the enemy's lines with an impetuosity which they could not stand.
The rebel army was soon routed and driven across Cedar creek in confusion. The cavalry sweeping on both flanks crossed Cedar Creek about the same time, charged and broke the last line the enemy attempted to form (it was now after dark), and put out at full speed at their artillery and trains.
They continued the pursuit to the foot of Fisher's Hill, about four miles from Cedar creek, and captured the following property and prisoners, viz. :-Forty-five pieces of artillery,
thirty-two caissons, one hundred and fifty-six sets artillery harness, one hundred and eightyfour horses, one hundred and fifty six mules, one hundred and fifty sets wagon harness, forty-six army wagons, six hundred and seventytwo prisoners of war, five battle flags; also many muskets, sabres, etc., which it took them about all night to bring in. Darkness alone saved the greater part of the rebel army from capture, for there never were men who displayed more fear of cavalry than they did upon this occasion.
The service of the cavalry on this day to the army and the country can never be too highly appreciated. The Horse artillery, Companies K and L, of the First United States, commanded by First Lieutenant Taylor, Companies B and L, Second United States, commanded by First Lieutenant Pierce, Company C, Fifth United States, commanded by First Lieutenant Wier, and Captain Martin's battery of the Sixth New York, rendered invaluable services on this day, as for five or six hours the only artillery used was that of the cavalry, and nobly did they do their duty, having but about two rounds per piece left after the engagement.
For the gallantry and good judgment displayed by Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer, and Brevet Brigadier-General Devin, and Colonel Lowell in this battle, I must again recommend them for promotion, which on several occasions has been justly earned.
I will take this occasion to recommend to the favorable consideration of the proper authorities the following members of my staff as fit recipients of higher honors than lies in my power to bestow, for gallantry and courage displayed on this and several other occasions during the campign. Braver and more efficient staff officers never drew rein or sabre, viz.:
Major William Russell, Assistant AdjutantGeneral; Captain M. A. Reno, First United States cavalry, Chief of Staff; Captain R. Ellis,
Sixth Pennsylvania cavalry, Assistant InspectorGeneral: Captain George B. Sandford, First United States cavalry, Assistant Commissary Musters; Captain J. J. Coppinger, Fourteenth Infantry, United States Artillery, A. A. D. C.; Captain Bailey, First New York Lincoln cavalry, A. A. D. C.; Captain Martindale, First New York Lincoln cavalry, A. A. D. C.; Captain M. Berry, Twentieth Pennsylvania cavalry, A. A. D.C.; First Lieutenant Wallace, Fifth Michigan cavalry, A. A. D. C.; First Lieutenant Ellis, Sixth Pennsylvania cavalry, A. A. D. C.; First Lieutenant Slater, First New York dragoons, amb. officer; First Lieutenant H. H. Goldsmith, Fifteenth New Jersey volunteer infantry, A. D. C.
I take pleasure in expressing my sincere thanks to division commanders and their commands for the hearty co-operation given to me and each other. When such feelings exist success must attend our efforts, and yours have been such that all in future can revert with pleasure to the fact that you belonged to the cavalry of the Middle Military division, and participated in the successful campaign of Major-General Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley.
For further particulars I would respectfully refer to division and brigade commanders' reports herewith enclosed.
Annexed is also a report of casualties.
It is also proper to remark in this connection, that as General Averell, in his report, has gone beyond his province to report upon General Merritt (First division cavalry), at the battle of Winchester, September nineteenth, to mention a few facts received from official reports, viz.:
The loss of General Averell's division (Second division), West Virginia cavalry, at this time was aggregate, thirty-two, and not two hundred and fifty as he supposes, and the loss of General Merritt's division (First division cavalry) in the same engagement was three hundred and eleven.
Statement of the Casualties in the Cavalry Middle Military Division, from the 1st of August to the 31st of August, 1864.
Report of Property Captured and Destroyed from the enemy by the Cavalry Middle Military Division, August 8 to October 31, 1864.
EXPLANATION OF ABBREVIATIONS IN THE INDEX.
D. stands for Diary of Events; Doc. for Documents; and P. for Poetry, Rumors, and Incidents.
38th regiment of,
Meade in command of,
"Alabama," action of the Chinese
Government in reference to, Doc. 587
crosses the Rapidan,
Gen. Meade's address to the, Doc. 544
succeeds to the command of, Doc. 340
BAILEY, JOSEPH, Lieut. -Col., account of
BAKER, LIZZIE M., noticed,
BANKS, N. P., Gen. See Red River,
expedition against Shreveport, La.,
See Cold Harbor, Va.,
attempted dislodgement of, near
the occupation of,
ANDRESS, J. F., Lieut. -Col., report of
address to the ladies of St. Philip's
BARRY, W F., Gen. See Sherman's
BARNES, NORMAN S., Surgeon, no-
BROWNLOW, JIM, his East
sonton's account of the, Doc. 388
CANBY, ED. R. S., Gen., summary of
See Richard Taylor,
BUFORD, N. B., Gen., rebel, at Colum-
Cane River, Ark., the battle of,
Doc. 341, 348
See Cold Harbor, Va., Doc. 558, 559
operations on the Nashville and
CARPENTER, L. D., Surgeon, noticed,
Bunker Hill, battle of,
Blackwater River, Fla., expedition
BLAIR, FRANK P., Gen., at Bush Moun-
Col. 40th Ind.,
BONIKER, Capt., killed,
expedition to Saltville, Va.,
Cassville, Ga., fighting near,
Doc. 423, 425
Cassville Station, Ga., account of a
BOOBY, HENRY, Ensign, report of the
BURRUS, JOHN L., Col., report of New
his reconnoissance of Oct. 13th de-
See Fort Fisher,
relieved of command,
account of his James River
arrival of Gen. Sheridan, and the
CHAMBERS,, Mr., speech in the
Confederate Congress, relative to
Chambersburg, Pa., the burning of.
CHAMBERLAIN, JAMES, Lieut.-Col., no-
eral Generals under fire at," Doc. 591
Catoosa Springs, Ga., Sherman's
Doc, 25, 30
Cedar Creek, Va., defeat of the na-