War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0372 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

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Numbers 18. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Foster, Thirteenth Indiana Infantry.


Camp shields, four miles south of Strasburg, Va.,

SIR: In obedience to your order I herewith submit the following report of the part taken by the Thirteenth Indiana Regiment in the action of the 22nd and 23rd of March, near Winchester, Va.:

I was ordered by you to withdraw my command (which had been station on picket the night of the 21st on the Front Royal and Cedar Creek roads) and to report to you at the toll-gate on the Strasburg pike. Collecting my command I proceeded immediately to join you, and reached the toll-gate at 10 a. m., and moved forward on the right of your brigade and took position in front of and on the enemy's right, which position we held until 5 p. m. under a heavy fire of shell and round shot from his batteries, which were stationed in the edge of a woods. At 5 p. m. your ordered me to move to the enemy's left, to support a part of the First and Third Brigades. We marched over the hills on our right after being exposed to a heavy fire of grape and shell. We took position on the left of the Fourteenth Indiana, whose left had been present back by the overwhelming number that had been brought into action by the enemy immediately in front and on the left of the Fourteenth Indiana. Here it was that the Thirteenth Indiana suffered most. being exposed to the galling fire of a whole brigade posted behind a stone fence and in the open woods. Inch by inch the brave and gallant men of my command (Thirteenth Indiana) pressed them back. The Fourteenth Indiana's left rallied to our support, and I gave the command to "Forward! Charge bayonets" Here it was that the two remnants of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Indiana went in with a yell and drove from the field a whole brigade, which proved to be Loring's celebrated Irish brigade, of the Provisional Army, and completely routed them, and would have captured their colors had it not been four night coming on, and for fear of firing into our own men I ordered a halt. It was so dark as to prevent us from pursuing the retreating enemy until morning. After gathering up the wounded of our own the enemy's we sleep on our arms until daylight, when I proceeded to join you in the advance toward Strasburg in pursuit of the flying enemy, and have arrived at this camp, after sharing the honors of being in the advance with your brigade the enemy beyond this place.

Before closing this report I must refer to the officers and men of the Thirteenth Indiana. All alike acted nobly and fought bravely, adding new laurels to those already won in Western Virginia. Lest I should be thought preferring one above another I forbear making any personal mention, as they all, both officers and men, fought with a coolness and desperation that proved them not inferior to the brave sons od Indiana who are battling in other localities for our holy cause. Of the medical procession, and more particularly of our own assistant surgeon, requires of me a special mention. Dr Gall, our principal surgeon, having been detailed during the early part of the engagement to take charge of the wounded who were being sent to Winchester, left Dr Williams C. Foster alone on the field, who was in the thickest and hottest of the fight with the band carrying off the killed and wounded as they fell, and but for him our list of dead would be greater that it is.

We captured a number of prisoners, part of them commissioned officers, some of whom are wounded. Among them are a major and an