Numbers 4. Report of Lieutenant Colonel James M. Comly, Twenty-third Ohio Infantry, of engagement at Cloyd's Mountain.
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
Meadow Bluff, May 20, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, I respectfully report:
Inclosed herewith is a journal of distances marched by the regiment from 29th April to date, inclusive; also a list of casualties during the same time.
At the battle of Cloyd's Mountain on the 9th of May the Twenty-third Regiment was on the right of the First Brigade. At about noon we were ordered to charge the enemy, who occupied the first crest of the mountain with artillery and infantry, behind rudely constructed breast-works. The hill itself was thickly wooded, steep, and difficult of ascent, and was skirted by s stream of water from two to three feet deep. The approach was through a beautiful meadow 500 or 600 yards in width. As soon as the order was received the regiment advanced at double-quick across the meadow, under a very heavy fire of artillery and musketry, to the foot of the mountain, across the stream. The regiment advanced steadily to this point without returning the enemy's fire, and after a short pause a furious assault was made upon the enemy's works, carrying them and capturing 2 pieces of artillery, which were brought off the field by Lieutenant Austin, and are now held subject to order. The enemy fell back to the second crest or ridge of the mountain, when a determined attempt was made to forma line, but, after a short struggle, he was driven from there in full retreat; re-enforcements arriving on the field, attempted a third line to make a stand, unsuccessfully. The struggle at the guns was of the fiercest description, the artillerymen attempting to reload when our line was not more than ten paces distant. Lieutenant Stevens shot one of the gunners at that distance. Private Kosht, of Company G, a recruit eighteen years of age, was the first to reach the guns. He sprang from the ranks, with a boyish shout, and hung his hat over the muzzle of one of the guns.
I regret to announce the death of Captain Hunter, Company K, and Lieutenant Seaman, commanding Company D, in this charge. Captain Rice, Company A, was slightly wounded, but rejoined his company before the action was over. Lieutenant Abbott, Company I, a most gallant and enterprising officer, was severely wounded, and left in hospital at Dublin Depot. For further losses, I refer you to the official list of casualties inclosed.* In the engagement at New River bridge on the 10th we lost none.
I have the proud satisfaction of saying that no man of this command entered a house in an unauthorized manner during the march, and but two men, so far as I can learn, fell out in time of action.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
J. M. COMLY,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Captain RUSSELL HASTINGS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
* Embodied in table, p. 13.