Numbers 59. Reports of Colonel William G. Ely, Eighteenth Connecticut Infantry, commanding regiment and Second Brigade, of engagements at Snicker's Ferry and Kernstown.
HDQRS. EIGHTEENTH REGIMENT CONNECTICUT VOLS.,
Snicker's Gap, July 19, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with orders from Colonel Thoburn, commanding Second Brigade, on the 18th instant the Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers crossed the Shenandoah River immediately in rear of the Second Eastern Shore Maryland Volunteers, and was formed on the right of our first line of battle. Our orders were to hold our front, but in case of an attack on our right flank to change front forward on first company. Soon after the Fourth Virginia Volunteers was formed on our right and the order to protect that flank was given to them. Our line had been formed about forty minutes when the rebels attacked our skirmishers in front and on the flanks, and moved several regiments over the hills on our right, two of which engaged us in front while five others moved rapidly to the right of our line of battle. The regimental commander on our right was about protecting his flanks by two companies of his regiment, when the enemy enfiladed and drove his command from the lot. My flank then being unprotected, I changed direction to the rear on tenth company to avoid being enfiladed. I could not then change front forward, because it would have thrown my command into the fire of our own troops, which had just been stationed behind the stone wall on our left. With the right of my line resting on a wall parallel to the river and the left on a wall forming right angles with the river, we continued to fight, and were evidently repulsing their charges without any great exertions and with as little loss as could be expected. Suddenly several large regiments on our left broke and dashed into the river, and the rebel fire became more concentrated each moment. At that time, seeing no colors in the open field except my own, I ordered the regiment to fall back behind the stone wall.
Here with the Second Eastern Shore Maryland Volunteers, Colonel Rodgers commanding, we made another stand. Seeing all other troops in sight rushing across the river without any attempt to rally, Colonel Rodgers and myself agreed that it was folly for us to remain alone. I gave the order for my soldiers to cross and rally on the crest of the opposite hill.
While fighting my officers and soldiers fought to my entire satisfaction, and did not leave the field until I ordered them to do so.
Hoping that our conduct may have met your approval, I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. G. ELY,
Colonel Eighteenth Connecticut Vols., Commanding Regiment
Lieutenant J. H. RIDER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Brigade, First Infty. Division.
P. S.--Inclosed please find an accurate list* of our casualties.
*Shows 7 killed, 25 wounded, 2 missing.