their positions until the left gave way. They were then posted on commanding ground 100 to 200 yards in rear, and aided by a small infantry force, held the enemy in check for more than an hour and until ammunition failed. Other guns were posted on the heights south of Cedar Creek to cover the withdrawal of the infantry and artillery from the field.
An important victory had thus been strangely reversed, but everything was brought safely across Cedar Creek. Night had come and no further danger was apprehended. But a more serious disaster now occurred. The artillery being on the march in column toward Hupp's Hill, a small body of the enemy's cavalry charged the train on the right flank and by their bugle blasts, cheers, horses' feet clattering, and pistol shots in the darkness, occasioned an incurable panic in the infantry, already seriously disorganized. The artillery officers and men appealed in vain for muskets, with which they would have stoutly and effectually defended their guns. They could not secure them, and the result was a large capture by the enemy, as elating to them as it was disgraceful to us. All the guns taken from the enemy in the morning and 23 of our own fell into their hands. "One hundred men in an organized state, with muskets," Colonel Carter thinks, "could have saved the train." As it was, the loss would not have been so great but for a very narrow passage south of Strasburg, between the river on one side and the bluff on the other, and had not the road been blocked with ordnance wagons, ambulances, and 1,400 prisoners, and the difficulty of proceeding been increased by the breaking of the bridge near Strasburg. This instance suggests the desirableness of having a certain proportion of artillerymen ever armed with carbines, at least when serving in campaigns like this of the Valley.
It is due to these admirable soldiers to state that on this occasion, as previously they behaved with exemplary fidelity. Officers and men did their whole duty, and throughout remained uninfluenced by the general panic.
After this misfortune the army retreated to New Market, in the neighborhood of which it remained with occasional advances and skirmishes with the enemy, in which the artillery slightly participated, until the last of November, when it withdrew to the neighborhood of Harrisonburg; and active operations having ceased for the season, the artillery subsequently went into winter quarters not far from Staunton.
In the whole of the eventful campaign of 1864 the artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia bore, it will be perceived, a distinguished part and in every portion of the widely extended field of operation rendered signal service. In common with other arms, in so great a contest against vastly preponderating numbers, it again and again suffered severely, having many valuable officers and men killed and wounded and horses destroyed, and in two or three unfortunate affairs an unusual number of guns captured, making our loss in guns considerable on the whole, though in several instances valuable captures were made from the enemy. But it has everywhere and at all times proved reliable, how great soever the emergency. In the wildest fury of battle, under ceaseless harassment and exposure from sharpshooters and shelling on the lines on the toilsome march, amid all the hardships of the trenches through summer, fall, and winter, and when steadily breasting the tide of reverse against friends unnerved or overpowered and foes flushed with triumph the brave officers and men of this branch of our army have almost without exception exemplified the very highest virtues of Christian soldiers battling for their faith, their honor, and their homes.
55 R R-VOL XLII, PT I