No. 42. Report of Brigadier General Daniel D. Bidwell, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade, of operations September 19-22.
HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,
September 28, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders from division headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade, Second Division, Sixth Corps, in the battle at the Opequon Creek on the 19th instant:
We broke camp at 2 a.m. on the morning of the 19th and moved to the Berryville and Winchester pike, where we had the advance of the infantry column of the army. Crossing the Opequon River, and having proceeded about one mile and a half toward Winchester, we came up to the cavalry line, engaging the enemy, and were ordered to take position on the left of a deep ravine and also form the extreme left of the general line. This position was taken up by the regiments in this brigade in the following order: The One hundred and twenty-second New York Volunteers were moved into a rail breast-work the cavalry had thrown up, and the Seventy-seventh New York Volunteers were placed fifty paces in rear, in support; the Forty-third New York Volunteers were placed on the left, in rear of the One hundred and twenty-second New York Volunteers, in echelon, the Forty-ninth New York Volunteers on their left, with their left refused, and the Seventh Maine on the left of the Forty-ninth New York Volunteers, with its left still more refused and resting on Abraham's Creek, and the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers in reserve, in rear of the last three mentioned regiments. While making the dispositions the enemy opened on the brigade with a battery, which did us considerable injury. As soon as the brigade was in position a skirmish line was thrown out crossing Abraham's Creek and connecting with a dismounted cavalry skirmish line. About noon I was ordered to have my skirmish line advance, connecting and guiding with the line of the First Brigade of this division, which was on our right. This was done and our line advanced about 300 yards. Shortly afterward the lines of battle were all ordered to advance, we guiding to the right. In executing this movement the regiments on the left of the One hundred and twenty-second New York Volunteers were moved so much more rapidly as to be able to conform to the direction of the general line when we had reached the most advanced point gained in this charge. The enemy making a charge on the skirmish line on the left of the creek, which charge also threatened our left, I had the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers moved to protect that flank, and some of the regiments of the brigade on our right having been thrown into confusion by advancing too rapidly and the enemy charging them, I had the Seventy-seventh New York Volunteers deployed on the right of my line, and at the same time ordered Battery M, Fifth U. S. Artillery, to take position on my right, which, opening fire, checked the advance of the enemy. In this position we remained about two hours, when we were again ordered to advance. The enemy had been pressed back on the right of our general line and retreated across our front to our left. As before, I was ordered to guide and connect with the First Brigade of this division, which in advancing kept obliquing to the right, and as the enemy were accumulating in large numbers in a piece of woods on our left, I had to throw the Forty-third New York Volunteers in the skirmish line, who extended their inter-