No. 65. Report of Major James W. Snyder, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, of operations October 19.
HEADQUARTERS NINTH NEW YORK ARTILLERY,
October 26, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report the following operations of the Ninth New York Artillery in the battle of Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864:
Our regiment was aroused at daylight by musketry on the extreme left of our line and in front of the Eighth Corps. I immediately ordered the men under arms. Lieutenant Wiley, of Colonel Keifer's staff, commanding Second Brigade, rode up and ordered the regiment into line. We formed line in front of our camp, stacked arms, struck tents, and slung knapsacks. The sick were sent to the rear, and, as the sailor would say, the "decks were cleared for action." We immediately moved off by the right flank by file right, forming a line perpendicular to the first line, and faced to the rear. At this time Colonel Keifer, commanding brigade, succeeded to the command of the Third Division, General Ricketts being wounded, and Colonel Ball took command of the brigade. I was then ordered to move the regiment by the left flank to the ground in front of our camp, and after halting a few minutes I was ordered to countermarch by the left flank, and moved out and and formed a line parallel and some 150 yards to the right and rear of our first line. From this position we opened fire and held in check the rebels who were advancing upon the knoll near our camp. At this time we were ont he right of the brigade, with no connection on our right, and after a few volleys we were ordered to fall back and take a position on a knoll some 200 yards to the rear of this line. Here we again opened fire upon the enemy, whose colors could be distinctly seen between us and our camp, as they advanced. At this point their fire was very severe, but we returned compliment for compliment in the shape of leaden bullets. The ground was literally covered with our killed and wounded, but we contested the ground inch by inch until an aide from the brigade commander ordered us to fall back below the crest of the hill, which we did in good order. At this movement General Wright, commanding the army in the absence of General Sheridan, rode up and ordered me to advance and hold the crest. The command "forward" was given. The men responded with a cheer, and advanced with enthusiasm, under galling fire in front and upon our flanks. The balance of the brigade having fallen back, and there being no connection on our right, our flank was left exposed to a severe cross-fire from the rebel columns, which had got almost in our rear.
Captain Dudrow, on the brigade staff, rode up again and ordered me to fall back. I pointed him to General Wright, saying, "The general has ordered me to hold this crest, and I shall obey his orders." Our fire, in the meantime, being delivered with so much spirit, had checked the advance of the rebels, and gave the troops in our rear a chance to form a line. The line being formed we were ordered to fall back, and marching by the rear rank at a left oblique we joined the First Division on our right. We then halted, faced to the front in a road or lane, and immediately moved by the left flank into a piece of woods about half a mile to the left. There we halted, faced to the front, and sent forward about seventy men as skirmishers under command of Lieutenants Flynn and Parrish. Again, under orders, we fell back and marched by