No. 71. Reports of Major Lewis A. May, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of operations September 19-22 and October 19.
HEADQUARTERS 138TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
September 27, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: In compliance with orders received, I have the honor to report the following operations of this command in the engagements at the Opequon and Fisher's Hill:
At 2 a. m. 19th instant we broke camp at Clifton and marched to the Winchester turnpike, thence toward the Opequon, which we crossed shortly after daylight, and formed in line of battle within two miles and a half of Winchester. This regiment constituted a portion of the first line of the brigade, and when the advance was ordered moved promptly forward, in connection with the Sixth Maryland and Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania regiments, on our right and left. When the lines of the corps fell back after the first charge the order of battle was preserved as well as could be, although some confusion existed. The troops were rallied, and when the grand advance was made we moved forward under a terrible fire of artillery and musketry, driving the rebels before us, inflicting and suffering severe losses. We shared in the pursuit until darkness ensued, and bivouacked for the night in the outskirts of Winchester. During the engagement Colonel McClennan, commanding the regiment on foot, became exhausted from the effects of overexertion and a late sickness, and was compelled to relinquish the command to me, which I at once assumed. The behavior of both officers and men was highly creditable. Capts. J. S. Stuckey, James H. Walter, J. W. Fight, and Lieutenant J. P. Iredell fell severely wounded in the engagement while in the gallant and prompt performance of their duties. Our loss was-killed, 3; wounded, 4 officers and 37* men; missing, 3.
On the 20th the command marched to near Strasburg, and on the 21st this division moved to the extreme right, where after considerable skirmishing, a position was taken and fortified. On the 22nd instant, about noon, we moved from our works to the right and advanced up a gully or ravine toward the rebel left, where we lay in front of a strong earth-work until about 5 p. m., when a charge was ordered and made simultaneously with a movement by the Eighth Corps, which turned the enemy's left flank and resulted in his utter rout, the capture of artillery, prisoners, ammunition, small-arms, &c., and another glorious victory for Sheridan's army, with but trifling loss. Our regiment bore an honorable part in this battle. Its colors reached the rebel works third in order, and about seventy-fire prisoners were taken and accredited to it; many others, however, were passed by and fell into the hands of other troops, as the men were more anxious to follow up the pursuit of the flying enemy than to tarry with captures.
I can recommend the officers and men of the entire regiment engaged for general good conduct, but would not attempt to single out individual cases of bravery, for all participated with good will and determination.
Our losses at Fisher's Hill were 1 killed and 3 wounded.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LEWIS A. MAY,
Major, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant J. A. GUMP,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 2nd Brigadier, 3rd Div., 6th Army Corps.
*But see revised table, p. 113.