War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0378 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

Search Civil War Official Records

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA,

Camp Harrisonburg, September 26, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the part taken by the First Brigade in that action of the 22nd instant.

The rebel breast-works extended across the valley from the Shenandoah led along the side of the mountain until a portion of it had passed beyond the enemy's works, then faced to the front and ordered to charge; the Second Division was on our right, Harris' brigade in the rear, forming the second line of our division. We charged down the mountain almost immediately, running upon a line of works which the enemy were evidently at work upon when we attacked. Passing on for about a quarter of a mile through the woods in the face of more or less opposition, we came out at the foot of an open slope. Upon the crest directly in front was a double line of strong earth-works filled with men. In the angle opposite my left was a rifle gun. The sight of all this, instead of checking the men, seemed to inspire them with new ardor. Every man yelled, if possible, louder than before, and each regiment strove to be the first in with its colors. Nothing could withstand the impetuosity of their charge. The cannon was fired at a less distance than 100 yards into the One hundred and sixteenth Ohio, but they rushed on without and instant's hesitation, capturing it in the very smoke of its discharge. The Thirty-fourth planted its flag first upon the parapet; the other colors were but a second behind. Many of the men first in were from the second line, having caught up with us on the run. We were now fairly behind the enemy's works. Just over the hill we found the caisson of the piece with all its six horses attached. Halting but for an instant to reform and gain breath, we pushed on for the next hill, from, which the enemy were already playing upon us with their artillery. From this point until we reached the railroad near the pike the fighting was mostly in the woods. The country was a succession of hills abrupt sides, and the valleys between of considerable depth. The enemy's line ran directly across these ridges. On each ridge was more or less artillery, which had full play at us as we advanced. I directed the One hundred and sixteenth and Thirty-fourth to keep along the left near the works, and followed myself the same course. The enemy formed along the crest of these ridges, and with musketry and artillery gave us a heavy fire as we came on - the advance would be stopped; the fire became rapid and heavy; more would come up, and the battle would stand still and increase for awhile, until the cheers and firing of the Second Division, which was upon our right, could be heard sweeping on behind the enemy's position. Our line would gather force as men constantly came up, and were directed to the critical point, and the enemy would soon give back to the next crest, to repeat the same effort with the same results. Upon all these eminences we found artillery hot and smoking, which the enemy could not get off. He saved very few of the pieces or caissons, which were behind the works in the woods. I saw and touched four brass and more than as many iron guns before any, except the men of this corps, had reached them, As we mounted the last ridge before reaching the railroad, the Sixth Corps were coming in, and at this point we had a sharp contest. It was soon over, however, but not before some of the advance of the Second Division had appeared upon the right near the railroad. Crossing the railroad, we advanced up the right side of the pike, in conjunction with the Sixth.