by the right flank and close up on the Nineteenth Corps, whose left was about 100 yards from my right. While this order was being communicated to the brigade and regimental commanders, the brigade on my left was observed to be broken or falling back, and a large number of fugitives, either from the First Division (Colonel Thoburn), or from the brigade of the Nineteenth Corps, in the woods on our right, came pouring past and through the right of my line; at the same time the rebel fire opened on us in front and on both flanks. The line began to fall back, many supposing, as is said, that the order was to that effect. Every effort was made by all the officers, whom I had an opportunity to notice, to prevent confusion and a retreat. In every regiment a considerable number of men continued to contest the advance of the enemy with determination, and succeeded in delaying them until time enough was given to get off all trains and property from our own camp and from the camps immediately on our right and at army headquarters. The main body of the division fell back, until they reached a ridge where a part of the Sixth Corps had begun to form. I directed my command to form on the left of this line and succeeded in firmly establishing a considerable part of them as directed. Afterward a part of the Sixth Corps, under General Getty, formed on our left, thus forming a line facing up the valley about a mile and a half north of Middletown, with the left resting near the Valley pike. We remained here under orders until about 3 p.m., when an officer of the Sixth Corps informed me that their lines, both on my right and left, were about to advance, and that a general advance of the whole line had been ordered. I told him that I had received no orders to advance,s but that in the absence of orders I should advance with the rest of the line. About five minutes afterward, and before any order to advance had been given, I received orders from Brevet Major-General Crook to move my command to the left of the Valley pike and to join the First Division, which was there formed. The order was obeyed, and the division remained in the position taken until ordered forward on the left of the Valley pike, when we rapidly marched as far as Cedar Creek, from which point, at about dusk, we were ordered into camp, and occupied the same ground we had left in the morning.
The loss in the division is as follows: First Brigade-killed, 23; wounded, 102; total, 86. Total-killed, 26; wounded, 154; missing, 31. Aggregate, 211.*
Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel James R. Hall, Thirteenth West Virginia Volunteers, who had not yet recovered from wounds received in a previous battle, and might well have been excused from returning to duty for many weeks; but with a noble heroism and devotion to duty characteristic of the man he would not be absent when a battle was in prospect. He was hit by two balls, either of which would have killed him, early in the action, in the extreme front, where the danger was greatest. No braver or turner man fell on that day.
Inclosed find copies of brigade commanders' reports.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. B. HAYES,
Captain WILLIAM McKINLEY, Jr.,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
*But see revised table, p. 135.