War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0523 Chapter LV. THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

was received from the chief of cavalry to move all my command except three regiments to the extreme left of our army and in conjunction with the gallant First Division, arrest the farther progress of the enemy at that point, where he had succeeded in turning our flank and was then driving our line before him with every prospect of obtaining possession of the pike leading to Winchester. This division was formed in line of battle, with regiments in column of battalions, to the left of the pike and about three-quarters of a mile north of Middletown. Colonel Wells, commanding Second Brigade, had been left with three regiments on the right of our line to give notice of any approach of the enemy from that direction; also to keep a large force of the enemy's cavalry occupied which were maneuvering on our right flank. The First Division and a portion of the Second Division were formed to the left and in front of the position held by my command. I deployed one regiment as skirmishers and engaged the enemy to the left and rear of Middletown. Peirce's battery, being in a favorable position, became engaged with one of the enemy's batteries, and after a brisk cannonade on both sides compelled the enemy to shift his guns farther to the rear. While in position here my command was exposed to a very destructive fire from the enemy's artillery, the loss in horses being particularly heavy. I am confident that the services of the cavalry on the left flank at this period of the engagement cannot be overestimated. But for the cavalry the enemy would have penetrated to the rear of our army, which at that time was in no condition to receive an attack from any direction. This division was not generally engaged while on the left; the brunt of the fighting was borne by the First Division. About 11 a.m. I was directed to transfer my command again to the right flank and to "take charge of affairs on the right." Acting in obedience to these instructions, I soon had my command in position on the extreme right, and opened communication with Colonel Wells, who had become engaged with a division of the enemy's cavalry under Rosser. There being no connection between the left of the enemy's infantry and Rosser's division of cavalry, I succeeded in moving a portion of my command, the battery included, to a position almost in rear of and overlooking the ground upon which the enemy had massed his command. Being undiscovered, I caused my battery to open suddenly at short range at the same time charged with about three regiments. The effect was surprising and to none more so than to our enemies, who, being entirely off their guard, were thrown into the utmost confusion by this sudden and unexpected attack. Owing to the wide gap then existing between my left and the right of the Nineteenth Corps, with which I desired to connect, I could not follow up my advantage to the extent I otherwise should. The enemy retired in the direction of Cupp's Ford, near which point he formed his forces. This enabled me to contract my line and collect my command preparatory to further movements. As it then existed the general direction of my line of battle was parallel to Cedar Creek, my right resting near the old forge, my left near the ridge Middle road, and connecting with the right of the Nineteenth Corps. About this time a staff officer reached me from the major-general commanding the army informing me that preparations were nearly completed for a general attack along our entire line, and that I was to hold my division in readiness to participate in the attack about to be made. Governing my movements by those of the Nineteenth Corps, I gradually closed my lines to the left and began massing on the level plain in rear of the ridge which overlooks Cupp's Ford. Before this disposition was com-