War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0525 Chapter LV. THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGN.

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First Division Cavalry, which was now pushing toward the bridge. The enemy had planted two pieces of artillery on a knoll on the south bank of Cedar Creek and attempted to defend the crossing. The rapid place at which my command had moved had necessarily extended by column, and upon reaching the vicinity of the creek I had but two regiments available-these were the First Vermont and Fifth New York; the remainder of the division was coming up at the gallop. With these two regiments, and hidden from the view of the enemy, I crossed Cedar Creek over a small ford about half a mile above the pike bridge. The enemy still continued to fire from the two guns near the pike until they discovered my crossing at the ford, when in great haste, the guns were limbered up and withdrawn. Hastily forming the First Vermont and Fifth New York under cover of the high bluff on the south side of the creek, I ordered both regiments to advance upon the ridge. In front was found a strong line of the enemy's infantry, the fire from which, being at short range, proved very destructive. The Fifth New York was moving on the left and near the pike, the First Vermont on a parallel line and to the right. As soon as the nature of the ground was favorable both regiments quickened the gait to a trot, and when within short pistol range of the enemy's line charge simultaneously upon his front and left flank. Hearing the charge sounded through our bugles the enemy only stood long enough to deliver one volley; then, casting away his arms, attempted to escape under cover of the darkness. This was the last attempt the enemy made to offer organized resistance. That which hitherto, on our part, had been a pursuit after broken and routed army now resolved itself into an exciting chase after a panic-stricken, uncontrollable mob. It was no longer a question to be decided by force of arms, by skill, or by courage; it was simply a question of speed between pursuers and pursued; prisoners were taken by hundreds, entire companies threw down their arms, and appeared glad when summoned to surrender.

From the general abandonment of material by the enemy it was evident that he would not again face his pursuers. The pike soon became, at short intervals, blockaded with wagons, forges, and ambulances, and when upward of one mile from the bridge the advance captured one piece of artillery, the first piece captured by our army on that day. Feeling assured that other and more important captures might be made by a rapid and energetic pursuit, and having detached the various members of my staff to assist in hurrying forward the rear portions of my command, I directed the First Vermont, Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett commanding, and the Fifth New York, Major Krom commanding, both under the control of Colonel Wells, commanding Second Brigade to continue the advance at a charge, while I halted at this point to receive and direct the other regiments of my division as they should arrive. Owing to the darkness and the necessary delay at the fords, the regiments which I was expecting failed to reach me in time to assistant or even overtake the two regiments, which were then far on their way to Strasburg. The result, however, proved that these two noble regiments were more than competent for the duty assigned them. Never, since the beginning of the war, has there been such favorable opportunities for a comparatively small body of troops to acquire distinction as was here presented. The darkness of the night was intense, and was only relieved here and there by the light of a burning wagon or ambulance, to which the affrightened enemy in his despair had applied the torch. This fact alone, while it disheartened the enemy, increased the ardor and zeal of our troops, who, encouraged by