No. 29. Col. Stapleton Crutchfield.

No. 29.

Report of Col. S. Crutchfield, C. S. Army, Chief of Artillery.

Headquarters Artillery Second Corps,       
March 14, 1863.

     Colonel:   I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the artillery of this army corps in the battle of Cedar Run of August 9, 1862:

     The road on which we advanced debouched from a piece of woods upon the immediate battle-field, which was open and somewhat broken, a brook running across it and the prolongation of the road, and making a small angle with our general line of battle.  The advance of our troops was the division of Brig. Gen. C. S. Winder, and its artillery became first engaged.  The enemy’s batteries occupied rising ground to the right and beyond the mouth of the road, while his infantry extended from these batteries toward our left.  About 2 p.m. a gun placed at the mouth of the road by Maj. R. S. Andrews, commanding the artillery of General Winder’s division, opened on the enemy (his cavalry skirmishers and outposts had been previously driven in by Brigadier-General Early’s brigade, which was just to the right of this point).   The reply was immediate, and from this time the enemy kept up a sharp fire at this point as one near which our troops and batteries must pass in taking position.   I found that to the right and front some 250 yards were rises in ground favorable for positions for artillery.  I therefore directed Major Andrews to move forward his rifled guns to these points.  He moved out four rifled and one 12 pounder Napoleon; the latter and two rifles were from Captain Poague’s battery, and the others from those of Captains Caskie and Carpenter.  Their fire was directed against the enemy’s batteries in order to protect the deployment of our infantry.  They were excellently served, and so completely occupied the enemy’s guns, about twelve in number, I think, that Major Andrews proposed to move one or two smooth-bore batteries farther down the road, and endeavor to enfilade the enemy’s position.  In trying to do this he was wounded, and the complexion of affairs just after prevented its subsequent execution.

     Meanwhile the battery of Captain Latimer, which had moved with Major-General Ewell’s division, had opened on the enemy from a position at the base of Slaughter Mountain far to our right, while the batteries of Captains Brown and Dement (the two comprising six guns) had position between the battery of Captain Latimer and those of Major Andrews.  These two batteries were capitally served, and evidently damaged the enemy severely. Thus far the fight had been between the opposing artillery exclusively.  At this time the enemy’s infantry advanced in line of battle — that is, a regiment of them — through a corn field just beyond the brook and in front of Major Andrew’s guns.  Unable apparently to cross in this formation, they formed column of companies for this purpose.  Just then Major Andrews turned his guns upon them (for it was before he had been wounded), and opening with canister soon broke them.  At this time Lieut. Col. R. L. Walker coming up with the artillery of Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill’s division, I directed him to place four rifled guns on the rising ground to Major Andrews’ right.  He placed them by sections — two from Captain Pegram’s battery and two from Captain Fleet’s, the latter under command of Lieutenant Hardy.  These guns were now formed en échelon, Captain Pegram being in advance and to the right, next to him Lieutenant Hardy, while the guns from General Winder’s division were farther to the left and something in advance of Lieutenant Hardy, giving an oblique fire across their front.  At this moment the enemy’s infantry advanced again in general line across the corn field, and Lieutenant-Colonel Walker’s guns were turned on them exclusively.  In a short time our infantry on the left of the road was apparently thrown into confusion and gave way.  The enemy advancing, the rear of the guns of General Winder’s division was exposed, and they were withdrawn by General Jackson’s order.  At the same time the enemy made a feeble effort to advance through and from the corn field, but a well-directed fire of canister from the guns of Captain Pegram and [Lieutenant] Hardy, supported by, I believe, the Thirteenth Virginia Regiment, Col. J. A. Walker, checked them, though their skirmishers got quite near under cover of the accidents of the ground.  The temporary confusion on the left was soon overcome, and in a short time the enemy gave way, and our whole line advancing, the artillery moved along the road, unable to cross the brook in front through the fields.  The pursuit continued until, having crossed the second brook, we came upon a large body of woods.   It being deemed advisable to shell these before advancing farther, the batteries of Captains Pegram, Fleet, Braxton, and Latham were placed in position under Lieutenant-Colonel Walker some 80 or 100 yards distant, and a heavy fire opened in various directions.  After a short time Captain Pegram’s battery was ordered forward with an infantry brigade through these woods about a  quarter of a mile.  It took position just beyond and opened upon what was thought and proved to be the enemy’s camp.  A battery was soon opened in reply, and a heavy cannonade was the consequence for some time, causing Captain Pegram severe loss.  His battery, however, retained its position until next morning, when it was withdrawn.  We lost no pieces or caissons, but had two guns dismounted by the enemy’s fire.  We captured one 12-pounder Napoleon (spiked) and carriage and caisson, with two other caissons and a limber, all of which were brought off. The gun and caisson were sent to Richmond, one caisson exchanged into Captain Poague’s battery, and the other caisson and limber also sent to Richmond.

     It is due that I should call especial attention to the gallantry displayed by Maj. R. S. Andrews in this action.  He was severely wounded, and in our withdrawal fell a prisoner into the hands of the enemy.  Capt. J. Carpenter, a most excellent officer, received a wound (from which he has since died) while fearlessly exposing himself in looking out a position for his battery.

     I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. CRUTCHFIELD,         
Colonel and Chief of Artillery, Second Corps.

     Lieut. Col. C. J. Faulkner,
                  Assistant Adjutant-General.