Report of Col. Alexander G. Taliaferro, Twenty-third Virginia Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
Hdqrs. Third Brigade, Army Valley [District],
McGruder’s Farm, Orange County, Va., August 14, 1862.
General: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part sustained by the Third Brigade, First Division, Army Valley [District] in the battle of Cedar Creek on the 9th instant:
This brigade was under your immediate command until about 4 p.m., when I was notified of the death of General Winder, commanding the First Division, and that you had assumed its command. The command of this brigade thereupon devolved upon me as the senior officer, and my report is confined to the conduct of the brigade subsequent to my assumption of its command. The brigade at that time occupied a position on the left of General Early’s brigade and on the right of the Second Brigade, of this division, under Lieutenant-Colonel Garnett, the First Brigade, under Colonel Ronald, being in rear as a support to the Third. The brigade was then exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s artillery, which it sustained with great firmness, officers and men alike displaying the coolness of veterans. Soon after the order to advance was given, which was obeyed with alacrity under a galling fire from the enemy’s batteries, firing over the heads of their infantry. As soon as this brigade arrived within musket-shot of the enemy it commenced firing, and continued a destructive fire until it was discovered that the enemy in strong force had turned the left flank of the Second Brigade, exposing it to a fire so destructive that it was compelled to give way in some disorder. This left the regiments on the left of this brigade exposed to the fire of the enemy in front and also on its left flank. Under this fire, and the example of the Second Brigade, the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Alabama Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Colonels Jackson and Sheffield for the first time under fire ), gave way and fell back some distance, but were promptly rallied by their officers. A part of the Thirty-seventh Virginia, commanded by Colonel Williams, was also thrown into confusion, and the whole compelled to fall back. The Tenth (Major Stover) and Twenty-third Virginia (Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis) likewise fell back under my orders. The whole brigade was speedily reformed, and, supported cordially by the First Brigade, which promptly advanced on its left, again advanced and charged the enemy. The enemy soon broke and fled in great disorder. We pursued them until darkness interposed, and we were ordered to a position in advance of the battle-field, where we slept on our arms.
In the pursuit this brigade captured a number of prisoners, among them Brigadier-General Prince, who was brought in by Private John M. Booker, Company I, Twenty-third Virginia Regiment. He brought him to me, but as General Taliaferro was near, who was of superior rank, I ordered him to be taken to him, and to him he promptly surrendered.
Just at the time the enemy broke, their cavalry charged us, but were received by a galling fire from this brigade. They broke and were fired upon also by the First and Second and General Branch’s brigades, which had come up on our left, and fled with great precipitation and loss.
I have to regret the loss of many brave and good officers and men. It will be hard to supply their places; but they fell on the field of honor in defense of their homes, their people, their liberty, and all that makes life dear to man, and a grateful country and posterity will award the their meed of praise.
Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, commending Twenty-third regiment Virginia Volunteers, fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading his regiment into action. He came to the regiment in September, 1861, from Brooke County, Virginia, a private, and a refugee from the tyrants of the Northwest, and in the reorganization he was called to the position he so gallantly filled, a fit testimonial by the officers to his gallantry and good conduct. He has fallen far from his home and friends, but will long be remembered by all associated with him in the cause of liberty.
Colonel Williams, of the Thirty-seventh Virginia Regiment, was slightly, and Colonel Sheffield, of the Forty-eighth Alabama Regiment, was painfully, wounded. Both these officers behaved with great gallantry.
All the officers and men of this brigade behaved well, and I beg leave to thank them for their gallant and good conduct, manifested under the most trying circumstances.
For the details of the killed and wounded I beg leave to refer you to the reports of regimental commanders, herewith returned, and which sum up as follows:
|10th Regiment Virginia Volunteers||6||37|
|23d Regiment Virginia Volunteers||5||27|
|37th Regiment Virginia Volunteers||13||64|
|47th Regiment Alabama Volunteers||12||85|
|48th Regiment Alabama Volunteers||15||58|
All of which is most respectfully submitted.
ALEX. G. TALIAFERRO,
Colonel, Comdg. Third Brigade, Army Valley [District].
Brig. Gen. W. B. Talliaferro,
Commanding First Division, Army Valley [District].