Report of Maj. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill, C. S. Army, commanding Light Division.
Headquarters Light Division,
Camp Gregg, March 8, 1863.
Colonel: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Light Division, under my command, at the battle of Cedar Run:
On the night of August 7, 1862, my division, to which had been added the Louisiana Brigade, of Colonel Stafford, encamped around Orange Court-House. That night orders were received by me from Major-General Jackson to move at dawn in the morning, and in the following order, viz: Ewell’s, Hill’s, and Jackson’s divisions. At the appointed time I was ready, with the head of my leading brigade resting near the street down which I understood Ewell was to pass, and ready to take my appointed place in the column of march. A little after sunrise a division commenced passing, which I supposed to be Ewell’s. One or two brigades having passed, I then recognized it to be Jackson’s, and learned that Ewell had taken another route, by Liberty Mills. Of this no intimation had been given me. Not desiring to separate the brigades of this division, I awaited its passing and fell in in rear of it. Jackson’s division was followed by quite a train of wagons, and such I understood to be General Jackson’s order, and nothing had been said about the trains in the order of march. My column progressed so slowly that I rode on to the river to see the cause of the delay. I there found that a portion of Jackson’s division had not crossed, and all were delayed by the passing of Ewell’s troops and trains, his road joining ours at this point. I sent word to General Jackson that the trains were delaying the march of the troops very much, and to know if it was his order that the trains were to follow in rear of each division.
Between 4 and 5 o’clock — the wagons of Ewell still passing and a portion of Jackson’s division still not having crossed the river — I received an order from General Jackson to go back to Orange Court-House and encamp for the night. The head of my column having only made about a mile, I bivouacked the brigades where they were.
That night I sent a note to General Jackson, at Garnett’s house, that it would be impossible for me to get along the next day with my artillery unless the road was cleared of the trains; that, familiar with the country, if he would permit, I could take my division by a short road by the ford at Holliday’s Mill and join him at any point he might designate. The reply I received was that the trains had been ordered from the road, and to move immediately by the route first designated, as it was his intention to be in Culpeper Court-House that night. Moving before daylight, Lawton’s, Taliaferro’s, and other brigades were overhauled just as they were in motion. The enemy’s cavalry having made some demonstrations on our left, Gregg was ordered to remain at the ford and protect the crossing of the trains and as a guard on the march. My order of march was Thomas, Branch, Archer, Pender, Stafford, and Field. Arriving within about 6 miles of Culpeper Court-House, the heavy firing in front gave notice that the battle had commenced. I was directed by General Jackson to send a brigade to the support of Taliaferro, who was in line of battle on the right of the main road. Thomas was sent on this duty, and formed his line immediately in rear of Taliaferro. Lieutenant-Colonel Walker placed Pegram’s and Fleet’s batteries in eligible positions in front of Early’s brigade (on Taliaferro’s right). Branch, Archer, and Pender as they came up were successively formed on the left of the road. Winder’s brigade, immediately in front of Branch, being hard pressed, broke, and many fugitives came back. Without waiting for the formation of the entire line, Branch was immediately ordered forward, and passing through the broken brigade received the enemy’s fire, promptly returned it, checked the pursuit, and in turn drove them back and relieved Taliaferro’s flank. The enemy, driven across an open field, had rallied in a wood skating it. Branch was engaging when Archer came up, and with Pender on the left. The enemy were charged across this field, the brigade of Archer being subjected to a very heavy fire. General Thomas, on the right, had been ordered by General Jackson to the right and support Early’s brigade. Quite a large portion of both Early’s and Taliaferro’s brigades had been thrown into confusion, some of the regiments standing firm — the Thirteenth Virginia, Twenty-first Virginia, and Twelfth Georgia. Thomas formed his line of battle along a fence bordering a corn field, through which the enemy were advancing. After a short contest here the enemy were hurled back. Pegram’s and Fleet’s batteries (the latter under command of Lieutenant Hardy) did heavy execution this day, and drove back several attempts to capture their guns. The Fourteenth Georgia, under the gallant Colonel Folsom, having become separated from the rest of the brigade by our fugitives, charged the advancing enemy and with brilliant success. The enemy had now been driven from every part of the field, but made an attempt to retrieve his fortunes by a cavalry charge. Their squadrons, advancing across an open field in front of Branch, exposed their flank to him, and, encountering a deadly fire from the Fourteenth Georgia and Thirteenth Virginia, had many saddles emptied and fled in utter disorder. Much credit is due Thomas’ brigade for the admirable manner in which they acted under very discouraging circumstances.
It was now dark and the field had been won. I was directed to follow the enemy. Colonel Stafford and General Field being now up, Stafford’s brigade was put in advance, and Field, with Pegram’s battery, next. The woods in our front having first been shelled for some minutes by all my batteries, Stafford advanced, feeling his way cautiously, skirmishing, and taking prisoners. Passing through the woods he came upon the enemy in force. By direction of General Jackson Pegram occupied a little knoll upon the margin of the field and opened fire. Field was thrown into line along the edge of the woods bordering the field and a little in rear of Pegram. Very soon a concentric fire from three batteries, at short range, was opened on Pegram, and his loss in men and horses was so great that he was soon silenced. No further attempt was made to advance.
My brigades bivouacked upon the ground won, and next day were withdrawn a short distance back and the dead buried.
Maj. J. G. Field and Capt. F. T. Hill, of my staff, were wounded, the former severely.
My loss is as follows:
A. P. HILL,
Lieut. Col. C. J. Faulkner,
Hdqrs. Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia,
March 19, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. The reason assigned by General Hill for his division not being next to Ewell’s on the day preceding the battle of Cedar Run renders it proper that the facts of the case should be stated. For the purpose of attacking the enemy at or near Culpeper Court-House I directed Generals Ewell and Hill to leave their encampments on the 7th, and at dawn on the following morning to resume the march and move via Barnett’s Ford. The positions of the two divisions were such that I did not require General Hill’s division to follow General Ewell’s on the 7th, but I did expect it to do so on the 8th, and such would have been the case had General Hill carried out the instructions which I gave him before he left his encampment on the 7th — to move at dawn on the morning of the 8th. Ewell moved early in the morning, and though he did not cross at Barnett’s Ford, yet he passed near that point in coming into the road upon which the troops were to move. I passed the night probably three-quarters of a mile from the center of the village of Orange Court-House. After sunrise next morning I observed some of General Hill’s troops still where they had bivouacked, and such was my concern at their not having moved that I ordered my horse and rode to Orange Court-House, where I found General Hill, but did not see any of his troops with him. I spoke to him about his not having moved, and understood him to say that he was waiting for Jackson’s division to pass. The sun was then probably over an hour high. The advance of Jackson’s division had reached the town and halted. Desiring to avoid delay, I directed my acting assistant adjutant-general, Maj. E F. Paxton, to order Jackson’s division forward. Upon reaching Barnett’s Ford, on the Rapidan, I found Ewell’s division moving by there. Had General Hill moved at dawn I could, had I deemed it necessary, have halted Ewell’s train before it reached the road upon which General Hill was to move, and thus have brought the division of General Hill immediately in rear of that of General Ewell. As General Hill says that he was to move at dawn and follow Ewell, he should have expected Ewell to be in font and not in rear of him at that time. If he believed that the division for which he was waiting to pass was Ewell’s, he could easily have sent some one and ascertained the fact. But though the better part of two hours had elapsed since the time fixed for marching, yet it does not appear that he had taken any steps to ascertain, but appears to have taken it for granted that the division which should have been in advance of him was in rear. No order was sent by me to General Hill to go back to Orange Court-House and encamp for the night. On the contrary, I sent a verbal order to him by my chief of artillery, Colonel Crutchfield, urging him forward, and also sent a written order to the same effect by a courier.
T. J. JACKSON,