Family Program: Giants of the Forest

Families are welcome to a special outdoor program on Saturday, March 20 focused on the giants of our forest – massive oak trees that make their leafy neighbors look tiny!

We’ll learn about ways in which a tree’s age can be calculated, and measure several battlefield trees to estimate their age. We’ll talk about what these trees may have been witness to on the battlefield and what was happening in Culpeper County as the trees grew.

Participation numbers are limited and pre-registration is required so that social distancing can be maintained. Please email info@friendsofcedarmountain.org to reserve your family’s spot (and tree!).

Program date and time: March 20, 10:00 – 11:30 am.

Program meets at 9465 General Winder Road, Rapidan.

This program will be rescheduled to a later date in the event of inclement weather.

Introduction to the Union Reports.

Introduction to the Union Reports of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion for the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

      To further the mission of educating the public about the Battle of Cedar Mountain and to facilitate research of the August 9, 1862 battle, Friends of Cedar Mountain presents here a compilation of the Official Union Reports of the engagement as found in “The War Of The Rebellion:  A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XII, Part II (Serial No. 16).”

      Having access to the reports written in the days following the engagement will enhance the battlefield visitors’ experience, as you can now stand where (for example) Union General Samuel W. Crawford’s 3 regiments broke through the Confederate Left and destroyed the Confederate brigade of Thomas Garnett. The battlefield has changed little since 1862, and walking the ground gives visitors a clear understanding of the terrain.

      The following aggregate of the 26 Union reports are listed in the same order as they appear in the Official Records cited above.

Suggested Reading Order.

     To assist with an understanding of the flow of the battle, the following suggestions are offered as to reading order. (Please note that all the individual reports cover the battle from beginning to end so there will be overlap in the narratives.)

      Start with the high command, No. 1.,  Major-General John Pope’s report, to get his perspective of the action.  Though he could hear the cannonading at Culpeper, General Pope writes that he was not expecting a battle, and General Banks sent reports to him that no attack was expected, so Pope remained in Culpeper until the increased noise of the battle suggested to him otherwise. There is no report from Major-General Banks, commanding Union forces on the battlefield. The two Union divisions in the fight were commanded by Generals Augur and Williams.

      General Christopher C. Augur commanded the Union left and center. Read his report, No. 11, next. His two brigades were led by General John White Geary (center) and General Henry Prince (left). General Prince was captured during the fight and sent to prison in Richmond. He wrote his report in November after his prisoner exchange. None of the regiments of his brigade left a report. Because there are more reports connected with Geary’s command, it might be easier to read Prince, No. 19, first, and then dive into the several reports from Geary’s Brigade, Numbers 12 through 17. This includes Captain Joseph Knap’s artillery report of the Union batteries that replied to the Confederate artillery that opened the engagement. These reports provide battle details at the regimental level. Pay attention to the references to the 8th and 12th Battalion of U.S. Regulars that skirmished with Confederate artillery at the opening of the ground moves, because for all their impressive performance they did not have their report reproduced in this volume.  Among their number Private John L. Younker was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

     The story of the Union right is the story of the climax of the battle of Cedar Mountain for the Federals.  General Alpheus S. Williams commanded the right division which included two brigades, General Samuel W. Crawford’s and General George H. Gordon’s.  Read Williams’ report first for an overview, No. 7, then read Crawfords’s report, No. 8. Crawford’s comments barely conceal his seething anger at the destruction of the regiments in his unsupported brigade. The compilation of Union casualties,  Report No. 2,  given in table format, speaks volumes to this. Gordon’s Brigade, which was supposed to support Crawford’s attack, also took heavy casualties, but not half as much as Crawford’s men. General Gordon’s report was filed late, so it was placed in an Appendix.  I have placed it in proper sequence here but it is un-numbered.  Then, two of Gordon’s regiments have reports which follow Crawford’s in number; Col. George Andrews of the 2nd Massachusetts, No. 9, and Col. Silas Colgrove of the 27th Indiana, No. 10.

      A climactic cavalry charge by the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry ended the action for General Banks’ 2nd Army Corps.  Major Richard I. Falls left a brief account of the dramatic charge, in report No 4.  Since we are with the cavalry, report No. 3, Col. Samuel H. Allen, gives an account of the Union Cavalry skirmish line that was dispersed at the very commencement of the battle.

     The reading order of the remaining reports really doesn’t matter. Further interesting details can be gleaned from all of them. But in order of events, the troops of General James B. Ricketts’ Division arrived on the battlefield at night to shore up and hold the Union line where General Banks had been forced to retreat, reports 20 — 25. The report of Maj. Davis Tillson, No. 21, commanding Ricketts’ artillery, describes the late night artillery duel, including the brief exciting fight with Captain William J. Pegram’s battery that closed the action.   This leaves a smattering of reports to fill in the blanks.  There is a fascinating account of the signal men at Thoroughfare Mountain, No. 6 & 18;  the several reports of brigade commanders under Ricketts (22-25); and Brig. General Robert Milroy’s rather frenetic report of his Independent Brigade’s exploits on the days following the battle, No. 5.  

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Union Reports

  • No. 1. — Maj. General John Pope, U. S. Army, commanding Army of Virginia, with congratulatory orders.
  • No. 2. — Return of Casualties in the Union forces.
  • No. 3. — Col. Samuel H. Allen, First Maine Cavalry.
  • No. 4. — Maj. Richard I. Falls, First Pennsylvania Cavalry.
  • No. 5. — Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy, U. S. Army, commanding Independent Brigade, First Corps, of operations August 8—13.
  • No. 6. — Lieut. William W. Rowley, Twenty-eighth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, Second Corps.
  • No. 7. — Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, Second Corps.
  • No. 8. — Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • Un-numbered. — Brig. Gen. George H. Gordon, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
  • No. 9. — Col. George L. Andrews, Second Massachusetts Infantry, Third Brigade.
  • No. 10. — Col. Silas Colgrove, Twenty-seventh Indiana Infantry.
  • No. 11. — Brig. Gen. Christopher C. Augur, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division.
  • No. 12. — Brig. Gen. John W. Geary, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • No. 13. — Capt. Joseph M. Knap, Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery.
  • No. 14. — Col. John H. Patrick, Fifth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 15. — Col. William R. Creighton, Seventh Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 16. — Capt. Wilbur F Stevens, Twenty-ninth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 17. — Col. Charles Candy, Sixty-sixth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 18. — Lieut. Col. Hector Tyndale, Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of reconnaissance to Thoroughfare Mountain.
  • No. 19. — Brig. Gen. Henry Prince, U.S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
  • No. 20. — Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division, Third Corps.
  • No. 21. — Maj. Davis Tillson, Chief of Artillery, Second Division.
  • No. 22. — Brig. Gen. Abram Duryea, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • No. 23. — Brig. Gen. Zealous B. Tower, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
  • No. 24. — Brig. Gen. George L. Hartsuff, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
  • No. 25. — Samuel S. Carroll, Eighth Ohio Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.

No. 1. Maj. Gen. John Pope.

No. 1.

Reports of Maj. Gen. John Pope,  U.  S.  Army, commanding the Army of Virginia, with congratulatory orders.*

Headquarters Army of Virginia,      
Near Cedar Creek, August  10, 1862 —5.45 a.m.

     The enemy crossed the Rapidan day before yesterday, and yesterday advanced in heavy force against Culpeper.   Their advance under Ewell had a very severe engagement yesterday with Banks’ corps, in which the loss was heavy on both sides without decisive results. Continue reading “No. 1. Maj. Gen. John Pope.”

No. 3. Col. Samuel H. Allen.

No. 3.

Report of Col. Samuel  H.  Allen,  First Maine Cavalry.

Headquarters First Maine Cavalry,        
Near Cedar Mountain, Va., August   12, 1862.

       General:   In compliance with orders from headquarters I have the honor to report the following part taken by my regiment in the action of Saturday, the 9th instant:

      By your order the regiment was drawn up in line of battle at about 6 o’clock a.m., in the field, upon the left of the main road, just beyond a corn field, and facing very nearly the enemy’s center, distant from 1 to 1 ½ miles. Continue reading “No. 3. Col. Samuel H. Allen.”

No. 4. Maj. Richard I. Falls.

No. 4.

Report of Maj. Richard I. Falls, First Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Hdqrs. First Bat. First Pennsylvania Res. Cav.,        
In the Field, August  13, 1862.

       Sir:     According to your instructions I beg leave to offer the following report of charge made by the First Battalion of your regiment, under my immediate command, at the battle of Cedar Mountain on the 9th instant:

       At about 5 o’clock  p.m.  I was directed by Brigadier-General Bayard to charge through the enemy’s lines at a point where they were supposed to be forming for a charge on our batteries, Continue reading “No. 4. Maj. Richard I. Falls.”

No. 5. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy.

No. 5.

Report of Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy,  U. S. Army, commanding Independent Brigade, First Corps, of operations August 8-13.

Headquarters Independent Brigade,      
Near Fort Ethan Allen, Va., September 12, 1862.

      I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my command since the departure from Woodville, Va., on August 8, 1862:

      At 9 o’clock p.m. my brigade, taking the advance of the corps, started in the direction of Culpeper, arriving at the place about 5 next morning.   At 5 p.m. of same day received orders to march immediately in direction of Cedar Mountain, from which direction heavy firing had been heard all the afternoon. Continue reading “No. 5. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy.”

No. 6. Lieut. William W. Rowley.

No. 6.

Report of Lieut. William W. Rowley, Twenty-eighth New York Infantry,  Acting Signal Officer, Second Corps.

Hdqrs. Signal Camp, Second Corps, Army of Va.,      
  Fairfax,  August  16, 1862.

      Sir:   I have the honor to report that on Friday, the 8th day of August, 1862, the Second Corps, Army of Virginia, was encamped at Hazel River, 7 miles from Fairfax [Culpeper Court-House], on the Sperryville road.  At this time we held communication with Thoroughfare Mountain and Culpeper, General Pope being at the latter place.  About 1 p. m. a message was sent to General Banks through our lines from General Pope for him to start immediately with his command for Culpeper.   Continue reading “No. 6. Lieut. William W. Rowley.”

No. 7. Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams.

No. 7.

Report of Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, Second Corps.

Hdqrs. First Div., Second Corps, Army of Virginia,       
Near Cedar Run, Va., August  16, 1862.

      Major:   I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the division under my command in the action at this place on the 9th instant:

      My division, since the transfer of Geary’s brigade, is composed of the brigade commanded by Brigadier-General Crawford  (Twenty-eighth New York, Colonel Donnelly;  Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, Colonel Knipe;  Tenth Maine, Colonel Beal, and Fifth Connecticut, Colonel Chapman), and of the Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Gordon (Third Wisconsin, Colonel Ruger;  Second Massachusetts, Colonel Andrews, and Twenty-seventh Indiana, Colonel Colgrove). Continue reading “No. 7. Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams.”

No. 8. Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford.

No.  8.

Report of Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.

Hdqrs. First Brigade, First Division, Second Corps,        
Army of Virginia, August  14, 1862.

      Major:    I have the honor to submit the following report of the operation of the force under my command in the recent engagement with the rebel forces near Cedar Mountain, Va.: Continue reading “No. 8. Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford.”