Report of Brig. Gen. John W. Geary, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
_____, __, 1862.
General: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade, Second Division, Second Corps, Army of Virginia, in the action at Cedar Creek, on Saturday, August 9:
At about 8 a. m. August 9 the brigade took up the line of march from camp, agreeably to your order, taking the road toward Orange Court-House. The extreme heat of the day caused many cases of sun-stroke, and the scarcity of water immense suffering among the men — in fact, after a march of 5 or 6 miles the road on each side was full of men, who had been compelled to fall out from sheer exhaustion, and many cases of sunstroke terminated fatally.
At the distance of about 5 miles from Culpeper Court-House I received orders from Major-General Banks to detach the Twenty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with orders to proceed immediately to retake and hold at all hazards Telegraph Hill [Thoroughfare Mountain], a position which had ben occupied by our signal corps, and from which they had been reported to have been driven by a regiment of rebel cavalry that morning. Pursuant to the order, I dispatched the regiment, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tyndale, with Lieutenant Harvey as guide, detailed by order of General Banks himself. The remainder of the brigade, consisting of the Fifth, Sixty-sixth, Seventh, and Twenty-ninth Ohio Regiments, and one section of Knap’s battery, under command of Lieutenant Geary, and one company of First West Virginia Cavalry, under command of Captain Kerr, proceeded on a distance of about 2 miles, where we found the advance troops taking position in line of battle near and beyond Cedar Creek. I immediately put my brigade in line, the right resting about 100 yards in rear of and opposite Best’s battery, and extending almost directly south. One section of Knap’s battery occupied a position in line with Best’s battery and in front of our extreme left; cavalry in position as escort. This position was taken about 2 p. m.
Firing was commenced in a very short time by the rebel batteries and answered immediately by the center battery first, and then by the section of Knap’s on our left, commanded by Lieutenant Geary. These two guns seemed to get the range of the rebel batteries first, and did excellent work, dropping their shells right into the batteries at almost every fire. We remained in this position until about 3.30 p. m., when we changed position by the right flank to support the right center battery, forming in two lines, the advance consisting of the Seventh Ohio on the right and the Sixty-sixth Ohio on the left. In rear was the Twenty-ninth Ohio supporting the Seventh, and the Fifth Ohio supporting the Sixty-sixth. We remain in this position about one hour, when we received orders to advance. We moved forward about 200 yards and we were ordered to halt and await further orders. While here we were exposed to a terrible cross-fire from the enemy’s batteries and lost several men killed and wounded. We remained in this position about one hour, and were ordered forward to support a line of skirmishers thrown out by the Twelfth U. S. Infantry, who were falling back under a galling fire of the enemy, then advancing in force. We sere soon in range of their infantry and became hotly engaged. The Seventh and Sixty-sixth Ohio, under the destructive fire of at least five times their number, were being terribly cut up, but retained their ground, closing up their decimated ranks, and still pressing toward the enemy. Seeing their condition I ordered the Fifth and Twenty-ninth Ohio to their support. They promptly answered the command, the Twenty-ninth passing immediately to the support of the Seventh and the Fifth passing to the left of the Sixty-sixth.
At this period a ball struck me on the ankle, and almost at the same instant a ball passed through my left arm. I was compelled to leave the field, and the command of the brigade devolved on Col. Charles Candy.
JNO. W. GEARY.
Comdg. Second Division, Second Corps, Army of Virginia.