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, my command consisting of Companies A, B, C, and D, Companies A and B forming the first squadron, commanded by Capt. William Litzenberg, of Company B; Companies C and D composing the second squadron, commanded by Capt. John P. Taylor, of Company C; Company A, of the first squadron, being commanded for the time being by First Lieut. William T. McEwen, of Company C (Captain Frow being absent sick and First Lieut. W. H. Patterson having been detached as aide to Brigadier-General Bayard during the early part of the engagement); Company B was commanded by Second Lieut. R. S. Lawsha, Captain Litzenberg being in command of the squadron and First Lieutenant Busby absent sick; Company C, of the second squadron, was commanded by Second Lieut. R. J. McNitt, Captain Taylor being in command of the squadron and Lieutenant McEwen detached in command of Company A, of the first squadron; Company D was commanded by Capt. H. A. McDonald, First Lieut. W. L. Holbrook, and Second Lieut. William F. Butcher until the former was severely wounded and the latter killed, when the command devolved entirely on Lieutenant Holbrook.
After getting in front of the point designated, and being in column of fours, I immediately formed squadron, my command being already under fire. I moved forward at a rapid gait until within 50 yards of the enemy’s lines, which I found in great force and three in number, when I gave the command, “Charge,” when, with loud and terrific cheering, my command charged through the enemy’s lines, cutting and running down and scattering them in every direction, causing sad havoc and discomfiture in their ranks (as a view of the field and prisoners taken testify.) After charging back and reforming, I found my command reduced from 164, rank and file, to that of 71, the remainder having been killed, wounded, or otherwise placed hors du combat by their horses falling over other killed or wounded, our little band thus proving themselves true sons of the old Keystone State.
When each and all, from the highest to the lowest, vie with each other in displaying unsurpassed gallantry, indomitable courage, and cool determination it would not only seem hard, but unjust, to discriminate by particularizing individuals; however, on the principle of rewarding merit wherever found, I cannot refrain from calling the colonel commanding’s favorable attention to Orderly Sergt. Hiram McClenahen, of Company C, and Private Henry Hendricks, of Company D, for their gallant and meritorious conduct throughout the engagement on the 9th instant, and especially in the charge made by the First Battalion, and I would respectfully but earnestly recommend their promotion at the first opportunity.
I would here take occasion to tender my sincere thanks to Lieut. C. L. Buffington, my adjutant, for his valuable assistance throughout the day and praiseworthy example in the charge. My warmest thanks are also due to Captains Taylor and Litzenberg for the able and gallant manner in which they handled their commands, the former having had his horse shot under him in the charge; and as company commanders the highest praise and commendation are also due Capt. Hugh A. McDonald, who was severely wounded, First Lieuts. William T. McEwen, W. L. Holbrook, and Second Lieuts. William F. Butcher, James R. Kelly, Robert J. McNitt, and R. S. Lawsha, for the brave and gallant manner in which they commanded and led their respective companies.
As for myself I have nothing to say further than that the only casualty I met with was having my horse shot under me in the charge, and if the officers and men of the battalion are half as well satisfied with the manner in which I performed my duty as I am with the manner in which they performed theirs we are all well pleased.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
R. I. FALLS,
Major, Comdg. First Bat. First Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry.
Col. Owen Jones,
Commanding First Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry.