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.:
At noon on Friday, the 8th instant, while encamped with my command at Culpeper Court-House, I received an order from the major-general commanding the Army of Virginia to proceed immediately to the support of Brigadier-General Bayard, whose small force was retiring before the enemy. My command consisted of four regiments of infantry ( the Twenty-eighth New York, Colonel Donnelly; the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, Colonel Knipe; the Tenth Maine, Colonel Beal, and the Fifth Connecticut, Colonel Chapman), together with Roemer’s battery of six 3-inch rifled guns, and two sections of Knap’s battery of 10-pounder Parrotts.
My brigade was soon under arms and on the march, and passing through Culpeper took the road leading toward Orange Court-House. By 4 o’clock in the afternoon I came up with General Bayard’s force between Colvin’s Tavern and a small stream, known as Cedar Run, and which crosses the road in advance of a belt of woods running east and west. Passing to the front I discovered the enemy’s pickets, and beyond, on the road to Crooked River, a portion of his cavalry.
Selecting, with the assistance of Major Houston, U.S. Engineers, of General McDowell’s staff, a suitable position, I brought up my artillery, drawing up the infantry regiments in close supporting distance on the low ground of the run, completely concealed from the view of the enemy. Knap’s battery, with two pieces from Roemer, was supported on the left by the Tenth Maine and the Fifth Connecticut Regiments, while the Twenty-eighth New York and Forty-sixth Pennsylvania supported Roemer’s remaining guns on the right. The cavalry were ordered to the front and flank to watch the enemy. Strong pickets were thrown out within a short distance of the of the enemy, and the command bivouacked for the night.
Early next morning General Bayard reported to me that the enemy were advancing. The command were immediately under arms. It proved, however, to be a maneuver upon the part of the enemy toward our left flank. His cavalry were moving in the direction of a range of elevated hills on our left, known as Cedar Mountain. The movement was intended to conceal the passage of three pieces of artillery, which he succeeded in placing in position at the foot of the slope. Our cavalry were drawn up in our front across our position.
At 11 o’clock the enemy, being established upon the slope of Cedar Mountain at the skirt of the timber near the base on our left, opened fire upon our cavalry. Several shots were fired, when another battery opened a short distance in the rear. I directed Captain Knap to reply, which he did so effectually, that at the third shell from his guns the enemy’s battery ceased to fire and shortly afterward withdrew.
An order now reached me from the major-general commanding the Army of Virginia directing me to resist the advance of the enemy, and that General Banks was advancing to my support. Lieutenant Muhlenberg, of Fourth U. S. Artillery, with Battery F of that regiment, now arrived upon the field, and was assigned position upon the right and left. The artillery fire was kept up occasionally at long range for some time, when at 12 o’clock Brigadier-General Williams arrived on the field with Gordon’s brigade, of his division. Between 1 and 2 o’clock Major-General Banks arrived upon the field with the division of Augur and assumed command.
I reported to General Williams my position, and soon after received an order to move my entire brigade upon the right of the road, that position having been assigned to Williams’ division. The brigade of Brigadier-General Gordon was directed to occupy my right. Upon receiving the order I directed the Tenth Maine and Fifth Connecticut Regiments, who were supporting Knap’s battery, to move by the flank across the road to the right of the other regiments of the brigade, supporting Muhlenberg’s and Roemer’s batteries. The movement had not been accomplished when an order was received to deploy one of my regiments on the right as skirmishers into a thick woods directly in advance of our right wing. The Tenth Maine Regiment was halted to support the center. Roemer’s battery was advanced to a position on the left of the road. The Fifth Connecticut Regiment had passed to the right, and with the Twenty-eighth New York and Forty-sixth Pennsylvania had advanced into the woods.
The enemy at this moment opened with all his batteries, one of which he had established in an open field on our left. We had thrown forward our center, and had advanced a regiment of infantry, which, deployed as skirmishers, were lying upon the ground and supporting the battery in the field on the right of his position. Just at this period I received an order from the major-general commanding the corps to advance my brigade through the woods and prepare to move upon the left flank of the enemy, and that the movement would be supported by the brigade under Brigadier-General Gordon.
In passing to the right I received from Brigadier-General Williams, commanding the division, additional instructions in regard to this movement, and passing forward I formed my regiments into line of battle directly opposite to the enemy’s left. A thick belt of woods skirted an open wheat stubble field on three sides; a road running across formed the fourth. To the right a thick undergrowth of scrub oaks and bushes covered the space. In front of the line the field sloped downward toward the woods directly opposite, the point of which terminated at the road.
Beyond this point and concealed by it the enemy had established a battery which stood in echelon near the road. After examining the position and finding that a space of nearly 300 yards had to be passed over by my infantry before we could reach the opposite woods I sent a staff officer to the general commanding, requesting that a section of the battery of Napoleons under Muhlenberg might be sent to me to clear the woods in front and on my flank. Before the officer could return Captain Wilkins, assistant adjutant-general of the general commanding the division, came up and urged the movement at once as the decisive one of the day. An order was given by him also to Colonel Ruger, commanding the Third Wisconsin Regiment, to join his command to mine and move with it upon the enemy.
My regiments were immediately formed, the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania on the right, the Twenty-eighth New York and Fifth Connecticut in line to the left. The Tenth Maine was advanced through the woods on my extreme left, under the immediate direction of a staff officer of the major-general commanding the corps, and was some distant from the other regiments. I then gave the order to advance to the edge of the woods, to fix bayonets, and to charge upon the enemy’s position. Steadily in line my command advanced, crossed the fence which skirted the woods, and with one loud cheer charged across the open space in the face of a fatal and murderous fire from the masses of the enemy’s infantry, who lay concealed in the bushes and woods on our front and flank. Onward these regiments charged, driving the enemy’s infantry back and through the woods beyond. The Twenty-eighth New York, Fifth Connecticut, and part of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania entered the woods and engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with vastly superior numbers of the enemy, reaching the battery at the heart of his position; but the reserves of the enemy were at once brought up and thrown upon their broken ranks. Their field officers had all been killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, the support I looked for did not arrive, and my gallant men, broken, decimated by that fearful fire, that unequal contest, fell back again across the space, leaving most of their number upon the field.
The slaughter was fearful. The field officers of the regiments which had driven the enemy back were killed, wounded, or prisoners. Most of the company officers had fallen by the side of their men, and the color guards had been shot down in detail as they attempted to sustain and carry forward the colors of their regiment. The Wisconsin regiment which advanced on my right, unable to sustain the terrible fire from the bushes and woods, retired to the woods in rear, where it was reformed some distance beyond and brought again into action. The Tenth Maine Regiment of my brigade, acting under direct orders from the commanding general, through one of his staff, advanced to the middle of the open space, and sustained a most severe and galling fire from the concealed enemy beyond.
In the Twenty-eighth New York its colonel (Donnelly) had fallen mortally wounded, and was borne from the field. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown had his arm shattered. Major Cook, after being wounded, was made prisoner by the enemy. Out of the 14 company officers in action there is not one remaining able to do duty. All are either wounded or prisoners. Of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania its Colonel (Knipe) was twice wounded, and carried from the field, Lieutenant-Colonel Selfridge had his horse shot under him, and Major Mathews fell dangerously wounded. Of its 20 company officers who went into action 17 were killed, wounded, or missing, and 226 of its rank and file. Of the Fifth Connecticut, Colonel Chapman, Lieutenant-Colonel Stone, and Major Blake are gone. The first is reported a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. The latter two were seen to fall, and have not since been heard from. Out of 18 company officers who went into action 10 are killed, wounded, or missing, and 224 of the rank and file. Out of 88 officers and 1,679 men taken by me into action 56 officers and 811 men are killed, wounded, and prisoners. The batteries attached to my brigade did most excellent service. Knap, Roemer, and Muhlenberg directed their operations in person, and their fire was most effective. A special report of the operations of their batteries was made to the chief of artillery. In Muhlenberg’s regular battery (Best’s), of the Fourth Artillery, 1 non-comissioned officer was killed and 2 non-commissioned officers and 2 privates wounded.
It is customary at the close of a report like this to mention those whose conduct has merited commendation, but I point the general commanding to the vacant places of my officers and the skeleton regiments of my brigade to speak more earnestly than I can do of the part they played in that day’s contest. Colonel Donnelly, of the Twenty-eighth New York; Colonel Knipe, of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, and Colonel Chapman, of the Fifth Connecticut, sustained by the field officers of their regiments, led them into action. These regiments alone and unsupported reached the opposite woods, and fought hand to hand with the enemy. Lieutenant Sprout, adjutant of the Twenty-eighth New York, was killed at the side of the enemy’s battery, and the gallant conduct of the men was sufficiently attested by one of the generals of the enemy himself, as we stood together upon the battle-field twenty-four hours after the action amid the mingled bodies of the dead of both sides. The conduct of the color guards of these regiments is beyond all praise. The colors of the Fifth Regiment, from Connecticut, were three times shot down, and as often raised again and borne on into the fight. Of the Maine regiment but 1, the color-sergeant, who bore the colors from the field, remains.
I remained upon the battle-field until dark, directing the removal of the wounded, when I returned and reported to the general commanding, who directed me to move with the remnant of my command to the rear of the woods on Cedar Run, at the center of our position. Moving up to it with my staff, I found it occupied by the enemy’s cavalry, who opened fire and charged upon us, killing 2 of my escort. I then reformed my regiments in the neighborhood of Colvin’s Tavern, north of the battle-field.
Of the officers of my personal staff who accompanied me on the battle-field I would mention Capt. F. De Hauteville, assistant adjutant-general, who from the first rendered me especial and important service, attended with great personal exposure.
Captain Cogswell, Fifth Connecticut, and Captain Duggan, First Michigan Cavalry, acted as my aides during the entire day and rendered me great assistance. First Lieut. A. M. Crawford, aide-de-camp, was left by my order in charge of the camp of the brigade, and in forwarding supplied to the command, which had been without rations thirty hours, and in the organizing and sending to their regiments detachments who came in from the field, rendered important service to the brigade.
Brigade Surgeon Helmer also remained with me upon the field until a call was made for his professional services, since which time he has been unremitting in his attention to the wounded.
The complete list of killed, wounded, and missing is respectfully submitted.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. CRAWFORD,
Maj. D. D. Perkins,
A. A. A. G., Second Corps, Army of Virginia.
Return of Casualties in the First Brigade, First Division, Second Corps, at the battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862.
|Officers.||Enlisted men.||Officers.||Enlisted men.||Officers.||Enlisted men.||Officers||Men.|
|28th New York.||1||20||6||73||10||103||18||339|
The greater proportion of those reported missing are supposed to be killed. The bodies found on the field were so much disfigured that recognition was impossible. This report embodies positive information only.
S. W. CRAWFORD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Brigade.
F. De Hauteville,
Captain, Assistant Adjutant-General.