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[317]

The artillery of the enemy opened early in the afternoon, but he made no advance until nearly five o'clock, at which time a few skirmishers were thrown forward on each side, under cover of the heavy woods in which his forces were concealed. The enemy pushed forward a strong force in the rear of his skirmishers, and General Banks advanced to the attack.

The engagement did not fairly open until after six o'clock, but for an hour and a half was furious and unceasing throughout the cannonading, which was at first desultory, and directed mainly against the cavalry.

I had continued to receive reports from Gen. Banks that no attack was apprehended, and that no considerable infantry force of the enemy had come forward. Yet, towards evening, the increased artillery firing having satisfied me an engagement might be at hand, although the lateness of the hour rendered it unlikely, I ordered Gen McDowell to advance Gen. Ricketts's division to support Gen Banks, and directed General Sigel to bring his men on the ground as soon as possible. I arrived personally on the field at seven P. M., and found the action raging furiously. The infantry fire was incessant and severe. I found Gen. Banks holding the position he took up early in the morning; his losses were heavy. Ricketts's division was immediately pushed forward, and occupied the advance of Gen. Banks--the brigade of Gen. Gordon being directed to change their position from the right, and mass themselves in the centre. Before this change could be effected it was quite dark, though the artillery continued at short range without intermission. The artillery fire at night by the Second and Fifth Maine batteries, in Ricketts's division of Gen. McDowell's corps, was most destructive, as was readily observable the next morning, in the dead men and horses and broken gun-carriages of the enemy's batteries, which had been advanced against it.

Our troops rested on their arms during the night, in line of battle, a heavy shelling being kept up on both sides until midnight. At daylight next morning, the enemy fell back two miles from our front, and still higher up the mountain. Our pickets at once advanced and occupied the ground. The fatigue of the troops from long marches and excessive heat, made it impossible for either side to resume the action on Sunday. The men were therefore allowed to rest and recruit the whole day, our only active operation being that of cavalry on the enemy's flanks and rear. Monday was spent in burying the dead and in getting off the wounded. The slaughter was severe on both sides. Most of the fighting being hand-to-hand, the dead bodies of both armies were found mingled together in masses over the whole ground of conflict. The burying of the dead was not completed until dark on Monday, the heat being so terrible that severe work was not possible. On Monday night the enemy fled from the field, leaving many of his dead unburied, and his wounded on the ground and along the road to Orange Court-House, as will be seen from Gen. Buford's despatch. A cavalry and artillery force under Gen. Buford was immediately thrown forward in pursuit, and followed the enemy to the Rapidan, over which he passed with his rear-guard by ten o'clock in the morning. The behavior of Gen. Banks's corps during the action was very fine. No greater gallantry and daring could be exhibited by any troops. I cannot speak too highly of the ceaseless intrepidity of Gen. Banks himself during the whole of the engagement. He was in the front, and exposed as much as any man in the command. His example was of the greatest benefit, and he merits and should receive the commendation of his government. Generals Williams, Augur, Gorman, Crawford, Prince, Green, and Geary, behaved with conspicuous gallantry. Augur and Geary were severely wounded, and Prince, by losing his way in the dark while passing from one flank to the other, fell into the hands of the enemy. I desire publicly to express my appreciation of the prompt and skilful manner in which Gens. McDowell and Sigel brought forward their respective commands, and established them on the field, and of their cheerful and hearty cooperation with me from beginning to end. Brig.-Gen. Roberts, Chief of Cavalry of this army, was with the advance of our forces, on Friday and Saturday, and was conspicuous for his gallantry, and for the valuable aid he rendered to Generals Banks and Crawford. Our loss was about one thousand five hundred killed, wounded, and missing, of whom twenty-nine were taken prisoners. As might be expected from the character of the engagement, a very large proportion of those were killed. The enemy's loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, we are now satisfied, is much in excess of our own. A full list of casualties will be transmitted as soon as possible, together with a detailed report, in which I shall endeavor to do justice to all.

John Pope,1 Major-General Commanding.


General Gordon's official report.

headquarters Third brigade, in the field, camp at Cedar Mountain, Va., August 11, 1862.
Brig.-Gen. A. S. Williams, Commanding First Division Second Army Corps, Army of Virginia.
sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent battle of Saturday, August ninth, at Cedar Mountain, three miles from Culpeper Court-House, with the enemy under General Jackson.

At nine A. M. on the morning of the ninth, after a hurried march of the day before, which was prolonged until twelve o'clock at night, I received orders to remove my brigade from the town of Culpeper, where we were in bivouac, rapidly to the front, as General Crawford, commanding First brigade, First division, had been attacked and needed assistance. My brigade was put in motion at once, and reached the position of General



1 See Gen. Pope's report of his Virginia Campaign.

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