Early, back to General Winder for reenforcements, with directions to come along the Culpeper road, as that was clear. My left at this time rested on the Culpeper road, where it runs between the field in which I was and the woods to the left. General Winder was met with the head of his column just crossing the branch of Cedar Creek, half a mile in my rear. A short time after Lieutenant Early was sent to General Winder, I sent Major A. L. Pitzer, a volunteer Aid, to ask that some pieces of artillery should be sent up. Before this request could be complied with by General Winder, Captain Brown, of the Chesapeake artillery, with one piece, and Captain Dement, with three pieces, came up through the fields in rear, in a gallop, and were posted, by my direction, a little in advance of my right, near a clump of cedars, where they had good cover for their horses and caissons, and occupied a commanding position. They very soon opened on the enemy, and were followed in a short time by some pieces from General Winder's command from the corner of the field where the road from Mrs. Crittenden's crosses the Culpeper road. About this time, the pieces with the Seventh and Eighth brigades opened fire from the mountain, and a very brisk cannonade was kept up for some time, perhaps for two hours or more. The shells from the enemy's pieces bursted over and around my men constantly, doing some damage occasionally, but not a great deal. I observe that the fire from our own guns was having considerable effect, and I saw one of the enemy's batteries compelled to change its position. In the early part of the cannonading, I sent an Aid to tell General Winder that the enemy's batteries might be attacked with advantage by the left; but, in a short time afterward, movements were observed in front that induced the belief that the enemy were sending infantry to our left, and notice of this was sent to General Winder, with the caution to be on the lookout; but just before my Aid reached the place where General Winder was, this gallant officer received a mortal wound from a shell, and the information was communicated to General Jackson in person, he having arrived on the ground. Not long afterward a line of skirmishers from the enemy was seen advancing across the cornfield in front, and several regiments in rear supporting them. A body of infantry also commenced moving up toward my right, which rested near the clump of cedars, where the guns of Brown and Dement were posted. The hill there falls off rather abruptly to the right, and as infantry could have come up under cover of the hill very near to me, I sent to General Jackson for a brigade to support my right, which was promised. The enemy's skirmishers had halted in the edge of the cornfield nearest us, as had the regiments which supported them, and before the brigade promised me came up, very unexpectedly to me, several of our pieces from the left dashed down the slope of the hill, in front of my left, to within close range of the enemy's skirmishers, which they had not seen. The enemy's skirmishers and the infantry in their rear commenced moving and firing on them immediately, and seeking their danger, I at once ordered my brigade forward at double-quick, which order was complied with, the men rushing down with a shout, and reaching the pieces just in time to save them. At the same time a fire was opened from the woods to the left by some troops of General Winder's command, and the infantry fight then began. The enemy's front regiments soon began to give way, and other regiments were seen advancing through the wheatfield to the left and additional regiments through the cornfield in my front. I rode to my right and threw the Twelfth Georgia regiment to the left, along the crest of a ridge, which made a curve in front, affording it a very good natural defence, and enabling it to give the enemy a flank fire. Just as I completed this movement, I observed a brigade passing from the rear to my right, which proved to be one of Major-General Hill's brigades, commanded by Colonel Thomas. I immediately proceeded to post this brigade to the right of the Twelfth Georgia regiment, and at right angles with it, where it also had a strong position. After getting this brigade in position, during which operation my whole left was excluded from my view, I rode toward the left, and found that the pieces of artillery that had been advanced had been retired, and that the left regiments of my brigade, and all the troops to their left, as far as I could see, had fallen back, and the enemy were advancing up the slope of the hill. I saw at once the critical position in which we were placed. The Twelfth Georgia regiment, the four companies of the Fifty-second Virginia regiment, with Lieutenant-Colonel Skinner, and a part of the Fifty-eighth Virginia regiment, under Major Kasey, of my own brigade, had not given way, and Colonel Thomas's brigade was still left on my right. These troops were then isolated and in an advanced position, and had they given way, the day, in all probability, would have been lost. I could not, therefore, go to rally those of my regiments which were retiring, but despatched Major Hale, my Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, to do so, and I immediately rode to the right to urge the troops there to hold their position. After doing this, I rode again toward the left and discovered the enemy retiring before some of our troops, which were again advancing. These I discovered to be a portion of my own brigade, which had been rallied, and a portion of General Taliaferro's brigade. I rode up to them, and while I was here the enemy attempted to retrieve the fortunes of the day by a cavalry charge along the Culpeper road, which was, however, successfully repulsed by a fire from the Thirteenth Virginia regiment, Colonel Taliaferro's regiment, of General Taliaferro's brigade, and a number of parties from other brigades. This was after sunset, and the troops, which had rallied and driven the enemy back, advanced into the cornfield. I rode off to the right again, and found the troops there maintaining their ground against a body of infantry in front of Colonel Thomas's brigade, which kept its position for some time. The ammunition of my own
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Foreign accounts of the fight.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.