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Report of Conner's South Carolina brigade at Cedar Creek, October 19th, 1864.

By Major James M. Goggin.

headquarters Conner's brigade, October 31st, 1864.
Major,—I have the honor to report that on the 18th instant, at 11:45 P. M., this brigade, in pursuance of orders received during the afternoon, moved from its camp to the turnpike, in rear of Fisher's Hill. Soon after reaching there, the other brigades being put in motion, it fell into the position previously assigned it as the rear brigade of the division, and moved noiselessly and in good order to the north side of Cedar Creek, on the road——, where, just after daybreak, it rapidly formed in line of battle, and pushed forward at once in support of the other brigades of the division, then advancing on the enemy's position. On clearing the dense and tangled woods immediately in our front, and reaching the open, elevated ground occupied by the enemy (understood to be Crook's corps), it was discovered that Bryan's brigade, by a most brilliant dash, had already succeeded in driving them out, and held possession of their first line of works. Without delay the brigade moved up on the left of Bryan's brigade, commanded by Colonel Semmes, and dashed forward across the turnpike, attacking the [521] second line of works with such fierce vigor and determination that the enemy soon fled in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands a number of prisoners and four pieces of artillery. From this point the brigade steadily advanced to the left of, and on a line nearly parallel to, the pike, as far as the lane which led into the pike, and passing near a house said to have been the headquarters of the commanding General of the Federal forces. Beyond this lane, some two hundred yards, the enemy had rallied, apparently with the determination of making an effort to check our advance. And as one of my regiments, in consequence of the inequalities of the ground over which we had passed, had become detached, the brigade was halted a few minutes until it could resume its proper place in the line. As soon as this was accomplished, the forward movement was recommenced, the enemy retiring as if panic-stricken, and was continued until we had passed into the woods beyond and to the left of Middletown, when finding that any further advance would expose me to an attack on my left flank, and it being reported to me that the enemy's cavalry were in strong force in the second woods, in front, I moved to the outer edge of the woods, and halted until I could reconnoitre the position.

The Major-General commanding rode up at this time, and by his order the command was moved a half mile to the right in the direction of the turnpike, and the forward movement again resumed. After proceeding some distance, the troops on our right having halted, this brigade was halted also, and my skirmishers, together with those of Bryan's brigade, advanced to clear the woods of a body of the enemy's skirmishers in front of my left, which was handsomely done, when the line again moved forward and occupied a road a half mile distant in advance. Here the Third and Fifteenth regiments, which had been temporarily detached, rejoined us, and were sent to the right to fill up a gap between this brigade and that of Humphreys's. Soon after this the enemy made an attack on Humphreys, which was met by such a heavy fire, so coolly delivered by that brigade and by the right of my own, that they were at once checked and driven back. A repetition of the attack met with a like result, and the firing, for a time, seemed to have ceased along the whole line, but between three and four o'clock it was resumed, and it was soon ascertained that the troops on our left had given way and the enemy threatening our left flank, whilst pressing us in front. In this condition of affairs the command fell back to the position it had previously held, and for one hour and a half kept [522] the enemy at bay, foiling every direct effort to drive us from it, and it was not until the enemy had passed completely around our left flank and were moving on our rear that the order was given to withdraw. So closely was the enemy pushing us at this time that I found it necessary to move out by the right flank, whilst my skirmishers held them in check in front. After moving sufficiently far to my right to uncover my rear, the command was faced to the right and moved in the direction of the pike at Middletown, with orders to halt on the crest of the hill. Up to this time both officers and men had obeyed with commendable cheerfulness and alacrity all orders, but unfortunately, in moving to the rear, a very high fence was encountered, and in clearing it my line was necessarily broken, and being without a staff officer, or courier, and my horse being shot under me, before it could be reformed a stream of flying fugitives from other commands became so mixed up with my men, infecting the latter with their own fears, that they soon became oblivious of every thing save an earnest desire to leave the enemy as far in the rear as possible. I shall say nothing of the panic and flight that ensued, so much deplored as it is by all.

I cannot, whilst alluding to the shortcomings of this brigade, forbear giving both officers and men that praise which is so justly their due, for the noble display of all the admirable and true qualities of the soldier up to the time the retreat was ordered, and no one who witnessed the advance of the brigade on that day against :he different positions of the enemy, will hesitate to bestow upon it unqualified admiration. It would, perhaps, be invidious for me to discriminate or attempt to allot to each and all a due proportion of praise, but I may say that to the commanding officers of each of the organizations I am greatly indebted, not only for prompt obedience of orders, but for skill and gallantry displayed in the handling of their men.

For a full and detailed account of the operations of each command I refer you to the reports herewith enclosed. I am also greatly indebted to Lieutenant S. J. Pope, of the Third South Carolina regiment, acting Assistant Adjutant-General, and to Cadet E. P. Harllee, acting Inspector, for the very efficient aid rendered me during the day, and for a conspicuous display of bravery on every occasion to call it forth. The former was severely wounded, losing an eye, and the latter slightly.

One of my couriers, D'Saussure Burrows, was shot through the head whilst riding by my side. Couriers Crumley and Templeton. [523] also deserve honorable mention for good conduct. Among the killed I cannot forbear making special mention of Captain R. M. Whitner, commanding the battalion of sharp-shooters. He fell whilst gallantly leading his little band in an attack on the enemy's line. He was conspicuous for his cool courage and undaunted bravery. It is a matter of profound regret that the Second regiment is deprived, for a time at least, on account of the loss of a leg, of the services of its commanding officer, Major R. R. Clyburn, whose bravery on this, as on other occasions, is beyond all praise.

Major Todd, commanding the Third regiment, was also severely wounded whilst gallantly leading his men against the enemy's. second line of works.

The entire loss of this brigade was as follows:

Wounded 13172

Among the prisoners are Colonel Boykin and Lieutenant-Colonel McMichael, of the Twentieth South Carolina.

I am, Major, very respectfully, &c.,

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