Battle of Cedar Run described.
[from the Richmond, Va., Times, May 21, 1899.]
By an Old F Company Man Who Took Part Therein.
Was hot from the beginning.
Guns, bayonets, swords, pistols, rails from fences and Rocks were used with telling effect at Times all along the line.
's army, after its arduous and brilliant campaign, were quietly resting in the neighborhood of Weyer
's ,Cave, when it received orders to join Lee
In a few hours they were marching, and a few days thereafter struck McClellan
's army at Pole Green church, where he commenced the battles with that army and ended by the enemy being driven to Westover
on the James
The second day after reaching Westover
was ordered to Richmond
, and his troops immediately took up their march, going into camp at Morris Farm, on the Mechanicsville turnpike
, about four miles from the city, resting here four days: then he marched into Richmond
and took the cars of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac railroad at its depot, corner of Broad and Eighth streets. And the campaign against Pope
We disembark at Louisa Courthouse and stay there a day, and then march to Gordonsville
; from there we march to Liberty Mills
, and we march from there to Mechanicsville
, near Louisa Courthouse;
and on August 4th we marched to Liberty Mills
These movements are occasioned by reports from the enemy in our front, who are now commanded by General Pope
, who says he has been doing great things in the western army, and in his order to his troops on taking command, ‘said he had never seen anything but the backs of the rebels; his headquarters were in the saddle, and he wanted the task of guarding his rear stopped, as an invading army had no rear; it was useless to make any provision to look after communications in that direction.’
In less than a month he found out that he did not have any rear, but he would have given anything if he could have gotten there.
On August 7th we left Liberty Mills
and marched to Orange Courthouse.
We were joined on the morning of the 8th by A. P. Hill
's division and Stafford
's brigade, and Jackson
's force now consists of Jackson
's and A. P. Hill
's division and Stafford
We marched early towards the Rapid Ann
. The advance meeting with slight resistance at Barnett's Ford, just before we got to this ford we passed a ‘Quaker Cannon’ that the advance had rigged up, it was the hind part of a wagon with a black log fixed on it, the men ran this out on a hill in full sight of the Yanks at the ford, made the advance with a cheer and the enemy retreated, they could not stand the sight of the cannon.
I saw at this ford soon after crossing, the first man who claimed to be wounded by a sabre, his ear was badly cut.
We take the direct road for Culpeper Courthouse and ford Robinson river
in the evening, and about sundown go into camp in a wood near the road.
About midnight we are awakened by firing of musketry and the sizzling of balls falling amongst us, each man gets up and into his place in ranks quicker than I ever saw it done, and when the order was given to ‘take arms,’ every man had his gun ready for action, we were marched out to the road and halted to await orders from headquarters.
The firing soon ceased.
It turned out to be from some Yankee cavalry on their way from Madison Courthouse to Culpeper Courthouse, who did not know of our advance and on being halted by our guard commenced to back out when a brisk skirmish took place, they making off as soon as they could.
In this affair my regiment got into ranks directly from their beds and when we were marched back to our camp the laugh began; and those old
rebels made the woods ring, some of the men were in their shirt sleeves, some with nothing but shirt on, some with one shoe on, etc., hardly one with a hat, but every man was in his place.
Next morning, August 9th, we resume the march, Ewell
's division in front, about 1 o'clock we hear the boom of a cannon in our front and know that Pope
has made a stand.
Peace and beauty all around us, death and danger just ahead,
On our faces careless courage, in our hearts a sombre dread.
Then the skirmish line went forward, and the only sounds we heard
Were the hum of droning insects and the carol of a bird;
Till, far off, a flash of fire, and a little cloud went by,
Like an angel's mantle floating down from out an azure sky.
Then a shell went screaming o'er us, and the air at once was rife
With a million whispering hornets, swiftly searching for a life;
And the birds and insects fled away before the “rebel yell,”
The thunder of the battle and the furious flames of hell.
We are hurried along for some distance when the Second brigade is marched to the front of our division and halted, roll is called and we are ordered to load, after a few minutes rest we resume the march and are hurried up, after going a short distance we find that Ewell
's division has filed to the right of the road, we, however, keep the road and on going a short distance further, the men on the left of the road clear the way for a cannon ball that comes bouncing along like a boy's ball, but to show with what force it was travelling, soon after passing my regiment it struck the stump of a tree, glanced up, and went out of sight.
A little farther on we come to four men lying in the road dead, killed by this same ball.
The road is fairly alive now with shot and shell from the enemy, and to protect us some we march a short distance into the woods on the left of the road, or more properly speaking, as the road ran here north and south, we were marching north to Culpeper Courthouse.
Was not mad.
We now enter the woods west of the road; Ewell
's division had gone to the east of the road some time ago. We continue the march in the wood parallel to the road; here we pass an old rebel standing beside a small sapling, with his hand resting on it; we ask
him what is the matter; he says: ‘I don't want to fight; I ain't mad with anybody.’
This puts us all in good humor, and amidst laughter and cheers we continue the march; after going a short distance we are halted and ordered to lie down.
are shelling this wood terribly, and soon our captain, Morgan
, is killed by them.
We are now ordered forward, and halt at the edge of the road; this is the same road we had been marching on. The woods ran north along this road about 200 yards from where my regiment now was, when it came to an open field.
In the corner or angle of the wood the Second brigade is now formed; the 21st Virginia on the edge of the wood along the road and facing east; the 48th Virginia on our left and along the road facing east; the 42d Virginia on their left in the edge of the wood, but at right angles to the road and facing north with the field in their front; then on their left and an extension of their line, the Irish battalion, which, in the left of the brigade and as we are thus formed, it makes a right angle.
The field mentioned above ran along the road about 200 yards, when it comes to a second wood.
In this second wood, which is in front of the Irish battalion and the 42d Virginia regiment, are a part of the Yankee
line of battle, lying down.
In front of the 21st Virginia and the 48th Virginia is a large open field surrounded by a rail fence, the road running between the wood we are in and the fence; about 200 to 300 yards left obliquely in front of the 21st regiment is a corn field.
This corn field is full of the enemy, it making a splendid screen, and a line of them are advancing on us when we reach the road; we open on them at once, and the battle of Cedar Run
is hot from the beginning.
The Second brigade is alone, as none of our division has gotten up. The Yankees
who have been lying down in front of the Irish battalion and 42d regiment now make an advance, and, as their line is longer than ours, it overlaps the Irish battalion, and that part of their line swings around, doubles up the battalion, and occupies the position that we had recently advanced from, which is directly in our rear.
Kept them back.
The Twenty-first and Forty-eighth are fighting the force at and near the corn-field, and with such effect as to keep them back.
The force on our flank are firing directly up the road in the flank of the Forty-eighth and our regiment and our men are falling fast from this fire.
is sick; he now comes along the line
walking and leading his horse and says to the men that the enemy is in our rear and he wants to get us out of the position we are in and we must follow him; his voice is one of loud compass and great command, but he can hardly speak now, and as he passes me he says: ‘John help me get the men out of this, I can't talk loud.’
I get all near me to face down (south) the road and we start; have hardly gotten two steps when I see a Yankee sergeant step into the road about fifty or seventy-five yards ahead (south) of us, at the same time we can hear the firing of the rapidly approaching enemy in our rear.
The sergeant has his gun in his left hand and his drawn sword in his right; he turns towards us and approaches; now a Yankee private steps into the road just ahead of him. A great dread goes up from me now for Jackson
, as I had seen him at this spot only a minute or two before.
Now this road that the two Yankees are in is the same road we marched up to get to our position, and it showed that the enemy were not only in our front, flank and rear, but had us completely surrounded.
The sergeant did not stop his advance towards us until he actually took hold of one of the men of our regiment and pulled him out of ranks and then started towards the rear, one of our men who had been capping his gun, raised it to his shoulder, fired, and the sergeant falls dead not ten feet away.
By this time the road is full of Yankees, and now ensues such a fight as was not witnessed during the war, guns, bayonets, swords, pistols, fence rails, rocks, etc., were used all along the line.
I have heard of a hell spot in some battles; this surely is one.
Our color-bearer knocks down a Yankee with his flag staff and is shot to death at once, one of the color-guard takes the flag and he is also killed; another bayonets a Yankee and is immediately riddled with balls, three going through him; four color-bearers are killed with the colors in their hands, the fifth man flings it to the breeze and carries it through the terrible battle unhurt.
now crosses the road, leading his horse, and starts to pull down the fence, when he and horse are both killed.
It's a terrible time.
The Second brigade is overwhelmed; nearly half of the 21st Virginia regiment lay on the ground dead and wounded.
‘F’ company, of Richmond
, carried eighteen men into action; twelve of them now lie on the ground, six dead, and six wounded; many of the regiment are prisoners, the remnant
is fighting still.
now hurries men to our relief, the Stonewall brigade coming in on west of the road and the Third brigade on the east.
They succeed in surrounding a part of the command who have us, and take nearly all of them prisoners, including their brigadier-general, and then release those of our men who were made prisoners, and those men now join in the advance; just at this moment the enemy hurl a line of cavalry against us from that cornfield, but our fire was so hot that those who were not unhorsed, made a wheel, and off to the rear they go. Our whole line now advances, and the enemy are in full retreat.
We can plainly see Ewell
with a part of his division on Slaughter mountain
, way off on the right of our line, advancing too, as the mountain at this point was clear or open, we can see his skirmish line in the front firing as they advance, his line of battle following, and his cannon belching out fire and smoke, and the enemy's shells bursting on the mountain side; it was a magnificent and inspiring sight.
We keep up the pursuit until 9 or 10 o'clock, when it ends in a terrific cannonade by the enemy.
The battle won.
The battle is fought and won; the 21st Virginia regiment has written its name high on the scroll of honor—but at what a cost!
They went into battle with two hundred and eighty-four men. Thirty-nine of them lay dead on the field and eighty-four are wounded; many of these men are shot in several places.
Old F Company of Richmond
has Captain Morgan
killed; he was shot through the body by a piece of shell.
He was a splendid soldier and the best posted on military matters of any man I knew during the war. Henry Anderson
, Joe Nunnally
, John Powell
, Wm. Pollard
, were killed, and Roswell Lindsay
, after bayoneting a Yankee, was killed also; Bob Gilliam
was shot through the leg, Clarence Redd
through both wrists, Ned Tompkins
in arm and body, Porter Wren
through arm, Harrison Watkins
through body, Clarence E. Taylor
The other regiments lose as badly as we do, and nearly half of Jackson
's loss in the battle is in the Second brigade.
Amongst the killed is Brigadier-General Charles S. Winder
, of the Stonewall brigade, who commanded the division, and Lieutenant-Colonel Richard H. Cunningham
(an old F), who commanded the 21st Virginia regiment, two as gallant men as the cause ever lost.
They were a great loss to our command and the army.
Both were conspicuous on
every battlefield for brave deeds, and bid fair to be eminent soldiers.
I have always thought that there was a similarity in their death; each was on the sick list; each had been riding in an ambulance during the day; at the sound of the guns, each mounted his horse and came to the front and took command of his men. Winder
was posting his advance artillery in the open field just to the right of our regiment when killed, and Cunningham
was killed a few minutes later very near the same spot.
I also think if they had lived each would have been promoted, Winder
to major-general and Cunningham
to brigadier-general, both dating from this battle.
A terrible scene.
Here is what Major Dabney
, on Jackson
's staff, says in his life of Stonewall Jackson
After describing the position of the brigades that were already in line of battle to our right, he comes to that occupied by the Second brigade: ‘The whole angle of forest was now filled with clamor and horrid rout, the left regiments of the Second brigade were taken in reverse, intermingled with the enemy, broken and massacred from front to rear.
The regiments of the right, and especially the 21st Virginia, commanded by that brave Christian soldier, Colonel Cunningham
, stood firm, and fought the enemy before then like lions, until the invading line had penetrated within twenty yards of their rear.
For the terrific din of the musketry, the smoke, and the dense foliage concealed friend from foe, until they were only separated from each other by this narrow interval.
Their heroic colonel was slain, the order of officers were unheard amidst the shouts of the assailants, and all the vast uproar; yet the remnant of the Second brigade fought on, man to man, without rank or method, with bayonet thrust and musket clubbed, but borne back like the angry foam on a mighty wave toward the high road.’
, commanding the Second brigade, pays the 21st Virginia special mention in his official report.
As likewise does Brigadier-General Taliaferro
, of the Third brigade, and Brigadier-General Early
, of Ewell
's division, says in his report that his attention was directed especially in the general advance towards a small band of the 21st Virginia with their colors, as every few minutes the color-bearer would shake out his colors seemingly in defiance to the enemy.
Burying the dead.
We stay on the battlefield all next day gathering the wounded and burying the dead.
was joined by General J. E. B.
during the day, and he got Stuart
to reconnoitre for him. He found that Pope
had been heavily reinforced; in consequence he did not renew the advance, and Pope
, being so much surprised at seeing the front of a rebel, had not gotten over his daze sufficient to attack Jackson
About three weeks after this, Jackson
taught him some more new tactics.
About midday he asked permission of General Jackson
to succor such of his wounded as had not already been treated by us, and to bury his dead.
This General Jackson
granted, and put the field under the command of General Early
Soon the Yanks and rebels are engaged in friendly converse and trading papers, tobacco, etc.
As night comes on General Jackson
finds that Pope
's force has been reinforced so largely, he falls back, and next day recrossed the Rapidan
and goes into camp between the river and Gordonsville
, where he remained until the 16th of August, when, having been joined by General Lee
with the greater part of his command, the advance against Pope
is again taken up. Stark
's Louisiana brigade joins Jackson
's division while we are here, and the division now consists of the First (Stonewall
), Second and Third and the Louisiana
an old F.