The battle of Cedar Run.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Camp in Orange County, Aug. 14, 1862.
On Thursday last, the long desired order to move in the direction of Pope
's army came and was hailed with pleasure.
We bivouacked that night near quite a nest of Yankees, who next morning at an early hour, ‘"skedaddled"’ in the most approved fashion, illustrating beautifully Gen. Pope
's complacent and grandiloquent remark that there must be no more falling back.
All along our route Friday, we had evidences of their hasty retreat.--They were, however, not fast enough to prevent our cavalry from making a brilliant skirmish, killing eight and capturing fifteen.
Among the latter were three commissioned officers.
The killing was mostly done by sabres, and several Yankees' heads were cleft wide open.
Our loss was none.
All along our route, Jackson
and his army met the most cordial welcome from the people, who roused anew our indignation by thrilling details of the insults, cruelties, and injustice to which they had been subjected.
At noon of Friday, we (i. e, Ewell
's division, which was, as usual, in the advance,) halted, near Crooked Run Church.
This was almost a necessity, as our men were largely broken down by their forced march in the burning sun. The next morning, the enemy being reported as advancing, we moved forward on the main road from Orange Court-House
to Culpeper Court-House, about three miles, and took position, our left flank resting on the Southwest Mountain
, and our artillery occupying several commanding positions.
At 12 M., we commenced our cannonading, which was feebly responded to by the enemy, who did not seem ready for the engagement, which they had affected to challenge.
Indeed, some strategy seemed necessary to bring them to fight.
About 3 P. M. Gen. Early
's brigade (Ewell
's division) made a circuit through the woods, attacking the enemy on their right flank, the 13th Virginia regiment being in the advance as skirmishers.
At 4 o'clock the firing began, and soon the fight became general.
As Gen. Jackson
's division, then commanded by Gen. Winder
, were rapidly proceeding to the scene of action, the enemy, guided by the dust made by the artillery, shelled the road with great precision.
It was by this shelling that the brave Winder
His left arm shattered, and his side also wounded, he survived but an hour.
At a still later period a portion of Gen. A. P. Hill
's division were engaged.
The battle was mainly fought in a large field near Mrs. Crittenden
's house, a portion being open, and the side occupied by the Yankees
being covered with luxuriant corn.
Through this corn, when our forces were considerably scattered, two Yankee cavalry regiments made a desperate charge, evidently expecting utterly to disorganize our lines.
The result was precisely the reverse.
Our men rallied, ceased to fire on the infantry, and, concentrating their attention on the cavalry, poured into their ranks a fire which emptied many a saddle, and caused the foe to wheel and retire, which, however, they effected without breaking their columns.
For some time the tide of victory ebbed and flowed, but about dark the foe finally broke and retreated in confusion to the woods, leaving their dead and many of their wounded, a gun, caisson, and a large quantity of ammunition upon the field.
Daylight faded, and the moon in her full glory appeared, just as the terrors of the raging battle gave way to the sickening scenes of a field where a victory has been won. A few hours later, we opened upon the woods, into which the enemy had fled, and shelled them for some time.
The casualties on our side I will not attempt to detail.
You have doubtless already announced the fate of such as Winder
, and Morgan
, and you will doubtless be furnished by competent authority with the killed and wounded in different regiments, &c. Our total loss was about 125 killed, and 500 wounded, including many who were slightly injured.
The enemy's loss was admitted by themselves to be far heavier, and was believed by competent judges on our side to be treble or quadruple our own. The enemy's troops engaged were principally the same that we met at Front Royal
, Cross Keys
, and Port Republic
We also took about 500 prisoners, including a General and many officers of rank.
The faces of some of these suffered considerable elongation at hearing the fate to which Pope
's infamous order had consigned them.
The enemy were not expecting this onslaught of old Jack
On the contrary, they counted on at least a month of security in which to fatten on their infamous spoils.
They were surprised, and, though not routed, received a defeat and a severe blow.
On Sabbath there was no renewal of the engagement, save some slight cannonading on our side, and our troops, occupying their advanced positions, gained the day before, awaited the expected attack of the enemy.
Monday morning the enemy retrace, which being granted, they came in large numbers, and were employed till night.
It may be that they did not use all possible expedition, desiring delay in order to bring up reinforcements and otherwise prepare for battle.
If this was so, they gained nothing, for Gen. Jackson
, having determined not to hazard a battle with the vastly superior forces the enemy would have, also occupied the time to purpose, sending backward all his trains and his rear troops; and at nightfall Early
's brigade, which was the outpost, quietly followed them, hugging closely the mountain till well out of danger of attack.
Never was a retreat effected with better order.
Strategically, it ranked with the masterly march and unexpected attack.
Our troops marched all night and half the next day, not stopping till they had gained their original positions, which are very desirable ones.
We are now expecting another battle, though whether we will again rush on the enemy, or wait for his advance, I don't pretend to predict.
While the enemy were burying their dead, I spent some time with them, and only wish I had time and you room for a detailed account of the conversation had. Perhaps I will give this in a subsequent communication.
I had the opportunity of seeing Gen Milroy
He has red hair and whiskers, and looks like a fighting General.