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Cedar Creek, VA
19 October 1864
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, SIXTH CORPS,
November 3, 1864
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this brigade on the 19th ultimo, near Middletown, Va:
At an early hour the troops were aroused by picket-firing, commencing simultaneously on the extreme right and left of the army. About 6 a. m. heavy musketry firing was heard in the direction of Crook's command, and the brigade was ordered to his assistance, moved by the left flank in two lines and formed, under fire from the enemy's skirmishers along Meadow Run, in the following order from left to right: Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Sixty-second New York Veteran Volunteers, and One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers being in reserve. The Second and Third Brigades went into position on our left and the First Division on the right. As soon as the line was established the division moved across the run but was withdrawn immediately thereafter o its first position. Meanwhile Crook's command and the Nineteenth Corps were flanked, doubled up, and driven to the west of us, carrying with them the Third and a portion of the First Divisions. About 7 a. m. the division was withdrawn by General Getty to a prominent crest about 300 yards in our rear, facing in the new position nearly south and extending on the left nearly to the run; the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers remained in support of Battery C, First Rhode Island. This regiment remained detached from the brigade until about 2 p. m. The brigade occupied the same relative position to the division throughout the day, and was formed in the following order from left to right: Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Sixty-second New York Veteran Volunteers, One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, and Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, the last two regiments extending into the woods. At 8.30 were attacked in front and (notwithstanding that the division was isolated, all the troops on the right having given way) repulsed the attacking column, with heavy loss. The One hundred and Second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer and Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Regiments were advanced, driving the rebels in confusion down the hill through the woods. A few moments later a heavy rebel column was discovered to our right and rear. About 9.30, by direction of General Getty retied slowly and in good order obliquely toward the pike and halted, after passing the cavalry on a line with the First and Third Divisions opposite Middletown. About 10 the entire line was withdrawn to a position about a mile to the rear. Here General Sheridan assumed command. Ammunition was distributed and the enemy's skirmishers who attacked about 12 m. were repulsed. At 4 p. m. a general advance was ordered. After moving about 00 yards, in consequence of the third Division on our right giving away, the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, which occupied the right, fell back in considerable confusion, but were quickly rallied. The check was confined to one regiment only, and occasioned no serious delay. We then gained a stone wall, where a hot fire was kept up for nearly an hour, until the enemy's left had been turned; beyond that point, which was a little in rear of the town, no serious opposition was encountered, our troops following the enemy across the wide plain from Middletown to cedar Creek and driving him across in great disorder. At dark we returned to the camp of the morning.
The brigade experienced a great loss in Lieut. Col. John B. Kohler, commanding Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, and Maj. James H. Coleman, commanding One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Colonel Kohler was killed before the engagement became general, in repulsing an attack upon our pickets on the extreme right, and Major Coleman was instantly killed by a musket-ball at the head of his regiment in the last grand advance.
I desire especially to commend to the general commanding the conduct of Lieut. Col. Theodore B. Hamilton, commanding Sixty-second New York Veteran Volunteers; Lieut. Col. John G. Parr, commanding One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Capt. James Patchell, who succeeded Major Coleman in command of the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers and was afterward wounded, and Capt. Gottfried Bauer, commanding Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.
Capt. George Clendenin, Jr., assistant adjutant-general; Capt. Charles W. Eckman, acting assistant inspector-general; Lieuts. H. J. Nichols and J. A. Lewis, Eleventh Vermont Volunteers, acting aides-de-camp, all of whom I have had occasion to mention before, gave renewed evidences of their gallantry and efficiency, Captain Eckman and Lieutenant Nichols being severely wounded.
I am, sir, very respectfully your obedient servant,
J. M. WARNER,
Colonel Eleventh Vermont Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Capt. H. STEVENS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Division, Sixth Corps.(OR, 43, 200-202.)
Source: Official Records, Volume XLIII, Chapter LV. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign, pp. 200-202.