Cedar Creek, VA
19 October 1864
No. 40. Report of Brigadier General Lewis A. Grant, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of operations October 19.
HDQRS. 2ND BRIGADIER (VERMONT BRIGADIER), 2ND DIV., 6TH CORPS,
October 25, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the engagement of the 19th instant:
This brigade moved from its camp by the left flank and formed on the creek near Middletown, facing the pike. General Bidwell's brigade was on the left and Colonel Warner's on the right. Before getting into position I threw forward Major Walker's battalion, of the Eleventh Vermont, and the Fifth and Sixth Vermont Regiments, all under command of Major Johnson, of the Second Vermont, who deployed them as skirmishers and drove the rebel skirmishers from the skirt of the woods between the creek and the pike. The brigade then advanced in common with the rest of the division, throwing forward the left near Middletown. Here it was found that the enemy were pressing forward to the right, threatening our rear, and the command fell back to a crest a short distance in the rear, which crest commanded the ravine and some parts of the town. The enemy advanced in heavy force, drove in our skirmishers, and attacked the line of battle, and were repulsed. As the enemy fell back I threw forward skirmishers to follow closely. At this point of time I was informed by General Getty that he had assumed command of the corps, and that I was in command of the division, whereupon I turned over the command of the brigade to Lieutenant Colonel Tracy, Second Vermont Volunteers, Colonel Foster being then absent on duty as general officer of the day for the corps. The enemy soon rallied again, drove in the skirmishers, and made a vigorous attack upon the line, and were repulsed with great slaughter. The attack fell the heaviest upon the right of Bidwell's and the left of the Vermont Brigade, but all parts of the line were under heavy fire. The enemy then brought up additional batteries and opened a heavy cannonade, and at the same time pressed our lines with infantry as closely as possible. About this time I was informed that there were no troops on the right and that the enemy occupied the woods on the right, and I received orders to fall back unless I saw good reasons for holding the crest longer. Before having time to give the order the enemy came rushing through the woods on the right, pouring a fire into the flank and rear of Warner's brigade, which necessarily fell back, and the order was immediately given to the other brigades. After having fallen back about half a mile the division was halted and reformed, and when it was found that no troops connected on our right the division fell back a short distance farther, leaving a strong skirmish line to hold the position then occupied. In falling back this time the command obliqued toward the pike, so that when the last position was taken the left of the Third Brigade rested on the pike and the left of the Vermont Brigade on the little creek.
General Getty having resumed the command of the division, I returned to the command of the brigade again. At this time the Second and Third Vermont Regiments held the skirmish line in front. After holding this position for some time subject to an artillery fire the enemy moved forward to an attack. The attack fell heavily on troops to our right, and I was ordered out of the line on the left with my command to support the right, where the severest attack had been, and where it was supposed the main attack would be. After remaining in position on the right, in support of the right of the Sixth and the left of Nineteenth Corps a short time, I moved back toward the left, and, agreeably to orders, took position in reserve, and very soon after resumed my former position in the line. An attack being ordered the brigade moved forward under a very heavy fire, guiding on the Third Brigade, and taking position behind a stone wall, engaged the enemy with great vigor, and held this advanced position for a considerable time alone after the troops on the right and left had retired; and when the line on the right again advanced the brigade advanced upon the enemy and drove him from a strong position near the mill and from behind stone walls. The enemy fell back a short distance and took another position behind another stone wall and was soon driven from that. The brigade rushed forward at a double-quick and the enemy was entirely routed. After leaving the mill there was no halting until the enemy was driven across Cedar Creek and the cavalry had taken up the pursuit. The distance which the enemy was driven was about three miles, and after the rout commenced the battle was with the swift alone. The men rushed forward in pursuit of the enemy, and, in their haste, lost nearly all organization; but all seemed intent on pursuing and overtaking the enemy. Upon arriving near Cedar Creek the cavalry overtook and passed us, and a battery came forward and engaged the enemy. The brigade halted and reorganized near the bridge over Cedar Creek, and somewhat in advance of any other infantry force, and then returned to the camp occupied the night before.
The loss of the brigade was, 33 killed, 210 wounded, and 41 missing; aggregate, 284. I herewith inclose nominal list of casualties.
Among the killed I regret to name Lieutenant O. R. Lee, Eleventh Vermont, a promising and gallant officer. Of those who received honorable wounds were Captain George H. Amidon and Lieutenant Henry C. Baxter, of the brigade staff; also, Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Tracy, Second Vermont Volunteers; Capts. W. H. Hubbard, Third Vermont, J. P. Aikens, Fourth Vermont, Thomas Kavaney, Fifth Vermont, Edwin R. Kinney and Thomas B. Kennedy, Sixth Vermont Volunteers, and Edward P. Lee, Eleventh Vermont; Lieuts. A. W. Ferry, Second Vermont, A. W. Lyon, Third Vermont, and G. O. French, Eleventh Vermont.
I desire to commend in general terms for their good conduct the regimental commanders and their respective commands, and to specially mention Major H. W. Floyd, Third Vermont Volunteers, commanding regiment, and my two aides-de-camp, Lieutenant George H. Sessions, Fifth Vermont Volunteers, and Lieutenant Henry C. Baxter, Eleventh Vermont Volunteers, for their truly conspicuous and gallant conduct. I desire also to make honorable mention of Colonel J. M. Warner, Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Tracy, and Lieutenant-Colonel French, brigade commanders, for their noble conduct while I was in command of the division.
General Bidwell was shot from his horse while in the noble discharge of his duties while I was in command of the division. He had twice gallantly repulsed the enemy from his front and fell almost in the ranks of his command. It has been my fortune to serve in the same division with General Bidwell for more than three years. As regimental commanders and also as brigade commanders we have often performed the duties of the camp and the march and fought side by side, and it is but just to say that on every occasion he bore himself with gentlemanly deportment and with marked coolness and intrepidity.
I remain, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. A. GRANT,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
Major CHARLES MUNDEE,
Source: Official Records, Volume XLIII, Chapter LV. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign, pp. 207-211.