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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1864 Report

Appendix C

September 21st, 1864

Peter T. Washburn,
Adjutant and Inspector General, State of Vermont

General:-- I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this Brigade at the battle of Winchester on the 19th instant:

The Brigade broke camp at Clifton about 2 o'clock A. M. crossing the Opequan on the Berryville and Winchester Pike about 6 A. M., and went into position under heavy shelling, the left connecting with Wheaton's Brigade, and the right with the 3d Division. The Brigade was formed in one line in rear of a dense thicket, the right extending to the Berryville and Winchester Road. I immediately ordered the sixth Regiment, Captain M. W. Davis commanding, to be deployed to the front, and it soon briskly engaged the enemy skirmishers.

While awaiting the arrival of other troops a few casualties occurred from random shells. About 12 M. a general advance was ordered, the Brigade to conform to the movements of the Regiment on the right of the Pike. The troops moved out in splendid style, halted an instant after emerging from the woods in order to rectify the alignment before charging over the crest beyond. In front was a long stretch of cleared undulating country, the enemy holding position to command the gorges through which we must advance. The line advanced at a double quick over the crest in face of a galling musketry fire, driving the enemy back in great confusion. In their eagerness to follow up the first success, the line was somewhat broken, a portion filing into a ravine which was completely enfiladed by the enemy's fire. Here the loss for a few moments was very heavy, principally in the 5th and 11th Regiments.

About 1 o'clock P. M. in consequence of the giving way of the troops on the right, the Brigade, which had become considerably scattered by the fire from the Battery and Rifle pits in front, was compelled to fall back to a position about half a mile in advance of the one from which the line originally started. Meantime the sixth Regiment advanced to the front line, where they remained throughout the day, doing excellent service.

About 3 P. M. the entire line again advanced, the 1st Brigade being the directing one. This movement was brilliant in the extreme. The Brigade did not waver for an instant, but advanced steadily until they reached a large brick house about a mile from the town. Here we encountered the hottest fire of the day, being exposed to a heavy musketry fire in front, and to an enfilading fire from a Battery on our left. A little beyond this point the success of the right was announced and received with cheers. The Brigade advanced to the town without opposition and encamped about dusk on Abraham Creek. Upwards of two hundred (200) prisoners were captured by the Brigade.

Were I to report by name all the officers who distinguished themselves on this day, I should accompany this report by a Roster of the commissioned officers of the Brigade. I cannot omit, however, the following commanding officers of the Regiments: Major E. E. Johnson, 2d Vt.; Major Aldace Walker, 11th; Maj. H. W. Floyd, commanding, 3d and 4th; Captain A. Brown, Jr., 5gth, and M. W. Davis, 6th Regiment, all of whom did their duty nobly. Lt. Col. A. S. Tracy, 2d Vermont, who superintended a portion of the line, is entitled to great credit for being on the field on this occasion, as he was suffering from a severe disability. Captain A. H. Newt, A.A.A.G,., Adjutant S. H. Lincoln, A.A.I.G, who was wounded early in the day, and Lt. H. C. Baxter, A.D.C., are deserving of special mention for their gallantry and coolness under fire.

The accompanying list of casualties, which include many of our best officers and men, is evidence of the stubbornness of the fighting in our front.

I am, General,
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Col. 11th Vt. Vols., Com'd'g Brigade.