Today in History:

146 Series I Volume XII-II Serial 16 - Second Manassas Part II

Page 146 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

time in advance at Culpeper, had, in addition, four pieces (Parrott's) of Knap's Pennsylvania battery.

With Gordon's brigade I reached Culpeper about midnight on the 8th instant, and on the following morning received orders to move to the front without trains, and unite my division in the position taken up by General Crawford the previous evening. I arrived on the ground about 12 a. m., at the moment that the enemy opened with his artillery, which was speedily silenced by the fire of Knap's battery. I dispatched a messenger at once to the major-general commanding the corps, with a brief account of the condition of affairs and of the nature of the position held. From this time to 3 o'clock p. m. there was very little demonstration on the part of the enemy, except some cavalry movements toward his right and an occasional interchange of shots with the cavalry under Brigadier-General Bayard.

In the mean time Gordon's brigade had arrived with Cothran's New York battery, and taken a strong, elevated position on our extreme right, from which, through the open field, any movement of the enemy in that direction could be observed and checked. The major-general commanding the corps also came up and assumed command. The arrival of General Augur's division, taking up position on the left of the main road, relieved two regiments of Crawford's brigade, supporting batteries, and they were transferred to the right.

At this time (soon after the enemy had renewed his artillery firing) my division occupied nearly a continuous line along the bottom-land of Cedar Run, from the road to the elevated ground spoken of as the position of Gordon's brigade, a distance of from 800 to 1,000 yards. A densely wooded ridge in front masked the whole line from observation, and the entire division lay almost without loss during the heavy cannonade which preceded the infantry attack. Skirmishers from both brigades occupied the wood in front and on the right flank.

About 5 o'clock, by direction of the major-general commanding the corps, I ordered Crawford's brigade to occupy the woods in front, preparatory to a movement which it was thought might relieve the left wing, severely pressed by the enemy, especially by a heavy cross-fire of artillery, one battery of which would be exposed to our infantry fire from the new position. Five companies of Third Wisconsin, deployed as skirmishers, were by same orders attached to General Crawford's command for this advance. The remainder of Gordon's brigade was held in the original position to observe the right flank, and especially some woods a half mile or so on the right (which it was thought was a cover for rebel cavalry), as well as to be in readiness to re-enforce Crawford's brigade in case of necessity. Observing horsemen moving out and into these woods, I dispatched my personal escort (Company M, First Michigan Cavalry, Captain Dennison) to report to General Gordon, to be used in reconnoitering in that direction. Receiving urgent directions to hasten the movement of Crawford's brigade, I dispatched Captain Wilkins, assistant adjutant-general, with orders to General Crawford to begin his advance as soon as the brigade was in line. At this time this brigade occupied the interior line of the strip of woods in front of its original position. A field, varying from 250 to 500 yards in width, partly wheat stubble and partly scrub-oak underbrush, lay between it and the next strip of woods. In moving across this field the three right regiments and the six companies of the Third Wisconsin were received by a terrific fire of musketry both from the underbrush, from the wheat field, and from the woods. The Third Wisconsin especially fell under a partial flank fire from the underbrush and woods,

Page 146 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.