Today in History:

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

Page 147 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.

which swept its right companies with great destruction, and under which Lieutenant-Colonel Crane fell, pierced with several fatal wounds, and the regiment was obliged to give way. The enemy was, however, driven out of the open field by other regiments and some distance into the woods, where, being strongly re-enforced, their fire became overwhelming. No better proof of its terrific character can given than the fact that of the three remaining regiments which continued the charge (Twenty-eighth New York, Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, and Fifth Connecticut) every field officer and every adjutant was killed or disabled. In the Twenty-eighth New York every company officer was killed or wounded; in the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania all but 5; in the Fifth Connecticut all but 8. A combat more persistent or heroic can scarcely be found in the history of the war; but men of even this unequaled heroism could not withstand the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, especially when left without the encouragement and direction of officers.

While the regiments were thus engaged, the Tenth Maine, Colonel Beal, had advanced across the fields nearer the road, and engaged the enemy with great vigor. Though suffering less in loss of officers than regiments farther to the right, its list of killed and wounded abundantly testifies to the persistent gallantry with which it fought, as well as to the outnumbering forces of the enemy it had to encounter. Anticipating the necessity of using Gordon's brigade in support of Crawford's, and yet reluctant to move it from its strong and most important position until the necessity was apparent, I had arranged with General Gordon a signal for his advance and with a staff officer of the major-general commanding to await orders before giving the signal.

This signal was given as soon as orders were received, but observing some preparatory movement at the time, I dispatched two staff officers to hasten up the brigade. General Gordon put his brigade in movement at double-quick as soon as the order was communicated. I had myself moved toward his position, but on my way, finding Colonel Ruger, Third Wisconsin, rallying his broken regiment, I joined him in the effort, and had soon the satisfaction of seeing his command united to Gordon's brigade, and the whole moving promptly and gallantly to the support of their overpowered companions of the First Brigade.

As Gordon's brigade reached the interior edge of the first wood it was received by a tremendous fire of the enemy from the opposite woods and from the undergrowth to the right and front. It was evident that the enemy had been strongly re-enforced, and greatly outnumbered us. The brigade, however, firmly maintained its position and checked the farther advance of the enemy, with a terrible loss, however, in officers and men, especially in the Second Massachusetts, Colonel Andrews, which fell under the heaviest fire of the enemy, and maintained its position with marked coolness and courage. Satisfied that it would be impossible to hold, especially after dark, our advanced position, which was exposed to be outflanked by the greatly superior numbers of the enemy, I went in person to the major-general commanding the corps with explanations, and, receiving his instructions, I ordered the brigades to withdraw.

It was already dusk. General Gordon brought off the remnant of his brigade, and took up his original position, which he held until relieved by General Rickett's division. General Crawford's brigade, having lost in three regiments every company officer, necessarily withdrew in broken ranks, bringing with them, however, the colors of every regiment, around some of which brave men, without officers, rallied and

Page 147 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.