Today in History:

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

Page 158 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

right resting on the road leading to Orange Court-House and its left extending the direction of Cedar Mountain. Knap's battery retained its original position near the center of the line. McGilvery's battery was planted on the extreme left of the line, and Robinson's intermediately. My command kept this position during the severe artillery fire of the afternoon, the infantry only taking advantage of the ground in the vicinity to cover itself from the enemy's shell. The ground from this position to the front was open, with an occasional corn field and clumps of underbrush, and gradually rising for nearly a mile. On the right of the Orange road was a forest, extending perhaps for a quarter of a mile along the road, and behind which was massed the infantry of the enemy's left. On the left was Cedar Mountain, so that in advancing my division would pass between the two.

I had previously caused Captain Pitcher's battalion of the Eighth and Twelfth Regulars to deploy as skirmishers and cover the front of the whole division, to advance continuously, discover the enemy's position, and annoy him as much as possible. How well this was done will be seen from the following extract from a letter from General Prince, written on the 16th of August from Richmond. Speaking of Pitcher's battalion he says:

Their part I have occasion to know excited the admiration of the enemy, who inquired if they were not regulars, as they had never seen such skirmishing. They were out during the whole battle, and penetrated even to the enemy's position, and annoyed him so as to turn the attention of his guns away from more distant firing with shot and shell, and caused him to waste canister upon the ground of the skirmishers.

When the infantry of Williams' division on our right advanced and became engaged I was ordered to cause my batteries in front to cease firing and to advance my infantry. Leaving Greene to support McGilvery's battery on the left and to hold that position, I caused Geary's brigade to advance, which it did steadily and quickly, and when within range opened a regular and well-directed fire upon the enemy. I then caused Prince's brigade to advance in like manner upon the left, which it did under its gallant leader handsomely and in good order, and when in position opened its fire.

Meantime the enemy had gotten a battery and a body of infantry in position on our left, evidently by having gone around Cedar Mountain, and were in position to annoy us extremely,but McGilvery's battery gave them ample occupation and prevented their advance. Our right, too, as it advanced and became uncovered by the wood mentioned on the right, was exposed to a flank fire from the enemy's infantry on the left. William's division, however, kept them well occupied, and knowing him to be there, I was afraid of directing a return of the fire that came from that direction. As our front lines became weakened by their losses I caused the second lines to advance, which they did in good order.

Meantime the enemy had placed a section of artillery in front, evidently for the purpose of using grape upon our advancing infantry. I saw, too, a large body of infantry collecting for its support. I sent immediately for a section of Napoleon guns to act upon this body, and selected its position in front. Before its arrival my horse was shot, and a moment after I was wounded myself and rendered unable to keep the field. I learn that this section of artillery did most efficient service under its gallant commander, Lieutenant Cushing, Fourth Artillery, who, when deficient in men, dismounted and assisted to work his own guns. General Geary had been previously wounded severely while

Page 158 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.