Cedar Creek After Action Report, Commander, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Corps (OR, 43, 379-81)
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION,
ARMY OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Cedar Creek, Va., October 24, 1861.
LIEUTENANT: In compliance with your order, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the action of the 19th instant:
About 4 o'clock on the morning of the 19th of October, 1864, I heard brisk picket-firing on the right and left of the position occupied by my command. I immediately ordered the brigade under arms behind its fortifications. In a few minutes afterward I heard a volley of perhaps twenty rifle-shots and a yell as though a charge was being made in the direction of a picket-post in front of my left. I at once directed Captain Karr, of my staff, to inform Colonel Thoburn that there was considerable firing along the picket-line. I then went to the right of my command to the position occupied by the Third Brigade, First Division, when I discovered that some of the pickets were coming in. Believing we were about to be attacked, I moved the One hundred and twenty-third and One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Regiments to the right closing upon the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, thus filling a gap made in my line by the absence of the Fifth New York Heavy Artillery on picket duty. The line was scarcely closed up when a heavy volley of musketry was fired on my right. Upon going again to the right to learn the cause of it and the state of affairs there, I found the works of the Third Brigade occupied by the enemy, and that the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, being flanked in its position, had left the works in its front. Just at this time I heard brisk firing on my left. Seeing that I was flanked on my right, and apprehending that my left was also threatened, I ordered the One hundred and sixteenth and One hundred and twenty third Ohio Regiments to move by the left flank and form line of battle in the field on my left, fronting the position lately occupied by the Third Brigade. I had scarcely formed this line when I heard firing in the woods immediately in my rear. I then moved by the left flank of the brigade and formed another line on the hill overlooking the ravine in rear of the works of the Third Brigade. Halting here a moment, I discovered the enemy was in my rear and threatening to cut me off and to surround me. I then moved quickly toward the turnpike, my command fighting the enemy in my front and on my right until it reached the position occupied by the Nineteenth Army Corps. Here it formed a portion of the line, under the direction of General Emory, and fought until the line was broken on this part of the field. After this the line became so broken that but little could be done in rallying the men until they reached the train of the Sixth Army Corps, in the Vicinity of the present headquarters of General Crook. A line was here formed to allow the train time to cross the ravine and creek. Considering the broken condition of the ranks, the men of my command fought with great bravery and coolness at this point. When the train had crossed, this line gave way, and, falling back some distance, scattering portions of my brigade were collected and moved forward under direction of Colonel Harris to a line formed in the edge of the woods beyond the ravine in which the Sixth Corps train hail become blocked up. When this line fell back portions of my command formed with the remnant of the First Division behind a stone wall on the right of the turnpike beyond Middletown. Colonel Harris then directed me to go to the rear and direct all stragglers from the Army of West Virginia to return to their commands. Taking Lieutenant Disosway, of my staff; with me, I went to the rear and succeeded in collecting a considerable portion of the stragglers, and shortly after returning, under direction of Colonel Harris, moved the brigade across the turnpike to the support of the batteries situated on that part of the field. It lay here until the advance was made in the afternoon, when it moved forward and encamped near its present position.
I neglected to state in the proper connection that my command was in line of battle fully three-fourths of an hour before the attack was made, and that information of the picket-firing was sent to division headquarters a half hour before the attack was made on my right.
My regimental commanders—Major Kellogg, One hundred and twenty-third Ohio; Captain Teters, One hundred and sixteenth Ohio; Captain Potter, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, and Captain Wilkie, Fifth New York Heavy Artillery Regiments, —did everything in their power with their men, and performed their duties nobly throughout the day.
The members of my staff; Captain Karr and Lieutenant Disosway, conducted themselves in the most gallant manner throughout the day, and rendered very valuable service in their tremendous efforts to rally the men and keep the command together.
I have heretofore forwarded a list of casualties in my command in the action. I inclose reports of regimental commanders.
I am, lieutenant, very truly, your obedient servant,
THOS. F. WILDES,
Lieut. Col. 116th Ohio Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Lieut. F. L. BALLARD,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Infty. Div., Army of W. Va.