Cedar Creek Report, 1st Maine Battery, Division Artillery, 2d Division, 19th Corps (OR, 43, 358-9)
CAMP FIRST MAINE BATTERY,
Near Cedar Creek, Va., October 28, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this battery in the action of the 19th instant:
The battery was in position on the right of the pike between the First and Third Brigades, of the Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, in the front line. The battery was harnessed and hitched up agreeable to orders at 4 a. in., the cannoneers at their posts. When the enemy attacked the Eighth, Corps, in position on our left and front, it was impossible to tell whether the enemy had driven them from their works or not, by reason of the dense fog and smoke. The battery did not open fare until the enemy was discovered approaching the left of our line and descending the bill toward the pike in the rear of the original position of the Eighth Corps, when the two sections on the left of the battery (commanded by Lieutenant Morton and First Sergeant Grimes) fired rapidly, using case-shot. At about the same time the enemy opened with a four-gun battery on our right and front, completely enfilading our position, several of their shells bursting between the guns of the battery. Soon after the enemy made their appearance on our left and rear, taking position on the crest of the bill on the left and running parallel with the pike, when one section (Lieutenant Morton commanding) was ordered by Major Bradbury, chief of artillery, Nineteenth Army Corps, to the left and rear to check their advance. This section went into position and opened fire at short range, firing directly across the pike. This section was without any infantry support, and when the enemy made the charge to gain possession of the pike they captured one piece, with the drivers, severely wounding Lieutenant Morton and Sergeant Mooney. The other four guns were still in position on the hill, firing at a column of the enemy crossing the bridge and advancing up the pike, and remained in this position until the enemy had got possession of the left of our works and were charging our position on the hill, when Major Sizer, of General Emory's staff, ordered the battery to fall back. In retreating, the battery was subjected to a severe fire, from the enemy until it had passed General Sheridan's headquarters. The infantry had moved off previous to the battery leaving the hill. One piece and one caisson was abandoned near the headquarters of Colonel Molineux, by reason of the horses and drivers being shot. One piece was abandoned near the headquarters of the Second Division for the same reason. The drivers of the caissons, when ordered to the rear previous to the guns leaving, mistook the order and attempted to go to the right of General Sheridan's headquarters instead of the left as ordered, and were captured in endeavoring to get to the pike. The battery returned with the infantry and took position on the. left of the Sixth Corps line, when it was ordered to the left and rear, taking position on the hill oil the left of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, when the line was again reformed still farther to the left and rear. I was ordered by the chief of artillery to the rear of the line and to hold the battery in readiness for action and to advance with the infantry. When our lines advanced in the afternoon, I followed with the battery closely, but was not engaged. When we had regained our position of the morning I was ordered to my old position on the hill between the First and Third Brigades, Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, where we encamped for the night.
On the morning of the 20th the battery marched to Strasburg and went into position on the right of the pike. On the 21st returned to Cedar Creek and resumed our old position. Lieutenant Haley, commanding the battery, was severely wounded in the thigh early in the engagement, but gallantly remained on the field until the retreat was ordered and got safely off the field with much difficulty and is now in hospital at Sandy Hook. I am happy to state that his wound is doing well and that he will soon rejoin his command.
Lieutenant Morton, after being wounded in the arm and leg, was being led from the field, when he was wounded again in the bowels and died immediately. I wish I could express my admiration for his many noble qualities and my sorrow at his loss. In him the service has lost one of its bravest and best officers and his brother officers a genial companion.
I desire to mention First Sergeant Grimes, Sergeant Oliver, and Corporals Carr and McNamara for conspicuous gallantry on the field. First Sergeant Grimes, in command of a section, remained on the hill, cheering his men until the last piece was withdrawn. I am happy to state that he has since been commissioned as second lieutenant. Sergeant Oliver, chief of piece, behaved gallantly; was twice inside the enemy's line and escaped. Corporal Carr, in command of a piece in Lieutenant Morton's section, got his piece safely off under a terrific fire and the most trying circumstances. Corporal McNamara, after his own piece was safe, rendered great assistance in securing the remaining pieces.
In closing. my report I desire to state that I was not aware of being in command of the battery by reason of Lieutenants Haley and Morton (both my seniors) having been wounded until I had taken position on the left of the Sixth Corps line.
My casualties were 1 officer and 2 men killed, 1 officer and 16 men wounded, and 8 men taken prisoners. I also lost 49 horses killed in harness.
JOHN S. SNOW,
Second Lieutenant, First Maine Battery, Commanding Battery.
Capt. E. D. HALEY.