Cedar Creek Report, 22d Iowa, 2d Brigade, 2d Division, 19th Corps (OR, 43, 338-9)


Cedar Creek, Va.,, October 22, 1864

SIR: I have the honor to report in brief the part taken by the Twenty-second Iowa Volunteers in the late action of Cedar Creek, Va., on the 19th instant:

On the evening of the 18th orders were received from the brigade commander to be in readiness to move at 5.15 o'clock in light marching order. In obedience to this order my regiment was in line at the stated time, momentarily expecting to move on a reconnaissance in the direction [of] Strasburg. While thus in line a heavy fire of musketry broke out on the left of the line, in front of the Eighth Corps, which proved to be all assault upon our works by the enemy. Ina short time we were ordered to move forward in support of a battery; but had no sooner arrived upon the ground before the enemy had possession of our works and were advancing in heavy force, pouring a deadly fire of musketry and artillery in our ranks. There being but two regiments in this perilous situation (Twenty-second Iowa and Third Massachusetts), and the troops in our front having fled in confusion through our ranks, it was impossible to hold the enemy in check with this small force, and our lines were broken and the men retreated in disorder. About three-fourths of the regiment having reached the crest of the hill, rallied and held the enemy in check for a short time, but could not stand against such an overwhelming force of the enemy, and again fell back. In this stand the enemy were so close to our ranks that their fire burnt the clothes of our men, and while falling back many were captured. Having fallen back to the rear a considerable distance oar lines were again formed and awaited an attack. In the afternoon we were again. ordered to advance with the brigade, and after an obstinate fight drove the enemy from our front, and in a short time unfurled our flag in the camp occupied by us in the morning. In this part of the engagement the enemy were completely routed and fled in every direction. We found our camp totally destroyed by the enemy, losing all of our tents, knapsacks, blankets, haversacks, and rations, leaving the regiment almost entirely destitute of clothing and subsistence, in consequence of which the men have suffered from the effects of the cold weather. In view of this fact, that we were ordered out in light marching order, with not sufficient time to break camp, before the enemy had attacked our position on the left and had broken, our line, rendering it necessary for us to lose no time in getting to the scene of action, I deem it very proper that the men should be remunerated for the losses which they have sustained by the casualties of war in thus being deprived of everything through no neglect of their own.

The casualties in my regiment were 72 in number, a nominal list having been forwarded to your headquarters.

I cannot close this brief report without mentioning with pride the gallant conduct of both officers and men in this severe engagement, ending in the most brilliant victory of the war.

Hoping that this report will meet your approbation, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding

Lieut. B. F. COPELAND,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 2d Div., 19th Army Corps.