Cedar Creek After Action Report, Commander, 34th Massachusetts, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Corps (OR, 43, 381-3)


Newtown, Va., October 20, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry in the engagement near Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864.

About 4 a. m. the regiment was drawn up in line, and soon after picket-firing was heard in the direction of the line occupied by the Fifth Few York Artillery. In a very short time after the enemy was seen in front of the line of breast-works occupied by the First Division, Department of West Virginia, and the regiment immediately engaged in action with the enemy, who delivered a heavy fire into our front and on our right flank opposite the position occupied by the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania. We continued our firing until the enemy were seen inside the breast-work of the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and also over the breast-work of the Fifth Few York Heavy Artillery, vacated by the regiments being on picket duty. Thus surrounded on the right and left, receiving a fire from the right, left, and front, and the force on our right having retired, the order was given to retire, and the regiment became scattered and broken. A portion of the regiment rallied on the hill near Colonel Thoburn's headquarters, and held the enemy in check until an immensely superior force appeared in our front, when the regiment fell back again, and taking the west side of the pike retreated ton ard Middletown. The regiment having become separated, a portion of it, under command of Captain Leach, fell back to Newtown, and were then ordered on duty in town by the provost-marshal of General Sheridan's staff. The other portion of the regiment, under Captain Potter, was joined in with portions of other regiments of Crook's corps, and in the engagement near Middletown in the afternoon were in support of the batteries engaged in action. After the fight was over the portion of the regiment under command of Captain Potter rejoined that part of it at Newtown, where the regiment is now engaged on provost and guard duty.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, (commanding Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

Lieutenant DISOSWAY,

Aide-de-camp First Brig., First Div., Dept. of W. Va.



Newtown, Va., October 24, 1864.

Lieutenant DISOSWAY,

Aide-de-camp, First Brig., First Div., Dept. of W. Va.:

LIEUTENANT: In compliance with Special Orders, No. 37 I have the honor to make the following report:

In the engagement of the 19th instant the officers of this regiment behaved themselves with credit to themselves, and after having been driven from their breast-works in the mornings succeeded in rallying their men together to a very creditable extent. A portion of the regiment having been rallied under Captain Leach was returning to the front from Newtown, when it was stopped by the provost-marshal of General Sheridan's staff and [placed] upon duty in Newtown. The remaining portion of the regiment, under Captain Potter and Lieutenant Blake, participated in the afternoon engagement. One officer, First Lieut. L. W. Van Loan, after reaching the pike in the morning, took conveyance in au ambulance or army wagon, and did not return until the next morning. As an excuse for this act it can be said that he is troubled with sores, which unfit him for marching, and for the past four weeks, in the marching done during that time, Lieutenant Van Loan has been unable to walk and has had to ride in the saddle.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, yours, &c.,


Captain, Commanding Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.