Cedar Creek After Action Report, Commander, 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 6th Corps (OR, 43, 250-2)


Report of Col. William U. Ball, One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations October 19.


 October 20, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor of making the following report of the part taken by the Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, in the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864:

The troops were aroused at dawn of day by musketry to our left. Shortly after the lines were formed the command of the brigade devolved upon myself, in consequence of changes resulting from the absence of General Sheridan. The brigade was formed in two lines- the first composed of the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, and a portion of the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania; the second embraced the Sixth Maryland, One hundred and twenty- sixth, One hundred and twenty-second, and One hundred and tenth Ohio; the regiments occupied positions from right to left as named. Before sunrise I received orders to move by the right flank toward the pike. After moving a short distance in that direction orders were received to return to the position from which we had just moved and await orders.Shortly thereafter I was ordered to move in the same manner and direction as before. The brigade moved to an elevation near and in rear of army headquarters, where it came under fire. The lines were faced by the rear rank; the second, now become the first moved forward to meet the advancing foe and hold a crest in front. The troops moved gallantly and drove back the advance of the enemy and became warmly engaged, capturing several prisoners. About this time a large number of' the Nineteenth Army Corps passed through the line and broke its organization. The line could not be reformed at that place in consequence of numbers retreating over the ground. The greater part of the troops of that line collected and formed upon the remaining line. The brigade was then under severe fire from both infantry and artillery. Troops left the field on both my right and left until the brigade was without immediate support. At this critical period the Ninth New York Heavy Artillery behaved with coolness and gallantry. Under orders the troops moved back with great regularity a short distance to another elevation, where they were met by another order to retire to a road half a mile farther to the rear. At the road the position was occupied a few minutes, the troops of the Eighth Army Corps on my left. I was then ordered to move to the left. I did so, connecting with the left of the Eighth Army Corps. Having now no connection on my left, and being in a thick wood of oak and cedar, I directed Captain Prentiss, Sixth Maryland, to protect the left flank by skirmishers. The direction was promptly carried out.

After occupying this position some time I received orders to move to the rear. I did so, the troops of the Eighth Army Corps passing to my left, and took position a mile to the rear of that last occupied. Here we were ordered to move obliquely to the left and rear and connect with the right of the Second Division, Sixth Army Corps. We connected with the right of the Eighth Army Corps at a stone fence in a wood near the pike. Defensive works were hastily constructed of such material as could readily be had, and the troops, it being noon, rested some two hours or more. Lieutenant-Colonel Binkley, One hundred arid tenth Ohio, was ordered to deploy his regiment and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania as skirmishers and advance to the front of the woods in which we were resting and observe the movements of the enemy. An hour after Colonel Brinkley notified me that the enemy were moving on the right of our line in force. An attack was made, but repulsed before extending to my brigade. The skirmishers were exposed to a more or less active fire of musketry. Artillery was also brought to bear on our skirmish line, but without effect. While we were in this position Major-General Sheridan rode along the line from left to right encouraging the men. He was greeted with most enthusiastic clatters by the troops. This was the first assurance the army had of his return. About 3 p. m. the whole army advanced in one line upon the enemy. Immediately before advancing the troops were withdrawn to the left, and my left connected with the Second Division, Sixth Army Corps, while my right connected with the First Brigade, Third Division. We advanced half a mile to the edge of the woods, when we were met by a well-directed fire from the right flank. This fire was returned with spirit some fifteen minutes, when the troops wavered and fell back a short distance in some disorder. The Second and Third Divisions gave way at the same time. The line was speedily reformed and moved forward and became engaged with the enemy again, each force occupying a stone wall. Advantage was taken of a wall or fence running perpendicular to and connecting with that occupied by the enemy. After the action had continued here about three-quarters of an hour a heavy volley was fired at the enemy from the transverse wall. A hurried and general retreat of the enemy immediately followed, and our troops eagerly followed, firing upon the retreating army as it ran, and giving no opportunity to the enemy to reform or make a stand.

Several efforts were made by the enemy during the pursuit to rally but the enthusiastic pursuit foiled all such efforts. Our troops were subject to artillery fire of solid shot, shell, and grape during the pursuit, and we reached the intrenchments of the Nineteenth Army Corps (which were captured in the morning) as the sun set. Here the pursuit by the infantry was discontinued. The first and second, and probably the third, colors planted on the recovered works of the Nineteenth Army Corps were of regiments composing this brigade.

Lieut. John A. Gump, of the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general on brigade staff, fell mortally wounded early in the action. Lieutenant Gump was a gallant officer. Lieutenant Kuhn, Sixth Maryland, acting aide-de-camp on brigade staff, fell seriously, if not mortally, wounded in the afternoon. Second Lieutenant Wiley, One hundred and tenth Ohio, acting aide-de-camp on brigade staff, was captured by the enemy while returning from the ammunition train to his brigade. He was a gallant and daring officer. Through the entire day the conduct of Lieut. Jonathan T. Rorer, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, acting assistant inspector-general on brigade staff, was most gallant and efficient. All the staff' officers of the brigade are entitled to commendation.

The following is a list of the casualties that occurred in the brigade during the action :

Regiment Killed Wounded Missing Aggregrate
Officers Men Officers Men Officers Men

126th Ohio Volunteers








110th Ohio Volunteers








122d Ohio Volunteers








6th Maryland Volunteers








138th Pennsylvania Volunteers








9th New York Heavy Artillery








67th Pennsylvania Volunteers









Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

  W. H. BALL

Colonel 122d Ohio Vol. Infty., Temporarily Comdg. Second Brig.


Capt. A. J.SMITH,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Div., Sixth Corps.