Cedar Creek After Action Report, Commander, Battery B, 5th U.S. Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 8th Corps (OR, 43, 419-21)


Near Cedar Creek, Va., October 29,1861.

CAPTAIN: In the absence of all the officers on duty with Battery B, Fifth U. S. Artillery, on the morning of the 19th instant, killed or captured by the enemy in the engagement of that date at Cedar Creek, Va., I respectfully transmit the following report of the part taken by this battery on that occasion, in addition to my report of the artillery as a whole:

The battery (six 3-inch rifled ordnance guns) was in position on the extreme right of the line, behind earth-works, on the crest of a steep ridge to the left of the pike rising abruptly from the banks of Cedar Creek. Behind this ridge and parallel to it is a second one, which commands it somewhat; this was not occupied by troops. In the ravine between these ridges, about 120 yards from the battery, was the camp, with the caissons, horses, harnesses, battery wagon and forge, and the train. Upon the sudden attack of the enemy before daylight on the morning of the 19th First Lieut. Henry F. Brewerton, Fifth U. S. Artillery, who was in command of the battery had the men all ready and on the alert, and immediately ordered the guns to be loaded with canister; but the enemy not attacking on his front, but some 300 yards to his left, I ordered him to fire some shots, if possible, toward the point of attack. He succeeded in getting a few shots in that direction from the two pieces of his center section. The infantry on the left, then breaking and abandoning their works (which were at once occupied by the enemy), Lieutenant Brewerton turned the two pieces of his left section upon them know within the works), and fired at them with canister until they had advanced to within twenty-five paces of his guns, when he ceased firing and ran the pieces by hand down the hill to the caissons. The limbers he was compelled to leave. The infantry fell back before he moved the guns, and failed to assist the cannoneers in getting them down, though asked to do so. Meantime the drivers of the battery and train at the foot of the hill, with horses unhitched and unharnessed and tied to the picket-rope at the moment of the attack stood manfully to their posts, with but few exceptions, and with the utmost steadiness and gallantry harnessed and hitched up their teams under a heavy fire. When the guns arrived at the caissons in the ravine the intrenchments on the heights above to the front and left not 150 yards distant, were occupied by the enemy, who also held the second parallel ridge directly in rear, thus surrounding them on three sides. In this position they fortunately halted for a few minutes, evidently to reform their lines. It was now just daylight, but a heavy mist prevented their seeing the prize in their very grasp, and they contented themselves while reforming on the heights above with pouring a heavy musketry and artillery fire in the ravine, most of which passed over. A number of horses were, however, shot. Profiting by this fortunate circumstance the train of seven wagons and ambulances, the forge and battery wagon, moved out on the left and reached the pike. Lieutenant Brewerton at the same time had the caissons- unlimbered and limbered up to the pieces, all of which he succeeded in getting off with the exception of one, which entangled in some trees at the foot of the hill and delayed by a gully in getting it to the caissons was unavoidably abandoned. The limber belonging to its caisson was, however, brought off safely. Here Lieutenant Brewerton, who was at the rear of the column with one non-commissioned officer and several privates, were taken prisoners by the enemy. At the same time Second Lieut. Samuel D. Southworth, Second U. S. Artillery, the only other officer on duty with the battery except Lieutenant Brewerton, was killed. In him the service lost a brave, intelligent, and faithful officer. The column, now much scattered, moved rapidly up the pike, under a heavy fire, beyond Middletown, some of the carriages narrowly escaping capture near Middletown by the enemy's cavalry, who succeeded in picking up one of the drivers of the captured limbers with his team. At a distance of nearly a mile from the camp the battery wagon, then passing the left of the Nineteenth Corps, was lost, three of the Six horses being killed and the driver wounded. The infantry falling back nothing could be done but to bring off the remaining three horses. The battery (five pieces) was now joined by Second Lieuts. Charles Holman and B. F. Nash, Fifth U. S. Artillery, the latter having just arrived from Winchester on his return from detached service, and was moved back to the front by my order and put in position on the left of the pike, where it fired with good effect upon the enemy's artillery The enemy falling. back, and the supply of ammunition in the limbers becoming scant, I directed it all to be placed in those of two pieces which I sent forward and placed in position to the left of the pike about half a mile to the front, firing with marked effect at the enemy, who were posted at a point of woods near Middletown. The three other pieces were sent back to the ammunition train to fill their limber-chests. The enemy being again forced back. and the other pieces having returned, the battery moved forward at a trot up the pike through Middletown, and when within half a mile from Cedar Creek took the gallop and went in position on the heights above the stream to the right of the pike, and at once opened with great precision upon the enemies column, the rear of which was not more than 600 yards distant, and which was in full view for a mile beyond. The firing was kept up till dark with blue me marked effect.

The casualties during the day were 1 commissioned officer (Lieutenant Southworth) killed, 1 commissioned officer (Lieutenaut Brewerton) taken prisoner, 2 enlisted men wounded, 6 taken prisoners, and 1 missing.

The battery lost 1 gun and 6 caissons, battery wagon, and 7 sets of harness for two horses. The battery wagon, 3 caissons, with the rear part of a fourth were recaptured at the close of the day. The total loss in horses was 25—10 killed, 2 wounded, and 13 captured by the enemy. Two hundred and forty-five rounds of ammunition were expended by the battery during the day.

In conclusion, I would respectfully call attention to the coolness and gallantry evinced under the most trying circumstances by the officers with the battery at the commencement of the engagement—First Lieut. Henry F. Brewerton, Fifth U. S. Artillery, and Second Lieut. Samuel D. Southworth, Second U. S. Artillery—as well as to the zeal, courage, and splendid conduct of all the non-commissioned officers of the battery without exception. I would particularly mention First Sergt. James A. Webb, in charge of the caissons and horses at the moment of the attack; Quartermaster-Sergt. Robert Sauthoff; Sergt. Charles R. Rogers, stable-sergeant of the battery; Sergt. Willard A. Petrie, and Corporal of ordnance Michael Kelly. The steadiness and brave conduct of the enlisted men in general could not be excelled. I would specially name Privates James Scott, John Daines, Joseph S. Kingsbury, L. H. Grow, Eugene Marker, Alonzo Tompkins, Peter Riley, Edward G. Weaver, Edgar H. Stone, William J. Shellenbarger, William S. Safford, and Wagoner Michael A. Schadt.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,


Captain, Fifth U. S. Artillery, Commanding Battery B,

Chief of Artillery, Army of West Virginia.

[Capt. R. P. KENNEDY,

Assistant Adjutant-General.]