Page:A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America.djvu/104

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100
BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK.

arms in an open field, when a battery of artillery was run out suddenly and opened on this division, scattering it in great confusion. The enemy then displayed a huge force, and sent a division across the creek to capture the guns which had opened on him, but, when it had advanced near enough, Conner's brigade of Kershaw's division was sent forward to meet this division, and, after a sharp contest, drove it hack in considerable contusion and with severe loss. Conner's brigade behaved very handsomely indeed, but unfortunately, after the enemy had been entirely repulsed, Brigadier-General Conner, a most accomplished and gallant officer, lost his leg by a shell from the opposite side of the creek. Some prisoners were taken from the enemy in this affair, and Colonel Wells, the division commander, fell into our hands mortally wounded. The object of the reconnoissance having been accomplished, I moved back to Fisher's Hill, and I subsequently learned that the 6th Corps had started for Grant's army but was brought back after this affair.

I remained at Fisher's Hill until the 16th observing the enemy, with the hope that he would move back from his very strong position on the north of Cedar Creek, and that we would be able to get at him in a different position; but he did not give any indications of an intention to move, nor did he evince any purpose of attacking us, though the two positions were in sight of each other. In the meantime there was some skirmishing at Hupp's Hill, and some with the cavalry at Cedar Creek on the Back Road. On the 16th Rossers scouts reported a brigade of the enemy's cavalry encamped on the Back Road, and detached from the rest of his force, and Rosser was permitted to go that night, with a brigade of infantry mounted behind the same number of cavalry, to attempt the surprise and capture of the camp. He succeeded in surrounding and surprising the camp, but it proved to be that of only a strong picket, the whole of which was captured—the brigade having moved its location.

At light on the morning of the 17th, the whole of my troops were moved out in front of our lines, for the purpose of covering Rosser's return in case of difficulty, and, after he had