goes to Fort Thayer in the same range. On the 18th, Company
G marched to Fort Bunker Hill, recalling the early days of
1862. Company L marched the same day to Fort Totten, just
a little to the northwest. The location and view are admira-
ble. The U. S. Military Asylum is only a short distance away,
and is visited by many.
Though there is every indication of an early departure,
measurements are made for targets, just as though all were to
remain here the rest of the season. Soon after midnight of the
23d of September came the orders that were to send the four
companies to join their fellows in the valley. With three days'
cooked rations, all the men are off before daylight for Wash-
ington, which they reach at 7 A. M. Breakfast is had at Sol-
diers' Rest, and during the forenoon cars are taken on the
Baltimore & Ohio railroad station for Harper's Ferry. Prog-
THIRD BATTALION, PETERSBURG TO HARRISONBURG. 161
ress is slow, for it is iiot till the middle of the afternoon that
the Eelay House is reached. (The writer recalls that in war
times he once jumped off a movinf; train on this section, and
back again, to prove that he could run faster than the train
^lonocacy Junction is seen at sunset, and night has settled
down when the Ferry appears. It is on record that the train
stopped so suddenly here that several men of Company I, riding
on top of a car, were tumbled off into the canal by whose side
the halt was made. Luckily no serious injury was suffered,
wherein they were more fortunate than a certain Massachu-
setts regiment, which had several men drowned in this same
place and manner. Marching across the Potomac, a bivouac
is made on Bolivar Heights. From the 24th to the 27th the
men lie here while final preparations are made for their depar-
ture. They do not know the scoldings received by their officers
from still higher ones because this or that was not done. It
is all the same in military â€” leave out the bickerings and fault-
findings, and there would be a remarkable shrinkage in records.
While here on Sunday a raw German regiment with bright
new uniforms camped beside us. A cake-i)eddler came to camp
and stopped between the two commands to sell his goods. Some
mischievous scamp upset his wagon, and cakes covered the
ground and rolled about in profusion. A general stampede
for a supply of cakes was inaugurated, and soon every man in
sight, Dutchman and Yankee, was crunching cakes. Shortly
after the catastrophe happened, a report was circulated through
our camp that the Dutchmen had two of our men bucked and
gagged in punishment for tipping over the peddler's vehicle.
This created great indignation among our men, and a howl
went up for dire vengeance on the "fresh fish" for their audac-
ity. Our commander. Major William Wood, and some line-
officers repaired to the guard-house of the Germans, and found
the report too true. A peremptory demand was made for our
men. followed with a threat of summary punishment if not com-
plied with in twenty minutes.
The German oflScers began to get scared; they gathered in a
bunch near their guard-house and jabbered and gesticulated
in Dutch and watched our men "falling in." Soon their colonel
sent over and asked for an armistice; this request was indig-
nantly spurned. The twenty minutes' time allowed was about
162 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
up, the officers were taking their places presumably to do some-
thing awful when a shout went up. and the imprisoned cake
fiends came walking over to our camp. So much for bluff!
Some of the men find old acquaintances in the ISlth New
York, a battalion of which is encamped near. Harper's Ferry
is visited. The scenes of John Brown's raid are inspected, and
Sheridan's captured cannon from the valley admired.
The starting on the 27th is slow, going just about one mile
before dinner to the westward and then wait awhile; later we
take up the line of march, passing through Charlestown at 5
P. M.. of course realizing all the John Brown memories that the
place was sure to excite. The march of the 28th is a long and
hard one, with the added duty of guarding a wagon-train, liable
at any moment to prove a serious affair, for Moseby and his
men came and went like the wind. The start is made at sun-
rise, and the route is to the west and south through Smithfield
and Bunker Hill to Winchester, and camp is made late in the
afternoon south of the city and twenty-two miles from the
starting-place. The next day the march is resumed at sunrise
and extends through the valley villages of Newtown, Middle-
town and Strasburg, five miles beyond which a camping-place
is found. It was a long and tedious trip, passing en route the
battlefield of Fisher's hill, where on the 22d Sheridan had
beaten Early. The day's jaunt covered nearly or quite twenty-
five miles. Mount Jackson is fully twenty miles away, and the
companies move at daylight September 30th. Many burned
railroad bridges are passed, and all note the absence of able-
bodied men in the places threaded â€” only children, aged men,
and women of all ages, the latter sour in visage and saucy in
spirit. Thus Woodstock and Edinburg are seen, only brief halts
being made on the forced march. Nightfall finds a cami)ing-
place west of Mount Jackson. The men begin to realize the
possibilities of a trip through an enemy's country, and regale
themselves on the few chickens left by those who had preceded
October signalized its advent by a hard, cold rain, but it did
not prevent the march, which, beginning at 8 A. M.. continued
through the mud and wet till 9 P. M.. terminating near Harri-
sonburg. New Market is passed, where in the preceding May.
lijth day. the rebels under Breckinridge had beaten Sigel. driv-
ing him and his men back to Strasburg. resulting in his super-
Major General H. c:. Wkioht.
DreVt Mai. cknkhal James B. Rhketts. Hrevt Maj. Generai, .1. \V\rhen Keifeh.
THE VALLEY AND CEDAE CREEK. 163
sedure by Hunter. The country seems all aflame, for Sheridan
is carrying out his orders to make the valley less desirable for
Richmond raids. Forage of all descriptions, grain and barns
are destroyed and stock is driven off. It is a melancholy sight;
but it is war. Roast pig, not cooked according to Charles
Lamb's formula, but nevertheless exceedingly palatable, tick-
les the taste of some of the boys, on the day's march. It is said
that Sheridan's headquarters are only two miles away. While
there is an abundance of water in the air, there is very little
to be had for drinking purposes. The 2d is Sunday, and a
needed rest is had in camp, the only drawback a lack of water.
Food is abundant, both in the way of rations and from local
sources. The senior captain in the battalion buys an eight-
dollar horse; doubtless he had a premonition of his approach-
ing promotion, and he wanted to be ready. Some of the boys
from the other companies of the Ninth make friendly calls.
The .3d day of October ends the separate career of the .3d Bat-
talion, for on this day it moves up and reports to Major Bur-
gess, in command of the other two. In the morning a portion
of the battalion, 225 men, was set to guard certain prisoners,
while the remainder, 453 men with eleven officers, reported to
the regiment. For several months the twelve companies will
march, bivouac, light, suffer and rejoice together.
The Valley and Cedar Creek.
"There is perhaps no fairer land beneath the sun than
that section of Virginia called the Great Valley."
D. H. Strother, "Porte Crayon."
Himself a native of Martinsburg, which might be called the
extreme northern end of the valley, he may be said to have had
the hallowed associations of childhood to bias his judgment, but
those not to the manor born have fully agreed in his opinion.
Visitors from all parts of the world have unconsciously ex-
pressed the same sentiment. It is all the more pleasurable in
quoting the words of General Strother to note that he served
in the Union army throughout the war.
164 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
Of the thousands who followed "Phil" Sheridan up and down
the valley, there were very few who failed to note its sur-
passing beauty. While blistered feet and empty stomachs are
not conducive to aesthetic observations, even these could not
restrain the eye as it rested on wooded peak, sinuous river and
fertile fields. Everywhere nature had spread her gifts with
lavish hands, and passing events were to give to these ways
and hills and acres a gloss like that which gilds the noted spots
of the Eastern world.
Tliese soldiers in blue and gray were shuttles in a mighty
loom, whose beams and posts were the roads and hills of this
fair land; the woof, the principles for which they fought, and
as they alternately shot back and forth the fabric of history
grew, woven of successive threads of varying hue mingled with
crimson red, their own life's blood, till the mighty web seemed
a veritable tapestry on which we might read deeds of valor,
tales of endurance and suffering and love of native land alike
creditable to all. The pictures anon seem to breathe, and we
see starting into action the brave men who here gave them-
selves to this national texture. Russell and Rodes, Lowell and
Ramseur, with the thousands of lesser rank who unshrinkingly
offered themselves to adorn its surface â€” all these are seen by
every eye that glances over the mighty work which they ac-
complished, and posterity, generations yet unborn, shall see
in the product of their labors that for which they gave their
lives, liberty for all. Those who died from Winchester to
Staunton died not in vain. They live, and must forever live.
It is probable that living upon the enemy never had a more
thorough illustration than on the part of our boys in their
valley experience. What they could not tell of foraging and
"drawing" sujiplies. would not be worth telling. While Sher-
man's "Bummers" may have done a larger business, they did
not have such a variety of resources, nor so rich a base of
opeiiitious. Notwithstanding the almost ceaseless activity of the
army, the men found time to inspect every nook and cranny
of the country. They devised or appropriated cooking utensils
till they were ready to i)repaie any dish from fried pork to a
plum pudding. They developed culinary talent that would have
astonished the women at home. It would .seem that aside from
the duty of fighting and chasing rebels, they became little bet-
ter than organized stomachs. One veteran, who kept his diary
THE VALLEY AND CEDAR ('KEEK. 165
tlii'oiifili the entire enlistment, says: "As I read over these
words written so lonji ajjo. I almost blush at the reflection
that I recorded little else than what I had to eat.'' After all,
has not General Sherman said, "An army moves on its belly"?
The harder and fiercer the strife, the nearer man reverts to
that early period in his history when, with his fellow animals,
he struggled for mere existence. The culture of ages disap-
pears, mind yields to matter, the body asserts itself, and that
upon which it may subsist is the prime consideration.
Rations* as furnished by the government were well enough
to fall back upon under pressure, but for daily consumption
the country itself afforded what the soldiers liked far better.
In taking these items there was little question of the suffering
that might be caused by such an appropriation, yet these men
had helpless families at home; in many cases they were pro-
fessed Christians; but war, cruel, relentless war, transforms
those who engage in it. Hungry men do not moralize.
Behold a camp scene! The fuel used is in many cases the
farmers" fences. In one instance the hapless possessor said,
''That is the third fence destroyed on that same line within
the last three months; secesh and Union, they both act just
the same." There was nothing so handy for placing pots, cups,
spiders and kettles as a pile of rails, and how the Virginia
rail-fences would burn! They had been drying for generations
for just this purpose, and no man more quickly realizes the
eternal fitness of things than the soldier in active warfare.
From our first entrance of this happy land, fruit and vegetables
have been at their best. Green corn was in a state to keep
Indians' feet dancing, and all the stock had not been driven
away. From the mills and houses raw flour was secured, fowls
were stolen, and chicken potpie was by no means a rarity.
Boiled dinners, including the orthodox cabbage and salt pork,
were frequent, and for side dishes honey and preserves were
the rule. For the proper preparation of such dishes, heavy
â€¢An army ration as issued on the march consisted of 12 ounces
of pork or bacon, or IJ pounds of fresh beef, or 1 pound 6 ounces of
salt beef; 1 pound of hard bread. Fifteen pounds of beans for 100
rations, 8 pounds of roasted coffee, or 2 pounds of tea, for 100 rations;
15 pounds of sugar and 4 pounds of soap for 100 rations. Beef was
driven on foot. In camp near supplies, flour or soft bread was
issued in place of hard-tack when asked for, and rice in place of beans,
and vinegar, pepper and desiccated vegetables in addition.
NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
kettles were carried in addition to the regular warlike accou-
trements, the members of a mess by pairs taking turns in
transporting. Of course the kettle itself was at first stolen,
and not infrequently stolen again by some envious mess in
another portion of the force. It was, "Every man for himself,
and the d â€” 1 take the hindmost."
Some new dishes were devised, one something like the home
succotash without the beans; corn in the milk cut from the cob,
cooked in water or milk, and stirred until thick; then corn a
little older would be rubbed upon a grater made by punching
holes in a stolen milk-pan. This when cooked was an improve-
ment on samp, or coarse Indian meal. The valley cows sup-j
plied the natural accompaniment. Eggs were cooked in every]
conceivable way. We made biscuits, too, but, "How could youl
raise them?"' says some careful housewife; easy enough for an]
inventive Yankee who knew just a little of chemistry. Wood]
ashes boiled for a while supplied the potash base of saleratus,!
and a few drops of vinegar did the acid business, at home done]
by sour milk, and a covered spider was oven enough. Had]
wives at home only known the talents of their benedicts, many]
would have demanded a culinary vacation, at least for a while]
when the war was over.
"An army terrible with banners," was not to be mentioned]
with the 6th Corps when it had on its war and cooking togs.
Guns and ammunition were useful on occasion, but when the]
real necessaries of life were mentioned, they were not in it with!
the blackened coffee-cup tied to the haversack, the leaf or grasaj
cleaned skillet, with soot-covered exterior, suspended from the]
stalwart back forming a sort of rear armor, and the tenderly-
watched camp-kettle borne by sometimes wearied hands. If I
they do not carry Caesar and his fortunes, they surely bear!
that which has to do with the meat upon whicli Great Caesar]
October 4th still in camp, with conflagrations in every direc-
tion; much family history is disappearing in this ruthless way,]
but war's demands are heartless. One boy records that hej
paid $15 in Confederate money for five pounds of cheese. It is J
a comforting reflection that even one purchase was made.
Owing to the reunion of the regiment, a rearrangement ofl
battalions is made, and Major AYilliam Wood commands the]
Ist, Captain Hyde the 2d, and Captain A. S. Wood the 3d.
THE VALLEY AND CEDAR CREEK. 167
Colonel Seward lias become a brigadier general, with Lead-
quarters at Martinsbnrg; Lieutenant Colonel Taft, promoted
to colonel, is unable to be with us on account of the loss of a
leg at Monocacj; Major Snyder, now lieutenant colonel, is
away on furlough, and Major Burgess commands the regiment.
Companies G, K, I. and D are in the 1st Battalion. We are
a long way from our base of supplies. Our wagons, not numer-
ous enough for our needs, are attacked in every train. Guard-
ing trains is no sinecure.
Nothing can be found of the enemy in front, so the lost
third of the Ninth comes up just in time to fall back with us,
for on the 6th we retire twenty-two miles with very little halt-
ing, having started at daylight, and camp near Mount Jackson.
The air is tilled with the smoke of burning property. The Ninth
leading the 3d Division, we march more easily than those be-
hind. We occupy old rebel rifle-pits.
It was on this day's march that one of our boys, with foot
so swollen that he could not wear a boot, had fallen out, and
was fully an hour behind the regiment. The sun was an hour
high when the sight of three cows aroused an appetite for milk.
Though far behind and very weary, he determined to have milk
for supper. Two bossies were impervious to his blandishments,
but the third yielded and a full cup rewarded his efforts. Sit-
ting on the corner of a rail-fence with crumbed hardtack, he
played he was a boy again. Just then an oflBcer rode up, say-
ing, "What in h â€” 1 are you doing there? There are rebs in
those woods, and you will be gobbled before morning." At
this announcement a lively fusilade from the woods made the
rider put spurs to his horse and disappear. "I finished my
meal in peace ; never had bread and milk tasted so good before,
and strengthened by the same I pushed on, unmolested further
by the Johnnies, and just as the sun passed over the mountain^
I caught up with my comrades."
The next day we continued our retrograde movement, though
slowly, through Mount Jackson and Woodstock, camping a
little north of the town. As bridges had been burned, all
streams had to be forded. A cloud of smoke accompanies us,
betokening ill to the inhabitants. The hours of the 8th see us
marching back to Strasburg, passing Fisher's hill, and camping
on tiat land by the river-side, where we meet the postmaster
for the first time since leaving Harper's Ferry.
168 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
Sunday, the 9th, is spent in camp, and the paymaster. Major
Ely, makes the day happy for some of the companies. On this
same 9th there is fighting back of us; men, wagons and guns
are captured. It was a short, sharp conflict at Tom's brook
between our cavalry and that of the enemy under Rosser, a
new leader, who instead of clearing the valley of our forces
lost nearly everything that he had. It may have been here
that coming into Early's presence with laurel leaves upon his
hat, the older officer remarked, "A pumpkin-vine would be
more appropriate." "How so, General?" said Rosser. "Because
it's so d â€” d good at running."
The morning of the 10th reveals the first frost of the season,
and while it may injure corn, it will surely ripen persimmons.
March near middle of forenoon north to Middletown, thence
deflected to the southeast, reaching Front Royal in the after-
noon. It was just before this march that a 1st sergeant of the
Ninth stole two very fine white geese, one of which he and his
friends cooked and ate, but "forward" orders came too early
to secure the second in like manner. So the goose became a
part of the officer's baggage as they marched away, reposing
upon the shoulders soon to wear lieutenant's straps. For once
the bird was too heavy, or as the writer expressed, "He was
not up or down to my standard of leanness, so he was presented
to the commander's orderly, who carried him to our journey's
end; there he was cooked and served, and I came in for a good
share of him, though not in a perfectly legitimate way, for 1
did not dine with the major." Here on the 11th more compa-
nies were paid, for six months, the first money received since
leaving the defenses, and the most of it was sent home. Some
of the men were ordered out to drive away guerrillas who were
prowling about the camp, but being well mounted, they had
little difficulty in escaping. Foraging is very good, and life isj
October 12th is signalized by the arrival of Lieutenant CoI4
onel Snyder, who brought numerous commissions with him.
Pi'oinotion in war-time is rapid. Camp is moved across the
small creek on whose banks we had paused, and a bridge is
built in the rain by our workmen. The next day we march
towards Ashby's gap. the rumor being that we are going to
Alexandria, but the orders are countermanded on reaching the
THE VALLEY AND CEDAR CREEK. 169
rirer, so we conutermarch and encamp near Millwood.* An
apple-orcliard near by renders the camp all the more pleasant,
for the fruit is the best yet sampled. War knows neither night
nor day, for it is 3 o'clock A. M. of the 14th when we rouse,
fall in, and start away on a march, striking the Winchester pike
at Newtown and terminating at Cedar creek, where we form in
battle-line, the enemy being in evidence; but as nothing comes
of it, we go into camp. The next day came nearly 300 recruits,
who were distributed through the several companies. Our
camp is moved a short distance and tents are pitched regularly.
The enemy can be seen plainly beyond Fisher's hill cutting
trees, and apparently planting batteries.
The 16th is Sunday, and we are ordered under arms between
3 and 4 A. M., as an attack is expected; but it does not come.
Sergeant Devoe of Company G, who later became our chaplain,
gave us a sermon. Monday is cool, and our recruits get their
first drill. Great vigilance is had, for an attack is imminent.
Kotwithstanding the danger, the regular purveyors go out
after food, and return with the proverbial mutton. Among the
seekers were some of the new recruits, and one, only a lad,
records his inability to hit a turkey; says they started at 9 A.
M. and got back at 5 in the afternoon. Thinks they must have
gone ten miles, and is sure that they took everything that was
out of doors and they happened to want. Wonders how the
folks in York state would like such usage. The 18th saw a
general effort to secure wood for fuel, fence-rails having long
since disappeared; battalion drill with enemy in sight; other-
By many the 19th of October is considered the most impor-
*Since the war we have learned that Sheridan sent the 6th Corps to
Front Royal with the expectation of returning us to Washington by
the Manassas Gap railroad then being repaired. As, however, repairs
had ceased, he ordered us up to Ashby's gap, and General Wright's
horse was in the Shenandoah when the countermarching order was
received. The enemy had reappeared in force at Fisher's hill, and
therefrom was sending out attacking parties, evidently under the im-
pression that the main army was much smaller than it was before.
Sixth Corps veterans cannot be blamed that they are proud over
Sheridan's conclusion that their retention was necessary to the success
of his campaign, though their return meant resumption of long
marches, and the horrors as well as glory of Cedar Creek. The wis-
dom of this reversal of our movements was evident when Early moved
out on that morning walk of October 19th.
170 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
tant day in the history of the regiment, for within its hours
was fought the great Battle of Cedar Creek.* On the 15th, in
obedience to oi'der.s from Washington, Sheridan had departed
thither, via Front Royal and Manassas gap. On his return he
reached Winchester between 3 and 4 P. M. on the 18th, and
reports from the front, where General H. G. Wright was in
command, being reassuring, he remained there over night. At
6 the next morning, he was roused with statements that heavy
firing was heard from the south, but it was not till nearly 9
o'clock that he mounted Rienzi and started armyward. Even
then he had no intimation of the disaster that had befallen
In brief, the situation on the banks of Cedar creek, this Octo-
ber morning, was as follows: Of the main infantry. General
Crook with his 8th Corps, the same men who had so gallantly
turned the rebel left tlank at Winchester and Fisher's hill,
held our left and the valley pike facing east and south, and
having intrenchments. Then towards the right came the IDth
Corps, General Emory, facing south and along the high banks
of the creek. Here also were earthworks, the corps being con-
siderably further to the north than the 8th.
Again towards the right and north, almost at right angles
with the l!)th, was the (ith Corps. We faced the stream and
looked westward. Of this corps, the 2d Division held the right,
the 1st the centre, and the 3d the left. The 2d Cavalry flanked
the infantry, with Custer on the right of the 6th Corps, and