Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Cedar Creek Battlefield Reenactment
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
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October 17-19, 2008
October 19, 1864
Our humble little band had arrived piece meal here in the valley on Friday afternoon and evening. Many had arrived before us, so the camp of the Third Regiment was well established upon our arrival, and that indeed was a good thing, since setting camp is hard enough in the dark, when direction is needed for many. Our sublime camps were down to the bottom of the hills, along the tree line and the rail line, and the pleasant little creek close by.
The Irish boys had erected a fine fly for our headquarters, and the major was well ensconced in a wedge hard by to the right, so, Sergeant major and I went hard left. The weather was fine, but cool and breezy, so that bode for a colder night here between the mountains. Extra wool blankets were pulled from the wagons as insurance against the temperatures. We made the rounds, and assessed the health of the regiment and their supplies. Gen. Waffler directed the officers to his Headquarters for an evening meeting, and all was laid out for the next few days affairs.
Revielle came before full light, and so the candles were lit and the morning reports were gathered. The consolidated showed 68 officers and men in three line companies with Capts. Peacock, Hane, and Bryda, presiding. Major Herzog assembled his troops, and promised to serve the regiment well, and uphold Col. Buffington's honor. He promised not to get more than half of us killed in any engagements. Breakfasts were had, and fatigue details attended. We had a short formation, broke off the companies to drill, then formed for a short battalion drill on close column, deployments, and our favorite, battalion wheels. For those doubting souls, that is in column of companies.
The mid morning, we fell into a brigade column and marched to a brigade parade in columns of companies. The parade came off without a hitch, and was quite short. The fourth column of the brigade was of mounted cavalry, and they were well dressed, and the sights were sublime. I was very impressed with the whole affair, and so were all the rest.
We retired back to our camps for a time, and squared away our streets under the OOD Lt. Jones, and latter that day OOD Lt. Tuohy. Dinner was a fine one of boiled hams and pickles for the staff. Thanks to the Irish once more. There was circulated from command a warning that the water was contaminated, and that several soldiers were suffering dropsy. The warnings were later countermanded when it was found that the victims were drinking from the stream below the cavalry camp.
Around 2.00 P.M. the brigade was formed in line and marched for the south in column. We were portrayling the First West Virginia Vols. and the battle of Berryville. We came into brigade line, and put out Brady's as skirmishers. Once the enemy made his appearance to our right, the skirmishers engaged briefly, and when the rebel lines started closing on us, we opened upon them. We were fully occupied to our front, but could see that a rebel battalion had punched through the cavalry fight, rounded the far left Union flank, and was rolling it up, coming towards our rear. So much for the Berryville scenario, over before it started. We were also aware of another rebel battalion, closing quickly on our right flank. About that time, the skirmishers made a very fast, and unashamed running retreat for the rear before the window of opportunity slammed shut on their lives. Our battalion had no inclination or opportunity. We took it as long as we could, but then got mowed down to the man. Major Herzog was certainly an over achiever. But, as was pointed out by Lt. Tuohy, the brain eating zombies all went hungary.
The dead were risen, and marched back to camps. The afternoon and evening were passed in comfort and pleasure. Suppers were got up, and all was well. The night was also spent around the fires, and good comrades talked, sang, and enjoyed the fine environs both inside and outside their cups.
The night indeed was cold, and many were up and down to the fires all night. Capt. Bryda lead a band of volunteers on the dawn patrol, and had contact with the enemy not far from camp, but that turned out as only a small threat, so they returned with the reports.
I was kicked awake by the sergeant major, as is his habit, to him telling me it snowed! I jumped up and out, and the ground surrounding was surely thick with a heavy killing frost. It seems the report was that the mercury had dropped to 26 degrees over night. Quite cold indeed. We made the morning reports once more, and passed two to brigade. One for immediate review, a report covered with zeroes, based on the previous day's massacre. The other the number for duty today. Another fine showing. In camp, the Sunday breakfasts were made, and the 56 Penn. Vols. won it all with the worlds largest "canteen half" and a "pork fest" that beat them all.
The brigade conducted a battalion dress parade before the church services began, and the total count for duty was reported as 255 officers and men. Bully, the United States Volunteers!
About dinner time, we were sitting and talking. Sgt. Lynes came around and offered some bread, eggs, and other surpluses. One Pvt. Brown was offered an egg. He inquired as to the condition of the egg, and Sgt. tells him "free". We all laughed, and then Pvt. Brown inquired if Sgt. might have some salt for the egg, and at that, Sgt. turned and walked away. We all howled at the scene.
The brigade formed and marched again at about 1.30 P.M. We marched for the camps on the south end of the battlefield to simulate the union getting pushed out of camps by the rebel dawn surprise attack. Well, they determined not to set us in or near the camps so we went into line on the last crest before the camps, skirmishers out, stacked arms, and rested as well as any union anywhere. After a time, a cannon roared, and the panic was on. We stood to our color line, took arms, and covered by the skirmishers for a time, received our orders from command. we got off a volley or three, prior to fleeing or retiring, depending on which report you are reading, and took a stand before the gully in front of the Heater house. We were pushed from there, and stood once more on the tree line by the Heater house, then were pushed to the rear all the way to the line of guns, then beyond, before halting to rest. There, we witnessed a single horseman ride by at a trot, with a guidon. It turns out that was THE Gen. Sheridan, and so we were all now highly motivated to go back in the fight. We formed in line, passed the guns to the front, came on line once more, fired a volley or two, when the cease fire was sounded. It turned out a wounded rebel was kicked in the head by a rebel courier's horse. He was evacuated, and the fight was on once more. Major Herzog went down, so Capt. Bryda took over, and lead the boys charging up the hill to regain our earlier losses. All was well, the rebels sent in flight, and the cheers raised in the valley. All came to quiet, and, hats were removed for a time of silence.
Then came the annual last stagger to the car park, happy, tired, and all together pleased with another Cedar Creek that always lives up to its expectations.
We all came through on the cars in good time, and will now gather rest and strength for the next season's campaign.
Lincoln & Liberty,
All for the Union,
Your humble servant,
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.