Jesse Sims' report of the Battle of Cedar Creek

Newmarket Va. Oct 27th [1864]

Dear Ned

For several weeks I have intended writing you a short epistle but have had no opportunity to send it by hand and have put it off from time to time until I have at last determined to send it by mail - Ned McGehee told me that you had given my name with several others to Capt. Owens for transfer to his Co. I am very glad you did so & should the attempt be sucessful shall feel myself under many obligations to you -

Of course you have heard of Early's grand fight at Strasburg on the 19th - On the evening of the 18th having determined to attack he sent two divisions around the base of the mountains on our right and held the other three in readiness to attack on front - Everything being ready just before daybreak Bryans Brig. commenced the attack by an assault on a strongly fortified hill on the Yankee left. So sudden & unexpected was the attack and so completely was the enemy surprised that they offered little resistance but fled in confusion leaving their camp standing untouched - all along the line we were sucessful and in an hour the Yankees were beaten from every position we drove them to Middletown about 5 miles distant where they being strongly reinforced again made a stand - Up to this our victory was complete - we had captured more than 20 pieces of artillery many wagons & ambulances 2000 prisoners & nearly all the camp equipage of the 8th & 19th Army Corps - More than half the command seduced by the rich booty of the Yankee Camps went plundering thinking the battle won. Then came their reaction - The Yankees attacking drove our men from the field & in the confusion (we having only one road to retreat by) recaptured nearly all their artillery with many pieces of ours a good many _________________ wagons and ambulances and some prisoners. I was captured but escaped - Of course you know our casualties. As usual we suffered heavily in the 21st 18 killed & 35 wounded out of 125.

Cousin John Sims [Lt. Col. John Hampton Sims, Jr.] was killed instantly he was in com'd of the Brig Col Moody having been wounded early in the action - Donald now commands it & is the only field officer in the Brig

Willie [Sgt. Maj. William Edward Sims] was captured as he was being brought from the field Ned is now on his way to Dr. Jones at Gordonsville Hal is all right - Liet. Phares was shot through the breast and died in a few minutes - Jake Keller died at Hospital Tabor was killed on the field Billy Beach was shot through the head and killed instantly Hugh McMorris Conrad & Whip were killed in E.

Walter Adams thigh was broken & it is probable that he died on the field as he was shot in the retreat and not brought off.

The Division now have a better opinion of Early than they had before the fight - No fight of the war was better planned or executed than was one at Strasburg - of course you are having a good time with the girls at home

Do not neglect to put our transfer through if possible Give my best respects to your father and remember me to all acquaintances

Your friend

Jesse B. Sims


Notes

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