The Battle of Cedar Creek

Painting of the battle of cedar creekEarly on the morning of 19 October 1864, Captain Henry A. du Pont was awakened by the sound of musketry. Not realizing that he was hearing the Confederate surprise attack that opened the Battle of Cedar Creek, du Pont ordered Tucker to bring his horse so that he could go investigate. Du Pont recalled after the battle:

"Although it did not occur to me that we were going into immediate battle, I felt some anxiety while standing in front of my tent waiting for my horse which was promptly brought by Private Charles Tucker… No particular mount having been designated, he brought my grey mare, almost white, which, needless to say, on account of her conspicuous color, would not have been ridden from choice during a general engagement."

1st Lieutenant Henry F. Brewerton, then in command of Battery B, ordered the men to their places and readied his guns for action. Just at that moment, Confederate units began their assault on Battery B's position. Henry du Pont later wrote:

"As the men of Light Battery B were answering to their names at reveille roll call, a tremendous sound of volley firing suddenly burst forth at the entrenchments on the heights above. I immediately sprang upon the horse and galloped in that direction, calling to Tucker, 'Go into the tent and bring my sabre' (this being the last I ever saw of either Tucker or the sabre)…"

Soon after Captain du Pont galloped away, Lieutenant Brewerton loaded his guns and fired a few shots into the advancing Confederates. Realizing that Battery B was in a hopeless position, du Pont ordered Brewerton to roll the guns into a ravine behind their position where they could hitch to their horses and get to safety. Lieutenant Brewerton succeeded in extricating five of the battery's six guns. Soon after getting the cannons to safety, Brewerton, along with Charles Tucker and five other men of the battery, were captured by Confederate troops.

Next >>


Image: "The Battle of Cedar Creek," ca. 1890 (Library of Congress)