Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1864 Oct. 19: Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery, at Cedar Creek

The day following the discharge of Stephan Slane, Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery was involved in action near Cedar Creek in Virginia. While not a part of the Chandler family documents, I have included Captain Gibbs’ report of the action as an example of the dangers faced by Stephan Slane while fighting as a soldier in the Union Army. It is doubtful Stephan Slane participated in the action reported below.


“Headquarters, Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery. Camp near Cedar Creek, Virginia, October 25, 1864.

“Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by Battery L, First Ohio Light Artillery, in the engagement of October 19, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Virginia.

“Just before daylight on the morning of Wednesday, October 19, 1864, while in camp on the north bank of Cedar Creek, with my Runs in position on the crest of a hill on the east side of the Pike overlooking the creek, I was aroused by a straggling fire of musketry on my left and front. I immediately ordered my commoners to their post and the horses to be harnessed. During this time stragglers from the left, in large numbers, were passing through my camp, reporting the capture by the enemy of the artillery and earth-works on my left. Captain Dupont soon after arrived, ordering one section of my battery to take position on a high cleared point to the rear of my position, and the caissons to the rear; also to open on the enemy to the front, which I did at once. The caissons were sent to the rear, but so rapid had been the enemy advance that the wheel horses of my rear caisson were shot down and the caisson abandoned. While the battery, which had fired a few rounds of case-shot, was limbered up and started for the Pike from the other flank down a very steep hill-side, and as my last piece left the position, my camp was full of the enemy rushing for my pieces, and but for the fortunate occurrence of the lock-chain breaking just as the piece reached the foot of the hill… it must have been captured. I brought the battery down the pike, when one of my guns was ordered in position in the rear of the center of Kitching’s Provisional Division, east of the Pike, and my other three guns a little to the rear and left of the same division. I opened with case-shot, and soon the enemy advanced on the charge, when I ordered canister, but my supporters giving away without any resistance to the advance of the enemy, I immediately limbered up and got away just in time to save capture. I then crossed to the west side of the Pike, crossing a run which runs nearly parallel to the Pike, going into position on a crest beyond. We here fired a number of rounds, and as the right of our lines fell back, Captain DuPont ordered me to fall back to a position still further to the rear on a higher crest running parallel to our former position. I was here supported by a squadron of General Devin’s command. I was then ordered by Captain DuPont to take position to the left and rear which commanded Middletown, where we did good execution on buildings filled with the enemy’s sharpshooters, using case-shot; and also sent our compliments in the shape of solid shot to a battery in the south end of the town. The right still falling back, I limbered up and took a position further to the rear and firing. From thbeyond a farmhouse, going into position. From there struck the Pike one mile north of Middletown, and went into position on the east side of the Pike. From there I went into position on the west side of the Pike in the rear of a large barn. I then was ordered to return, going into position on the west side, and Battery B, Fifth U.S. Artillery, on the east side of the Pike. At 4:00 p.m. Captain DuPont ordered my battery forward to a position on the west side of the Pike, 600 yards from Middletown. We here opened on a battery near a point in the woods southwest of the town, using solid shot, and receiving from them a severe fire of shell. The battery was soon silenced and the enemy gave way from behind a stone wall on the north side of a plowed field (the battery we had silenced being on the south side), when we poured a concentrated fire into them for some minutes… until they disappeared. Captain DuPont then ordered me to limber up and forward on the trot. We came up to the skirmish line, and I was ordered into position on the west side of the Pike, on a crest overlooking the south bank of Cedar Creek, and opened on a battery which was annoying our troops terribly; it was soon silenced. We then turned our attention to the mass of men, horses, artillery, and baggage wagons of the enemy who were crowding the Pike in confusion in their efforts to get away, until we had fired away our last shot in the limber-chest.

“I was ably seconded by Lieut. H. F. Guthrie, of my battery, while the noncommissioned officers and privates could not be surpassed in gallantry and courage under the very severe fire we were frequently under. I had eight men wounded, three mortally. I was myself severely wounded in the foot by a piece of shell by the last round the enemy fired, and had a horse shot under me in the morning. Eleven horses were killed.

“I fired 261 rounds of fixed ammunition, went into position twelve times, fired my first shot at daybreak, my last at dark.

“I am, respectfully, your most obedient servant, F.C. Gibbs, Captain, Commanding L Battery, First Ohio Light Artillery.”


  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    Captian Gibbs is the Great Great Grandfather of my husband, Peter Gibbs Kendall.
    His mom, Mary Gibbs Kendall, the granddaughter just passed away. She was proud of her heritage. She is now in heaven with him.

  2. To Susan Kendall, you are welcome. The 1864 Oct. 17 entry (Commendation...") contains a photo of Capt. Gibbs, which I hope your husband and his mother saw. It also lists the series of engagements Capt. Gibb's battery participated in during Slane's two year enlistment.

    Peter A. Siegwald