Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Battle for the Shenandoah Valley

Reenactment Sponsored by the 2nd Conn. Heavy Arty.

Three Rivers Park, Woodbury, Conn.

August 14-16, 2009

Middletown, Virginia
October 19th, 1864

Dear Friends,

Once again, I take pen in hand to write you a few lines regarding your heros and patriots of the Bloody Old Eighth. As this location in the Shenandoah valley, we are once again ensconsed in our camps, and surely a little more safe than the last several days.

Arriving here on Friday afternoon, it was a very warm and sunny evening, where we were happy to establish our camps in the midst of the garrison. We were accompanied by our friends in the 14CV, and made quite a nice company. We passed the evening in the spirits of the times, and had a very pleasaant night of sleep.

Saturday morning brought revielle, roll call, and morning reports, which we numbered 19 for duty. The fires were stoked, and the pork was fried. Orderly Bayreuther took the boys out for drill for a time in the morning fog before the heat, and did a fine job of getting the machine oiled.

Around 10.00 A.M. we were called into formation and the battalion, numbering nine companies were on the field. We were under the command of Col. Paul Kenworthy, and Lt.Col. John Turchick on our wing, ours being the third company. The battalion drill was of wheeling into column, passing in review, and by the right of companies to the rear, &c. We were called into line, and General Grant reviewed the troops.

In the morning, there was an alarm from the pickets away in the trenches, and we were called out to repel a reconnaisance in force by the Confederates. This was done with certain costs in blood and money. It was short lasted, but the casualties were hard to spend. We returned to camp, got up some dinner, much of it being cold eaten, since the fires were too hot for the unseasonal hot weather.

We were once again called into line, and went into a pitched battle with the rebels. It was our lot to advance on the right flank of the line, and we were thus flanked by Confederate cavalry, and engaged in the front by their infantry. The artillery were throwing case and canister both ways on the field, and the fight seemed to last a long time with no advance. We were then ordered to retire in order, and we retreated, atood, retreated, and stood some more, until the rebels would no longer follow. As we did withdraw, we also consolidated the lines, and became a force too strong to oppose. With this, the battle for Winchester was over, but the Confederates had held the field.

The late afternoon was spent in the shade of the trees, and many were in the creek, hard by our camp, and wading and soaking up the relief from the cool running waters. Getting soaked for once was a personal choice, not a curse of nature.

The evening was a welcome one with the setting of the boiling sun. The evening was passed as usual with some fine cooking, and much talk of the times and the future was conducted. I endeavored to prepare a fine pea soup, and it was a good one indeed. It had soaked from dawn, and in the heat of the day, it indeed turned the corner. The scum was scrapped, and the vegetables and ham were added and cooked and it was a fine meal enjoyed by all comers. We turned in mostly early, and got a good night sleep.

Sunday morning brought a heavy report for sick call, and our company was reduced to ten for duty. We took our breakfast, mine was porridge again. It hit the spot. At the battalion officers call, we were combined with the 22nd Mass, under Capt. Patrick Brown, and the left wing under Major Todd Bryda. They are all a fine bunch of boys, and we got along with them right smart. Directly after breakfast, we went to drilling with them, and toghether made the ninth company, on the batalion left flank.

The forenoon brought a call into battalion line, and we were paraded, reviewed by President Abraham Lincoln, who gave us a fine speech for the soldiers of New England, and then we passed in review. We were again shortly answering an alarm from the pickets. The skirmishers were sent out, and checked the advance of the rebels once more. There seemed to be some sort of riot by the women of the town, and that precipitated the burning of a home by the Union provost. This incited some more riots, and the partisans called out first the rebel cavalry, and then the infantry. They overran the provost, the pickets, and came for our army. That was a mistake. We went into two lines, and beat them from the flanks heavily. The culmination was about a half hour of hard fighting, were we were able to simply beat them in detail, and chase them off.

We spent some more time quietly licking our wounds, and cooling off in the shade. In the early afternoon, we were in camp, having some dinners, when the long rool was unexpectedly sounded once more. It seemed the the rebels had surprised us in strength, captured our pickets, some of our guns, and were rolling over our entire army camp. The boys grabbed their weapons and leathers, and formed a line of battle in the rear of our camp. We were ordered through the camps and into line on our camp color line, and it surely looked like the rebels had thrown stones at a bee hive. We allcame streaming out and into line, and advanced with a vengence. The hard push was put to them, and the fire and excitement was at a fever pitch. They were pressed, pushed, and then broke. Theey streamed to their rear, leaving our captured guns and theirs to us. Thus ended the battle of Cedar Creek.

We were left with the field, our old camp back, and the rebels running up the valley a break neck speed. They indeed are no longer a threat here to us or the lower valley. We are jaded from all the fighting and marching, and the truly hot weather here.

Most of the boys you know from Connecticut have fared well in spite of our late hard service. All are well, none are in the hospitals, but not all for duty. All will soon be in line once more, ready for another chance to show how much sand our Nutmeggers can show.

Your obedient servant,

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