Cloyds Mountain Part 2
May 9, 1864
The 45th Virginia
Col. White of the Second Brigade was confused by the artillery duel, since the attack should begin with three shots. He used his judgment and ordered his troops to attack. This photograph is from the position of the 45th Virginia's right flank, looking toward the Cloyds Mountain on the left. You can see a road in the lower ground on the left, and we will see the view from there later. Shuffle Ridge is on the right of the picture, where the Union Second Brigade marched to take the enemy's flank. The 12th Ohio was on the ridge on the right of the picture beyond the barn, while the 14th WVa. was in the wooded valley in the center of the picture. The 9th WVa and 91st Ohio were in reserve behind the ridge on the right. At the time of the battle, these areas were wooded.
At 11:00, the Union troops pushed back skirmishers and attacked the 45th Va. behind a rail fence. The 14th WVa halted 20 yards from the fence and repeatedly fired. Here they stood exposed for nearly half an hour being cut down, but refusing to advance. The 12th Ohio was also stopped short of the fence, and they were being fired on from Beckley's Bn. on their left. Jenkins and McCausland ordered artillery, two companies of 60th Va., and the 36th Va. to reinforce the right flank.
View From 3rd and 4th Pa. Reserves Approximate Jump-Off Point
The Union flank attack had signaled the rest of Crook's men to attack. They rushed across the open field in front of the Confederate position and were met with withering fire. In this approximate area, the Union 3rd and 4th Pa. Reserves began their attack. Confederate artillery on the clear hill in the center of the picture, and across the Turnpike, enfiladed the attackers. Confederate infantry, mainly the 60th Va. and the Home Guard on the wooded ridge on the left of the picture, would fire on the Yankees frontally.
3rd and 4th Pa. Reserves Attack
This is the view further down the slope. Part of the 45th Va. advanced to a small perpendicular ridge jutting out in front of the main ridge so that they could enfilade the Pennsylvanian's left left. This infantry fire, along with the the frontal infantry fire and the enfilade artillery fire from the cleared hill on the right (right-center of the picture), struck down more than one hundred of the Pennsylvanians, including a colonel. The Pennsylvanians had made the mistake of stopping to fire, ineffectually - as was predictable, and wasting valuable time, further exposing themselves to enemy fire. Many of the Yankees fled to the rear, but the few that made it across Back Creek near the foot of the ridge were led toward the left to protect themselves from the artillery. They would remain at the foot of the ridge until the climax of the battle.
23rd and 36th Ohio Attack
To the left of the Pennsylvania Reserves, two Ohio regiments, the 23rd and 36th, Col. Rutherford B Hayes's 1st Brigade, were not quite prepared to attack, but did so anyway. White's Second brigade, in its flanking move, had advanced along Shuffle Ridge, the wooded ridge on the left of the picture, and attacked across the ravine visible here beyond the wooden barn on the left.
Hayes's men advanced down the lower slopes of Cloyd's Mountain then across this relatively flat land, facing the same frontal and enfilade fire their comrades further right had endured. Not stopping to fire, and with their left not quite to the ravine, the veteran Ohioans reached the creek at the foot of the ridge, driving back the Confederate skirmishers, but they were pinned down directly below the Confederate position. Accompanying the men was Crook himself, who had to be helped across the creek when his boots filled with water.
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