"Out of the 3,400 infantry of my division at least 1,000 were killed, wounded, or missing..." 


Military Cemetery, Culpeper, Va.
The resting place for the victims of the Battle of Cedar Mountain and other conflicts. (The large monument at the left is that of the 28th New York of Williams' Division.)

     Williams had blunted Jackson's attack and smashed the Stonewall Brigade, but the cost had been ghastly especially among his fellow officers. It was a depressing time for him and a degree of cynicism surfaced. Yet he had little time to indulge his sentiments. A day after the battle, he found himself in command of the Corps.

    Commenting on the losses of his closest associates of his original brigade in a bittersweet letter to his daughter he wrote:

   "After my brigades were put in position, our cook got us up a good lunch of coffee, ham, etc., and I invited many field officers of my old brigade to join me. After lunching, we all lay down under a shade [tree] and talked over the events of the ten months we had been together, and everybody seemed as unconcerned and careless as if he was on the lawn of a watering place instead of the front of a vastly superior enemy. Col. Donnelly of the 28th New York, a great joker and full of humor, was in excellent spirits and cracked his jokes as joyously as ever.

   "Sorrow and misfortune seemed far away and yet of all the field officers of these three regiments (mine) not one, five hours afterwards, was unhurt. Everyone was either killed or wounded. Col. Donnelly, 28th New York, mortally wounded; Col. Knipe, 46th Pennsylvania, twice wounded and nearly insane from a wound in the head; Col. Chapman, 5th Connecticut, wounded and a prisoner; Lt. Col. Brown, 28th, New York, lost his arm; Maj. Cook killed, and Lt. Col. Stone, 5th Connecticut, killed; Maj. Blake, a young man graduated at Yale last year, badly wounded and a prisoner. Two of the adjutants were killed and one wounded. Nearly all the sergeants killed. In the 28th New York every officer in action was killed or wounded. In the 46th Pennsylvania five lieutenants only escaped, in the 5th Connecticut six lieutenants escaped.

    The 10th Maine, a new regiment in this brigade, was almost as badly cut up. In Goodwin's brigade the loss was not so great, but in the 2nd Massachusetts, a regiment whose officers are of the Boston elite, four captains were killed outright, all of them young men of great fortunes and of the highest standing. The major was also wounded. Lt. Col. Crane of the 3rd Wisconsin was killed. He was a most excellent man and very popular."

    Banks, who received an injury when run against by a horse in the skedaddle of the night, turned the command over to Williams and left for town. It would turn out to be the first of a number times when Williams would find himself in command of an army corps.

    With all the disorganization from the loss of officers, we found himself in a paper morass.

    "I have since been incessantly at work till after midnight. I contrived to finish a hurried letter to Rene yesterday and now I am writing you at midnight. The applications I receive from all sources for everything, for telegraph, transportation, protection, etc., and the thousand reports and returns, the looking after the broken troops of two divisions, the numberless papers to be endorsed and forwarded, the hundreds of matters to be examined and approved, you cannot imagine.

    We have a new general, too, who has new rules, with a new staff just from the bureau that make all the trouble and vexation possible. I pray for Gen. Banks to get well...

    I was ordered with the remnants of our corps into town on Wednesday last, and have command of all the troops here and about. How long we shall stay here I can't guess. A good many troops are in advance, but not as many, I fear, as the Rebels can bring up from Richmond. I hope to see the day we shall meet them with at least equal numbers, and on fair grounds. But our generals seem more ambitious of personal glory [than] of their country's gain, at least some of them...."

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