Corp. Jim Marshall, 44th Georgia Vol. Inf, Co. C, ANV.In obedience to Orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the 44th Georgia, Company C under the command of Major Clark J. Van Buskirk the field from October 13 to October 15, inclusive:

Under orders to march to Middletown, Virginia, the 44th Georgia was put into camp just north of Cedar Creek on grounds North East of Belle Grove Plantation.

Friday evening was rather uneventful and four of us paid a visit to Nana’s Irish Pub, expecting to sample fare and entertain reminiscent of the Emerald Isle. Needless to say, we returned to camp thinking “ I rish it had been more Irish”

Saturday morning the coffee pot offered precious fuel, brewed until it delivered a mixture that resembles something VERY close to actual coffee. We fell in with the rest of the 2nd Brigade for drilling, returning to camp confident that our performance on the field in upcoming battles would meet with the approval of our commanders.

In mid-afternoon we formed up, the ANV joining in a battle line with Longstreet’s Corps and Pacs, facing off in overwhelming numbers against a thin blue line of Union defenders.

ANV was flanked on the right by a contingent of southern forces making a strong showing against Lincoln’s forces, and to our left the advance of additional grey and butternut units made any Union maneuvers towards the West impossible.

We advance at the oblique pressing the Union flank and resulting in a Confederate victory, leaving the field safely in the hands of the South.

Returning to camp we noticed that several units in our vicinity had posted pickets, and we were summoned by Capt. Mallette, where we were informed that the camp had been infiltrated by an individual, or individuals, who had threated bodily injury and had, indeed, left in cowardly fashion after planting a suspicious package resembling an explosive device.

Amidst concern for all, an evacuation ensued, with the forces being distributed amongst several locations within proximity of our encampments. The flow of soldiers and civilians past our company street resembled the exodus of Vicksburg as they migrated to a nearby hill carrying baskets, chairs, blankets, weapons and haversacks filled with food, candles and whatever possessions might be needed through the evening.

Campfires were lit all along the crest, and were quickly encircled by a population of refugees greeting the warmth and comfort of the flames with a smile and friendly conversation. As the sun set and the Heavens revealed overseeing constellations we huddled with one another speculating on the events that the next day might deliver.

Shortly before midnight we were informed that we may return to our camps, where we dined on ribs and chicken, retiring to our tents well fed and ready to meet the morn.

Sunrise brought blue skies and shortly afterwards a bountiful breakfast was enhanced by the announcement that we would forming up shortly to take the field in response to the actions of the day prior. Any emotions of anger were replaced by determination to deliver the message that fear has no effect upon the passion of men intent in their cause for freedom and truth.

We took the field this Sunday morning with emotions unfamiliar in prior engagements, truly intended to ‘Give ‘em Hell, Boys”, athough our opponent was not the men in blue facing us across this hallowed ground.

At 10 A.M. the reports from artillery crews stationed on the high ground of Cedar Creek Battlefield rang out across the Valley, giving notice that We were still there.

As two Armies faced off against one another rifle volleys filled the air with the smoke of a thousand guns. Spectators drawn by the sounds of Freedom began to arrive, lining the Valley Pike, watching the spectacle that unfolded in front of them.

The Union forces retreated in an orderly fashion towards the Heater House, and our line unleashed a volley that rang true from most every Springfield and Enfield in Southern hands.

A lone officer charged from the blue line in our front, and Capt. Mallette shouted out “Someone shoot that Son of a Bitch !”. Regretably, our rifles were empty, and the dash by the brave officer brought him to within spitting range of our forces. In an act of humanity he was welcomed into our line, and what happened next was truly remarkable.

If indeed my memory serves me correctly, I recall the following : The Union left flank broke ranks, charging uphill as well, and soldiers from our ranks stepped forward to meet them, rifles at the ready for hand-to-hand combat. What ensued was hand-to-hand of another kind, as handshakes, hugs and full faced smiles were exchanged. Blue and Grey mixed and shouts of Unity replaced the Rebel yell.

The entire Yankee line followed suit, and as hats were raised and lungs were emptied with cheers the artillery from distant hills saluted the Moment. Shouts of “USA, USA, USA” filled the air and raw emotions took charge.

A small Union band stepped into the center of the congregation and began playing the Star Spangled Banner. All in attendance uncovered, and no one took a knee. Pride and Patriotism ruled the field. An officer shouted “Three Cheers for the Flag !” and the Hurrahs filled the Valley.

As we mingled on the same ground that saw such carnage 153 years ago, two fifers, one Union and One Confederate played period hymns. A rousing rendition of Dixie was sung and brought about MORE cheers, followed by a duet of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

“Let us Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys, Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom”.

In October 1864 an event occurred at Cedar Creek that shall never be forgotten.

In October 2017 an event occurred at Cedar Creek that shall live forever in the hearts and minds of all who experienced it.

What man meant for evil, God used for Good.

Respectfully Submitted,

Corporal James Marshall

44the Georgia, Co. C, ANV, CSA