REPORT
OF
GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE,
AND SUBORDINATE REPORTS
OF THE
BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE;
ALSO,
REPORTS OF MAJOR GENERAL J. E. B. STUART AND
BRIGADIER GENERAL FITZ LEE, OF CAVALRY
ENGAGEMENTS AT KELLEYSVILLE.
ALSO,
REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL W. H. F. LEE, AND
SUBORDINATES, OF CAVALRY OPERATIONS OF
THE 14th and 15th OF APRIL, 1863.


PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF CONGRESS.


RICHMOND:
R. M. SMITH, PUBLIC PRINTER,
1864.

MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT.

RICHMOND, VA., Dec 31, 1863.

To the House of Representatives:

In further response to your resolution of the 11th instant, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several reports of military operations.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.


COMMUNICATION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
War Department,
Richmond, Va., December 30, 1863.

To His Excellency, the President:

SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith, for the information of the House of Representatives, copies of the reports of Major General J. E. B. Stuart and Brigadier General Fitz Lee, of cavalry engagement at Kelleysville; reports of Brigadier General W. H. F. Lee and his subordinates, of cavalry operations of the 14th and 15th of April, 1863; reports of General Lee and his subordinates, of the battle of Chancellorsville. I am, sir, respectfully, Your obedient servant,

JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

 

BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE.


REPORT OF GENERAL R. E. LEE.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY NORTHERN VIRGINIA, September 21, 1863.

General S. Cooper,
Adjutant and Inspector General, C.S.A., Richmond, Va.:

GENERAL: After the battle of Fredericksburg, the army remained encamped on the south side of the Rappahannock until the latter part of April. The Federal army occupied the north side of the river, opposite Fredericksburg, extending to the Potomac. Two brigades of Anderson’s division, those of Generals Mahone and Posey, were stationed near the United States Mine or Bark Mill ford; and a third, under command of General Wilcox, guarded Banks’ ford. The cavalry was distributed on both flanks—Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade picketing the Rappahannock above the mouth of the Rapidan, and W. H. F. Lee’s near Port Royal. Hampton’s brigade had been sent into the interior to recruit. General Longstreet, with two divisions of his corps, was detached for service south of James river, in February, and did not rejoin the army until after the battle of Chancellorsville, With the exception of the engagement between Fitz Lee’s brigade and the enemy’s cavalry near Kelley’s ford, on the 17th of March, 1863, of which a brief report has been already forwarded to the Department, nothing of interest transpired during this period of inactivity.

On the 14th of April, intelligence was received that the enemy’s cavalry was concentrating on the upper Rappahannock. Their efforts to establish themselves on the south side of the river were successfully resisted by Fitz Lee’s brigade and two regiments of W. H. F. Lee’s, the whole under the immediate command of General Stuart. About the 21st, small bodies of infantry appeared at Kelley’s ford and the Rappahannock bridge, and almost at the same time a demonstration was made opposite Port Royal, where a party of infantry crossed the river about the 23d. These movements were evidently intended to conceal the designs of the enemy; but, taken in connection with the reports of scouts, indicated that the Federal army, now commanded by Major General Hooker, was about to resume active operations. At half-past five o’clock, A.M., the 28th of April, the enemy crossed the Rappahannock in boats, near Fredericksburg, and, driving off the pickets on the river, proceeded to lay down a pontoon bridge, a short distance below the mouth of Deep run. Later in the forenoon, another bridge was constructed about a mile below the first. A considerable force crossed on these bridges during the day, and was massed out of view under the high banks of the river. The bridges, as well as the troops, were effectually protected from our artillery by the depth of the river’s bed and the narrowness of the stream, while the batteries on the opposite heights completely commanded the wide plain between our lines and the river.

As in the first battle of Fredericksburg, it was thought best to select positions with a view to resist the advance of the enemy, rather than incur the heavy loss that would attend any attempt to prevent his crossing. Our dispositions were accordingly made as on the former occasion. No demonstration was made opposite any other point of our lines at Fredericksburg, and the strength of the force that had crossed, and its apparent indisposition to attack indicated that the principal effort of the enemy would be made in some other quarter. This impression was confirmed by intelligence received from General Stuart, that a large body of infantry and artillery was passing up the river. During the forenoon of the 29th, that officer reported that the enemy had crossed in force near Kelley’s ford, on the preceding evening. Later in the day, he announced that a heavy column was moving from Kelly’s towards Germana ford, on the Rapidan, and another towards Ely’s ford, on that river. The routes they were pursuing, after crossing the Rapidan, converge near Chancellorsville, whence several roads lead to the rear of our position at Fredericksburg.

On the night of the 29th, General Anderson was directed to proceed towards Chancellorsville, and dispose Wright’s brigade and the troops from the Bark Mill ford, to cover these roads. Arriving at Chancellorsville about midnight, he found the commands of Generals Mahone and Posey already there, having been withdrawn from the Bark Mill ford, with the exception of a small guard. Learning that the enemy had crossed the Rapidan and were approaching in strong force, General Anderson retired early on the morning of the 30th, to the intersection of the Mine and plank roads, near Tabernacle church, and began to entrench himself. The enemy’s cavalry skirmished with his rear guard as he left Chancellorsville, but being vigorously repulsed by Mahone’s brigade, offered no further opposition to his march, Mahone was placed on the old turnpike, Wright and Posey on the plank road. In the meantime General Stuart had been directed to endeavor to impede the progress of the column marching by way of Germana ford. Detaching W. H. F. Lee, with his two regiments, the ninth and thirteenth Virginia, to oppose the main body of the enemy’s cavalry, General Stuart crossed the Rapidan at Raccoon ford, with Fitz. Lee’s brigade, on the night of the 29th. Halting to give his men a few hours’ repose, he ordered Colonel Owens, with the third Vrginia cavalry, to throw himself in front of the enemy, while the rest of the brigade attacked his right flank, at the Wilderness tavern, between Germana ford and Chancellorsville. By this means the march of this column was delayed until twelve M., when learning that the one from Ely’s ford, had already reached Chancellorsville. General Stuart marched by Todd’s tavern towards Spottsylvania Court-House, to put himself in communication with the main body of the army, and Colonel Owens fell back upon General Anderson.

The enemy in our front, near Fredericksburg continued inactive, and it was now apparent that the main attack would be made upon our flank and rear. It was therefore determined to leave sufficient troops to hold our lines, and, with the main body of the army, to give battle to the approaching column. Early’s division of Jackson’s corps, and Barksdale’s brigade of McLaws’ division, with part of the reserve artillery, under General Pendleton, were entrusted with, the defence of our position at Fredericksburg, and at midnight, on the 30th, General McLaws marched with the rest of his comnand towards Chancellorsville. General Jackson followed at dawn next morning, with the remaining divisions of his corps. He reached the position occupied by General Anderson at eight A.M., and immediately began preparations to advance. At eleven A.M., the troops moved forward upon the plank and old turnpike roads—Anderson with the brigades of Wright and Posey, leading on the former, McLaws, with his three brigades, preceded by Mahone’s, on the latter. Generals Wilcox and Perry, of Anderson’s division, co-operated with McLaws; Jackson’s troops followed Anderson on the plank road. Colonel Alexander’s battalion of artillery accompanied the advance. The enemy was soon encountered on both roads, and heavy skirmishing with infantry and artillery ensued, our troops pressing steadily forward. A strong attack upon General McLaws was repulsed with spirit by Semmes’ brigade; and General Wright, by direction of General Anderson, diverging to the left of the plank road, marched by way of the unfinished railroad from Fredericksburg to Gordonsville, and turned the enemy’s right. His whole line thereupon retreated rapidly, vigorously pursued by our troops, until they arrived within about one mile of Chancellorsville. Here, the enemy had assumed a position of great natural strength, surrounded on all sides by a dense forest, filled with a tangled undergrowth, in the midst of which breastworks of logs had been constructed, with trees felled in front so as to form an almost impenetrable abattis. His artillery swept the few narrow roads by which his position could be approached from the front, and commanded the adjacent woods. The left of his line extended from Chancellorsville towards the Rappahannock, covering the Bark Mill ford, where he communicated with the north bank of the river, by a pontoon bridge. His right stretched westward along the Germana ford road more than two miles. Darkness was approaching before the strength and extent of his line could be ascertained, and as the nature of the country rendered it hazardous to attack by night, our troops were halted and formed in line of battle in front of Chancellorsville, at right angles, to the plank road, extending on the right to the mine road, and to the left in the direction of the Catharine furnace.

Colonel Wickham, with the fourth Virginia cavalry and Colonel Owen’s regiment, was stationed between the mine road and the Rappahannock. The rest of the cavalry was upon our left flank. It was evident that a direct attack upon the enemy would be attended with great difficulty and loss, in view of the strength of his position and his suporiority of numbers. It was therefore resolved to endeavor to turn his right flank and gain his rear, leaving a force in front to hold him in check and conceal the movement. The execution of this plan was entrusted to Lieutenant General Jackson, wiih his three divisions. The commands of Generals McLaws and Anderson, with the exception of Wilcox’s brigade, which during the night had been ordered back to Banks’ ford, remained in front of the enemy. Early on the morning of the 2nd General Jackson marched by the Furnace and Brock roads, his movement being effectually covered by Fitz Lee’s cavalry, under General Stuart in person. As the rear of the train was passing the furnace, a large force of the enemy advanced from Chancellorsville and attempted its capture. General Jackson had left the twenty-third Georgia regiment, under Colonel Best, at this point to guard his flank; and, upon the approach of the enemy, Lieutenant Colonel J. T. Brown, whose artillery was passing at the time, placed a battery in position to aid in checking his advance. A small number of men who were matching to join their commands, including Captain Moore, with his two companies of the fourteenth Tennessee regiment, of Archer’s brigade, reported to Colonel Brown and supported his guns. The enemy was kept back by this small force until the train had passed, but his superior numbers enabled him subsequently to surround and capture the greater part of the twenty-third Georgia regiment. General Anderson was directed to send a brigade to resist the further progress of this column, and detached General Posey for that purpose. General Posey became warmly engaged with a superior force, but being reinforced by General Wright, the enemy’s advance was arrested. After a long and fatiguing march. General Jackson’s leading division, under General Rodes, reached the old turnpike, about three miles in rear of Chancellorsville, at four, P.M. As the different divisions arrived they were formed at right angles to the road—Rodes in front, Trimble’s division, under Brigadier General Colston, in the second, and A. P. Hill’s in the third line. At six, P.M., the advance was ordered. The enemy were taken by surprise and fled, after a brief resistance. General Rodes’ men pushed forward with great vigor and enthusiasm, followed closely by the second and third lines. Position after position was carried, the guns captured, and every effort of the enemy to rally defeated by the impetuous rush of our troops. In the ardor of pursuit through the thick and tangled woods, the first and second lines at last became mingled and moved on together as one. The enemy made a stand at a line of breastworks across the road at the house of Melzie Chancellor, but the troops of Rodes and Colston dashed over the entrenchments together, and the fight and pursuit were resumed and continued until our advance was arrested by the abattis in front of the line of works near the central position at Chancellorsville. It was now dark, and General Jackson ordered the third line, under General Hill, to advance to the front and relieve the troops of Rodes and Colston, who were completely blended and in such disorder from their advance through intricate woods and over broken ground that it was necessary to reform them. As Hill’s men moved forward, General Jackson, with his staff and escort returning from the extreme front, met his skirmishers advancing, and, in the obscurity of the night, were mistaken for the enemy and fired upon. Captain Boswell, chief engineer of the corps, and several others were killed and a number wounded. General Jackson himself received a severe injury and was borne from the field. The command devolved upon Major General Hill, whose division, under General Heth, was advanced to the line of entrenchments which had been reached by Rodes and Colston. A furious fire of artillery was opened upon them by the enemy, under cover of which his infantry advanced to the attack. They were handsomely repulsed by the fifty-fifth Virginia regiment, under Colonel Mallory, who was killed while bravely leading his men. General Hill was soon afterwards disabled, and Major General Stuart, who had been directed by General Jackson to seize the road to Ely’s ford in rear of the enemy, was sent for to take command. At this time the right of Hill’s division was attacked by the column of the enemy already mentioned as having penetrated to the furnace, which had been recalled to Chancellorsville to avoid being cut off by the advance of Jackson. This attack was gallantly met and repulsed by the eighteenth and twenty-eighth and a portion of the thirty-third North Carolina regiments, Lane’s brigade.

Upon General Stuart’s arrival, soon afterwards, the command was turned over to him by General Hill. He immediately proceeded to reconnoitre the ground and make himself acquainted with the disposition of the troops. The darkness of the night and the difficulty of moving through the woods and undergrowth rendered it advisable to defer further operations until morning, and the troops rested on their arms in line of battle. Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery of the corps, was severely wounded, and Colonel Alexander, senior artillery officer present, was engaged during the entire night in selecting positions for our batteries. As soon as the sound of cannon gave notice of Jackson’s attack on the enemy’s right, our troops in front of Chancellorsville were ordered to press him strongly on the left, to prevent reinforcements being sent to the point assailed. They were directed not to attack in force, unless a favorable opportunity should present itself, and while continuing to cover the roads leading from their respective positions towards Chancellorsville, to incline to the left, so as to connect with Jackson’s right as he closed in upon the centre. These orders were well executed, our troops advancing up to the enemy’s entrenchments, while several batteries played with good effect upon his lines, until prevented by the increasing darkness.

Early on the morning of the 3d, General Stuart renewed the attack upon the enemy, who had strengthened his right during the night with additional breastworks, while a large number of guns, protected by entrenchments, were posted so as to sweep the woods through which our troops had to advance. Hill’s division was in front, with Colston in the second line and Rodes in the third. The second and third lines soon advanced to the support of the first, and the whole became hotly engaged. The breastworks at which the attack was suspended the preceding evening, were carried by assault, under a terrible fire of musketry and artillery. In rear of these breastworks was a barricade from which the enemy was quickly driven. The troops on the left of the plank road pressing through the woods, attacked and broke the next line, while those on the right bravely assailed the extensive earthworks behind which the enemy’s artillery was posted. Three times were these works carried, and as often were the brave assailants compelled to abandon them—twice by the retirement of the troops on their left, who fell back after a gallant struggle with superior numbers, and once by a movement of the enemy on their right, caused by the advance of General Anderson. The left being reinforced, finally succeeded in driving back the enemy, and the artillery, under Lieutenant Colonels Carter and Jones, being thrown forward to occupy favorable positions, secured by the advance of the infantry, began to play with great precision and effect. Anderson, in the meantime, pressed gallantly forward, directly upon Chancellorsville, his right resting upon the plank road and his left extending around the furnace, while McLaws made a strong demonstration to the right of the road. As the troops advancing upon the enemy’s front and right, converged upon his central position, Anderson effected a junction with Jackson’s corps, and the whole line pressed irresistibly on. The enemy was driven from all his fortified positions with heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and retreated towards the Rappahannock. By ten, A.M., we were in full possession of the field. The troops having become somewhat scattered, by the difficulties of the ground and the ardor of the contest, were immediately reformed preparatory to renewing the attack. The enemy had withdrawn to a strong position nearer to the Rappahannock, which he had previously fortified. His superiority of numbers, the unfavorable nature of the ground, which was densely wooded, and the condition of our troops after the arduous and sanguinary conflict in which they had been engaged, rendered great caution necessary. Our preparations were just completed, when further operations were arrested by intelligence received from Fredericksburg.

General Early had been instructed, in the event of the enemy withdrawing from his front and moving up the river, to join the main body of the army, with so much of his command as could be spared from the defence of his lines. This order was repeated on the 2d, but by a misapprehension on the part of the officer conveying it, General Early was directed to move unconditionally. Leaving Hays’ brigade and one regiment of Barksdale’s at Fredericksburg, and directing a part of General Pendleton’s artillery to be sent to the tear, in compliance with the order delivered to him, General Early moved with the rest of his command towards Chancellorsville. As soon as his withdrawal was perceived, the enemy began to give evidence of an intention to advance, but the mistake in the transmission of the order being corrected, General Early returned to his original position. The line to be defended by Barksdale’s brigade extended from the Rappahannock, above Fredericksburg, to the rear of Howison’s house, a distance of more than two miles. The artillery was posted along the heights in rear of the town. Before dawn, on the morning of the 3d, General Barksdale reported to General Early that the enemy had occupied Fredericksburg in large force, and laid down a bridge at the town. Hays’ brigade was sent to his support and placed on his extreme left, with the exception of one regiment, stationed on the right of his line behind Howison’s house. Seven companies of the twenty-first Mississippi regiment were posted by General Barksdale between the Marye house and the plank road; the eighteenth and the three other companies of the twenty-first occupied the telegraph road at the foot of Marye’s hill, the two remaining regiments of the brigade being further to the right on the hills near to Howison’s house. The enemy made a demonstration against the extreme right which was easily repulsed by General Early. Soon afterwards a column moved from Fredericksburg along the river banks, as if to gain the heights on the extreme left, which commanded those immediately in rear of the town. This attempt was foiled by General Hays, and the arrival of General Wilcox from Banks’ ford, who deployed a few skirmishers on the hill, near Taylor’s house, and opened upon the enemy with a section of artillery. Very soon the enemy advanced in large force against Marye’s and the hills to the right and left of it. Two assaults were gallantly repulsed by Barksdale’s men and the artillery. After the second, a flag of truce was sent from the town to obtain permission to provide for the wounded. Three heavy lines advanced immediately upon the return of the flag, and renewed the attack. They were bravely repulsed on the right and left, but the small force at the foot of Marye’s hill, overpowered by more than ten times their numbers, was captured, after a heroic resistance, and the hill carried. Eight pieces of artillery were taken on Marye’s and the adjacent heights. The remainder of Barksdale’s brigade, together with that of General Hays’, and the artillery on the right, retired down the telegraph road.

The success of the enemy enabled him to threaten our communications by moving down the telegraph road, or to come upon our rear at Chancellorsville by the plank road. He at first advanced on the former, but was checked by General Early, who had halted the commands of Barksdale and Hays, with the artillery, about two miles from Marye’s hill, and reinforced them with three regiments of Gordon’s brigade.

The enemy then began to advance up the plank road, his progress being gallantly disputed by the brigade of General Wilcox, who had moved from Bank’s ford as rapidly as possible, to the assistance of General Barksdale; but arrived too late to take part in the action. General Wilcox fell back slowly until he reached Salem Church, on the plank road, about five miles from Fredericksiburg.

Information of this state of affairs in our rear having reached Chancellorsville, as already stated, General McLaws, with his three brigades and one of General Anderson’s, was ordered to reinforce General Wilcox. He arrived at Salem Church early in the afternoon, where he found General Wilcox in line of battle, with a large force of the enemy, consisting, as was reported, of one army corps and part of another, under Major General Sedgwick, in his front. The brigades of Kershaw and Wofford were placed on the right of Wilcox, those of Semmes and Mahone on his left.

The enemy’s artillery played vigorously upon our position for some time, when his infantry advanced in three strong lines, the attack being directed mainly against General Wilcox, but partially involving the brigades on his left. The assault was met with the utmost firmness, and after a fierce struggle, the first line was repulsed with great slaughter. The second then came forward, but immediately broke under the close and deadly fire which it encountered, and the whole mass fled in confusion to the rear. They were pursued by the brigades of Wilcox and Semmes, which advanced nearly a mile, when they were halted to reform in the presence of the enemy’s reserve, which now appeared in large force. It being quite dark, General Wilcox deemed it imprudent to push the attack with his small numbers, and retired to his orginal position, the enemy making no attempt to follow.

The next morning General Early advanced along the telegraph road, and recaptured Marye’s and the adjacent hills, without difficulty, thus gaining the rear of the enemy’s left. He then proposed to General McLaws that a simultaneous attack should be made by their respective commands, but the latter officer, not deeming his force a lequate to assail the enemy in front, the proposition was not carried into effect. In the meantinie, the enemy had so strengthened his position near Chancellorsville, that it was deemed inexpedient to assail it with less than our whole force, which could not be concentrated until we were relieved from the danger that menaced our rear. It was accordingly resolved still further to reinforce the troops in front of General Sedgwick, in order, if possible, to drive him across the Rappahannock. Accordingly, on the 4th, General Anderson was directed to proceed, with his remaining three brigades, to join Gen. McLaws—the three divisions of Jackson’s corps holding our position at Chancellorsville. Anderson reached Salem Church about noon, and was directed to gain the left flank of the enemy and effect a junction with Early. McLaws’ troops were disposed as on the previons day, with orders to hold the enemy in front, and to push forward his right brigades as soon as the advance of Anderson and Early should be perceived, so as to connect with them and complete the continuity of our line.

Some delay occurred in getting the troops into position, owing to the broken and irregular nature of the ground, and the difficulty of ascertaining the disposition of the enemy’s forces. The attack did not begin until six, P.M., when Anderson and Early moved forward and drove General Sedgwick’s troops rapidly before them, across the plank road in the direction of the Rappahannock. The speedy approach of darkness prevented General McLaws from perceiving the success of the attack, until the enemy began to recross the river a short distancee below Bank’s ford where he had laid one of his pontoon bridges. His right brigades, under Kershaw and Wofford, advanced through the woods in the direction of the firing, but the retreat was so rapid that they could only join in the pursuit. A dense fog settled over the field, increasing the obscurity, and rendering great caution necessary to avoid collision between our own troops. Their movements were consequently slow. General Wilcox, with Kershaw’s brigade and two regiments of his own, accompanied by a battery, proceeded nearly to the river, capturing a number of prisoners and inflicting great damage upon the enemy. General McLaws also directed Colonel Alexander’s artillery to fire upon the locality of the enemy’s bridge, which was done with good effect. The next morning it was found that General Sedwick had made good his escape, and removed his bridges. Fredericksburg was also evacuated, and our rear no longer threatened. But, as General Sedgwick had it in his power to recross, it was deemed best to leave General Early with his division and Barksdale’s brigade to hold our lines as before—McLaws and Anderson being directed to return to Chancellorsville. They reached their destination during the afternoon, in the midst of a violent storm, which continued throughout the night and most of the following day.

Preparations were made to assail the enemy’s works at daylight on the 6th; but, on advancing our skirmishers, it was found that, under cover of the storm find darkness of the night, he had retreated over the river. A detachment was left to guard the battle-field, while the wounded were being remove’d, and the captured property collected. The rest of the army returned to its former position.

The particulars of these operations will be found in the reports of the several commanding officers, which are herewith transmitted. They will show more fully than my limits will suffer me to do, the dangers and difficulties which, under God’s blessing, were surmounted by the fortitude and valor of our army. The conduct of the troops cannot be too highly praised. Attacking largely superior numbers, in strongly entrenched positions, their heroic courage overcame every obstacle of nature and art, and achieved a triumph most honorable to our arms. I commend to the particular notice of the department the brave officers and men mentioned by their superiors, for extraordinary daring and merit, whose names I am unable to enumerate here. Among them will be found some who have passed, by a glorious death, beyond the reach of praise, but the memory of whose virtues and devoted patriotism will ever be cherished by their grateful countrymen. The returns of the medical director will show the extent of our loss, which, from the nature of the circumstances attending the engagement, could not be otherwise than severe. Many valuable officers and men were killed or wounded in the faithful discharge of duty. Among the former, Brigadier General Paxton fell, while leading his brigade, with conspicuous courage, in the assault on the enemy’s works at Chancellorsville. The gallant Brigadier General Nichols lost a leg; Brigadier General McGowan was severely, and Brigadier Generals Heth and Pender were slightly wounded in the same engagement. The latter officer led his brigade to the attack under a destructive fire, bearing the colors of a regiment in his own hands, up to and over the entrenchments, with the most distinguished gallantry. General Hoke received a painful wound in the action near Fredericksburg. The movement by which the enemy’s position was turned, and the fortune of the day decided, was conducted by the lamented Lieutenant General Jackson, who, as has already been stated, was severely wounded near the close of the engagement on Saturday evening. I do not propose here to speak of the character of this illustrious man, since removed from the scene of his eminent usefulness by the hand of an inscrutable but all-wise Providence. I nevertheless desire to pay the tribute of my admiration to the matchless energy and skill that marked this last act of his life, forming as it did, a worthy conclusion of that long series of splendid achievements which won for him the lasting love and gratitude of his country. Major General A. P. Hill was disabled soon after assuming command, but did not leave the field until the arrival of Major General Stuart. The latter officer ably discharged the difficult and responsible duties which he was thus unexpectedly called to perform. Assuming the command late in the night, at the close of a fierce engagement, and in the immediate presence of the enemy, necessarily ignorant, in a great measure, of the disposition of the troops, and of the plans of those who had preceded him. General Stuart exhibited great energy, promptness, and intelligence. During the continuance of the engagement the next day, he conducted the operation on the left with distinguished capacity and vigor, stimulating and cheering the troops by the example of his own coolness and daring. While it is impossible to mention all who were conspicuous in the several engagements, it will not be considered an invidious distinction to say that General Jackson, after he was wounded, in expressing the satisfaction he derived from the conduct of his whole command, commended to my particular attention the services of Brigadier General (now Major General) Rodes and his gallant division. Major General Early performed the important and responsible duty entrusted to him in a manner which reflected credit upon himself and his command. Major General R. H. Anderson was also distinguished for the promptness, courage, and skill with which he and his division executed every order; and Brigadier General (now Major General) Wilcox is entitled to especial praise for the judgment and bravery displayed in impeding the advance of General Sedgwick towards Chancellorsville, and for the gallant and successful stand at Salem Church. To the skillful and efficient management of the artillery, the successful issue of the contest is in great measure due. The ground was not favorable for its employment, but every suitable position was taken with alacrity, and the operations of the infantry supported and assisted with a spirit and courage not second to their own. It bore a prominent part in the final assault, which ended in driving the enemy from the field at Chancellorsville, silencing his batteries, and by a destructive enfilade fire upon his works, opened the way for the advance of our troops. Colonels Crutchfield, Alexander and Walker, and Lieutenant Colonels Brown, Carter and Andrews, with the officers and men of their commands, are mentioned as deserving especial commendation. The batteries under General Pendleton also acted with great gallantry. The cavalry of the army at the time of these operations was much reduced. To its vigilance and energy we were indebted for timely information of the enemy’s movements before the battle, and for impeding his march to Chancellorsville. It guarded both flanks of the army during the battle at that place, and a portion of it, as has been already stated, rendered valuable service in covering the march of Jackson to the enemy’s rear. The horse artillery accompanied the infantry, and participated, with credit to itself, in the engagement. The nature of the country rendered it impossible for the cavalry to do more. When the enemy’s infantry passed the Rappahannock at Kelley’s ford, his cavalry, under General Stoneman, also crossed in large force, and proceeded through Culpeper county towards Gordonsville, for the purpose of cutting the railroads to Richmond. General Stuart had nothing to oppose to this movement but two regiments of Brigadier General W. H. F. Lee’s brigade—the ninth and thirteenth Virginia cavalry. General Lee fell back before the overwhelming numbers of the enemy; and, after holding the railroad bridge over the Rapidan during the 1st of May, burned the bridge and retired to Gordonsville at night. The enemy avoided Gordonsville, and reached Louisa Court-House, on the Central railroad, which he proceed to break up. Dividing his force, a part of it also cut the Richmond and Fredericksburg railroad, and a part proceeded to Columbia, on the James River and Kanawha canal, with the design of destroying the acqueduct at that place. The small command of General Lee exerted itself vigorously to defeat this purpose. The damage done to the railroads was small, and soon repaired, and the canal was saved from injury. The details of his operations will be found in the accompanying memorandum, and are creditable to officers and men. The loss of the enemy in the battle of Chancellorsville and the other engagements was severe. His dead, and a large number of wounded, were left on the field. About five thousand prisoners, exclusive of the wounded, were taken, and thirteen pieces of artillery. Nineteen thousand five hundred stand of arms, seventeen colors, and a large quantity of ammunition, fell into our hands. To the members of my staff I am greatly indebted for assistance, in observing the movements of the enemy, posting troops, and conveying orders. On so extended and varied a field, all were called into requisition, and all evinced the greatest energy and zeal. The medical director of the army, Surgeon Guild, with the officers, of his Department, were untiring in their attention to the wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Corley, chief quartermaster, took charge of the disposition and safety of the trains of the army. Lieutenant Colonel Cole, chief commissary of its subsistence, and Lieutenant Colonel Baldwin, chief of ordnance, was everywhere on the field, attending to the wants of his department. General Chilton, chief of staff, Lieutenant Colonel Murray, Major Peyton, and Captain Young, of the adjutant and inspector general’s department, were active in seeing to the execution of orders. Lieutenant Colonel Smith and Captain Johnston, of the engineers, in reconnoitering the enemy and constructing batteries; Colonel Long, in posting troops and artillery; Majors Taylor, Talcott, Marshall and Venable, were engaged night and day in watching the operations, carrying orders, &c. Respectfully submitted,

R. E. LEE, General.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL STUART.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS, ARMY OF NO. VIRGINIA,
May 6th, 1863.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,
A.A. and I.G., Headquarters Army of No. Virginia:

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit, in advance of a detailed report, the following narratives of events connected with the battle of the Wilderness, May 2d, and of Chancellorsville, May 3d, and events following:

This corps, under its immortal leader, Lieutenant General Jackson, attacked the enemy on his right, turning his right flank by the turnpike road at Melzie Chancellor’s, two miles above Chancellorsville, making the attack late in the evening, after an arduous and necessarily circuitous march from the plank road, two miles below Chancellorsville. The enemy had a fine position, and if time had been given him to recover from his first surprise, and mass troops on that front, it would have been a difficult task to dislodge them; but Jackson’s entire corps, both when marching and when in position, had been purposely screened from view by the cavalry of Fitz. Lee’s brigade, an important duty which he performed with great skill and address. The attack was thus, in a measure, a surprise. The enemy’s line of entrenchments was carried, and his legions driven in confusion from the field. It was already dark when I sought General Jackson, and proposed, as there appeared nothing else for me to do, to take some cavalry and infantry over and hold the Ely’s ford. He approved the proposition, and I had already gained the heights overlooking the ford, where was a large number of camp-fires, when Captain Adams, of General A. P. Hill’s staff, reached me post haste, and informed me of the sad calamities which for the time deprived the troops of the leadership of both Jackson’ and Hill, and the urgent demand for me to come and take command as quickly as possible. I rode with rapidity back five miles, determined to press the pursuit already so gloriously begun. General Jackson had gone to the rear, but General A. P. Hill was still on the ground, and formally turned over the command to me. I sent also a staff officer to General Jackson, to inform him that I would cheerfully carry out any instructions he would give, and proceeded immediately to the front, which I reached at ten, P.M. I found, upon reaching it, A. P Hill’s divsion in front, under Heth, with Lane’s, McGowan’s, Archer’s, and Heth’s brigades on the right of the road within half a mile of Chancellorsville, near the apex of the ridge, and Pender’s and Thomas’ on the left. I found that the enemy had made an attack on our right flank, but were repulsed. The fact, however, that the attack was made, and at night, made me apprehensive of a repetition of it, and necessitated throwing back the right wing so as to meet it, I was also informed that there was much confusion on the right, owing to the fact that some troops mistook friends for the enemy and fired upon them. Knowing that an advance under such circumstances would be extremely hazardous, much against my inclination, I felt bound to wait for daylight. Gen. Jackson had also sent me word to use my own discretion. The commanding General was with the right wing of the army, with which I had no communication, except by a very circuitous and uncertain route. I nevertheless sent a dispatch to inform him of the state of affairs, and rode around the lines restoring order, imposing silence, and making arrangements for the attack early next day. I sent Colonel E. P. Alexander, senior officer of artillery, to select and occupy with artillery, positions along the line bearing upon the enemy’s position, with which duty he was engaged all night. At early dawn, Trimble’s division composed the second line, and Rodes’ division the third. The latter had his rations on the spot, and as his men were entirely without food, was extremely anxious to issue. I was disposed to wait a short time for this purpose; but when, as preliminary to an attack, I ordered the right of the first line to swing around, and come perpendicular to the road, the order was misunderstood for an order to attack, and that part of the line became engaged. I ordered the whole line to advance, and the second and third lines to follow. As the sun lifted the mist that shrouded the field, it was discovered that the ridge on the extreme right was a fine position for concentrating artillery. I immediately ordered thirty pieces to that point, and under the happy effects of the battalion system, it was done quickly. The effect of this fire upon the enemy’s batteries was superb. In the meantime the enemy was pressing our left with infantry, and all the reinforcements I could obtain were sent there. Colquitt’s brigade, of Trimble’s division, ordered first to the right, was directed to the left to support Pender. Iverson’s brigade, of the second line, was also engaged there, and the three lines were more or less merged into one line of battle, and reported hard pressed. Urgent requests were sent for reinforcements, and notices that the troops were out of ammunition, &c. I ordered that the ground must be held at all hazards; if necessary, with the bayonet. About this time, also, our right connected with Anderson’s left, relieving all anxiety on that subject. I was now anxious to mass infantry on the left, to push the enemy there, and sent every available regiment to that point. About eight o’clock, A.M., the works of the enemy directly in front of our right were stormed, but the enemy’s forces retiring from the line facing Anderson, which our batteries enfiladed, caused our troops to abandon these works, the enemy coming in their rear. It was stormed a second time, when I discovered the enemy making a flank movement to the left of the read for the purpose of dislodging our forces, and hastened to change the front of a portion of our line to meet this attack; but the shortness of the time and the deafening roar of artillery prevented the execution of this movement, and our line again retired. The third time it was taken, I made disposition of a portion of Ramseur’s brigade to protect the left flank. Artillery was pushed forward to the crest, sharpshooters were posted in a house in advance, and in a few moments Chancellorsville was our’s, (ten o’clock, A.M.) The enemy retired towards Ely'[s] ford, the road to United States ford branching one-half mile west of Chancellorsville. In this holly contested battle, the enemy had strong works on each side of the road, those on the commanding ridge being heavily defended by artillery. The night, also, had given him time to mass his troops to meet this attack; but the desperate valor of Jackson’s corps overcame every obstacle, and drove the enemy to his new line of defence, which his engineers had constructed in his rear, ready for occupation, at the intersection of the Ely’s ford and United States ford roads. General Anderson’s division of the right wing, arrived upon the field, comparatively fresh. I set about reforming my command, with a view to a renewal of the attack, when the commanding General received intelligence that the enemy had crossed at Fredericksburg and laken Marye’s hill. An aid-de-camp of General Sedgwick, captured by Colonel Wickham’s regiment on the right, near Banks’ ford, reported two corps, under command of Sedgwick. The commanding General decided to hold Hooker, beaten as he was, in his works, with Jackson’s corps, and detach enough of other forces to turn on Sedgwick. The success of this strategy enabled him again to concentrate, to force Hooker’s position, and arrangements were made for attack with this corps on the morning of the 6th, (Wednesday,) but before it was begun our skirmishers found the enemy’s works abandoned, and pressing forward to the river, captured many prisoners. The enemy had another work two miles in rear of the other, which was also abandoned. This region of country is known as “The Wilderness.” Rapid pursuit in such a country is an impossibility, where the enemy takes care to leave his trains beyond the Rappahannock, and avails himself, as he does, of the appliances of art, labor, and natural obstacles to delay his pursuers. In this battle, in which the enemy’s main force was attacked in chosen positions, he was driven entirely from the field, and finally fled across the river. Our troops behaved with the greatest heroism.

I desire to call the attention of the commanding General to the fact that I was called to the command, at ten o’clock at night, on the battle field, of the corps d’armee, led so long by the immortal Jackson, in the midst of a night attack made by the enemy, without any knowledge of the ground, the position of our forces, or the plans thus far pursued, and without an officer left in the corps above the rank of brigadier general. Under these disadvantages, the attack was renewed the next morning, and prosecuted to a successful issue. Major General A. P. Hill, who had the misfortune to be wounded soon after the command devolved upon him, remained near the field next day, notwithstanding his wound, for which I was very grateful, for circumstances might have arisen making his presence necessary.

To the generals of divisions and brigades, I feel greatly indebted for the hearty co-operation, zeal, and support accorded to me by all to the fullest extent of their ability. The field officers and others, I hope, to particularize hereafter in a detailed report, when the data is collected, as well as mention specially the various officers serving on my staff with marked distinction during the day.

I labored under great disadvantages in having none of General Jackson’s staff with me until after the action began, and then only Major A. S. Pendleton, who, however, behaved with great heroism and efficiency when he did join me.

Our losses were heavy; the enemy’s heavier. In Sunday’s battle. Brigadier Generals Ramseur, Heth, and McGowan, were wounded, and Paxton killed. Heth and Ramseur, though painfully wounded, persisted in retaining command to the close of the fight. Their heroic conduct will be specially mentioned in the report proper. The casualties of the corps I have not the means of knowing, as before the returns were completed, I relinquished the command to Major General A. P. Hill, in pursuance to the orders of the commanding General, but the division and brigade commmanders were ordered to submit, through me, their reports of the battle of Chancellorsville.

The cavalry was well managed by Brigadier General Fitz. Lee, who siezed Ely’s ford, and held the road to within two miles of Chancellorsville, driving the enemy’s cavalry from the former place. His men, without rations or forage, displayed a heroism rarely met with under any circumstances, and guarding the two flanks, accomplished an indispensable part of the great success, which God vouchsafed to us. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

J. E. B. STUART,
Major General commanding.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL A. P. HILL.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
May 8, 1863.

Major W. H. TAYLOR, A.A.G.:

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following very imperfect sketch of our operations from the time we left Fredericksburg to the recrossing of the Rappahannock by the enemy. The corps of General Jackson, save Early’s division, left our lines at Hamilton’s Crossing at dawn on the morning of Friday, the 1st of May. Rodes’ division, A. P. Hill’s division, and Trimble’s division, under Colston, arriving within four miles of Chancellorsville, line of battle was formed—Rodes in advance, Hill supporting, and Colston in reserve. The enemy were then rapidly pushed back into Chancellorsville. Saturday morning Rodes’, Colston’s, and Hill’s divisions were led by General Jackson on the enemy’s flank and rear, crossing the two plank roads and coming into the turnpike; the artillery of the corps, under Colonel Crutchfield, accompanying. The attack was made about six, P.M.—Rodes’ division and some artillery in advance; Colston and Hill supporting. The attack of Rodes was made with great energy. The enemy were driven for three miles, and into his works at Chancellorsville, with the loss of ten pieces of artillery and many prisoners. This was about nine, P.M., and General Jackson directed General Hill to take charge of the pursuit. Whilst Lane’s brigade was forming its lines for advancing and throwing out his skirmishers. General Jackson was wounded. The enemy then made an attempt to retake their rifle-pits immediately fronting Chancellorsville, but were handsomely driven back by Colonel Mallory, fifty-fifth Virginia, Heth’s brigade. The enemy, during this time, had concentrated a most terrible fire of artillery on the head of Hill’s division from thirty-two pieces of artillery. General Hill was disabled during this fire. General Stuart was sent for, and the command of the corps turned over to him.

It was thought best, under all the circumstances not to push the pursuit any further that night. Next morning all the artillery which could be put in position having been brought up, the infantry in three lines—Colston, Hill, (now Heth’s,) and Rodes—General Stuart renewed the attack about dawn. The enemy were gallantly charged. The combat was furious. Colston’s division having become somewhat broken and disordered, Heth took the advance. Archer on the extreme right, endeavoring to connect with Anderson, and Pender, with two brigades, of this division, on the left of the road. The enemy were again charged, and twice were his works taken, and twice relinquished. Rodes’ division came up to the support; and after some tremendous fighting—all three divisions being engaged—the enemy were driven out, and his works occupied about ten o’clock. Archer’s brigade captured four guns; and Brigadier General William Hays was captured by Pender’s brigade. Ramseur’s brigade, under his gallant leadership, was conspicuous throughout the three days’ fighting.

Our lines were again formed, covering the roads leading to the United States ford. Pender, with four brigades on the left, Rodes in the centre, and Colston, with three brigades, on the right; Heth, with three brigades, was sent to relieve Anderson. We held this position during Sunday and Monday, whilst Anderson and McLaws were detached to drive back General Sedgwick. Several advances of the enemy’s skirmishers were repulsed; and he occasionally opened a heavy fire of artillery. Sedgwick having been demolished, the enemy recrossed on Tuesday night.

Major General Stuart is deserving of great commendation for his admirable management of the troops. Called suddenly, late at night, to a new sphere of action, and entirely ignorant of the positions of the brigades, with indomitable energy he surmouilted all difficulties, and achieved a glorious result. Brigadier General Rodes distinguished himself much, and won a proud name for himself and his division. Generals Heth, Pender and Ramseur, contributed greatly to the success of our arms. Much is due the artillery. Colonels Crutchfield, Brown, Walker and Alexander, deserve special mention. Respectfully,

A. P. HILL, Major General.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL ANDERSON.

HEADQUARTERS ANDERSON’S DIVISION,
Near Fredericksburg, Va.,
June 6th, 1863.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General and
Chief of Staff, A.N.V.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the division under my command, during the late engagements along the Rappahannock:

Before the 29th of April, the brigades were posted as follows: Mahone’s and Posey’s at United States Ford, Wilcox’s at Banks’ Ford, Perry’s near the old mine road, about three miles west of Fredericksburg, and Wright’s at Massaponax church.

On the morning of the 26th of April, when the enemy crossed the river at the mouth of Deep run, Wright’s brigade was brought up from Massaponax church, and placed to the left and rear of Major General Early’s position. Later in the day, it was ordered to take post near Perry’s brigade, and at dark the latter was moved to the river to relieve such of the troops of McLaws’ division as were on duty above Fredericksburg, and opposite Falmouth. About nine o’clock, P.M., the same day, I received orders from the commanding General to repair to Chancellorsville, and to make such a disposition of the two brigades (Mahone’s and Posey’s) which had been posted at United States ford, as to check the advance of the enemy, who had crossed the Rappahannock at the fords above the Rapidan, and were approaching Ely’s and Germana fords, on the latter river. I proceeded to obey these directions, and ordered Brigadier General Wright to move his brigade to Chancellorsville. Upon arriving at Chancellorsville, at midnight, I found that Brigadier General Mahone had already occupied that place, with the troops from United States ford; having left a regiment from his own, and five companies of the ninth Mississippi regiment, from Posey’s brigade, to hold the ford as long as possible, I learned also that the enemy had crossed the Rapidan at Ely’s and Germana fords, capturing, after a very obstinate resistance, the greater part of a working party and picket, which had been stationed at the latter place. After consultation with Brigadier Generals Mahone and Posey, and an examination of the position at Chancellorsville, I decided upon falling back from that place to the point on the plank road, at which the old mine road crosses it; and this was done early on the morning of the 30th of April—Wright’s brigade, which had arrived at daylight, and the force which had been left at United States Ford, being withdrawn at the same time. Wright’s and Posey’s brigades retired from Chancellorsville by the plank road, and Mahone’s by the old turnpike. Whilst they were moving off, and before the pickets had been called in, the cavalry of the enemy, under cover of fog and rain, dashed upon the picket on the Ely’s ford road, and captured a part of one company. They subsequently attacked the rear guard of Mahone’s brigade, but were so effectually repulsed, that we were no further annoyed by them during the movement. Upon arriving at the intersection of the old mine and plank roads, I met Colonel W. P. Smith, chief engineer, army Northern Virginia, and Captain Johnston, of the engineer corps, who had been sent by the commanding General to examine the position, and establish the line of entrenchments. The work of entrenching was commenced immediately after the line had been selected, and was continued with great diligence and activity throughout that day, the night following, and the early part of the next morning. During the day, there were occasional skirmishes with the enemy’s cavalry, who had followed from Chancellorsville. In the afternoon, Colonel Owens, commanding the third regiment Virginia cavalry, joined me with his regiment, and threw out pickets to the front, and upon each flank.

A little before sunrise on the 1st of May, Major General McLaws, having come up with his division, strengthened the force immediately in front, and secured our right flank by occupying the trenches along Motte run. At 8 o’clock, A.M., Lietenant General Jackson arrived. By his orders, the work on the trenches was discontinued, and the troops were put in readiness for an advance. Wilcox’s and Perry’s brigades which had been left above Fredericksburg, being at the same time ordered to join their division. The advance commenced at eleven o’clock, A.M. Mahone’s brigade, with Jordan’s battery of Alexander’s battalion, leading the movement, on the old turnpike, and Wright’s and Posey’s brigades, with the other batteries of Alexander’s battalion leading on the plank road. Colonel Owens’ regiment of cavalry was employed in reconnoitering these roads, and others diverging from them. When the troops on the plank road had advanced about two miles, the enemy was discovered in considerable force. They opened on us with artillery, and seemed determined to resist our further progress. Brigadier General Wright was directed to follow, with his brigade, the line of the unfinished Fredericksburg and Gordonsville railroad, to threaten their right, and to compel them to fall back. This was executed with spirit and rapidity, and the enemy fell back with precipitation before our advance, which was resumed soon afterwards. General Wright continued to follow the line of the railroad without opposition until he arrived at the Catharine or Wellford’s furnace, where he had a sharp encounter with a superior force of the enemy. Darkness put a stop to this conflict without any decided results having been attained, and at ten o’clock, at night, in obedience to orders from Lieutenant General Jackson, he returned to the plank road, along which Posey’s brigade had, in the meantime, advanced to within a short distance of the enemy’s entrenchments around Chancellorsville. Mahone’s brigade, in like manner, fought its way along the old turnpike to a point about one mile from Chancellorsville. Wilcox’s and Perry’s brigades, in comming up from Fredericksburg, had been directed to follow the old turnpike, and during the afternoon had co-operated with McLaws’ division.

A little before daylight, on the 2d of May, Wilcox’s brigade was ordered to resume the position at Banks’ ford, from which it had been withdrawn.

The night of the 1st and morning of the 2d of May passed quickly. At seven o’clock, A.M., Posey’s brigade moved a little to the rear of the line of battle, having been relieved by that of Brigadier General Thomas.

When Lieutenant General Jackson’s command moved against the enemy’s right, the position immediately on the left of the plank road, which had been held by a part of his troops, was taken by Wright’s brigade. At mid-day the enemy appeared in some force at the furnace Posey’s brigade was sent to dislodge him, and was soon engaged in a warm skirmish with him. The increasing numbers of the enemy made it necessary to move Wright’s brigade to the support of Posey’s, and Mahone’s was at the same time moved over from the old turnpike to the position just left by Wright’s. Posey’s brigude gallantly maintained its position against great odds, and checked the further advance of the enemy. Perry’s brigade joined me at dark. During the night, Posey’s brigade constructed a line of breastworks.

At daylight, on the 3d, Perry’s brigade was directed to gain the Catharpin road, and move towards the furnace. At sunrise, when it was supposed that General Perry had time to reach the vicinity of the furnace, General Posey’s skirmishers were pushed forward towards it, and it was discovered that the enemy had retired.

Soon afterwards, in obedience to the directions of the commanding general, my whole force was advanced tawards Chacellorsville, Mahone’s brigade having its right on the plank road, and Wright’s, Posey’s and Perry’s, successfully forming a line-of-battle on the left of, and nearly perpendicular to, that portion of the plank road, between us and Chancellorsville. The troops pressed forward with spirited impetuosity, and with as much rapidity as was permitted by the dense thickets and tangled abattis through which they were obliged to force their way. After a short and sharp encounter, they drove the enemy from his entrenchments. Wright’s brigade was the first to reach Chancellorsville, at which place it captured a large number of prisoners. The other brigades coming up immediately afterwards, the division was placed in line along the old turnpike to the east of Chancellorsville. A little after mid-day, Mahone’s brigade was detached, by order of the commanding General, to operate with McLaws’ division against the enemy, who were then reported to be moving from Fredericksburg up the plank road. At four o’clock in the afternoon, I proceeded, in obedience to instructions, with Wright’s, Perry’s and Posey’s brigades, to the river road, below United States ford, to watch that road and to threaten the enemy’s communications and his line of retreat from Chancellorsville. Major Hardaway, with fourteen pieces of rifle artillery, was attached to my command. Upon arriving at the river road, I found the enemy strongly posted on Mine run, and when I had completed a reconnoissance of his position it was too late to effect anything that evening. Captain Johnston of the engineer crops, who accompanied me, having discovered large parks of the enemy’s wagons and the camps of some of his troops on the opposite side of the river, Major Hardaway was directed to post his guns at daybreak, on the 4th, at a point indicated by Captain Johnston, and to open a hot fire upon the parks and camps. This was executed as directed, and, I believe, with good effect. Soon afterwards our skirmishers were pushed forward, with orders to drive back those of the enemy and to discover his position and strength. This was accomplished without delay, the enemy being found in force, fortifying a high ridge between Mine run and the road connecting United States ford and Chancellorsville. Just at this time, I received orders to march with my division towards Fredericksburg, and report to Major General McLaws, at Salem church, on the plank road, being relieved from duty at this point by General Heth’s command. I arrived at Salem church with my command at eleven o’clock, A.M., and reported, as directed, to Major General McLaws. At twelve o’clock, M., in obedience to the directions of the commanding General, my division was placed in line-of-battle on the left of Major General Early’s, which was occupying Marye’s Hill and the heights extending west from Fredericksburg. The general direction of the enemy’s line was parellel with the plank road. At six o’clock, P.M., the signal to advance being given, Early’s division and my own marched rapidly upon the enemy’s position and drove him from it without much trouble, meeting with but slight resistance. Wright’s brigade advanced with great intrepidity across a wheat field, under a hot fire of grape, and drove one of the enemy’s batteries from its position. The enemy retreated towards Bank’s ford, and was followed closely as long as there was light enough to continue the pursuit. At daylight, on the 5th, reconnoitering parties discovered that he had disappeared from our side of the river. At four o’clock, P.M., I received orders to return with my command to the vicinity of Chancellorsville, and at dark I halted the head of the column one mile from that place; Wilcox’s and Wright’s brigades lying in bivouac on the Catharine road, Mahone’s, Perry’s and Posey’s on the plank road. At eight o’clock, A.M., on the 6th, the division was moved forward to a position at the junction of the Ely’s Ford and United States Ford roads. At eleven o’clock, A.M., in obedience to the orders of the commanding general, I marched towards Fredericksburg, and in the afternoon returned to the position which had been occupied by the division, previous to these operations. Wilcox’s and Mahone’s brigades, after being detached from my command, participated in the fight at Salem Church. I cannot too highly commend the gallant conduct of the division which I had the honor and good fortune to command. Where all performed their duty with so much zeal and courage, it is almost impossible to make a distinction, but Brigadier General Posey and his brave, untiring, persevering Mississippians, seem to me to deserve especial notice. Their steadiness at the furnace, on Saturday evening, when pressed by greatly superior numbers, saved our army from great peril, whilst their chivalrous charge upon the trenches on Sunday, contributed largely to the successes of that day. After three days and nights of incessant occupation, Saturday night was again passed by them, in hard work upon entrenchments in front of the furnace whilst the others had an opportunity to take some rest. But it would be doing injustice to Brigadier General Wilcox, to pass unnoticed, his own gallant conduct, and that of his troops, at Salem church, where they bore almost the whole brunt of the enemy’s onset, and successfully repelled it. To Brigadier General Mahone, to omit to mention his bold, skilled and successful management, so well seconded by his brave Virginians; to Brigadier General Wright and his high-spirited, fearless Georgians, whose attack at the furnace, on the evening of the 1st, and whose unflinching advance against the enemy’s guns, under a heavy fire of grape, on the evening of the 4th, excited the admiration of all who saw them; and to Brigadier General Perry and his heroic little band of Floridians, who showed a courage as intrepid as that of any others, in their assault upon the enemy, in his entrenchments, on the 3rd, and in their subsequent advance upon Chancellorsville. Lieutenant Colonel Garnett and Major Hardaway and Richardson, commanders of artillery, distinguished themselves by their activity, skill and courage. I beg leave, also, to mention the meritorious services and general good conduct of the members of my staff, Majors T. S. Mills and R. P. Duncan, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector Generals, Lieutenants Wm. McWillie and S. D. Shannon, aids-de-camp, and Messrs. E. D. Spaun, James G. Spaun and E. J. Means, volunteer aids-de-camp. Captain E. N. Thurston, ordnance officer. Surgeons G. McF. Gaston and H. D. Feasee, Major J. A. Johnston, Chief Quartermaster, and Major Wm. C. Wingfield, Chief Commissary of the division, rendered valuable services by their careful and unremitting attention to their duties. The reports of the brigade and artillery battalion commanders, are herewith respectfully submitted. The loss of the division in these operations was, killed 186, wounded 1,049, missing 210, total 1,445. I am, very respectfully, Your most obedient servant.

R. H. ANDERSON,
Major General, commanding Division.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL McLAWS.

HEADQUARTERS DIVISION, May 10, 1863.

Major TAYLOR, A.A.G.:

MAJOR: On the 1st of May, instant, at twelve and a half o’clock at night, the brigades of Generals Kershaw, Semmes and Wofford were put in march up the plank road by order from your headquarters—the brigade of General Barksdale remaining in Fredericksburg and vicinity—and by six o’clock in the morning were in position behind the rifle pits about Smith’s hill and extending to the right and left, joining General Anderson’s command on the left, to defend the approaches from the United States ford and from the direction of Chancellorsville. About eleven, A.M., General Jackson, who had arrived with his forces and assumed command, directed me to advance along the turnpike road, having Mahone’s brigade, of Anderson’s division, in advance. I collected my own division as rapidly as possible from the rifle pits, each brigade, as it was relieved, falling in rear of the others as they advanced in the march. After proceeding but a short distance, the skirmishers became engaged. The main column advancing slowly, until the enemy appearing in force, it was deployed, the line of battle formed across the turnpike road—Semmes’ brigade on the left, and those of Mahone, Wofford and Perry, of Anderson’s division, in the order here named, to the right, extending so as to cover the mine road; Jordon’s battery on the mine turnpike. Our skirmishers were driven in. Fire was opened on our lines from a battery four or five hundred yards in front and, after skirmishing to the right and left, the main assault was made on the left against Semmes by Sykes’ regulars, but they were repulsed at every attempt. Before the first assault, I sent to General Jackson, by my aid-de-camp, that the enemy were in force in my immediate front and were advancing, and that a larger force could be seen along the heights about one mile or more to the rear, and that the country was favorable for a flank attack from his side. After the first assault, I received answer from General Jackson to hold my position and that he would advance or was advancing his artillery, and if that did not answer he would endeavor to gain the rear of the enemy. General Kershaw coming up, his brigade was placed in support of General Semmes, extending beyond his left. The cavalry reporting that the enemy were advancing along the Mine road, General Wilcox’s brigade was ordered and took position—guided by Captain Johnson, of General Lee’s staff—to protect my right, taking artillery with him. General Jackson’s artillery and his advance, in conjunction with the failure of the attack on my front, forced the enemy to retire, when, by General Jackson’s order, my whole line advanced in the same order as they had been displayed, as above stated. The order to advance was received at four, P.M. My line halted at dark and bivouacked along the heights just beyond the point where Mine run crosses the turnpike. The next morning, the 2nd, my line of battle was reformed along the heights, in the same order as before, excepting that General Wilcox had been ordered, during the night previous, to return to Banks’ ford and hold that position, it having been reported that the enemy were moving down the river road and, besides, were making demonstrations to cross the river at that ford. Two batteries were placed on the heights between General Semmes and Wofford. A strong line of skirmishers was advanced and were constantly engaged with those of the enemy. General Kershaw’s brigade was held in, reserve. I received orders from General Lee to hold my position, as General Jackson would operate to the left and rear. Not long after, I was directed to replace General Posey’s brigade on my left by one from my command, and General Kershaw moved to that position, on the left of General Semmes. Following this order, I was directed to send the brigades of Generals Mahone and Perry to the left and close in my command so as to connect with General Anderson’s right—holding my right at the turnpike, but constantly pressing to the left, so as to be in communication with General Anderson—to do which, as the country was broken and densely wooded, and the directions constantly changing, I ordered the two brigades on the left, Kershaw and Semmes’, to advance by battalion from the left, so as to form a broken line, but still covering the front and forming the connection. The batteries opened whenever the masses of the enemy on the hills in my front offered an opportunity, and with marked results. My orders were to hold my position, not to engage seriously, but to press strongly so soon as it was discovered that General Jackson had attacked. It was not until late in the evening that it was known General Jackson had commenced his assault, when I ordered an advance along the whole line to engage with the skirmishers, which were largely reinforced, and to threaten but not attack seriously, in doing which General Wofford became so seriously engaged that I directed him to withdraw, which was done in good order, his men in good spirits, after driving the enemy to their entrenchments.

As General Jackson advanced, the enemy moved in front of two batteries on my line, which opened on them with excellent effect. This continued until darkness prevented any further efforts in my front.

Generals Kershaw and Semmes had been pressing to the left and front, and engaging the enemy with their skirmishers, which had left an open space, so far as the main body was concerned, between my right and centre, of considerable distance, but the skirmishers of General Semmes, composed of the entire tenth Georgia regiment, were perfectly reliable, and kept the enemy to their entrenchments, so there was nothing to be apprehended from an advance in this direction.

May 3d—Nothing occurred during the night save the magnificent display caused by the night attack of General Jackson. My skirmishers, well to the front, and strong in number, engaged the enemy as day advanced. The batteries were run forward, and played upon the masses of the enemy, in good range, producing much confusion; finally, the repeated attacks of the forces on my left forced the enemy to give way from Chancellorsville, and our troops could be seen advancing across the plain. General Wofford threw a portion of his command across the valley between him and the Chancellorsville heights, and thus prevented the escape of a considerable body of the enemy which had been opposed to this brigade, and to his left and front during the morning. I directed a flag of truce to be sent them, and they surrendered. I think General Wofford entitled to the most credit for their capture, although the tenth Georgia, General Semmes and General Wright of Anderson’s division, claimed their share equally. Kershaw and Semmes bearing to the left to co-operate with General Anderson, to unite with the two wings of the army, had now swept around to the plains of Chancellorsville, and directed them to march down the plank road and unite with General Wofford’s left. As this was in the act of accomplishment, information was received that the enemy had carried the heights about Fredericksburg, and were advancing up the plank road. General Lee here rode up and ordered that the brigades of Generals Mahone and Kershaw should march at once towards Fredericksburg, with Moody’s battery, to meet the enemy; and after these brigades were on the march, and had advanced some distance, he directed me to proceed in the same direction with the remainder of my division, which was done so soon as the brigades could be formed. On reaching the rifle-pits, just beyond the junction of the turnpike and mine roads, I found General Mahone’s brigade along the rifle-pits, General Kershaw halted along the road. General Wilcox’s brigade was marching to the front. I ordered them all forward, but as I was here informed that the enemy were in considerable force going down the telegraph road, and as I thought that it was perhaps their intention to march forward by the plank and mine roads, which came together just beyond the junction of the plank and turnpike roads, now in my rear, I halted General Wofford with directions to watch the mine road on his right. I then rode on, and found General Wilcox with his brigade in line across the plank road at Salem church, General Kershaw forming on his right, and General Mahone on the left. I directed General Mahone still more to his left, as he was acquainted with the country, and placed General Semmes to the immediate left of General Wilcox. General Wofford was ordered forward and placed on the right of General Kershaw. The batteries which I had brought with me had been engaged all the morning, and had but little ammunition left. They had been ordered back in such haste that there was no time for thsrato replenish their chests, but they engaged the enemy until their supplies were nearly exhausted, and then withdrew, and were posted in the rear to command the ground on the flanks and front. The batteries of the enemy were admirably served, and played over the whole ground. Before my command was well in position, the enemy advanced, driving in our skirmishers, and coming forward with loud shouts, endeavored to force the centre, (Wilcox’s) and the left centre, (General Semmes’,) extending the attack somewhat to Mahone’s brigade. One of Wilcox’s regiment’s gave way, and, with the skirmishers running, had created a little confusion; but General Wilcox himself soon corrected this, and reforming his men, charged the enemy, in conjunction with two regiments of Semmes’ brigade, led by General Semmes, and drove them back for a considerable distance. I now strengthened the left of Mahone’s, which was strongly threatened, with two regiments from Wofford’s brigade, (on the right) and closed General Kershaw to the left, strengthening the centre, supposing that the attack would be renewed, but no other assault was attempted, and, as night drew on, the firing ceased on both sides, and my command bivouacked in line of battle.

In this engagement, three or four hundred were taken and about the same number of the enemy were killed and buried. Just previous to the assault, I sent my inspecting officer, Major Costin, to try and communicate with General Early, and to bring back information as to his position and designs, and the whereabouts of the enemy in that direction. A courier late in the night brought me a note from Gen. Early, informing me that he would concentrate his forces in the morning and drive the enemy from the heights, Marye’s hill included, I sent his note to General Lee, who, approving it, I forwarded it to General Early, who, on the next morning carried the heights with but little opposition. After this, General Early sent me word by his staff again, that if I would attack in front, he would advance two brigades and strike at the flank and rear of the enemy. I agreed to advance, provided he would first attack, and did advance my right—Kershaw and Wofford—to operate with him—but finding my force was insufficient for a front attack, I withdrew to my line of the evening previous, General Early not attacking as I could hear. In the meanwhile I had informed General Lee of the plan proposed and asking for an additional force. I was informed, in reply, that the remainder of General Anderson’s division had been ordered forward. I then directed that no attack should be made until General Anderson arrived. General Lee came in person to superintend the movement, arriving about the same time with General Anderson’s head of column. General Anderson was ordered to the right with his three brigades. My understanding was that the troops of my own division and the brigades of Wilcox and Mahone were to continue in line, facing the enemy, and those of General Early and three brigades of General Anderson were to attack their right and rear. Orders were given that my troops on the right—Kershaw and Wofford—should advance after it was known that the attack on the right had commenced, which would be indicated by the firing in that direction. I was on the right of my line, straightening it and extending to the right when notice was given that the attack would shortly be made by Generals Early and Anderson, and that Colonel Alexander, who had established a strong battery, on a prominent hill, which commanded one of nearly equal force on the other side, which would take my line in reverse, and, in a measure, enfilade it, should open fire. The orders were given at once. Alexander opened his batteries and Generals Kershaw and Wofford advanced to the front through a dense woods. Distant firing in the direction of Fredericksburg was heard, indicating that the attack had commenced on the extreme right. Night now came rapidly on and nothing could be observed of our operations. It being reported to me, from Mahone’s position, that the noise of crossing on the pontoon bridge at Banks’ ford could be heard, I sent to Colonel Alexander, requesting him to throw shells so as to drop them as near as possible about the crossing, which was promptly done. Shortly afterwards, General Kershaw’s arrival on the plank road was reported to me, and I requested General Wilcox to assume the direction of it, and with such a portion of his own brigade as he thought necessary, proceed down the Banks’ ford road, taking a battery with him, to press the enemy, seize the redoubts suitable for shelling the crossing, and open fire with the batteries, all of which was done in the most prompt manner, General Wilcox being acquainted with the localities, of which I knew nothing except by report.

I was as yet ignorant whether or not the attack upon the right had been a success, but the noise of their passage over the pontoon bridges, convincing me that the enemy were in full retreat, I thought it best to press on in pursuit. After these orders had been given and were in execution, I received a communication from General Lee, dated ten, P.M., from Downman’s house, informing me of the success of the attack on the right and his desire that the enemy should be pushed over the river that night. Wofford’s brigade advanced as far as the river road, engaging the enemy as he went, and driving them before him, and halted for the night beyond the river road, extending his pickets. Wilcox and Kershaw pushed, on driving the enemy before them, and occupied the redoubts commanding the ford and its approaches, and opened fire with artillery in that direction. As my troops advanced, I sent to Colonel Alexander, requesting him to fire on the approaches from the other side only, as I did not wish to risk his shells dropping among our troops; he did as requested, and the fire from all the batteries is reported by citizens about the ford, as producing great confusion and as being very destructive. The enemy throwing away their arms and breaking ranks, fled across the river in the greatest disorder. As evidence of which, the accompanying report of ordnance and ordnance stores picked up by my own division, on this side of Salem church, shows how complete must have been the demoralization. The darkness of the night, ignorance of the country, and of the events transpiring on the other end of the line, prevented that co-operation which would have led to a more complete success, but I believe that all was gained that could have been expected under the circumstances. The enemy had several batteries—sixteen guns—in front of the left of my line, sweeping every approach from my left. I am not informed when they were withdrawn, but I suppose they were immediately after dark. By the next morning the enemy had retired from this side of the river, and my command was employed in burying the dead, attending to the wounded, and collecting arms and accoutrements. I received orders during the morning to assemble my division, send General Anderson’s brigades to rejoin him, and to send an intelligent officer to the position of General Heth, at or near the junction of the river and mine roads, to inform himself of the points to be occupied, and if General Heth had left, to replace him by the brigades of General Mahone and another of my own. But afterwards, in conversation with General Lee, he directed me to move one of my brigades (General Kershaw) to relieve General Heth. The brigade was already in motion, and I joined with it and went to Gen. Heth’s position. The march was not delayed for a moment, as the brigade did not halt even once, and it arrived at its destination before the storm. General Heth’s main command was posted in rear of the rifle pits, which had been constructed, two or three hundred yards on the plank road side of the junction of the river and mine roads, with smaller bodies more to the front. His men and officers had their shelter and other tents pitched, and there were no indications of his moving on my arrival. I think he received orders after my arrival, to move when I arrived. General Kershaw had relieved him and was in position before the storm commenced. General Heth informed me that the strength of the three brigades under his command was about nineteen hundred aggregate, which was not so numerous as the single brigade of General Kershaw. Colonel Wickham offered his services to point out the different crossings on the river, and I rode down the river road with him. A terrible storm of wind and rain delayed my return to my headquarters until between eight and nine o’clock at night, when I learned that General Semmes had been ordered to join General Kershaw. The next morning early I rode to the position of Generals Kershaw and Semmes, and, advancing the skirmishers and scouts, discovered that the enemy had gone over the river. Shortly after, I received orders to retire to my former position in front of Fredericksburg, leaving a brigade; (Wofford’s) at Banks’ ford.

The number of killed, wounded, and missing in my division, are:

Kershaw,    104 of which 2 are missing.
Barksdale,    592 of which 327 are missing, besides 14 officers.
Semmes,    603 of which 26 are missing.
Wofford,    562 of which 9 are missing.
Artillery,      28 of which 2 are missing.
  1,889

My inspector general reports over twelve hundred prisoners taken. Very respectfully,

L. McLAWS, Major General.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL EARLY.

HEADQUARTERS EARLY’S DIVISION,
May 7, 1863.

Major W. H. TAYLOR,
A.A.G., Army Northern Virginia:

MAJOR: About daylight on the 29th ultimo, the enemy crossed at the mouth of Deep run, and later near Pratt’s house, below. On receiving information of the first movement, I immediately moved my division into line on the railroad, the right resting at Hamilton’s Crossing, and the left at Deep run, and occupied the river road in front with three regiments, and thus kept the enemy from advancing to that road. The residue of the troops having, in the meantime, been brought up, on the afternoon of the 30th, I received instructions from Lieutenant General Jackson to remain behind with my division, and one of McLaws’ brigades, (Barksdale’s,) to observe the enemy, while the residue of the troops were removed to the left. General Pendleton, with a portion of his reserve artillery, and Lieutenant Colonel Andrews, with his battalion of artillery, was also left behind. My division and Andrews’ artillery occupied the lines on the right, and Barksdale’s brigade and Pendleton’s artillery occupied Fredericksburg, in the rear.

About eleven o’clock, on the 2d instant, instructions were received from General Lee, through General Chilton, to leave a brigade behind as a guard, and move with the residue up to Chancellorsville; and as soon as I could get ready, I commenced the movement, leaving behind Hays’ brigade and one of Barksdale’s regiments. A portion of General Pendleton’s artillery, under like instructions, was sent to the rear. After I had commenced the movements, and had reached the plank road, and moved the head of the column up it about a mile, information was received from the rear of such character as to cause me to turn back and occupy the former line as before.

About light, on next morning, (Monday, the 3d,) I received information from General Barksdale that the enemy had thrown a bridge across at Fredericksburg; and I immediately sent Hays’ brigade from the right to his support. In a short time the enemy commenced making demonstrations from the mouth of Deep run and Fredericksburg. All his efforts to attack the left of my line were thwarted, and one attack on Marye’s hill was repulsed. The enemy, however, sent a flag of truce to Colonel Griffin, of the eighteenth Mississippi regiment, who occupied the works at the foot of Marye’s hill with his own and the twenty-first Mississippi regiment, which was received by him imperfectly, and it had barely returned before heavy columns were advanced against the position, and the trenches were carried, and the hill taken—a large portion of the eighteenth Mississippi regiment and a part of the twenty-first being taken prisoners, and a company of the Washington artillery, with its guns, were captured. After this, the artillery on Lee’s hill, and the rest of Barksdale’s infantry, with one of Hays’ regiments, fell back on the telegraph road. Hays, with the remainder, being compelled to fall back up the plank road, as he was on the left. Having received information, I hastened up, and succeeded in halting the artillery and infantry, and checked the advance of the enemy, and had the brigades on the right thrown back into the second line; and upon the arrival of Hays’ brigade, which came around from the plank road, and three regiments of Gordon’s, which had been sent for as soon as I heard of the disaster, a line was formed across the telegraph road, at Cox’s house, about two miles back of Lee’s hill. Having received information, late in the day, that McLaws was moving down, and that the enemy, who had passed heavy columns up the plank road, through Fredericksburg, was to be attacked by his forces and mine in connection, I concentrated all my force at Cox’s house, which was not accomplished until after night, having previously informed General McLaws of my intention to attack Marye’s hill next morning, on the right and advance, extending my left so as to close in on him. Early next morning, I threw Hoke’s and Hays’ brigade across Hazle run, to move down towards the right, and advance Gordon’s brigade towards Marye’s and Lee’s hills, followed by Smith’s and Barksdale’s brigades. Gordon, succeeded in capturing Marye’s hill with ease, aided by Colonel Andrews’ artillery, and Barksdale’s brigade was thrown into the trenches in front of the hill, and Smith’s brigade moved across Hazle run, and a line formed facing up the plank road, on the plain between Marye’s hill and the heights, on the plank road, and at Taylor’s house, I then waited to hear from McLaws; but hearing no sound of an engagement in that direction, I felt the enemy with Smith’s brigade, and finding that he had artillery on the heights, in front of my right, I ordered the brigade to retire, and sent to General McLaws, requesting him to turn. In return, I received information that Anderson’s division was moving down, and that an attack was to be made at a signal. Subsequently I was sent for by General Lee, and having received his instructions, at the signal agreed on, Hays’, Hoke’s and Gordon’s brigades, which had been placed in position, were advanced; against the enemy. Hays advancing in the centre, from the foot of the hill opposite the mill and Hazle run; Hoke on the left, advancing across the hill on which Downman’s house is situated, and below it, and Gordon on the right, up the hills on the north of the plank road, driving the enemy before them. This movement was commenced very late, and Hays’ and Hoke’s brigades were thrown into some confusion by coming in contact after they crossed the plank road, below Guest’s house; and it becoming difficult to distinguish our troops from those of the enemy, on account of the growing darkness, they had, therefore, to fall back to reform, which was done on the plain below Guest’s house. Gordon’s brigade got in the rear of the enemy’s right flank, near Taylor’s house, and took its position there. Barksdale’s brigade had been left at Marye’s hill, and Smith’s in position on the left of it, to strengthen Barksdale or reinforce the others, as occasion might require, and two regiments were ordered up while Hays and Hoke’s were being reformed. After seeing General Lee at night, Hoke’s brigade was placed in line on the left of Gordon, and Hays was ordered to take position in the entrenchments, on the right of Marye’s hill, and Smith’s regiments sent back to join the residue of the brigade, on the left of that hill.

The loss in my division during all the time, from the crossing, was one hundred and thirty-six killed, eight hundred and thirty-eight wounded, and some five hundred are reported missing, the greater part of whom are, in all probability, stragglers. This does not include the loss in Barksdale’s brigade and the artillery. Very respectfully,

J. A. EARLY, Major General commanding.

 

REPORT OF GENERAL STUART OF CAVALRY OPERATIONS.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, A.N.V.,
May 8, 1863.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,
A.A. and I. General Army N. Virginia:

GENERAL: In anticipation of the detailed reports, I have the honor to submit the following sketch of the operation of the cavalry immediately preceding and during the battles of the Wilderness and Chancellorsville. The enemy had more than a week previously concentrated a large body of cavalry (two or three divisions) along the line of the upper Rappahannock, whose attempt to hold a footing on the south bank of the river had been repulsed with loss by the two brigades with me, commanded respectively by Brigadier Generals Fitzhugh and W. H. F. Lee, Finally, infantry appeared at Kelly’s ford and Rappahannock bridge, but were so inactive that thus far there was nothing inconsistent with the supposition that their appearance was a feint. About dark, however, on Tuesday night, April 28th, the enemy crossed below the bend of the river at Kelly’s, in boats, opposite our videttes, and, before the force posted to defend the ford could be sent to that point, had crossed in such numbers as to make any attempt at resistance futile. The party crossing at once threw over a pontoon bridge and moved directly up the river, compelling our forces to abandon the ford at Kelly’s, and severing our communication with the lower pickets. General W. H. F. Lee, near Brandy, on receiving this intelligence, sent a regiment (thirteenth Virginia cavalry) at, once to meet the advance of infantry, which was checked a mile above Kelly’s. I received information of this move about nine o’clock, P.M., at Culpeper, and made arrangements to have the entire cavalry and artillery force in Culpeper on the ground at daylight the next morning, directing, in the meantime, that the enemy be so enveloped with pickets as to see what route he took from Kelly’s and keep him in check.[1] General W. H. F. Lee selected a fine position between Brandy and Kelly’s and awaited the advance. General Fitz Lee being held in reserve at Brandy, with a regiment at Stevensburg. The enemy did not make a serious advance towards our position, though Chambliss, with the thirteenth Virginia, was skirmishing all the forenoon with the enemy’s infantry.

About one o’clock, P.M., I received a report from the pickets towards Madden’s that the enemy was moving a large infantry force in that direction. Leaving Chambliss in front of the enemy where I then was, I marched the remainder of the command, Fitz Lee in advance, directly to Madden’s, where we pierced the enemy’s column, while marching, and scattered it, taking possession of the road and capturing a number of prisoners, which enabled us to develop their strength and designs, as we captured prisoners from three army corps: the eleventh (Howard’s), twelfth (Slocum’s), and the fifth (Meade’s), and soon after learned that the column had marched direct for Germana ford. These items were telegraphed to the commanding General. Colonel J. Lucius Davis, near Beaver Dam, had been telegraphed early that day to move his forces at once to occupy and hold the Rapidan fords, but I had no assurance that the order would be obeyed with sufficient promptness to accomplish the object, and as there was no cavalry on the left flank of the main army, it was indispensably necessary to move round to get in front of the enemy moving down upon Fredericksburg, delay him as much as possible, and protect our left flank; besides, while in the execution of this design, I received instructions from the commanding General to give necessary orders about public property along the railroad and swing around to join his left wing, delaying the enemy as much as possible in his march. The brigade of General Fitz Lee was put en route, in a jaded and hungry condition, to Raccoon ford, to cross and move round to the enemy’s front. General W. H. F. Lee, with the two regiments, the seventh and thirteenth, under his command, was directed to move by way of Culpeper, to take up the line of the upper Rapidan, and look out for Gordonsville and the railroad. Couriers had been, by direction, sent to Ely’s and Germana to notify our parties there of the enemy’s advance, but were captured, and consequently the parties at those points received to notice. By the good management of Captain Collins, however, (now Major fifteenth Virginia cavalry,) the enemy was checked for some time at Germana, and his wagons and implements saved, though some of his men were captured. A strong party of sharpshooters was left to hold the road of the enemy’s march as long as possible, and these follow on, which was done, the party maintaining their position until eleven o’clock at night, when the enemy advanced and compelled them to retire. Dispatches captured showed that trains of wagons and droves of cattle accompanied the expedition, and the men were already supplied with five days rations in haversacks. These items placed it beyond doubt that the enemy was making a real movement to turn Fredericksburg. Crossing the Rapidan that night the main body of cavalry was halted to rest a few hours, having marched more than half the night, and one regiment. Colonel Owen, was sent on to get between the enemy and Fredericksburg and impede his progress. Early the next day, (Thursday, April 30th,) Owen having reached the Germana road, on the Fredericksburg side, kept in the enemy’s front, while the remainder kept on the enemy’s right flank, opened on his column at Wilderness tavern, delaying his march until twelve, M., and causing several regiments of infantry to deploy in line of battle to meet us. Hearing that the enemy had already reached Chancellorsville by the Ely’s ford road, I directed my march by Todd’s tavern for Spottsylvania Court House. Night overtook us at Todd’s tavern, and anxious to know what the commanding General desired me to do further, I left the command to bivouac here, and proceeded with my staff towards his headquarters, near Fredericksburg, but had not proceeded a mile before we found ourselves confronted by a party of the enemy double our own, directly in our path. I seat back hastily for a regiment, which, coming up, (fifth Virginia cavalry, Colonel Tyler,) attacked and routed the party. But, in the meantime, another body of the enemy’s cavalry came in rear of the fifth. Receiving notice of this, I gave order’s to withdraw the fifth from the road and sent for the brigade to push on at once. This was done, and by the bright moonlight a series of charges routed and scattered this expedition, which had penetrated to within a mile or two of Spottsylvania Court-House. It has been since ascerttained that this expedition was by no means an insignificant affair, and but for the timely arrival of this cavalry on the spot, and its prompt and vigorous action, might have resulted disastrously. Artillery, as well as trains, were passing Spottsylvania unprotected at the time. With very little rest, without waiting for rations or forage, this noble little brigade, under its incomparable leader, were in the saddle early the next morning, and moving on Jackson’s left flank during the entire day (May 1st), and swinging around to the left to threaten the enemy’s rear. On the morning of May 2d, the cavalry of this brigade was disposed so as to clear Jackson’s way in turning the enemy’s right flank and to cover the movement of this corps, masking it on its right flank. This was done most successfully, driving off the enemy’s cavalry whenever it appeared, and enabled Jackson to surprise the enemy. In the subsequent operations attending the battle and glorious victory, the cavalry did most essential service in watching our flanks and holding the Ely’s ford road in the enemy’s rear, Wickham and Owen being on the extreme right. The horse artillery kept pace with the infantry in the battle of the Wilderness, loading the attack of artillery. Too much praise cannot be awarded the brave men who thus bore fatigue, hunger, loss of sleep and danger without a murmur. The operations of Brigadier General W. H. F. Lee, with his handful of men, are embraced in the memoranda furnished by him. His report is not only satisfactory, but gives evidence of sagacity and good conduct throughout, and of great efficiency on the part of his command. The result shows that the disposition made of these two commands was absolutely necessary. Jones’ brigade was entirely out of reach, and Hampton was south of James river recruiting. That Stoneman, with a large cavalry force, was allowed to penetrate into the heart of the State, though comparatively harmless in results, is due to the entire inadequacy in numbers of the cavalry of the army of Northern Virginia. The enemy has confronted us with at least three divisions of cavalry, more or less concentrated, which we oppose with one division, spread from the Chesapeake to the Alleghany; yet, had not the approach of a battle below made it necessary to divide the force of the two Lees, I feel very confident that Stoneman’s advance would have been prevented, though with great sacrifice of life, owing to disparity of numbers.[2] With the commanding General, who is aware of all the facts, we are content to rest our vindication, if the pursuit of the plain path of duty need vindication. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. B. STUART,
Major General commanding.

 

REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL JOHNSON.

HEADQUARTERS JOHNSTON’S DIVISION,
August 25, 1863.

Major CHAS. MARSHALL:

MAJOR: I have the honor to forward Brigadier General R. E. Colston’s official report of the battle of Chancellorsville.

It will be observed that General Colston’s report is very full, embracing the operations of the different brigades in detail.

None of the brigade commanders, who commanded in the battle, are present; three were killed, and the other, Brigadier General H. C. Nichols, permanently disabled.

If General Colston’s report is not sufficiently full for your purposes, please inform me and I will forward reports from senior officers present, who participated in the battle. I am, Major, very respectfully. Your obedient servant,

ED. JOHNSON,
Major General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL COLSTON.

HEADQUARTERS COLSTON’S BRIGADE,
May 28, 1862.

MAJOR A. S. PENDLETON, A.A.G.:

SIR: As commander of Trimble’s division, daring the battle of Cbancellorsville on the 2d and 3d instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of that division. This report would have been forwarded before, but for the fact that, being separated from the rest of the division, and being no longer in command of it, I did not receive all the brigade returns until yesterday.

On the 29th of April, the divisions received orders to march from their cawps at Moss and Shinker’s Necks to Hamilton’s Crossing. They reached this point in the evening, and remained there until May 1st. Orders were then received to march in a direction leading towards Chancellorsville. The march was contiued until night, and resumed early the next morning, upon the plank road leading to Orange Court House. Arriving at the point where Generals Anderson’s and McLaw’s divisions were in position, we turned to the left by a road leading by Catherine furnace to the Brook road, and thence to the Orange and Fredericksburg plank road, which we followed to the Germana junction. Here the first brigade, under General Paxton, was detached from the division, and ordered to report to Brigadier General Fitz Lee, of the cavalry. This brigade was not engaged during the evening of the 2d, and did not rejoin the division until next morning. The rest of the division moved on, together with the corps, until they had reached a point west of Wilderness church, and in the rear of the enemy’s right flank.

About five o’clock, P.M , on May 2d, I received orders to form line of battle near the “Luckett house,” perpendicular to a road which passes on by Wilderness church, and merges into the plank road leading to Chancellorsville. After receiving several orders and counter-orders, which caused some delay, my line was finally formed, my three brigades being nearly all on the left of the road, Colston’s brigade being on the right, under Col. Warren, Jones’ brigade next, and Nichols’ on the extreme left. My line was about two hundred yards in the rear of General Rodes, who was in the first line, and orders were received that, when any portion of the first line needed reinforcements, the officer, commanding this position, would call for and receive aid from the portion of the line in his rear, without referring the order to division commanders.

Orders to advance were received at six o’clock precisely, and the troops moved on with enthusiasm against the enemy. In a few moments the action opened with a tremendous fire of musketry, two pieces of Stuart’s horse artillery, in the road, supporting our infantry with their fire. Notwithstanding the tangled and very difficult character of the woods, and the resistance of the enemy, but troops advanced with great rapidity, driving the enemy like chaff before them, but not without loss to themselves. The division had advanced but a short time, not more than ten or fifteen minutes, and the battle had hardly more than commenced, when General Rodes called upon Colonel Warren to support him. The troops of my division had pressed on so ardently, that they were already within a few steps of the first line, and, in some places, mixed up with them. The second and third brigades, commanded by General J. R. Jones and Colonel Warren, pushed on with, and through, the first line, and they were the first to charge upon and capture the first line of entrenchments of the enemy, which were in an open field beyond the Wilderness church. This they did under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry.

A large number of prisoners and two pieces of artillery were taken here by the second brigade. Captain W. S. Hannah, of the fiftieth Virginia regiment, being the first to lay his hands upon these pieces, and color sergeant Pickle, of the same regiment, planting his colors over them. At the same time, three pieces of artillery and a number of prisoners were taken by the third brigade, whose gallant commander, Colonel Warren, had fallen, severely wounded a few minutes before, and which was now under the command of Colonel T. V. Williams, thirty-seventh Virginia. We continued to drive the enemy before us until darkness prevented our further advance. The firing had now ceased, owing to the very difficult and tangled nature of the ground over which the troops had advanced, and the mingling of the first and second lines of battle, the formation of the troops had become very much confused, and different regiments, brigades and divisions were mixed up together. In order to be ready to renew the conflict at daylight, it was necessary to reform them in proper order, and a portion of General A. P. Hill’s troops having moved to the front, I ordered the different brigades of my division to form near the log hospital, which was occupied by the enemy’s wounded, and to draw a fresh supply of ammunition. The fourth brigade was formed on the left of the plank road, the others on the right. The first, which had been detached in the evening, not having yet rejoined, was some distance in the rear. The troops were hardly reformed and placed in position, when the enemy opened, about ten o’clock, a furious fire of shot, shell and canister, sweeping down the plank road and the woods on each side. A number of artillery horses, some of them without drivers, and a great many infantry soldiers, belonging to other commands, rushed down the road in wild disorder; but although many casualties occurred at this time in my division, the troops occupied their positions with the utmost steadiness. It was at this time that General Nichols, of the Louisiana brigade, (fourth) a gallant and accomplished officer, had his left leg torn off by a shell, and was carried off the field. The command of his brigade devolved on Colonel J. M. Williams, who, during the following day, discharged with zeal and gallantry the duties of brigade commander. It was also about the same time that our great and good, and ever to be lamented corps commander, fell under the fire of some of the men of General Lane’s brigade. A desultory firing continued at irregular intervals during the night, and the wearied troops had but small opportunity to obtain the repose which was so needful for the task of the next day. General J. R. Jones, owing to the ulcerated condition of one of his legs, was compelled to leave the field about eleven o’clock, and Colonel T. S. Garnett assumed command of his brigade.

Early on Sunday morning, orders were given to the division to form at right angles to the plank road, near the log house, occupied as a hospital by the enemy. Colston’s and Jones’ brigades on the right of the road, and Paxton’s and Nichol’s on the left, in second line. As soon as it was broad daylight, the battle commenced with fury. Our troops advanced from the breastworks, running perpendicular to the plank road, and charged the enemy up the hills, but were driven back by the enemy who were strongly reinforced. Colston’s brigade, under Colonel T. V. Williams, immediately advanced to the support of the first line, and became hotly engaged. Col. T. V. Williams being wounded, and Lieut. Col. Walker who succeeded him in command of the brigade, being killed, the command devolved first upon Lieut. Col. Thurston, third North Carolina regiment, and he being wounded, Lieut. Colonel Brown, first North Carolina, assumed command. Here Colonel McDowell, first North Carolina regiment was wounded, and Major Stover, tenth Virginia regiment was killed. By this time the enemy were advancing in very strong force towards the right of our line and of the breastworks, and were about out-flanking us on the right. Seeing this danger, I sent Mr. Grogan, of General Trimble’s staff, to order Paxton’s brigade to move by the right flank across the road, and Lieutenant Hinrichs of the engineers, was sent with an order to Jones’ brigade, under Colonel Garnett, to advance towards the right from their position, a little in the rear in reserve. This was a most critical moment. The troops in the breastworks, belonging mainly (I believe) to General Pender’s and General McGowan’s brigades, were almost without ammunition, and had become mixed with each other, and with fragments of other commands. They were huddled up close to the breastworks, six and eight deep. In the meantime the enemy’s line was steadily advancing on our front and right, almost without opposition, until I ordered the troops in the breastwork to open fire upon them. At this moment, Paxton’s brigade having moved by the right flank across the road, and then by the left flank in line of battle, advanced towards the breastworks. Before reaching them, the gallant and lamented General Paxton fell; the command devolved upon Colonel Funk, fifth Virginia regiment. The brigade advanced steadily, and the second brigade moved up at the same time. They opened fire upon the enemy and drove them back in confusion. It was at and beyond these breastworks that the division sustained the most severe loss, the nature of the ground being such that the enemy had a plunging fire upon us, and sent destruction upon all that occupied the slope of the hill on which we were. Here fell the gallant Colonel Garnett, commanding Jones’ brigade, leaving Colonel Vandeventer, fiftieth Virginia, in command. Here Major McKim, of division staff, was killed while most gallantly cheering on the men. Major Hoffman and Mr. Grogan, of the same staff, were wounded. All these officers having remained mounted with and near the division commander and the other members of the staff, and having their horses killed under them.

For a time the tide of battle fluctuated; the three brigades of this division making several distinct charges, and being driven back by superior numbers, until at last the enemy were compelled to abandon their works near the Chancellor house. About twenty pieces of artillery coming into battery helped, finally, to drive back the enemy, and the conflict was virtually over at this point, and the firing ceased. In the meanwhile a very sharp fire on the left of the road announced that the Louisiana brigade was hotly engaged. I ordered part of the troops in the breastwork to march by the left flank to their support, and General Colquitt’s brigade coming up at the same time, was ordered, by General Stuart, to proceed in the same direction. These forces arrived on the left just in time. The Louisiana troops, who had been fighting gallantly for a long time without support, and whose ammunition was almost entirely exhausted, were falling back, under a tremendous fire of artillery and musketry. The arrival of the reinforcements enabled them to stop their retrograde movement and the whole line advanced together, and, delivering a few well directed volleys, the enemy was forced to retreat. It was now about twelve o’clock. The enemy was driven beyond Chancellorsville. The troops of my division were almost entirely without ammunition, having expended all their own, besides a large quantity of Yankee ammunition. They were accordingly withdrawn to the rear, and supplied with fresh ammunition and with rations, of which they stood in great need, and their shattered ranks were reformed.

No further movements took place until about three o’clock. At this time I received an order to report in person to General Lee. Upon my doing so, the General ordered me to form my division perpendicular to the road leading from the Chancellorsville house towards to the United States ford—to throw forward skirmishers and to advance for the purpose of feeling and ascertaining the entmy’s position—not of taking his batteries. To this he added, that the road turned to the right at about a quarter of a mile distant, but that I would probably meet opposition before I got there. I accordingly formed my troops on both sides of the road, Nichols’ and Colston’s brigades being on the left and Jones’ and Paxton’s on the right. I ordered Lieutenant Hinrichs, of the engineers, to advance with the skirmishers and reconnoitre the enemy’s position. The command was then given for the division to move forward. Hardly had they advanced a few paces, when a terrific fire of shell and canister was opened, by the enemy, from a battery of twelve pieces of artillery. I ordered a section of Napoleon guns to advance up the road and reply to the enemy’s fire. There was no other spot than the road, in which they could be placed, and that was too narrow to allow a larger number of pieces to be put in battery. Finding that they would be speedily silenced, and probably, with useless loss of life and material by the enemy’s superior artillery, I ordered them back after a few rounds. In the meantime, perceiving some confusion on the left of the road, I proceeded there and found the tenth Louisiana regiment exposed to a perfect storm of grape and shell, and rapidly giving way. Seconded by my aid, Lieut. Tosh, and by the gallant exertions of the officers of this regiment, whose conduct deserves the highest praise, I succeeded in arresting this retrograde movement, in spite of the enemy’s continued fire; but the carnage in this small regiment was great—in less than two minutes, fifty officers and men fell, killed and wounded, by my side, including Lieutenant Colonel Legett, who was instantly killed by a shell. The remainder of the brigade suffered in a less degree, some portions having advanced inside of the point where the enemy’s shot were falling. By this time it was ascertained that the enemy occupied a formidable position; twelve pieces of artillery were planted in barbette at the top of the first hill, and a line of entrenchments, occupied by infantry, stretched out on each side of the artillery, occupying a front much wider than that of my division. Another line of infantry, precceded by skirmishers, was drawn up outside of the works. To advance in the face of such a force, with a division so much reduced as mine was, would have been only to ensure its destruction, and would have been contrary to the instructions I had received from the General commanding. I accordingly reported to General Stuart, who was, for the time, my immediate commander, that my division was not able to attack, with any prospect of success, the position of the enemy. I was then ordered by him to place my division in some entrenchments which had been abandoned by the enemy; the division was moved at night to a position in prolongation of General Rodes’ line, and the position was fortified during the next day and night. On Monday and Tuesday, occasional skirmishing took place with the enemy.

In reconnoitering his position and ascertaining his movements, important service was rendered by Lieutenant Colonel R. T. Colston, of the second Virginia, and Captain William Randolph, and Lieutenant Hinrichs, of the engineers.

The enemy having withdrawn their forces across the river, two brigades of this division, Colston’s and Jones’, remained, the first at United States ford, and the latter near Chancellorsville, and collected upon the battle-field vast quantities of arms, ordnance, &c., which were sent on to Guiney Station and Hamilton’s Crossing. Communication was opened with the enemy by flag of truce; and, in accordance with instructions from General Lee, they were allowed to move all their wounded, and also the bodies of several of their officers who had fallen in the battle. These duties being completed, the two brigades above mentioned returned to the neighborhood of Hamilton’s Crossing, and I returned to the command of my own brigade on the 20th instant.

Where all did their duty so well and so completely, it becomes impossible to mention all those who exhibited great gallantry. That the troops of this division did perform their duy well and completely, is evidenced by the bloody roll of the killed and wounded. Two hundred and sixty-seven killed, and fifteen hundred and ninety-two wounded, making eighteen hundred and forty-nine casualties, not counting the very slightly wounded, in a division which went into action with little more than six thousand men, is a larger per centage than that of any other division in the late battle. Although placed in second line at the commencement of the action, it is an indubitable fact that, before it had made progress many minutes, both on Saturday and on Sunday, the troops of this division had passed into and repeatedly through and beyond the first line. And, without any desire to detract from the just fame of other commands, I feel confident that much of the credit due to the prowess of Trimble’s division has been attributed to others. The unusual proportion of officers who fell—the fact that the four brigades lost eight brigade commanders, three of them killed and the rest disabled, and that, out of the division staff, one was killed and two were wounded, all this shows that all, of every rank, bore their part well in this great battle.

I cannot, however, close this report without mentioning, more particularly, first the names of some of the most promnient of the gallant dead. Paxton, Garnett and Walker, died heroically at the head of their brigades. The chivalrous Duncan McKim, of General Trimble’s staff, fell while conducting reinforcements to repel the enemy. Major Stover, of the tenth Virginia; Lieutenant Colonel Liggett, tenth Louisiana, and many others fell to rise no more. Colonel Warren, tenth Virginia; Colonel T. V. Williams, thirty-seventh Virginia; and Lieut. Colonel Thurston, third North Carolina, wounded while commanding the third brigade, deserve special mention for their gallantry. Also, Colonel Funk, fifth Virginia; Colonel Vandeventer, fiftieth Virginia; Lieutenant Colonel Brown, first North Carolina; and Colonel J. M. Williams, tenth Louisiana, on whom the command of the first, second, third and fourth brigades devolved, respectively. Lieutenant Colonel Withers, of forty-second Virginia; Major White, forty-eighth Virginia; Captain Buckner, forty-fourth Virginia; Captain Mosely, twenty-first Virginia; Major Perkins and Captain Kelly, commanding fiftieth Virginia, and Captain Samuel J. C. Moore, acting adjutant general to Jones’ brigade, are mentioned for gallant conduct by their brigade commanders. Also, Lieutenant C. J. Arnell, acting assistant adjutant general of Paxton’s brigade, and Captain Henry Kyd Douglass, inspector of this brigade, to whose gallantry and good conduct I am also an eye witness. Colonel H. K. Edmundson, of the twenty-seventh Virginia, severely wounded at the head of his regiment, also deserves special mention. Of the conduct of the division staff, I cannot speak too highly. Major Hoffman and Mr. Charles Grogan were both severely wounded, while nobly discharging their duties. Captain W. Carvel Hall, assistant adjutant general, was not only conspicuous for his gallantry, but discharged the arduous duties of his position, both during and after the battle, with a zeal and ability worthy of all praise; as did also Lieutenant Hinrichs, of the engineers, who acted, during the battle, as aid-de-camp. Lieutenant James T. Tosh, my own aid-de-camp, behaved with a daring and bravery which cannot be surpassed, and aided me materially more than once in rallying and pushingforward some portions of the line, momentarily wavering under the superior numbers and withering fire of the enemy.

I also wish to express my high appreciation of the skillful, zealous and able manner in which Dr. R. F. Coleman, division surgeon, discharged the duties of his office. I am, sir, very respectfully. Your obedient servant,

R. B. COLSTON, Brigadier General.

Official copy:
R. W. HUNTER, A.A.G., Johnson’s Division.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL W. H. F. LEE.

Thursdav, April 30th.—Marched from Culpeper to Rapidan station with ninth and thirteeth Virginia cavalry, and one piece of artillery; left one squadron in Culpepeper, which fell back on the appearance of the enemy, and joined me at Rapidan. Enemy appeared that evening.

Friday, May 1st—Engaged all day with one or two brigades of cavalry. One charge made by Colonel Beale with one squadron, to draw them out, took thirty prisoners, but could not bring them off; was pressed very hard. Received orders from General Lee to burn the bridge and fall back to Gordonsville; burnt the bridge, but held my petition all day. Enemy commenced moving towards night in force on my left. Withdrew at night and marched towards Gordonsville.

Saturday, May 2d.—Reached Gordonsville at eleven o’clock, A.M.; heard on my arrival that a large body of the enemy were at Trevillian’s Depot and Louisa Court-House; sent the ninth Virginia cavalry in that direction; their videttes were driven in by the enemy. The ninth regiment charged and drove them three miles, killed and wounded a number, and took thirty-two prisoners. One lieutenant and four prisoners taken represented three different regiments. My loss was three or four wounded. Went to the assistance of the ninth with the thirteenth regiment, and two pieces of artillery; met Colonel Beale falling back; took aposition and waited their approach. They did not advance. Learned that General Stoneman with his whole corps was at Louisa Court-House, moving towards James river; supposed that his object was to tear up the railroad; night coming on, my men and horses being wearied out by four days’ fighting and marching, I left my pickets out and withdrew to Gordonsville.

Sunday, May 3d.—Received information from my scouts that the enemy were leaving Louisa and moving in the direction of Columbia. Knowing their object was to destroy the aqueduct, I started after them. Arrived there at night; heard that they had left in a great hurry; pursued all night. At daybreak, having traveled sixty or seventy miles, the enemy being, three hours ahead of me, halted. My videttes reported the enemy about one mile in advance; had exchanged words; they said they belonged to the fifth regulars; knew the party I was pursuing was Wyndham’s.

Monday, May 4th.—Started forward and came upon him drawn up in the road. One squadron of the ninth was ahead a few handred yards; charged; the enemy charged at the same time; fought hand to hand for four or five minutes; routed the party; killed six, wounded a number; and took thirty three prisoners, among them Capt. Owens and Lieutenant Buford. Captain Owens reported that his regiment was not all present, but that he was on picket; that General Buford was only three miles distant. My horses and men being jaded, and having only about eight hundred men, I determined not to pursue. Continued back to Gordonsville, having traveled some seventy or eighty miles.

Tuesday, May 5th.—Rested; having sent out scouting parties. Heard by telegram from Richmond that the enemy were everywhere.

Wednesday, May 6th.—Having received information that the enemy were recrossing the railroad, moved down upon his left flank; came upon his rear at North Anna river; took some seventeen or eighteen prisoners. Their rear guard had crossed the river and torn up the bridge. It had been raining all day and the river was past fording. Hearing that this was only one party and that another column was moving lower down, went in that direction; found they had all crossed the North Anna, and destroyed the bridges behind them. Moved that night in the direction of Louisa Court-House. Bivouacked in three miles of Court-House.

Thursday, May 7th.—Went to Trevillians and fed. Moved on at three, P.M. for Orange Court-House; arrived at eight, A.M. Scouts reported that the enemy had crossed the Rapidan.

W. H. F. LEE, Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL PENDER.

CAMP GREGG, VA., May 14, 1863.

Brigadier General H. HETH,
Commanding A. P. Hill’s Division:

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Chancellorsville. Having arrived upon the right of the enemy’s position May 2d, I was ordered to form line of battle upon the left of the road leading to Chancellorsville, in rear and in support of a line formed by part of Colston’s division. In this order we advanced some distance, when orders were received to enter the road again, and push on by the flank, in which order I moved until reaching the advance position of our troops. Here, after my men were subjected to a most galling and destructive shelling from the batteries near Chancellorsville, I moved my regiments in to the left, and formed line of battle, my right resting upon the road. Before I had completed my formation, I found that my troops occupied the most advanced position of our forces. Skirmishers were thrown out to the front, and in this position we remained until the general advance was ordered, early next morning, May 3d. My line had not advanced more than one hundred and fifty yards before the firing became very heavy; but my men continued to advance, and soon it became apparent that the enemy were posted behind a breast-work of loffs and brush. This we carried without once hesitating; Beyond the breastworks the resistance again became very obstinate, as if we had come in contact with a fresh line; but let me here say that the thickness of the undergrowth very much obstructed the view of operations the whole of this day; and this, in its turn, was driven back after a short contest; but further on the resistance became so great from their infantry force, and the tremendous fire from artillery on my right regiments, that they were forced to fall back, but rallied at the breastworks, aboat one hundred and fifty yards in our rear. My left regiment, (thirteenth North Carolina,) not being subjected to the artillery fire, did not fall back, but continued to advance for a long distance, with the brigade on my left; and in this advance Lieutenant Ireland, company E, thirteenth North Carolina, rushed gallantly forward and captured Brigadier General Hays and staff, who were endeavoring to escape. Corporal Monroe Robinson, company A, thirteenth North Carolina, also, about this time, chased a color bearer so closely that he tore off the colors and threw down the staff, which was secured.

After the other four regiments fell back to the breastworks and were reformed, I advanced again, the men going forward with alacrity; but, after penetrating the woods about the same distance as before, had to fall back again. This, to some extent, was unavoidable, as our line on the right of the road had been driven back about this time, and the men thus found that the enemy were at least one hundred; yards in rear of them on the opposite side of the road. The thirteenth North Carolina, (on the left,) after advancing a long way to the front, was finally compelled to fall back, for want of support and ammunition, which it did in good order. When my line was forced back the second time, supports came up, and took the advance. My men were about out of ammunition, broken down and badly cut up, having lost about seven hundred officers and men in the short time we had been engaged. What field officers were left, collected the men, after they had fallen behind the front line, and were engaged at different times during the fight. Knowing the ground pretty well by this time, I remained in the fight with whatever troops came up, until about the close of the action, when I very readily got my men into shape again, near the spot from where I commenced the advance.

I can truly say that my brigade fought (May 3d) with unsurpassed courage and determination. I never knew them act universally so well. I noticed no skulking; and they never showed any hesitation in following their colors. My list of killed and wounded will show how manfully they fought on that glorious day. After having witnessed the fighting of nearly all the troops that fought on the left of the road, I am satisfied with my own, but by no means claiming any superiority. All that I saw behaved as heroes.

Colonel Scales, thirteenth North Carolina, was wounded, and thus I was deprived of as gallant a man as is to be found in the service. Lieutenant Colonel Hyman, thirteenth North Carolina, showed himself a true and gallant officer. Captain Rogers, thirteenth North Carolina, gallantly carried the colors of his regiment for some time after receiving a wound in the arm. Adjutant Walker, thirteenth North Carolina, also received high commendation from his regimental commander for his gallantry. Lieutenant Smith, company B, thirteenth North Carolina, has been frequently recommended for promotion for gallant conduct, but thus far has not been confirmed. Being fired upon by one of the enemy, he rushed forward and killed him with his sword. Lieutenant Williamson, also recommended, as well as Lieutenant Smith, continued throughout the fight, after receiving a flesh wound through the thigh. Colonel McElroy and Lieutenant Colonel Stowe, sixteenth North Carolina, both behaved as finely as officers could, until they wore both seriously wounded. And I cannot refrain from mentioning private Wiggins, of the same regiment, for his gallantry and endurance. After being on skirmisher picket duty for three days and nights, he volunteered to go out again, when he very coolly and deliberately loaded several guns, with which he killed several of the enemy, it is with great sorrow that I have to record the deaths of Lieutenant Colonel Cole and Major Odell, twenty-second North Carolina; two finer soldiers or more gallant men were not to be found in the army. They never failed me on any occasion. Lieutenant Colonel Ashford, Lieutenants Brown and Robinson, thirty-eighth North Carolina, the former part of the time, and the two latter all the time, in charge of my sharpshooters, distinguished themselves very much. Colonel Ashford was remarked for his gallantry by all; and Lieutenant Brown continued with, or in charge of, the sharpshooters for several days. He is a young man who deserves promotion. He kept his skirmishers so close to the enemy’s breast-works on Monday and Tuesday as to pick off their artillery horses, men working on their trenches, and any one seen mounted. He drove in their skirmishers on all occasions. I should mention that Major McLauchlin, thirty-eighth North Carolina, was badly wounded, while behaving most gallantly. Adjutant McIntire, same regiment, is also spoken of for distinguished conduct. In general terms, my officers, with but few exceptions, acted not only well, but remarkably so.

The following table will show my loss. Six out of ten field officers were killed or seriously wounded:

LIST OF CASUALTIES.

I should have stated that Colonel McElroy, with his regiment, the sixteenth North Carolina, after getting within three-quarters of a mile of the point where the battle opened Sunday morning, was directed to report to General Stuart, who took him to some point in rear of the enemy, where he attacked a camp and routed them, when he rejoined me, at three o’clock, A.M., only about two hours before the fight opened, having been marching all day and night. I am, sir, very respectfully,

W. D. PENDER, Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL THOMAS.

HEADQUARTERS THOMAS’ BRIGADE,
May 19th, 1863.

Captain R. H FINNEY, A.A.G.:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that this brigade was ordered by Major General Hill, on the morning of May 2d, to leave its position near Chancellorsville, on the right of the plank road from Fredericksburg to Gordonsville, and move with the division. In accordance with which order, we moved with the division a few miles, when a message was received that the enemy had attacked and were threatening to capture the artillery and wagon train of the division, near the foundry. One regiment was at first sent, but the danger being reported to be most imminent, afterwards, the whole brigade, with General Archer’s brigade, returned and remained until the train had passed and the demonstrations of the enemy had ceased; when we moved on to overtake the division, which we did about eleven o’clock at night. The brigade was placed in position by General Heth, commanding division, on the extreme left and front, on the left of the plank road leading to Fredericksburg, and near Chancellorsville, where we remained until daylight. At an early hour on Sunday morning, the brigade was ordered to advance and attack the enemy. We advanced at once, driving a very heavy force of skirmishers before us. After proceeding about two hundred and fifty yards we found the enemy in strong force in our front, behind breastworks. The brigade charged with promptness and energy, and at the first charge, drove the enemy, utterly routed, from their entrenched position. Advancing still further, we found a second line of the enemy, which we at once drove from its position. This brigade and one regiment from the brigade on our right. General Pender’s, continuing to advance, driving the enemy before us, met another line of the enemy. After a sharp conflict, this line was repulsed. At this point, finding that there were no troops on my left, and none in supporting distance on my right or rear, and the enemy were advancing in very heavy force on my left flank, and making demonstrations on my right, I ordered the brigade to move back, and took position near the line of the enemy’s breastworks, where we remained until the whole line advanced.

When the enemy had been driven back at every point, the brigade, according to orders, rejoned the rest of the division.

I take pleasure in reporting that Colonel R. W. Folsom, fourteenth Georgia; Lieutenant W. L. Grice, forty-fifth Georgia; Major S. T. Player, forty-ninth Georgia, and Captain John Duke, thirty-fifth Georgia, commanded their respective regiments with marked success. All the officers and men of my command, who were present, acted with the utmost coolness and the most daring courage before the enemy.

I have to regret the loss of several valuable officers. Captain Harman, fourteenth Georgia, and Captain Shaw, forty-fifth Georgia, were killed, and Lieutenant Colonel Fielder, Captain Hounger, and Lieutenant Solomons fell mortally wounded, in a few yards of the enemy a breastworks, gallantly leading their men to the charge. Respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWARD L. THOMAS,
Brigadier General,

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL ARCHER.

HEADQUARTERS ARCHER’S BRIGADE,
June 2nd, 1863.

Captain R. H. FINNEY, A.A.G.:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, about eleven o’clook, A.M., May 2nd, by order of Major General A. P. Hill, I withdrew my brigade from its advanced position on the “plank road,” leaving my pickets out to wait until relieved, and proceeded to follow the other brigades of the division, which, with the exception of Thomas’, had gone to the left, by the Welford furnance road. Thomas’ brigade followed in my rear. When I had advanced two miles beyond the furnance, a lieutennant colonel of cavalry rode up and reported that a large body of the enemy had attacked the train in my rear and driven off the troops which had been left to protect it. As the apparent exigency of the ease allowed no time to communicate with the Major General, I immediately ordered back my own and Thomas’ brigade; but, when I arrived at the furnance, found that the enemy had already been repulsed by Lieutenant Colonel Brown, of the artillery, and some infantry, among which, I learned that Captain W. S. Moore, Fourteenth Tennessee regiment, with his company, bore a conspicuous part. I enclose, herewith, Captain Moore’s report. Owing to the delay thus occasioned, I did not rejoin the division until late at night. During the night I formed on the extreme right of the division, with General McGowan’s brigade on my left. The next morning, about sunrise, we moved forward to the attack, through dense pine timber, driving before us the enemy’s skirmishers and, at a distance of four hundred yards, emerging into the open field in front of a battery, which was placed on an abrupt hill near a spring-house. We advanced at double quick, and captured four pieces of artillery, and about one hundred prisoners, driving the infantry supports in confusion before us. From this position, the enemy could be seen in heavy force in the woods, which commenced about six hundred yards diagonally to the right, and front, and in the high open ground to the front. No other troops of our army were, at this time, in sight of us. After a few minutes halt to reform our line, which had become somewhat broken by its rapid advance through the woods, I proceeded to attack the wood, which I have mentioned as lying diagonally to the front and right. My brigade, which was at the beginning only one thousand four hundred strong, and entirely unsupported, attacked with great intrepidity; but the position was strongly entrenched, and manned by vastly greater numbers, and we were forced to retire from within seventy yards of the entrenchments. We again formed and advanced to the attack, and were again forced to retire. I now moved my brigade to the point where we had captured the batteries, to await the arrival of reinforcements.

Soon after, Major Pegram came up and occupied the position with artillery. Colonel Mercer came up on the left with three regiments of Dole’s brigrde, and General Anderson came up from the rear, on my right, with his division. He soon after moved to the right, leaving me in support of the artillery, which had opened a heavy and effective fire upon the enemy, which was hotly returned, although with little effect. In a few minutes, General Lee rode up, and soon directed me to move forward with my own brigade and the three regiments of Doles’, which were under command of Colonel Mercer. After advancing four or five hundred yards Colonel Mercer requested a short halt until the ammunition, which had just arrived, could be distributed to his regiments. During this halt I received an order, through one of General Stuart’s staff, not to advance further until I received the order from him, but other troops coming up on Colonel Mercer’s left and on my right, I moved slowly forward, and, soon came, on ascending the hill in front of Chancellorsville, in full view and range of the enemy’s cannon which opened a heavy fire upon us. About half of my brigade had by this time, in its advance, entered the woods, having swung around slightly to the right for this purpose; the left regiment of Doles’ brigade, which was to the left of the centre of the enemy’s artillery fire, and all that portion of the line on its left (I do not know what troops they were) moved over by flank to the left. As soon as I observed this movement I rode across the field to bring them back, but when I reached the plank road I found they had crossed it and entered the wood on its left. I then rode back across the field under the fire of the artillery to the point where my brigade had entered the wood. On account of the denseness of the tangled thicket, and the number of men of other brigades, I did not for some time find my own, and feared that it had fallen back, but was gratified to find that all its little regiments had moved promptly forward and driven the enemy from that part of their trenches furtherest to the left and nearest to Chancellor’s house. All firing ceased a short time after I entered the wood. I soon after found the brigade in the open field and.joined the division on the plank road. The next day the division fortified its position on the left of the plank road fronting the United States ford. General Pender, in command of the division, being wounded in the evening, the command of the division devolved on me, and that of the brigade, on Colonel Fry for a short time, during which nothing important occured except some skirmishing in front.

My loss in this action was forty-one killed and three hundred and seventeen wounded. Among the former, was Major Smith, thirteenth Alabama regiment, and Captain Stewart, commanding fifth Alabama battalion, and among the latter, Colonel McComb, fourteenth Tennessee regiment, severely. My A. A. General, Captain Archer, and aid-de-camp. Lieutenant Thomas, were present with the brigade throughout the action.

I take this occasion to acknowledge the gallant and efficient service of Mr. J. A. Williams, of Maryland, a volunteer aid on my staff. The regiments were commanded as follows: First Tennessee Lieut. Colonel George, thirteenth Alabama Colonel Fry, fourteenth Tennessee Colonel McComb, until wounded, and afterwards by Captain Wilson, seventh Tennessee by Lieutenant Colonel Fite, and fifth Alabama battalion by Captain Stewart. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

J. J. ARCHER,
Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL LANE.

HEADQUARTERS LANE’S BRIGADE,
Camp Gregg,May 10, 1863.

Captain R. H. FINNEY, A.A.G.:

On the morning of the 1st of May, my brigade moved from its position in the second line, near Hamilton’s Crossing, along the plank road, in the direction of Chancellorsville, and that night formed line of battle, with skirmishers thrown forward, to the right of the road, about a mile and a half from the latter place. Next morning, after the artillery fight on our right, it was marched to the plank road above Chancellorsville, by the way of Welford’s iron forge, and then ordered to move down the road by the flank, while the three lines of battle advanced. After it was ascertained that the enemy were rapidly falling back, it pushed forward with the artillery beyond the third and second lines to within a short distance of the first. Here Gen. A. P. Hill ordered me (at dark) to deploy one regiment as skirmishers across the road, to form line of battle in rear with the rest of the brigade, and to push vigorously forward. In other words, we were ordered to make a night attack, and capture the enemy’s batteries in front, if possible. Just then they opened a terrific artillery fire, which was responded to by our batteries. As soon as this was over, I deployed the thirty-third North Carolina troops forward as skirmishers, and formed line of battle to the rear—the seventh and thirty-seventh to the right, the eighteenth and twenty-eighth to the left—the left of the thirty-seventh and right of the eighteenth resting on the road. I had moved forward the eighteenth and twenty-eighth to withing a short distance of our line of skirmishers, and was about to move the seventh and thirty-seventh to a corresponding position before ordering the whole line forward, when Lieut. Col. Smith, of a Pennsylvania regiment, entered our lines with a white flag, and wished to know if we were Confederate or Union troops. Considering this an illegitimate use of the white flag, as he expressly stated it was not his object to surrender, and not wishing to let him return, I sent Lieutenant Lane to General A. P. Hill to know what I should do. Our skirmishers on the right soon after fired upon a few of the enemy who had approached tolerably near, and a few random shots were fired by the seventh and thirty-seventh regiments, without orders, which appears to have drawn the enemy’s artillery and infantry fire. I understand from the official report of the commanding officer of the eighteenth North Carolina troops, that Gen. A. P. Hill, staff and couriers were in the road in advance of them at the time, and to avoid the enemy’s fire some of them dashed into the woods, over the eighteenth regiment, which fired into them, mistaking them in the dark for the enemy’s cavalry. After this unfortunate mistake, I received information that a body of troops was moving on our right. I at once sent out Lieut. Emack and four men to reconnoitre, and they soon returned with a Pennsylvania regiment, which had thrown down their arms, and surrendered themselves prisoners of war. This regiment was commanded by Lieut. Col. Smith, who had commenced to remonstrate with me for allowing it to be captured while he was in my lines with a white flag, when the enemy’s artillery opened upon us again. I at once sent the regiment to the rear under Captain Young, his company having been detailed as a guard, and turned Lieutenant Colonel Smith over to Captain Adams, signal officer, to be taken to General A. P. Hill. General A. P. Hill being wounded, the night attack was not made as at first contemplated. I withdrew the left wing of the thirty-third, which formed on the right of the seventh, and extended our line still further to the right, with the eighteenth and twenty-eighth regiments—the right of the twenty-eighth resting on a road running’ obliquely to the plank road, with two of its companies broken back to guard against a flank movement. Between twelve and one o’clock that night, the enemy could be heard marshaling their troops along our whole front, while their artillery was rumbling up the road on our right. Soon after, their artillery opened right and left, and Sickles’ command rushed upon us with loud and prolonged cheering. They were driven back on the left by our skirmishers, but the fight was more stubborn on the right, which was their main point of attack. The eighteenth and twenty-eighth and left wing of the thirty-third engaged them there, and gallantly drove them back, although they had outflanked us and encountered the two right companies of the twenty-eighth, which had been deflected in anticipation of such a movement. A subsequent attack made about half an hour later, was similarly repulsed. The twenty-eighth captured a staff officer. The colors of the third Maine volunteers were taken by Captain Clarke’s company of the same regiment. The eighteenth also captured an aid to General Williams. A number of field and company officers, and a large number of men were captured along our whole line. After the enemy were repulsed. General McGowan was ordered forward with his brigade, and took position on our right.

On Sunday morning, about sunrise, the whole brigade was wheeled a little to the left, that the line might be perpendicular to the plank road, and then, in obedience to orders, moved gallantly forward with shouts, driving in the enemy’s skirmishers, and handsomely charging and carrying their breastworks. The left of the thirty-seventh passed entirely over the works, capturing a number of prisoners; and the gallant old seventh eclipsed all of its former glories. These works were on a hill, commanded by the Chancellorsville hill, which was fortified with a line of earthworks for twenty-eight (28) pieces of artillery, running nearly parallel to our position, and between four hundred and five hundred yards distant, with a stream of water intervening. As soon as we had dislodged their infantry, these guns, with others, opened a murderous fire of shell, grape and canister upon us, a fresh column of their infantry was thrown against us, and with our right flank completely turned, we were forced to fall back, with the loss of about one-third of the command. The twenty-eighth regiment, commanded by its gallant young Colonel, (Lowe,) fell back a few hundred yards, and was ordered to give assistance wherever needed, while I superintended the reforming of the rest of the brigade, still further to the rear. Colonel Lowe informs me that the twenty-eighth behaved well throughout the remainder of the day; that it made two more charges under heavy artillery firing, and was led in each by Major General Stuart. As soon as the rest of the brigade was reformed, and replenished with ammunition, they were taken back into the woods, to the left of the plank road, to the support of General Colquitt’s command which was then nearly out of auimunition.

The woods which we entered were on fire; the heat was excessive; the smoke arising from burning blankets, oil cloths, &c., very offensive; the dead and dying of the enemy could be seen on all sides enveloped in flames; and the ground on which we formed was so hot as at first to be disagreeable to our feet. Nothing daunted, however, the men took their positions without a murmur, and notwithstanding their previous hard marching, desperate fighting and sleepless nights, remained under arms again the whole of Sunday night, in the front line, while heavy skirmishing was going on. Never have I seen men fight more gallantly, and bear fatigue and hardship more cheerfully. I shall always feel proud of the noble bearing of my brigade in the battle of Chancellorsville, the bloodiest in which it has ever taken a part—where the thirty-third discharged its duties so well as skirmishers and, with the eighteenth and twenty eighth, gallantly repulsed two night attacks made by vastly superior numbers, and where the seventh and thirty-seventh vied with each other as to who should first drive the vandals from their works. Its gallantry has cost it many noble sacrifices, and we are called upon to mourn the loss of some of our bravest spirits. The fearless Perdie was killed while urging forward his men; the gentle, but gallant, Hill after the works had been taken; and Johnnie Young, a mere boy, not yet eighteen, but a brave and efficient captain, fell at the head of his company. Captain Kerr, Lieutenants Campbell, Bolick, Emack, Weaver, Bouchelle, Babb, Callais and Ragin all fell in the gallant discharge of their duties, as also did J. Roarker Lane, of company E, fifth Virginia cavalry, who at the time was acting as my volunteer aid. I cannot speak in too high terms of the behavior of the officers of this brigade. Colonel Barbour, though wounded, was from time to time with his command, giving all the assistance he could. Major Morris, wounded in the foot, left the hospital on horseback and assisted in reforming his regiment. Major Mayhew, after the left wing of the thirty-third was withdrawn and Lieutenant Colonel Cowan wounded, gallantly commanded the skirmishers in the night attack, was wounded in the charge the next day, and is now thought to be in the hands of the enemy Lieutenant Colonel Spear was wounded in one of the night attacks, and Colonels Avery and Haywood, Lieutensint Colonels George and Ashcroft, and Major Davidson in the charge Sunday morning. After the loss of so many field officers, Major Barry and Captains Harris, Saunders, Brown and Nicholson rendered me great assistance. Captain Saunders, in his official report, calls special attention to the efficiency of Lieutenants E. Price and J. L. Farrow of the thirty-third regiment. Lieutenant Bryan, ordnance officer, and Lieutenant Nicholson, brigade inspector, discharged their duties well, though the latter had but few “stragglers” and no “skulkers” to drive forward that I have yet heard of. I am specially indebted to my aid-de-camp, Lieutenant O. Lane, and to one of my couriers, George E. Barringer, for the great assistance rendered me. They both bore themselves well under the hottest fires. My other courier was a poltroon and has been sent back to his regiment. The brigade loss is twelve commissioned officers killed, fifty-nine wounded, and one missing; one hundred and forty-nine enlisted men killed, five hundred and sixty-seven wounded, and one hundred and twenty-one missing, making an aggregate of nine hundred and nine. Respectfully,

JAMES H. LANE,
Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL DOLES.

HEADQUARTERS DOLES’ BRIGADE, RODES’ DIVISION
SECOND ARMY CORPS, May 9, 1863.

Captain GREEN PEYTON, A.A.G.:

CAPTAIN: On the morning of the 29th of April this brigade was ordered to march in the direction of Hamilton’s Crossing. The command was in motion by eight o’clock, A.M.; arrived at the crossing at ten, A.M.; remained in position, on the crest of the hill at the Hamilton house, until two o’clock, A.M., 30th; then moved in position, left of brigade resting on railroad, connecting with right of Gen. Iverson’s brigade, and connecting the right with left of General Colquitt’s brigade; remained in this position during the day and night. At two o’clock, on the morning of May 1st, marched towards Orange Court-House plank road. About one o’clock, P.M., formed line of battle on the plank road, about two miles from Todd’s tavern; threw out skirmishers, driving back those of the enemy, and took six prisoners. About six, P.M., same day, moved up the dirt road, one mile beyond Todd’s tavern, and bivouacked for the night. About six o’clock, A.M., May 2nd, moved up the dirt road about half a mile, filed off to the left on the furnace road, arriving at Germana road about three and a half o’clock, P.M., and formed line of battle, left of brigade resting on said road. Brigade formed as follows: fourth, forty-fourth, twenty-first and twelfth Georgia; the fourth Georgia resting on road, skirmishers thrown forward about four hundred yards in advance. At five o’clock, P.M., the order was given to advance against the enemy. The brigade moved as rapidly as possible through a very thick wood, and skirmishers were immediately engaged by those of the enemy. Our forces, marching rapidly forward, assisted in driving in the enemy’s sharpshooters, when we were subjected to a very heavy musket fire, and grape, canister and shell. The command was ordered to attack the enemy in his entrenched position, drive him from it, and take his batteries. The order was promptly obeyed; the fourth and forty-fourth Georgia assaulted his position in front; the twenty-first Georgia was ordered to move towards the left and flank him, so as to enfilade his entrenchments; the twelfth Georgia was ordered forward, and to the right, to attack a force of the enemy on the right. After a resistance of about ten minutes, we drove him from his positions on the left and carried his battery of two guns, caissons and horses. The movement, of the twelfth Georgia on the right was successful. The order to forward was given, when the command moved forward at the “double quick” to assault the enemy, who had taken up a strong position on the crest of a hill, in the open field. He was soon driven from this position, the command pursuing him. He made a stubborn resistance from behind a wattling fence, on a hill covered thickly with pine. The whole command moved gallantly against this position, the fourth and forty-fourth Georgia in front, and the twenty-first and twelfth on his left flank and rear. Here we captured one gun, a rifled piece. We pursued his retreating forces about three hundred yards over an open field, receiving a very severe fire from musketry and a battery of four pieces on the crest of the hill that commanded the field below; his infantry was in large force and well protected by rifle pits and entrenchments. The command was ordered to “take” the entrenchments and the battery, which was done after a resistance of about twenty minutes. The enemy fled in utter confusion, leaving his battery of four pieces, his wounded and many prisoners. The twelfth Georgia, and the larger portion of the other regiments, was formed in good order and pursued him through the pine forest, moving some five hundred yards to the front and holding that position until after dark. While in this advanced postion the enemy abandoned one gun. Fresh troops having been placed in that position, after dark I ordered the command to retire to the edge of the woods for the purpose of replenishing ammunition, the men being entirely out, and it being impossible to get ammunition to them. After replenishing with ammunition, we were ordered to bivouac on the field for the night. Daring this engagement, which lasted from about five and a half to nine o’clock, P.M., the command captured eight pieces of artillery and many prisoners. The pieces of artillery were ordered to be carried to the rear, and turned over to the first artillery or ordnance officer found. In this engagement we lost many gallant men killed and wounded. Among the killed were Captain R. M. Bisel, company K, fourth Georgia; Captain G. G. Green, company F; Captain H. M. Creidle and Lieutenant A. M. Burnside, acting adjutant, of the forty fourth Georgia, and Captain U. C. Allen, twenty-first Georgia, who fell while gallantly and nobly leading their commands Colonel Philip Cook, fourth Georgia, severely, and Captain A. C. Watkins, company A, twenty-first Georgia, mortally wounded while leading their commands in a charge against the enemy. Sunday morning. May 3rd, at six o’clock, the command was ordered forward, as follows: forty-fourth, twenty-first, twelfth, fourth, the left of the forty-fourth connecting with the right of General Ramseur’s brigade. The march to the front was through a very dense pine arid swamp. During the march the left of the brigade lost its connection with the right of General Ramseur and moved off by the “right flank,” passing in rear of the regiments, to its right, whilst four companies of the twenty-first Georgia and the twelfth Georgia, with portions of the forty-fourth and fourth, moved to the front. The right portion of the brigade was ordered by General Stuart to support a battery to its right, while the left moved forward, assaulting the enemy and assisting in driving him from his position from behind a strong work of logs. He was dislodged, after a very stubborn resistance, by a charge. This portion of the command kept up the pursuit, driving him through the woods, back on his batteries on the heights near Chancellorsville, While moving to assault him, in his position on the hill, I discovered the enemy in large force to my right. Colonel Willis, commanding twelfth Georgia, was ordered to wheel his regiment to the right and engage him, the other companies coming up promptly to Colonel Willis’ support. The enemy, after the first fire, fled. A large number threw down their arms and surrendered; they were ordered to the rear. Being protected by the crest of a hill to the left of the enemy’s batteries, we moved by the flank, getting in his rear, when he abandoned seven pieces of artillery on the field and fled. We were attacked in our rear by his infantry force from the woods; we faced to the rear, charged the wood, and after a few minutes resistance, he withdrew. After he withdrew, his batteries at the Chancellorsville house opened a very destructive fire on us with grape, canister and shrapnel. We were in about four hundred yards of his batteries. We did not have force enough to carry his position, and seeing no support on the field, and the enemy moving a large infantry force to our right, we withdrew to the woods where we first engaged him. That portion of the brigade ordered to support our battery was under command of Colonel J. T. Mercer, twenty-first Georgia; they were afterwards ordered forward, and to conform to the movements of General Archer’s brigade. After advancing to the woods, from which we were forced to retire, they were also forced to retire. The brigade was reformed and, by order from General Lee, ordered to the spring to our right, to act as provost guard over a large number of prisoners collected there. We remained there two or three hours, and sent prisoners to the rear under Lieutenant R. V. Jones, brigade inspector. We then joined the division on the Germana road at Chancellorsville, and remained in, position in the road that night. On Monday, the 4th, we were ordered to move to the opposite side of the road and connect my left with the right of General Pender. On Tuesday, the 5th, the skirmishers were ordered to press forward and feel the enemy, and ascertain his position and strength. They found him in strong numbers and well entrenched. On Wednesday, the 6th, at daylight, skirmishers were again ordered to feel the enemy. They moved to the front and found he had evacuated his position and withdrawn his forces across the river. About two o’clock, P.M., we were ordered to march back to our old encampment. In closing this report, I cannot speak in terms too high of Colonel Cook and Lieutenant Winn, of the fourth Georgia; Colonel Willis and Major Hardeman, of the twelfth Georgia; Lieutenant Colonel Lumpkin, forty-fourth Georgia; Colonel Mercer and Major Glover, twenty-first Georgia. To their promptness and gallantry, and the able manner in which they were sustained by the officers and men of their commands, all of whom did their whole duty, I acknowledge my indebtedness. Attention is respectfully called to their reports, which you will find enclosed. To my staff. Captain Snead, assistant adjutant general; Lieutenant Hawkins, aid-de-camp; Lieutenant Jones, brigade inspector; Sergeant Furlow and privates Cheeves and Ormsby, couriers, I am under many obligations for assistance given me. I respectfully commend them for “gallantry and meritorious conduct.” This brigade went into action with one hundred and twenty-six officers and one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight enlisted men.

CASUALTIES IN BRIGADE.

I am, Captain, most respectfully yours,

GEO. DOLES, Brigadier Generid.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL COLQUITT.

HEADQUARTERS COLQUITT’S BRIGADE,
Near Fredericksburg, May 15, 1863.

Captain PEYTON:

Herewith I submit a report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent engagement at Chancellorsville, and the affairs connected with it.

On the morning of April 29th, intelligence being received that a portion of the Federal army had succeeded in crossing the river near Fredericksburg, my brigade was put under arms and marched to Hamilton’s Crossing. Under cover of a hill, protected from the enemy’s artillery, we lay during the day, and at three o’clock, next morning, took position upon a line of temporary entrenchments in front of the enemy. At intervals, during the day, a fire of artillery opened upon us, but without effect.

At dawn, on the morning of May 1st, we took up the line of march, and after proceeding six or seven miles above Fredericksburg, came upon a portion of our forces who had been engaging the enemy. Discharges of artillery and musketry were still heard. The division being formed in line of battle, my position was upon the right. In this order we advanced a few hundred yards, when my command was thrown into some confusion by coming in contact with the troops of General McLaw’s command, formed perpendicular to my own line. The line being rectified, we began again to advance, when instructions were received that we should halt and await future orders. The skirmishers, moving in advance, picked up fifteen or twenty prisoners. At sundown, we were withdrawn to the plank road and continued the march for two or three miles, when we bivouacked for the night. Early the next morning we were again put in motion, my brigade in front, and, turning to the left from the plack road, leading from Fredericksburg to Orange Court-House, it was obvious that we were aiming for the flank and rear of the enemy.

On reaching the furnace, a mile distant from the point of divergence, I detached, by order of General Jackson, a regiment, (the twenty-third Georgia, Colonel Best,) with instructions to guard the flank of the column in motion against a surprise, and to call, if necessary, upon any officer whose command was passing, for reinforcements. For the subsequent action and fate of this regiment, I refer to the accompan.ping report of Colonel Best.

After a continuous march of six miles, we again reached the plank roid, which we had left. My brigade was placed in ambush along the line of the road, with the expectation that some demonstration would be made by the enemy’s cavalry. In the meantime, the division filed past, and I closed in upon the rear. At four o’clock, we reached the road running through Chancellorsville to ——. Here we formed line of battle, my brigade upon the right, and uniting with Doles, upon the loft. In this order we advanced for a few hundred yards, when intelligence was communicated to me by the skirmishers, that a body of the enemy was upon my right flank. I ordered a halt, and called back the sixth Georgia, which had continued to advance. The regiment upon the right, the nineteenth Georgia, was quickly thrown into position to meet any demonstration upon the flank, and ordered to advance about one hundred yards to the summit of a hill. The enemy’s force proved to be a small body of cavalry, which galloped away as soon as the regiment advancing toward them was discovered, and a picket of infantry, which was captured by my skirmishers.

All apprehension in this quarter being allayed, we advanced again to the front, to renew connection with the line that had prececded us. As we emerged from the woods into an open field, I discovered Doles’ brigade hotly engaged with the enemy at his first works. With a shout, and at a double quick, we moved to his support; but, before we reached musket range, the enemy broke in confusion and fled. I halted in the open field, and brought up two of my regiments which had been delayed in crossing a creek, and in climbing its steep banks. It was near dark, and too late for further action. At ten o’clock, I relieved the brigade of General McGowan, watching a road leading to one of the enemy’s main positions, and detailed the sixth Georgia regiment to support a battery in front. During the night, the alarm being given, my whole command was moved to the support of the battery, and was subjected, at intervals, to a fierce artillery fire from the enemy.

Early the ensuing morning I took my position in line of battle on the extreme right, and, in pursuance of orders, was advancing upon the enemy’s position, when I received orders to move to the support of General Archer, a guide being furnished to direct me to him. I had proceeded but a short distance, when I was ordered to repair, in haste, to the extreme left of our line, where the enemy threatened to turn our flank. I had scarcely reached the new position, when I was again ordered to the right, and thence again to the left. While our forces were occupied in the assault on Chancellorsville, the enemy sought to assail them in flank, and made desperate efforts to regain possession of the turnpike. It was to defeat this object that my brigade was thrown to the left. Forming line of battle parallel to the road, I advanced, in face of a severe fire, to a line of breastworks from which the enemy had been driven. Here I found the third Alabama, of Rodes’ brigade, and some Louisiana and South Carolina regiments stubbornly resisting his advance. They had well nigh exhausted their ammunition. Upon my arrival they withdrew, producing some confusion in rushing through my ranks. It was momentary, however. Advancing beyond the breastworks, we opened a furious and well directed fire upon the enemy. The contest was sharp and fierce for a few moments. I ordered a charge, which was responded to with a shout, at a double-quick. The enemy broke and fled in confusion, throwing away arms, accoutrements and every incumberance. We continued the pursuit for half a mile, killing and capturing many, and driving the fugitives into their fortifications in rear of Chancellorsville. Coming to a halt, we lay under cover of woods within four hundred yards of their works, for four or five hours. Some demonstrations being made upon my left, the brigade of General Lane was sent to my support. Previously, the fiftieth Virginia, Captain Matthews, and a detachment of a South Carolina regiment, under Major Gordon, had joined me as reinforcements. The enemy did not show himself again outside of his works. At four o’clock, I was relieved by the direction of Major General A. P. Hill, under the command of General Pender. We took position soon after in the trenches about Chancellorsville, where we lay until ordered back to our camp, near Grace church.

Colonels Zachery, Graybill and Hutchins, led their regiments with spirit and energy. Captain Grattan, assistant adjutant general, and Lieutenant Randle, aid-de-camp, were indefatigable in their efforts, and conspicuously bold in the discharge of their duties. Mr. H. H. Colquitt, acting upon my staff, bore himself with spirit and coolness.

Especial credit is due Captain William M. Arnold, sixth Georgia regiment, who commanded the battallion of skirmishers. His energy, zeal and gallantry, won my admiration.

A. H. COLQUITT,
Brigadier General.

The names of the following officers and men are mentioned by their regimental commanders as deserving special notice for meritorious conduct:

Company A, sixth Georgia regiment.—Coporals R. W. Clarke, Wm. Chappell; private W. G. Howell.

Company D, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Lieutenant G. W. Latham, commanding.

Company F, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Lieutenant W. P. Edwards, commanding; Sergeant James Shirah.

Company C, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Sergeant W. A. Webb; corporals S. C. Tentrell, C. M. Newbury; privates H. Newberry, M. Merritt, J. Murchison, J. Haskins, J. Worsham, W. G. Clary and Simon Johnston.

Company E, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Privates A. L. Dodd, John J. Buffington, G. M. Dodd, James Larter, Thomas J. Horton and A. J. Whitaker.

Company G, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Privates T. J. Reavis and J. C. Curtis.

Company H, tiventy-seventh Georgia regiment.—Sergeants J. B. Bryant and T. J. Duke; coporal B. P. Pryor; privates B. F. Norris, G. W. Rape, J. M. Lindsay and John H. Lewis.

Company K, twenty-seventh Georgia regiment.—Private William Connell.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL IVERSON.

HEADQUARTERS IVERSON’S BRIGADE,
May 13th, 1863.

Captain G. PEYTON, A.A.G.:

Having rested on our arms on the extreme left of the third line of battle, composed of the troops of Rodes’ division, during the night of May 2d, about six o’clock A.M. of May 3d, we advanced with the whole line, one brigade of which (Rodes’) intervened between mine and the plank road.

My command was formed in the following order, from right to left: Twenty-third North Carolina, twentieth North Carolina, twelfth North Carolina, and fifth North Carolina.

The direction was Chancellorsville, moving to the left of and parallel to Germana road. Advancing through the almost impenetrable undergrowth, subjected to the incessant artillery fire of the enemy, it was impossible to see any portion of the brigade over fifty yards. In consequence of the difficulty of proceeding, I soon received information from Lieutenant Colonel Lea, commanding the fifth North Carolina, that his regiment was disconnected from the brigade. Fearing that he might get lost, and fall into the hands of the enemy, I sent him word to move by the right flank, and then close up. This manœuvre threw him in rear of the line, leaving the twelfth North Carolina on the left flank. Upon reaching the first barricades of the enemy, which had been carried by the first line of our troops, a heavy fire of artillery opened on my left, raking the whole line, and the skirmishers of the enemy fired on my left flank. I ordered Lieutenant Colonel Johnston, commanding twelfth North Carolina, to deploy skirmishers to protect his flank, and to press on. At the barricades, I met General Rodes, and informed him that the enemy were threattening my flank. My brigade pressed on, and found the troops of the first lines retiring before the heavy force of the enemy, and we became the first line, engaging the enemy in front, who gradually retired before us; but at this time they were advanciiig in heavy force on my left flank. I dispatched a messenger to General Stuart with this information, and asked, him for reinforcements. Before any could have arrived, they closed with us, forcing the twelfth and twentieth North Carolina to retire to the barricades. Colonel D. H. Christie, with five companies of his regiment, had charged that part of the enemy’s battery resting on the plank road, captured it by an enfilading fire, and caused the abandonment of their guns, when, finding that he was outflanked from the left, was forced to retire after a desperate fight, losing many men killed, wounded and prisoners. It is supposed that Major Blackwell, of the twenty-third North Carolina, was captured here. Lieutenant Colonel Lea, with the fifth North Carolina, had come up in the meantime, but had not been engaged; he reported his regiment to me in the centre of my brigade, and was ordered to sustain two regiments of Rodes’ brigade, in an advanced position, but finding the whole falling back, he also retired to the breastworks. Finding the danger from the forcing of our left flank imminent, and the enemy still pressing on, I was forced to give my whole attention to that point, and, in conjunction with General Thomas, formed a portion of a Louisiana brigade, with two regiments of Rodes’ brigade, I think the sixth and twelfth Alabama, to meet the attack of the enemy from the left. At the same time having learned that the troops with General Lee had driven the enemy, and effected a junction with the right of our corps, I announced the fact to my brigade, and again advanced them to the front. They had gone but a short distance when the troops I had formed on the left became engaged with the advancing line of the enemy. I then communicated with Colonel S. B. Pickens, commanding twelfth Alabama, whose gallantry on this occasion I cannot too highly commend, so completely and courageously did he lend himself to aid me in preparing the line to resist an attack, and ordered him to hold the enemy in check till I could procure reinforcements. The incessant stream of balls showed that the enemy were in force, and I found that the advance of my brigade was continually checked by the enemy on the left, enfilading the line. Leaving the troops I had placed in position, I went out to the plank road for assistance, and observing troops in line on the right of the road, I sent Captain J. P. Halsey to them for aid. He communicated with General Colston, who promptly moved a portion of his command in the required direction. I saw General Stuart, and informed him of the situation, and he immediately forwarded the brigade of General Colquitt to support the left. Returning to watch the effect of the reinforcements, I received a contusion in the groin from a spent ball, which made walking very painful, and as the battle ceased shortly after, I requested Colonel Christie to take the command of the brigade till I could procure my horse. Upon joining the brigade in front, I received orders from General Rodes to move up the plank road, and take position with my right resting on the brick house at Chancellorsville, where we fortified our position, by the use of bayonets and fingers, and remained subjected on several occasions to the shells and canister of the enemy, until Wednesday evening, May 6th, when ordered to return to camp.

On Wednesday morning, the enemy having retired, skirmishers were pressed forward to the river, capturing many prisoners. When a whole command behaved so well as mine did, I shall be obliged to confine myself, with one exception, to the commendation of officers commanding regiments, leaving it to them to name individuals distinguished for conduct. The exception is, Lieutenant Malone, of the fifth North Carolina, upon whom I depended for correct information from the line of skirmishers. He was nearly always in front, and, on Wednesday morning, when informed of my wish to find out the position of the enemy, crept forward, alone, into their entrenchments, and brought me in news of the evacuation.

Colonel D. H. Christie, for the gallant manner in which he fought his regiment at the breastworks of the enemy, deserves promotion, and I here take occasion to recommend him for the same.

Colonel T. F. Toon, twentieth North Carolina, was wounded while fighting his regiment gallantly in the front line.

Lieutenant Colonel R. D. Johnston, of the twenty-third North Carolina, to whom I had given command of the twelfth North Carolina, cannot be too highly praised for the distinguished courage with which he commanded, under trying circumstances.

Lieutenant Colonel Lea, up to the time of his wound, bore himself, and commanded his regiment with determined bravery.

My thanks are due Captain D. P. Halsey, A.A.G., for his promptness and readiness in carrying my orders to any part of the field, and the thanks of the country are due the whole command, officers and men, for their unexceptionable conduct.

Lists of casualties are enclosed with regimental reports. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALFRED IVERSON, Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL RAMSEUR.

HEADQUARTERS RAMSEUR’S BRIGADE,
Camp near Hamilton’s Crossing, May 23d 1863.

Major G. PEYTON, A. A. General:

In obedience to general orders, No. —, dated May 7th, 1863, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade, in the series of skirmishes and battles, opening at Massaponax Creek, and ending in the splendid victory at Chancellorsville.

Wednesday, A.M., April 29th.—The brigade was placed below Massaponax Creek to dispute the enemy’s crossing, and remained in that position, occasionally annoyed by their artillery, (by which I lost a few men,) and kept on the alert by picket-firing till Thursday evening, when we were withdrawn to a point near Hamilton’s Crossing.

Friday, May 1st,—At three o’clock, A.M., we were aroused for the march and led the advance of Major General Rodes’ division in the direction of Chancellorsville. At a distance of seven miles from Fredericksburg, we were detached from our own division and ordered to report to Major General Anderson, when we advanced upon the enemy, who fell back in confusion before our sharpshooters for several miles strewing the way with their arms and baggage. This brigade, with General Posey on our right and General Wright on our left, for upwards, perhaps, of two miles, being in advance. About six o’clock, P.M., we found the foe in force upon our front and supported by batteries that poured grape unsparingly into the woods through which we were still advancing. Night approaching, a halt was ordered, and we slept on our arms, with a strong picket line on the outposts.

Saturday, May 2d.—We were relieved about sunrise, and shortly thereafter marched by a series of circuitous routes and with surpassing strategy, to a position in the rear of the enemy, whom, at about five o’clock, P.M., we were ordered to attack. This brigade was directed to support Brigadier General Colquitt, with orders to overlap his right by one regiment, and was placed accordingly. At the command, we advanced with the division, preserving a distance of about one hundred yards in rear of General Colquitt. Brisk firing was soon heard upon our front and left, indicating that General Doles had encountered the foe. At this point General Colquitt moved by the right flank, sending me word by an officer of his staff that the enemy was attempting to turn his right. I immediately moved by the right flank, but heard no firing in that quarter. Again he sent his staff officer to inform me that the enemy was pushing his right flank, when I directed him to say to General Colquitt, in effect, that the firing indicated a sharp fight with General Doles, and that my impression was, that his support was needed there, and that I would take care of his right flank. General C. moved to the front with the exception of one regiment, which continued to the right. I then pressed on by the right flank to meet the enemy that General Colquitt’s staff officer twice reported to me to be in that direction, and prosecuted the search for half a mile, perhaps, but not a solitary Yankee was to he seen! I then came up to the division line and moved by the left flank to the support of General Colquitt, whose men were resting in live of battle on the field General Doles had won! On Saturday night our division occupied the last line of battle, within the entrenchments, from which the routed corps of Seigel had fled in terror. My brigade was placed perpendicular to the plank road, the left resting on the road, General Doles on my right, and Col. O’Neal, commanding Rodes’ brigade, on my left. I placed Colonel Parker’s thirtieth North Carolina on the right of my brigade; Colonel Bennett, fourteenth North Carolina, on right centre; Colonel Cox, second North Carolina, left centre, and Colonel Grimes, fourth North Carolina, on left.

Sunday, May 3d.—The division being, as stated, in the third line of battle, advanced about nine o’clock to the support of the second line. After proceeding about a quarter of a mile, I was applied to by Major Pegram for a support to his battery, when I detached Colonel Parker, thirtieth North Carolina, for this purpose, with orders to advance obliquely to his front and left, and rejoin me after his support should be no longer needed, or to fight his regiment as circumstances might require. I continued to advance to the first line of breastworks, from which the enemy had been driren, and behind which I found a small portion of Paxton’s brigade, and Jones’ brigade, of Trimble’s division. Knowing that a general advance had been ordered, I told these troops to move forward. Not a man moved. I then reported this state of things to Major General Stuart, who directed me to assume command of these troops, and compel them to advance. This I essayed to do; and after fruitless efforts, ascertaining that General Jones was not on the field, and that Colonel Garnett had been killed, I reported again to General Stuart, who was near, and requested permission to run over these troops in my front—which was cheerfully granted. At the command “forward,” my brigade with a shout, cleared the breastworks, and charged the enemy. The fourth North Carolina, (Colonel Grimes,) and seven companies of the second North Carolina, (Colonel Cox) drove the enemy before them until they had taken the last line of his works, which they held under a severe direct and enfilading fire, repulsing several assaults on this portion of our front. The fourteenth North Carolina, (Colonel Bennett,) and three companies of the second were compelled to halt some hundred and fifty or two hundred yards in rear of the troops just mentioned, for the reason that the troops on my right had failed to come up, and the enemy was in heavy force on my right flank. Had Colonel Bennett advanced, the enemy could easily have turned my right. As it was, my line was subject to a horrible enfilade fire, by which I lost severely, I saw the danger threatening my right, and sent several times to Jones’ brigade to come to my assistance, and I also went back twice myself, and exhorted and ordered it—officers and men—to fill up the gap (some five hundred or six hundred yards) on my right—but all in vain. I then reported to General Rodes that unless support was sent to drive the enemy from my right, I would have to fall back. In the meantime, Colonel Parker, of the thirtieth, approaching my position from the battery on the right, suddenly fell upon the flank, and handsomely repulsed a heavy column of the enemy, who were moving to get in my rear by my right flank—some three or four hundred of them surrendering to him as prisoners of war. The enemy still held his strong position in the ravine on my right, so that the fourteenth and the three companies of the second could not advance. The enemy discovered this situation of affairs, and pushed a brigade to the right and rear of Colonel Grimes, and seven companies of Colonel Cox’s second, with the intention of capturing their commands. This advance was made under a terrible direct fire of musketry and artillery. The move necessitated a retrograde movement on the part of Colonels Grimes and Cox, which was executed in order, but with the loss of some prisoners, who did not hear the command to retire. Colonel Bennett held his position until ordered to fall back, and, in common with all the others, to replenish his empty cartridge boxes. The enemy did not halt at this position, but retired to his battery, from which he was quickly driven. Colonel Parker, of the thirtieth, sweeping over it with my troops on my right. After replenishing cartridge boxes, I received an order from Maj. Gen. Rodes to throw my brigade on the left of the road to meet an apprehended attack of the enemy in that quarter. This was done, and afterwards I was moved to a position on the plank road, which was entrenched, and which we occupied until the division was ordered back to camp near Hamilton’s Crossing. The charge of the brigade, made at a critical moment, when the enemy had broken, and was hotly pressing the centre of the line in our front, with apparently overwhelming numbers, not only checked his advance, but threw him back in disorder, and pushed him with heavy loss from his last line of works.

Too high praise cannot be accredited to the officers and men for their gallantry, fortitude, and manly courage during this brief, but arduous campaign. Exposed as they had been for five days immediately preceding the fights, on the picket line, they were, of course, somewhat wearied, but the order to move forward and confront the enemy brightened every eye and quickened every step. Under fire all through Wednesday, Wednesday night, and Thursday, without being able effectually to return this fire, they bore all bravely, and led the march towards Chancellorsville on Friday morning in splendid order. The advance of the brigade on Friday afternoon was made under the very eyes of our departed hero, Jackson, and of Major General A. P. Hill, whose words of praise and commendation, bestowed upon the field, we fondly cherish, and on Sunday the magnificent charge of the brigade upon the enemy’s last and most terrible stronghold was made in view of Major General Stuart, and our division commander. Major General R. E. Rodes, whose testimony, that it was the most glorious charge of that most glorious day, we are proud to remember, and to report to our kindred and friends.

To enumerate all the officers and men who deserve special mention for their gallantry, would be to return a list of all who were on the field. All met the enemy with unflinching courage; and for the privations, hardships, and splendid marches, all of which were cheerfully borne, they richly deserve the thanks of our beautiful and glorious Confederacy.

I cannot close without mentioning the conspicuous gallantry and great efficiency of my regimental commanders. Colonel Parker, of the thirtieth, who was detached during the fight of Sunday to support a battery, and having accomplished that object, moved forward on his own responsibility, and greatly contributed to wrest the enemy’s stronghold at Chancellorsville from their grasp, as well as prevent their threatened demonstrations upon the right of my brigade. The gallant Grimes, of the fourth, whose conduct on other fields gave promise of what was fully realized on this. Colonel Bennett, of the fourteenth, conspicuous for his coolness under the hottest fire; and last, though not least, the manly and chivalrous Cox, of the second, the accomplished gentleman, splendid soldier, and warm friend, who, though wounded five times, remained with his regiment until exhausted. In common with the entire command, I regret his temporary absence from the field, where he loved to be. Major Hart, second North Carolina troops, commanded the skirmishers faithfully and well. To the field and company officers, one and all, my thanks are due for the zeal and bravery displayed under the most trying circumstances. To the gentlemen of my staff, I owe especial thanks for services rendered on the march and upon the field. Captain Seaton Gales, Assistant Adjutant General, and Lieutenant Richmond, aid-de-camp, were with me all the time, promptly carrying orders, under the very hottest fire. I take pleasure, too, in speaking of the bearing of private James Stinson, courier, a youth of twenty, who displayed qualities a veteran might boast of, and of the conduct of private J. F. Beggarly, also a courier to headquarters. To Dr. Briggs, senior surgeon of the brigade, my thanks are due for his skill, zeal, and care of the wounded. I am, sir, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

S. D. RAMSEUR,
Brigadier General commanding.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL BARKSDALE.

FREDERICKSBURG, May 15, 1863.

Major W. H. TAYLOR,
A.A.G., Army Northern Virginia:

MAJOR: When General McLaws moved up the river, on the night of the 30th of April, I was temporarily detached from my command, and ordered to report to General Early. My brigade was then at Marye’s hill, with the exception of twelve companies, which were protecting the river from Taylor’s hill to the Ferneyhough house. By General Early’s order, I, with the thirteenth and seventeenth regiments, relieved the pickets of Generals Kershaw and Wofford, above the railroad. The brigade was then extended over a picket line of not less than five miles. On Saturday, appearances indicated that the enemy were leaving their encampments on this side of the river, and were marching to reinforce Hooker. By General Early’s order, the twenty-first regiment of my brigade was left to picket the river, while the other three regiments, with three of his brigades, proceeded to rejoin the main army at Chancellorsville. He had marched but a short distance, when it was reported that the enemy were advancing upon General Hays, who had been left with his brigade on the line from Hamilton’s Crossing to Fredericksburg. General Early ordered the entire command to return to its former position. About two o’clock, on Sunday morning, having thrown a pontoon bridge over the river, the enemy commenced crossing into Fredericksburg in large numbers. I at once informed General Early of the fact, and asked for reinforcements. With several batteries, under the command of General Pendleton, and a single brigade of infantry, I had a front of not less than three miles to defend, extending from Taylor’s hill on the left, to the foot of the hills in rear of the Howison house. The twenty-first regiment was posted between the Mayre house and the plank road, three companies of which were afterwards sent to the support of the eighteenth regiment, which was stationed behind the stone wall at the Mayre house. The seventeenth regiment was placed in front of Lee’s hill, and the thirteenth still further to the right. One regiment from General Hays’ command was subsequently placed to the right of the thirteenth. Four pieces of artillery were placed on the right of Marye’s house, two on the left, and the balance on Lee’s and the hills in the vicinity of the Howison house, thus making the only disposition of the small force at my command which, in my judgment, would prevent the enemy from passing the line. The battle commenced at daylight. A furious cannonading was opened from the enemy’s batteries in town, and along both banks of the river. Two assaults were made upon Marye’s heights, but both were signally repulsed. About eight o’clock, a heavy column of the enemy were seen moving up the river, evidently for the purpose of getting possession of Taylor’s hill, which, if successful, would have given him command of the position which I held. But this was prevented by the timely arrival of General Hays, with four regiments of his brigade. The enemy having thus been foiled in his purpose, turned the head of his column down the river again; but it was impossible to tell whether he had abandoned the attempt or intended to advance again on the same position, with a still heavier force. General Wilcox had now reached Taylor’s hill, with three regiments of his brigade, one of which he promised to send to the right, in case it should be needed. This regiment was sent for, but there was not sufficient time for it to come up, before the action was over. With a line as extended as this, and in consideration of the small number forces at my disposal, and the uncertainty as to the point against which the enemy would hurl the immediate force he had massed in town, I deemed it proper that the regiments should remain as they then were, and await the happening of events. Very soon, however, the enemy came out from his hiding place, and moved in three columns and three lines of battle, twenty thousand strong, against the position held by my brigade. At the same instant, Colonel Humphreys was assailed on the left, Colonels Holder and Carter, and the Louisiana regiment on the right, and Colonel Griffin in the centre. After a determined and bloody resistance by Colonel Griffin and the Washington artillery, the enemy, fully twenty to one, succeeded in gaining possession of Mayre’s hill. At all other points he was triumphantly repulsed; but seeing the line broken at this point, I ordered the thirteenth, seventeenth, and Louisiana regiment to fall back to the crest of Lee’s hill, to prevent the enemy from getting in our rear. This they did, resisting his approach at every step; and with the aid of Frazer’s and Carlton’s batteries, both of which were handled with the most consummate skill and courage, finally succeeded in checking his advance. The twenty-first regiment, with the remainder of the eighteenth, after Marye’s hill had been taken, fell back, and rejoined the brigade on the hills. The distance from town to the points assailed was so short, the attack so suddenly made, and the difficulty of removing troops from one part of the line to another was so great, that it was utterly impossible for either General Wilcox or General Hays to reach the scene of action in time to afford any assistance whatever. It will then be seen that Marye’s hill was defended by but one small regiment, three companies, and four pieces of artillery. A more heroic struggle was never made by a mere handful of men against overwhelming odds. According to the enemy’s own accounts, many of this noble little band resisted to the death, with clubbed guns, even after his vast hordes had swept over and around the walls. His loss, from reports published in his own papers, was a thousand killed and wounded; but according to statements from intelligent citizens, it reached two thousand. Upon the pretext of taking care of their wounded, the enemy asked a flag of truce, after the second assault at Marye’s hill, which was granted by Colonel Grffin, and thus the weakness of our force at thart point was discovered. It is proper to say, that Colonel Griffin, who is a brave and gallant officer, granted this flag of truce without consulting me. The next morning, the line of battle was formed on the river road—General Gordon in front, General Hays on the left, and my brigade on the right of the road. It was soon discovered that Lee’s and Mayre’s hills had been abandoned by the enemy. General Gordon took possession of Marye’s hill without opposition. My brigade was ordered to the stone wall in front of the hill; and I was ordered to send out skirmishers, and if the town was not strongly defended, to storm and take it. I at once sent out both scouts and skirmishers, both of whom reported, that, in their judgment, the town was in a state of strong defence; that rifle-pits had been dug across the streets, and that cannon had been planted on both sides of the river, which completely commanded the entire town. This fact I reported to General Early, who ordered me to remain where I then was, and prevent any advance from town on the part of the enemy. During the night the enemy recrossed the river; and on the following morning I moved in and occupied the town, capturing about forty prisoners. In concluding this brief report, I desire specially to mention the names of Captain J. A. Barksdale, adjutant of this brigade; Lieutenant J. A. Gibson, acting inspector general; Harris Barksdale, aid-de-camp, as having acted with the greatest possible coolness and gallantry. Dr. Hill, senior surgeon of the brigade, and all the regimental surgeons, did their whole duty. All the couriers who were with us—J. T. Broach, W. M. Palmer, and W. L. McKee—carried my messages to the different commands promptly, regardless of danger. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. BARKSDALE,
Brigadier General commanding.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL POSEY.

HEADQUARTERS POSEY’S BRIGADE,
Near Fredericksburg, Va., May 12, 1863.

To Major THOMAS S. MILLS,
A. A. General, Anderson’s Division:

MAJOR: I have the honor of submitting a report of the part my brigade tock in the recent engagement about Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, On the evening of the 29th ultimo, being then in camp with Brigadier General Mahone, near the United States ford, we were advised by our scouts and the cavalry pickets, who were posted at Ely’s ford and Germana bridge, that the enemy had crossed in heavy force at those points, and were advancing on the Ely and Plank roads, towards Chancellorsville. Upon consultation, we concluded to leave five companies of my brigade, (nineteenth Mississippi regiment,) and one regiment of General Mahone’s brigade, to watch and defend the United States ford, while we moved our brigades to Chancellorsville; on reaching that place, we posted my brigade on the right and left of the Plank road at Chancellorsville, and General Mahone’s brigade in Ballard’s and Nixley’s fields, half mile from Chancellorsville, on the Ely road. We remained in this position until about seven o’clock the next morning, the 30th, when we were directed by the Major General commanding, who reached Chancellorsville about twelve o’clock, A.M., to move our commands back to a position where the mine road crosses the old pike and plank road. We remained in this position until the next morning about nine o’clock, May 1st, when I was ordered to advance my brigade up the plank road. After moving about two miles, I formed a line-of-battle in Aldridge’s field, between the plank road and old pike, and sent out the twelfth regiment as skirmishers, moving the other three regiments forward as fast as the skirmishers advanced; the advanced line of skirmishers soon encountered the enemy, when I advanced another line, and we drove the enemy’s skirmishers back in gallant gtyle, until we encountered the enemy in heavy force drawn up in line-of-battle on the furnace road; this line was soon broken by the vigorous onset of my skirmishers, (at this time Lieutenant Colonel Harris, commanding the twelfth, was severely wounded while gallantly leading on his command, and was taken off the field.) I continued my advance across the furnace road, through a dense wood, thickly set with undergrowth, driving back the enemy’s skirmishers through the woods, until I reached a marsh, and became much exposed to a rapid shelling from the enemy’s artillery, when I halted my command and remained here until about eleven o’clock, P.M., when I received an order from the Major General commanding to advance as far as I could. I then pushed my skirmishers forward, and with much difficulty crossed the marsh in front, and advanced within a short distance of the enemy’s lines of works; the enemy on my right being on my flank and somewhat in the rear of my right. I remained in this position until about seven o’clock the next morning, when I was relieved by Brigadier General Thomas; and then moved with my brigade to the field in rear of the Furnace road, where my command was allowed to rest for a short time, Saturday, 2d May, about, ten o’clock, A.M., my command moved down the furnace road, and formed a line-of-battle with three regiments, (the forty-eighth being left behind as skirmishers, and not being relieved until late at night,) on each side of the road, about five hundred yards from the furnace. Here my skirmishers were hotly engaged with the enemy during the whole day and part of the night, the enemy being in heavy force in my front, and making frequent efforts to advance without success; on every occasion my line of skirmishers drove them back in confusion. On the morning of the 3d, the enemy having disappeared from my front, I advanced my command, by the furnance, capturing many prisoners and arms, until I reached a point in a field in rear of our batteries on the extreme right of the enemy’s lines; here I formed my command in column of regiments, and, after a short time, was ordered to advance by flank to the right, and attack the enemy, who were in strong force on a hill in front. I deployed first the nineteenth, then the twelfth, forty-eighth and sixteenth, directing the commanders to move by the left flank (which would bring them in line-of-battle, fronting the enemy) as soon as they attained sufficient room in the woods, and push forward their skirmishers vigorously against the enemy’s. The movement was made in fine order under heavy fire of shell and grape; as each regiment attained its position, the commanders pushed forward gallantly and irresistibly through a dense wood and over a wide abattis, and into the trenches of the enemy, driving him off with much slaughter, and capturing many prisoners. Too much credit cannot be given to the officers and men for this gallant and daring and irresistible charge, sweeping the enemy for more than a half mile of their strong works, overcoming without hesitation both natural and artificial obstacles. It would not be proper in this limited report to mention the many instances of individual daring which came under my observation and which have been reported to me, and where all the officers and men behaved so nobly it would be invidious to individualize. Commanders of regiments acted with consummate skill and valor. Colonel Baker, of the sixteenth, attacked the enemy’s works on their extreme right; Colonel Jayne, of the forty-eighth, (who was wounded in the charge,) next; Major Thomas, of the twelfth, and Colonel Harris on the right of the brigade. These commanders simultaneously charged the enemy’s works, and I am much indebted to them for the success of my command. My command, after storming the works, being somewhat scattered on account of the dense woods and vigorous pursuit, I moved it back a short distance and reformed in an open field on the right, and in a very short time was ready to move forward. On the afternoon of this day my command was moved on the old pike, the left resting near Chancellorsville house, and my right extended on the pike. I here sent out ten companies of skirmishers, who penetrated to Ballard’s and Nixley’s field, where the enemy were in force and throwing up works of defence. In the afternoon, my brigade, with Generals Wright’s and Perry’s, were moved near the United States ford, where I sent out the nineteenth and twelfth regiments and drove in the enemy’s skirmishers. The next day, Monday, the 4th, my command was moved, with Generals Wright and Perry, towards Fredericksburg, and in the afternoon formed a line-of-battle near Hazel run, fronting Dolmer’s house. At the signal to advance, led by the Major General commanding, my command moved across to the plank road, opposite Guests’ house, under heavy fire, and at dark formed a line-of-battle and remained until about twelve o’clock, when I was ordered to move to a point up the plank road near Banks’ ford. During this time my skirmishers were actively engaged and brought in many prisoners. I remained near Banks’ ford during the balance of the night, and the next evening, the 5th, in a severe storm of wind and rain, advanced to within two miles of Chancellorsville and bivouacked for the night. Early the next day, 6th, I was moved to Ballard’s field, and that evening returned to my old camp near Fredericksburg. My command was on foot from the 29th of April to the 7th May, inclusive, and bore the privations, fatigue, labor and fighting without a murmur. My staff officers. Stanhope Posey, A. A. General and J. B. Posey, A.D.C., rendered good services. My aid-de-camp being very sick had to leave the field Saturday morning, and my assistant adjutant general being wounded on Saturday, was disabled from doing active duty, but remained in the field while the fighting lasted. In the meantime, one of my couriers, Mr. Asberry Hancock, acted both a courier and aid-de-camp, and did most valuable service, displaying acts of daring and heroism worthy of mention, and for his conduct in the field in front of the enemy, deserves the highest consideration, and should be promoted. My courier, Weil, also deserves mention. I must here mention that Lieutenant Colonel Manlove, of the forty-eighth, volunteered, and gallantly led a line of skirmishers on Friday morning with good effect. It affords me pleasure to notice the gallant conduct of T. L. Duke, chaplain of the nineteenth regiment, who remained in, front of his regiment with his musket during the series of engagements, and mainly directed the movements of the skirmishers of that regiment. I herewith send a list of casualties, and also the reports of commanders of regiments, giving more particular details which are interesting. Very respectfully,

CARNOT POSEY,
Brigadier General commanding.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL A. R. WRIGHT.

HEADQUARTERS WRIGHT’S BRIGADE,
Camp near Guineas’ Station, May 13, 1363.

To Major THOS. S. MILLS,
A.A.G., Anderson’s Division:

MAJOR: I herewith enclose a report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent engagements near Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, together with a correct list of casualties sustained by this command. At fifteen minutes after ten o’clock, A.M., on the 29th ultimo, I received orders to move with my command, to, or near Hamilton’s Crossing, and in supporting distance of General Early’s left, I immediately put my brigade in motion, and at twelve, M., reached the position indicated, with my right near to Early’s left. Here I remained until late in the afternoon, when, in obedience to orders from Major General Anderson. I moved my command near to his headquarters, on the mililary road. Here we bivouacked, as we hoped, for the night, but at twelve o’clock, I was ordered to move rapidly with my command to Chancellorsville, distant some twelve or fifteen miles, where I would report to Major General Anderson. During a drenching rain and impenetrable darkness, we commenced the march, and moving by the Fredericksburg and Orange plank road, at day-light, on Thursday, May the 30th, I reported in person the arrival of my brigade at Chancellorsville. Here I received orders to retrace my steps, and fall back towards Fredericksburg, as far as the crossing of the old mine road on the plank road, and there await the approach of the enemy, then reported as advancing in heavy force by the Ely’s ford and Germana roads. At eight o’clock, A.M., I reached the desired position and formed line of battle on a lange of hills in rear of Hopewell nursery, with my right resting upon the plank road. My men had marched twenty-seven miles in less than twenty-one hours and most of the time in a heavy rain and through deep mud, and when I halted, were almost completely exhausted. After a hasty reconnoissance of the position, I concluded to change my line to the crest of a range of hills, upon which the small-pox hospital and an old church were situated, and about three quarters of a mile in rear of my first position. Here I formed as before with my right resting upon the plank road, and my left upon the Fredericksburg and Gordonsville railroad. During the afternoon, having received a few entrenching tools, I commenced digging a line of rifle, pits in front of my position, and by working during the whole night, I had, by seven o’clock, on Friday morning, my entire line well protected, having also, during the night, kept a detail at work throwing up an epaulement for two pieces of artillery, on the right of the plank road. No enemy having appeared in sight in front of my position, at about noon, on Friday, the 1st of May, I was ordered to move my brigade up the plank road, and, feeling for the enemy, to drive him before me, should he be found, Having proceeded about one mile, my skirmishers became engaged with the enemy’s advance, who began very soon to give way, while I pressed forward with the main body of my command until having reached within one and a half or two miles of Chancellorsville, I discovered the enemy in considerable force, occupying a position on both sides of the plank road, along the skirt of a heavy forest, with a large clearing in his front. At this point, by command of Lieutenant General Jackson, Alexander’s battallion of artillery was placed in position and supported by my brigade, opened a heavy fire upon the enemy’s line. Meanwhile I threw forward a strong body of skirmishers from the third Georgia regiment on both sides of the road, and pushing them well to the front, those on the right soon became actively engaged with a considerable body of the enemy’s infantry; the firing continuing very heavy on my right, I ordered Captain Jones’ company, second Georgia battalion, to the support of company “H”, third Georgia regiment, then on the right. In a very few minutes the enemy began to give way, and Captain Jones continued to press them, for some distance through the dense wood. About the middle of the afternoon, I received orders from General Anderson to move my brigade across and to the left of the plank road, and, bearing well off from the road, endeavour to get upon the enemy’s right flank and rear. I immediately commenced the movement, and reaching the Gordonsville and Fredericksburg railroad, I moved rapidly up that road, keeping Captain Wilson’s company, forty-eighth Georgia regiment, and Captain Scragg’s company, twenty-second Georgia regiment, well in advance, as skirmishers.

About six o’clock, P.M., I reached Wellford’s iron furnace, one and a half miles southwest of Chancellorsville, where I found Major General Stuart, who informed me that the enemy, in considerable force were occupying the thick woods north of and near the furnace, in the direction of Chancellorsville. I immediately prepared to give him battle, and ordered Lieutenant Colonel Carswell, commanding forty-eighth Virginia regiment, and Lieutenant Colonel Warden, commanding twenty-second Georgia regiment, to move cautiously forward through the almost impenetrable forest, with one company for each regiment thrown forward as skirmishers, and, finding the enemy, to press him vigorously. The third Georgia regiment and second Georgia battalion I held in reserve, to be used as occasion might require. Lieutenant Colonels Carswell and Warden, moving rapidly forward, were soon engaged with a heavy force of the enemy’s infantry and the firing for a few minutes was very severe. Through this heavy fire Carswell and Warden continued to press, and their gallant commands soon cleared the woods and, reaching the edge of an open field, charged upon and drove the enemy up a high hill, in rear of a farm house, where he took shelter under cover of a dense pine thicket. Fearing lest my small command should fall into a Yankee trap, I ordered my line to halt and dispatched a messenger to General Stuart, asking that he send me a portion of his artillery, under cover of whose fire I intended again to charge the enemy, unless our artillery should show them to be in very greatly superior force. Some time elapsed before our guns could be got into position, owing to the character of the ground and the very bad roads over which they had to pass, and it was nearly sunset before we opened our fire. Immediately the enemy responded with two heavy batteries, one immediately in front and one upon our right, and very soon a third opened upon us from a high hill on our left. Our guns replied with spirit, but owing to the superior number of guns opposed to them and their advantageous position, the result was not as favorable to us as I had hoped and anticipated. Ascertaining the locality of the enemy’s guns, I directed Lieutenant Colonel Carswell to move off by his left flank through a deep ravine near the edge of the field, in which the enemy’s guns were posted, and gaining the right and rear of the enemy’s battery upon our left to charge upon and take it. But owing to the near approach of night and the dense undergrowth through which we had to pass, it was found impossible to accomplish my object, and, at dark, the firing ceased on both sides, and I withdrew my men; and, in obedience to orders from Lieutenant General Jackson, received through Major General Stuart, I marched by the furnace road, and, at eleven o’clock, P.M., rejoined my division, then on the plank road about one mile from Chancellorsville. My loss, during the day, amounted to two killed and twenty-two wounded. The enemy’s loss I had no means of discovering, as I left the scene of conflict so soon, but it must have been very considerable, including quite a number of prisoners.

Early on Saturday morning, the 2d instant, I was ordered to form my brigade on the left of and perpendicular to the plank road, with my right resting upon it, keeping one regiment deployed as skirmishers well to the front in the dense woods. In this position I continued until two o’clock, P.M., when I received orders to move quickly in the direction of the iron furnace to the support of General Posey, who was then threatened by a heavy force of the Yankees. Just at this time the enemy advanced two full brigades upon the third Georgia regiment, deployed as skirmishers in my front, and commenced a fire upon that regiment. I was compelled to leave it unsupported, but reporting the fact promptly to the Major General commanding the division, I proceeded rapidly to the support of General Posey, whose brigade I found in line extending on both sides of the road to the furnace, and distant from the latter about one thousand yards. The enemy appeard in considerable force upon the hills around the furnace, and had a strong line of sharpshooters advanced as far as the small run, which flows at the foot of the furnace hill. After a brief consultation with General Posey, I formed my brigade on his right with my line extending well to the right in the direction of the left of the third Georgia regiment, left, as before stated, hotly engaged by a large force of the enemy. The firing continuing so incessant and terrific in the direction of the latter regiment, I dispatched a messenger to Major Jones, commanding, to ascertain the condition of things in his immediate front, and to inform him of my readiness to reinforce him if he should require it, but ordering him to hold his position at all hazards, as he held the key to our whole line in this quarter. Having received an answer from Major Jones that he was not only able to hold his own against the terrible odds to which he was opposed, but that he was actually advancing upon and driving the enemy before him, I drew in my line upon the left and concentrated the balance of my brigade there, in order to co-operate more favorably with Posey, who was, about this time, threatened with a heavy force which was seen advancing down the hill from the furnace, and approaching his position with loud cheers. This was about dark on Saturday, and as the enemy’s threatened movement against General Posey was not made, I again directed my attention in the direction of Major Jones’ position on my right.

Shortly after dark the firing ceased along my whole front, and, at half past eight o’clock, Major Jones’ third Georgia regiment having been relieved from its position in the woods, as skirmishers, returned to the brigade, and was formed upon its right. My loss during the day was very slight, though I regret to add that some of my men, who were wounded the day before and left at the furnace in hospital, were to-day captured, together with two ambulances, which had been sent up to bring them off. When the depot for my wounded was established at the furnace it was at least a mile within our lines, but by some means unknown to me the enemy retook the position on this day, (Saturday, the 2d,) and thus got possession of some of my wounded men.

Early on Sunday morning, I received orders to advance my brigade through the woods in the direction of Chancellorsville, connecting my right with General Mahone’s left and my left with General Posey’s right. This gave me a line of over a mile to cover, with less than sixteen hundred men. I soon found that this was entirely impracticable, and I pushed forward through the woods endeavoring to keep equi-distant from Mahone and Posey, keeping my flanks protected by a strong line of skirmishers and flankers. In this order I moved steadily on my right, about three-quarters of a mile to the left of the plank road, until I fell upon a strong body of Yankee infantry posted in the woods, about one-half a mile in the front (as I afterwards discovered) of a strong line of rifle pits, protected by abattis formed by the felling of the thick forest timber for some distance in front of their entrenchments. Quickly engaging the enemy, with vigor, he gave way, and I pursued him up and into his strong works. Here my small command encountered the most terrible fire of artillery and musketry I have ever witnessed, and our further advance was temporarily checked. About this time, tiring on my left was heard, and I felt assured Posey was up to his work. Not having heard from or of General Mahone, I dispatched an officer of my staff to seek him and inform him of my position, and beg him to move forward to my support. Immediately after this messenger left me, Major Taylor, an officer in command of General Mahone’s line of skirmishers, approached me and informed me that he knew nothing of the locality of General Mahone’s brigade, except when last heard from it was very far in the rear, and that he (Taylor) should wait or fall back with his skirmishers until he could be brought near to his brigade. I urged him not to do so, as I had just sent word to General Mahone, informing him of the condition of things in front, and urging him to come to my support, and which I thought he would speedily do. Directly after this, Major Taylor left me, and I saw no more of him or General Mahone’s forces during the day. Being thus without support on my right, I determined to move a little towards the left, where I continued to hear Posey’s fire, and ordered Major Jones, with his third Georgia regiment, to deploy his line, and pushing up to the enemy’s works examine his position and report. About this time, the firing far on the left of Posey’s position became heavy, and I felt assured that Jackson was advancing there. Major Jones moved his regiment rapidly up to within a few rods of the enemy’s works, where, pressed by Posey and Perry on my immediate left, and Jackson further on, the Yankees gave way and fled from their entrenchments. We pressed forward and immediately occupied them, although on my right the enemy still retained possession of their works and opened a pretty sharp fire of shell and musketry upon us as we took possession of their abandoned rifle-pits. I was then ordered by Major General Anderson to move up the third Georgia regiment and dislodge the enemy’s sharpshooters on our right, and then push forward for the enemy’s battery, which was playing so incessantly upon us. The order was given, and the third Georgia commenced its movement along the line of rifle-pits towards the plank road, led by Major Jones. In a few minutes he received a severe wound in the right arm, (since amputated,) and the command devolved upon Captain Andrews, who continued to advance, until having reached the plank road about two hundred yards from Chancellorsville, I ordered him to charge the enemy, then in some confusion around and in the rear of the brick house. This charge was made with spirit and the enemy fled, leaving us in entire possession of his strong position. At this point we captured three pieces of artillery and eight caissons, and about three hundred prisoners. I immediately reformed my brigade (now somewhat scattered in running through the woods and timber,) along the road in front of the brick house, and ordered four companies of the third Georgia forward on both sides of Ely’s ford road as skirmishers to feel for the flying foe. Soon as I had my line formed and ready to press on, I reported the fact Major General Anderson, who, with General Lee, had ridden upon the field, and then received orders to move down the plank road for a few rods and await further orders. Meanwhile, my skirmishers had overtaken the running Yankees, and had succeeded in capturing an entire Yankee regiment, (the twenty-seventh Connecticut,) with all its field officers and about six or seven hundred men. I continued to scour the woods for an hour or two, and captured quite a number of straggling Yankees.

Late in the afternoon, I was ordered down a by-road in the direction of the United States ford, following Posey’s brigade. Nothing of importance occurred during this march, and at night we bivouacked near Childs’ house. My loss during this day was pretty severe, amounting to seventeen killed, and one hundred and sixty three wounded, including in the list of killed some of my best officers.

On Monday morning, I received orders to move back up the road, towards Chancellorsville, until I reached the turnpike road; and from thence was ordered down the turnpike to Salem church, five miles above Fredericksburg, which point we reached about noon, when I halted to receive further orders. Major General Anderson then directed me to move off to the right of the road, and passing well to the left of the enemy’s line, to take position on the slope of the hills in rear of Downman’s farm. Here I formed line of battle, my right Upon the left of Hoke’s brigade, of Early’s division, Posey’s right upon my left.

The enemy were in position along the north slope of the ridge upon which Downman’s house stands, with a strong line of sharpshooters occupying the crest of the ridge and the house, and fencing around Downman’s yard with heavy batteries on the hills in their rear. At the appointed signal, just before sunset, I moved forward by the right flank around to the right of the hill on which I had formed, and passing up a ravine, came upon the border of the open field in rear of Downman’s house, about four hundred yards from it, and here rapidly forming in line, I charged across the fields, swept by the house, and reached the woods opposite, driving the enemy before me like chaff. Arriving at the skirt of the woods, I halted my command, (fearing if I proceeded further in that direction I should encounter Wofford’s brigade, who, I had been informed, would advance in that direction,) and sent a messenger to General Anderson informing him of my position, from whom I received instructions to wait in my then position for further orders. During this time the enemy kept up a murderous fire along my whole line, and with considerable effect. I remained in this position until dark, subjected to this murderous fire, without being able to respond to the enemy’s guns. Between fight and nine o’clock, I was ordered to move up to the plank road, and form on Posey’s left, which I did, and soon after we moved down the road in the direction of Banks ford, Posey in advance. After proceeding two and-a-half or three miles, we were ordered to halt; and were then ordered by Major General Anderson to bivouac for the night. My loss this day was considerable, amounting to six killed, and eighty-three wounded.

On Thursday, the 5th instant, about two o’clock, P.M., I received orders to move my command immediately up the plank road to Chancellorsville. I commenced the march at once in one of the hardest rains I have ever seen, and which continued with less violence during the whole afternoon. At dark, we encamped about one and a-half miles from Chancellorsville; and, early next morning, (Wednesday,) we marched to Chancellorsville, and from thence down the Ely’s ford road to a point just behind Brooks’ house. Here we were halted until about noon, when I was ordered to retrace my steps, (the Yankees having retired beyond the river,) and take my men into their camp, in the rear of Fredericksburg. Thus ended the eight days of marching and fighting.

I cannot, in justice to the brave men composing this command, close my brief report without expressing my highest admiration for their splendid conduct during this eventful week. No man ever had better or braver soldiers. The twenty-second Georgia, Lieutenant Colonel Warden, and the forty-eighth Georgia, Lieutenant Colonel Carswell, on Friday, near the iron furnace, acted with distinguished coolness and courage, driving a vastly superior force of the Yankees for nearly a mile, and only relinquished further pursuit by receiving orders from me to halt. On the same day. Company “H,” Captain Luckee, of the third Georgia, and company “B,” Captain Jones, of the second Georgia batttalion, performed efficient and valuable service as skirmishers, during the advance, and firing on the plank road.

On Saturday, the third Georgia sustained its former reputation in engaging and actually repulsing two brigades of the enemy, on the left of the plank road, near Chancellorsville.

On Sunday, at Chancellorsville, and again on Monday afternoon, near Fredericksburg, the entire command evinced the most heroic fortitude and chivalric daring; charging in both instances and routing the Yankee infantry, under a deadly fire from the enemy’s batteries. To Lieutenant Colonel Warden, Lieutenant Colonel Carswell, Major Ross and Major Jones, and the skillful officers and brave men of their commands is the country in no small degree indebted for the splendid results of the week.

This command and the country have to deplore the untimely loss of Captain Heath, of the twenty-second Georgia, Captain Kendrick and first Lieutenant Spier, of the forty-eighth Georgia, who were killed on Sunday, near Chancellorsville.

To Captain Girardey, A. A. General, Lieutenant Hazlehurst and Captain Bell, Aids-de-Camp, I am greatly indebted for their valuable and efficient services during all the week’s operations. I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

A. R. WRIGHT,
Brigadier General commanding brigade.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL PERRY.

HEADQUARTERS PERRY’S BRIGADE,
May 9th, 1863.

To Major THOMAS S. MILLS, A. A. General:

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command—consisting of the second and eighth Florida regiments—in the recent engagements in Spottsylvania county:

On the evening of the 29th of April, in compliance with orders from division headquarters, I moved my command to the heights in front of Falmouth, and throwing my pickets out to the river bank, remained in line of battle until about eleven o’clock on the morning of the 1st of May, when, in obedience to orders from Major General Anderson, I moved with my command up the plank road, and into the old turnpike road. I advanced up this road until I came to our line of battle, held by Major General McLaws on the right. I then received an order from Major General McLaws to form my brigade on the right of Brigadier General Wofford’s brigade. This threw me some distance to the right of the old mine road. I at once formed my line of battle, and receiving information from Major General McLaws that the enemy were advancing on the old mine road, I threw out skirmishers and so disposed my line as to enable me to command both the old mine road and the Dewson mill road. Brigadier General Wilcox soon coming up and forming his brigade on my right, I was relieved from giving further attention to the Dewson mill road and resumed my original line, my right regiment resting in the rifle-pits on the left of the Dewson mill road. About five o’clock, P.M., I received orders from Major General McLaws to double my line of skirmishers and advance. I did so for about one and one-half miles, encountering no enemy. I halted with Brigadier General Wofford’s brigade on my left. Brigadier General Wilcox not receiving orders to advance at the time, did not join my right. General Wofford having become disconnected from the line on his left, determined to bivouac for the night. Accordingly I threw out a strong line of pickets and disposed my men for rest. They were very much exhausted owing to the nature of the country through which they had advanced. About ten o’clock I received an order to retrace my steps and march up the turnpike road to Major General McLaws’ position. I did so, and having arrived with my brigade near General McLaws’ head-quarters, received an order revoking the former order and directing me to move my command back to the position I had just left. Having retaken that position, I remained until morning, everything in my front continuing quiet. Brigadier General Wofford having re-established his connection with the line on his left, the line of battle was advanced, I moving in conformity with the line on my left, keeping out a strong line of skirmishers, and sending out scouting parties to my front and right, we encountered no resistance to our advance. The enemy falling back without firing a gun, we took a few prisoners and found some abandoned commissary stores, arms, &c. About four o’clock in the evening the line was closed up to the left by order from Major General McLaws, until my left rested a few paces to the right of the pike road. My skirmishers here became engaged with the enemy, driving back the enemy’s skirmishers and holding the ground gained against a brisk fire from both infantry and artillery. At dark I received an order from Major General McLaws to report with my command to Major General Anderson, on the left of Major General McLaws’ line, and in obedience to Major General Anderson’s orders, bivouacked my men in the woods for rest. Sometime before daylight of the morning of the third of May, I moved my command, by direction of Major General Anderson, down the Catharpin road for the purpose of scouring the country to the left of and rear of the left of Major General Anderson’s line. I found the country clear and moved up by the furnace, on the left of the line, and came up with the other brigades of the division, near to the enemy’s works. I at once formed my line of battle and pushed forward upon the right flank of the enemy’s works on the left of the line of Major General Anderson’s division. The fire was quite brisk here from a line of the enemy, thrown back at right angles to this front, to protect his flank and rear. This line soon gave way, and pushing forward, I found myself inside of his breastworks. Having no knowledge of the ground and the woods being so thick as to entirely obstruct the view, I was at a loss for some time as to the direction of the enemy’s next line. Their musket balls soon gave me the proper direction, and I changed front, and sending out skirmishers, soon found their line on the thickly wooded hill in the rear of their breastworks, and to their right of the field in front of Chancellor’s. I ordered a charge, and the enemy, after one or two rounds, broke in the utmost confusion, throwing down arms, knapsacks. &c., great numbers of them running into our lines.

No sooner had the enemy’s lines vanished than their batteries poured a most terrific fire of grape and canister into my lines. The men lying down, and being partially protected by a slight ridge, the fire was not as fatal as I had reason to fear. Upon going to the front I found no infantry in my front, between me and the turnpike road, and that I could not lead my men against the enemy’s battery without encountering the range of our own battery on the left of the rear of my line, which was then clearing out the enemy, in double quick time. While making this charge, portions of two other brigades, who were lying down in the woods, and whom a portion of my line had charged over, rushed back from the sudden and terrific fire poured into us before the enemy gave way, and the eighth Florida regiment, which had not then passed over them, mistaking them for the left of their own brigade, allowed themselves to be swept back a short distance by them. They were not, however, at all panic stricken, but were rallied at once, their morale and spirit in no manner impaired. I cannot think any blame should be attached to either the officers or the men of the regiment. I remained in that position until the rest of the division was marched up by General Anderson, and moved by the right flank with them to the turnpike road, where the division halted. Soon after, I was directed by order from General Anderson, to occupy the works on the right of the pike road, to prevent the enemy from throwing a force into them. I remained in those works until ordered to follow the division towards United States ford.

That night I halted with the division—being on its left—put out strong pickets, and rested until about two hours before day-light of May 4th, when I received orders to throw one regiment forward upon each of two roads running towards the ridge occupied by the enemy, in the rear of Chancellorsville, I sent forward the fifth Florida, on the road leading by Grady’s house, and the second Florida, about half a mile further to the left, throwing forward a connected line of skirmishers in front of the two regiments. These skirmishers encountered the enemy’s pickets in considerable force, but they offered feeble resistance, and were pressed back a mile or a mile and a half, to the enemy’s entrenchments. I was then ordered by General Anderson to draw in the two regiments and line of skirmishers and follow the division towards Fredericksburg, which I did, and was next posted on the left of the line of the division. My line being to the rear of Downman’s house. Brigadier General Posey being on my right. There being an interval of three quarters of a mile between my left and the right of General McLaws’ line, I was ordered to hold the position, I then occupied, until further orders, unless when the right of our line had advanced up the plank road to a point opposite me, I should see an opportunity to strike. I had thoroughly scouted the woods to my left, and from the information I had obtained, felt confident of capturing both the battery at Gregg’s house and much of the infantry, thrown up between that and Downman’s house. That hope, however, as well as all opportunity for me, in the position in which I was to strike a single blow to advantage, was destroyed by Brigadier General Wright’s brigade swinging across the line of battle and charging across the field in my front, before our right could so engage the enemy on the plank road, as to prevent the artillery and infantry from escaping by that road. Upon reporting my position to General Anderson, I was directed to remain there until morning.

On the morning of May 5th, by direction of General Anderson, I moved to the vicinity of the Morgan house, on the plank road; there I remained until about four o’clock, P.M., when, with the other brigades of the division, I moved up the plank road and bivouacked for the night. Early in the morning of the 6th, by order of General Anderson, I detached two regiments, posted one on the Catharpin road and one at fork of plank road and the road leading to Spottsylvania Court-IIouse, halting the other regiment where the furnace road crossed the plank road. About one o’clock, I called in my regiments and returned to my old camp.

The conduct of both officers and men of my command, through the tiresome marches and continued watching, as well as while engaging the enemy, was such as to merit high praise. The firm and steadfast courage exhibited, especially by the fifth and second Florida regiments, in the charge at Chancellorsville, attracted my particular attention.

I am intlebted to Captain McCaslan, A. A. A. General, Lieutenant Taylor, aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Scott, volunteer aid-de-camp and Lieutenant Riley, acting inspector, for the great assistance they rendered me by their attention to their duties and gallant conduct.

My command was kept supplied with rations by the persevering energy of Major Elder, brigade commissary. Major Hinkle, brigade quartermaster, for his untiring efforts to alleviate the suflerings of the wounded, who were collected at the station awaiting transportation to Richmond, has merited my particular thanks. I enclose the list of casualties. I have the honor to be, Very respectfully, &c.,

E. A. PERRY,
Brigadier General, P.A.C.S.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL MAHONE.

HEADQUARTERS MAHONE’S BRIGADE, ANDERSON’S DIVISION,
May 27, 1863.

To Major T. S. MILLS,
A.A.G. Anderson’s Division, First Corps, A.N.Va.:

MAJOR: I beg leave to report the operations of this brigade in the late battles of the Rappahannock.

It is proper to premise, that this brigade with that of General Posey, had been stationed near the United States ford for the purpose of defending that crossing of the Rappahanaock. On Wednesday, the 29th April, it was reported to me that the enemy had made his appearance in force at the Germana and Ely’s crossings of the Rapidan. This appearance of the enemy upon our flank and rear rendered our position at the United States ford no longer tenable, and with a view to checking his advance upon the flank of our army, as was now clearly discerned to be his aim, the two brigades, General Posey’s and mine, were immediately placed in position near Chancellorsville, so as to cover the roads from the Germana and Ely’s crossings of the Rapidan and that of the United States ford, uniting at Chancellorsville. In the meantime, our camps, stores, equipage, transportation and sick were sent to the rear, and without any material loss of any of them. The brigades occupied their position at Chancellorsville, as indicated, until next morning, Thursday, the 30th instant, when, under the direction of the Major General commanding the division, who had happily joined us during the night, they fell back on the United States mine road, this brigade at and covering the crossing by that road, of the old turnpike. Before leaving our position at Chancellorsville, however, the enemy’s cavalry advanced on the Ely’s ford road, made its appearance, and after a precipitate advance upon our picket, capturing several, he subsequently came upon our rear guard, the twelfth Virginia infantry, Lieutenant Colonel Field commanding, and was repulsed so effectually as to leave us free from any further annoyance during the change of position, to which I have already referred, and then in process of execution. Shortly after we had taken up our new line, at the intersection of the mine and turnpike roads, the enemy came down the turnpike in considerable force of cavalry and infantry, but nothing occurred at this point beyond a little skirmishing with his sharpshooters and reconnoitering parties. The next day, Friday, 1st May, this brigade led on the turnpike in the general advance of our forces, and very shortly engaged the enemy under General Sikes, when we had quite a brisk little engagement, artillery and infantry. Major General McLaws commanding. The enemy, (United States regulars,) many of whom we captured, was promptly repulsed, and our line-of-battle, now formed, was moved rapidly forward to a point on the turnpike south of Chancellorsville, about one and a quarter miles, known as McGees. This brigade continued here with Major General McLaws’ forces confronting the enemy’s line-of-battle in that quarter, until the next day, when it was transferred and occupied our front line immediately on the left of the plank road. In this position we continued, up to the fall of Chancellorsville, engaging the enemy more or less warmly as the progress of General Jackson’s operations on his flank and rear seemed to call for, and as the range of his, General Jackson’s, enfilading fire would allow. It was during this service of the brigade that the advance line of skirmishers of the sixth Virginia infantry, Colonel George T. Rodgers, under the immediate command of Captain W. Carter Williams, charged over the enemy’s abattis, near the plank road, fired upon him in his rifle pits, captured prisoners from four different regiments and the colors and color-bearer of the one hundred and seventh Ohio, returning to his position, with his handful of men, with the loss of an officer as prisoner. This gallant and successful sortie was made a little after dark, Saturday the 2d May, when General Jackson’s fire was heavy and it was in fighting over the same ground the next morning that the valiant Williams fell, mortally wounded. The standard, a most elegantly finished work, was duly delivered. Immediately following the fall of Chancellorsville, this brigade was sent, with a brigade of Major General McLaws’ division, to look after the enemy, then reported to be advancing up the plank road from Fredericksburg, under General Sedgwick. Meeting General Wilcox, with his brigade, about the divergence of the plank and turnpike roads, and finding that the enemy was really and rapidly advancing, it was at once determined to meet him at the Salem church. At this point, possessing the advantages of ground, our line was formed. In the meantime Major General McLaws had joined us with the balance of his division. My brigade, in the spirited fight at this place, occupied the extreme left of the line, lying wholly in the woods, and participated in the successful resistance made to the enemy’s very determined effort to break our lines at that point. Upon the conclusion of this battle, Tuesday, the 5th May, the brigade rejoined its division. The conduct of the officers and men, as well in bearing the hardships and privations attending eight consecutive days of exposure and excitement, as well as in battle, deserve high commendation, and at least this acknowledgement at my hands. The twelfth Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel Field commanding, for its rapid and efficient resistance of the superior forces of the enemy, while covering the formation of our lines-of-battle on the turnpike, Friday, the 1st of May. The sixth Virginia, Colonel Rogers commanding, for its vigorous pressure and bold sorties upon the enemy and his works around Chancellorsville, Saturday and Sunday, the 2d and 3d of May, for its veteran-like behavior at Salem church, receiving without disorder the enemy’s sudden fire while moving by the flanks. And the sixty-first Virginia, Colonel Grover, for its gallant and successful skirmish with the enemy during the formation of our lines at the Salem church, deserves special mention; while the part borne by the sixteenth Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel Whitehead commanding, and the forty-first Virginia, Colonel Parham commanding, was everywhere, though less arduous, well and bravely performed. In this connection it is but due that I should record here my high appreciation of the efficient and gallant conduct of the staff officers with me, Captain R. Taylor, A. A. General, and First Lieutenant Richard Walke, ordnance officer. Among the gallant spirits who were seriously wounded, Captain Banks, Company E, twelfth Virginia infantry, must be mentioned. He fell among the foremost in the skirmish fight of his regiment on the turnpike, May 1st, and was at the time commanding our advance guard. His conduct on this occasion was beautifully heroic. The number of prisoners taken by the brigade was large, but cannot be accurately stated, owing to the hurried and detached manner in which they had to be sent to the rear. The casualties of the brigade in all these battles were as follows:

I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

WILLIAM MAHONE,
Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL WILCOX.

HEADQUARTERS WILCOX’S BRIGADE,
Near Salem Church, May 10, 1863.

Major THOMAS S. MILLS,
A. A. General of Division:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part borne by my brigade in the recent engagements with the enemy in this vicinity, commencing on the 1st and ending on the 5th instant. On the 29th ultimo, orders were received to be ready to move at a moment’s notice, it being known that the enemy were advancing in heavy force from the direction of Chancellorsville. The following day, artillery was heard at intervals, in that vicinity, and on the next, the 1st instant, the brigade moved (under orders) up the plank road, and came soon within hearing of musketry. Arriving at the intersection of the plank road and the old turnpike, the command followed the latter; and it was not long before they came under a distant artillery fire, our troops being at the time engaged skirmishing with the enemy about one mile off. Having reported to General McLaws, commanding on this road, the brigade was ordered to the right, on the mine road; and a battery was directed to be posted, with the view of engaging one of the enemy’s, then sweeping, with its fire, the old turnpike. Lewis’ battery, attached to my command, was soon in position. The enemy, however, ceasing to fire, the brigade was formed in line on the right of General Perry’s brigade, and this on the right of General Wofford. This brought my command to occupy, in part, a line of rifle-pits running from Banks’ ford to within a few hundred yards of the mine road. Half-past six, P.M., orders were received to advance to the front. This forward movement was continued, though with much difficulty, owing to the densely thick forest, till the darkness of the night rendered it impracticable to go further. The command was halted near Dewson’s mills, on Mott run, three-quarters of a mile from the Rappahannock; and having established pickets in front and on our flanks, the command bivouacked far the night. Two companies were ordered out on patrol, with the view of ascertaining whether or not the enemy occupied the river road near Dicker’s house, and if not, to communicate with our pickets left near Banks’ ford. The enemy were found not to occupy the river road, the companies returning, captured three Federal soldiers making their way, so they stated, to the United States ford. Ten, P.M., orders were received to return to the old turnpike, and halt for the remainder of the night; in rear and near the advance troops on that road. This point was reached near half-past two, A.M., and soon after orders came to return to Banks’ ford, and to hold it at all hazards—it being reported that the enemy were in force there, and threatened to cross; the ford was reached at daylight. The command had thus been on the march the entire night. The 2d instant, the brigade remained near Banks’ ford, Large bodies of the enemy’s infantry and artillery were seen moving up on the opposite side of the river. Artillery was also heard in the direction of Chancellorsville. Strong pickets were kept up during the night near the ford. Having visited my line of pickets on the morning of the 3d instant, I found that the enemy had reduced very much, apparently, his force. The sentinels on post had their haversacks on—a thing unusual. This induced me to believe that much of the force from Banks’ ford had been sent to Chancellorsville; and having been ordered the day before, by the commanding General, to leave a small force to watch the ford, if, in my judgment, I was satisfied that the enemy did not intend to cross, and then move up the plank road. Reporting the fact to him, I relieved my pickets, being convinced, as stated, that the enemy had removed most of his forces from Banks’ ford, and did not intend crossing there. Leaving only about fifty men and two pieces of artillery to guard Banks’ ford, my command was being formed to march to Chancellorsville, when one of my pickets (infantry) came running from the canal in front of Dr. Taylor’s, to report to me that the enemy were advancing up the road between the canal and the river. Hurrying rapidly to the canal, I saw the enemy advancing on the direct road from Fredericksburg, three regiments being seen, the leading one not more than one thousand yards distant. Gathering in my pickets along the canal and at the dam above Taylor’s—in all less than twenty men—they were deployed as skirmishers on the crest of the hill in front of Dr. Taylor’s, and near the canal. Two rifle pieces of Hugers battery, already prepared to move to Chancellorsville, were ordered into position in the battery across the road from Taylor’s. While these dispositions were being made, our infantry were seen taking position in the rifle-pits near Stanbury’s house. Huger’s two rifle pieces being now in position, opened with a fire of shells upon the enemy, who had halted in the road upon the display of our skirmishers. The advanced one of these regiments moved down the river in front of Falmouth, and sought shelter from our artillery fire in the rifle-pits along the river. The other regiments remained in the road, lying down, the stone knolls on either side of which gave good protection. The enemy being so easily checked by the display of such a small force on our side, I was induced to believe that it was only a demonstration to keep us near Fredericksburg, and prevent reinforcements from going to Chancellorsville. Seeing a group of officers near Stansbury’s house, I rode to them, and met Generals Barksdale and Hays. The former informed me that the enemy were in considerable force in and below Fredericksburg. This was the first intimation I had of the fact, and expressed some anxiety as to his right flank, and said that he should have reinforcements, I now determined not to move my command up the road until I knew definitely the intention of the enemy, and ordered them in the ravine opposite Dr. Taylor’s, where they would be near, and yet out of sight.

I now rode to the vicinity of the Marye house to see and confer with General Barksdale. While near this house, I saw great numbers of the enemy in Fredericksburg, and a battery in the street, running near the cemetry, was firing occasional shots at a battery of our’s, to the left of the plank road. I returned to my command without seeing General Barksdale, and, on my return, saw several regiments of the enemy’s infantry moving out of the upper edge of the town.

I had been with my command but a few minutes, when one of Geneneral Barksdale’s staff reported to me that the General was hard pressed, and wanted me to send him a regiment. I instantly ordered the tenth Alabama to move in the direction of the Marye house, and rode rapidly in that direction myself, and when in the open field and high ground between Stansbury’s and the plank road, saw Hays’ brigade moving over in the direction of the plank road. This I supposed to be for the support of General Barksdale; but, upon inquiry from one of Hays’ regiments, learned that the enemy had taken Marye’s hill, and a portion of two of Barksdale’s regiments, and that Hays’ brigade was falling back to the telegraph road. Soon a courier from General Barksdale confirmed this report, and with a suggestion from General Barksdale that I also had better fall back to the telegraph road.

On the left of the plank road the ground in rear of Marye’s hill is higher, and overlooks and commands well that hill. Believing that my own and Hays’ brigade could form in line extending from near Stansbury’s house along the crests of hills towards the plank road, and contest the field, at least for a time, successfully with the enemy, I asked General Hays’ not to cross the plank road, but to remain with me; this he declined doing, having been ordered to fall back to the telegraph road, and was soon ought of sight.

Thus far I have given a simple narrative of incidents as they occurred. Finding myself alone on the left of the plank road, with the enemy in full view on the crests of the first range of hills in rear of Fredericksburg, and with three times my own force clearly seen and in fine, I felt it a duty to delay the enemy as much as possible in his advance, and to endeavor to check him all that I could, should he move forward on the plank road. I, with this view, formed my brigade promptly in line along the crests of the hill, running near Stansbury’s house, at right angles to the plank road. Two rifle pieces of Lewis’ battery were placed in position to the rear of the left of my line, and two slightly in front of my right, which rested; some five or six hundred yards in front of Guest’s house; skirmishers were thrown forward, covering my entire front. As soon as the four pieces of artillery were in position, they opened fire upon the enemy’s lines, some eight or nine hundred yards to the front. This held the enemy in check for some time. At length they deployed skirmishers to the front, and began to advance. This was slow, and delayed by frequent halts—they seemed reluctant to advance. The enemy now brought a six-gun battery to the front, on the left of the plank road, not far from Marye’s house, and opened with a fire of shells upon my line. The enemy’s skirmishers now advanced, and engaged our’s, not nearer, however, than three hundred and fifty or four hundred yards, their solid lines remaining some distance behind the skirmishers. The enemy’s battery having fired for some time, both the skirmishers and lines in rear advanced. They had also moved by a flank across the plank road, and it was reported to me that they were moving up on the far side of the road, and were in a line with my right flank. The artillery was now directed to withdraw. Then the skirmishers rejoined their regiments, and all moved to the rear on the river road, half a mile in rear of Dr. Taylor’s, where they were halted for a few minutes.

In this affair with the enemy, Lieutenant Barksdale, of Lewis’ battery received a severe wound in the shoulder, from a piece of shell; three infantry killed, and eighteen or twenty wounded by skirmishers. From this slight affair with the enemy, I felt confident if forced to retire along the plank road, that I could do so without precipitancy, and that ample time could be given for reinforcements to reach us from Chancellorsville; and moreover, I believed that should the enemy pursue, he could be attacked in rear by General Early, reinforced by Generals Hays and Barksdale. I now directed Major Collins, Virginia cavalry, who was with me, with some forty or fifty men, to move over to the plank road, slightly in rear of Downman’s, and dismounting a part of his men in rear of a thicket of pine, to deploy them to the right and left of the road, as skirmishers. The command then moved on to the red church, (Salem church,) on the plank road. The enemy followed up the plank road, and halted when the skirmishers of Major Collins were seen by them. Having examined the ground near the toll-gate, I determined to make a short stand there. My brigade was then moved back in line from Salem church, and halted in rear of the gate; two rifle pieces were placed in the road, and we waited the approach of the enemy. They were soon heard to fire on Major Collins’ skirmishers, who retired after a short skirmish, and at length appeared in lines, preceded by skirmishers. Major Collins’ men now retired to the rear, and skirmishers were deployed from two regiments to their front. Our artillery opened fire upon the enemy’s advancing lines; this caused a halt, and a slight fire ensued between the skirmishers. The enemy now brought up artillery, and began a brisk shelling of our lines. At this time Major Goggin, A. A. General, to General McLaws, reported to me that General McLaws had sent three brigades to my support, and that they would soon arrive. These brigades were directed to be halted in rear of the church, and out of view of the enemy. In this affair with the enemy, Lieutenant Cobb, of Lewis’ battery, received a severe wound in the arm rendering it impossible to command his pieces longer, they were then ordered to the rear; three of the infantry were killed and fifteen wounded. My command was now ordered back to the church. The conduct of my men during all this time was such as I knew it would be, leaving nothing to be desired, and I felt the utmost confidence in my abilily to make a successful stand at the church with the three supporting brigades. At Salem church, line of battle was formed, crossing the road at right angles; two regiments of my brigade, the eleventh and fourteenth Alabama, were on the left of the road, the latter on the left of the two; the tenth Alabama on the right next to the road, and the eighth Alabama on the right of the tenth. There was an interval of seventy-five or eighty yards between the left of the tenth and the right of the eleventh. In this interval on the road four pieces of artillery, were in battery; the ninth Alabama was in rear of the tenth, one company of the ninth being stationed in the school-house to the right of the church, and in front some sixty yards. A second company of this regiment was placed in the church, with orders to fire from the windows of the lower floor, and from the windows of the gallery, (This church being occupied with furniture of refugees from Fredericksburg.) Such was the formation of my brigade for battle. I am thus particular in giving details for the reason that the principal attack was made at the church and its immediate vicinity. Kershaw’s brigade was on the right of my brigade, Semmes and Mahone on the left—Mahone to the left of Semmes. The brigades had not been in position long, before the enemy were seen advancing up the plank road, in line of battle; their lines crossed the road at right angles; a field battery accompanied their advance. This was halted at the gate, about one thousand yards distant, and soon opened with a brisk fire of shells upon our battery near the church; the two batteries fired some fifteen or twenty minutes, when ours was withdrawn, for the want of ammunition. The enemy then threw shells to the right and left of the church, through the woods, endeavoring to reach our infantry. These latter were will protected while lying down, and no casualties occurred from explosions of shells. The enemy’s artillery ceased to fire near five o’clock, P.M. Their skirmishers then advanced, and a spirited fire ensued between the skirmishers for some fifteen or twenty minutes. Ours then retired, firing as they fell back; the enemy’s skirmishers pursued, followed by their solid lines of infantry, and still a third line in rear, on either side of the road. As they advanced from the toll-gate, were open fields, and the ground slightly ascending; those fields continued to within about two hundred and fifty yards of the church, and then woods, thick, but of small growth. When the front line of the enemy reached this wood, they made a slight halt, then giving three cheers, they came with a rush, driving our skirmishers rapidly before them. Our men held their fire till their men came within less than eighty yards, and then delivered a close and terrible fire upon them, killing and wounding many, and causing many of them to waver and give way. The enemy still press on, surround the school house and capture the entire company of the ninth Alabama, stationed in it, and pressing hard upon the regiment in rear of the school-house, throws it into confusion and disorder, and forces it to yield ground. The ninth Alabama regiment in rear of this regiment, spring forward as one man, and, with the rapidity of lightning, restores the continuity of our line, breaking the lines of the enemy by its deadly fire, and forcing him to give way, and following him so that he could not rally, retake the school-house, free the captured company, and in turn take their captors; the entire line of the enemy on the right of the road is repulsed, and our men follow in rapid pursuit. The regiment that had given way to the first onset of the enemy now returned to the attack and joined in the pursuit. The enemy did not assail with the same spirit on the left of the road, and were more easily repulsed, and now are followed on either side of the road, which is crowded with a confused mass of the discomfitted enemy. With a good battery to play upon this retreating mass, the carnage would have been terrific. There was no rallying or reforming of this line. Another line came up the plank road at a double-quick, and filing to the right and left, formed line in front of my brigade. This line was scarcely formed before they were broken by the fire of my men, and fled to the rear. The pursuit continued as far as the toll-gate. Semmes’ brigade and my own were the only troops that followed the retreating enemy. In rear of the gate were heavy reserves of the enemy. Our men were now halted and reformed, it being quite dark, and retired not pursued by the enemy, leaving pickets far to the front in the open field.

The vigor of the enemy’s attack at the church, was doubtless due to the fact that they believed there was only one brigade to resist them, and that they anticipated an easy affair of it; while the number of dead and wounded left on the field, attests the obstinacy of the resistance of our men—two hundred of the former and more than one hundred and fifty of the latter; and largely over two hundred prisoners not wounded, and one Federal flag captured. Thus ended this spirited conflict at Salem church—a bloody repulse to the enemy, rendering entirely useless to him his little success of the morning at Fredericksburg. The rear of our army at Chancellorsville, was now secure and free from danger, and the sixth army corps of the enemy and a part of the secoad, were now content to remain on the defensive.

I beg to assure the Major General commanding, that the conduct of both ofilcers and men of the brigade, was in the highest degree creditable. They were furiously attacked by superior forces, and not only stood their ground but repulsed the enemy with great loss, pursued him, and encountering a second line in their pursuit, they scattered and dispersed this body also; night and want of ammunition prevented a further pursuit. This success, so brilliant for our men, was dearly earned by the sacrifice of the lives of seventy-five of the noble sons of Alabama, and the wounding of three hundred and seventy-two, and forty-eight missing, an aggregate of four hundred and ninety-five: of the missing, the most fell into the hands of the enemy, wounded in the early part of the day near Stansbury’s and afterwards at the toll gate. Six officers were killed and twenty-three wounded, the killed were Captain R. A. McCrary, eighth Alabama, a valuable officer much lamented by his regiment; Captain W. C. Murphy, ninth Alabama, highly distinguished at the battle of Williamsburg, where he received two severe wounds. He fell at Salem church, in the thickest of the fight, and in advance of his men. Lieutenant Harper, tenth Alabama, Lieutenant Strudwick, eleventh Alabama, Lieutenants Bankston and Cox, fourteenth Alabama, all fell fighting with the heroism of veteran soldiers, against greatly superior forces of the enemy. Among the severely wounded, are Colonel Royston, eighth Alabama, Colonel Pinkard, fourteenth Alabama, Major McCord, fourteenth Alabama, Captain Cook, tenth Alabama, Lieutenants Barksdale and Cobb, Lewis’ battery, all alike distinguished for their intelligence and valor.

I cannot call to your notice all officers that are deserving of especial praise, for the conduct of all was excellent; I will, however, report that the five regimental commanders, Colonel Royston, eighth Alabama, and after his severe wound, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, who commanded the eighth Alabama; Colonel Pinkard, fourteenth Alabama; Colonel Forney, tenth Alabama, Colonel Sanders, eleventh Alabama; Major Williams, ninth Alabama, were intelligent, energetic and gallant in commanding, directing and leading their men. The brigade slept on the field at Salem church on the night of the 3rd instant. On the morning of the 4th, the enemy were seen in our front and fired occasional shots during the day, from a battery some one thousand two hundred yards distant. Three additional brigades arrived on the 4th, and late in the afternoon, a general advance was made against the enemy—Early on the right, Anderson in the centre and McLaws holding his position on the left, the enemy gave way rapidly, and was soon driven across the river, having been on this side little over twenty-four hours. I followed the enemy in the direction of Banks’ ford, with two regiments, eighth and ninth Alabama, of my brigade, supported by Kershaw’s brigade; this advance being made about half past nine, P.M. Above and near Banks’ ford, thirteen officers and one hundred and fifty men were taken prisoners, among the officers, one Lieutenant Colonel, one Major and two Captains. No loss on our side in this affair. Captains King and May, ninth Alabama, were distinguished for their activity and gallantry, having captured these prisoners with their two companies. Manly’s battery rendered valuable services in shelling the retreating enemy near Banks’ ford, twenty of the enemy were wounded by this shelling and fell into onr hands the next day, and many were killed.

The morning of the 5th instant, the brigade moved in the direction of Chancellorsville, in common with the other brigades of the division, and bivouacked durins the night, to the left and near Chancellorsville. Next morning moved out to take our position in line of battle, but soon ascertained that the enemy had retired and recrossed the Rappahannock, the brigade then returned to its former camp near Banks’ ford. Whilst my entire command acquited themselves handsomely in their engagement of the 3rd instant, with the enemy, I cannot close this report without calling to your especial notice the conduct of one entire regiment of the brigade, the ninth Alabama. This regiment, the weakest in numbers, occupied a position in rear of the strongest regiment of the brigade; this strong regiment hotly pressed by the enemy in heavy force was thrown into confusion and gave way, the ninth Alabama, sprang forward instantly into the vacant space left in our line and boldly confronting the enemy and by a close and deadly fire of musketry, broke his line and drove him back.

To my staff, Captain W. E. Winn, A. A. General, and Lieutenant M. M, Lindsay, aid-de-camp, I am under obligations for services cheerfully rendered during our recent operations. Captain Winn was conspicious for his gallantry at Salem church, in assisting to rally and reform promptly, one of my regiments that had been thrown into disorder and confusion, and while thus engaged, his horse was shot, to Major Goggin, A. A. General to General McLaws, I am also indebted for his gallant and valuable services, rendered at the same time and on the same occasion. I also beg to commend to your favorable notice, my two couriers, private Ridgeway, of the eleventh Alabama, and private Brundidge, of the ninth Alabama, the former had his horse killed at Salem church, I am sir, very respectfully. Your obedient servant,

C. M. WILCOX,
Brigadier General commanding, &c.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL HETH.

HEADQUARTERS A. P. HILL’S LIGHT DIVISION
May 25th, 1863.

To Major General J. E. B. STUART:

GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of operations of the several commands under my orders, at different times, in the interval between leaving the vicinity of Hamilton’s Crossing on the morning of the 1st of May, until the termination of the operations at Chancellorsville on the 3d of May, 1863:

My brigade moved from Hamilton’s Crossing on the morning of the 1st of May, on the plank road leading to Chancellorsville. When within three miles of Chancellorsville, I received an order from Major General Hill to report in person to him. On doing so I was ordered to take the brigades of McGowan, Lane, and my own, find advance by a cross-road leading from the plank road to the old pike, a distance of one and a half miles; on reaching the old pike, to feel my way and advance in the direction of Chancellorsville. When I reached the old pike I found General McLaws, with a portion of his command, some half a mile to the rear of where I struck the pike. On advancing, my skirmishers became hotly engaged, and as it had become quite dark, a further advance was not made that night. Early in the morning I was ordered to open with a battery, under the immediate charge of Major Pegram, upon the enemy’s position, and continue the firing for about half an hour. Our fire was returned by the enemy. Being informed by Major Pegram that his shot were doing the enemy no damage, I directed him to cease firing. Soon after I received orders to move with my command, crossing the plank road, and following the rest of the division. General Hill, soon after passing the old furnace, directed me to resume command of my brigade. On reaching a position in rear of Chancellorsville, I was ordered to form line of battle on General Colston’s left. General Colston advanced his line before the formation was completed, and rendered a compliance with the order impossible. I then received orders to form on General Pender’s left. This was done. I also received orders to go to the support of any general officer requesting aid. After advancing in line of battle about one and a half miles on the left of and parallel to the plank road, I received a message from Brigadier General J. H. Jones, requesting support. I put my brigade in motion and advanced, passing Melzie Chancellor’s house, and entered the thick oak woods on the left of the plank road. On entering these woods the enemy opened upon my command a heavy fire of artillery, doing us some damage. It was now becoming quite dark. The undergrowth was so thick and entangled that it was impossible to advance in any order. I ordered the brigade to reform on the plank road, which had scarcely been done, when orders were received from General Hill to move down the road by the flank. On reaching the position in the road occupied by General Hill, he directed me to deploy two regiments—one on the right, the other on the left of the road, to check the enemy, who were then advancing. These movements had not been completed before the enemy opened heavily upon the fifty-fifth Virginia regiment. It was here that gallant and promising officer, Colonel F. Mallory, was killed. Soon after. Gen. Hill informed me that he was wounded, and directed me to take command of the division. General Lane’s brigade, at this time, was in line of battle on the right of the road, occupying the breastworks from which the enemy had been driven. I directed General Pender to form his brigade in line of battle on the left of the road, occupying the deserted breastworks of the enemy. Before the remaining brigades could be placed in line of battle, the enemy, under Sickles, advanced and attacked General Lane’s right. He was handsomely repulsed by the eighteenth, twenty-eighth, and a portion of the thirty-third North Carolina regiments. This attack was made by the enemy under cover of heavy shelling. These regiments behaved with commendable courage and zeal in repelling at least five times their numbers. McGowan’s brigade was now ordered on Lane’s right, and soon after, Archer’s brigade on McGowan’s right. Thomas’ brigade, posted on the left of the road, and on Pender’s left. Heth’s brigade was held as a reserve. In this position the division remained until just after daybreak, when Heth’s brigade was ordered up. Two regiments—the fortieth and forty-seventh Virginia—were placed on the right of the road, supporting Lane’s left; the fifty-fifth and twenty-second Virginia battalion on the left, to support Fender’s right. Major General Stuart now ordered me to prepare to advance. I ordered Generals McGowan and Archer to move forward, as the line formed by their brigades was not perpendicular to the plank road, but inclined to the right and rear. Archer’s brigade only advanced a short distance, before it became hotly engaged, the enemy being strongly posted behind breastworks, making an angle with the plank road. I now gave the order for a general advance. The light division (A. P. Hill’s) forming the front line, opened the battle of Chancellorsville. Generals Pender and Thomas, on the left, found the enemy posted behind a breastwork of logs and brush, immediately in their front, at a distance of about one hundred and fifty yards. The breastworks were charged and carried—the men never hesitating for a moment, driving the enemy before them, and pursuing him until a second line was reached, which was in like manner broken. A third line of the enemy was now encountered. After a desperate and prolonged fight without supports, or a piece of artillery to aid them, but on their part subjected to heavy artillery fire of from ten to twelve pieces, these gallant brigades fell back, in order, to the breastworks, from which the enemy had been driven, and which they held until reinforcements were brought up, when again the attack was renewed, and the enemy driven from this part of the field of battle. Lane’s brigade, supported by the fortieth and forty-seventh Virginia regiments, (Heth’s brigade,) and McGowan’s brigade advanced and charged the enemy behind his breastworks, who was supported by twenty-nine pieces of artillery. I cannot conceive of any body of men ever being subjected to a more galling fire than this force. The brigades of Lane, McGowan, and a portion of Heth’s, (Colonel Brockenbrough commanding,) notwithstanding, drove the enemy from his works and held them for some time, but were finally compelled to fall back, which was unavoidable, from the course that affairs had assumed on the right of the line. As soon as Archer’s brigade commenced to move, it became hotly engaged. General Archer was compelled to conform his line of battle to that of the enemy, which, as I before remarked, in his front, was not perpendicular, but formed a considerable angle with the plank road. McGowan’s right thus became separated from Archer’s left, and the interval increased as the enemy were driven before them, until McGowan and Lane found that their right flanks were seriously threatened. It was not until this occurred that these two brigades fell back to the line of works from which they first commenced to advance. Many valuable officers and men were lost in the charge, and especially when falling back. It was here that General McGowan was wounded, the command of his brigade devolving on Colonel Edwards, who was, immediately after assuming command, seriously wounded. The command of McGowan’s brigade next devolved on Colonel Hamilton, first South Carolina, regiment, who commanded the brigade during the remainder of the action. General Archer advanced with his brigade, conforming his line of battle to that of the enemy. He charged the works in his front, and without the least halt or hesitation, carried them, driving the enemy before him, who outnumbered him five to one. General Archer succeeded in capturing a battery of four guns. By his gallant attack he secured the key to the enemy’s position, clearing a hill and open space in his front, and thus gaining for our artillery a position, from which they were enabled to silence the twenty-nine gun battery of the enemy, which had inflicted so much loss upon our lines. From this position our artillery had also a raking fire on the enemy’s works on our right. General Archer, after carrying the hill referred to, advanced beyond the open space and attacked the enemy on his right. He was joined by Major General Anderson. About this time the enemy threatened to turn Thomas’ and Pender’s left. Reinforcements were ordered to them, among which, McGowan’s brigade, (Col. Hamilton commanding,) formed a part. As soon as reinforcements reached Pender and Thomas a general advance took place, and, aided by our artillery, which had not been able to assist us in any previous attack, the works of the enemy were cleared, and retreating rapidly, he fell back in the direction of United States ford. Thus ended the battle of Chancellorsville.

Where all behaved so well, it would appear like unjust discrimination, in mentioning individuals. Generals Pender, Archer, and Thomas deserve, for their successful attacks, to be specially mentioned, and under the murderous fire of artillery to which they were particularly exposed, no officers or men could have done better than Gens. Lane and McGowan and Col. Brockenbrough. The light division (A. P. Hill’s) although unfortunately deprived of the presence of their gallant commander, showed on this day that the spirit with which he had inspired them by success, on so many battle-fields, was still present; and each and all did their duty. A list of killed and wounded has been furnished.

I cannot close this report without adding, that my personal staff—Captains Finney and Harrison. Lieutenants Selden and Heth, and acting engineer officer, W. O. Slade—deserve my thanks for their gallantry and coolness on all occasions during the battle.

For acts of individual gallantry, I respectfully refer you to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders. I have the honor to be, very respectfully. Your obedient servant,

H. HETH, Brigadier General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL RODES.

HEADQUARTERS D. H. HILL’S DIVISION
May 26th, 1863.

Major A. S. PENDLETON:

MAJOR: I have the honor to make the subjoined report of the part taken in the engagement at Chancellorsville, and the movements that preceded it, by the division of Major General D. H. Hill, then under my command, composed of the brigades of Doles, Colquitt, Iverson, Ramseur and Rodes.

Early on the morning of Wednesday, April 29th, it being announced that the Federal army had crossed the Rappahannock river, I marched from Grace church to Hamilton’s Crossing, and was placed in position on the extreme right of the army, extending—perpendicular to the railroad—to Massaponax creek. A portion of Ramseur’s brigade being at the time on picket on the river, he was ordered, with the whole of his brigade, to occupy the south-side of the creek, guarding the ford near its mouth. My line was strongly and rapidly fortified by the troops, and held, until the morning of the 1st May, without molestation, except from the artillery fire of the enemy.

Much credit is due to Colonel J. Thompson Brown and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Carter, of the artillery, for their energy and judgment in assisting to render this line impregnable to assault. Ramseur’s line was partially exposed to an enfilading fire from the heights across the river, but such was the accuracy of the fire of the Whitworth Battery, Lieutenant Hurt commanding, stationed with General Ramseur, that their batteries were scattered, and their attempts in this direction rendered unavailing.

At dawn, on May 1st, my troops were again in motion, advancing from Hamilton’s Crossing, by the military road, to its junction with the Fredericksburg and Orange Court-House plank road, and thence up the plank road, for about two miles. At this point I became aware of a serious engagement on my right, between a portion of the troops of Major General Anderson, then advancing by the old turnpike, and Sikes’ division of regulars. Federal army. Being in advance of the corps, I continued to move forward for about half a mile, keeping out skirmishers towards the enemy to prevent annoyance. The firing becoming very heavy and close, the column was halted by General Jackson, and General Ramseur’s brigada detached, by his order, to support that portion of Anderson’s division, which was in front of my division. This brigade became sharply engaged under Anderson, behaving, with great coolness and gallantry, as I have been informed by Generals Hill and Anderson. Brigadier General Ramseur handled his own skirmishers and with great skill and gallantry. The rest of the division moved by the right flank to the top of the ridge near the road, and after being established in line of battle, was directed by Lieutenant General Jackson to shelter itself, and await orders. Subsequently it was moved forward into the woods, but, though the skirmishers became engaged, capturing several prisoners, the main body of the enemy had retired, before I was permitted to advance. Remaining in line of battle until about sunset, the division then resumed its march up the plank road, and bivouacked that night near Aldrich’s tavern, about one mile and a quarter from Chancellorsville.

At an early hour on the morning of the 2d, Iverson’s brigade was ordered to relieve Ramseur’s, still on duty with Anderson, in front. Iverson subsequently overtook the division on the march. About eight o’clock, the route was resumed, this division still in advance. Turning short to the left, about one half mile beyond Aldrich’s, we followed the mine road, for the purpose of getting on the right and in rear of Hooker’s army. On arriving at the old furnace on this road, the twenty-third Georgia regiment, Coloncd Best, was detached by General Jackson’s order, to guard a road from the direction of Chancellorsville, by which the enemy might threaten the main column. This regiment, with the exception of the Colonel and a few men, was subsequently captured by the enemy, who made a vigorous assault upon the ordnance train and artillery then passing, but were gallantly repulsed by Colonel J. Thompson Brown, commanding battallion artillery. Colonel Best’s report of the manner in which his regiment discharged its important duty, and its fate, is enclosed. A court of inquiry on the subject was prevented by the removal of Colquitt’s brigade, to which it was attached, from this department to that of North Carolina.

On reaching the plank road again, about two miles northwest of Chancellorsville, our cavalry was found skirmishing with that of the enemy, and a delay was caused by an endeavor on our part to entrap them. At this point, it having been determined to make a still further detour towards the enemy’s rear, the column was moved across to the old turnpike road, and was formed in line of-battle about four o’clock, P.M., two and a-half miles from Chancellorsville. The line was formed perpendicular to the road, by which it was equally divided. Iverson’s brigade on che left, Colquitt’s on the right, Rodes on the left centre, Doles on the right centre; the right of Rodes and left of Doles resting on the road. Ramseur’s brigade was placed in the rear of Colquitt as a support, and to guird the flank. By five o’clock, Trimble’s division, under command of Brigadier General Colston, had formed about one hundred yards in rear of my command, and in continuation of Ramseur’s line. A. P. Hill’s division formed the third line in rear of Colston. Each brigade commander received positive instructions, which were well understood. The whole line was to push ahead from the beginning, keeping the road for its guide. The position at Talley’s house was to be carried at all hazards, as, from the best information that could be obtained, it commanded the second position of the enemy at Melzie Chancellor’s house. After taking the heights at Talley’s, if the enemy showed a determined front on the next ridge, my men were to be sheltered until our artillery could come up and dislodge them—under no other circumstances was there to be any pause in the advance. As there was possibility of pressure on my right flank, Ramseur was directed to watch that flank carefully, thus leaving Colquitt free to push ahead, without fear from that quarter. For similar reasons, the left regiment of Iverson was placed perpendicular to line-of-battle, with orders to follow the advance by the flank. At five and a quarter, P.M., the word was given to move forward, the line of sharpshooters being about four hundred yards in advance. In consequence of the dense mass of undergrowth, and orders not having been promptly given to the skirmishers of Rodes’ brigade, some little delay was caused when the main line reached the skirmisher’s line. This latter was put in motion again by my order, and, soon after, the Alabama brigade encountered the fire of the enemy. At once the line-of-battle lushed forward with a yell, and Doles at this moment debouched from the woods and encountered a force of the enemy and a battery of two guns entrenched. Detaching two regiments to flank the position, he charged without halting, sweeping everything before him, and pressing on to Talley’s, gallantly carried the works there, and captured five guns, by a similar flank movement of a portion of his command. So complete was the success of the whole manœuvre, and such was the surprise of the enemy, that scarcely any organized resistance was met with after the first volley was fired. They fled in the wildest confusion, leaving the field strewn with arms, accoutrements, clothing, caissons and field pieces in every direction. The larger portion of his force, as well as entrenchments, were drawn up at light angles to our line, and being thus taken in the flank and rear they did not wait for the attack. On reaching the ridge at Melzie Chancellor’s, which had an extended line of works, facing in our direction, an effort was made to check the flying columns. For a few moments they held this position, but once more my gallant troops dashed at them with a wild shout, and firing a hasty volley they continued their headlong flight to Chancellorsville. It was at this point that Trimble’s division which had followed closely in my rear, headed by the brave and accomplished Colston, went over the works with my men, and from this time until the close of the engagement, the two divisions were mingled together in inextricable confusion. Pushing forward as rapidly as possible, the troops soon entered a second piece of woods thickly filled with undergrowth. The right becoming entangled in an abattis, near the enemy’s first line of fortifications, caused the line to halt, and such was the confusion and darkness that it was not deemed advisable to make a further advance. I at once sent word to Lieutenant General Jackson urging him to push forward the fresh troops of the reserve line, in order that mine might be reformed. Riding forward on the plank road, I satisfied myself that the enemy had no line-of-battle between our troops and the heights of Chancellorsville, and on my return, informed Colonel Crutchfield, chief of artillery of the corps, of the fact, and he opened his batteries on that point. The enemy instantly responded by a most terrific fire, which silenced our guns, but did little execution on the infantry, as it was mainly directed down the plank road, which was uncovered, except by our artillery. When the fire ceased, General Hill’s troops were brought up, and as soon as a portion were deployed in my front as skirmishers, I commenced withdrawing my men, under orders from the Lieutenant General. During this glorious victory and pursuit of more than two miles, I had only three brigades really engaged. General Colquitt soon after starting was misled by the appearance of a small body of the enemy’s cavalry, and notwithstanding the instructions to himself and General Ramseur, halted his brigade to resist what he supposed to be an attack on his flank. This error was discovered too late to enable him to do more than follow the victorious troops of Doles over the field they had won. Ramseur being ordered to follow Colquitt and watch his flank, was necessarily deprived of an active participation. On withdrawing my troops, I was directed to see that Jones’ brigade of Colston’s division, was so placed as to guard a road coming in from the direction of the furnace on the right, and to relieve, with one of my brigades, McGowan’s brigade, of Hill’s division, then guarding a second road from the same direction, which entered the plank road further up. Whilst preparing to make these dispositions, a sudden and rapid musketry fire was opened in front, which created a little confusion among the troops—order was speedily restored, however. Apparently this firing proceeded entirely from our, own men, as not a ball from the enemy came within sound. There being no other place but the open ground at Melzie Chancellor’s suitable for such a purpose, I withdrew all my troops, except Colquitt’s brigade, then on guard, to reform them at that point. Finding the entrenchments partially occupied by Paxton’s brigade, I formed line-of-battle in connection with him. At this time the enemy opened a similar terrific fire of artillery to that which had taken place just before my withdrawal, which caused much confusion and disorder, rendering it necessary for me to place guards across the road to stop stragglers. Shortly after this occurrence, I was informed that Lieutenant General Jackson was wounded, and also received a message from Major General Hill that he likewise was disabled, and that the command of the corps devolved on me. Without loss of time, I communicated with Brigadier Generals Heth and Colston, commanding respectively the divisions of A. P. Hill and Trimble, and made the necessary arrangements for a renewal of the attack in the morning, it being agreed that the troops were not in condition to resume operations that night. Just at this time, (about two o’clock,) the enemy made an attack on our right, but being feeble in its character, and promptly met, it lasted but a short time. Very soon after, Major General J. E. B. Stuart, who had been sent for by Major Pendleton, A. A. General of Lieutenant General Jackson, arrived on the ground and assumed command. I deem it proper to state that I yielded the command to General Stuart, not because I thought him entitled to it—belonging, as he does, to a different arm of the service—nor because I was unwilling to assume the responsibility of carrying on the attack, as I had already made the necessary arrangements and they remained unchanged, but because, from the manner in which I had been informed that he had been sent for, I inferred that General Jackson or General Hill had instructed Major Pendleton to place him in command, and for the still stronger reason that I feared that the information that the command had devolved on me, unknown, except to my own immediate troops, would, in their shaken condition, be likely to increase the demoralization of the corps. General Stuart’s name was Avell and very favorably known to the army, and would tend, I hoped, to re-establish confidence. I yielded because I was satisfied the good of the service demanded it.

On the morning of May 3d, being the rear division, I established my line with Rodes’ and Iverson’s brigades, on the left of the plank road, as before, Ramseur’s brigade on the right, then Doles’, and finally Colquitt, on the extreme right. The attack was renewed about six o’clock, A.M.; and soon after, I received orders to move forward, which I promptly obeyed, first giving directions to each brigade commander to push forward until the enemy was encountered, and engage him vigorously, moving over friend snd foe alike, if in the way. At the moment of starling, our cavalry reported a strong demonstration of the enemy on our extreme left, and Colquitt was detached to oppose it. He was subsequently moved to the extreme right, to support a portion of General A. P. Hill’s troops, and ultimately got heavily and handsomely engaged on the left of my division, as will be seen hereafter. On account of the dense forest, the undulating character of the ground, and the want of an adequate staff, it was not in my power, during the subsequent movements, to give a great deal of personal attention to the actions of any of my commands, except Rodes’ and Ramseur’s brigades, which were next to the road; but my orders were faithfully executed by each brigade commander. Moving forward steadily, with no material stoppage except that occasioned by the tangled undergrowth, they soon encountered a heavy fire of artillery. Pressing on, they soon overtook the second line of battle, then at a halt, except the Stonewall brigade, which was moving (under orders) from the left to the right of the plank road. I ordered Colonel O’Neil not to wait on this movement, but to advance his brigade over the second line. At this moment Colonel O’Neil was disabled, by a fragment of a shell, and in person I made his right regiment (the third Alabama) press forward through the troops, and sent a staff officer with directions to Colonel Hall, who succeeded to the command, to continue his advance. The first line was in turn overtaken and passed; but the confusion arising from passing the two lines caused the two regiments on the left of this brigade to become separated from the others. These two moved obliquely to the right, under the immediate command of Colonel Hall, and encountered the fire of the enemy’s infantry, posted behind a barricade, on the right of the road, and not more than two hundred yards from the epaulements on the heights. At this juncture, a portion of Iverson’s brigade, and a portion of Pender’s troops, under the immediate command of Brigadier General Pender, coming up, he ordered them all forward. The enemy was compelled to abandon the barricade, and fall back; and pressing on, Colonel Hall’s two regiments—the fifth and twenty-sixth Alabama—together with the twenty-third North Carolina regiment, Colonel Christie, carried the heights in magnificent style, planting their flags inside the works. In this charge, the gallant Lieutenant Colonel Garvin, of the twenty-sixth Alabama, fell, desperately wounded, inside the works. In the meantime the residue of Rodes’, Iverson’s and Pender’s troops, moving forward, to the left of Hall and Christie, were met and repulsed by the enemy, thus leaving the flank of the party on the heights exposed to an overwhelming force. They were compelled to fall back behind the plank road, with loss of over one hundred men, and both Alabama flags. A second line of battle having been assembled along the log breastworks on the left of the road, composed of parts of the third, sixth, and twenty-sixth Alabama, the fifth North Carolina, under Lieutenant Colonel Lee, who had just joined it, and other scattering troops, I ordered it, through Major Whiting, to attack—moving parallel to the plank road. Hall immediately attacked the epaulements again, with his two regiments, and gallantly carried them; but the troops just mentioned, who had attacked further to the left, being again repulsed, he again fell back to the breastworks. Whilst this was transpiring in front, the enemy made an attack in force on my left and rear. This attack was met by the twelfth Alabama, Colonel Pickens, Colonel Lightfoot, of the sixth Alabama, with a small portion of his regiment, and some troops of Nichols’ brigade, skilfully placed by General Iverson, and sustained against fearful odds, until I ordered up Colquitt’s brigade, which quickly and handsomely repulsed it. The enemy being repulsed decidedly here, barely holding his own in the left centre, and compelled, about the same time, by the artillery fire from the right, to abandon the epaulements, withdrew all his forces to the hill back of the Chancellorsville house. The fighting on the centre and left was of a most desperate character, and resulted in the loss of many valuable officers, among them, and most to be regretted, was Major A. M. Gordon, of the sixth Alabama, a young officer of great promise, and great purity of character.

General Pender, speaking of the first advance of my troops, stated to me that Colonel Christie and his regiment, which he handled in magnificent style, especially attracted his attention, and that the colonel deserved promotion. Whilst these movements were taking place on the left, Ramseur and Doles pushed forward on the right, passed the first line of entrenchments, which had already been carried, passed the first and second lines of our troops, and became fiercely engaged. Doles deflecting to the right, passed up a ravine behind the graveyard on Chancellor’s hill, and finally came out in the field nearly opposite the house, driving the enemy before him as he advanced, and actually getting several hundred yards to the rear, as well of those troops opposing the rest of my division as of those opposing General Anderson’s division. Subsequently he was compelled to fall back; and was directed by General Lee to take charge of a large body of prisoners. Ramseur, after vainly urging the troops in possession of the first line of entrenchments to move forward, obtained permission to pass them, and dashing over the works, charged the second entrenched line in the most brilliant style. The struggle at this point was long and obstinate; but the charge on the left of the plank road, at this time, caused the enemy to give way on his left; and this, combined with the unflinching determination of his men, carried the day, and gave him possession of the works. Not being supported, he was exposed still to a galling fire from the right, with great danger of being flanked. Notwithstanding repeated efforts made by him, and by myself in person, none of the troops in his rear would move up, until the old Stonewall brigade arrived on the ground, and gallantly advanced, in conjunction with the thirtieth North Carolina regiment. Colonel Parker, of Ramseur’s brigade, which had been detached to support a battery, and was now on its return. Occupying the works on the right of Ramseur, and thus relieving him, when his ammunition was nearly exhausted, the Stonewall brigade pushed on, and carried the Chancellorsville heights, making the third time they were captured. They, in turn, were forced to fall back, but recaptured several of the prisoners, and one of the flags taken from Colonel Hall.

At this juncture, Lieutenant Colonel Carter, who had behaved with signal courage and judgment during the whole action, succeeded, in conjunction with Major Pegram, in getting several batteries in position in a field to the right, which opened with such precision and rapidity on such of the enemy’s batteries and troops as remained on the plain of Chancellorsville, as finally to drive them back in utter confusion Lieutenant Colonel Hillary Jones, of the artillery, a most accomplished officer, had, however, before this, placed ten guns near the plank road and on the nearest ridge to the enemy’s epaulements, which had fired with marked success on the artillery, stationed at the Chancellor house, and on the retreating troops. As soon as our artillery fire would permit, the heights were occupied by the infantry, and, by order of General Stuart, I took charge of arranging all the troops found on the field, in line of battle, parallel to the plank road. The earliest troops on the ground were Colonel Brockenbrough’s and another Virginia regiment, belonging, I think, to the same brigade. These were subsequently withdrawn, and my troops located as follows: Iverson’s brigade on right, extending from the Chancellorsville house up the plank road; next, Rodes’ brigade, then Ramseur’s brigade, and finally, Doles’ brigade, all parallel and close to the road. Doles was subsequently thrown across the road, and at an angle of forty-five degrees with it, connecting with General Pender, by whom this line was continued on to the left. Colston’s division, now attached to my command, was located on the turnpike road, to the right, and in continuation of my line. Colquitt’s brigade was placed en echelon with reference both to Iverson and Colston, and one hundred yards in rear, to enable our artillery to operate in the interval. This position was strongly fortified, and was held without molestation until Tuesday morning, when I pushed forward my whole line of skirmishers to feel the enemy. He was discovered to be in very great force, both of infantry and artillery, with formidable entrenchments.

Early on Wednesday morning, my outposts reported that the enemy had retired. I again threw forward my skirmishers, and found that the entire force had retreated during the right. Following them in person, with a few troops, it was ascertained that they had successfully crossed the river, availing themselves of the very severe storm and darkness of the previous night. The line of their retreat was marked by every evidence of a careful and well conducted march, but little public or private property, except such as was necessary for hospital purposes, being left behind.

On the evening of Wednesday, May 6th, my column was again in motion, and camped that night in their old quarters, near Grace church, having been absent eight days, participating in the achievement of a signal victory, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery, ten flags, seventy-five thousand rounds of small-arm ammunition, and four bushels of musket caps, from the enemy. The small arms, ammunition and the caps afterwards fell into the hands of Major Allen, corps ordnance officer, and Captain, Marye, ordnance officer of Colston’s division. It is worthy of remark, that the enemy abandoned such a large number of knapsacks in retreating to his works, that when this division began its homeward march in the rain, it was thoroughly equipped with oil-cloths and shelter-tents of the best quality.

The division sustained a heavy loss in killed and wounded, especially on the second day. The conduct of its men and officers, was such as to win the highest encomiums from General Jackson, and such as had been rarely equaled. Its laurels were dearly bought, however, as will he seen by the tabular statement of killed and and wounded, herewith filed, marked “A.” I do not think the enemy’s loss was as great as ours, as he fought us generally from behind his barricades and earthworks; still it was heavy.

As an act of justice to them, and for future reference, the names of all the officers who participated in the engagement are presented in the appendices to the reports of brigade commanders. The general, field and staff officers who were present are herewith presented in appendix “B.”

It is impossible for me, within reasonable limits, to mention all the officers and men who were distinguished for gallant and meritorious conduct at this battle. It is, however, my duty to call attention to the great gallantry and efficiency in this action of Brigadier Generals Doles and Ramseur, Colonel Edward Willis, twefth Georgia; Colonel Cooke, fourth Georgia, severely wounded; Colonel Hall, fifth Alabama; Colonel Christie, twenty-third North Carolina; Colonel Pickens, twelfth Alabama; Lieutenant Colonel J. N. Lea, fifth North Carolina; Lieutenant Colonel Hobson, fifth Alabama, severely wounded; Colonel Garrett, of the fifth North Carolina, (who had behaved most gallantly on the first day, and was unfortunately wounded by one of our own men, after the close of that day’s fight;) Colonel Parker, thirtieth North Carolina; Colonel R. T. Bennett, fourteenth North Carolina; Captain H. A. Whiting, A.A.G., of Rodes’ brigade; Captain Green Peyton, of my staff, and Captain M. L. Randolph, signal corps. The last named officer was remarkable among all these brave accomplished officers for his daring coolness and efficiency.

Colenel O’Neal, commanding Rodes’ brigade, deserves special notice for his gallantry.

It is proper to mention that Colonel W. R. Cox, of the second North Carolina, was wounded repeatedly, before he left the field. All of the other’officers did their duty nobly, but those I have mentioned came under my own notice, or were so spoken of by competent persons, as to make it my duty to mention them in this manner.

My staff officers, Captain Green Peyton and Captain M. L. Randolph, have been mentioned for their meritorious conduct. Their duties were more than usually arduous during the action, and were nobly discharged.

Mr. Ed. Neal, volunteer aid, a youth under eighteen, behaved most gallantly, and I am under great obligations to him.

Four of my couriers, C. S. Ellis, company “B,” fourth Georgia; Gilliam James, company “D,” fifth Alabama; — — and — — of Stuart’s cavalry, (Fitz Lee’s brigade,) were of great service to me during the battle, and exhibited great courage and intelligence. Both of the former deserve promotion for their conduct.

Enclosed will be found, reports of brigade and regimental commanders. Respectfully.

R. E. RODES,
Brigadier General commanding division.


APPENDIX A.

STRENGTH AND CASUALTIES of the brigades of D. H. Hill’s Division, commanded by Brigadier General Rodes, in battle of Chancellorsville.

R. E. RODES,
Brigadier General commanding division.

 

REPORT OF COLONEL O’NEIL.

HEADQUARTERS RODES’ BRIGADE
SANTEE, CAROLINE COUNTY, VA., May 12, 1863.

Captain G. PEYTON, A.A.G.:

CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of Rodes’ brigade during the eight days’ campaign commencing on the 29th April and ending on the 6th May, 1863. Early in the morning of the 29th April, I received orders to hold the brigade in readiness to move at a moment’s warning, and about eight o’clock the brigade was formed on the road, the right resting on Round Oak church. Thence, after a short delay, we moved to Hamilton’s Crossing. Here I was ordered to put the brigade in line of battle, in a skirt of pine woods, about one mile to the right of the railroad and just in rear of our works. The brigade rested here during the balance of the day and until three o’clock next morning, when I was ordered to move the brigade to the right, about half a mile, and place it in the entrenchments—the right resting on Massaponax creek and the left on the Bowling Green road. During the day the enemy’s batteries, across the river, shelled a portion of the line—the third and sixth Alabama regiments—but, being protected by the earthworks and the hill, no damage was done. At three o’clock on the morning of the 1st May, I moved the brigade to Hamilton’s Crossing, left in front, and thence to the plank road, some seven or eight miles, where I was ordered to prepare for immediate action, to support the forces of General Anderson, who were engaging the enemy. Being in rear of General Colquitt’s brigade, I was directed to connect with him and move as he moved. At this point the men were ordered to take off and pile their knapsacks, and, forming by the rear rank, I moved the brigade across an open field to a public road and then down it about one mile, where we rested in a wood till late in the evening, when I received orders to march back to the plank road, and, after reaching it, to halt the brigade and send back for the knapsacks. Having obtained the baggage, I moved down the plank road about two miles and bivouacked for the night. Early on the morning of the 2nd of May, the brigade was moved forward on the plank road about one mile, and thence taking a road to the left, passed the furnace and formed in line of battle, after a march of some ten or twelve miles, beyond the turnpike road, just above its junction with the plank road and in rear of the enemy. The brigade was formed perpendicular to the road and on the left of it, with the right regiment, the third Alabama, resting on the road and connecting with General Doles’, which was on the right of the road. About half after five o’clock the order to advance was given, and very soon the Corps of sharpshooters, under Major Blackford, of the fifth Alabama, were engaged with the enemy’s pickets. The brigade moved rapidly and steadily forward, and in a few minutes was engaged, delivering a regular and telling fire. We drove the enemy from his first line of breastworks and, pursuing him with spirit and rapidity, soon came upon his second line of works, which were carried after only a moment’s delay. At this time the enemy’s batteries poured upon us, especially the right wing, the third and sixth Alabama regiments, a shower of grape and canister. Still advancing, we continued to drive the enemy before us and passed to his third line, consisting of log works, which were immediately carried—the enemy giving only one volley before he fled. Darkness coming on, the pursuit was discontinued. In this short space of time, we drove the enemy before us about two miles and from three breastworks and two abattis. We captured a considerable number of prisoners Captain W. T. Renfro, commanding the right wing of the fifth Alabama, after Colonel Hobson had been wounded, brought in two hundred and twenty-five, and Colnel Lightfoot, of the sixth Alabama, one hundred and five. Among the prisoners was Colonel Packer, fifth Connecticut, and several other officers. We captured three pieces of artillery, and part of a fourth piece, which was claimed by another brigade. We also captured a lot of ammunition and a quantity of small arms. The third Alabama captured and have now in possession two stands of Federal artillery colors, and the sixth Alabama captured one battery flag. Being with the brigade throughout this brilliant charge. I can personally bear witness to the gallant bearing of the officers and the daring, dashing courage of the men. In this connection, permit me also to state the order, regularity and precision with which the several regmental commanders moved and handled their commands throughout this charge. The third Alabama, under the command of Captains Bonham, Chester and Phelan, was ordered to move along the road and perpendicular to it, and was the battalion of direction; and the other regiments—the sixth, under Lieutenant Colonel Lightfoot and Major Gordon; the twelfth, under Colonel Pickens and Captain Proskauer; the twenty-sixth, under Lieutenant Colonel Garvin and Major Bryan, and the fifth, under Colonel Hall and Lieutenant Colonel Hobson—moved in line of battle with this regiment, and, although passing through a dense and “tangled forest” for a mile, all the regiments were connected and moved in a regular, unbroken line, the officers exhibiting the greatest coolness and daring, cheering on their men by both voice and example. In this charge, Lieutenant Colonel E. L. Hobson was wounded, while gallantly rushing in front of his men, near the enemy’s second line of works. Major Bryan, twenty sixth Alabama, was also wounded, near the same place and about the same time, while bravely performing his duties. Captain Watkins Phelan, who commanded the left wing of the third Alabama, was also wounded in this charge. He, with Captain Bonham, who commanded the regiment, and Captain Chester, who commanded the right wing of the third Alabama, acted most gallantly and led their regiment with great success, and it is but simple justice to say that each regiment did its whole duty. As soon as the night put an end to the pursuit I formed the brigade, and having had ammunition issued to the men, I reported to the Brigadier General commanding division for orders. He ordered me to move to the earthworks to the left of the road, the second line we had carried, and to relieve General Paxton, which was done, and there we rested for the night. About six o’clock Sunday morning, the 3rd of May, I received orders to advance, the brigade being in the third or reserve line of battle. We moved forward, under heavy shelling, in an open field, and then through a dense wood for about one mile, when we came up with our second line of battle and passed through it. I enquired, as we passed, whose brigade, and was informed it was General Paxton’s. We continued to move forward until we came to some other troops, where I ordered a halt, and found that the third Alabama had lapped over and got in front of the sixth Alabama, the regiment immediately on its left. While rectifying the line, the Brigadier General commanding rode up and ordered me to the road with him, and, explaining to me the position of the forces on my right and the direction I was to pursue, ordered me to push forward over our first line of battle, and dislodge the enemy from Chancellor’s hill. In company with Major Whiting, assistant adjutant general, I immediately started on a run for the centre of the brigade to execute this order, and when near the centre, was stricken down by the fuse of a shell, which disabled me for the balance of the day. I directed Major Whiting to move the brigade forward, and to inform Colonel Hall, of the fifth Alabama, that the command devolved on him. Colonel Hall was, at the time, on the extreme left of the line with his regiment. The brigade moved forward under a most terrific storm of shell, grape, canister and musketry, and for what took place afterwards I respectfully refer you to the report of Colonel Hall, who so bravely led it, and that of Colonel Pickens, who so gallantly resisted the advance on our left, and ask that their reports may be taken and considered a part of this. In obedience to orders from the corps commander to report what standards were captured and which lost, I have the honor to report that the colors of the 5th Alabama regiment were captured by the enemy in the attack upon the entrenchments at Chancellor’s house, on the morning of the 3rd instant. This regiment, supported by only a portion of the twenty-sixth Alabama and four companies of Iverson’s brigade, were the first to charge and carry the enemy’s works near the Chancellor house. Having taken possession of the epaulements which commanded the plank road, this regiment moved forward in the charge considerably in advance of the right, and, being unsupported by the brigade on its left, had its left flank turned by a superior force and was forced to retire from the works. In doing so the color-bearer was wounded, and with the colors and over a hundred of its men were surrounded and captured. Retiring only to the plank road, this regiment again charged and took these works without support and a second time had to retire before superior numbers. Captured in the midst of the enemy’s guns and entrenchments, and some time before any other troops reached that point, the loss of their flag is one of the highest evidences of the gallant and daring services rendered by the fifth Alabama regiment in the action of that day. I cannot close this report without calling special notice to that assiduous attention to every duty, and that calm courage, coolness and self-possession exhibited under all circumstances, during these trying days, by Major H. A. Whiting, assistant adjutant general, and most respectfully recommend him to the commanding General for promotion. He was invaluable to me throughout the two engagements of Saturday and Sunday. I am also greatly indebted to Adjutants Pickett and Moore, of the third and twenty-sixth Alabama regiments, who acted as aids, for valuable services in fearlessly carrying and delivering orders. The brigade inspector, Lieutenant Partridge, was energetic and untiring in the performance of his duties and rendered efficient aid, I desire also to mention Mr. Webb Woodruff and Mr. Rittenhouse Moore, who were with me and did good service. Enclosed you will find the reports of regimental commanders, to which I call special attention. Also, lists of casualties. I am, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EDWARD A. O’NEAL,
Colonel commanding Brigade.

 

REPORT OF COLONEL HALL.

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ALABAMA REGIMENT,
Santee, Caroline county, Virginia,
May 8th, 1863.

Captain H. A. WHITING, A.A.G., Rodes’ Brigade:

CAPTAIN: In obedience to an order from headquarters, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by Rodes’ brigade while under my command, in the battle of Chancellorsviile, of the 3d instant:

About six o’clock, A.M., the brigade was formed in the third or rear line of battle, and moved forward under the command of Colonel O’Neal. Proceeding about a mile, under a heavy fire of shell, we passed the second line of battle. Here Colonel O’Neal, who had so gallantly led us, was wounded, and this unfortunate circumstance placed me in command of the brigade. Soon we had overtaken the first line of battle, which was moving by the right and left flanks. At this point the brigade was separated, part of the third and sixth, and all of the twelfth Alabama regiments following the troops moving by the left flank, and part of the sixth, all of the fifth and twenty-sixth Alabama following those moving by the light flank, this, owing to the dense forest, was not discovered at the time. I had just assumed command, and had not time to pass to the centre of the brigade before troops were seen in my front. Believing them to be our men. I ordered my command to cease firing and move on, and soon saw from his killed and wounded that it was the enemy. The command was pressed rapidly forward, under a most terrific fire of shell, grape and musketry, to the branch on the left of the road, and about one hundred and fifty yards from the earthworks, on Chancellors hill. Seeing strong batteries on the hill, supported by heavy columns of infantry, I halted, and, sheltering the men as much as possible, ordered them to fire on the men in the works on the hill, particularly at the cannoniers. So heavy was our fire, that it was with difficulty that their gunners could be kept at their pieces, and his fire soon sensibly slackened; this fire was kept up fifteen or twenty minutes. During this time. Captain Whiting, A. A. General, went back to bring forward the balance of the brigade, from which, it was here discovered, we were separated. Very soon after halting, a battery opened on my left, completely enfilading my entire line, but, owing to our position, most of the shot passed harmlessly over head. I again sent back the order to bring up the remainder of the brigade, which was not found. The battery on my left, continuing its enfilading fire, and heavy vollies of musketry, showing the enemy to be there in strong force, I sent notice to the division commander, that unless they were pressed on my left, my flank would be turned, and I could not hold my position. Just after sending this message, I discovered that the enemy in the works on the hill were in some confusion, when I ordered a charge, which was promptly obeyed by part of my command The works were soon in my possession, together with a battery of five pieces, the enemy having fled with the rest of his guns. The colors of the fifth and twenty-sixth Alabama were planted in a short distance of each other, on the works. The works were carried about nine o’clock, A.M., by these two regiments, and a small part of the sixth, which had become separated from their regiment. Noticing at this time, that all the men had not moved forward at the order to charge, I returned to the branch, and again ordered them forward, which command was promptly obeyed. While hurrying them forward, I noticed a body of men on my left, running. I called to an officer, then passing, asking him what that meant, and who those men were. He stated that they belonged to a brigade which I knew to be on my left, and that “the d—d scoundrels would not fight.” I pointed to the works, telling him that my men held them, and called on him to assist me in rallying his men, for the purpose of resisting the enemy, then advancing on my left and rear. The men could not be rallied. The enemy continued to advance, unopposed, and, gaining my rear, compelled me to evacuate the works which I had just captured. This was done, with a heavy loss of killed, wounded and prisoners. Most of the command who escaped, rallied and returned with other troops, who afterwards captured the same works, and these troops were driven from the works by a column flanking them on the left and rear, as I had been driven some time before. After this, I was ordered to rally my command, and move to the left of the road, to support troops then engaging the enemy. Afterwards, the brigade was formed in line of battle at Chancellorsville, where it remained until the enemy recrossed the river, when we returned to our old encampment, on the night of the 6th instant; having been absent marching and fighting for eight days.

In this report, I have only mentioned the fifth, twenty-sixth and part of the sixth Alabama regiments, because these were the only troops of the brigade under my immediate command during the battle. For the part taken by the other regiments of the brigade, in this ever memorable engagement, you are respectfully referred to the report of Colonel Pickens, of the twelfth Alabama, under whose gallant leadership, they so heroically fought.

Justice demands that I should mention Lieutenant Colonel Garvin, commanding the twenty-sixth, and Captain Renfro, commanding the fifth Alabama, who were both severely, if not mortally wounded, while gallantly leading their regiments, and giving the highest evidence of their coolness and skill, which should ever characterize the true soldier.

To the cool and undaunted courage of Major H. A. Whiting, A.A.G., I feel greatly indebted for the success attending my attack on the works on Chancellor’s hill. If skill as an officer, and gallantry in action, entitle any man to promotion, Major Whiting truly deserves it.

For individual acts of courage, and the casualties of the battle, you are respectfully referred to the reports of regimental commanders. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. HALL,
Colonel commanding brigade.

 

REPORT OF COLONEL HAMILTON.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,
Camp Gregg, May 20, 1863.

Captain R. H. FINNEY, A. A. General:

CAPTAIN: In consequence of the wounding of Brigadier General McGowan ond Colonel O. E. Edwards, thirteenth regiment South Carolina, volunteers, early in the day, on the 3rd instant, I found myself in command of this brigade. It will be unnecessary for me to recapitulate the movements of the brigade, on the march, as I have already, in giving a report as regimental commander, detailed those of first regiment South Carolina volunteers, which will cover those of the brigade, previous to our reaching the enemy, in rear of their line of works, beyond Chancellorsville. At sunset, 2nd instant, we reached that part of the field which had been cleared by Brigadier General Rodes scattering the enemy in every direction; passing beyond, we were drawn up in line, by order of Brig. General McGowan, on the plank road—the fourteenth regiment South Carolina volunteers, being deployed and covering our front as skirmishers. Here we were subjected to a heavy fire of shells, which was annoying, but did not do us a great deal of damage. After remaining here until about eleven o’clock, orders were given for an advance of the brigade—thirteenth South Carolina volunteers on the right, first South Carolina volunteers next to the rifle regiment, (Orr’s) on the left, directing battalion. The attempt was made, but either in consequence of the impossibility of advancing through a thick and almost impenetrable pine thicket, or from a change of orders, the order was countermanded. At twelve o’clock, (midnight) the brigade marched to a position in front of the enemy’s breastworks, with Brigadier General Lane on our left, and Brigadier General Archer on our right. At sunrise the advance was commenced, the brigide, however, obliqued too much to the left, separating our line from that of Brigadier General Archer, and somewhat overlapping the right of Brigadier General, Lane. So soon, however, as the ground was cleared before us, the four regiments engaged (first, thirteenth, fourteenth and Orr’s rifles) dashed at the enemy’s first line of breastworks, and clearing them with rapidity, the brigade passed about one hundred yards to the front and engaged the enemy, who appeared to be collected in strength on our right. Up to this time Brigadier General McGowan was active and courageous, in urging on the brigade, exposing himself without any sort of regard for his own safety; the last that I saw of him, his huge form was towering from the top of the breastworks, which we had just passed, he was soon after unfortunately wounded, but I am happy to say, not dangerously. The brigade soon became very hotly engaged, particularly the two right regiments (first and Orr’s rifle regiments.) The enemy finding our right open and unsupported (Brigadier General Archer having lost his connection with our line, from our having obliqued to the left in advancing from the cover of the woods) pressed on to pass round our light flank, and get possession of the breastworks in our rear. This being apparent to the two right regiments, (first and Orr’s riles,) they fell back to the line of breastworks, and contiuned to fight the enemy, who, if they had pushed vigorously forward, could at once have driven us out, as that portion of the works was unoccupied for some time, but such a deadly fire was poured into them whenever they showed themselves, that their immediate advance was checked. While fighting at the breast-works, I learned that Colonel Edwards, thirteenth regiment South Carolina volunteers, had assumed command of the brigade. From him I did not receive many orders, as he was, I regret to say, soon very severely wounded; as likewise my gallant young subaltern. Lieutenant James T. Proctor (company C, first regiment) whom I had just before detailed to act as his A. A. General, who, after a very few moments of duty, lost his leg. We had not fought for any great length of time, when a portion of Major General Trimble’s division, commanded by Brigadier General Colston, came to reinforce us on the right, but from their hesitancy in taking the position, and encumbering us in the rear, they were but of little use, and the enemy soon commenced pouring over the breastworks on our right. My regiment (first S.C. volunteers) and Orr’s rifle regiment, being out of ammunition, without the means of replenishing it, and our flank exposed by the enemy occupying the line (the prolongation of our’s) to the right, it was deemed best to retire for the time, which was done. Falling back a short distance to a road in rear, as commander of my own regiment I found Brigadier General Colston rallying some of his own troops; to him I reported, asking that my regiment might be supplied with ammunition, which was furnished me. The rifle regiment (Orr’s) soon joined me. Here I learned for the first time, that Colonel Edwards was wounded. I assumed command of that portion of the brigade which was with me, and soon resumed the advance. Finding the breastworks occupied by our own troops, I was ordered by Brigadier General Colston, to march the portion of the brigade which had joined me across the plank road, and occupied the position commanding the flank of the line of breastworks held by our troops; here I took position and remained under an irregular but severe fire of shells for two hours expecting every moment to be engaged with the infantry of the enemy, as scattering bullets were occasionally reaching us, and sometimes heavy firing was heard immediately in our front, gradually the fire slackened. I was left without further orders, and finding the brigade of Brigadier General Pender, in my rear, moving out into the plank load, I reported to him for orders, and learned that he was in command of the light division, both Major General A. P. Hill and Brigadier General Heth, having been slightly wounded. After a short time we received our rations, replenished our ammunition and being rejoined by the rest of the brigade, which had been with Colonel A. Perrin, fourteenth regiment South Carolina volunteers, I marched the brigade, under orders of Brigadier General Pender, to a position on the left of the plank road, and was established on the front line of his division, facing eastward (on Sunday afternoon, 3rd instant,) holding as he informed me, the key of his position and which I was ordered by him to hold at all hazards and to the last extremity.

Throwing out skirmishers to the front and covering my entire line, we prepared to bivouac, and obtain such rest as we might in a swamp, with dead, dying and roasted Yankees, (the woods having taken fire just after the battle of that day, 3d instant,) but our rest was constantly interrupted by our skirmishers becoming engaged with those of the enemy.

On Monday, the 4th, I was ordered to remove the brigade to a position in rear of the one held by me during the afternoon and night before. Here I had breastworks rapidly thrown up, six companies covering my front as skirmishers, and scouts sent out to reconnoitre the position of the enemy. From these scouts I learned, early in the evening, that the enemy were making no demonstration on their right and in my front. During this night I could hear the moving of the artillery and wagon trains down towards Banks’ ford, and so reported it to Brigadier General Pender, with my impression that they were moving off, which subsequent events proved to be correct. Nothing of further moment occurred, beyond our pushing my skirmishers, by a wheel of their line to the left, upon and against the right flank of those of the enemy.

I beg to speak of the efficiency of Major Croft, fourteenth South Carolina volunteers; Major Hunt, thirteenth South Carolina volunteers, and Captains Butler and Haskell, of South regiment South Carolina volunteers, and Captain Duncan, thirteenth regiment South Carolina volunteers, while respectively in command of skirmishers. To Captain T. P. Ashton, first regiment South Carolina volunteers, who acted as my Assistant Adjutant General, I feel myself under great obligations for his untiring zeal and efficiency. He was ready at all hours to go to any position, either to the skirmishers in front, or along the line; his calm, courageous bearing won my admiration and esteem, and to his intelligence and ready perception of his duties, my labors, which would have been arduous in being placed suddenly in command of the brigade, were lightened by his aid.

After remaining at our entrenched position, we marched off on Wednesday, the 6th instant, and returned to this camp, on Thursday, 7th instant.

It remains now but to speak of our losses. They were heavy, (lists of which have already been forwarded to division headquarters. Brigadier General Pender,) and among them I regret to announce the death of Colonel James M. Perrin, Orr’s rifle regiment, who was mortally wounded while gallantly fighting his regiment at the breast-works, on Sunday, 3d May. Colonel Perrin was one of the captains of my old regiment, (first South Carolina volunteers,) and on duty with me in South Carolina previous to my coming to Virginia, in 1861. Since then he has, at various times, been under my command. A more zealous or efficient officer could not have been found in this command. Noble, brave, and pious, he lived to win the admiration and esteem of his friends, and we will trust died to receive the reward of a lift spent in the strict discharge of every duty.

I beg to enclose the reports of the thirteenth, first, fourteenth and Orr’s rifles, South Carolina volunteers. The twelfth regiment, South Carolina volunteers, was not engaged in the battle, but was detailed as a guard to prisoners, and, on Monday, the 4th May, was sent off to Richmond, with upwards of two thousand prisoners, and did not return to the brigade until two days after our return to this camp. I am, Captain, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

D. H. HAMILTON,
Colonel, commanding Second Brigade, Light Division,

 

REPORT OF COLONEL BROGKENBROUGH.

HEADQUARTERS HETH’S BRIGADE, May 18, 1863.

R. H. FINNEY, A.A.G. Light Division:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this brigade during the late battles of the 2nd and 3rd of May in the vicinity of Chancellorsville. Leaving Hamilton’s Crossing at early dawn on the 1st, the brigade halted at seven o’clock, P.M., on the plank road, about one mile east of Chancellorsviile. The advanced troops of our corps had encountered the enemy near Salem church, and with slight resistance they fled to their works. At ten o’clock on the following morning, leaving the turnpike to our right and moving upon the old furnace road, we turned the right flank of the enemy and, at five and a half o’clock, P.M., reached the plank road again, about four miles west of Chancellorsviile and in their rear. Here we formed line of battle and commenced a rapid advance, this brigade occupying the second line. Our approach in that direction seemed to take by surprise and create a considerable panic among the enemy, who, notwithstanding they occupied superior natural positions, strengthened by works of magnitude, fled at our approach, night alone giving them quarter. We pursued ther within three-fourths of a mile of Chancellorsville. The rapid flight of the enemy, the eagerness of our pursuit, the tangled wilderness through which we had marched, and the darkness of the night created much confusion in our ranks, which at this point was increased by a deadly fire poured into our ranks by friends and foes from our right, left and front. Artillery, with their caissons, occupied the road abreast of us, and, without drivers, dished headlong through our ranks. Under these circumstances, our troops halted, and the chase ended for the night. During the night the enemy was not idle, but worked like beavers in erecting the most formidable barricades and breastworks, thus partially relieving themselves of the panic of the previous evening and determining them to give battle. Early on the morning of the 3rd, the brigade, by General Heth’s order, was again deployed in line of battle, extending on either side of the road, the fortieth and forty-seventh Virginia regiments on the right, following General Lane’s brigade; the fifty-fifth and twenty-second Virginia on the left, supporting General Pender. The advance of our leading line became irregular, and the turnpike, which separated the brigade, being much more elevated than the ground upon either side, the interval between the two portions became so considerable as not to be seen, the one by the other. Being in close proximity to the enemy, our advance line in a few minutes became hotly engaged, and we were exposed to the most deadly fire I have ever experienced. Very soon the troops in advance were forced back through our lines, leaving us without support on either flank. The two regiments on the left of the road had by this time moved within one hundred yards of the enemy’s entrenchments, and, while fiercely engaging them, had their left turned and were compelled to retire. The two regiments on the right remained in their position, awaiting support to charge the enemy’s works. Finding no one disposed to move, though many thousands had taken shelter behind the barricade, our line was formed, and being joined by about twelve hundred troops of different, brigades, we led the second charge. Upon reaching the edge of the field these troops, with a yell, increased their speed to a double quick, and, such was the impetuosity of the charge, that the enemy’s resistance, though fierce and bloody, was of short duration. We soon triumphantly mounted their entrenchments, completely routing them from a position from which it is almost impossible to conceive how an army could be driven. On gaining the works, we discovered the field literally crowded with men flying in every direction and poured into them a deadly fire. Occupying this position about two minutes, we discovered troops advancing through the woods upon our left and supposed they were friends, till a volley fired into our left and rear removed the delusion. Their numbers and position being vastly superior to ours, and unsupported on our left, we were again forced to retire. As soon as our artillery shelled this piece of woods, we advanced a third line and held the position. Artillery now coming to our support, soon silenced the enemy’s batteries (which had harassed us during the entire day) and forced them to abandon in great confusion their strong and well selected position, to take shelter in the wilderness and retreat towards the river.

The loss sustained by the brigade in killed and wounded amounted to thirty-three officers and two hundred and seventy enlisted men. Could aught repay us for the noble spirits who have fallen, we would find consolaticn in the glorious victory achieved; but our little brigade, and the entire corps, will long miss and mourn the loss of the experienced and gallant dead. With few exceptions, the bearing and conduct of officers and men were unexceptionable. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. BROCKENBROUGH,
Colonel commanding Brigade,

 

REPORT OF COLONEL BALDWIN.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, ARMY OF NOERTHERN VIRGINIA,
May 20th, 1863.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,
Adjutant and Inspector General, A.N.V.:

SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the principal captures in the recent engagements near Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville:

Artillery.

Five twelve-pounder Napoleons; seven three-inch rifles; one ten-pounder Parrot; nine caissons; four rear parts of caissons; three battery wagons; two forges; fifteen hundred rounds artillery ammunition; a large lot of artillery harness, a large lot of wheels, axles, ammu[n]ition, chests. &c.

Infantry.

Twenty-nine thousand five hundred collected, ten thousand admitted dropped by our men, nineteen thousand five hundred captured; nineteen thousand five hundred muskets and rifles; eight thousand cartridge boxes; four thousand cap pouches; eleven thousand five hundred knapsacks; three hundred thousand rounds infantry ammunition.

I have carefully confined myself to what has been reported as collected and counted. This, of course, is considerably less than the amount actually captured, as a number of unarmed men supplied themselves with arms, accoutrements, &c., and the army, generally, helped themselves from the catridge boxes of the enemy. Also every day small lots of muskets and rifles are brought in; and, without doubt, quite a number of arms, &c., are retained in regimental ordnance wagons, for further contingencies, and not reported. A large quantity of lead has been and is now being collected from the battle-fields. Respectfully submitted,

BRISCOE G. BALDWIN,
Lieutenant Colonel and Chief of Ordnance, A.N.V.

 

 


REPORT OF MAJOR GENERAL STUART.


HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, ARMY OF NORTHEREN VA.,
March 25, 1863.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,
A.A. and I.G., Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose herewith the very graphic report of Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee of the battle of Kelleysville, March 17th, between his brigade and a division of the enemy’s cavalry. There is little to be said in addition. The dispositions made for meeting this anticipated raid were sufficient to have prevented or very much retarded the crossing of the Rappahannock at Kelleysville. The report shows wherein these dispositions failed of their object. The brigade, however, under its noble chief, so redeemed the day by an exhibition of the most extraordinary heroism that we are half disposed to lose sight of the picket failure in the outset.

Being charged by the commanding General specially with the preparations to meet Stoneman, I was present on the occasion because of the responsibility which would necessarily attach to me for what was done; but, having approved of General Fitzhugh Lee’s plans, I determined not to interfere with his command of the brigade as long as it was commanded entirely to my satisfaction, and I took special pride in witnessing its gallant conduct under its accomplished leader. The defeat was decided and the enemy, broken and demoralized, retired, under cover of darkness, to his place of refuge—the main army—having abandoned in defeat an expedition commenced with boasting and vain-glorious demonstration. I have the honor to enclose a copy of congratulatory orders from division and brigade headquarters, and an order announcing to the division the death of the lamented and noble Pelham. I was especially indebted to him for his usual gallant services, and to Captain Harry Gilmer, twelfth Virginia cavalry, who accompanied me as volunteer staff. Major Louis F. Terrill, the court-martial to which he belonged having taken recess, buckled on his sword with very commendable zeal and came to the field, where he acquitted himself with credit, both as an artillerist and as staff officer, I cordially concur with the brigadier general commanding in the high praise bestowed by him on Colonel T. L. Rosser, fifth Virginia cavalry, who, though severely wounded at two, P.M., remained in command at the head of his regiment till the day was won and night put an end to further operations; on Colonel James H. Drake, first Virginia, cavalry, who led his regiment in a brilliant charge upon the enemy’s flank, routing and pursuing him to his stronghold; on the lamented Puller and his comrades fallen; on Lieutenant Hill Carter, third Virginia cavalry, and Peter Fontaine, fourth Virginia cavalry, whose individual prowess attracted my personal attention and remark, the latter receiving a severe wound; on the very efficient staff of General Lee enumerated in his report, and the many others to whom the 17th of March will ever be the proudest of days.

Brigadier General Fitz Leo exhibited in the operations antecedent to and consequent upon the enemy’s crossing the sagacity of a successful general, and, under the blessing of Divine Providence, we are indebted to his prompt and vigorous action and the determined bravery of his men for this signal victory, which, when the odds are considered, was one of the most brilliant achievements of the war. General Lee’s command in action being less than eight hundred. Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E B. STUART,
Major General commanding.

 


HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, ARMY OF NORTHERN VA.,
March 20, 1863.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 9.

The Major General commanding approaches with reluctance the painful duty of announcing to the division its irreparable loss in the death of Major John Pelham, commanding the horse artillery. He fell mortally wounded in the battle of Kelleysville, March 17th, with the battle cry on his lips and the light of victory beaming from his eye.

To you, his comrades, it is needless to dwell upon what you have so often witnessed, his prowess in action, already proverbial. You well know how, though young in years, a mere stripling in appearance, remarkable for his genuine modesty of deportment, he yet disclosed on the battle-field the conduct of a veteran, and displayed in his handsome person the most imperturbable coolness in danger. His eye had glanced on every battle-field of this army from the first Manassas to the moment of his death, and he was, with a single exception, a brilliant actor in all. The memory of the gallant Pelham, his many manly virtues, his noble nature and purity of character is enshrined as a sacred legacy in the hearts of all who knew him. His record has been bright and spotless, his career brilliant and successful. He fell the noblest of sacrifices on the altar of his country, to whose glorious service he had devoted his life from the beginning of the war. In token of respect for his cherished memory the horse artillery and division staff will wear the military badge of mourning for thirty days, and the senior officer of the staff, Major Von Borck, will place his remains in the possession of his bereaved family, to whom is tendered, in behalf of the division, the assurance of the heartfelt sympathy in this deep tribulation. In mourning his departure from his accustomed post of honor on the field, let us strive to imitate his virtues, and trust that what is loss to us may be more than gain to him.

By command of Major General J. E. B. Stuart.

R. CHANNING PRICE,
Major and Assistant Adjutant General.

 

REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL FITZ. LEE.

HEADQUARTERS LEE’S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
March 23, 1863.

General R. H. CHILTON,
A.A.G. and A.I.G., A.N.V.:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of an encounter on the seventeenth instant, between my brigade and a division of the enemy’s cavalry, certainly not less than three thousand mounted men, with a battery of artillery:

My first intimation of their approach was in a telegram received at eleven, A.M., on the 16th, from headquarters, army Northern Virginia. At six, P.M., scouts reported them at Morrisville, a little place six miles from Kelley’s ford. At one, A.M., another report informed me that enemy had encamped at that place, coming from three different directions. I that night reinforced my picket of twenty sharp shooters by forty more, I regret to say that only about eleven or twelve of them got into the rifle-pits in time for the attack of the enemy, (owing to an unnecessary delay in carrying their horses to the rear,) which commenced about five A.M.

The force in the pits under Captain James Breckenridge, of the second, behaved very gallantly, holding in check a large force of the enemy, mounted and dismounted, for an hour and a half, killing and wounding thirty or forty of them. I also ordered the remaining sharpshooters of the brigade under that very efficient officer. Major Morgan, first Virginia, to move from their camps by daybreak, to a piont on the railroad, where the road turns to Kelley’s, half a mile from the railroad bridge, and three and a half from Kelley’s; and the rest of the command was ordered to be in readiness to move at the shortest notice. At that time a force was reported to be at Bealeton, supposed to be their advance cruard, and it was uncertain whether they would attempt to cross at Kelley’s, the railroad bridge, or move on towards Warrenton.

The report that the enemy’s attack was made at Kelley’s never reached me; and the first intimation I received from that point was at half-past seven, A.M., to the effect that they had succeeded in crossing, capturing twenty-five of my sharpshooters, who were unable to reach their horses. I moved my command at once down the railroad, taking up a position, to await their approach, ordering my baggage wagons and disabled horses to the rear, towards Rapidan station. Some time elapsing, and they not advancing, I determined to move upon them, and marched immediately for Kelley’s. First met the enemy half a mile this side of the ford, and at once charged them. Their position was a very strong one, sheltered by woods, and a long, high stone fence, running at right angles to my advance. My men unable to cross the fence and ditch in their front, wheeled about, delivering their fire almost in the faces of the enemy, and reformed again, facing about, under a heavy fire from their artillery and small arms. The third, in this charge, was in front, and first Lieutenant Hill Carter was very conspicuous in his behavior.

From that time it was a succession of gallant charges by the various regiments, and once by the whole brigade in line, whenever the enemy would show his mounted men, (they invariably falling back upon his artillery,) and sheltered, dismounted skirmishers. Their total advance was two miles from the ford. At that time, my artillery arrived, and they were driven back, recrossing the river about half-past seven, with us in close pursuit.

My whole command acted nobly. Sabres were frequently crossed, and fences charged up to; the leading men dismounting and pulling them down, under a heavy fire of canister, grape and carbine balls. Had I my command in the order it arrived in this enervating section of country, and not weakened by the absence of four squadrons on picket, guarding a line stretching from Griffinsburg on the Sperryville turmpike to Richard’s ford, and by the large number of horses unfit for duty by exposure to the severe winter, with a very limited supply of forage, I feel confident the defeat of the enemy would have been changed into a disorderly rout, and the whole brigade resupplied with horses, saddles and bridles.

Commanding officers of the detachments from the various regiments engaged, mention, in their reports, as deserving special attention: In the fifth, private Wm. J. Haynes, company F, badly wounded; private A. R. Harwood, company E; private Henry Wooding, company C, especially commended, siezed the colors when the horse of the color-bearer was shot, and carried them bravely through the fight; sergeants Morecock and Ratcliffe, and private George James, company H. In the fourth, Captains Newton and Old, Lieutenant Hobson and Adjutant Fontaine, seriously wounded. Sergeant Kimborough, of company G, deserves particular notice, wounded early in the day, he refused to leave the field. In the last charge, he was the first to spring to the ground to open the fence; then dashing on at the head of the column, he was twice sabred over the head, his arm shattered by a bullet, captured and carried over the river, when he escaped and walked back, twelve miles, to his camp. Lieutenant Colonel Payne commanding, also mentions privates Joseph Gilman, J. R. Gilman, Poindexter, Redd, Sydnor, Terry and N. Priddy. In the third, Captain Collins, company H; Lieutenants Hill Carter and John Lamb, of company D; Lieutenant Stamper, of company F; Lieutenant R. F. Hubbard, company G; and first Lieutenant Hall, of company C; was twice wounded, before he desisted from the charge, and when retiring, received a third and still more severe wound, and was unable to leave the field. Adjutant H. B. McClellan is also particularly commended for his gallantry. Acting sergeant-major, E. W. Price, company K, private Keech, company I; and bugler-drilling sergeant Betts, of company C; Privates Young, company B; Fowler, company G; and Wilkins, company C, died as became brave men, in the front of, the charge, at the head of the column.

In the second, the commanding officer reports, where so many behaved themselves with so much gallantry, he does not like to discriminate.

In the first, Captain Jordan, company C, and Lieutenant Cecil, company K, specially commended for reckless daring, without a parallel. As coming under my own observation, I particularly noticed Colonel T. L. Rosser, of the fifth, and his habitual coolness and daring, charging at the head of his regiment. Colonel James Drake, of the first, always ready, at the right time and place. Colonel T. H, Owen, of the third, begging to be allowed to charge again and again. Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Payne, of the fourth, unmindful of his former dreadful wound, using his sabre with effect in hand to hand conflict, and the imperturbable self-possessed Major Breckinridge, of the second, whose boldness led him so far that he was captured, his horse being shot. Colonel T. L Munford, of the second, I regret to say, was president of a court martial in Culpeper Court-House, and did not know of the action, in time to join his command, until the fight was nearly over. I also recommend, for their behavior, Captain Tebbs, of the second, and Captain Litchfield and Lieutenant Dorsey, of the first; also Major W. D. Morgan, of the first.

My personal staff. Major Mason, Captains Fergusson and Bowling, Dr. J. B. Fontaine, and Lieutenants Lee, Ryals and Minnegerode, rendered great service by their accurate and a quick transmission of orders, and by their conduct under fire. Surgeon Fontaine’s horse was killed under him, and my own horse was also shot; but, through the generosity of private John H. Owings, company K, first Virginia cavalry, attached to my headquarters, was quickly replaced by his.

The conduct of couriers Owings, Lee, Nightingale and Henry Shackelford, deserves the highest praise. The enemy’s loss was heavy. Besides leaving a number of his dead and wounded on the field, he carried off a large number on horses and in ambulances. We captured twenty-nine prisoners—captain, two lieutenants and twenty-six privates. My own loss was eleven killed, eighty-eight wounded and thirty-four taken prisoners, making an aggregate of one hundred and thirty-three. In horses seventy-one killed, eighty-seven wounded, twelve captured, making an aggregate loss of horses one hundred and seventy.

Among the killed, I deeply regret to report Major Puller, of the fifth, and Lieutenant Harris, of the fourth. Both gallant and highly efficient officers—a heavy loss to their regiments and country.

In conclusion, I desire especially to state that Major General J. E. B. Stuart joined me before the fight commenced, was on the field the whole day, assisted immensely, by his sagacious counsels, large experience and by his usual daring and conspicuous example, in turning the fortunes of the day in our favor. We share with him the anguish and deep grief felt at the loss of the noble Pelham of his staff—an officer of the brightest promises for the future. Major Terrill, of General Stuart’s staff, besides being active on the field, assisted the gallant Breathed in the management of the artillery.

Captain Gilmer, twelfth Virginia cavalry, a volunteer for the occ[a]sion on the Major General’s staff, I also commend for his marked bravery and cool courage. I append a recapitulation of my loss. Very respectfully. Your obedient servant,

FITZ LEE,
Brigadier General commanding.

 


RECAPITULATION of the loss of Brigadier General Fiiz Lee’s Cavalry Brigade in the engagement near Kellsyville, March 17th 1864.

 

CAVALRY OPERATIONS.


REPORT OF BRIG. GENERAL W. H. F. LEE.

HEADQUARTERS LEE’S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Near Culpeper Court-House, April 17, 1863.

Major R. CHANNING PRICE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General, Division Headquarters:

MAJOR: I have the honor, agreeably to instructions from division headquarters, to forward a report of the operations of my brigade on the 14th and 10th instants. During the night of the 13th, I received information from Lieutenant Payne, commanding Black Horse scout, that the enemy’s cavalry and artillery in heavy force were moving up from Fredericksburg in the direction of Kelley’s ford. I immediately sent Captain Bolling, company G, ninth Virginia cavalry, with his company of sharpshooters, to reinforce the picket at that place. He arrived before day and placed his men in the rifle-pits. About day, he reports that, with a regiment dismounted as sharpshooters lining the banks, the enemy’s cavalry made a dash at the ford. They dashed back at the first volley from our sharpshooters. Captain Boiling’s command consisted of about one hundred and fifty men. During the morning of the 14th, they forced their way across the river at Rappahannock station, the sharpshooters posted to protect the bridge giving way and leaving the rifle-pits exposed’to a flank fire. On the appearance of reinforcements, they immediately recrossed, and the horse artillery, superintended by Major Beckham, engaged the enemy’s batteries. Firing was kept up by the artillery and sharpshooters most of the day. On the 15th, their cavalry forced a crossing at Wellford’s ford, driving the few pickets off, and made a dash at Lieutenant Colonel Lewis at Beverly’s ford, driving him away. As soon as the brigade could be brought forward, I proceeded at once to Beverly’s ford, and, with Colonel Chambliss’ thirteenth regiment Virginia cavalry, drove their rear guard, consisting of about two squadrons, into the river, drowning a number of them, capturing fourteen prisoners, horses, &c. I cannot speak too highly of Colonel Chambliss and his command. He had with him only about one good squadron. Lieutenant Nash, adjutant of thirteenth regiment, and Pat Freeman, the Colonel’s orderly, were conspicuous for their gallantry. The regiment charged through a creek, the water up to their saddle-skirts. Colonel Beale had crossed with the head of his regiment, but was recalled. He captured one Lieutenant and ten privates and horses. Major Beckham, with his artillery, rendered valuable aid, and he and his officers deserve much praise tor the remarkable manner in which their guns were served. In closing this, I take pleasure in making special mention of Captain Bolling. His conduct on this as on all former occasions in battle, was marked for coolness and gallantry. I have the honor herewith to transmit reports from the commandants of the respective regiments and batteries. Also to append a summary of the casualties and captures of the two days:

CAPTURES.

One Lieutenant and ten privates by ninth Virginia cavalry.
Four privates by thirteenth Virginia cavalry.
Sixteen horses and equipments.

Referring to the horses captured from my command, I have to say that, owing to the smallness of my force, (two regiments being detached,) my picket at Welford’s ford was small, and when the enemy dashed upon Colonel Lewis they were separated some distance from their horses, and being partially surprised, they had to make their escape without their horses, as they were in great danger of themselves being captured. It is needless to state that the Major General of cavalry was on the field most of the time and that his presence gave confidence and stability to the command. I have the honor to remain, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. F. LEE,
Brigadier General commanding cavalry brigade.

 

REPORT OF COLONEL CHAMBLISS.

HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH VA. CAVALRY,
April 17, 1863.

CAPTAIN: In obedience to instructions, I have the honor to report the operations of my regiment with the enemy, on the 14th and 15th instants. On the 14th, under the direction of the General commanding brigade, my regiment was posted at Kelly’s ford, supporting sharpshooters, in the rifle-pits—Lieutenant Gary, company “D,” having been previously sent to the Rappahannock bridge with twenty sharpshooters, to take position in the rifle-pits. During the day, he had been driven out of his position, and I called upon him for an explanation. He stated that the block house was occupied by a few men of another regiment, posted to prevent the crossing of the bridge, allowed the enemy to come over without firing a shot, and thereby exposed his flank—that he was fired into from that direction, while a body of the enemy’s mounted men were attempting to cross the ford—these he gave a volley and retired on account of what has just been stated. He left the pits with his men but soon, however, took position in the block house, under sharp fire of the enemy. Lieutenant Gary was wounded; no other casualties occurred during the day. On the 15th, I received orders and moved, with my command, towards Welford’s ford, as the enemy was reported to have crossed in large force. Owing to heavy details, I had only forty men in camp, and came upon the rear guard of the enemy near Beverly’s ford, where we charged them and drove them pell-mell into the river, capturing fourteen prisoners and drowning several. The only casualties were one man wounded and one missing. All the men and officers behaved well and charged under heavy fire through a rocky and swollen stream. It is useless to say more, as this occurred under the immediate eyes of the General; but I cannot close this report without mentioning the energy and cool bravery displayed by my adjutant, Lieutenant Nash, on the occasion above alluded to. I am. Captain, your obedient servant,

JOHN R. CHAMBLISS.

 

REPORT OF COLONEL BEALE.

HEADQUARTERS 9TH VIRGINIA CAVALRY,
April 11, 1863.

Brigadier General W. H. F. Lee:

I submit report of the part taken by this command, in the skirmishing on the Rappahannock, on the 14th and 15th instants, together with casualties and captures. On the 14th, one company, under command of Captain Stith Bolling, held the ford at Kelley’s Mills, and repulsed, with some loss to the enemy, an attempt to cross with a force of two or more regiments. Another company, under immediate command of Captain John W. Hungerford, under Lieutenant Colonel Lewis, held the ford at Beverly’s mills. The balance were engaged in watching the enemy at Rappahannock bridge, and re-establishing the pickets driven out in the morning. On the 10th, the enemy having crossed in large force at a ford above, flanked that portion of the command under Lieutenant Colonel Lewis, and came down upon them by surprise. The coolness and admirable manœuvering of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis and Lieutenant G. W. Beale, in command of sharpshooters dismounted, alone saved this little band. By boldly charging the advance, the dismounted men were successfully extricated from a position of great danger. The whole command in the evening, supported Colonel Chambliss in a charge upon the retreating foe. We captured one first lieutenant of third Indiana cavalry, and ten privates, ten horses, ten carbines and seven pistols. Our casualties were one private company A, killed, one private company H, missing, supposed to be captured, two horses killed and one wounded, twelve horses captured. The conduct of officers and men merits the highest commendation,

R. L. T. BEALE, Colonel commanding.

 

REPORT OF CAPTAIN J. W. STRANGE.

HEADQUARTERS 2ND NORTH CAROLINA CAVALRY,
Near Brandy Station, April 16, 1863.

General W. H. F. LEE, commanding Cavalry Brigade:

GENERAL: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to report that during the operations of the brigade, on the 14th instant, my command, consisting of one hundred and sixteen mounted men, was held as a protection to the Whitworth gun, stationed on the road about a mile beyond Brady Station, where we remained without any active duty until relieved by your order, about nine, P.M., and returned to camp. On the inorning of the 15th instant, twenty men under command of Lieutenant James Baker, company D, were detached and sent to the block house, at Rappahannock bridge to protect it, and I with the rest of my command, were held as a protection to two guns of Captain Moorman’s battery, stationed near the bridge. These dispositions remained unchanged until about two, P.M., when I received orders to proceed, in company with Captain Moorman’s guns, to Beverly ford and there protect them in their operations against the enemy. We saw no active duty during the skirmish, and after the enemy were repulsed returned with the brigade to our present camp. During these two days, the dismounted men, (143) rank and file, that had been distributed at the different fords as sharpshooters, had several encounters with the enemy; those stationed at Welford’s ford, under command of Lieutenant Lucky, company B, were driven off and privates Robert H. Sumrou, company B, A. D. Clark, company D, J. H. Ray, company A, John Kelly, company A, were captured. These were the only casualties that occurred in my regiment. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. STRANGE,
Captain Co. D, commanding Regimint

REPORT OF CAPTAIN MOORMAN.

HEADQUARTERS MOORMAN’S BATTERY,
April 16th, 1863.

Brigadier General W. H. F. LEE:

Pursuant to order, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my battery during the engagement of the 14th and 15th:

Upon the 14th, my battery moved from camp, near brigade headquarters, following the ninth cavalry. Upon reaching a high hill, some mile and a half below Brandy station, I was ordered, by Major Beckham, to send one piece (rifled) forward to Kelly’s ford, where, under command of Lieutenant Shoemaker, it fired repeatedly upon the enemy, (across the river,) with what effect not ascertained. The remainder of my battery, (two guns,) I moved, by order of General Stuart, to Rappahannock bridge, and there opened upon, dispersing different squads of the enemy. During the afternoon a section of the enemy’s guns were pnt in position behind earthworks and engaged my guns for probably forty minutes and then retired.

I am happy to report no casualties during the day.

On the 15th, my battery was again called out and held in position near the old church, upon the road (I believe) to Beverly ford. From there it returned to camp, not being called upon. Respectfully submitted,

M. N. MOORMAN,
Captain, commanding Battery Light Horse Artillery.

 

REPORT OF LIEUTENANT FORD.

CAMP NEAR CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE,
April 16th, 1863.

Captain W. S. ROBINS, Assistant Adjutant General:

CAPTAIN: I was ordered, on the morning on the 14th, to move a section of my battery near Rappahannock bridge—Lieutenant Brown’s section—consisting of a Napoleon and a Blakley rifled gun. We took position with the Blakely about three-quarters of a mile from the river, and shelled the enemy’s sharpshooters who had occupied the hills opposite. After dispersing them, I moved the section on the hill immediately overlooking the river, and there exchanged shots, for about half an hour, with a section of the enemy’s artillery, which was well protected by a redoubt. We sustained no injury. I am not certain whether we punished our opponent or not. The redoubt was struck repeatedly.

About twelve o’clock, the next day, (15th,) I was ordered hurriedly to Welford’s ford, in the midst of a drenching rain; arrived there; sharpshooters were again dispersed.

We returned to camp this morning, having expended about one hundred rounds of ammunition, and having no casualty to report. Lieutenant Burrows was with us also.

Officers and men behaved well; and, notwithstanding the rain was calculated to produce discontent, nothing of the kind was manifested. I remain, your obedient servant,

C. S. FORD,