Today in History:

1014 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I

Page 1014 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

bearing down against us without support and exposed to a heavy enfilading fire, the Second Virginia Regiment having been separated from the brigade on the right. The brigade, unable longer to sustain a conflict so unequal, or to maintain the position without support, fell back in admirable order to the breastworks, where the shattered line was reformed.

At this point I first learned of the fall of our gallant general. Four of the regiments had advanced without a command or a commander. The Second Virginia had been directed to the right by Major [W. D.] McKim. The remainder of the brigade, not having received the order, was thus separated from it. (See Colonel Nadenbousch's report, accompanying this.) While reforming the line, Colonel [J. Q. A.] Nadenbousch informed me of the general's death, and also of the fact that his regiment (Second Virginia) had been separated from the brigade. Having no assistance, I requested him to help from the troops on the left. His coolness and judgment proved valuable.

At this juncture of affairs, Major [A. S.] Pendleton, assistant adjutant-general, told me it was General Stuart's order for the brigade to be put in motion to relieve, as I understood, General Ramseur's brigade, whose ammunition had been exhausted. We again advanced over the fortifications, behind which the demoralized troops formerly mentioned were still crouched, and relieved the troops in our front, who were nobly maintaining their ground with thinned ranks and empty cartridge-boxes. The Twelfth Georgia Regiment formed on my right. Seeing some confusion among the enemy who occupied the embrasures on the crest of the hill, I ordered the brigade to charge, which order they obeyed with the utmost enthusiasm, driving the enemy from his works and before them for three quarters of a mile. We took their works. The enemy were driven pell-mell around the Chancellor house, when I discovered a column of the enemy moving down in the rear of the Chancellor house in order to gain our flank. I thereupon sent an officer to urge up all the support within reach. Several small regiments came up on our left, and, strange to say, they retired before some had fired a volley. I instituted proper inquiries, but could not learn what troops these were.

Our ranks having been greatly reduced by the severe conflict of the day, one-third of their number having fallen, entirely out of ammunition and unsupported, the brigade was of necessity forced to retire, which they did like veterans. The enemy dared not follow. Once more we formed behind the breastworks. The men were supplied with rations and ammunition. While here, the Second Virginia rejoined us, taking position on the right of the brigade.

At 3 p. m. the brigade was put in motion on the road leading to the United States Ford. We had advanced but a short distance when the enemy opened upon the head of the column a terrible fire of grape and shell. General Colston ordered the brigade to form on the right of the road, covering my front with skirmishers. We then advanced to within 200 yards of the enemy's fortifications, under a severe fire of artillery. Owing to some confusion among the troops on our left, we were ordered to form behind some fortifications, where we remained until midnight. We were then formed parallel with the road. We here remained until the morning of the 4th, when, after several changes, we took position three quarters of a mile east of the road leading to the United States Ford, in front of the enemy's works, where we remained uninterruptedly until the morning of May 6.

The brigade on this occasion has maintained unimpaired its reputation. Too much cannot be said of the gallantry and bravery of both

Page 1014 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.