Today in History:

1093 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I


by Captain Drummond to the entire satisfaction of the general commanding. Later in the evening, Lieutenant Mason, with his squadron, was detached to go to Yanceyville and make preparations to destroy the bridge across the South Anna at that point, should it become necessary to do so. The departure of Lieutenant Mason's squadron left me but 109 men in camp, with all the led animals of the regiment. At 10.30 o'clock of the same evening, I was ordered, with the remaining portion of my regiment, which consisted of 109 men, broken down horses, and 10 officers, to proceed to Shannon's Hill and scout the country in the direction of Gordonsville, Fluvanna, and Columbia, and to communicate with Lieutenant Mason at Yanceyville.

I arrived at Flemmings' Cross-Roads at 2.30 a.m. on the 4th, and immediately sent out scouts in the directions specified in my instructions. Independent of these scouts, I sent out Lieutenant Stoddard and 10 men to picket the road in my rear, which led to Richmond, the advance vedette 1 1/2 miles from the cross-roads; Lieutenant Urban and 10 men to picket the road in front of me leading to Gordonsville, advance vedette 1 1/2 miles from the cross-roads; Lieutenant Leib and 10 men on the Columbia road as a patrol for 6 miles, and Lieutenant Sweatman and 15 men to Yanceyville, to communicate with Lieutenant Mason.

At 6.30 a.m., May 4, while all these parties were out, I heard two shots in the direction of my rear pickets, and shortly after an orderly came in and reported that my picket had been attacked. I immediately sent Lieutenant Hastings, with 8 men, to re-enforce the picket, and sent Captain Owens to find out, if possible, the strength of their force. In the meantime I drew up the rest of my command, 25 in number, in line, determined to make all the resistance in my power, and to try and hold the cross-roads, if possible, until I could communicate with General Stoneman.

Lieutenant Hastings, with 14 men, charged their advance of 25 men, and drove them back upon their main body. They then advanced in column, apparently of 8 front, completely filling the road, driving in my pickets, with a yell which I felt assured must have come from at least a regiment. I dispatched messengers at once to Lieutenants Urban and Buford, who were still out, to draw in their pickets and to fall back upon the cross-roads as quickly as possible.

Upon the arrival of Lieutenant Urban, I joined his party to the main force, making 30 in all. After the guidon-bearers had fallen out, and finding the rebel force still advancing at a charge, and several of my scouts and pickets still out, I made up my mind to charge them, with the hope of checking them for a short time, to enable my pickets to return and to get my led animals off. When they came in sight of my command, they commenced to slacken their speed, feeling somewhat uncertain as to the strength of my force. I took advantage of that moment and charged. As soon as they saw the end of my column, they also sounded the charge, and we met just at the point of the woods where the road comes out on to an open space of about an acre. I found that I had become engaged with at least 1,000 men. The shock of the charge was so great that my foremost horses were completely knocked over. I fought them as long as I deemed prudent, and, finding that I was overpowered by numbers, I wheeled about and retreated on the road to Yanceyville, where I connected with Lieutenant Mason, and, joining his party to mine, made arrangements to hold the bridge over the South Anna at Yanceyville.

I regret to say that I lost at this place 2 officers [Captain Owens and Lieutenant Buford] and 30 men, all of whom were taken prisoners. I