Today in History:

1096 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I

Page 1096 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

On the 29th, at 7 a.m., we marched to and crossed the Rappahannock River on a pontoon bridge half a mile below Kelly's Ford. At 7 p.m.

we moved toward the Rapidan; marched 3 miles, and bivouacked without fires. At daylight we again moved forward, and put Lieutenant Elder's section across the Rapidan at Hamilton's Ford. The entrance to and egress from the river was very difficult, and the water so deep as to completely submerge the guns. The current was very strong, but we succeeded in crossing without accident, taking over the ammunition chests in a country wagon, having constructed a platform to raise the chests above the water. With th remaining four guns I moved to Raccoon Ford, and crossed without difficulty at sunset, and bivouacked on the south side of the river.

May 1.-Marched from bivouac on the Rapidan at daylight, and arrived at Orange Springs at 1 p.m. Left Orange Springs at 5 p.m., and arrived at Louisa Court-House at daylight on the 2nd; roads in a very bad condition. Left Louisa Court-House at 2 p.m., and arrived at Thompson's Cross-Roads at 9 p.m.

At 3 a.m. of the 3rd, Lieutenant Woodruff, Second Artillery, was detached, with a section of Battery M, and accompanied General Gregg to destroy the bridges on the South Anna River.

At 8 a.m. of the 4th, marched from Thompson's to Flemmings' Cross-Roads.

May 5.-Left Flemmings' Cross-Roads at 8 a.m., and arrived at Yanceyville at 1 p.m. Having been ordered to lighten my carriages, I destroyed all the paulins. The night was extremely dark and the rain was pouring in torrents, and so cold that warmest clad were suffering extremely.

We arrived at Orange Springs at 9 a.m. on the 6th, over roads so heavy that I would consider them impracticable for ordinary mounted artillery in daylight. Marched from Orange Springs at noon. After advancing 2 miles, the command halted until 5 p.m., when we again moved forward. Just at dark the battery entered a dense wood on a narrow and winding cart-road, which they passed through for a distance of 2 miles, the rain pouring in torrents, and so dark that at times I could not see my horse's cars, and with the mud so deep that at times it was with difficulty my saddle horse could extract his feet. We passed through without accident, and at once moved on and crossed the Rapidan River at sunrise on the 7th.

At this point we rested till noon, when we again moved forward, arriving at Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock, at 10 p.m. The night was very dark, with some rain; the road horrible. Finding it impracticable to cross the ford during the night, we went into bivouac.

At daylight on the 8th, I commenced to cross the guns, first removing the ammunition chests. The water at the ford was so deep that the carriages were completely submerged, and the horses swimming in harness, dragging the guns after them for fully 20 yards. In this manner the entire battery was crossed without the slightest accident, and without the least delay to the cavalry, which was crossing at the same time and point. To cross the ammunition chests the only means at our disposal was a small punt-boat worked on a telegraph wire stretched from bank to bank. The first chest loaded in the boat was found to be too much, swamping the boat and losing the chest with its entire contents. I then had half the ammunition removed from the second chest and passed it safely. Finding the process a slow and unsafe one, General Stoneman attempted to establish a flying bridge, but, owing to there being two currents, it did not work successfully. After several

Page 1096 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.