Today in History:

1101 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I


immediately ordered the two reserve companies to Lieutenant Folk's support, and hastened in the direction of the firing. I had scarcely gone 150 yards, when I met the enemy charging in line through the woods. I immediately caused Company D to file into the woods and commence firing, and afterward hurried forward Company C (the other reserve company) to its support. The firing between these two companies and the enemy was heavy, and, realizing that our safety depended upon the repulse of the enemy at this point, I ordered the two rifle companies from the front, and formed them in supporting distance of the two companies engaged. I had scarcely taken this precaution, however, before I had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy give way.

Just as this took place, the enemy's right charged up the road in front of the barricade, but was handsomely repulsed by a volley from Companies E and G. This was the last volley fired, the enemy withdrawing both from our front and right. As he withdrew, I sent out squads of both cavalry and infantry to watch his movements, and very soon received information that he had formed in line in the open field in rear of our right, apparently for the purpose of charging our line from that direction. At the same time, from the noise I heard in front of the left of our position, I conceived the idea that a portion of the enemy's force had been dismounted and would probably attack us from that direction also. I immediately withdrew my whole force within the inclosure on the left-hand side of the road, and disposed it to meet the enemy in both directions, placing the rifle companies along the fences to the front, and the remaining force along the fences in the direction from which I supposed the charge would be made. With the force disposed as I have indicated, we again awaited the approach of the enemy, feeling assured the attack would be renewed at daylight if not before. At early dawn, however, it could be plainly seen that the enemy's force, with the exception of a picket, had been withdrawn beyond the hill in our front, and about 6 o'clock a correspondence commenced between the commanding officer of the United States forces and myself, which resulted in a truce until 11 a.m., the enemy asking the privilege of burying his dead and taking care of his wounded. I caused those of his dead that had fallen within our lines to be conveyed to him, and sent my surgeons forward, at his request, to assist his in attending to his wounded. I herewith transmit a copy of the correspondence.

I am sorry to have to add that the enemy took advantage of the truce to cover his retreat, and, as I have since ascertained, had reached with his main body a point 10 miles west of the battle-ground by the time the truce expired. He left his surgeon and a sergeant to take care of 4 wounded men, 1 of whom is a lieutenant. It is impossible for me to tell with any accuracy the loss the enemy sustained. His acknowledged loss is 12 killed (including an officer killed on Sewell by the cavalry) and 7 wounded. I have every reason to believe, however, that his loss was much heavier, for his ambulances were running busily for three hours, and citizens assure me they were filled with dead when he retreated; and, from the number of carriages of carriages and buggies he seized in his retreat for the accommodation of the wounded, it is reasonable to suppose the number was much larger than was acknowledged.

It is gratifying to be able to report that there were no casualties on our side. The enemy returned our fire with spirit, but with no effect. They took, however, 4 prisoners-3 infantrymen and 1 cavalryman. During the engagement 9 prisoners (including the wounded), a number of horses, sabers, guns, rifles, and pistols were captured and 6 horses killed.