eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XXV | Pages range from 1 to 1142

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 1 (Chancellorsville)
Page 1006 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

the road, and Lieutenant [Oscar] Hinrichs, of the Engineers, was sent with an order to Jones' brigade, under Colonel Garnet, to advance toward the right from their position, a little in the rear, in reserve. This was a most critical moment. The troops in the breastworks, be longing 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 6 and 8 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 breastworks 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 toward the breastworks. Before reaching them, the gallant and lamented General Paxton fell. The command devolved upon Colonel [J. H. S.] 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 on 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, having Colonel [A. S.] Vandeventer, Fiftieth Virginia, in command. Here Major [W. D.] McKim, of division staff, was killed while most gallantly cheering on the men. Major [Alfred] Hoffman and Mr. [Charles] Grogan, of the same staff, were wounded; all these officers having remained mounted with a 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 breastworks 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 re-enforcements 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 12 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 3 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


Page 1006 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 1 (Chancellorsville)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon