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

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 1 (Chancellorsville)
Page 359 Chapter XXXVII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

and passed through over the first hill and line of intrenchments. I was here ordered to support the line advancing to the front, but the enemy appearing in line on the right, I sent against them the storming party from the First Brigade, deployed as skirmishers, and followed them in line of battle. After the exchange of a few shots, the skirmishers of the enemy fell back, and his whole line moved rapidly out of our sight, followed for a mile by Captain Ryerson, who took about 90 prisoners, while 13 more were taken by other portions of the brigade. Arriving at the last line of the enemy's works, the brigade was halted.

I was soon ordered to march into the town and assume command there. The remainder of the evening was spent in burying dead, collecting wounded, securing property, forwarding stragglers, and in the police of the city. A bridge guard was posted and pickets and outposts established. Before morning, I received information of the advance of the enemy in force along the Telegraph and Port Royal roads. I immediately made disposition of all my force to meet him and hold the city. The arrangements were scarcely completed when a column appeared on the hills beyond, and in half an hour the redoubts and rifle-pits on the heights were fully manned by the enemy, and large bodies in reserve could be seen near by.

At 8 o'clock, the enemy advanced against that portion of my line held by the Twentieth Massachusetts and Forty-second New York. They were met coolly, and handsomely repulsed and driven to their cover with some loss. From that time until 6 p.m., the enemy, from the houses and pits, kept a continual fire upon my line, which was so well covered that but few were hurt. This fire was returned by my sharpshooters and an independent company sent to me, under the command of Captain Plumer. Several rebel officers were dismounted, and many men struck by the bullets of this company. During the day I felt much anxiety for the safety of my command, having but one line and one movable reserve of three companies. I collected and organized a force of about 225 men of the Sixth Corps, and put them into service. With a few exceptions they behaved well. They were under the command of Major Rice, of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, who held the right of the town. I took the responsibility of ordering all wagons (some hundreds, I should think, in number) across the river, and sent several wagon-masters, arrested in the town, to give aid. I reported this to General Gibbon. The wounded and ambulances of the Sixth Corps were sent across the lower bridge, which was taken up before dark.

As soon as it became dark enough to allow working near the lines without danger, I ordered the two main (Plank and Telegraph) roads to be ditched deeply, and rifle-pits dug, to bring a strong fire upon every accessible point of my line. I also altered the old rifle-pits of the enemy in the town, and built others, to form a strong second line, in case of disaster. This labor was performed by stragglers picked up during the day. Before daylight I received orders to withdraw my forces, and immediately commenced the movement. Some shots were exchanged by my most advanced posts, but the enemy followed cautiously and at a respectful distance. This last movement was accomplished without loss, and with the utmost deliberation and regularity. The bridges were taken up, and the bridge-head party brought off in boats. Major Rice during the night had been ordered to send a party of 30 men to a point opposite and about Falmouth, to destroy all bridges was cut entirely away, another uncovered and injured, the fire of the enemy preventing its perfect destruction. The bridge across the mill-race was also entirely destroyed.


Page 359 Chapter XXXVII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 1 (Chancellorsville)
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