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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 942 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

up, and as soon as a portion were deployed in my front as skirmishers I commenced withdrawing my men, under orders from the lieutenant-general.

During this glorious victory and pursuit of more than 2 miles, I had only three brigades really engaged. General Colquitt, soon after starting, was misled by the appearance of a small body of the enemy's cavalry, and, notwithstanding the instructions to himself and General Ramseur, halted his brigade to resist what he supposed to be an attack on his flank. This error was discovered too late to enable him to do more than follow the victorious troops of Doles over the field they had won. Ramseur, being ordered to follow Colquitt and watch his flank, was necessarily deprived of any active participation.

On withdrawing my troops, I was directed to see that Jones' brigade, of Colston's division, was so placed as to guard a road coming in from the direction of the furnace on the right, and to relieve, with one of my brigades, McGowan's brigade, of Hill's division, then guarding a second road from the same direction, which entered the Plank road farther up. While preparing to make these dispositions, a sudden and rapid musketry fire was opened in front, which created a little confusion among the troops. Order was speedily restored, however. Apparently this firing proceeded entirely from our own men, as not a ball from the enemy came within sound. There being no other place but the open ground at Melzi Chancellor's suitable for such a purpose, I withdrew all my troops excepting Colquitt's brigade, then on guard, to reform them at that point. Finding the intrenchments partially occupied by Paxton's brigade, I formed line of battle in connection with him.

At this time the enemy opened a similar terrific fire of artillery to that which had taken place just before my withdrawal, which caused much confusion and disorder, rendering it necessary for me to place guards across the road to stop stragglers. Shortly after this occurrence I was informed that Lieutenant-General Jackson was wounded, and also received a message from Major-General Hill that he likewise was disabled, and that the command of the corps devolved on me. Without loss of time, I communicated with Brigadier-Generals Heth and Colston, commanding, respectively, the divisions of A. P. Hill and Trimble, and made the necessary arrangements for a renewal of the attack in the morning, it being agreed that the troops were not in condition to resume operations that night. Just at this time (about 12 o'clock) the enemy made an attack on our right, but being feeble in its character, and promptly met, it lasted but a short time. Very soon after, Major General J. E. B. Stuart, who had been sent for by Major [A. S.] Pendleton, assistant adjutant-general of Lieutenant-General Jackson, arrived on the ground and assumed command.

I deem it proper to state that I yielded the command to General Stuart not because I thought him entitled to it, belonging as he does to a different arm of the service, nor because I was unwilling to assume the responsibility of carrying on the attack, as I had already made the necessary arrangements, and they remained unchanged, but because, from the manner in which I had been informed that he had been sent for, I inferred that General Jackson or General Hill had instructed Major Pendleton to place him in command, and for the still stronger reason that I feared that the information that the command had devolved on me, unknown except to my own immediate troops, would, in their shaken condition, be likely to increase the demoralization of the corps. General Stuart's name was well and very favorably known to the army, and


Page 942 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 1 (Chancellorsville)
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