From the Official Reports - Lt Col.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville
Campaign.No. 80.--Report of Lieut. Col.
Richards McMichael, Fifty- third Pennsylvania Infantry.
HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
May 8, 1863.
I have the honor to submit the following
report of this regiment in the late engagement on the other side of the
The first night after crossing the river
(April 30) we encamped a short distance item a white house, afterward used
as a hospital.
The next day (May 1), I received orders
to move forward in rear of Thomas' battery, following it until we came near
the brow of a hill on a road leading to our left from a certain brick house,
used as a hospital, when I was ordered to pass the battery, and form my regiment
in column of divisions on the right of the Second Delaware Volunteers and
in the rear of the One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers. I
remained in this position a short time, when I was ordered to move forward
to the left and in rear of the Twenty-seventh Connecticut Volunteers, and
form line of battle along the edge of a certain wood near a ravine along
the left of the line. During all this time we were exposed to the shells
from the enemy's batteries, but received no injury.
I remained in this position
a short time, when I was ordered by Colonel Brooke to march by the flank
to the rear, and was conducted to the camping-ground I occupied the previous
night. I remained there but a short time, when I received orders to again
move forward. My regiment immediately got into line, and we started for the
front, conducted by Lieut, C. P. Hatch, acting assistant adjutant-general
of the brigade. I was ordered to form in line of battle in the woods along
the left of our line, some distance in rear of the position I occupied when
my regiment was in the front before. I formed the line in rear of the
Twenty-seventh Connecticut Volunteers and on the left of the Second Delaware
We remained in this position
until nearly morning, when 1 received orders to move by the flank in rear
of the Second Delaware Volunteers. We formed line of battle some distance
in rear of the former position, my regiment being on the right of the
Twenty-seventh Connecticut Volunteers and on the left of the Sixty-fourth
New York Volunteers, in the first line. We were ordered to build abatis in
the front of our line. My regiment immediately went to work, and had very
good and substantial works put up in quite a short time.
I remained in this position,
in the first line, until Sunday morning, when I was ordered to move to the
right, following the One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.
After we had gone to the right, we were ordered back to our former position,
where we arrived in due time.
A short time afterward, we were ordered to move along
our line to the right, and occupy the space left by the regiments of General
Caldwell's brigade. During this time we were exposed to a terrible fire from
the enemy's batteries, losing, however, no men. Soon afterward, I was ordered
to the right, to support a battery (Pettit's). We supported the battery,
together with the Second Delaware and One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania
Volunteers, until we were ordered to fall back. At this time we were quite
near the brick house, exposed the greater part of the time to a very destructive
fire from the enemy's batteries, and having 1 officer and several men injured.
While we were falling back, in accordance with Colonel Brooke's orders, 13
of my men rushed forward and took off of the field two pieces of a battery
on our right, which had been abandoned and would certainly have fallen into
the hands of the enemy had not my men taken the pieces off. They were taken
nearly 3 miles to the rear. We formed in line of battle some distance in
the rear of our old position, where we remained in the third line until the
5th ultimo, when we were put in the rear of the Irish Brigade, in the second
line, where we remained during the day and night, until we started for this
side of the river.
The loss of this regiment in all the
engagements is 1 line officer and 7 enlisted men wounded and 3 enlisted men
missing, supposed to be taken prisoners. During all the actions and march,
my officers and men behaved bravely, always acting the part of good
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville
Campaign.No. 77.--Report of Col. John
R. Brooke, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Fourth
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 7, 1863.
I have the honor to make the following
report of the operations of my brigade during the recent movements:
On the evening of April 30,
we crossed the Rappahannock at the head of the division, and reached
Chancellorsville about 12 midnight, when we bivouacked in line of battle
for the night.
On the following day, May 1, at about
11 a.m., I received the order of march from the general commanding, and,
forming the rear of the column, marched down the Fredericksburg road to the
hill beyond Chancellorsville, where, by his direction, I formed on the left
of the batteries, then firing, in the following order: The Twenty-seventh
Connecticut and One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania in the first line,
the Twenty-seventh Connecticut on the right, and the Fifty-third Pennsylvania
and Second Delaware in the second line, the Sixty-fourth New York having
been sent, by direction of the general commanding, to strengthen General
Caldwell's brigade, on the right. After standing thus for about one hour,
I received orders to retire to Chancellorsville by the road we came, which
was accomplished in good order.
At about 2 p.m. I received the order to
move down the Fredericksburg road at a double-quick, and form on the left
of the road, which movement was accomplished quickly. My line extended into
the woods on the right, two regiments forming the second line (the Fifty-third
Pennsylvania and Second Delaware). I here, at the suggestion of the commanding
general, felled trees and formed an abatis, which I afterward strengthened
by a rifle-pit.
An hour before daybreak on
the following day (May 2), I received the order from the general commanding
to fall back from this position. I immediately marched to the rear, when
I was ordered to form on the left of General Caldwell (this was about 150
yards in the woods on the left of Chancellorsville). Here also I felled an
abatis and threw up a rifle pit, and, with skirmishers well to the front,
awaited the attack. The enemy was engaged feeling our lines all day, but
could make no impression.
At about 4 p.m., the attack commenced
on the right (the Eleventh Corps), when our front was comparatively relieved
from any vigorous assault by the enemy. At about 7 p.m., the general commanding
directed me to send the Sixty-fourth New York to report to Colonel Miles,
who was in command of the pickets.
During the night, heavy firing
occurred, and, early on the morning of May 3, the attack on the right was
reopened with great vigor. A large detail of officers and men from the One
hundred and forty-fifth and Fifty-third Pennsylvania, and Second Delaware
(271), under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel McCreary, was, by direction
of the general commanding, sent to re-enforce the pickets. Up to this time
my loss was very slight, although we were under a heavy artillery fire. This
detail, with few exceptions, was either killed, wounded, or taken prisoners
on the outposts. I have no knowledge of them, nor can I ascertain the true
facts of the case from those who came off in safety. The detail, I understand,
was divided by the commander of the pickets, and part sent to one point and
part to another.
At about 8 a.m. the general
commanding directed me to send the Twenty-seventh Connecticut to re-enforce
the pickets. I sent eight companies, the other two companies being on duty
at that time, and not available. This regiment was also lost, as I have heard
nothing from them since. At about 9 a.m., our right was evidently beaten
back. I received the order of the general commanding to move directly to
my rear and meet the enemy. When I arrived upon the ground, General Caldwell's
brigade was interposed, and I was ordered to occupy his old place in the
rifle-pits. I remained there until 1 p.m. During this time the whole or a
large part of the Twelfth Corps passed to the rear, when, by direction of
the general commanding, I moved up to the plain, near Chancellor's house,
and formed line between two batteries--Pettit's on my left, and a brass battery
on my right. Here we experienced a most destructive fire of artillery, many
officers being killed and wounded; but the presence of Generals Couch and
Hancock seemed to add to the veteran bravery of the troops; none wavered.
While lying in this position, Chancellor's house took fire. It was filled
with wounded, and, after strenuous exertions, the wounded were removed by
a company of the Second Delaware Volunteers, Lieutenant Wilson, of General
Hancock's staff, having charge of the party. It was in the execution of this
duty that the veteran Captain McCullough was dangerously, and the gallant
Lieutenant Jordan (both of the Second Delaware Volunteers), mortally, wounded.
Major Patton, of the One hundred and forty-fifth Pennsylvania, was also
dangerously wounded while occupying this position.
At about 11 a.m., I was directed
to move off to the rear and form in the open field occupied on the night
of April 30 as a camp for the division. While moving, the general commanding
directed that I should send men and draw off the pieces of the Fifth Maine
Battery, which were abandoned by the men of the battery. I sent a party of
the Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, who drew off two of the pieces.
They also drew one other as far as the road in rear of the position of the
battery, when some men of another regiment took hold and draw it to the rear.
After reaching the open field, I was shown by a staff officer the position
we were to occupy. I immediately took up the position. Soon alter, the enemy
opened upon us with a terrific fire of artillery, which soon ceased.
Nothing of importance occurred after this
until the retreat of the army, which commenced on the night of the 5th. I
had the honor to cover the retreat of the Second Corps as it moved to the
river. As to the conduct of the officers and men, I cannot particularize,
as all the regimental commanders and their officers behaved extremely well
Of my staff I can say that officers could
not behave better; cool and efficient, they deserve the honorable notice
of the general commanding. I have the honor to refer to the reports of the
regiments for those details which are not here mentioned. I also forward
herewith the list of casualties.(*)
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN R. BROOKE,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Maj. JOHN HANCOCK,
From the Official Reports - Capt. James
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville
Campaign.No. 8.--Report of Capt. James
S. Hall, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, Acting Signal Officer.
PHILLIPS HOUSE, May 9, 1863.
The operations of Set F since the
commencement of the movement of the army, which has just closed, may be found
On the 25th April, I received orders
from Lieutenant-Colonel [Charles H.] Morgan, chief of staff, Second Corps,
to ration my men and forage my horses for eight days, and to hold my detachment
ready for service at any moment. I did as directed, and was ready.
April 27, I received the following order:
I am instructed by the commanding general to direct
that your detachment be in readiness to move at sunrise to-morrow, April
FRANCIS A. WALKER,
The same day I received a verbal order
from you directing me to remain at the Phillips house to make observations
of the movements of the enemy and report the same to you at general
April 28, 29, and 30, your orders
were complied with, but May 1 I ceased to report to you or communicate through
you, in consequence of the following order, to wit:
May 1, 1863.
Captain HALL, Signal Officer :
Telegraph direct to me reports of what you
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
May 1, was directed by you
to open communication with Tyler's battery station, which was done at once.
At 4 p.m. was ordered to take the large telescope, and reconnoiter the enemy's
position in front of General Sedgwick, south of Tyler's Hill. I did so, and
reported my observations to General Sedgwick.
May 2, after reviewing the position of
the enemy at that point and reporting it to General Sedgwick, I returned
to my own station, as per telegram to Captain Babcock. Was directed by General
Butterfield to make triplicate reports of observation. We reported to General
Sedgwick, General Gibbon, and to General Butterfield.
May 3, opened communication with
General Sedgwick from courthouse steeple and brown church steeple. As soon
as troops advanced, opened communication with Lieutenants Hill and Brooks
to the left of Telegraph road, and right of Plank road with Captain Gloskoski
and Lieutenant Marston. Lieutenant Briggs was sent to assist us at this
May 4, opened with General
Sedgwick through Captains Babcock and Gloskoski, when all other communication
was cut off, and the most intense excitement prevailed in officials in
consequence thereof. Our success in this respect was marked, and everybody
seemed to breathe more freely. In this instance we signally triumphed over
the enemies of our corps, and those who had ordered the signals not to be
used were the first to avail themselves of our ready means of
The labors of Lieutenant Taylor and myself
were incessant and arduous. In addition to our observations and the sending
and receiving of dispatches by signals and by telegraph, Major-General
Butterfield ordered me to make consolidated reports of our hourly reports
in the evening of each day. The importance of our position was evident from
the solicitude with which Generals Butterfield, Sedgwick, Gibbon, and others
sought and obtained information from this point. In order to make our dispatches
certain in case of accident to our telegraph, General Butterfield furnished
me with mounted orderlies, who were sent in such force as to enable me to
report every five minutes, if necessary, and I find by referring to my reports
that less than five minutes intervened in sending of some.
During the different days
of the movement we communicated with eight different stations, and, by referring
to the number of dispatches and reports sent and received, you will discover
that no previous labor of a single set can compare with it. We feel confident
that we have done more actual signal labor than all the other officers in
The indefatigable labors of First Lieut.
P. A. Taylor, and his dispatches and correctness in sending and receiving
messages, challenge our admiration.
It would be gross injustice
did I fail to acknowledge the good conduct of three of my men--Acting Sergeant
Chamberlin, Corpl. L. H. Goodenough, and Private G. W. Smith. They were always
present, ready for duty, and did it. We have no better flagmen in the
Of my own exertions in carrying out the
desires of the chief signal officer and yourself for the welfare of the corps
I have nothing to say, save that I endeavored to do my duty.
Accompanying this report,
please find the messages(*) sent and received from the 28th of April till
the 5th of May, inclosed by myself.
I have the honor to be, very- respectfully, your obedient
JAS. S. HALL,
Captain and Acting Signal Officer, Commanding Set
Capt. SAMUEL T. CUSHING,
Chief Signal Officer..
FEATURES: CIVIL WAR UNITS: 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, USA