and Ely's Ford road, and half a mile west of the road to the bridges. Wiedrich's battery, of the Eleventh Corps, also held the same position. They were not engaged at all, and were safely withdrawn on the night of the 5th.
May 5.-Everything remained quiet along our lines during the day. So soon as it was dark I commenced withdrawing the batteries stationed along the front of the First Corps. Wiedrich's and Reynold's passed off without trouble, but the road by which the three batteries on our left were to have withdrawn having being rendered impassable by the heavy rain, they were obliged to go around by the main road, and the bridges having been damaged, were ordered back to their old position after getting half-way to the crossing.
In another hour, however, they were again started, and after daylight on the morning of the 6th all the batteries of the corps were again on this side of the river. With the exception of Thompson's and Cooper's batteries, they at once proceeded on their march back to White Oak Church. These two batteries were posted on the heights below the bridges, to cover their removal, and during the afternoon had a sharp engagement with some of their guns at about 1,400 yards, in which Thompson lost 1 killed and 3 wounded. The enemy were driven from their guns and several of their chests exploded.
It had been difficult to make the above report satisfactory, as the batteries, of the corps were much scattered, and, except during the operations below Fredericksburg, those that were engaged were not under my own command at the time. So far as I have been able to learn, the officers and men behaved well.
I would submit the following observations in regard to the 3-inch projectiles. The Schenkl common fuse worked well, but can only be used within 2,500 yards. The head of the fuse was found in some cases to stick in the hollow at the end of the reamer, and the shot displaced after being sent home, causing it to fail in taking the grooves. The Hotchkiss shell and shrapnel did well, but the paper fuses were far from certain. This was doubtless partly owing to the dampness of the atmosphere and the powder in the fuse-head having got more or less rubbed off by abrasion in the chests. Both these difficulties are removed by the new mode of putting up fuses, I notice, in some of these issued since our return. For certainly, both of flight and explosion, I give the preference to the Schenkl percussion-shell over any other projectile.
The march from our first position to the ford was a hard one on horses and harness, and much of the latter was broken. I would respectfully call the attention of the Ordnance Department, through you, to the fact that the harness issued at the commencement of this war is now nearly worn out, and that there will soon be a necessity for its replacement.
Of the officers and men deserving especial approbation, I would mention First Lieutenant A. B. Twitchell, Fifth Maine Battery, who, though twice wounded and his clothing badly burned at the commencement of the engagement at Chancellorsville, continued to command his section until struck the third time; also Sergt. Amos Gibbs, of Battery L, First New York, who, though badly wounded in the shoulder by a shell, persisted in remaining at his piece after being permitted to go to the rear by his captain.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. WAINWRIGHT,
Colonel and Chief of Artillery, First Corps.
Brigadier General HENRY J. HUNT,
Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac.