My position alternated between that and the tranches until the evening of the 5th, when I was ordered to the right, as a support to the batteries, and was subsequently directed to cover the retreat of the right of the army across the Rappahannock on the morning of the 6th instant, which duty I performed.
The several regiments of this brigade behaved with great coolness during the time they were under fire from the enemy's batteries, on April 29 and 30 and May 1 and 2, and were at all times ready and eager to be led into action. The One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers were under fire for the first time, and behaved with the coolness of veterans. The Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers was the only regiment under musketry fire to any extent. The artillery fire, however, to which they were subjected, and to which they could not reply, was quite as trying to the courage of the men. The men behaved with perfect coolness, and satisfied me that they can be trusted at all times.
The casualties have heretofore been reported, and amounted in the aggregate to 3 officers and 30 men killed and wounded.
I am under special obligation to the officers of the command for the manner in which they kept their commands closed up on the march-a roll-call on coming into camp on the 7th instant showing only about 20 men improperly absent.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Brigade.
Captain T. E. ELLSWORTH,
Aide-de-Camp and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Numbers 29. Report of Brigadier General Gabriel R. Paul, U. S. Army, Commanding Third Brigade.
CAMP NEAR WHITE OAK CHURCH, VA.,
May 20, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with orders from headquarters of the First Division, First Army Corps, I have the honor to report the part taken by my brigade during the operations of the Army of the Potomac against the enemy from April 28 to May 6, 1863.
The Third Brigade, consisting of the Twenty-second, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Regiments New Jersey Volunteers and the One hundred and thirty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, left camp, near Belle Plain, on April 28; marched toward the Rappahannock, via White Oak Church, and encamped about 2 miles from the river. Left camp at midnight, and halted near the crossing, several miles below Fredericksburg, where it was held in reserve until about 12 m., when it was ordered forward; crossed the river without opposition on a pontoon bridge, and took post on the crest of the bank on the west side of the river, and at nightfall the Thirty-first New Jersey was moved into rifle-pits in front.
In this position the brigade remained quietly until May 2, when the enemy opened their batteries on us, doing, however, but little damage, the troops being partially protected by the bank. In the midst of the heaviest firing, I received orders from the division commander to recross the river with my brigade, which was done with some loss, the enemy having the exact range of the bridge. Many fragments of shell fell on