War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0272 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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train, which was abandoned in a great measure by the men in charge and the boats left lying along the bank and some of them in the water. I then received orders to advance my command under cover of a stone wall to the river bank and reply to the fire of the enemy, which was done, but with little effect. After maintaining this position for two hours, I withdrew my command under shelter of a ridge a few yards to the rear of, and parallel with, the stream.

About 9 a. m., April 29, I received orders to cross the river and execute the movement previously arranged for the night attack. My command advanced to this perilous duty without faltering, and, under cover of the fire of the Second and Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana Volunteers, and the skirmishers of the Fourteenth Brooklyn, moved by the right of companies down the bank and crossed the river. During the whole time the enemy were within easy range, and, protected by trees and rifle-pits, kept up a constant fire, but fortunately did us comparatively little damage by reason of the incessant fire kept up by the regiments and skirmishers before named. One boat, loaded with men from the Twenty-fourth Michigan, crossed at the same time with my command, followed by the regiment so soon as facilities for crossing could be procured.

Without discredit to any regiment, I have the honor to report, without the fear of contradiction, that the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers first scaled the bank and their colors first caught the breeze on the southern bank of the Rappahannock on the morning of April 29.

Quite a number of prisoners were captured along the bank and in the rifle-pits and sent to the opposite shore. I then advanced upon and took the brick house on my right, threw out my skirmishers and pickets, and held the position until relieved by the Second Brigade, General Cutler commanding, when I rejoined my brigade, on the left of the line, where I remained, in connection with the other regiments of the brigade, entrenching and strengthening the position against attack, until the morning of May 2, when the position was evacuated and the river recrossed.

During the whole period of our presence on the south side of the river, the enemy annoyed us at intervals with his artillery, but did little injury.

The conduct of every officers and man in my command was splendid. Individual cases cannot be noticed where all did so well, without in a degree reflecting upon others, and for this reason I forbear.

My loss was 3 enlisted men killed and 1 officer and 12 enlisted men wounded.

May 2.-Having recrossed the river we moved to the United States Ford, and on the morning of the 3rd crossed the river and moved up to the Ely's Ford road, where we went into position and remained until the morning of May 6, when we recrossed the river in safety, having had no casualty in the regiment. The weather was inclement a portion of the time that we were in position on the Ely's Ford road, but the men bore the storm and fatigue of the march without a murmur. A disposition to engage and beat the enemy so occupied their minds that no other feeling had an opportunity to obtain a foothold. I commend them to you as brave and fearless in action, patient and enduring under hardship, men who may have equals, but do not admit superiority.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers.

Captain J. D. WOOD,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Fourth Brigade.