Early on the following morning, Sunday, May 3, commenced upon our left a severe battle, lasting upward of five hours, and during its continuance momentarily threatening, as was supposed, to extend to that portion of the line occupied by your command. While standing to their arms, in readiness to receive the enemy, a temporary breastwork was by this regiment thrown up, which, after the engagement ceased, was extended and strengthened, and an abatis constructed at a suitable distance in front, so as to form a position capable of being held against greatly superior number. We continued to hold and occupy this position of the line, and to keep well advanced in front of it toward the enemy a strong and vigilant force of outposts, with suitable reserves, during Sunday and until Monday afternoon, when my regiment was ordered to move as part of a reconnoitering force, under your command, to examine the position and movements of the enemy's left. Returning after dark from the successful discharge of this duty, the regiment, with your brigade, resumed its position in the original line, and occupied the same until 2 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, May 6, when, leaving our pickets and outposts in position to watch the movements of the enemy, the regiment, with the other troops, took up the line of march and crossed the pontoons at the United States Ford at 7 a. m., and, after a fatiguing march consequent upon the labor and excitement of the preceding nine days, arrived at White Oak Church at about 9 p. m. in a violent storm, and there bivouacked for the night.
On the following day we moved with the residue of your command by easy marches to our old camp at Belle Plain, and on the day following to our present camp near Pollock's Mill. I am not advised of any losses in this regiment except 1, Theophilus Westover, Company D, severely wounded. Serious apprehensions were entertained that the entire detail for outpost duty and advance guard from this regiment, including the whole of Company C, Captain George N. Reichard commanding, had been captured; but owing to the excellent precaution taken under your directions, and the establishment of a line of telegraph, they were all withdrawn in safety, and have rejoined their regiment. A considerable number of rebel prisoners were captured by the pickets and outposts of the regiments composing your brigade during the operations near Chancellorsville.
The men of my command are suffering the usual consequences of long and rapid marches in soreness of feet, and loss, through necessity, of a portion of their overcoats, blankets, shoes, &c. The experience of the late movements, if I may be pardoned the remark, furnishes strong evidence that only in critical emergencies should men be compelled to carry, in addition to their usual equipments, including 60 rounds of cartridges, eight days' rations.
I have the honor further to report that without one exception the officers and men of this regiment behaved with great coolness and courage under fire at Pollock's Mill and in the trying position assigned them in the advance line on the Chancellorsville road. At each of the frequent alarms by the advance of the enemy toward our pickets, both by day and night, every one sprang with alacrity and precision to his place, and steadily awaited orders with a degree of coolness and self-possession which would have been highly creditable to veteran troops.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND L. DANA,
Colonel, Commanding One hundred and forty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Colonel ROY STONE,
Commanding Second Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps.