No. 98. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Leonard W. Carpenter, Fourth Ohio Infantry.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., May 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fourth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under my command, in the action of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th instant, near Chancellorsville, Va.:
On the afternoon of the 1st, I had orders to mass my regiment in a wood between a mud pike and the Gordonsville Plank road, where we remained for a short time, when I received orders to move to the front, and, after advancing 400 or 500 yards, the order was countermanded, and we resumed our old position in a cleared field, on the skirt of the wood, where we formed line of battle and remained during the night.
On the morning of the 2nd, at about 5.30, we changed our position to the left of the road, and formed line of battle, facing the wood in the direction of the river. At about 9 a.m., in obedience to orders, we commenced digging rifle-pits and cutting the timber in our front for the purpose of constructing an abatis. We remained in this position, picketing well our front, until about 7 a.m. on the 3rd, when we again of the Plank road, with the Fourteenth Indiana on our right and the Seventh Virginia (Union) on our left, and then awaited orders to move upon the enemy.
About 7.30 a.m. the order to advance was given. We moved forward in line of battle across an open field about 250 yards and entered a thick wood. After penetrating the wood about 30 yards, we came upon the enemy, drawn up in line of battle, supported by a column massed in their rear, the number or depth of which, owing to the thickness of the wood, it was impossible to estimate. The enemy opened upon our line, to which we immediately replied, and charged them, driving them before us through the wood about 800 yards, across the Plank road, and through their works on the opposite side. At this point, the enemy opened upon us with artillery from the right, enfilading our entire line. At the same time a heavy column of infantry, at least a division strong, moved upon us on our right and front. Being thus overwhelmed in numbers, and unsupported, except by our own brigade, we were unable to hold our position, and fell back about 200 yards, across the Plank road. Reformed, and again advanced to within 100 yards of their line. Finding our position untenable, we were obliged to retire, which we did in good order, and took our position to the left of the rifle-pits before mentioned, and formed in line of battle at right angles thereto, immediately on the right of the Seventh Virginia (Union), and at once threw out heavy pickets, and strengthened our position by digging rifle-pits.
On the 4th and 5th repeated attempts were made upon our picket line by the enemy's skirmishers, but without success.
About 2 a.m. on the 6th, the order to recross the river was received, and about 5 a.m. we recrossed the pontoon bridge at the United States Ford, and at 2 p.m. were in our old camp occupied previously to crossing the river.
My regiment was not actively engaged except on the 3rd. It went into action with 19 commissioned officers and 353 enlisted men. Our losses were 2 commissioned officers, slightly wounded; killed, 1 sergeant,