On the 30th, advanced and occupied the position vacated by a portion of Sedgwick's Sixth Corps, which had crossed the river during the morning. The different regiments were mustered by their commanding officers. About 1 p.m., received orders to march in the direction of the United States Ford, where the main body of the army had already crossed the Rappahannock. After a tedious march of ten hours with heavily laden knapsacks, bivouacked about 12.30 a.m. near Hamet's.
On May 1, resumed the march at 5.30 a.m., and crossed the pontoon bridge at the United States Ford, and advanced about 4 miles and encamped, arriving about 12 m. At 5 p.m. a heavy cannonading and musketry were heard in our immediate front and near Chancellorsville. Receiving orders to move to the front, and this brigade being the advance of the division and corps, moved off a rapid pace. On arriving at the point where our services were required, by direction of General Birney, commanding the division, the brigade was formed in two lines to the right of the Chancellor house, in an open field. Remained in this position, ready to support our troops in our immediate front, for about an hour, when I again received orders to move up the Plank road to the right. This movement was performed under the fire of the enemy's batteries. Advancing up the road, the brigade was halted about a mile from its former position, and bivouacked for the night. By direction of General Birney the Twentieth Indiana Volunteers was detailed for picket duty. At daylight the brigade moved still farther to the right, and made connection with the Eleventh Corps, General Howard.
The brigade remained in this position until 2 p.m., when, by order of General Birney, the Thirty-eighth New York was detached and ordered to the front, which was followed by an order for the remainder of the brigade to join, and was promptly complied with. The whole of the brigade was now together, with the exception of the Twentieth Indiana, which was deployed as skirmishers in advance of the division. The brigade, with the whole division, now steadily advanced with the view of cutting off the enemy's train. Advanced step by step, under the direction of General Birney, the Twentieth Indiana continually sending prisoners to the rear, the last installment being 180 rebels. The men of the whole command were in excellent spirits; so anxious were they to move forward that it was difficult to restrain them in thus advancing and meeting with success at every point, and when nearly 3 miles in advance of the army the news arrived of the disaster on our right flank. I now received orders from Major-General Sickles, commanding the corps, to return to the open field from which we first advanced, the remainder of the division, under General Birney, following.
It was now ascertained that, in consequence of the disaster on the right, our communication with the main body and the commander-in-chief was cut off. The body thus left to force their way through the enemy included Major General Sickles and General Birney, commanding division, two batteries of artillery, and the whole division. The enemy now occupied the Plank road nearly to the Chancellor house.
It was now determined by the corps and division commanders that an effort should be made to open communication with the main body without delay. With my brigade I was directed to attack the enemy in flank, and push my way through, if practicable, to the Plank road.
The advance started about 11.30 p.m., my brigade in line of battle, the other brigades of the division in support. The Seventeenth Maine, from the Third Brigade, and the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, from the First Brigade, were assigned to me, in addition to my own command, the Twentieth Indiana not having yet arrived from the extreme