front. The advance in the moonlight across the field was a brilliant sight.
On arriving at the wood in which the enemy were lodged, the command advanced most gallantly. They soon encountered the enemy in our old barricades, drove them out and occupied them, completely taking the enemy by surprise, who at once retired, permitting one of our batteries to advance up the Plank road, but which, in the darkness of the dense woods, our troops took to be a battery of the enemy, and charged and captured it accordingly; but, on bearing the mistake, of course relinquished it. In the meantime the Fortieth New York and Seventeenth Maine, advancing up the road on the left, recaptured two field-pieces and five caissons from the enemy, taken by them that afternoon. The enemy were so completely surprised that they immediately fell back, thus opening our communication with the main body.
In the mealtime the Twentieth Indiana rejoined us, and thus we held the position until daylight, when we moved again to the right and joined the main body near the Chancellor house, and were placed in support of our batteries in column of regiments, under a heavy fire from the enemy, while awaiting orders.
I received orders from General Sickles to move by the right flank and form on the right of General Carr, and act as his support. Proceeded in the direction indicated until I arrived in an open field, without encountering General Carr, but immediately reported to General French, who directed me to fall in his rear, as he was about to attack. In the meantime I received orders from General Sickles to again join General Carr, who was now coming up. I joined General Carr, but General Birney arriving with the rest of the division, a new position was assigned us on the main road, with our left resting on General Meagher's right. Remaining in this position half an hour, under an intensely heavy fire, and the enemy being now beaten back, we left this position, and, after one or two immaterial changes, took up our final position on the left of the road leading from the ford to Chancellorsville, and, throwing up rifle-pits, remained in that position, under an occasional fire from the enemy's batteries, in the front line, until Wednesday morning, when, being the rear guard of the corps, we re-crossed the Rappahannock and arrived at our old camp the same afternoon.
I am happy to state that the loss in this brigade has not come up to the usual standard, having lost but 271 men in all. I cannot close this report without adverting to the coolness and courage of the whole command, their high spirits throughout the days we were engaged, and which still continues to manifest itself on all occasions since our return. Never were men better prepared or more willing to engage the enemy. While occupying the front for three days, they desired to remain in their position without being relieved, and did so remain until we re-crossed the river. The Twentieth Indiana, recently assigned to this brigade, has nobly sustained its well-earned reputation on the Peninsula, capturing nearly the whole of the Twenty-third Georgia Regiment. Its coolness and undaunted courage merited and received the encomiums of all who witnessed its actions. Of the old regiments of this brigade, the Thirty-eighth and Fortieth New York, the Third and Fourth Maine, and the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, it would be almost useless to make any additional remarks to the commander of this division. Their reputation is so well established on so many well-fought fields as to preclude the possibility of saying more in their praise. I can only say the Second Brigade has done as usual; more in regard to this devoted band would be superfluous.