night near the Rappahannock, below Fredericksburg, near Skinker's Bend.
The next day, we moved about 1 mile nearer the river, and again bivouacked for the night.
On April 30, again followed the division column, in company with the whole Third Corps, to the vicinity of the United States Ford of the Rappahannock, and bivouacked.
The next day, May 1, we crossed the river on the pontoon bridge, and proceeded about 1 1/2 miles from the ford, where we were placed in position to the right of the road, with a strong picket guard of the brigade on our front, facing westwardly; but, before we had completed the disposition of the troops, were ordered immediately to proceed to the front, at chancellorsville, which we did, reaching that place about 5 p. m., and finding our forces hotly engaged with the enemy in the advance; were posted in mass as a reserve, on the left of the road near the brick house, and again bivouacked for the night under arms.
Here we remained until about 5 p. m. Saturday, May 2, although under arms from several alarms, which occurred in the course of the day, the enemy passing meanwhile in great force from the left to the right of our position. At that hour the enemy attacked our right with a tremendous assault, and the whole Eleventh Corps, upon which it was made, gave way, and we were hurried up to intercept the fugitives and repel the enemy. We marched forward on the road, this brigade leading, and the major-general commanding the division at our head, the First Brigade in our rear, meeting fugitives, ambulances, batteries, caissons, limbers, &c., hurrying to the rear of the troops which had broken. I received orders to cover the road on each side, and had already deployed the third Excelsior to the right and the Fourth Excelsior to the left of the road, when other orders were given to the rear regiments, and the whole brigade was dispersed in the thick woods and undergrowth on the right of the Plank road in a short time, no two regiments joining together. After considerable efforts upon the part of myself and may staff, we succeeded in joining the regiments again, and forming a line of battle in the dense woods, which extended in a semicircular form from the Plank road to a woods road on the right, in the following order, commencing on the right: the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, Third, First, and Second Excelsior, One hundred and twentieth New York Volunteers, Fifth Excelsior, First Massachusetts (I believe), and a Maryland regiment, resting on a plank road to Orange Court-House. The Fourth Excelsior did not join the brigade until the next morning, having been posted on the left of the Plank road by order of General Berry.
Before being entirely formed, we received orders to charge the enemy with the bayonet, but no enemy appeared just hen in our front, Immediately after I had formed my line, I sent out scouts and deployed skirmishers in advance, who reported the enemy's pickets in front and heavy masses of infantry in their rear. During the night, we succeeded in forming a low breastwork of logs, with a portion of abatis in front, and had frequent alarms, our pickets being several times driven in. We also captured a captain an some 20 privates of the enemy, all of whom agreed in reporting that General A. P. Hill was in our front, with a large force, and that the enemy's forces were being massed both on our left and to the right, with a view of gaining possession of the cross-roads, and of getting between us and our communications with the river at the same time. I went to the rear during the night, but found no second line there. I discovered, however, a break of half a mile from our