No. 148. Report of Colonel William J. Sewell, Fifth New Jersey Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUT, VA., May 8, 1863.
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this brigade in the late movement against the enemy:
April 28. - The brigade, having been withdrawn from the picket line, marched to the left at 10 p. m., joining the division in bivouac at 4 a. m. the 29th.
April 29. - Marched 1 mile to the support of the First and Sixth Corps.
April 30. - Marched with the corps toward Banks' Ford. Bivouacked near Berea Church. Retreated the pontoons, near the United States Ford, at 3 p. m. May 1.
Brigadier General G. Mott, commanding the brigade, received orders, through the major-general commanding the division, to halt on the south side of the Rappahannock, send two regiments to the north side of the river to protect the supply train, and, with the balance of the brigade and Seeley's battery, guard the pontoons, throwing out the pickets to the fords on the Rapidan.
The brigade was placed in the various positions in compliance with this order, when General Berry, commanding division, sent for General Mott to bring his command to the front. The two regiments ordered to the north side of the river were ordered to recross, and, while waiting for them, the order to move to the front was countermanded. The Seventh New Jersey was then detached by request of General Meade, to connect his line with the river at Banks' Ford.
May 2. - Marched to the front at 10 p. m., reaching the advance lines at 2 a. m., where the Seventh New Jersey rejoined the command.
At 4.30 a. m., May 3, the brigade was under arms, and immediately afterward was placed in position in the second line, its right resting on the Plank road, and connecting with the First Brigade of this division.
At 6 a. m. skirmishing commenced on the left, and soon extended along the whole front, accompanies by a hot artillery fire from the enemy, which was very destructive to the regiments in the second line.
At 6.30 a. m. the enemy advanced to the attack, driving on our skirmishers, and soon afterward a part of the first line nearest the road. The position vacated by the first line was taken by the Fifth and Eighth New Jersey Regiments, of this command, when the engagement became general, the enemy advancing in such strength that the second line became engaged in fifteen minutes after the first line was attacked.
It has been the fortune of this brigade to have participated in many hard-fought actions, but former experience was nothing in comparison to the determination of the enemy to carry this position. Battalion after battalion was hurled against our ranks, each one to lose its colors and many of its men taken prisoners. The Seventh New Jersey here took five of the enemy's colors; the Fifth New Jersey to three. The brigade took at least 1,000 prisoners.
At 8.30 a. m. I was informed by Captain T. W. Eayre, assistant adjutant-general, of General Mott being wounded, as also Colonels Burling and Park, which left me in command of the brigade. General Mott up to this time had been wherever his presence was necessary, his gallantry in this as in previous actions inspiring confidence in all.
I now rode to the right of my line, and crossing the Plank road in