No. 149. Report of Captain Virgil M. Healy, Fifth New Jersey Infantry.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,
May 7, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to forward herewith a report of the part taken by this regiment in the movements and actions of this army from the 28th ultimo to the 6th instant, inclusive.
On the evening of the 28th ultimo, the regiment started from camp, and marched to the left about 4 miles and bivouacked.
The following morning (29th), changed position and encamped for the night.
Next day, marched up the river from our bivouac to 1 mile beyond Berea Church, a distance of 11 miles, where we rested for the balance of the night.
On the morning of May 1, crossed the Rappahannock, and took up a position in support of a battery guarding the United States Ford; returned and went on picket; drew in our pickets and returned to our former position in support of the battery, and slept on our arms that night.
In the morning (May 2), went on picket south of the ford, and, immediately after posting our picket line, were recalled and marched to the front, arriving on the advance lines after midnight, and slept on our arms.
May 3. - At daybreak, the regiment stood to arms, and soon after was advanced a short distance to the support of the line immediately on the left of the Plank road, where, after lying under fire about an hour, the enemy, advancing in superior force, caused the line in our front to give way, when Colonel Sewell, leading the regiment, charged the enemy, repulsed and drove him form the breastward, on being re-enforced, endeavored to take, but was each time driven back with great loss. During this time we captured three stand of colors and a great number of prisoners. The loss of the enemy in our immediate front was at least three to our one. This occupies about three hours, during which time the regiment was under on incessant fire. During the action, Colonel Sewell was called to the command of the brigade, when Major Angel assumed command, but, being shortly afterward wounded, the command devolved upon me.
The regiment went into action 320 strong, and lost during the engagement as follows: Killed and wounded, 115; missing, 6; total, 121 - a list of which I herewith inclose.*
I have to speak in the highest terms of the conduct of both officers and men during the engagement. Their courage and coolness were admirable under the most severe fire that the regiment ever experienced. After coming out of the engagement, I formed the regiment ever experienced. After coming out of the engagement, I formed the regiment in rear of a line already formed, resting on the main road near the headquarters of General Hooker. I had at this time several men from other regiments that I had collected together, and seeing Colonel Francine, Seventh New Jersey Volunteers (whom I had just unlearned had assumed command of the brigade, he having heard that Colonel Sewell was wounded), taking a party of men to my right, I joined him with my command, when he marched up to the rear as far as the United States Ford. Shortly
*Embodied in revised statement, p.179.