War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0500 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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No. 165. Report of Colonel Samuel M. Bowman, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.


SIR: I have the honor to report that this brigade was chiefly employed on the 1st instant my marching from the north bank of teh Rappahannock, across that river, to a camp near Chancellorsville, sand in making due preparations for battle, supposed to be near at hand.

On the 2nd, in obedience to orders from General Whipple, we marched out on the Fredericksburg and Gordonsville Plank road a short distance, thence taking a road to the left, and arriving at a farm, where we halted and deployed in line of battle.

Soon afterward I was ordered to move forward with the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers and the Twelfth New Hampshire Volunteers through the woods, and with these two regiments connected our line of battle with Colonel Franklin's brigade on the left and General Ward's on the right. The One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers was left to support a battery at the farm. No portion of my command became engaged with the enemy that day.

In the evening, we fell back and lay on our arms until near daylight, when the entire brigade was directed to march in the direction of the brick house, and to form the third line of battle in front of our batteries placed on the hill. I had no special orders from General Whipple, excepting that it would be expected of me to support the batteries, but I had hardly made the proper dispositions of my command when (the enemy having a vigorous attack against our left) I saw our troops on both sides of the creek begin to waver, and at length saw those under temporary cover on the left of the creek break and run without giving the enemy a dingle volley. Under these circumstances it was obvious that unless this calamity could be repaired instantly our left would be turned at the very beginning of the engagement. I could not at the moment obtain the advice of either my division or corps commander. The enemy were seeking the very cover abandoned by our troops, to be used against us. There was no time for delay, and I ordered the One hundred and tenth and Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers (these being nearest thereto) into the position abandoned as above stated. From a moment it was doubtful whether we could get there before the enemy, but just then General Whipple appeared, and, urging us on, we secured the position and held it.

By this circumstances my command was divided. The Twelfth New Hampshire Volunteers became engaged subsequently and lost heavily. Colonel Potter, Lieutenant-Colonel March, and Major Savage were all badly wounded, and of 21 officers and 537 enlisted men of this regiment who went into the fight there remain only 5 officers and 212 men now present for duty.

The One hundred and tenth and Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers held their position for nearly two hours, and until after our artillery on the hill had been withdrawn.

Several prisoners came in and surrendered and were sent forward, one of whom brought in his hand a battle-flag - white and red, with a figure 3 in the center - which he claimed to belong to us. This flag is ready to be delivered to whom it may concern. We also recovered a gun, with carriage and horses attached.* Belonging to [First] Ohio


*See Huntington's report, No. 167, p.504.