down the old Richmond turnpike, which makes a detour at Chancellorsville, coming in again to the Plank road about 3 1/2 miles from Chancellorsville. Upon referring to Major-General Slocum (who had arrived and assumed command) the question of withdrawing or supporting Griffin, it was determined to withdraw him, which was accordingly done, and both divisions were bivouacked in line of battle, the right resting on Chancellorsville and the left extending in a northeast direction toward the river.
The division of Humphreys bivouacked this night at Hunting Creek, some 2 miles in our rear.
The next day (May 1), under the orders of the major-general commanding, the corps was put en route to take a position to uncover Banks' Ford, the left resting on the river, the right extending on the Plank road. For this purpose, Sykes' division was ordered to advance on the old Richmond turnpike until after crossing Mott's Run, when he was to move to the left, deploy, and open communication with Griffin on his left and Slocum on his right, and, when all were in position, to advance simultaneously against the enemy, supposed to be in position from the Plank road to the river. Griffin was ordered to move down the River or Mott road until in the presence of the enemy, when he was to deploy, his left resting on the river and his right extending toward Sykes. Humphreys was ordered to follow Griffin, to be held in reserve to re-enforce Griffin or Sykes as the exigencies might require.
These movements were commenced about 11 a.m. Sykes moved out on the old pike, and, after proceeding over a mile, met the enemy's skirmishers. He immediately deployed, and, after a spirited engagement, drove the enemy for a considerable distance.
Finding the enemy in force and making dispositions to outflank him on both flanks, without any communication either on the right or left with a supporting force, General Sykes reported the condition of affairs to the major-general commanding the army, and by him was ordered to withdraw. This he did in good order, returning to Chancellorsville.
In the meantime the column of Griffin and Humphreys proceeded on the River road, and had reached Decker's house, within view of Banks' Ford, without any opposition from the enemy, when the order of recall was received, and the column returned to Chancellorsville.
Being directed to occupy a line from Chancellorsville to the river, General Humphreys division was immediately sent to occupy the extreme left of this line, on the river bank, and directed to hold the approach to the United States Ford by the Mott or River road, in force. General Griffin was halted on his return march, owing to the advance of the enemy on the withdrawal of Sykes. Griffin formed on the left of Hancock, who had come up to relieve Sykes.
About 6 p.m. the enemy advanced on Sykes, who had just returned to camp, who formed line immediately, and repulsed him handsomely.
In this position the troops bivouacked for the night, but before day-light Griffin and Sykes were withdrawn and took up a position on the Mineral Spring road, connecting on the left with Humphreys and on the right with French, of Couch's corps.
The next day, May, 2, was occupied in strengthening this position by the constructions of rifle-pits, abatis, &c. About 5 p.m., hearing of the giving way of the right flank of the Eleventh Corps, I moved Sykes from the left to the right, and pushed him out on the road to Ely's Ford, in front of the road to the United States Ford, to cover and hold the same in case the enemy should advance, as I feared, by that road.
During the night and by early daylight the next morning, under the