road, and the heavy rain made the march very slow, and at about 3 a.m., just as our guide discovered that he was not on the road he had traversed twice the day before, it became so dark that nothing could be seen, and I was forced to halt until daylight.
About sunset, I had received a communication from the major-general commanding the corps, advising me of the importance of having the pontoon train at Ely's Ford at the earliest possible moment, and about 1 a.m., on the march, Captain Comstock, U. S. Engineers, received similar directions from the headquarters of the army. The pontoon train was, therefore, sent forward in advance, under escort of two regiments, as soon as there was light enough to see, and the column resumed its march as soon as the pontoon train reached its head.
At 7 a.m. I received directions to leave the trains under escort of one regiment and bring up the rest of my command as quickly as possible.
I reached Ely's Ford between 12 and 1 o'clock, but found my troops so much exhausted, that, after fording the river, I bivouacked on Hunting Creek, 3 miles from Chancellorsville, having marched at least 18 miles.
On the morning of May 1, my division was at Chancellorsville at 7 o'clock, it having been delayed one hour by the tardiness of the First Brigade, a tardiness that General Tyler attributed to the fatigue of the men. Here I received instructions from the major-general commanding the corps to follow Sykes' division to the ridge between Mott's and Colin Runs, and mass, under cover, in rear of and between Sykes on the right and Griffin on the left; to open communication to each, so as to be able to send support to either, and to place Randol's battery on the left bank of Mott's Run, prepared to move to Sykes, Griffin, or myself as occasion might require. These instructions were subsequently so far modified that I was to follow Griffin instead of Sykes.
In accordance with these, I marched close in rear of Griffin, on the Mott or River road, about 3 1/2 miles, when I was ordered by Major-General Meade to return to Chancellorsville, which was promptly done, and the division massed in that vicinity.
By General Meade's directions, I examined the position commencing at Chandler's house and running along the Mineral Spring road to the Rappahannock, and immediately occupied the left of that position, which commands the approach to the United States Ford by Mott's or the River road and its branches.
The next day (May 2), before midday, the position was intrenched, three roads under cover were opened, communicating with as many to the United States Ford, and twenty-six pieces of artillery, Randol's, Martin's, and Hazlett's batteries on the left, and Barnes' and Phillips' on the right, were placed in position, rendering it impossible for the enemy to debouch from the woods on the high, open plain, Childs' farm, opposite the heights, occupied by my division. These facts are highly creditable to the zeal and energy of the officers and men of the command.
At my request for a regiment of sharpshooters, Colonel Louis R. Francine, Seventh New Jersey Volunteers, Mott's brigade, Berry's division, reported to me with his regiment for duty, and was assigned to the rugged ground on the extreme left, extending to the narrow bottom land of the river. The enemy mounted pickets were visible along the edge of the woods, about 1,000 yards distant, where the River road debouches from the woods.