Numbers 216. Report of Colonel Clark S. Edwards, Fifth Maine Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH MAINE VOLUNTEERS, May 9, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagements in which this regiment participated in the late movements of the army:
At about 1 o'clock on the morning of the 3rd instant, my command was put under arms near the river, and moved up to near the center of the plain in front, where a line of battle was formed, and halted until daylight, at which time the regiment moved by the flank, in rear of the Sixteenth Now York Volunteers, to the point where the road running south from Fredericksburg intersects the ravine.
The regiment occupied this position until nearly 7 a. m., when orders were received to move down the road to the left of t he ravine to the support of a battery, which movement was executed in good order without loss, the regiment moving by the left flank to the right and front of the battery, and formed a line at right angles with and about 100 yards from the road near the ravine.
Immediately after this, I was ordered by General Bartlett to move forward up the ravine and occupy the railroad, connecting my right with the left of the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers. I moved the regiment by the left flank into the ravine, and advanced until my left rested upon the left of the Ninety-sixth, but on reaching this point it was found that the railroad was occupied by the enemy in force and the position commanded by his batteries. It was thought impracticable to gain and hold this position, and the regiment was halted under cover of the bank of the ravine.
During this movement we received a fire of shrapnel, or grape and canister, from a battery at a range of about 200 yards, in which my regiment sustained a loss of 3 officers and 18 men, killed and wounded.
The ground at this point in the ravine is much broken, and covered with a thick undergrowth, and during the movement it was impossible to keep the files well crossed. The regiment remained in this position about three-fourths of an hour, during which time a portion of the men were employed as sharpshooters and skirmishers.
The loss here was as follows:* Officers wounded, 3; enlisted men killed, 4; wounded, 14.
I then had orders to retire, and moved back to the position last occupied, where the regiment remained, somewhat exposed to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, but without loss, until near 12 m., at which time orders were received to join the remainder of the brigade in the road, which being done, we moved through Fredericksburg to the heights in the rear of the city, where a short halt was made, and then the movement was continued by the Plank road toward Salem Heights.
At a distance of about 3 miles from the city, a line of battle was formed, my right resting on the road and supporting the One hundred and twenty-first New York Volunteers. I moved forward in this position until near the woods, where the infantry became engaged, and then moved obliquely to the left, and formed on the left of the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania, in the edge of the woods. My command soon became
*Nominal list omitted.