War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0617 Chapter XXXIV. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 235. Report of Brigadier General Frank Wheaton, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.


May 9, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for the information of General John Newton, commanding the division, the following report of the operations of the Third Brigade from the time it crossed the Rappahannock, on Saturday, May 2, at 8 p. m., until its return to its present camp, near the one occupied by us during the past winter:

At 12 o'clock on Saturday night, when the division marched from its bivouac on the south side of the Rappahannock toward Fredericksburg, this brigade followed the First. Just before daybreak, we reached the enemy's works upon the heights of Fredericksburg, and were ordered by General Newton to feel them, and learn something of the nature of their defenses, force, number of guns, &c.

I selected the Sixty-second New York, Lieutenant Colonel T. B. Hamilton, and, forming them in line just below the crest, marched up to draw the enemy's fire. Before the regiments were 200 yards from the brigade line, they were opened on by a heavy musketry fire and apparently five pieces of artillery from the rebel works and rifle-pits not 250 yards distant. The Sixty-second and One hundred and second were compelled to fall back a few yards to a line where the slopes afforded them some protection from the enemy's fire, which position they held until the heights were taken. The remaining three regiments of my brigade were then marched forward on a line with and to the left of the two above mentioned, and we formed the first line of battle, McCarthy's battery on the crest near the center of the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers. The gallantry with which this regiment and the Sixty-second New York moved up to receive the enemy's fire, and in about as many seconds lost in killed and wounded 64 officers and men, is worthy of special praise and notice. The Sixty-second lost its color-sergeant, its commander was wounded, and 30 musket-balls pierced its flag.

At about noon, the heights in our front were assaulted on the extreme right by the Light Brigade, and, as soon as they were carried, my own regiments and all I could find in their vicinity were moved up at double-quick to support the attacking column and hold the heights. After forming on the crest beyond the works now abandoned by the enemy, I received orders, through a staff officer, to form all troops as soon as they reached the heights in two lines of battle. This was rapidly done, and they were sheltered as much as possible from the fire of the enemy's guns, which was kept up with some vigor on our left. I had hardly concluded the formation of the troops in two lines, as directed, when all were ordered forward.

I then took command of my own brigade, which formed the advance, the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania being the first regiment on the left of the main road. The brigade was halted with the rest of the Third Division on the main ridge, about 1 1/2 miles from Fredericksburg. Here we were joined by the two other divisions of the corps, and this brigade was ordered to follow the rear brigade of the First Division in our advance toward Chancellorsville. The corp was formed with the greatest expedition, and pushed on to a point called Salem Heights. Here the First Division, which was in the advance, found the enemy