War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0675 Chapter XXXVII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

fourteen pieces on each front, on one or both of which the attack must occur, and did occur on both in the afternoon. The enemy was effectually checked or repulsed in each case Knap's battery being most engaged, and doing its work, as usual, well. A section of Knap's battery was pushed down (a hazardous experiment) the Plank road without my knowledge, by order of General Geary, among the enemy's skirmishers, but was soon recalled by the general commanding. Lieutenant Atwell was wounded in this movement. Lieutenant Muhlenberg's light 12-pounders were of great service on this front during this and subsequent days, sweeping the woods and road with their heavy fire, canister included. Lieutenant Muhlenberg behaved with great discretion and gallantry during al the engagements, having at the last nearly all his cannoneers wounded and horses nearly all killed. I think he will deserves the favorable consideration of the Government.

The batteries all maintained the positions specified until Saturday afternoon, when the Eleventh Corps was suddenly routed, and came fleeing in disordered and bewildered masses toward Chancellorsville. Having no doubt the enemy would follow in force, I gathered all our batteries, save Knap's and Lieutenant Muhlenberg's section, massing them on the ridge in rear of our First Division, and posting in position with them some of the fragments of the Eleventh Corps batteries, until I had 34 guns in what may be termed the key-point of the battle-field. The general commanding soon after came up, approved the disposition and kindly authorized me to open fire whenever I deemed it necessary The necessity soon occurred, for there was no doubt that the enemy was in force in the woods between 600 yards and a mile in our front. I was obliged to fire over the heads of our infantry force, ranged in parallel lines about 500 yards in front. It was an operation of great delicacy, this cannonade of 34 guns over the heads of our men, but it was a matter of necessity, and was promptly and fully executed.

Ut to near 10 o'clock at night the cannonading at intervals was terrific, and, in my opinion, contributed much to checking the bold and elated enemy. So far as I can learn, and I am happy to record it, not one of our men was killed by our fire, or, indeed, wounded. That night I intrenched all my guns, the digging subsequently proving much protection.

Early Sunday morning, the enemy commenced the attack, evidently determined to carry that point, and all my batteries again opening on their masses.

Here I beg leave to offer an opinion. Our position could not have been forced had the flanks of our line of guns been successfully maintained. An important point-an open field about a mile to our left and front, guarded by a brigade of our troops (not of the Twelfth Corps) and a battery-was seemingly taken by a small force of the enemy and the battery captured and turned on us with fearful effect, blowing up one of our caissons, killing Captain Hampton, and enfilading General Geary's line. It was most unfortunate. My line of guns, however, kept to its work manfully until about 9 a. m., when, finding our infantry in front withdrawn, our right and left turned, and the enemy's musketry already so advanced as to pick off our men and horses, I was compelled to withdraw my guns to save them. We were also nearly exhausted of ammunition.

While retiring, I was directed by the chief of artillery of the army to take the batteries to the brick hospital near the ford, to replenish them, and to remain in person to take charge of all the batteries of our own and other corps there massed, where I remained so engaged until