During the night we strengthened and extended our barricades and rifle-pits, and connected the line with the Plank road near an unfinished church, west of Chancellorsville. The enemy opened a battery from our left front, which was soon silenced by the artillery under Captain Best, chief of artillery of the corps. The enemy's pickets, which attempted to crowd our lines, were also driven back, but, I regret to say, with the loss of Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, Third Wisconsin Volunteers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Norton, One hundred and twenty-third New York Volunteers, severely, if not mortally, wounded.
On the afternoon of May 2, my division was ordered to make a detour to the left and front, move out 2 or 3 miles through the woods, so as to strike the rifle-pits and other emperor works of the enemy on the flank and rear, and then sweep both sides of the Plank rod toward Chancellorsville. On moving out to take position, I found myself in contact with Whipple's division, of Sickles' (Third) corps, who had on his right, as I understood, Birney's division, of the same corps.
I arranged with General Whipple to move as far as possible to the right, in order to strike the position of the enemy as far as practicable from Chancellorsville, and that I would connect closely with his left. The First and Third Brigades (Knipe's and Ruger's) of the division, moving their first line by the right of companies to the front, penetrated rapidly the dense evergreen thickets. Knipe had already opened a brisk fire upon the enemy, driving them before him. Ross' (Second) brigade had lost the prescribed interval, and some of his regiments had broken their proper formation, which I was in the act of correcting when as order was received to reoccupy our barricades at once. I ordered the several brigades to retire in good order but without loss of time, being apprehensive that some disaster had happened to the corps on our right, which might expose our camp, in which many of our knapsacks had been left, under guard of four companies of the Twenty-eighth New York.
On reaching the open fields of the front of our original position, I saw the ravine and ridge in the vicinity of Fairview swarming with fugitives of the Eleventh Corps. I rode as rapidly as possible with my staff to the Plank road, where Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson, of General Hooker's staff, and other officers were engaged in trying to stop and form the fleeing troops. The attempt was practically fruitless, and I returned to meet Ruger's and Knipe's brigades, which came at a doulbequick, and moving by flank along the entire line of the woods south of the Plank road, through which the fugitives were passing, were faced to the front, and, with a loud cheer, pushed into the woods. The movement checked at once all farther advance of the enemy. Ross' (Second) brigade took up its original position on the left, and Ruger's bridge immediately reoccupied a portion of its barricades.
By orders of the major-general commanding the corps, I directed General Knipe to attempt to reoccupy his original line of rifle-pits, which extended diagonally through the woods to the Plank road. It was now quite dark; the woods were thick with underbrush, and a march near the center made it necessary to detach one regiment to the right. It was not know hat the enemy had driven the Eleventh Corps from the north side of the Plank road. Orders were given to advance cautiously, with skirmishers well out; but in spite of all precaution the One hundred and twenty eighth Pennsylvania, Colonel Mathews, on the right of our line, found itself partly enveloped on its right and rear, and before it clued be extricated its colonel and lieutenant-colonel, with at least 150 of the men, fell into the hands of the enemy. Many of the reported missing of this regiment, and of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania