Numbers 272. Report of Brigadier General Thomas H. Ruger, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
HDQRS. 3rd Brigadier, 1ST DIV., 12TH ARMY CORPS,
May 15, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade of your division, under my command, in the operations from the time of leaving camp at Stafford Court-House, viz, April 27 to May 6, particularly in relation to the late battle near Chancellorsville:
The brigade left camp at sunrise on the morning of April 27, and marched to Hartwood Church, a distance of 12 miles, encamping at that point for the night.
The march was resumed early next morning toward Kelly's Ford. The brigade encamped about 1 1\2 miles from Kelly's Ford.
The division move at 4.30 o'clock on the morning of the 29th. My brigade, in advance, crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, and took the road to Germanna Ford, on the Rapidan.
The enemy's cavalry, consisting of one regiment, was encountered by the cavalry in our advance about 2 1\2 miles from Kelly's Ford. Skirmishing occurred between this body of the enemy's cavalry an dour own to within about 3 miles of Germanna Ford. When within about 2 miles of Germanna Ford, it was ascertained that there was a detachment of about 150 men of the enemy at Germanna Ford, engaged in building a bridge at that point. On the approach of our cavalry, it was checked by this force. It was reported that they occupied rifle-pits on the right of the road, on the same side of the river on which we then were. Receiving orders to deploy skirmishers on both sides of the road and advance rapidly, when within about three fourths of a mile from the ford I caused the Second Massachusetts, Colonel Quincy, to be deployed on the right, and the Third Wisconsin, Colonel Hawley, on the left of the road, with orders to advance rapidly and push for the river bank, at the same time directing Colonel Quincy to turn the rifle-pits reported on its left. The Twenty-seventh Indiana moved forward by the road, followed by a section of artillery and the balance of the brigade. The skirmishers advanced rapidly, taking the double-quick on approaching the river. About 30 of the enemy took refuge in a house on our side of the rive and were made prisoners. The balance of the enemy, on the other side of the river, being brought completely under fire of our skirmishers by their rapid movement, surrendered after a loss of 1 killed and several wounded. About 100 prisoners were taken at this point.
The brigade immediately began crossing the river by fording. The ford was very difficult. It was necessary to remove the cartridge-boxes, owing to the depth of water. The river was forded without loss. The pioneer corps of the division was immediately set to work constructing a temporary bridge. The brigade encamped for the night about 1 mile from the ford.
The brigade marched with the division on the next day, the 30th, to Chancellorsville, two regiments forming rear guard to the corps. On arriving at Chancellorsville, the brigade was placed in the position designated by yourself, on the left of the Plank road, west from Chancellorsville, and in the center of the division. An abatis was at once constructed in front of the line occupied by the brigade.