trying the march; he fell out on the second day. The rest of the command, with two or three exceptions, endured the march without complaining. We were among the first troops to wade the Rapidan, and bivouacked in our wet clothes but in the best of spirits.
Arrived in front of Chancellorsville on Thursday, after forming with the brigade in line of battle, I was ordered to place my regiment to support New York Battery Numbers 1, in position at the white house and graveyard south of the Plank road. I formed in the skirt of the wood, along a slight ravine near the left flank of the battery, and bivouacked for the night.
Occupied this position until about noon of Friday, when I joined the brigade on its advance with the division along the Plank road. When line of battle was formed to the left of the road, we were formed in double column in mass on the second line of battle, in rear of the Second Massachusetts, deployed on the first line. We occupied this position until ordered to fall back, when I faced by the rear and fell back in good order, followed by the Second Massachusetts. When I reached the open ground, I deployed and marched by file. We had, before entering the wood from which we retired, left our knapsacks, and were ordered to take them on our retreat. We had not, however, retired on the same ground by which we had advanced,a nd were some 400 paces past our knapsacks when we received this order. We faced about, and marched back in the direction of the knapsacks. This brought us to the rear in the retreat, and as I approached the wood where the knapsacks lay, I sent forward Captain Sill and Lieutenant Swayn with a body of skirmishers. Just as our men were taking their knapsacks, our skirmishers were fired upon. They returned the fire with spirit, and did not appear to hear my order to fall back. I hastened up to them, and they obeyed my orders to retire, with reluctance. I am confident they killed several of the enemy, as they were markswomen, and fired with deliberate aim, some of them as many as five times.
We rejoined the brigade on the Plank road, and marched to where the line of battle had been established; we on the left of the brigade, the Thirteenth New Jersey on our right. While our men were lying in line of battle here, I was receiving instructions from General Ruger, he sitting upon his horse, when a shell exploded, throwing the earth upon us, and mortally wounding Captain Rutter, of Company I, a promising young officer, beloved by all his comrades for his bravery and other virtues.
We slept on our arms in this position during the night, and in the morning commenced throwing up breastworks. Had the works on our line quite strong, when we were ordered forward with the brigade to the front and left, where the firing had been brisk for some time. Here, as on the day before, we were formed on the second line, the Second Massachusetts in front of us, on the first line. As we approached the line of breastworks, I was ordered to march to my position of the morning and have the men shoulder their knapsacks. We had just gained this position and commenced shouldering knapsack, when we were fired upon, our men returning the fire sharply.
It was now becoming dark. I heard a heavy fire on our right, apparently inside the breastworks and rapidly approaching. I saw Captain Wilkins, assistant adjutant-general of the division, riding toward the fire, and asked him what it meant. He informed me that the Eleventh Corps had broken, and they were flanking us; that it might be necessary to change our front.