War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0736 Chapter XXXVII. N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 284. Report of--,* Fifth Ohio Infantry.

[MAY]-, 1863.

SIR: The following is a report of the part taken by the Fifth Ohio Infantry in the action at Chancellorsville, Va., for the three days ending May 3:

On the morning of May 1, the regiment was encamped in the woods on the right of the Plank road, in the rear of the line of rifle-pits. At 10 a. m. the regiment was formed in line. At 10.30, artillery firing was heard on the right. At noon, musketry was heard from the same direction and from the left. Shortly after noon, the right of the regiment was deployed as skirmishers, and the line was advanced. The demonstration of the enemy having been checked, the regiment at 2 p. m. resumed its old position in bivouac. At about 5 p. m. the enemy, in considerable force, was thrown forward toward our batteries and was repulsed, the regiment holding itself in readiness for any emergency. On the night of May 1, the regiment lay on its arms.

May 2.-Heavy artillery firing during nearly the whole day. Early in the afternoon the brigade was advanced some distance beyond the works. The enemy was found in such force in the woods that the troops, after some heavy skirmishing, were ordered back to their old positions.

During the night of May 2, the regiment lay immediately in the rear of the rifle-pits, the right wing in the rear of the Sixty-sixth Ohio, and the left wing in rear of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania. Early in the evening of May 2, a tremendous rush of stragglers from the Eleventh corps nearly overwhelmed the regiment. A line of skirmishers at short intervals was deployed at right angles with the line of works, and in some measure stemmed the torrent. Some of these stragglers, either through panic or intentionally, fired upon the regiment, but without effect. The right of our line having been broken, and enfilading fire of artillery was turned upon us. toward midnight this ceased.

May 3.-Artillery commenced firing at sunrise in our immediate vicinity and toward the right rear. At about 7 a. m. the regiment, with the brigade, left the works under a very heavy artillery fire, and formed some distance in the rear of the guns, which were posted facing the curve of the Plank road from the southwest. The enemy, in heavy force, having failed to take this position, the regiment, accompanying the brigade, resumed its position in the works. to protect our flank, regiments were deployed across the woods at right angles with and to the rear of the works. This position was resumed so hastily that the regiment faces the rifle-pits by the rear rank, the left wing being on the right. While the troops were in this formation, the enemy, well concealed and in very heavy force, attacked. The regiments, deployed in line to the right almost immediately, were driven from protecting our flank, and fifteen or twenty minutes of a terrible enfilading fire forced the regiment to retire. Outside the woods the formation was again resumed, and the woods charged successfully three times. The regiment was at last withdrawn upon receipt of orders, and retired to the rear of the second line formed on the right.

On the evening of May 3, the regiment was posted on the road to the


*Unsigned. Lieutenant-Colonel Kilpatrick was severely wounded. This report probably made by Major Henry E. Symmes.