War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0748 Chapter XXXVII. N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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Numbers 291 Report of Brigadier General Thomas L. Kane, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.


May 9, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent operations of the Army of the Potomac:

In compliance with orders from division headquarters, the brigade marched at 7 a. m. of April 27 from its encampment near Aquia Landing, and halted for the night a short distance beyond Potomac Creek.

Took up its line of march at 5 a. m., April 28, via Hartwood Church, and encamped that night within 2 miles of Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock.

April 29.-Crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford about 9 a. m., and the Rapidan at Germanna Ford at 11 p. m., the infantry on a foot-bridge and horses and trains at the ford; water 4 feet deep. Bivouacked for the night in a drenching rain on the high ground beyond the river.

April 30.-Marched at 8 a. m. on the Plank road to Chancellorsville, arriving there at 4 p. m., and took position in a dense growth of young oak timber.

At 12 m. of Friday, May 1, the brigade, forming the right of the line of the division, advanced tot he front, through woods and swamps, for 1 1\2 miles, to reconnoiter a position occupied by one of the enemy's batteries. The battery opened with shell, but without inflicting any loss. Its position having been ascertained, the brigade was ordered to fall back, which it did in perfect order, covering the withdrawal of a section of Knap's battery, and losing some few men in so doing. Having taken up its former position in the woods, the men at once proceeded to construct intrenchments. Tools being scarce, most of the digging was done with bayonets and tin plates, and in this manner a rifle-pit was constructed covering my entire front, and with the earth thrown up in front and rear, forming a valuable protection to the men, and afterward saving them form severe loss.

At 3 p. m. of Saturday, May 2, the brigade was ordered to advance up the Plank road, to take a battery of the enemy posted about a mile from our lines. The men moved rapidly forward through the woods on either side of the road under a heavy musketry fire, but were ordered to retire without being permitted to make a charge. Soon after returning to the trenches, the attack was made upon our lines which broke the Eleventh Army Corps. General Greene's brigade having been moved farther to the right, I extended my line in pursuance of orders, so as to cover the ground formerly occupied by his troops.

I cannot give too much credit to the men of my brigade, who remained perfectly firm, in spite of the constant stream of fugitives, officers and men, that poured through the woods on our rear,, some in the wildest panic, and broke over and through our intrenchments. It was at this time that the magnificent artillery firing occurred on our right which checked the enemy's advance.

On Sunday, May 3, at daylight, the fight was renewed, and, our right having been driven in, we were for two hours exposed to a severe fire from our rear, which cost us the lives of some brave officers and men. As soon as the enemy had gained our rear and opened fire, I ordered all the men into the rifle-pits, which sheltered them in some measure