Numbers 331. Reports of Brigadier General E. A. Perry, C. S. Army, commanding brigade.
HEADQUARTERS PERRY'S BRIGADE,
May 9, 1863.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command, consisting of the Second, Fifth, and Eighth Florida Regiments, in the recent engagements in Spotsylvania County:
On the evening of April 29, in compliance with orders from division headquarters, I moved my command to the heights in front of Falmouth, and, throwing my pickets out to the river bank, remained in line of battle until about 11 o'clock in the morning of May 1, when, in obedience to orders from Major-General Anderson, I moved with my command up the Plank road and into the old Turnpike road. I advanced up this road until I came to our line of battle held by Major-General McLaws on the right. I then received an order from Major-General McLaws to form my brigade on the right of Brigadier-General Wofford's brigade. This threw me some distance to the right of the Old Mine road. I at once formed my line of battle, and receiving information from Major-General McLaws that the enemy was advancing on the Old Mine road, I threw out skirmishers, and so dispsoed my line as to enable me to command both the Old Mine road and the Duerson Mills road. Brigadier-General Wilcox soon coming up, and forming his brigade on my right, I wsa relieved from giving further attention to the Duerson Mills road, and resumed my original line, my right regiment resting in the rifle-pits on the left of the Duerson Mills road.
About 5 p.m. I received orders from Major-General McLaws to double my line of skirmishers and advance. I did so for about 1 1/2 miles, encountering no enemy. I halted with Brigadier-General Wofford's brigade on my left. Brigadier-General Wilcox, not receiving orders to advance at the time, did not join my right. General Wofford, having become disconnected from the line on his left, determined to bivouac for the night. Accordingly, I threw out a strong line of pickets, and disposed my men for rest. They were very much exhausted, owing to the nature of the country though which they had advanced.
About 10 o'clock I received an order to retrace my steps, and march up the Turnpike road to Major-General McLaw's position. I did so, and having arrived with my brigade near General McLaws' headquarters, received an order revoking the former order, and directing me to move my command back to the position I had just left. Having retaken that position, I remained until morning, everything in my front continuing quiet. Brigadier-General Wofford having re-established his connection with theline on his left, the line of battle was advanced, I moving in conformity with the line on my left keeping out a strong line of skirmishers and sending out scouting parties to my front and right. We encountered no resistance to our advance the enemy falling back without firing a gun. We took a few prisoners, and found some abandoned commissary stores, arms, &c.
About 4 o'clock in the evening, the line was closed up to the left, by order from Major-General McLaws, until my left rested a few paces to the right of the Pike road. My skirmishers here became engaged with the enemy, driving back the enemy's skirmishers and holding the ground gained against a brisk fire from both infantry and artillery. At dark I received an order from Major-General McLaws to report with my command to Major-General Anderson, on the left of Major-General McLaws'