War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0878 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

The howitzer was hurried forward. At the highest point of the Mine Creek road, and near where the last rifle was afterward posted, the enemy's batteries at Chancellorsville and the hill west of it, where [R. L.] Walker's battalion was afterward in position, had, by practice, obtained a perfect range of this point with their 3-inch rifles. In descending to Mine Creek through this thicket, I discovered the horses and drivers so much excited by the closeness of the fire that they had left the gun detachment in the rear. I halted the gun and caisson under cover of the pines, and rode forward with Major Venable to ascertain the condition of things. As we emerged from the pines, a meadow of about 200 yards in width was presented to our view, a small stream coursing to the left nearly through the middle. The road, after crossing the creek at right angles, deflected very suddenly to the left, and by a second curve to the right swept up the hill behind the iron works, which were situated on a bluff jutting out into the meadow. We discovered about 200 yards up the meadow a line of butternut soldiers deployed as skirmishers (without arms) advancing with cheers upon a pine thicket. As soon as they advanced into the thicket, a dark blue line appeared along the fringe of pines and poured a furious fusilade upon the road we occupied. Major Venable ordered the piece back. We returned and met General Anderson with his taff. The facts were reported to him, but I was not aware at the [time] that it was inteded for me to report to him at this point. The piece was returned to its original position and the facts reported personally to General Lee. At this time I posted Jordan's rifled pieces, and rode along General Wright's line of skirmishers up Mine Creek, who had just been posted. Before I reached the right of my line, General Rodes commenced his attack on the enemy's right flank, seemingly 3 1/2 miles distant. All of the pieces under my command immediately opened fire by order of General Lee, and the infantry advanced as skirmishers to prevent re-enforcements being sent against Jacskon. Just after this, a Yankee battery came into position just west of the furnace. After a gallant fight, it was silenced and driven from the field by a portion of the First Virginia Artillery, under Colonel J. Thompson Brown. A furious attack was made by the enemy's infantry on the left of Anderson's position on Mine Creek, which was successfully met, and the rapid progress of Rodes toward Chancellorsville caused all of the advanced troops down Mine Creek to be withdrawn about dark toward Chancellorsville. This suspended the day's operations along our lines.

Sunday (May 3), I received orders from General Lee to take three rifles of Jordan's battery and follow General Anderson's movements to the left by the furnace up Mine Creek, in the main attack upon Chancellorsville. I did so, proceeding as rapidly as the nature of the ground would permit. After passing along the ridge on the left side of Mine Creek, I found General Lee had selected a position on a wooded hill that required much cutting to get the guns into position. The axmen were ordered to the front for this purpose. Captain [Willis J.] Dance was left on the Plank road in charge of one rifle of Jordan's battery, one Napoleon, and one howitzer of [A.] Hupp's battery, and two howitzers of his own battery, with instructions to advance with Mahone's infantry. A fine position was obtained by Captain Dance on a knoll to the right of the Plank road, 900 yards distant from a line of rifle-pits, where very effective service was done by his pieces.

To return to the left. The changes in the enemy's position made it desirable to obtain a position for Jordan's battery neara Chancellorsville. I was then ordered to follow General Anderson who had just started a movement of his division from the valley of Mine Creek across to the