War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0904 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, LIGHT DIVISION,

Camp Gregg, May 20, 1863.

CAPTAIN: In consequence of the wounding of Brigadier-General McGowan and Colonel O. E. Edwards, Thirteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, early in the day on the 3rd instant, I found myself in command of this brigade. It will be unnecessary for me to recapitulate the movements of the brigade on the march, as I have already, in giving a report as regimental commander, detailed those of my own regiment (First Regiment South Caroline Volunteers), which will cover those of the brigade previous to our reaching the enemy in rear of their line of works beyond Chancellorsville.

At sunset, 2nd instant, we reached that part of the field which had been cleared by Brigadier-General Rodes, scaterring the enemy in every direction. Passing beyond, we were drawn up in line, by order of Brigadier-General McGowan, on the Plank road, the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers being deployed, and covering our front as skirmishers. Here we were subjected to a heavy fire of shells, which was annoying but did not do us a great deal of damage.

After remaining here until about 11 o'clock, orders were given for an advance of the brigade, Thirteenth South Carolina Volunteers on the right, First South Carolina Volunteers next, and the Rifle Regiment (Orr's) on the left (directing battalion). The attempt was made, but either in consequence of the impossibility of advancing through a thick and almost impenetrable pine thicket, or from a change of orders, the order was countermanded.

At 12 o'clock midnight the brigade was marched to a position in front of the enemy's breastworks, with Brigadier-General Lane on our left and Brigadier-General Archer on our right. At sunrise the advance was commenced. The brigade, however, obliqued too much to the left, separating our line from that of Brigadier-General Archer, and somewhat overlapping the right of Brigadier-General Lane. So soon, however, as the ground was clear before us, the four regiments engaged (First, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Orr's Rifles) dashed at the enemy's first line of breastworks. Clearing them with rapidity, the brigade passed about 100 yards to the front, and engaged the enemy, who appeared to be collected in strength on our right. Up to this time Brigadier-General McGowan was active and courageous in urging on the brigade, exposing himself without any sort of regard for his own safety. The last that I saw of him his huge form was towering from the top of the breast-works which we had just passed. He was soon after, unfortunately, wounded, but, I am happy to say, not dangerously. The brigade soon became very hotly engaged, particularly the two right regiments (First and Orr's Rifle Regiment). The enemy, finding our right open and unsupported (Brigadier-General Archer having lost his connection with our line from our having obliqued to the left in advancing from the cover of the woods), pressed on to pass round our right flank and get possession of the breastworks in our rear. This being apparent to the two right regiments (First and Orr's Rifles), they fell back to the line of breastworks, and continued to fight the enemy, who, if they had pushed vigorously forward, could at once have driven us out, as that portion of the works was unoccupied for some time; but such a deadly fire was poured into them whenever they showed themselves, that their immediate advance was checked.

While fighting at the breastworks, I learned that Colonel Edwards, Thirteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, had assumed command of the brigade. From him I did not receive many orders, as he was, I