Numbers 346. Report of Colonel Abner Perrin, Fourteenth South Carolina Infantry, commanding regiment and McGowan's brigade.
CAMP GREGG, VA.,
May 21, 1863.
SIR: As the immediate commander of the Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers in the late operations of the Army of Northern Virginia on the Rappahannock, I have the honor to submit the following report:
The regiment broke up winter quarters at Camp Gregg on Wednesday, 29th ultimo, and moved with the brigade, under General McGowan, in the direction of Fredericksburg, but was not engaged with the enemy - except in light skirmishing, and sustained but small loss - until Sunday morning, May 3. Having taken position on the left of the brigade, and immediately on the right of General Lane's brigade, at 2 o'clock Sunday morning, the regiment kept under cover in line of battle until daylight, when I received orders to advance, which was done with great spirit by the officers and men of the regiment, but in considerable confusion on account of the thick woods and undergrowth, and on account of the plan of the advance movement not having been communicated to me. It seems the object was to wheel the whole line round to the left, making the left of General Lane's brigade the pivot, as I soon found the line we had occupied in the morning was not parallel with the enemy's line of battle, but much nearer the enemy in front of General Lane, and receding back from his line of battle on the right. In moving forward, my regiment got disengaged and soon separated from the right of General Lane's brigade, and moved on without support of the left until we came upon the enemy in strong force between two lines of their field works, the first of which we had crossed, the enemy seeming to have abandoned it. The firing had now commenced on the right of the brigade, and I used every effort to keep my own regiment moving forward, as I had heard no order to halt or commence firing, and succeeded in advancing until we met a sharp volley of musketry in front. Here the brigade seemed to come to a stand, and a regular musketry duel was maintained for half an hour or more, but the loss to my regiment had not been very great - perhaps not more than 20 or 30 - and the enemy had now ceased firing in my front, and I had ordered my regiment to cease firing and to move forward. The firing meanwhile kept up on the right. I then observed that the regiments on my right were falling back, and was soon after ordered back myself, following the movement of the Thirteenth South Carolina Volunteers, next to me on the right. We fell back to the enemy's first line of breastworks, about 300 yards, in perfect order. No enemy having followed this retrograde movement, I directed commanders of companies to let their men rest in ranks and wait for orders. The right of the brigade had been still engaged with the enemy, who made some effort to follow our retrograde movement, but they were repulsed. Soon after, the brigade of General Paxton moved forward and attacked the enemy where we had engaged him, and also fell back. Then again some brigades of General Rodes' division swept forward and drove the enemy from our front, and pursued him in the direction of Chancellorsville.
At this time an officer came from the front inquiring for the commander of the brigade. I had already discovered that I was then the senior officer of the brigade present, and also that the Thirteenth South