arriving directly upon the rear of said regiment, which had almost possession of the heights. I received an order from General Smith to halt, which I did. As my men could not fire for fear of injuring our own men in front, and having already suffered considerably in getting to that position, I ordered my regiment to lie down. Just at that moment the regiment in front fell back to my rear. I immediately ordered my men to fire. My attention was soon called to the fact that the whole brigade was rapidly retiring, already several hundred yards to rear, and, being under the hill, and not knowing what force the enemy might have brought forward, and the aforesaid regiment having fallen back to my rear, and still retiring, I gave the order (in absence of an order by the brigade commander, or its failure to reach me) to retire. Upon retiring, it was necessary for my regiment to pass a number of houses, barns, and cattle-sheds. The fire being hot, the weather quite warm, the distance back to the original position of the regiment being considerable, my men to some extent exhausted, many of them wounded, a number of them stopped to take shelter from the fire of the enemy in and behind the houses spoken of above. During this confusion, the color-bearer (as gallant a soldier as ever marched to battle) was wounded (as I am informed by these who saw him), dropping the standard, and the color-guard failing to bring it off, the color-bearer fell into the hands of the enemy; so did the colors. Even if the color-bearer was not wounded, he has acted so gallantly upon so many hard-fought fields that I could not attach any blame to him. This standard has been carried into fifteen engagements previous to the one in which it was captured, and has always come out victorious.
The loss in my regiment in this advance and retreat was 102 killed, wounded, and missing, among them 1 lieutenant, captured.
The affair mentioned by Colonel Board occurred early in the day on the 4th instant, when the brigade was sent forward by my orders to feel the enemy on the heights on the Plank road, above Fredericksburg, when, finding the enemy in force with artillery on the right of the position upon which the demonstration was made, the brigade was ordered to retire, the arrangements not having then been made for a general attack.
J. A. EARLY,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS, May 25, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. It is a matter of much regret that this regiment lost its colors, and I cannot believe, from Colonel Board's own statement, that the circumstances were such as to hold the regiment blameless. I am constrained to recommend to the general commanding that this regiment be not allowed to carry a color until it has redeemed its own by capturing one in battle.
A. P. HILL,
Numbers 397. Report of Brigadier General R. E. Colston, C. S. Army, commanding Trimble's division.
HEADQUARTERS COLSTON'S BRIGADE, May 28, 1863.
SIR: As commander of Trimble's division during the battle of Chancellorsville, on the 2nd and 3rd instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of that division. This report would have been forwarded before but for the fact that, being separated from the rest of the division, and being no longer in command of it, I did not receive all the brigade returns until yesterday.