leading from the Chancellor house toward the United States Ford, to throw forward skirmishers, and to advance for the purpose of feeling and ascertaining the enemy's position, not of taking his batteries. To this he added that the road turned to the right at about a fourth of a mile distance, but that I would probably meet opposition before I got there. I accordingly formed my troops on both sides of the road, Nicholls' and Colston's brigades being on the left and Jones' and Paxton's on the right. I ordered Lieutenant Hinrichs, of the Engineers, to advance with the skirmishers and reconnoiter the enemy's position. The command was then given for the division to move forward. Hardly had they advanced a few paces when a terrific fire of shell and canister was opened by the enemy from a battery of twelve pieces of artillery. I ordered a section of Napoleon guns to advance up the road and reply to the enemy's fire. There was no other spot than the road in which they could be placed, and that was too narrow to allow a larger number of pieces to be put in battery. Finding that they would be speedily silenced (and probably with useless loss of life and material) by the enemy's superior artillery, I ordered them back after a few rounds.
In the meantime, perceiving some confusion on the left of the road, I proceeded there, and found the Tenth Louisiana Regiment exposed to a perfect storm of grape and shell, and rapidly giving way. Seconded by my aide (Lieutenant [James T.] Tosh), and by the gallant exertions of the officers of this regiment, whose conduct deserves the highest praise, I succeeded in arresting this retrograde movement in spite of the enemy's continued fire, but the carnage in this small regiment was great. In less than two minutes, 50 officers and men fell, killed and wounded, by my side, including Lieutenant-Colonel [John M.] Legett, who was instantly killed by a shell. The remainder of the brigade suffered in a less degree, some portions having advanced inside of the point where the enemy's shot were falling.
By this time it was ascertained that the enemy occupied a formidable position. Twelve pieces of artillery were planted in barbette at the top of the first hill; a line of intrenchments, occupied by infantry, stretched out on each side of the artillery, occupying a front much wider than that of my division. Another line of infantry, preceded by skirmishers, was drawn up outside of the works. To advance in the face of such a force with a division so much reduced as mine was, would have been only to insure its destruction, and would have been contrary to the instructions I had received from the general commanding. I accordingly reported to General Stuart, who was for the time my immediate commander, that my division was not able to attack with any prospect of success the position of the enemy. I was then ordered by him to place my division in some intrenchments which had been abandoned by the enemy. The division was moved at night to a position in prolongation of General Rodes' line, and the position was fortified during the next day and night.
On Monday and Tuesday, occasional skirmishing took place with the enemy.
In reconnoitering his position and ascertaining his movement, important service was rendered by Lieutenant Colonel R. T. Colston, of the Second Virginia, Captain William Randolph, and Lieutenant Hinrichs, of the Engineers.
The enemy having withdrawn their forces across the river, two brigades of this division (Colston's and Jones') remained, the first at United States Ford and the latter near Chancellorsville, and collected upon the battle field was quantities of arms, ordnance, &c., which were sent on to Guiney's Station and Hamilton's Crossing.