third Virginia Infantry Regiments, left Camp Moss Neck on the morning of April 28, marching to Hamilton's Crossing, where we bivouacked.
We remained at this place until daylight on May 1, when we took up the line of march in the direction of Chancellorsville, in Spotsylvania County, and reaching the Plank road leading from Orange Court-House to Fredericksburg, about 6 miles from the latter point, we halted until near sunset.
At this time the firing on our front became quite heavy and rapid, and the brigade was ordered forward. We pushed forward some distance, to within a mile of our advance line, where we bivouacked for the night. As night approached, everything became once more quiet in the front.
On the following day, at dawn, we continued the march down the Plank road, and, arriving at the point at which Generals Anderson's and McLaws' division were in position awaiting the approach of the enemy, we turned abruptly to the left by a road but apparently little used, leading by Catharine Furnace to the Brock road, and from thence to the Orange and Fredericksburg Plank road. We marched down this road to the Germanna Junction, where General Paxton was detached from the division and ordered to report to Brigadier-General Lee, of the cavalry, who placed the brigade in position at this point, extending across the road. I have not been able to learn the nature of the instructions received by General Paxton. We remained here until unmasked by the troops in our front, when we moved forward in line of battle through the woods, perhaps a quarter of a mile, and then by the flank on the Orange road until within 1 1/2 miles of Chancellorsville, where we again formed in line of battle along the enemy's breastworks, our right resting on and the line at right angles with said road.
At 11 p. m. the brigade was ordered to take position on the right of the road and about 200 yards in advance of our former position. We remained here two hours, when we were directed to take another position on the left of the Plank road a half mile in advance, our left resting on said road and in second line of battle. As soon as the lines were connected, the men, worried and worn out by the rapid detour made that day and by a want of rations, were permitted to rest for a few brief hours.
On the morning of May 3 (Sunday), we were aroused at daylight by the firing of our skirmishers, who had thus early engaged the enemy. At sunrise the engagement had become general, and though not engaged, and occupying the second line, the brigade suffered some loss from the terrific shelling to which it was exposed.
At 6 a. m. we were ordered to move across the Plank road by the right flank about 300 yards, and then by the left flank until we reached a hastily constructed breastwork thrown up by the enemy. At this point we found a large number of men of whom fear had taken the most absolute possession. We endeavored to persuade them to go forward, but all we could say was of but little avail. As soon as the line was formed once more, having been somewhat deranged by the interminable mass of undergrowth in the woods through which we passed, we moved forward. Here General Paxton fell, while gallantly leading his troops to victory and glory.
Being informed of the death of the general, I moved forward with my regiment, conforming my movements to those of the regiment on my right, as previously instructed. We advanced to high ground about the center of the woods, where we were hotly engaged about three-fourths of an hour.
In the meantime the enemy received heavy re-enforcements, which were