War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 1038 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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morning, when it advanced about 600 yards, and opened fire on the enemy. Here the brigade became actively engaged against a large force of the enemy, who were moving forward. At the time there were no visible lines of support in my rear, but after having hotly contested the ground with this superior force for an hour and a half, General Doles' brigade came up to my support, and the command having exhausted all of their ammunition, I ordered it to the rear. This being done, at 3 o'clock the brigade was moved from point to point on the left of the Plank road till 5 p. m., when the brigade was moved about 1,000 yards from and in the rear of the brick house and parallel to the Plank road. After having taken this position, the line was ordered forward. (In justice to myself, and especially to my command, I here desire to state that no information as to the force or position of the enemy in my front accompanied the order, and for the want of this information the movement forward of my line resulted in a repulse and a consequent loss of about 50 men. This disaster and repulse I beg leave to submit was more attributable to the total want of this important information than to any want of valor on the part of my command. I did not know that the enemy were in my front, nor did I know any position he at that time held.) It advanced through the tangled woods under a most destructive fire of the enemy's artillery until it reached an open field held by his strongly massed batteries, with infantry lines of support. Here the line fronted an overwhelming force, and, in the absence of orders to charge the battery, which, if done, would evidently have resulted in the total destruction of the brigade, together with no definiteness being conveyed by the order to move forward, it was repulsed, and fell back to the point from which it had moved forward. Here it reformed under the continued fire of the enemy's guns, and remained until about 6 o'clock, when the brigade was moved about 400 yards by the right flank in an oblique direction to the abandoned intrenchments of the enemy.

This concluded all the movements and action of the brigade on Sunday, May 3.

I do not desire to particularly mention the officers of my command, who all, so far as my observation and report goes, acted with that bravery and courage that has in other fields won eminence for Louisiana troops.

Respectfully submitted.


Colonel, Commanding Brigade.


Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Johnson's Division.

Numbers 416. Report of Captain E. D. Willett, First Louisiana Infantry.

MAY 26, 1863.

CAPTAIN: Pursuant to circular from brigade headquarters, dated May 26, I herewith append a report of the action of the First Louisiana in the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2 and 3.

Took up line of march, left in front, on morning of 2nd, for enemy's rear and flank, having gained which, about 4 p. m. same day formed line of battle in rear and to the left of Rodes' division, occupying the right of the brigade, known as second line of battle, being then about