War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0187 Chapter LXIII. THE CHANCELLORSVILLE CAMPAIGN.

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panies of the Thirty-first New York, were posted to hold the extreme right of our lines, which rested on the river at Brooks Ford. The position was a critical one, as we were detached from the remainder of the corps by a distance of nearly two miles, and it was only necessary for the enemy to break through a picket-lines and place himself between my command and Banks' Ford, in order to completely cut us off and render our capture almost certain. This he did a little before midnight, and at once advance to attack my command, which was strongly posted in a skirt of pine forest. The pickets in front of my command from the Thirty-first and Forty-third New York Regiments all surrendered or fell back without firing a gun. I was warned of the approach of the enemy only by the tread of his troops and his hurried orders, which were given in a loud tone of voice. Having obtained precise information of my position from the captured pickets, he advanced to attack me in heavy force. For nearly half an hour the fight raged furiously, but my regiment, though unsupported and with both flanks entirely unprotected, met the attack as brave men should, and finally the enemy was driven back in confusion, having sustained severe losses. After the first heat of the conflict I sought Colonel Baker, on my right, who was in command of the whole force, to ascertain what his instructions were at this critical juncture of affairs. During my absence the services of Adjt. Charles A. Clark were invaluable. While the fight continued he rode back and forth along the line, fearlessly exposing his person and encouraging the men by all the means in his power. His excellent conduct did much toward insuring the success of which I have spoken. The enemy at once rallied his forces and prepared to renew the attack with overwhelming numbers. Annihilation and capture started the regiment in the face unless it could be withdrawn in pursuance by orders previously received. This was successfully accomplished by Adjutant Clark, who led the regiment through almost impenetrable underbrush to the bank of the river and then over a precipitous bluff to the water's edge, riding his horse down this bluff which it seemed impossible for any mounted man to descend alive. Having arrived at the water's edge, the regiment was led by him down the river to Banks' Ford, and there rejoined the Light Division. I cannot praise the behavior of Adjutant Clark on this occasion too highly. His gallantry and presence of mind extricated the regiment from a most perilous position after it had repulsed a superior force of the enemy in a handsome manner. At 2 o'clock on the morning of May 5 the regiment recrot Banks' Ford, encamping for a few hours at that place. At 10 a. m. of the same day I was ordered by General Sedgwick to march my regiment to Richards' Ford, to resist the passage of the enemy at that point. I remained at Richards' Ford until May 7 without being attacked by the enemy, when I rejoined the Light Division in pursuance of orders. I submit herewith a special report of the officers and men who distinguished themselves in the actions above mentioned.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. HARRIS,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Captain A. E. KING,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Light Division.

[25.]

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* Not found, but names probably embodied in Burnham's report of May 13, p. 183.

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