Report of Colonel John Ely, Twenty-third Pennsylvania Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD Regiment PENNSYLVANIA VOLS.,
Bivouac near Banks' Ford, May 6, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor, in pursuance of instructions from headquarters, to make the following report of the movements, operations, and casualties of this command since April 28, 1863:
On Tuesday evening, 28th ultimo, this regiment was detailed to carry five pontoon-boats to a point on the river opposite Deep Run. This was accomplished quietly, and before daylight of the 29th ultimo, the regiment having the honor of launching the first boat. On the 29th and 30th ultimo and 1st instant we lay opposite the bridges, moving several times from the upper to the lower one. On Saturday evening the regiment crossed the pontoon bridge at Deep Run and moved to the left of the Bernard house, where we remained until midnight, whence with the brigade we moved along the Bowling Green road to Fredericksburg, where we arrived about 3.30 a. m. of Sunday, after considerable skirmishing at the head of the column. We there relieved the First U. S. Chasseurs, taking the head of the column on the right of the railroad near the depot in the rear of the town, and fronting the noted stone wall rifle-pits. Just at daybreak we received orders to feel the enemy at that point. I immediately ordered the right wing, composed of Companies A, D, G, H, and F, under Lieutenant Colonel John F. Glenn, to be deployed forward as skirmishers, and supporting him myself with the left wing, Companies C, E, I, K, and B, my skirmishers advanced to within a few yards of the stone wall, when the enemy arose from behind it and delievered a very heavy fire upon us. Not being supported, and knowing the impossibility of gaining anything by being this exposed, we fell back to our position in the ravine, from where we started, in good order. We experienced but a slight loss in this movement, having 2 men killed and 6 wounded. We remained in this position until about 11 o'clock, when our artillery opened with much vigor upon the enemy, and under cover of this cannonade the assaulting party moved forward, the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine on our right flank. I had no ordered to move forward, but I took the responsibility of ordering my regiment to the charge, when I heard the orders given to the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine to storm the enemy's works on my front. We charged up the hill under a most furious cross fire, and arrived simultaneously on the enemy's works with the two regiments before mentioned, the colors of the Sixth Maine being the first on the stone wall, and the colors of my regiment being the first unfurled on the heights, immediately behind the stone wall. Captain H. Reese, of K Company, captured eighteen prisoners, including one commissioned officer (Lieutenant Clements) of the Sixth* Mississippi Regiment. My regiment then reformed and rapidly pursued the enemy on the left of the plank road. We arrived on the second line of hills and reported to General Newton, who ordered the regiment into line on the left side of the road, and remained there for an hour. Then, by your orders, we rejoined our brigade, About 4 p. m. we were moved with the brigade to the support of a battery, which was in danger. we remained all night.
At daylight on Monday we were placed on picket and under the command of Colonel Eutis, who had charge of the picket-lines, where we remained until 6.30 p. m. Then by your orders we prepared to fall
* Mistake as to number of regiment. The Sixth Mississippi was not in the Army of Northern Virginia.