MAY 4-JUNE 12, 1864.-Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River, Va.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Merrill, Seventeenth Maine Infantry, including operations to July 31.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH Maine REGIMENT,
August 11, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this command in the several operations of the present campaign:
First epoch.-The Seventeenth Maine Regiment, under command of Colonel George W. West, broke camp at Brandy Station, Va., on the night of May 3, and crossed the Rapidan River on the morning of the 4th with 21 commissioned, 5 acting officers, and 439 guns, and bivouacked that night on the old battle-field of Chancellorsville. On the 5th moved as far as Todd's Tavern, when, pursuant to orders, the direction was changed and the regiment marched by the left flank to the junction of the plank and Brock roads. The brigade (Second) was then hastily placed in position, and this regiment was carried to the extreme right of the Second Corps, moving by the left into the dense woods skirting the road, with orders from General Hays to connect with the Sixth Corps on the right. After repeated attempts to discover the troops with whom the connection was to be formed had failed, the regiment was advanced in line to meet the enemy. Flankers were thrown out and a skirmish line established. AT this time the regiment was in advance of the brigade and came upon the enemy, with whom they at once engaged. The right of the regiment was then thrown forward, the enemy falling back, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. About thirty prisoners were taken. Night coming on, and the supply of ammunition failing, no farther advance was made, but the position was held till fresh troops arrived, when the regiment joined the brigade at the rear. The casualties of the regiment in this engagement were 2 officers wounded, 11 enlisted men killed, 65 wounded, and 1 missing.
On the morning of the 6th the regiment was formed on the right of the brigade, and at about 4 o'clock the whole line moved forward and soon became engaged with the enemy, driving them as far as the plank road and capturing many prisoners. The enemy having gained a position on the plank road, opened upon our lines a most deadly fire with both musketry and artillery, so that the advance was checked. The Fourth Maine Regiment (Colonel Walker) on the left and the Seventeenth were disconnected from and were in advance of the brigade line. At this point, while at the head of his command, Colonel West was wounded by a musket-ball through his leg, his horse having previously been shot from under him, and was taken to the rear. Colonel Walker, of the Fourth Maine, then assumed command of both regiments, but was unable to hold the position, as it was flanked by the enemy and the command was forced to retire. Had support been at hand the resultof the day might have been far different. The brigade retired and took position on the Brock road. About 4 p. M. the enemy renewed the attack but was repulsed with great loss. The casualties for the day in the regiment were 1 officer killed and 6 wounded, 12 enlisted men killed, 74 wounded, and 11 missing. It may not be inappropriate here to speak of the gallant and lamented General Wadsworth, of New York, who fell mortally wounded during the engagement. His presence on the field under the hottest fire inspirited and encouraged the men, and they will ever cherish with pride the memory of the chivalric bravery exhibited by him in this battle. On the 7th the regiment took