hazardous, much against my inclination, I felt bound to wait for daylight. General Jackson had also sent me word to use my own discretion. The commanding General was with the right wing of the army, with which I had no communication, except by a very circuitous and uncertain route. I nevertheless sent a despatch to inform him of the state of affairs, and rode around the lines, restoring order, imposing silence, and making arrangements for the attack early next day. I sent Colonel E. P. Alexander, senior officer of artillery, to select and occupy with artillery positions along the line bearing upon the enemy's position, with which duty he was engaged all night. At early dawn Trimble's division composed the second line, and Rodes's division the third. The latter had his rations on the spot, and as his men were entirely without food, was extremely anxious to issue. I was disposed to wait a short time for this purpose; but when, as preliminary to an attack, I ordered the right of the first line to swing around, and come perpendicular to the road, the order was misunderstood for an order to attack, and that part of the line became engaged. I ordered the whole line to advance, and the second and third lines to follow. As the sun lifted the mist that shrouded the field, it was discovered that the ridge on the extreme right was a fine position for concentrating artillery. I immediately ordered thirty pieces to that point, and under the happy effects of the battalion system, it was done quickly. The effect of this fire upon the enemy's batteries was superb. In the mean time the enemy was pressing our left with infantry, and all the reenforcements I could obtain were sent there. Colquitt's brigade, of Trimble's division, ordered first to the right, was directed to the left to support Pender. Iverson's brigade, of the second line, was also engaged there, and the three lines were more or less merged into one line of battle, and reported hard pressed. Urgent requests were sent for reenforcements, and notices that the troops were out of ammunition, &c. I ordered that the ground must be held at all hazards; if necessary, with the bayonet. About this time, also, our right connected with Anderson's left, relieving all anxiety on that subject. I was now anxious to mass infantry on the left, to push the enemy there, and sent every available regiment to that point. About eight o'clock A. M. the works of the enemy directly in front of our right were stormed; but the enemy's forces retiring from the line facing Anderson, which our batteries enfiladed, caused our troops to abandon these works, the enemy coming in their rear. It was stormed a second time, when I discovered the enemy making a flank movement to the left of the road for the purpose of dislodging our forces, and hastened to change the front of a portion of our line to meet this attack; but the shortness of the time and the deafening roar of artillery prevented the execution of this movement, and our line again retired. The third time it was taken, I made disposition of a portion of Ramseur's brigade to protect the left flank. Artillery was pushed forward to the crest, sharpshooters were posted in a house in advance, and in a few moments Chancellorsville was ours, (ten o'clock A. M.) The enemy retired towards Ely's Ford, the road to United States Ford branching one half mile west of Chancellorsville. In this hotly-contested battle the enemy had strong works on each side of the road, those on the commanding ridge being heavily defended by artillery. The night, also, had given him time to mass his troops to meet this attack; but the desperate valor of Jackson's corps overcame every obstacle, and drove the enemy to his new line of defence, which his engineers had constructed in his rear, ready for occupation, at the intersection of the Ely's Ford and United States Ford roads. General Anderson's division of the right wing arrived upon the field, comparatively fresh. I set about re-forming my command, with a view to a renewal of the attack, when the commanding General received intelligence that the enemy had crossed at Fredericksburg, and taken Marye's hill. An Aid-de-camp of General Sedgwick, captured by Colonel Wickham's regiment on the right, near Banks's Ford, reported two corps, under command of Sedgwick. The commanding General decided to hold Hooker, beaten as he was, in his works, with Jackson's corps, and detach enough of other forces to turn on Sedgwick. The success of this strategy enabled him again to concentrate, to force Hooker's position; and arrangements were made for attack with this corps on the morning of the sixth, (Wednesday;) but before it was begun our skirmishers found the enemy's works abandoned, and, pressing forward to the river, captured many prisoners. The enemy had another work two miles in rear of the other, which was also abandoned. This region of country is known as “The Wilderness.” Rapid pursuit in such a country is an impossibility, where the enemy takes care to leave his trains beyond the Rappahannock, and avails himself, as he does, of the appliances of art, labor, and natural obstacles to delay his pursuers. In this battle, in which the enemy's main force was attacked in chosen positions, he was driven entirely from the field, and finally fled across the river. Our troops behaved with the greatest heroism. I desire to call the attention of the commanding General to the fact that I was called to the command at ten o'clock at night, on the battle-field, of the corps d'armee led so long by the immortal Jackson, in the midst of a night attack made by the enemy, without any knowledge of the ground, the position of our forces, or the plans thus far pursued, and without an officer left in the corps above the rank of Brigadier-General. Under these disadvantages the attack was renewed the next morning, and prosecuted to a successful issue. Major-General A. P. Hill, who had the misfortune to be wounded soon after the command devolved upon him, remained near the field next day notwithstanding his wound, for which I was very grateful, for circumstances might have arisen making his presence necessary. To the generals of divisions and brigades I feel greatly indebted for the hearty cooperation, zeal, and support accorded to me by all to the fullest
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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