previous next

[278] to General A. P. Hill. General A. P. Hill being wounded, the night attack was not made as at first contemplated. I withdrew the left wing of the Thirty-third, which formed on the right of the Seventh, and extended our line still farther to the right, with the Eighteenth and Twenty-eighth regiments--the right of the Twenty-eighth resting on a road running obliquely to the plank road, with two of its companies broken back to guard against a flank movement. Between twelve and one o'clock that night the enemy could be heard marshalling their troops along our whole front, while their artillery was rumbling up the road on our right. Soon after, their artillery opened right and left, and Sickles's command rushed upon us with loud and prolonged cheering. They were driven back on the left by our skirmishers, but the fight was more stubborn on the right, which was their main point of attack. The Eighteenth and Twenty-eighth and left wing of the Thirty-third engaged them there, and gallantly drove them back, although they had outflanked us and encountered the two right companies of the Twenty-eighth, which had been deflected in anticipation of such a movement. A subsequent attack, made about half an hour later, was similarly repulsed. The Twenty-eighth captured a staff officer. The colors of the Third Maine volunteers were taken by Captain Clark's company of the same regiment. The Eighteenth also captured an Aid to General Williams. A number of field and company officers, and a large number of men, were captured along our whole line. After the enemy were repulsed, General McGowan was ordered forward with his brigade, and took position on our right.

On Sunday morning, about sunrise, the whole brigade was wheeled a little to the left, that the line might be perpendicular to the plank road, and then, in obedience to orders, moved gallantly forward with shouts driving in the enemy's skirmishers, and handsomely charging and carrying their breastworks. The left of the Thirty-seventh passed entirely over the works, capturing a number of prisoners; and the gallant old Seventh eclipsed all of its former glories. These works were on a hill, commanded by the Chancellorsville hill, which was fortified with a line of earthworks for twenty-eight (28) pieces of artillery, running nearly parallel to our position, and between four hundred and five hundred yards distant, with a stream of water intervening. As soon as we had dislodged their infantry, these guns, with others, opened a murderous fire of shell, grape, and canister upon us, a fresh column of their infantry was thrown against us, and with our right flank completely turned, we were forced to fall back, with the loss of about one third of the command. The Twenty-eighth rigiment, commanded by its gallant young Colonel (Lowe), fell back a few hundred yards, and was ordered to give assistance wherever needed, while I superintended the re-forming of the rest of the brigade, still farther to the rear. Colonel Lowe informs me that the Twenty-eighth behaved well throughout the remainder of the day; that it made two more charges under heavy artillery firing, and was led in each by Major-General Stuart. As soon as the rest of the brigade was re-formed, and replenished with ammunition, they were taken back into the woods, to the left of the plank road, to the support of General Colquitt's command, which was then nearly out of ammunition.

The woods which we entered were on fire; the heat was excessive; the smoke arising from burning blankets, oil cloths, &c., very offensive; the dead and dying of the enemy could be seen on all sides enveloped in flames, and the ground on which we formed was so hot as at first to be disagreeable to our feet. Nothing daunted, however, the men took their positions without a murmur, and notwithstanding their previous hard marching, desperate fighting, and sleepless nights, remained under arms again the whole of Sunday night, in the front line, while heavy skirmishing was going on. Never have I seen men fight more gallantly, and bear fatigue and hardship more cheerfully. I shall always feel proud of the noble bearing of my brigade in the battle of Chancellorsville, the bloodiest in which it has ever taken a part, where the Thirty-third discharged its duties so well as skirmishers, and with the Eighteenth and Twenty-eighth gallantly repulsed two night attacks, made by vastly superior numbers, and where the Seventh and Thirty-seventh vied with each other as to who should first drive the vandals from their works. Its gallantry has cost it many noble sacrifices, and we are called upon to mourn the loss of some of our bravest spirits. The fearless Perdie was killed while urging forward his men; the gentle, but gallant Hill, after the works had been taken, and Johnnie Young, a mere boy, not yet eighteen, but a brave and efficient Captain, fell at the head of his company. Captain Kerr, Lieutenants Campbell, Bolick, Emack, Weaver, Bouchelle, Babb, Callais, and Ragin all fell in the gallant discharge of their duties, as also did J. Roarker Lane, of Company E, Fifth Virginia cavalry, who at the time was acting as my volunteer Aid. I cannot speak in too high terms of the behavior of the officers of this brigade. Colonel Barbour, though wounded, was from time to time with his command, giving all the assistance he could. Major Morris, wounded in the foot, left the hospital on horseback and assisted in re-forming his regiment. Major Mayhew, after the left wing of the Thirty-third was withdrawn, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cowan, wounded, gallantly commanded the skirmishers in the night attack, was wounded in the charge the next day, and is now thought to be in the hands of the enemy. Lieutenant-Colonel Spear was wounded in one of the night attacks, and Colonels Avery and Haywood, Lieutenant-Colonels George and Ashcroft, and Major Davidson, in the charge of Sunday morning. After the loss of so many field officers, Major Barry and Captains Harris, Saunders, Brown, and Nicholson rendered me great assistance. Captain Saunders, in his official report, calls special attention to the efficiency of Lieutenants E. Price and J. L. Farrow of the Thirty-third regiment. Lieutenant Bryan, ordnance officer, and Lieutenant Nicholson, brigade inspector, discharged their duties well, though the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: