Report of Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock,
U.S. Army, Commanding Second Army Corps
MAY 4-JUNE 12, 1864--Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River, Va.
WASHINGTON, D.C., February --, 1865.
ASST. ADJT. GEN.,
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second Army Corps from May 3 to May 7, 1864, including the battle of the Wilderness, this being the first epoch of the campaign, according to the division established by the major-general commanding:
The corps left its winter quarters near Stevensburg, Va., on the night of the 3d of May, with about 27,000 officers and men for duty. The First and Second Divisions, under Generals Barlow and Gibbon, were composed of the troops of the old Second Corps. The Third and Fourth Divisions, under Generals Birney and Mott, were formed by the consolidation of the old Third Corps with the Second. The Artillery Brigade, attached to the Second Corps, under the command of Col. J. C. Tidball, Fourth New York Heavy Artillery, consisted of nine batteries, four of them of rifled guns and five of smooth-bore guns. The two battalions of the Fourth Heavy Artillery were attached to the brigade.
My command moved at midnight toward Ely's Ford, preceded by Gregg's division of cavalry, which met with no resistance at the river. When the infantry came in sight of the ford, the cavalry was well across and had the canvas bridge nearly laid. The bridge was soon completed by my troops, and the corps proceeded to Chancellorsville, arriving there about 9 a.m. The cavalry moved well out in advance toward Fredericksburg and Todd's Tavern. During the afternoon communications were established with Warren's corps, on my right, by way of the plank road. My troops bivouacked for the night near the cross-roads at Chancellorsville, on the battleground of May 3, 1863.
At 5 a.m. on the 5th of May the Second Corps moved toward its designated position, at Shady Grove Church, taking the road by the Furnaces and Todd s Tavern. My advance was about 2 miles beyond Todd's Tavern, when, at 9 a.m., I received a dispatch from the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac to halt at the tavern, as the enemy had been discovered in some force on the Wilderness pike. Two hours later I was directed to move my command out the Brock road to its intersection with the Orange plank road. I immediately gave orders for the troops to march toward the point designated. Proceeding ahead of my command to the junction of the Brock road and Orange plank road, I there met Brigadier-Gen-eral Getty, commanding Second Division, Sixth Corps, who, with a part of his division, had encountered the enemy's advance at that point, and after a sharp contest had taken possession of the crossroads. Lieut. Col. C. H. Morgan, my chief of staff, was sent by me at this hour to inform Major-General Meade that I had joined General Getty on the Brock road. General Getty's command was then in line of battle along that road, his left resting near the junction with the Orange plank road. At 2 p.m. the head of my command (Major-General Birney's division) joined General Getty's troops on the Brock road, and was at once formed on Getty's left in two lines of battle along that road. Mott's and Gibbon's divisions, coming up rapidly, took their position on Birney's left in the same formation. Barlow's division, with the exception of Frank's brigade, which was stationed at the junction of the Brock road and the road leading to the Catharpin Furnaces, held the left of my line, and was thrown forward on some high, clear ground in front of the Brock road. This elevated ground commanded the country for some distance to the right and left covering the Fredericksburg and Orange Court-House Railroad in front. Owing to the dense forest which covered my front this was the only point on my line where artillery could have an effective range, and I, therefore, directed that all of the batteries of my command, save Dow's (Sixth Maine) battery and one section of Ricketts' (F) company, First Pennsylvania Artillery, should be placed in position there, supported by Barlow's division, and forming the extreme left of the line of battle of the army. Dow's battery was placed in position in the second line of battle near the left of Mott's division. One section of Ricketts' battery, under the orders of General Getty, was placed on the Orange plank road, at the point where our line of battle crossed it. My division commanders had been directed to erect breastworks immediately upon going into position. This was accomplished without delay. Commencing at the point where my right joined General Getty's left, a substantial line of breast-works was constructed of earth and logs the whole length of my line of battle, running along the Brock road until the line diverged to the right. It inclosed the high ground occupied by Barlow's division and the artillery, from which point it was refused sharply to the left and carried across the Brock road to protect my left flank. An important road connecting the Brock and Catharpin roads came into the Brock road near where my line of breast-works terminated on the left. The second line of battle also threw up breast-works in rear of the first line, and subsequently a third line was constructed in rear of the Third and Fourth Divisions. At 2.30 p.m. I received a dispatch from Major-General Humphreys, chief of staff of the Army of the Potomac, stating that the enemy's infantry had driven our cavalry down the Orange plank road from Parker's Store, and that a portion of A. P. Hill's corps was moving on that road toward its intersection with the Brock road. This dispatch stated further that General Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, had been ordered to drive the enemy back on the Orange road, but that it might not be able to do so. I was directed to move out the Orange plank road, supporting General Getty's division toward Parker's Store; to drive the enemy beyond that point, to occupy it, and to unite with General Warren's left on the right of Parker's Store. General Warren's line was said to extend from the Orange turnpike to within 1 mile of the plank road in the vicinity of the store. At 2.15 p.m. I had received a dispatch from General Humphreys to the effect that the enemy held the Orange plank road nearly to its junction with the Brock road, directing me to attack with General Getty's and my own command, and to endeavor to connect with General Warren on the Orange plank road, the same dispatch stating that Griffin's division, of the Fifth Corps, had been driven back somewhat on the Orange pike; that Warren's left (Crawford's division) was within 1 mile of Parker's Store, but that it was possible that Crawford would be withdrawn or be driven in by the enemy. When these dispatches reached me the greater portion of my troops <ar67_320> were coming up on the Brock road from Todd's Tavern to join General Getty. Birney's division had already taken position on Getty's left. The remaining divisions were forming as they arrived on the ground, as has been described. Owing to the fact of the Brock road being very narrow and heavily wooded on both sides, the formation of the infantry in line of battle was extremely slow. The troops were greatly retarded in their march by the artillery occupying the road. When I first joined General Getty near the Orange plank road he informed me that two divisions of Hill's corps were in his immediate front, and that he momentarily anticipated an attack. I had therefore directed that the breast-works already mentioned should be completed in order to receive the assault should the enemy advance. Between 3 and 4 p.m. I was ordered to attack with Getty's command, supporting the advance with my whole corps. At 4.15 p.m. General Getty moved forward on the right and left of the Orange plank road, having received direct orders from General Meade to commence the attack without waiting for me. His troops encountered the enemy's line of battle about 300 paces in front of the Brock road and at once became very hotly engaged. Finding that General Getty had met the enemy in great force, I ordered General Birney to advance his command (his own and Mott's divisions) to support the movement of Getty at once, although the formation I had directed to be made before carrying out my instructions to advance was not yet completed. General Birney immediately moved forward on General Getty's right and left, one section of Ricketts' battery (Company F, First Pennsylvania Artillery) moving down the plank road just in rear of the infantry. The fight became very fierce at once. The lines of battle were exceedingly close, the musketry continuous and deadly along the entire line. At 4.30 p.m. Carroll's brigade, of Gibbon's division, advanced to the support of Getty's right on the right of the plank road, and a few minutes later Owen's brigade, of Gibbon's division, was also ordered into action in support of General Getty on the right and left of the Orange plank road. The battle raged with great severity and obstinacy until about 8 p.m. without decided advantage to either party. During this contest the Irish Brigade, commanded by Colonel Smyth, of the Second [First] Delaware Volunteers, and Colonel Brooke's (Fourth) brigade, both of Barlow's division, Second Corps, attacked the enemy vigorously on his right and drove his line for some distance. The Irish Brigade was heavily engaged, and although four-fifths of its numbers were recruits, it behaved with great steadiness and gallantry, losing largely in killed and wounded. The section of Ricketts' battery, which moved down the plank road when Birney and Getty attacked, suffered severely in men and horses. It was captured at one time during the fight, but was retaken under the direction of Captain Butterfield, of Colonel Carroll's staff, by detachments from the Fourteenth Indiana and Eighth Ohio Volunteers, of Carroll's brigade. It was then withdrawn and replaced by a section of Dow's (Sixth Maine) battery.
During the night of the 5th. I received orders to move upon the enemy again at 5 a.m. on the 6th. I was cautioned to keep a sharp lookout on my left, and was informed that my right would be relieved by an attack by General Wadsworth's division, of the Fifth Corps, and two divisions of the Ninth Corps under General Burnside. General Getty's troops, under command of General Wheaton (General Getty having been wounded on the 5th [6th]), remained <ar67_321> under my orders. Before the hour at which the attack was directed to commence had arrived I was informed that Longstreet's corps was passing up the Catharpin road to attack my left flank. Preparations were at once made to receive the enemy at that point. Barlow's division was placed in position for that purpose, and my artillery was formed to cover the road leading from the Catharpin to the Brock road, along which it was supposed the enemy would advance. A strong skirmish line was also thrown out covering the Brock road. These preparations were made under the immediate supervision of General Gibbon, who was placed in command of his own and Barlow's division and the left of my line, General Birney being in command of the right. At 5 a.m., according to instructions before mentioned, the command of General Birney, consisting of his own and Mott's division, advanced along the Orange plank road, simultaneously with General Getty's troops (now under command of General Wheaton), and attacked the enemy with great vigor. These troops were supported by Carroll's and Owen's brigades, of Gibbon's division. After a desperate contest, in which our troops conducted themselves in the most intrepid manner, the enemy's line was broken at all points, and he was driven in confusion through the forest for about 1 miles, suffering severe losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our line, which had become somewhat disordered by the long distance which it had pressed after the enemy through the wood, was now halted, to adjust its formation before advancing farther. About this hour Webb's brigade, of Gibbon's division, was ordered to the right in support of Birney. General Birney directed General Webb to relieve the troops of General Getty's division with his brigade. These troops, having lost heavily during the fight earlier in the morning, were withdrawn after having been relieved by General Webb, and were formed on the original line of battle along the Brock road. At 7 a.m. I sent a staff officer to General Gibbon, commanding the left of my line, informing him of our success on my right, and directing him to attack the enemy's right with Barlow's division, and to press to the right toward the Orange plank road. This order was only partially carried out. Frank's brigade, of Barlow's division, was sent to feel the enemy' right, and after an obstinate contest succeeded in forming a connection with the left of Mott's division. I do not know why my order to attack with Barlow's division was not more fully carried out, but it was probably owing to the apprehended approach of Longstreet's corps on my left about that time; but, had my left advanced as directed by me in several orders, I believe the overthrow of the enemy would have been assured. At all events, an attack on the enemy's right by the troops of Barlow's division would have prevented the turning of the left of Mott's division, which occurred later in the day.
At 8 a.m. Stevenson's division, of Burnside's corps, reported to me at the intersection of the Orange plank road and the Brock road. About the same hour General Wadsworth, of the Fifth Corps, with about 5,000 troops, was placed under my orders. General Wadsworth's command went into action on the right of the Orange plank road, connecting with General Birney's line of battle. I was also informed about this time, by a dispatch from General Meade, that two of General Burnside's divisions had pushed forward nearly to Parker's Store and would attack across my front to relieve me. The enemy was now making some demonstrations on my extreme left, which led me to apprehend an attack in that direction and gave me some uneasiness, but I was notified at 8.15 a.m., by a dispatch from General Humphreys, that General Sheridan, with one division of cavalry, had been directed to attack the enemy on the Brock road. It was supposed that Longstreet's corps was marching on that road toward my left. At 8.50 a.m. Birney's, Stevenson's, Mott's, and Wadsworth's divisions again advanced along the Orange plank road with Webb's, Carroll's, and Owen's brigades, of Gibbon's division, and became very furiously engaged with the enemy. The firing had hardly commenced at this point when my left flank was seriously threatened. The enemy opened with artillery and pressed forward their skirmish line. Rapid firing was also heard in the direction of Todd's Tavern. This was supposed to be Sheridan's attack on Longstreet, which had been ordered by the major-general commanding, as narrated above. The impression that Longstreet was executing the flank movement, concerning which I had been cautioned during the night, was strengthened by a report that infantry was moving on the Brock road from the direction of Todd's Tavern about 2 miles from my left. Knowing that we had no infantry in that direction I supposed it must be the advance of the enemy, and Brooke's brigade, of Barlow's division, was immediately sent out on the Brock road to my extreme left, where a strong breast-work was constructed across the road. Leasure's brigade, Ninth Corps, and Eustis' brigade, Sixth Corps, were held in readiness to support Barlow.
The infantry reported as moving on the Brock road proved afterward to be a body of several hundred convalescents who had marched from Chancellorsville and were now following the route of the Second Corps around by Todd's Tavern. Sheridan, instead of meeting Longstreet, encountered Stuart's cavalry, while Longstreet abandoned his flank movement and came in on the Orange plank road to the support of Hill, who had been effectually disposed of by my own attack. The arrangements made on my extreme left to receive Longstreet prevented me from pushing my success at the time when General Birney was driving Hill on the plank road. At 9.15 a dispatch reached me from General Humphreys, stating that Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock, of General Grant's staff, had been sent to point out to General Burnside where to attack the enemy near the plank road. The same dispatch directed me to attack simultaneously with General Burnside. When I received it my line was closely engaged with the enemy on the right and left of the Orange plank road. Half an hour later another dispatch arrived from General Humphreys, inclosing one from Colonel Platt, judge-advocate of the Army of the Potomac, which stated that Cutler's brigade, Fifth Corps, on my right, had fallen back out of the woods considerably disorganized, General Cutler reporting heavy losses, and that the enemy's skirmishers were within one-half mile of General Warren's headquarters. I was directed to take immediate measures to check this movement of the enemy through General Warren's left and was informed that General Meade had no troops to spare for that purpose. I at once ordered General Birney to send to the right as many troops as he could spare to drive the enemy back and restore the line where it had been broken on General Warren's left. General Birney sent two brigades to effect that object, and reported to me a short time afterward by one of his staff that the force he had dispatched to the right had connected with Warren's <ar67_323> left and had re-established the line which had been lost by Cutler's brigade falling back. About 10 a.m. General Gibbon informed me that the enemy did not hold the Brock road, but that General Miles' skirmishers were engaged on my extreme left, in front of the Brock road, with the enemy's dismounted cavalry, while in the direction of Todd's Tavern our cavalry was engaged, it was supposed, with Longstreet's corps.
The enemy now advanced upon Frank's brigade, of Barlow's division, which joined the left of Mott's division. That brigade, having been heavily engaged in the earlier part of the day, had nearly exhausted its ammunition, and was compelled to retire before the enemy, whose attack was made with great vehemence. This was Longstreet's attack. Passing over Frank's brigade, they struck the left of Mott's division, which in turn was forced back. Some confusion ensuing among the troops of that division, I endeavored to restore order and to reform my line of battle along the Orange plank road, from its extreme advance to its junction with the Brock road, by throwing back my left, in order to hold my advanced position along that road and on its right, but was unable to effect this, owing to the partial disorganization of the troops, which was to be attributed to their having been engaged for many hours in a dense forest, under a heavy and murderous musketry fire, when their formation was partly lost. General Birney, who was in command of that portion of the line, thought it advisable to withdraw the troops from the wood, where it was almost impossible to adjust our lines, and to reform them in the breast-works along the Brock road on our original line of battle. This movement was accomplished, and by the exertions of the officers order was soon restored. The troops were reformed in two lines of battle on the same ground from which they had advanced to the attack in the morning. The enemy pushed forward until he was within a few hundred paces of our breast-works, but did not attempt to assault them at that time. I had dispatched a staff officer to inform General Meade that, owing to a heavy attack by Longstreet on my left, my troops had been forced to retire to the Brock road, where the line of battle had been re-established I also informed him that I was about to attack the enemy's left with Leasure's brigade, of the Ninth Corps, then under my orders. This brigade was in position toward the left of my line, and under the command of General Gibbon. I instructed him to advance it upon the left flank of the enemy, directing that Colonel Leasure should sweep along the front of my line to the right in the direction of the Orange plank road, keeping his right about 100 paces from our breast-works; that he should attack the enemy s left and endeavor to drive him back. These instructions were executed by Colonel Leasure with great spirit and success. Deploying 'his brigade at right angles to our line of battle, he traversed the entire front of Mott's and Birney's divisions, crossing the Orange plank road in his march, encountering as he proceeded what he supposed to be a brigade of the enemy, which fell back in disorder without engaging him.
After carrying out my instructions very fully and intelligently, Colonel Leasure's command resumed its former position in the line of battle.
At 2.10 p.m. one brigade of Robinson's division, of the Ninth [Fifth?] Corps, and two regiments of heavy artillery, commanded by Colonel Morrison, reported to me by order of Major-General Meade.
These troops I directed to be massed near the plank road in reserve. No further demonstrations were made in my front until 4.15 p.m., when the enemy advanced against my line in force, pressing forward until they came to the edge of the abatis, less than 100 paces from my first line, where they halted, and continued an uninterrupted fire of musketry. Though the firing was very heavy, little execution was done among our troops, but after half an hour had passed, some of the troops began to waver, and finally a portion of Mott's division and Ward's brigade, of Birney's division, in the first line, gave way, retiring in disorder toward Chancellorsville. My staff and other officers made great exertions to rally these men, and many of them were returned to the line of battle, but a portion of them could not be collected until the action was over.
As soon as the break in our line occurred, the enemy pushed forward and some of them reached the breast-works and planted their flags thereon. A few of them were killed inside of our breast-works. At the moment when the enemy reached our line, General Birney ordered Carroll's brigade, of Gibbon's division, to advance upon them and drive them back. Carroll moved by the left flank and then forward at the double-quick, retaking the breast-works at once and forcing the enemy to fall back and abandon the attack in great disorder, with heavy loss in killed and wounded. Brooke's brigade, of Barlow's division, was sent up from the left by General Gibbon to reenforce Mott about the same time, but was just anticipated by Carroll's brigade, which reached the breast-works first and drove the enemy back. This attack was principally on the left of the plank road.
Dow's battery (Sixth Maine) rendered valuable and effective service, one section being on the plank road, the others in the second line near Mott s left. It delivered a destructive fire as the enemy approached our line, and was served with great steadiness and gallantry. The confusion and disorganization among a portion of the troops of Mott's and Birney's divisions on this occasion was greatly increased, if not originated, by the front line of breast-works having taken fire a short time before the enemy made his attack, the flames having been communicated to it from the forest in front (the battleground of the morning), which had been burning for some hours. The breast-works on this portion of my line were constructed entirely of logs, and at the critical moment of the enemy's advance were a mass of flames which it was impossible at that time to subdue, the fire extending for many hundred paces to the right and left. The intense heat and the smoke, which was driven by the wind directly into the faces of the men, prevented them on portions of the line from firing over the parapet, and at some points compelled them to abandon the line. About the time the enemy had been repulsed, I received a dispatch from the major-general commanding countermanding the order for the attack which had been previously directed to take place at 6 p.m.
While on my way to army headquarters between 7 and 8 p.m., in obedience to a summons from the major-general commanding, I was called upon for troops to assist Major-General Sedgwick, whose line had been broken by the enemy. I directed General Getty's division, Sixth Corps (then under command of General Wheaton), to report to General Sedgwick at once. The night of the 6th and the following day passed without material incident save that early in the morning of the 7th a reconnaissance was made under General Birney's command, when it was found that the enemy did not hold the Orange plank road in force for some distance in my front. During this reconnaissance Captain Briscoe, of General Birney's staff, distinguished himself in a marked manner., At 9 a.m. a dispatch reached me, from General Humphreys, stating that the movements of the enemy indicated that either General Warren or myself would be attacked, but nothing more than light skirmishing occurred in my front.
About dark I sent to their proper commands, by order of the major-general commanding, all the troops under my orders not belonging to my own corps. Birney's division was detached just before dark and ordered to Hawkins' Church to cover the Reserve Artillery, but the order for this movement was countermanded after the division had moved out a short distance. It then returned to its former position. At daylight on the morning of the 8th, in obedience to orders, I withdrew my corps from its position on the Brock road and covered the rear of the army during the movements toward Sposylvania Court-House.
I am aware that I have given but a meager sketch of the part taken by the troops under my command in the battle of the Wilderness. The nature of the country in which that battle was fought is well known. It was covered by a dense forest, almost impenetrable by troops in line of battle, where maneuvering was an operation of extreme difficulty and uncertainty. The undergrowth was so heavy that it was scarcely possible to see more than 100 paces in any direction.
No movements of the enemy could be observed until the lines were almost in collision; only the roar of the musketry disclosed the position of the combatants, to those who were at any distance, and my knowledge of what was transpiring on the field, except in my immediate presence, was limited and was necessarily derived from reports of subordinate commanders. The casualties of service then and subsequently have rendered it impossible for me to obtain the official reports of many of the gallant officers who took a prominent and distinguished part in that great battle. Major-General Birney, Brigadier-Generals Wadsworth, Stevenson, and Hays, are dead; General Barlow is in Europe, and Generals Ward and Owen are out of service. I have applied to General Getty for his report, but have not yet received it.
Looking at the action after so long a time has elapsed, it seems that the expected movement of Longstreet on the left flank, on the morning of the 6th, had a very material effect upon the result of the battle. I was not only cautioned officially that the movement was being made, but many incidents narrated in the body of this report, such as the skirmishing and artillery firing on General Barlow's flank, the heavy firing in the direction of Todd's Tavern, where Sheridan was to attack Longstreet, and the report of the infantry moving on the Brock road from the direction of Todd's Tavern, confirmed me in the belief that I would receive a formidable attack on my left. This paralyzed a large number of my best troops, who would otherwise have gone into action at a decisive point on the morning of the 6th. Had Frank's brigade been supported that morning by the remainder of Barlow's division the result must have been very disastrous to the enemy in his then shattered condition. From accounts from Confederate sources it is now known that our fierce attack along the Orange plank road on the 6th had broken Hill's corps to pieces, and that Longstreet was recalled from the Catharpin road to retrieve the disaster which had over-taken Hill, while Stuart with his cavalry was directed to attack our left.
I am not aware what movements were made by General Burnside near Parker's Store on the morning of the 6th, but I experienced no relief from the attack I was informed he would make across my front, a movement long and anxiously waited for.
The late Major-General Birney acquitted himself with great honor during the battle. His command made a splendid and irresistible advance on the 6th, in which he entirely overthrew the enemy in his front. Major-General Gibbon commanded the left of my line. The troops of his division were sent to the right during the severe fighting along the plank road on the 5th and 6th, where they were under the command of General Birney. Brigadier-General Barlow, then commanding First Division, Second Corps, was under the immediate command of General Gibbon during the battle, on the extreme left of my line. He performed important services. His division, which had charge of the support of nearly all of my artillery, did not go into action as a whole, but each of his brigades were engaged at different periods on the 5th and 6th. Brigadier-General Mott, commanding Fourth Division, Second Corps, was under the command of General Birney during the operations of the 5th and 6th. He displayed his accustomed personal gallantry on the field. Brigadier-General Getty, commanding Second Division, Sixth Corps, was under my command on the 5th and 6th. He was severely wounded while engaged with the enemy on the morning of the 6th. Brigadier-General Wheaton succeeded him in command. His troops fought with great bravery on both days. Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays, that dauntless soldier, whose intrepid and chivalric bearing on so many battle-fields had won for him the highest renown, was killed at the head of his brigade on the 5th. Brigadier-General Wadsworth whose brilliant example and fearless courage always had such an inspiring effect upon his soldiers, fell while leading them against the enemy on the morning of the 6th. Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb, commanding First Brigade, Gibbon's division, Col. (now Brig. Gen.) Thomas A. Smyth, commanding the Irish Brigade, of Barlow's division, and Col. (now Brig. Gen.) John R. Brooke, commanding Fourth Brigade, of Barlow's division, are entitled to high praise for the manner in which they led their troops into action. Col. (now Brig. Gen.) S.S. Carroll, whose services and gallantry were conspicuous throughout the battle, received a painful wound on the 5th, but refused to retire from the field or to give up his command. He particularly distinguished himself on the afternoon of the 6th by the prompt and skillful manner in which he led his brigade to repulse the enemy when they had broken the line of Mott's and Birney's troops. Col. (now Brig. Gen.) N. A. Miles, commanding First Brigade, of Barlow's division, checked several attempts of the enemy to advance on my left. In these encounters General Miles displayed his usual skill and courage. Maj. Henry L. Abbott, Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, was mortally wounded while leading his regiment in the heat of the contest on the morning of the 6th. This brilliant young officer, by his courageous conduct in action, the high state of discipline in his regiment, his devotion to duty, at all times, had obtained the highest reputation among his commanding officers. His loss was greatly deplored. Brigadier-General Webb speaks highly of the conduct of Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Bartlett, of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers, whose regiment was associated in action with his brigade for a short time on the 6th.
The following officers of my staff displayed their usual intelligence and courage: Lieut. Col. C. H. Morgan, assistant inspector-general and chief of staff, Second Corps; Lieut. Col. Francis A. Walker, assistant adjutant-general; Maj. W. G. Mitchell, aide-de-camp; Maj. A. W. Angel, Fifth New Jersey Volunteers, topographical engineer; Surg. A. N. Dougherty, medical director, Second Corps; Capt. I. B. Parker, aide-de-camp; Capt. W. D. W. Miller, aide-de-camp; Capt. W. P. Wilson, acting aide-de-camp.
Capt. H. H. Bingham, judge-advocate, Second Corps, specially distinguished himself in rallying and leading into action a portion of the troops who had given way on the afternoon of the 6th. Capt. E. P. Brownson, commissary of musters of the Second Corps, was severely wounded while performing similar duty.
The casualties in the Second Corps during the battle of the Wilderness were as follows:
Aggregate Artillery Brigade --- 1 --- 9 --- 3 13 First Division 9 130 21 637 3 107 907 Second Division 7 131 41 613 2 112 906 Third Division 14 250 83 1,490 6 130 1,973 TOTAL 30 512 145 2,749 11 352 3,799
The casualties in the Fourteenth Indiana Regiment are not included in the above. The regiment being now out of service, I have no record from which the information could be obtained.
I desire to say in conclusion that the delay in the transmission of this report; its deficiencies in reference to the operations of the troops under my command during the battle, not belonging to the Second Corps, and the absence of many details of the movements of brigades and regiments of the Second Corps on that field, have been occasioned by the urgent and constant occupation of my time, absorbed as it was by the subsequent operations of the campaign, by the almost total absence of detailed reports from division, brigade, and regimental commanders, and lastly, as has been previously stated, by the nature of the ground on which the battle was fought, which made it impossible to observe the movements of the troops after they had entered the forest, whose thickets concealed the various incidents of the fight from all save those who were immediately engaged. These circumstances combined have not only prevented me from furnishing an accurate and minute report of the operations of the troops, but have unfortunately been the cause of the omission from this report of the names of very many brave officers and soldiers whose conduct richly entitled them to special mention and commendation.
Although the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac has stated that reports of the campaign which were not submitted before a certain time would not be forwarded with his own, I consider it due to the officers and soldiers engaged in the battle of the Wilderness that their services should be recited. I therefore submit my report at this late day.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
Maj. Gen., U.S. Volunteers, Commanding Corps.
P. S.--A number of colors were captured by the troops under my command during this battle. Several thousand stand of arms were also collected from the field.
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