Report of Brig. Gen. A. H. Colquitt, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, May 15, 1863.
Captain [G.] PEYTON.
SIR: Herewith I submit a report of the part taken by my brigade in the recent engagement at Chancellorsville and the affairs connected with it.
On the morning of April 29, intelligence being received that a portion of the Federal Army had succeeded in crossing the river near Fredericksburg, my brigade was put under arms and marched to Hamilton's Crossing. Under cover of a hill, protected from the enemy's artillery, we lay during the day, and at 3 o'clock next morning took position upon a line of temporary intrenchments in front of the enemy. At intervals during the day a fire of artillery was opened upon us, but without effect.
At dawn on the morning of May 1, we took up the line of march, and, after proceeding 6 or 7 miles above Fredericksburg, came upon a portion of our forces who had been engaging the enemy. Discharges of artillery and musketry were still heard. The division being formed in line of battle, my position was upon the right. In this order we advanced a few hundred yards, when my command was thrown into some confusion by coming in contact with the troops of General McLaws' command, formed perpendicular to my own line. The line being rectified, we began again to advance, when instructions were received that we should halt and await future orders. The skirmishers, moving in advance, picked up 15 or 20 prisoners. At sundown we were withdrawn to the Plank road, and continued the march for 2 or 3 miles, when we bivouacked for the night.
Early the next morning we were again put in motion, my brigade in front, and, turning to the left from the Plank road leading from Fredericksburg to Orange Court-House, it was obvious that we were aiming for the flank and rear of the enemy. On reaching the furnace, 1 mile distant from the point of divergence, I detached, by order of General Jackson, a regiment (the Twenty-third Georgia, Colonel [E. F.] Best), with instructions to guard the flank of the column in motion against a surprise, and to call, if necessary, upon any officer whose command was passing for re-enforcements. For the subsequent action and fate of this regiment, I refer to the accompanying report of Colonel Best.
After a circuitous march of 6 miles, we again reached the Plank road, which we had left. My brigade was placed in ambush along the line of the road, with the expectation that some demonstration would be made by the enemy's cavalry. In the meantime the division filed past, and I closed in upon the rear.
At 4 o'clock we reached the road running through Chancellorsville to ------. Here we formed line of battle, my brigade upon the right, and uniting with Doles upon the left. In this order we advanced for a few hundred yards, when intelligence was communicated to me by the skirmishers that a body of the enemy was upon my right flank. I ordered a halt, and called back the Sixth Georgia, which had continued to advance. The regiment upon the right (the Nineteenth Georgia) was quickly thrown into position to meet any demonstration upon the flank, and ordered to advance about 100 yards to the summit of a hill. The enemy's force proved to be a small body of cavalry, which galloped away as soon as the regiment advancing toward them was discovered, and a picket of infantry, which was captured by my skirmishers. All apprehension in this quarter being allayed, we advanced again to the front, to renew connection with the line that had preceded us. As we emerged from the woods into an open field, I discovered Doles' brigade hotly engaged with the enemy at his first works. With a shout, and at a double-quick, we moved to his support, but before we reached musket range the enemy broke in confusion and fled. I halted in the open field, and brought up two of my regiments which had been delayed in crossing a creek and in climbing its steep banks. It was now nearly dark, and too late for further action.
At 10 o'clock I relieved the brigade of General McGowan, watching a road leading to one of the enemy's main positions, and detailed the Sixth Georgia Regiment to support a battery in front. During the night, the alarm being given, my whole command was moved to the support of the battery, and was subjected at intervals to a fierce artillery fire from the enemy.
Early the ensuing morning, I took my position in line of battle on the extreme right, and, in pursuance of orders, was advancing upon the enemy's position, when I received orders to move to the support of General Archer, a guide being furnished to direct me to him. I had proceeded but a short distance when I was ordered to repair in haste to the extreme left of our line, where the enemy threatened to turn our flank. I had scarcely reached the new position when I was again ordered to the right, and thence again to the left.
While our forces were occupied in the assault on Chancellorsville, the enemy sought to assail them in flank, and made desperate efforts to regain possession of the turnpike. It was to defeat this object that my brigade was thrown to the left. Forming line of battle parallel to the road, I advanced in face of a severe fire to a line of breastworks from which the enemy had been driven. Here I found the Third Alabama, of Rodes' brigade, and some Louisiana and South Carolina regiments stubbornly resisting his advance. They had well-nigh exhausted their ammunition. Upon my arrival they withdrew, producing some confusion in rushing through my ranks; it was momentary, however. Advancing beyond the breastworks, we opened a furious and well-directed fire upon the enemy. The contest was sharp and fierce for a few moments. I ordered a charge, which was responded to with a shout and at a double-quick. The enemy broke and fled in confusion, throwing away arms, accouterments, and every incumbrance. We continued the pursuit for half a mile, killing and capturing many, and driving the fugitives into their fortifications in rear of Chancellorsville. Coming to a halt, we lay under cover of woods within 400 yards of their works for four or five hours. Some demonstrations being made upon my left, the brigade of General Lane was sent to my support. Previously the Fiftieth Virginia [?], Captain Mathews, and a detachment of a South Carolina [Alabama] regiment, under Major [A. M.] Gordon, had joined me as re-enforcements. The enemy did not show himself again outside of his works.
At 4 p.m. I was relieved by the division of Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill, under the command of General Pender. We took position soon after in the trenches about Chancellorsville, where we lay until ordered back to our camp near Grace Church.
Colonels [Charles T.] Zachry, [John T.] Lofton, [Tully] Graybill, and [A. J.] Hutchins led their regiments with spirit and energy.
Captain [G. G.] Grattan, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant [James] Randie, aide-de-camp, were indefatigable in their efforts and conspicuously bold in the discharge of their duties.
Mr. H. H. Colquitt, acting upon my staff, bore himself with spirit and coolness.
Especial credit is due Capt. William M. Arnold, Sixth Georgia Regiment, who commanded the battalion of skirmishers. His energy, zeal, and gallantry won my admiration.
A. H. COLQUITT,
[P. S.] The names of the following officers and men are mentioned by their regimental commanders as deserving especial notice for meritorious conduct: Corpls. R. W. Clarke and William Chappell, and Private W. J. Howell, Company A, Sixth Georgia Regiment. Lieuts. George W. Lathem, commanding Company D, and W. P. Edwards, commanding Company F, Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment. Sergt.W. A. Webb, Corpls. L. C. Fentrell and C. M. Newberry, Privates H. Newberry, M. Merritt, J. Murchison, J. Hoskins, J. Worsham, W. G. Clary, and Simon Johnson, of Company C; Privates A. L. Dodd, John J. Buffington, G. M. Dodd, James Laster, Thomas J. Horton, and A. J. Whitaker, of Company E; Privates J. T. Reeves and J. C. Curtice, of Company G; Sergts. J. B. Bryans and T. J. Dukes, Corpl. B. P. Pryor, Privates B. F. Norris, G. W. Rape, J. M. Lindsey, and John H. Lewis, of Company H; Sergt. James Shirah, of Company F; Private William Connel, of Company K, Twenty-seventh Georgia Regiment.
Casualties in Colquitt's brigade.
COMMAND Killed Wounded Missing Total 6th Georgia 2 36 ---- 38 19th Georgia 3 40 ---- 43 23rd Georgia ---- ---- ---- 276 27th Georgia 3 28 ---- 31 28th Georgia 2 30 2 34 TOTAL 10 134 2 422
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