Reports of Brig. Gen. William Mahone, C. S. Army, commanding
April 27-May 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
MAJOR: In response to the circular from headquarters First Army Corps, May 12, I beg leave to report the capture of the colors of the One hundred and seventh Ohio Volunteers:
HDQRS. MAHONE'S BRIGADE, ANDERSON'S DIVISION,
May 27, 1863.
Maj. THOMAS S. MILLS,
A. A. G. Anderson's Div., 1st Corps, Army Northern Va.
MAJOR: I beg leave to report the operations of this brigade in the late battles of the Rappahannock.
It is proper to premise that this brigade, with that of General Posey, had been stationed near the United States Ford for the purpose of defending that crossing of the Rappahannock.
On Wednesday, April 29, it was reported to me that the enemy had made his appearance in force at the Germanna and Ely's crossings of the Rapidan. This appearance of the enemy upon our flank and rear rendered our position at the United States Ford no longer tenable, and with a view to checking his advance upon the flank of our army, as was now clearly discerned to be his aim, the two brigades--General Posey's and mine--were immediately placed in position near Chancellorsville, so as to cover the roads from the Germanna and Ely's crossings of the Rapidan and that of the United States Ford, uniting at Chancellorsville.
In the meantime our camps, stores, equipage, transportation, and sick were sent to the rear, and without any material loss of any of them.
The brigades occupied their position at Chancellorsville as indicated until next morning (Thursday, the 30th instant), when, under the direction of the major-general commanding the division (who had happily joined us during the night), they fell back on the United States Mine road, this brigade at and covering the crossing by that road of the old turnpike. Before leaving our position at Chancellorsville, however, the enemy's cavalry advance on the Ely's Ford road had made its appearance, and after a precipitate advance upon our pickets (capturing several), he subsequently came upon our rear guard--the Twelfth Virginia Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel [E. M.] Feild commanding--was repulsed, and so effectually as to leave us free from any further annoyance during the change of position to which I have already referred, and then in process of execution. Shortly after we had taken up our new line at the intersection of the Mine and Turnpike roads, the enemy came down the turnpike in considerable force of cavalry and infantry, but nothing occurred at this point beyond a little skirmishing with his sharpshooters and reconnoitering parties.
The next day (Friday, May 1), this brigade led on the Turnpike road in the general advance of our forces, and very shortly engaged the enemy under General Sykes, when we had quite a brisk little engagement--artillery and infantry--Major-General McLaws commanding. The enemy (United States Regulars, many of whom we captured) was promptly repulsed, and our line of battle, now formed, was moved rapidly forward to a point on the turnpike south of Chancellorsville about 1¼ miles, known as McGee's. This brigade continued here with Major-General McLaws' force, confronting the enemy's line of battle in that quarter, until the next day, when it was transferred, and occupied our front line, immediately on the left of the Plank road. In this position we continued up to the fall of Chancellorsville, engaging the enemy more or less warmly as the progress of General Jackson's operations on his flank and rear seemed to call for, and as the range of his (General Jackson's) enfilading fire would allow. It was during this service of the brigade that the advance line of skirmishers of the Sixth Virginia Infantry (Col. George T. Rogers), under the immediate command of Capt. W.Carter Williams, charged over the enemy's abatis near the Plank road, fired upon him in his rifle-pits, captured there prisoners from four different regiments, and the colors and color-bearer of the One hundred and seventh Ohio, returning to his position with his handful of men with the loss of an officer as prisoner. This gallant and successful sortie was made a little after dark, Saturday, May 2, when General Jackson's fire was heavy, and it was in fighting over the same ground the next morning that the valiant Williams fell, mortally wounded. The standard, a most elegantly finished work, was duly delivered.
Immediately following the fall of Chancellorsville, this brigade was sent with a brigade of Major-General McLaws' division to look after the enemy, then reported to be advancing up the Plank road from Fredericksburg, under General Sedgwick. Meeting General Wilcox, with his brigade, about the divergence of the Plank and Turnpike roads, and finding that the enemy was really and rapidly advancing, it was at once determined to meet him at Salem Church. At this point, possessing the advantages of ground, our line was formed.
In the meantime, Major-General McLaws had joined us with the balance of his division. My brigade, in the spirited fight at this place, occupied the extreme left of the line, lying wholly in the woods, and participated in the successful resistance made to the enemy's very determined effort to break our lines at that point. Upon the conclusion of this battle (Tuesday, May 5), the brigade rejoined its division.
The conduct of the officers and men (in bearing the hardships and privations attending eight consecutive days of exposure and excitement as well as in battle) deserve high commendation, and at least this acknowledgment at my hands.
The Twelfth Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel [E. M.] Feild commanding, for its rigid and efficient resistance of the superior force of the enemy while covering the formation of our line of battle on the turnpike Friday, May 1; the Sixth Virginia, Colonel [George T.] Rogers commanding, for its vigorous pressure and bold sorties upon the enemy and his works around Chancellorsville Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, for its veteran like behavior at Salem Church, receiving without disorder the enemy's sudden fire while moving by the flank, and the Sixty-first Virginia, Colonel[V. D] Groner, for its gallant and successful skirmish with the enemy during the formation of our lines at Salem Church, deserves special mention, while the part borne by the Sixteenth Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel [Richard O.] Whitehead commanding, and the Forty-first Virginia, Colonel [William Allen] Parham commanding, was everywhere, though less arduous, well and bravely performed.
In this connection it is but due that I should record here my high appreciation of the efficient and gallant conduct of the staff officers with me---Capt. R. Taylor, assistant adjutant-general, and First Lieut. Richard Walke, ordnance officer.
Among the gallant spirits who were seriously wounded, Captain [Robert R.] Banks, Company E, Twelfth Virginia Infantry, must be mentioned. He fell among the foremost in the skirmish fight of his regiment on the turnpike, May 1, and was at the time commanding our advance guard. His conduct on this occasion was beautifully heroic.
The number of prisoners taken by the brigade was large, but cannot be accurately stated, owing to the hurried and detached manner in which they had to be sent to the rear.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
MAHONE'S BRIGADE, ANDERSON'S DIVISION,
May 14, 1863.
Maj. THOMAS S. MILLS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Anderson's Division,
I am, major, very respectfully,
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