Report of Brig. Gen. W. D. Pender, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
CAMP GREGG, VA., May 14, 1863.
Brig. Gen. HENRY HETH,
Commanding A. P. Hill's Division.
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Chancellorsville:
Having arrived upon the right of the enemy's position May 2, I was ordered to form line of battle upon the left of the road leading to Chancellorsville, in rear and in support of a line formed by part of Colston's division. In this order we advanced some distance, when orders were received to enter the road again and push on by the flank, in which order I moved until reaching the advanced position of our troops. Here, after my men were subjected to a most galling and destructive shelling from the batteries near Chancellorsville, I moved my regiments in to the left and formed line of battle, my right resting upon the road. Before I had completed my formation, I found that my troops occupied the most advanced position of our forces. Skirmishers were thrown out to the front, and in this position we remained until the general advance was ordered early next morning (May 3).
My line had not advanced more than 150 yards before the firing became very heavy, but my men continued to advance, and soon it became apparent that the enemy were posted behind a breastwork of logs and brush. This we carried without once hesitating. Beyond the breastworks the resistance again became very obstinate, as if we had come in contact with a fresh line (but let me here say that the thickness of the undergrowth very much obstructed the view of operations the whole of this day), and this, in its turn, was driven back after a short contest; but farther on the resistance became so great from their infantry force, and the tremendous fire from artillery on my right regiments, that they were forced to fall back, but rallied at the breastworks about 150 yards in our rear. My left regiment (Thirteenth North Carolina) not being subjected to the artillery fire, did not fall back, but continued to advance for a long distance with the brigade on my left, and in this advance Lieutenant [John R.] Ireland, Company E, Thirteenth North Carolina, rushed gallantly forward, and captured Brigadier-General Hays and staff, who were endeavoring to escape. Corpl. Monroe Robinson, Company A, Thirteenth North Carolina, also about this time chased a color-bearer so closely that he tore off the colors, and threw down the staff, which was secured.
After the other four regiments fell back to the breastworks and were reformed, I advanced again, the men going forward with alacrity; but, after penetrating the woods about the same distance as before, had to fall back again. This, to some extent, was unavoidable, as our line on the right of the road had been driven back about this time, and the men thus found that the enemy were at least 100 yards in rear of them, on the opposite side of the road. The Thirteenth North Carolina, on the left, after advancing a long ways to the front, was finally compelled to fall back for want of support and ammunition, which it did in good order. When my line was forced back the second time, supports came up and took the advance. My men were about out of ammunition, broken down, and badly cut up, having lost about 700 officers and men in the short time we had been engaged. What field officers were left collected the men after they had fallen behind the front line, and were engaged at different times during the fight. Knowing the ground pretty well by this time, I remained in the fight with whatever troops came up, until about the close of the action, when I very readily got my men into shape again near the spot from where I commenced the advance.
I can truly say that my brigade fought May 3 with unsurpassed courage and determination. I never knew them act universally so well. I noticed no skulking, and they never showed any hesitation in following their colors. My list of killed and wounded will show how manfully they fought on that glorious day. After having witnessed the fighting of nearly all the troops that fought on the left of the road, I am satisfied with my own; but by no means claiming any superiority. All that I saw behaved as heroes.
Colonel [A. M.] Scales, Thirteenth North Carolina, was wounded, and thus I was deprived of as gallant a man as is to be found in the service.
Lieutenant-Colonel [Joseph H.] Hyman, Thirteenth North Carolina, showed himself a true and gallant officer.
Captain [H. A.] Rogers, Thirteenth North Carolina, gallantly carried the colors of his regiment for some time after receiving a wound in the arm.
Adjutant [Henry A.] Walker, Thirteenth North Carolina, also receives high commendation from his regimental commander for his gallantry.
Lieutenant [Edward] Smith, Company B, Thirteenth North Carolina, has been frequently recommended for promotion for gallant conduct, but thus far has not been confirmed; being fired upon by one of the enemy, rushed forward, and killed him with his sword. Lieutenant [James N.] Williamson, also recommended, as Lieutenant Smith, continued throughout the fight after receiving a flesh wound through the thigh.
Colonel [John S.] McElroy and Lieutenant-Colonel [William A.] Stowe, Sixteenth North Carolina, both behaved as finely as officers could, until they were both seriously wounded. And I cannot refrain from mentioning Private Wiggins, of the same regiment, for his gallantry and endurance. After being on skirmish or picket duty for three days and nights, volunteered to go out again, when he very coolly and deliberately loaded several guns, with which he killed several of the enemy.
It is with great sorrow that I have to record the deaths of LieutenantColonel [Chris. C.] Cole and Major [L.] Odell, Twenty-second North Carolina. Two finer soldiers or more gallant men were not to be found in the army. They never failed me on any occasion.
Lieutenant-Colonel [John] Ashford, Lieutenants [Alsa J.] Brown and [John M.] Robinson, Thirty-eighth North Carolina --the former part of the time and the two latter all the time in charge of my sharpshooters-distinguished themselves very much. Colonel Ashford was remarked for his gallantry by all, and Lieutenant Brown continued with or in charge of the sharpshooters for several days. He is a young man who deserves promotion. He kept his skirmishers so close to the enemy's breastworks on Monday and Tuesday as to pick off their artillery horses, men working on their trenches, and any one seen mounted. He drove in their skirmishers on all occasions.
I should mention that Major [M. McR.] McLauchlin, Thirty-eighth North Carolina, was badly wounded while behaving most gallantly. Adjutant [David M.] McIntire, same regiment, is also spoken of for distinguished conduct.
In general terms, my officers, with but few exceptions, acted not only well, but remarkably so.
The following table will show my loss. Six out of 10 field officers were killed or seriously wounded:
13th North Carolina Regiment ---- 31 11 167 1 6 12 204 16th North Carolina Regiment 3 14 7 66 ---- 15 10 95 22nd North Carolina Regiment 2 28 7 122 1 14 10 164 34th North Carolina Regiment 1 17 3 107 --- 20 4 144 38th North Carolina Regiment 2 18 7 70 ---- 11 9 99 GRAND TOTAL 8 108 35 532 2 66 45 705
I should have stated that Colonel McElroy with his regiment, the Sixteenth North Carolina, after getting within three-fourths of a mile of the point where the battle opened Sunday morning, was directed to report to General Stuart, who took him to some point in rear of the enemy, where he attacked a camp and routed them, when he rejoined me at 3 a.m., only about two hours before the fight opened, having been marching all day and night.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
W. D. PENDER,
RETURN TO CHANCELLORSVILLE ORDER OF BATTLE (ANV) PAGE