Report of Brig. Gen. Carnot Posey. C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
NEAR FREDERICSBURG, VA., May 12, 1863.
Maj. THOMAS S. MILLS,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Anderson's Division.
MAJOR: I have the honor of submitting a report of the part my brigade took in the recent engagement about Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg.
On, the evening of the 29th ultimo, being then in camp with Brigadier-General Mahone near the United States Ford, we were advised by our scouts and the cavalry pickets, who were posted at Ely's Ford and Germanna Bridge, that the enemy had crossed in heavy force at those points, and were advancing on the Ely and Plank roads toward Chancellorsville. Upon consultation, we concluded to leave five companies of my brigade (Nineteenth Mississippi Regiment) and one regiment of General Mahone's brigade to watch and defend the United States Ford, while we moved our brigades to Chancellorsville. On reaching that place, we posted my brigade on the right and left of the Plank road at Chancellorsville, and General Mahone's brigade in Ballard's and Nixley's fields, half a mile from Chancellorsville, on the Ely road.
We remained in this position until about 7 o'clock the next morning, the 30th, when we were directed by the major-general commanding, who reached Chancellorsville about 12 a.m., to move our commands back to a position where the Mine road crosses the old Pike and Plank road. We remained in this position until the next morning about 9 o'clock, May 1, when I was ordered to advance my brigade up the Plank road. After moving about 2 miles, I formed a line of battle in Aldrich's field, between the Plank road and old Pike, and sent out the Twelfth [Mississippi] Regiment as skirmishers, moving the other three regiments forward as fast as the skirmishers advanced. The advanced line of skirmishers soon encountered the enemy, when I advanced another line, and we drove the enemy's skirmishers back in gallant style until we encountered the enemy in heavy force, drawn up in line of battle on the Furnace road. This line was soon broken by the vigorous onset of my skirmishers.
At this time, Lieutenant-Colonel [M. B.] Harris, commanding the Twelfth [Mississippi], was severely wounded while gallantly leading on his command, and was taken off the field. I continued my advance across the Furnace road, through a dense wood thickly set with undergrowth, driving back the enemy's skirmishers through the woods, until I reached a marsh and became much exposed to a rapid shelling from the enemy's artillery, when I halted my command, and remained here until about 11 p.m., when I received an order from the major-general commanding to advance as far as I could. I then pushed my skirmishers forward, and with much difficulty crossed the marsh in front, and advanced within a short distance of the enemy's lines of works, the enemy on my right being on my flank and somewhat in the rear of my right. I remained in this position until about 7 o'clock the next morning, when I was relieved by Brigadier-General Thomas, and then moved with my brigade to the field in rear of the Furnace road, where my command was allowed to rest for a short time.
Saturday, May 2, about 10 a.m., my command moved down the Furnace road, and formed a line of battle with three regiments (the Forty-eighth [Mississippi] being left behind as skirmishers, and were not relieved until late at night) on each side of the road, about 500 yards from the furnace. Here my skirmishers were hotly engaged with the enemy during the whole day and part of the night, the enemy being in heavy force in my front, and made frequent efforts to advance, without success. On every occasion my line of skirmishers drove them back in confusion.
On the morning of the 3d, the enemy having disappeared from my front, I advanced my command by the furnace, capturing many prisoners and arms, until I reached a point in a field in rear of our batteries on the extreme right of the enemy's lines. Here I formed my command in column of regiments, and after a short time was ordered to advance by flank to the right and attack the enemy, who were in strong force on a hill in front. I deployed first the Nineteenth [Mississippi], then the Twelfth, Forty-eighth, and Sixteenth [Mississippi], directing the commanders to move by the left flank (which would bring them in line of battle fronting the enemy), as soon as they attained sufficient room in the woods, and push forward their skirmishers vigorously against the enemy's. The movement was made in fine order, under heavy fire of shell and grape as each regiment attained its position. The commanders pushed forward gallantly and irresistibly through a dense wood and over a wide abatis and into the trenches of the enemy, driving him off with much slaughter and capturing many prisoners.
Too much credit cannot be given to the officers and men for this gallant and daring and irresistible charge, sweeping the enemy for more than half a mile of their strong works, overcoming without hesitation both natural and artificial obstacles.
It would not be proper in this limited report to mention the many instances of individual daring which came under my observation and which have been reported to me, and where all the officers and men behaved so nobly it would be invidious to individualize. Commanders of regiments acted with consummate skill and valor. Colonel [S. E.] Baker, of the Sixteenth, attacked the enemy's works on their extreme right; Colonel [Jos. M.] Jayne, of the Forty-eighth (who was wounded in the charge); next Major [S. B.] Thomas, of the Twelfth, and Colonel [N. H.] Harris [of the Nineteenth] on the right of the brigade. These commanders simultaneously charged the enemy's works, and I am much indebted to them for the brilliant success of my command. My command, after storming the works, being somewhat scattered on account of the dense woods and vigorous pursuit, I moved it back a short distance and reformed in an open field on the right, and in a very short time was ready to move forward.
On the afternoon of this day, my command was moved on the old pike, the left resting near Chancellor's house and my right extended on the pike. I here sent out ten companies of skirmishers, who penetrated to Ballard's and Nixley's fields, where the enemy were in force and throwing up works of defense. In the afternoon my brigade, with Generals Wright's and Perry's, was moved near the United States Ford, where I sent out the Nineteenth and Twelfth [Mississippi] Regiments, and drove in the enemy's skirmishers.
The next day (Monday, the 4th), my command was moved, with Generals Wright and Perry, toward Fredericksburg, and in the afternoon formed a line of battle near Hazel Run, fronting Dolmer's [Downman's?] house. At the signal to advance, led by the major-general commanding, my command moved across to the Plank road, opposite Guest's house, under heavy fire, and at dark formed a line of battle and remained until about 12 o'clock, when I was ordered to move to a point up the Plank road near Banks' Ford. During this time my skirmishers were actively engaged, and brought in many prisoners.
I remained near Banks' Ford during the balance of the night, and the next evening (the 5th). in a severe storm of wind and rain, advanced to within 2 miles of Chancellorsville, and bivouacked for the night.
Early the next day (6th), I was moved to Ballard's field, and that evening returned to my old camp near Fredericksburg. My command was on foot from April 29 to May 7, inclusive, and bore the privations, fatigue, labor, and fighting without a murmur.
My staff officers--Stanhope Posey, assistant adjutant-general, and J. B. Posey, aide-de-camp--rendered good services. My aide-de-camp being very sick had to leave the field Saturday morning, and my assistant adjutant-general being wounded on Saturday was disabled from doing active duty, but remained in the field while the fighting lasted.
In the meantime one of my couriers (Mr. Asberry Hancock) acted both as courier and aide-de-camp, and did most valuable service, displaying acts of daring and heroism worthy of mention, and for his conduct in the field in front of the enemy deserves the highest consideration, and should be promoted. My courier (Well) also deserves mention.
I must here mention that Lieutenant-Colonel [Thomas B.] Manlove, of the Forty-eighth [Mississippi], volunteered and gallantly led a line of skirmishers on Friday morning with good effect.
It affords me pleasure to notice the gallant conduct of T. L. Duke, chaplain of the Nineteenth [Mississippi] Regiment, who remained in front of his regiment with his musket during the series of engagements, and mainly directed the movements of the skirmishers of that regiment.
I herewith send a list of casualties, and also the reports of commanders of regiments, giving more particular details, which are interesting.
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