Report of Brig. Gen. J. J. Archer, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
HEADQUARTERS ARCHER'S BRIGADE, June 2, 1863.
Capt. R. H. FINNEY,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that about 11 a.m., May 2, by order of Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill, I withdrew my brigade from its advanced position on the Plank road, leaving my pickets out to wait until relieved, and proceeded to follow the other brigades of the division, which, with the exception of Thomas', had gone to the left by the Welford Furnace road. Thomas' brigade followed in my rear. When I had advanced 2 miles beyond the furnace, a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry rode up, and reported that a large body of the enemy had attacked the train in my rear, and driven off the troops which had been left to protect it. As the apparent exigency of the case allowed no time to communicate with the major-general, I immediately ordered back my own and Thomas' brigade, but when I arrived at the furnace found that the enemy had already been repulsed by Lieutenant-Colonel [J. T.] Brown, of the artillery, and some infantry, among which I learned that Capt. W. S. Moore, Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment, with his company, bore a conspicuous part. I inclose herewith Captain Moore's report. Owing to the delay thus occasioned, I did not rejoin the division until late at night. During the night I formed on the extreme right of the division, with General McGowan's brigade on my left.
The next morning, about sunrise, we moved forward to the attack, through dense pine timber, driving before us the enemy's skirmishers, and, at a distance of 400 yards, emerging into the open field in front of a battery, which was placed on an abrupt hill near a spring-house. We advanced at double quick, and captured 4 pieces of artillery and about 100 prisoners, driving the infantry supports in confusion before us.
From this position the enemy could be seen in heavy force in the woods, which commenced about 600 yards diagonally to the right and front, and in the high open ground to the front. No other troops of our army were at this time in sight of us. After a few minutes' halt to reform our line, which had become somewhat broken by its rapid advance through the woods, I proceeded to attack the wood, which I have mentioned as lying diagonally to the front and right. My brigade, which was at the beginning only 1,400 strong and entirely unsupported, attacked with great intrepidity; but the position was strongly intrenched and manned by vastly greater numbers, and we were forced to retire from within 70 yards of the intrenchments. We again formed and advanced to the attack, and were again forced to retire. I now moved my brigade to the point where we had captured the batteries, to await the arrival of re enforcements. Soon after, Major [W. J.] Pegram came up and occupied the position with artillery. Colonel [John T.] Mercer came up on the left with three regiments of Doles' brigade, and General Anderson came up from the rear on my right with his division. He soon after moved to the right, leaving me in support of the artillery, which had opened a heavy and effective fire upon the enemy, which was hotly returned, although with little effect. In a few minutes General [R. E.] Lee rode up, and soon directed me to move forward with my own brigade and the three regiments of Doles', which were under command of Colonel Mercer. After advancing 400 or 500 yards, Colonel Mercer requested a short halt until the ammunition, which had just arrived, could be distributed to his regiments. During this halt I received an order through one of General Stuart's staff not to advance farther until I received the order from him; but other troops coming up on Colonel Mercer's left and on my right, I moved slowly forward and soon came, on ascending the hill in front of Chancellorsville, in full view and range of the enemy's cannon, which opened a heavy fire upon us. About half of my brigade had by this time, in its advance, entered the wood, having swung around slightly to the right for this purpose; the left regiment of Doles brigade, which was to the left of the center of the enemy's artillery fire, and all that portion of the line on its left (I do not know what troops they were) moved over by flank to the left. As soon as I observed this movement, I rode across the field to bring them back, but when I reached the Plank road I found they had crossed it and entered the wood on its left. I then rode back across the field under the fire of their artillery to the point where my brigade had entered the wood. On account of the denseness of the tangled thicket, and the number of men of other brigades, I did not for some time find my own, and feared that it had fallen back, but was gratified to find that all its little regiments had moved promptly forward and driven the enemy from that part of their trenches farthest to the left and nearest to Chancellor's house. All firing ceased a short time after I entered the wood. I soon after formed the brigade in the open field, and joined the division on the Plank road.
The next day the division fortified its position on the left of the Plank road, fronting the United States Ford. General Pender, in command of the division, being wounded in the evening, the command of the division devolved on me, and that of the brigade on Colonel [B. D.] Fry for a short time, during which nothing important occurred except some skirmishing in front.
My loss in this action was 41 killed and 317 wounded. Among the former was Major [J. T.] Smith, Thirteenth Alabama Regiment, and Captain [S. D.] Stewart, commanding Filth Alabama Battalion, and among the latter Colonel [William] McComb, Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment, severely.
My assistant adjutant-general (Captain [Robert Harris] Archer) and aide-de-camp (Lieutenant [Oliver H Thomas) were present with the brigade throughout the action. I take this occasion to acknowledge the gallant and efficient service of Mr. G. A. Williams, of Maryland, a volunteer aide on my staff. The regiments were commanded as follows: First Tennessee [Provisional Army], Lieutenant Colonel [N. J.] George; Thirteenth Alabama, Colonel Fry; Fourteenth Tennessee, Colonel McComb, until wounded, and afterward by Captain [R. C.] Wilson; Seventh Tennessee, by Lieutenant-Colonel [John A.] Fite, aid Fifth Alabama Battalion by Captain Stewart.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. J. ARCHER,
Return of Casualties in Archer's brigade in the engagements near Chancellorsville.
|5th Alabama Battalion||2||1||----||32||----||1||36||Capt. S.D. Stewart and
Lieut W.B. Hutton
|13th Alabama||2||13||18||99||----||8||140||Maj. John T. Smith and
Lieut. John J. Pendergrass
|7th Tennessee||1||9||3||46||----||3||62||Lieut. Andrew F. Paul|
|14th Tennessee||1||6||9||47||----||3||66||Capt. W.W. Thompson|
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