Reports of Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade.
APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]

HEADQUARTERS IVERSON'S BRIGADE,
May 13, 1863.

Capt. G. PEYTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

       SIR: [Inclosed find] report of operations of Iverson's brigade from the morning of April 29 to the conclusion of the battle of the Wilderness, May 2.
       I have the honor to report that my brigade, pursuant to order from Brigadier-General Rodes, commanding division, moved from its camp near Grace Church about 8 a.m. on the morning of April 29, and occupied the line of the railroad to the left of Hamilton's Crossing, connecting with the right of General Early's division. It remained in this position (the enemy being in our front on this side of the river) until before day on the morning of May 1, when it was ordered to move on the Military road, following the brigade of General Ramseur, in the direction of Chancellorsville. Arrived at intrenchments constructed by Major-General Anderson above Fredericksburg, in the neighborhood of Banks' Ford, it rested till evening, and then moved forward on the Plank road toward Chancellorsville, still following the brigade of General Ramseur. Heavy firing was heard on the right of the road in the direction of the old turnpike, and, by order of General Rodes, skirmishers were thrown out to the right to protect the flank. About 3 miles from Chancellorsville, the brigade of General Ramseur having formed line of battle to the front on the left of the road, my brigade was moved forward by the right flank in line of battle parallel to the road. While in this position, several men were killed and wounded by the fire of the enemy's skirmishers. Receiving an order to advance, we found the enemy retiring his line of skirmishers, and General Rodes then ordered me to hold a position in the woods, with skirmishers advanced as near the enemy as possible. This was done, my skirmishers driving in those in their front until they found the enemy contesting a position on the old turnpike road. In the engagement between the skirmishers, about a dozen prisoners were taken by us. I was ordered at sundown to withdraw from my position and march in the direction of Chancellorsville, and bivouacked on the road about 1 mile from that place.
       Immediately after daylight on the morning of May 2, I was directed by General Rodes to relieve the brigade of General Ramseur, then posted in the front and to the right of the Plank road leading into Chancellorsville. I passed the point occupied by General Ramseur without perceiving it, owing to his being posted in dense woods and the courier who had been directed to show me the position not being on the spot where I expected to find him, and came in sight of the enemy about 400 yards distant, whom I mistook for General Ramseur's troops till they saluted me with a shower of Minie balls, followed by canister, wounding 4 or 5 men of the Twenty-third North Carolina troops. The brigade was moved by the right flank into the woods, and then by the rear of the column back to the position of General Ramseur, where I remained until 10 o'clock, when an order was received from General Rodes to follow his division, which had moved several hours before, around toward the rear of the enemy by the Catharpin road. I informed General Archer, who was on the line in my rear, that I was about to uncover his front, but would leave my skirmishers there hotly engaged till he could relieve them. By so doing I deprived myself of the invaluable services of that trained and practiced corps, as they could not overtake me till after the fight of that day. I followed the division of General Trimble, and came up with General Rodes about 4 p.m., and was posted on the extreme left, in the front line.
       Immediately after getting into position, the line moved forward to the battle of the Wilderness. Advancing through the dense and tangled undergrowth in the following order--Fifth North Carolina on the right, connecting with Rodes' brigade; Twelfth North Carolina next, then the Twentieth North Carolina, and on the left the Twenty-third North Carolina, moving by the flank--the skirmishers soon engaged, and the whole pressed hotly and quickly to the attack. The enemy seemed to be completely taken by surprise, and made no organized resistance. At several points regiments appeared, but were quickly dispersed. Their line of intrenchments were taken by my brigade completely in rear, and the enemy broke and streamed over the hills toward Chancellorsville. The second line, commanded by Brigadier-General Colston, closed in with us at this point, and caused great confusion, the two lines rushing forward pell-mell upon the enemy, and becoming mingled in almost inextricable confusion, no officer being able to tell what men he commanded. A battery played upon us until we approached very close, and then retired, leaving one gun on the ground passed over by the Fifth North Carolina.
       The gallant and lamented Maj. D. P. Rowe, commanding the Twelfth North Carolina, fell, mortally wounded, in the first of the fight, a noble sacrifice to his country's cause.
       The whole affair from the moment of attack was a wild scene of triumph on our part. Hungry men seized provisions as they passed the camps of the enemy, and rushed forward, eating, shouting, and firing. A force of the enemy's cavalry advanced to charge, but were sent fleeing to the rear, the Yankee officers leading their men in retreat. The enemy were driven over a mile before a halt was ordered, and night was falling upon us.
       After much labor the brigade--divided in many portions by the celerity of the movement and the confusion caused by the second line closing up with us--was collected together and moved to the rear, to take post in the third line of battle for the following morning.
       I regret to say that Col. T. M. Garrett, Fifth North Carolina, was severely wounded by a shot from some of our own troops at the close of the engagement. I observed him during the evening in front of his regiment, impetuously leading it to the fight and stimulating his men by his example. Col. D. H. Christie led his splendid regiment with calm and confident courage, and Col. T. F. Toon earned well-deserved distinction for his courage and conduct in this the first fight of his regiment since his promotion to the colonelcy. I refer you to the reports of these officers for mention of distinguished acts of gallantry in their respective commands. The Twelfth North Carolina, though deprived early of their gallant leader (Major Rowe), made themselves a name which they have since well sustained in the bloody fight of Chancellorsville. I can proudly say of the whole brigade there is no fault to find.
       I find it impossible to divide the casualties of the series of skirmishes and battles, and will therefore inclose the total, ending with day of our withdrawal from Chancellorsville.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALFRED IVERSON,
Brigadier-General.


HEADQUARTERS IVERSON'S BRIGADE,
May 13, 1863.

Capt. G. PEYTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

       SIR: [Inclosed find] report of part taken by Iverson's brigade in battle of Chancellorsville.
       Having rested on our arms on the extreme left of the third line of battle, composed of the troops of Rodes' division, during the night of May 2, about 6 a.m. of May 3 we advanced with the whole line, one brigade of which (Rodes') intervened between mine and the Plank road. My command was formed in the following order, from right to left: Twenty-third North Carolina, Twentieth North Carolina, Twelfth North Carolina, and Fifth North Carolina. The direction was Chancellorsville, moving to the left of and parallel to Germanna road. Advancing through the almost impenetrable undergrowth, subjected to the incessant artillery fire of the enemy, it was impossible to see any portion of the brigade over 50 yards. In consequence of the difficulty of proceeding, I soon received information from Lieutenant-Colonel [John W.] Lea, commanding the Fifth North Carolina, that his regiment was disconnected from the brigade. Fearing that he might get lost, and fall into the hands of the enemy, I sent him word to move by the right flank and then close up. This maneuver threw him in rear of the line, leaving the Twelfth North Carolina on the left flank. Upon reaching the first barricades of the enemy, which had been carried by the first line of our troops, a heavy fire of artillery opened on my left, raking the whole line, and the skirmishers of the enemy fired on my left flank. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel [R. D.] Johnston, commanding Twelfth North Carolina, to deploy skirmishers to protect his flank, and to press on. At the barricades I met General Rodes, and informed him that the enemy were threatening my flank. My brigade pressed on, and found the troops of the first lines retiring before the heavy force of the enemy, and we became the first line, engaging the enemy in front, who gradually retired before us but at this time they were advancing in heavy force on my left flank. I dispatched a messenger to General Stuart with this information, and asked him for re-enforcements. Before any could have arrived, they closed up with us, forcing the Twelfth and Twentieth North Carolina to retire to the barricades. Col. D. H. Christie, with five companies of his regiment, had charged that part of the enemy's battery resting on the Plank road, captured it, and by an enfilading fire caused the abandonment of their guns, when, finding that he was outflanked from the left, was forced to retire, after a desperate fight, losing many men killed, wounded, and prisoners. It is supposed that Major [C. C.] Blacknall, of the Twenty-third North Carolina, was captured here. Lieutenant-Colonel Lea; with the Fifth North Carolina, had come up in the meantime, but had not been engaged. He reported his regiment to me in the center of my brigade, and was ordered to sustain two regiments of Rodes' brigade in an advanced position, but, finding the whole falling back, he also retired to the breastworks. Finding the danger from the forcing of our left flank imminent, and the enemy still pressing on, I was forced to give my whole attention to that point, and, in conjunction with General Thomas, formed a portion of a Louisiana brigade with two regiments of Rodes' brigade (I think the Sixth and Twelfth Alabama), to meet the attack of the enemy from the left. At the same time, having learned that the troops with General Lee had driven the enemy and effected a junction with the right of our corps, I announced the fact to my brigade, and again advanced them to the front. They had gone but a short distance when the troops I had formed on the left became engaged with the advancing line of the enemy. I then communicated with Col. S. B. Pickens, commanding Twelfth Alabama, whose gallantry on this occasion I cannot too highly commend, so completely and courageously did he lend himself to aid me in preparing the line to resist an attack, and ordered him to hold the enemy in check till I could procure re-enforcements. The incessant stream of balls showed that the enemy were in force, and I found that the advance of my brigade was continually checked by the enemy on the left enfilading the line. Leaving the troops I had placed in position, I went out to the Plank road for assistance, and, observing troops in line on the right of the road, I sent Capt. D. P. Halsey to them for aid. He communicated with General Colston, who promptly moved a portion of his command in the required direction. I saw General Stuart, and informed him of the situation, and he immediately forwarded the brigade of General Colquitt to support the left. Returning to watch the effect of the re-enforcements, I received a contusion in the groin from a spent ball, which made walking very painful, and, as the battle ceased shortly after, I requested Colonel Christie to take the command of the brigade till I could procure my horse. Upon joining the brigade in front, I received orders from General Rodes to move up the Plank road and take position, with my right resting on the brick house at Chancellorsville, where we fortified our position by the use of bayonets and fingers, and remained, subjected on several occasions to the shells and canister of the enemy, until Wednesday evening, May 6, when ordered to return to camp.
       On Wednesday morning, the enemy having retired, skirmishers were pressed forward to the river, capturing many prisoners.
       Where a whole command behaved so well as mine did, I shall be obliged to confine myself, with one exception, to the commendation of officers commanding regiments, leaving it to them to name individuals distinguished for conduct. The exception is Lieutenant [M. J.] Malone, of the Fifth North Carolina, upon whom I depended for correct information from the line of skirmishers. He was nearly always in front, and on Wednesday morning, when informed of my wish to find out the position of the enemy, crept forward alone into their intrenchments, and brought me news of the evacuation.
       Col. D. H. Christie, for the gallant manner in which he fought his regiment at the breastworks of the enemy, deserves promotion, and I here take occasion to recommend him for the same.
       Col. T. F. Toon, Twentieth North Carolina, was wounded while fighting his regiment gallantly in the front line.
       Lieut. Col. R. D. Johnston, of the Twenty-third North Carolina, to whom I had given command of the Twelfth North Carolina, cannot be too highly praised for the distinguished courage with which he commanded under trying circumstances.
       Lieutenant Colonel Lea up to the time of his wound bore himself and commanded his regiment with determined bravery.
       My thanks are due Capt. D. P. Halsey, assistant adjutant-general, for his promptness and readiness in carrying my orders to any part of the field; and the thanks of the country are due the whole command, officers and men, for their unexceptional conduct.
       Lists of casualties are inclosed with regimental reports.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALFRED IVERSON,
Brigadier-General.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS DIVISION,
May 16, 1863.

Brigadier-General IVERSON,
Commanding:

       GENERAL: General Rodes directs that you forward the receipt given by Major-General Stuart to Twelfth North Carolina Regiment for a captured standard, in order that it may be sent to headquarters with the banners.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. PEYTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsements. ]

HEADQUARTERS BRIGADE,
May 16, 1863.

       Respectfully referred to Lieutenant-Colonel [R. D.] Johnston, commanding Twelfth North Carolina troops, who will furnish at once the receipt called for to be forwarded.

By order, &c.,
D. P. HALSEY,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

MAY 17, 1863.

       I have the honor to state that the flag of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers was turned over to General Stuart on Monday, in the presence of the whole command, and he was in such a hurry that he did not have time to give me a receipt; but if I can find out his whereabouts, I can get it now or at any time.

R. D. JOHNSTON,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

 

HEADQUARTERS IVERSON'S BRIGADE,
May 17, 1863.

       Respectfully forwarded. Attention called to indorsement of Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston.

ALFRED IVERSON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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