New York Tribune

Articles Concerning the
11th Corps at Chancellorsville



From New York Tribune, May 1st - May 9th, 1863

From Our Special Correspondent. CHANCELLORSVILLE, Va.,

                                                                Monday Morning, May, 1863

        ... It was now about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and thus far all the movements undertaken had been successfully executed. Suddenly a most firm and heavy charge was made on the right flank and rear of Howard's Corps. Regiments, brigades and divisions broke and fled in the most terrible confusion. One brigade alone fought bravely until an attempt longer to hold the position would have been madness, then it stubbornly withdrew. To Colonel Buschbeck with his brigade comprising the 27th and 73rd Pennsylvania volunteers and the 29th and 154th New York is due the credit of having saved from capture the train and artillery of the corps.
        The casualties among the men were slight. Thirteen pieces of artillery were left to the enemy; most of them by some unaccountable accident were spiked. The retreating train, the withdrawal of the artillery, and the jumbled and confused mass of stragglers and frightened soldiery that blocked the road and occupied the fields and woods, produced a degree of confusion that was truly alarming. Hooker's line was broken and deranged; the advanced position of Berry and Whipple's divisions and Barlow's brigade, made the situation more complicated. The enemy, flushed with a most brilliant success came rushing forward toward the rear of the right and center with yells and cheers, that made the air hideous with ill omened sounds. The commanding general was, however, of all cool men, the coolest. Berry's division formed across the plank road, midway between Chancellorsville and Dowdall's cavern; his right well in the wood north of the road, and the artillery massed on a hill to his left; in the position he received and repulsed the attack of Stonewall Jackson, for he it was who led this desperate attack.
        The giving way of the 11th Corps made it necessary that a new line be formed and old positions abandoned and new ones occupied. It was necessary to maintain intact the left wing and hold the line from the plank road to the river at Scott's Dam; it was equally a necessity to resist the seizure by the enemy of the United States Ford Road.

                                                                                                        J. R. SYPHER


From our special correspondent HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

                                                                                                        Monday, May 4, 1863.

        The enemy, under Jackson, the two Hills, and Pickett continued advancing along the Fredericksburg Plank Road all day Saturday, cautiously feeling our lines as they passed. A part of the 12th Corps, General Geary's Division, and the 3rd Corps, General Sickles, moved toward them and attacked their flank with considerable success. The enemy continued his advance till opposite our extreme right held by the 11th Corps, General Howard. Upon this they made a vigorous attack. The 11th broke and ran in great confusion towards Chancellorsville, followed by the enemy, whose pursuit was at length checked by a line of battle formed across the road by Generals Berry of the 3rd and Williams of the 12th Corps. The night was spent by both enemy's in getting into position, with occasional heavy artillery and musketry skirmishes.
        At daylight, Sunday morning, the battle commenced vigorously with Meade, Couch, and Sickles forming our center. General Reynolds with his 1st Corps who joined us over night occupying the right and the fugitive 11th the left in strong earthworks supported by the 12th Corps, General Slocum. At noon, after severe fighting we were obliged to fall back from Chancellorsville, and the order of battle was somewhat changed, along the different corps still retained their relative positions. Hostilities ceased pretty much with this, and the balance of the day was spent by our troops in strengthening their earthworks, with some pretty severe skirmishing along our outposts. This morning a brisk artillery fire commenced at daybreak, the two armies being in close quarters. We are looking for the arrival of Sedgewick of the 6th Corps, whose guns can be heard in camp. We have captured 6,000 prisoners, some who have reported the death of General A.P. Hill. Our losses are heavy.

                                                                                                        N. G. SHEPHERD


From our special correspondent ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

                                                                                                        May 6 - 10:45 a.m.

        The 11th Corps, which unfortunately broke and ran from the field on Saturday night, burned an opportunity to wipe away the imputation of cowardice, under which they rested. They alleged that they had been led to believe by information brought from the headquarters of the army, that the enemy was making a southerly direction and that he was therefore rather endeavoring to escape than to fight. They said that their cavalry having been taken away from them, they were unable to learn the true position of the enemy in their front; that he came up suddenly from an unexpected direction, their first knowledge of his approach being the driving in their skirmishers, and the capture of their pickets. But 10 minutes had elapsed from the first alarm, before Von Gilsa's brigade, which was in position on the road along which the enemy advanced, retired in great confusion, his artillery running lengthwise through General Schurz entire division, breaking his lines and throwing his command into such disorder that it also fled in confusion. On the left of the 11th Corps, General Devens fled after making but slight resistance.

        ... The 11th Corps, burning with anxiety for an opportunity to retrieve their honor was also in reserve, avoiding the approach of the river by way of Scotts Dam.

        ... When the 11th Corps became disorganized on Saturday, a private in the 26th Wisconsin was detached from the regiment and continued to dodge the enemy, and traveled through the woods until he arrived at Fredericksburg where he joined Sedgwick's command. He borrowed a musket and aided in the capture of the place. When the enemy fell back the solitary soldier moved forward along the river road, through mostly in the woods, and rejoined his command near Scotts Dam, on Monday evening. He saw no enemy save when in battle, and was neither at Fredericksburg nor Chancellorsville challenged by the national pickets.

                                                                                                        J. R. SYPHERS


From our special correspondent LEFT WING, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

                                                                                                        May 5, 1863.

... Our greatest loss (in prisoners) was in the 11th army corps, Howard's - late Sigel's - which is said not to have behaved well.


From The Washington Chronicle,

                                                                                                        May 8, 1863.


... With the exception of the time of the panic in the 11th Corps, the men stood as firm as rocks, and literally mowed the rebels down as fast as they came up.


The wounded in Washington WASHINGTON,

                                                                                                        Thursday, May 7th, 1863.

        The following is a correct list of the wounded who arrived from the battlefield of the Rappahannock, who received treatment at the Armony Square Hospital, Washington, this morning. Most of them are suffering from gunshot wounds; (26th Wisconsin listed only)

Peter Lersh, Company D; Angus D. Donertte, Company F.
At Judiciary Square Hospital - Henry Fink, Company B.
At Campbell Hospital - Charles Grasse, Company H.