By A. L. Peel
Albert Peel was raised in Mississippi. At 17, he left the Kentucky Military Institute to come home and enlist in the 19th Mississippi Regiment. He was killed May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania's Bloody Angle and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery near Spotsylvania Courthouse. These diary entries, written a year previously, tell of the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Wednesday, April 29 - Orders came this evening to fall in to fight. Major Hardin went to take command of the right wing which was on picket. Col. Harris was absent so I formed the left wing & formed on the 12 Regt, marched in quick time to the Chanseller Hotel, & Genl. Posey sent us on picket 1½ mile up the road. I put out 2 Companies in advance as pickets. Col. Harris came to us at 9 p.m. Our pickets brought in a prisoner who reported that a company of the enemy had crossed at germanias ford.
Thursday, April 30 - I slept but little last night. Gen Posey ordered us to hold our position ½ an hour then fall back to Chancellerville hold it 1 hour and follow the Brigade towards Fredericksburg, our pickets fought. We came to the Brigade and halted near the frame church, dug rifle trenches, our pickets fought the enemy. One man from our Regt was wounded. We chopped the bushes down in front of our line. Sleep in the trenches.
Friday May 1, 1863 -The water rose in the trench & got me wet last night. We left the trench & went 2 miles up the plank Road with Genl Jackson. The 12 Regt was deployed as skirmishers & the remainder of the Brigade followed in line of battle. We killed 10 or 12 yankeys & drove them two & half miles through the worst swamp that I ever saw. They got into breastworks. We halt and sleep on our arms in 150 yards of the enemy.
Saturday 2 - We were ordered back a mile early this morning. Genl Jackson compliments us very highly Says we did more than he thought we could, we drew 2 days rations & clothes; marched down towards the river, form a line of battle Send out skirmishers, one got killed. A spy ran through our lines & escaped. Have heavy picket fighting tonight.
Sunday 3 - We repulsed the enemy every time last night. Genl Jackson had his arm shot off by his own men. We moved forward, Pastor Duke with 10 men captured 65 yankeys, 1 Lt Colonel and a Lt. our regiment was deployed as skirmishers charged a breastworks and took it. Lost 51 men killed & wounded, routed the enemy. We went to U. S. Ford our Regt was deployed as skirmishers had a little fight drew off our Regt at 11 oclock p.m.
Monday May 4, 1863 - We left U. S. Ford at 8. Left C, E, & A in our rear for guards. Came within 2 miles of the Brick Church & halted, eat dinner, & move and round south of Fredericksburg, formed a line of battle in sight of the enemy. They opened fire on us, at 5 we moved round to the right under hot fire, crossed the Plank Road, formed a line took some prisoners, stayed till 12m, the enemy retreated and we followed, halted at Banks ford at 1 a.m.
Tuesday 5 - We captured a regt at the ford last night. Sent out Skouts, captured a good many today, moved up on the Plank Road near the hospital, halted at dark , camped, sent out pickets. The enemy are at U. S. Ford 2 miles ahead. I heard that Genl Barksdale lost 1,100 men at Fredericksburg, Col. Griffin was Bayoneted after he was wounded. I Stay in the surgeons tent tonight. We are all very wet. It rained all the evening.
Wednesday 6 - We moved at 8 a.m. halted at Chancellerville at 9, heard that the enemy were crossing the river, went after them, took a few prisoners. Sent our men to gather up spoils of the Battlefield, returned to our old camp near Fredericksburg. I was very sick for 2 hour Got to camp at dark, it rained very hard, all of the field and staff officers sleep in the Surgeons tent.
The rest of the diary may be read online at http://myweb.cableone.net/4jdurham/peel/61peelmayjune.html