Among the interesting incidents of the battle of Chancellorsville, that of the capture of the colors of the Twelfth regiment Georgia Volunteers, during the battle of Sunday, May 3, 1863, by Capt. William N. Green, commanding the color company of the One Hundred and Second regiment N. Y. S. V., is worthy of commemoration.
After several days’ severe fighting between the United States forces, under Gen. Hooker, and the Confederate forces, under Gen. Lee, the morning of Sunday, May 3, 1863, found the One Hundred and Second regiment N. Y. S. V., forming a portion of the Twelfth Army Corps, lying in the trenches on the extreme left of the Federal forces.
The battle commenced at five A. M., and the One Hundred and Second were for several hours subjected to a heavy fire from a battery of the rebels, situated on their right flank; at ten A. M., the enemy’s infantry attacked the brigade of which the One Hundred and Second N. Y. S. V. was a part, and succeeded in driving the regiment, which was on the right of the One Hundred and Second, away in confusion; advancing up the trenches, the enemy charged the One Hundred and Second, and were repulsed. Soon after, the One Hundred and Second was charged upon by the Twelfth regiment Georgia Volunteers, and immediately the men of each regiment were engaged in hand-to-hand conflicts.
The company of the One Hundred and Second N. Y. S. V., which Capt. Green commanded, was especially singled out by the enemy for a fierce struggle, as they had charge of the National colors; the Captain commanding the Twelfth regiment Georgia Volunteers rushed forward at the head of his men, and made a jump right at Capt. Green, calling out to him, “Surrender!” to which Capt. Green replied, “Not yet;” then seizing the rebel Captain by the throat with his left hand, he flung him violently to the ground, by tripping him up, and wrenched his sword from his grasp. Capt. Green was then seized from behind by an ambulance-sergeant of the rebels, who, putting his knee in the middle of his back, flung him on the ground. Capt. Green sprung to his feet, and putting both swords (his own and the rebel Captain’s) into his left hand, he knocked the ambulance-sergeant down with his right hand.
Capt. Green then sprang forward some six feet, and grasped with his right hand the flag-staff of the rebel battle-flag,which the color-sergeant was holding, and said to the color-bearer, “Give me that flag,” at the same time pulling the flag-staff away from the Sergeant; he then tore the flag from the flag-staff, and flung the staff over the parapet, putting the flag inside the breast of his fatigue-jacket. Capt. Green then went to two rebel privates, who were a few feet off, and commanded them to give up their muskets, which they did. Taking the muskets, he gave them to some of his own company to carry off, and taking the equipments of the two privates, he flung them into a puddle of water near by, then going to the rebel Captain, he pulled him up off the ground, and putting him, together with the ambulance-sergeant, the color-sergeant, and the two privates, under charge of two of his company, sent them to the rear, to be placed in custody under the provost guard.
Thus, in the short space of five minutes, Capt. Green disarmed one Captain, one ambulance-sergeant, and two privates of the Twelfth Georgia volunteers, besides taking their color-sergeant, with his colors, and sending the whole of them, five in number, as prisoners, under guard, to the rear.
The rebel flag was one of the Confederate battle-flags, made of coarse red serge cloth, about four and a half feet square, having a blue Saint Andrew’s cross running from each corner; three white stars were in each limb of the cross, and one star in the centre, making thirteen stars in all. The flag was sent to Gen. Hooker by his order: the sword was presented to Capt. Green by his brigade commander, for his good conduct during the battle.
Originally posted 2008-08-17 23:42:37.