31st Regiment, New Jersey Volunteer Infantry
Organized at Flemington, N.J., and mustered in September 17, 1862. Left State for Washington, D.C., September 26, 1862. Attached to Abercrombie's Provisional Brigade, Casey's Division, Defenses of Washington, to December, 1862. Patrick's Command, Provost Guard, Army of the Potomac, to January, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1863.
Duty in the defenses of Washington till November, 1862.
Moved to Aquia Creek, Va., and duty there guarding railroad till
Moved to Belle Plain, Va., and joined Army of the Potomac January
"Mud March" January 20-24.
Duty at Belle Plain till April 27.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Operations at Pollock's, Mill Creek, April 29-May 2.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 2-5.
Ordered home for muster out June. Mustered out June 24, 1863.
Battle Report Filed By Gen. G. R. Paul, Mentioning the
31st Regiment, NJVI
WHITE OAK CHURCH, VA.,
SIR: In compliance with orders from headquarters of
the First Division, First Army Corps, I have the honor to report the part taken
by my brigade during the operations of the Army of the Potomac against the enemy
from April 28 to May 6, 1863.
The Third Brigade, consisting of the Twenty-second,
Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Regiments New Jersey Volunteers and
the One hundred and thirty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, left camp, near
Belle Plain, on April 28; marched toward the Rappahannock, via White Oak Church,
and encamped about 2 miles from the river. Left camp at midnight, and halted
near the crossing, several miles below Fredericksburg, where it was held in
reserve until about 12 m., when it was ordered forward; crossed the river
without opposition on a pontoon bridge, and took post on the crest of the bank
on the west side of the river, and at nightfall the Thirty-first New Jersey
was moved into rifle-pits in front.
In this position the brigade remained quietly until
May 2, when the enemy opened their batteries on us, doing, however, but little
damage, the troops being partially protected by the bank. In the midst of the
heaviest firing, I received orders from the division commander to recross the
river with my brigade, which was done with some loss, the enemy having the exact
range of the bridge. Many fragments of shell fell on and around the bridge
during the passage of the troops, and one shell struck it, and, exploding,
destroyed one of the pontoons and part of the flooring of the bridge, obliging
the One hundred and thirty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, about to cross, to
return to the shelter of the river bank while the damage was being repaired.
After crossing, a few more casualties occurred. The brigade was then marched
toward the United States Ford, crossing the river near that point at about 3
a.m. on May 3, and took a position on the right of the army, forming a support
for the first Line.
On the 4th, moved to the extreme right, forming with
two regiments a continuation of the first line, supported by two regiments in
the second line, and on the 5th, at 4 p.m., sent the Twenty-second New Jersey
Volunteers about a mile to the right, forming a line near the Rapidan. At about
10 p.m. the same day, during a heavy rain, marched the brigade toward the United
States Ford, which point was nearly reached at midnight, when countermanding
orders were received. The brigade retraced its steps, and its former position
was nearly reached, when order:: were received to march again toward the
crossing, and this was finally accomplished early on the morning of May 6. The
troops were very much fatigued, having marched and countermarched all night in
the mud and exposed to a drenching rain.
It is with pleasure that I can testify to the zeal
displayed by the troops of my command, who were anxious for an opportunity to
meet the enemy face to face. Although never before under fire, they showed great
coolness when exposed to it, and would have given a good account of themselves
in a closer conflict with the enemy.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. R. PAUL,
Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.