Report of Brigadier General Robert Ransom, jr., C. S. Army, commanding Ransom's division.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION, Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., December 20, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of my division during the several days' operations before Fredericksburg, commencing on the 11th instant:
On the morning of that day the division took position about 600 yards in rear of our batteries, which were upon Marye's and Willis' Hills, and at the time occupied by the Washington Artillery. About noon it was withdraw to the Telegraph road, a little in rear of where General Longstreet had his headquarters during the day. At 9 p.m. it retook the position of the morning, Cooke's brigade being advanced to within 200 yards of our batteries, and the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, of my brigade, was placed in a ditch on the left and in the prolongation of Cobb's brigade, which occupied the Telegraph road in front of Marye's and Willis Hills. The left of the Twenty-fourth rested on the Plank road. My batteries remained in rear of the division.
On the 12th, there was no change, except the placing of three long range guns from Cooper's battery near Howison's house, on the right of the Telegraph road. During these two days occasional shells from the enemy's guns burst among and near the troops, but there were few or no injuries.
About 11.30 a.m. on the 13th, large numbers of skirmishers were thrown out from the town by the enemy, and it soon became evident that an effort would be made to take our batteries which I was supporting. Cooke's brigade was ordered to occupy the crest of Marye's and Willis' Hills, which was done in fine style. By this time the enemy backed his skirmishers with a compact line and advanced toward the hills, but the Washington Artillery and a well-directed fire from Cobb's and Cooke's brigades drove them quickly back to their shelter in the town. But a few minutes elapsed before another line was formed by the enemy, he all the while keeping up a brisk fire with sharpshooters. This line advanced with the utmost determination, and some few of them got within 50 yards of our line, but the whole were forced to retire in wild confusion before the telling fire of our small-arms at such short range.
During this attack two of Cooke's regiments, being badly exposed [for there were then no rifle-pits on the hills], were thrown into the road with Cobb's brigade. For some few minutes there was a cessation of fire, but we were not kept long in expectancy. The enemy now seemed determined to reach our position, and formed apparently a triple line. Observing this movement on his part, I brought up the three regiments of my brigade to within 100 yards of the crest of the hills, and pushed forward the Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers to the crest. The enemy, almost massed, moved to the charge heroically, and met the withering fire of our artillery and small-arms with wonderful staunchness. On they came to within less than 150 paces of our line, but nothing could live before the sheet of lead that was hurled at them from this distance. They momentarily wavered, broke, and rushed headlong from the field. A few, however, more resolute than the rest, lingered under cover of some fences and houses, and annoyed us with a scattering but well-directed fire. The Twenty-fifth North Carolina Volunteers reached
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