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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
Page 647 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

Colonel [Samuel] McGowan, faced by the rear rank, changed front forward, and stood prepared to resist any attempt to sweep down my rear. The combat was short, sharp, and decisive. The rattling musketry and charging yell of the Fifth Alabama Battalion, the Forty-seventh Virginia, and Twenty-second Virginia, and Twenty-second Virginia Battalion, the withering fire from Hamilton's regiment right in their faces, was more than Yankee firmness could stand. In addition to this, that gallant old warrior, General Early, to whom I had sent, requesting that he would move down to my support, came crashing through the woods at the double-quick. The enemy, completely broken, fled in confusion. The two regiments of Brockenbrough's brigade, Archer, with the First Tennessee and Fifth Alabama Battalion, and Early's troops, chased them across the railroad and back to their reserves. In this backward movement of theirs my artillery again inflicted heavy loss upon them. On the extreme left of my line, held by the North Carolina brigade of General Pender [Thirteenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-second, Thirty-fourth, and Thirty-eighth], the enemy made several threatening attempts to advance, but were invariably repulsed by the well-directed fire from Davidson's and Latimer's guns. From the nature of the ground occupied by Pender's brigade, and the entire absence of all protection against artillery, his brigade received the greater part of the terrible fire directed at Davidson and Latimer, and suffered severely. General Pender was himself wounded, and his aide, Lieutenant [Jacob] Shepperd, killed, while gallantly rallying a portion of the Eighteenth Regiment, of Lane's brigade.

During the temporary absence of General Pender, the command of the brigade devolved upon Colonel Scales, of the Thirteenth. The two batteries suffering much by the fire of a heavy line of skirmishers, Colonel Scales directed Major [Chris. C.] Cole, of the Twenty-second North Carolina, to dislodge them, which was handsomely done. The Sixteenth, Colonel [John S.] McElroy, which had been thrown out as a support to Latimer's battery, became pretty hotly engaged with a brigade of the enemy which had advanced up Deep Run under cover, and, assisted by two North Carolina regiments of Law's brigade, Hood's division, drove them back.

The enemy having thus been repulsed at all points, my brigades remained in their original positions save General Thomas' [Fourteenth, Thirty-fifth, Forty-fifth, and Forty-ninth Georgia], which was not recalled from the position it had so gallantly won in the front line, and General Archer, who, being out of ammunition, was relieved by Colonel [R. F.] Hoke, of Early's division.

About dusk I received an order from the lieutenant-general to advance my whole line and drive the enemy. This order was, however, countermanded while preparations were being made to carry it out. During the night my division was relieved from the front by the divisions of Generals Early and Taliaferro. When the fight was hottest, General Taliaferro very promptly responded to my call and moved down his division to within easy supporting distance of my left.

I cannot close this report without calling the attention of the lieutenant-general to the admirable manner in which the troops of this division behaved under that most trying of all things to the soldier, viz, inaction under a heavy fire of artillery. The absence of all straggling was remarkable, and is entitled to high commendation. The conscripts showed themselves desirous of being thought worthy comrades of our veteran soldiers. In this, as in all previous battles, my thanks are eminently due to the brigade commanders for their hearty co-operation-the coolness and skill with which they have handled their troops.


Page 647 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
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