eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

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

You are currently in Volume XXI | Pages range from 1 to 1152

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
Page 566 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

terrible effect upon the enemy-especially when, driven back by an intolerable fire from Marye's Hill, they crowded into the deep railroad cut which it enfiladed-burst about the thirty-ninth discharge. Although many persons were standing near (among them the commanding general and Lieutenant-General Longstreet, and, perhaps within 10 feet, the undersigned), by a remarkable Providence, the explosion was entirely harmless. Not a single individual received from it so much as a scratch. A small Parrott was immediately substituted, and orders were sent by an aide for Lane's Whitworth to be removed to this point as speedily as possible; but before it arrived, darkness had closed upon the scene, the enemy's last feeble attempt made after dark and failed, and the tumult of battle settled into the stillness of death.

Although the enemy had been thus far successfully repelled alike on the right and left, it was confidently expected that a more serious attack would be made next morning. Accordingly measures were taken to meet it effectually. On request from General Jackson for additional guns to strengthen his extreme right, Milledge's battery of light rifles, which had that evening arrived from below, was ordered to report at dawn next morning to Major Pelham, who had charge of one or two batteries on the right, and at request of General McLaws, who wished to detect and frustrate any efforts of working parties of the enemy near our lines next the town, the undersigned caused to be prepared at the ordnance work-shop and conducted to the batteries on Marye's Hill some incendiary shells, to be used, if found necessary, in firing certain buildings suitably situated, so as to illuminate the scene and reveal any works in course of construction. This proved superfluous. Nothing being attempted by the enemy, the shells were not used. These duties necessarily occupied the undersigned till late, and required the active services of members of his staff during most of the night.

Sunday morning (14th), the decisive battle was expected. Accordingly, at an early hour, the front was sought by the undersigned, as by others. The same dense fog prevailed as on previous mornings. The enemy, having been so destructively repelled from Marye's Hill on the day before, would not again essay that point, it was supposed, but concentrate upon the center and right. And more effectually to frustrate anything like an attempt by surprise under cover of the fog to carry the heights occupied by the Whitworth and the remaining large Parrott, the short-range guns of Major Nelson's battalion were adjusted to sweep the approaches to those heights, and officers and men were kept on the alert at all the batteries. Nothing, however, occurred except desultory firing. As the fog cleared up, the enemy appeared in fully array along and near the river road, but comparatively inactive, as if in some sort respecting the Christian Sabbath. To watch their movements and counteract them by occasional shots, &c., was the course adopted on our part. As the day progressed, circumstances seemed to indicate a purpose by the enemy to throw a heavy force against and beyond our right flank, and the more adequately to meet the request of General Jackson the day before for stronger artillery there, the undersigned obtained the commanding general's sanction to the transfer of Lane's battery-save the Whitworth-from the extreme left to the extreme right. It was accordingly sent for, and marched several miles of the distance that night.

Monday (15th), the undersigned, supposing the still expected attack would be mainly directed against our right, proceeded thither for the purpose of posting Lane's battery and rendering other service. Having


Page 566 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon