Numbers 271. Report of Major General Lafayette McLaws, C. S. Army, commanding McLaws division.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION, Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., December 30, 1862.
My division occupied the front of defense from Hazel Run along the ridge of hills to the right and through the point of woods extending into Mr. Alfred Bernard's field, one brigade being in reserve. The brigade on the left had an extended rifle-pit at the foot of the main ridge, from the left of the Telegraph road to a private road near Mr. Howison's barn. The next brigade had rifle-pits along the foot of the hills in front of its position, and others on the crest of the hills. The right brigade constructed rifle-pits and breastworks of logs through the woods, with abatis in front of them. The crests of the hills were occupied by the batteries of Captain [John P. W.] Read, one 10-pounder Parrott, one 12-pounder howitzer, one 3-inch rifle; Captain [B. C.] Manly, three 6-pounders, one 3-inch rifle, two 12-pounder howitzers; Captain [H. N.] Ells, one 30-pounder Parrott; Captain [Miles C.] Macon, two 10-pounder Parrotts and two 6-pounders; [Captain] R. L. Cooper, three 10-pounder Parrotts; [Captain Henry H.] Carlton, two 10-pounder Parrotts; [Captain John L.] Eubank, one 3-inch rifle; [Captain E. S.] McCarthy, two 3-inch rifles; [Captain James] Dearing, one 10-pounder Parrott; [Captain H. M.] Ross, three 10-pounder Parrotts, and, in addition, there was a number of smooth-bore pieces placed along the hills, to be used should the enemy advance near enough for their effectual range. One brigade was constantly on duty in the city to guard the town and defend the river crossings as far down as a quarter of a mile below Deep Run Creek. Two regiments from General Anderson's division picketed the river bank above the town, reporting to the brigadier-general in charge of the brigade on duty in the city. The orders were that two guns should be fired from one of my batteries in a central position, which would be the signal that the enemy were attempting to cross. These were the positions of my command and the orders governing them up to the 10th instant. On that day the brigade of General Barksdale, composed of the Mississippi troops, were on duty in the city.
About 2 a. m. on the 11th, General Barksdale sent me word that the movements of the enemy indicated they were preparing to lay down their pontoon bridges, and his men were getting into position to defend the crossing. About 4.30 o'clock he notified me that the bridges were being placed, and he would open fire so soon as the working parties came in good range of his rifles. I gave the order, and the signal guns were fire about 5 a. m.
I had been notified from your headquarters the evening previous (the 10th instant) to have all the batteries harnessed up at daylight on the 11th, and I had given orders that my whole command should be under arms at the same time.
General Barksdale kept his men quiet and concealed until the bridges were so advanced that the working parties were in easy range, when he opened fire with such effect the bridges were abandoned at once. Nine separate attempt were made to complete the bridges under fire of their sharpshooters and guns on the opposite banks, but every attempt being attended with such severe loss from our men-posted in rifle-pits, in the cellars of the houses along the banks, and from behind whatever offered concealment-that the enemy abandoned their attempts