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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 626 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

the crest of the hill just in time to pour into the enemy a few volleys at most deadly range, and then took position shoulder to shoulder with Cobb's and Cooke's men in the road.

During this attack the gallant Brigadier-General Cobb was mortally wounded, and almost at the same instant Brigadier-General Cooke was wounded and taken from the field. Colonel [E. D.] Hall, Forty-sixth North Carolina Volunteers, succeeded to the command of his brigade.

Nothing daunted by the fearful punishment he had received, the enemy brought out fresh and increased numbers of troops. Fearing lest he might by mere force of numbers pass over our line, I determined to resist him with every man at my disposal, and started in person to place the remaining two regiments of my brigade. Just at this instant Brigadier-General Kershaw dashed on horseback at the Telegraph road and near the mill, and led it into the fight immediately at Marye's house. A second regiment from his brigade followed and took position in rear of and near the grave-yard on Willis' Hill and remained there. I now advanced my regiments, and placed one a few yards in rear of Marye's house and the other on its right and a little more retired. With his increased numbers the enemy moved forward. Our men held their fire till it would be fatally effective. Meantime our artillery was spreading fearful havoc among the enemy's ranks. Still he advanced and received the destructive fire of our line. Even more resolute than before, he seemed determined madly to press on, but his efforts could avail nothing. At length, broken and seemingly dismayed, the whole mass turned and fled to the very center of the town.

At this time I sent my adjutant-general to the road to ascertain the condition of the troops and the amount of ammunition on hand. His report was truly gratifying, representing the men in highest spirits and an abundance of ammunition. I had ordered Cobb's brigade supplied from my wagons.

The afternoon was now nearly spent, and it appeared that the enemy would not again renew his attempts to carry our position. Again, however, an effort, more feeble than those which had preceded, was made to push his troops over the bodies of the now numerous slain. The sun was down, and darkness was fast hiding the enemy from view, and it was reasonable to suppose there would be no further movements, at least toward the point we held; but the frequent and determined assaults he had mad would not permit me to despise either his courage or his hardihood; ant thinking that as a last alternative he might resort to the bayonet, under cover of darkness, I massed my little command, so as to meet such and attack with all the power we were capable of exerting. Instead, however, of a charge with the bayonet, just after dark he opened a tremendous fire of small-arms and at short range upon my whole line. This last desperate and murderous attack met the same fate which had befallen those which preceded, and his hosts were sent, actually howling, back to their beaten comrades in the town.

A short time before the last, Brigadier-General Kemper had reported to me with his brigade. With two of his regiments I relieved the Twenty-fourth North Carolina Volunteers, which had been in the ditch two days, and placed the others in close supporting distance of the crest of the hill. During the whole time the enemy's artillery had not ceased to play upon us, but our batteries took no notice of it, reserving their fire and using it against his infantry as it would form and advance with extraordinary effect. Thus ended the fighting in front of Fredericksburg.


Page 626 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 21, Part 1 (Fredericksburg)
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