divisions to concentrate their troops near the places for the proposed bridges; to the chief engineer, to make arrangements to throw the bridges; to the chief quartermaster, to have the trains of the army in such position as not to impede the movement of the troops, and at the same time to be in readiness, in case of success, to follow their separate commands with supplies of subsistence stores, forage, and ammunition; to the chief of artillery, to so post his batteries as to cover the working parties while they were constructing the bridges and the army while crossing.
The organizations of the three grand divisions will be found in the appendix, marked F,* and in speaking of the movements of the troops I shall, as nearly as possible, confine myself to the movements of the grand divisions, and must refer to the reports of the commanders for more detailed statements.
The right grand division [General Sumner's] was directed to concentrate near the upper and middle bridges; the left grand division [General Franklin's] near the bridges, below the town; the center grand division [General Hooker] near to and in rear of General Sumner. These arrangements were made with a view to throwing the bridges on the morning of December 11. The enemy held possession of the city of Fredericksburg and the crest or ridge running from a point on the river, just above Falmouth, to the Massaponax, some 4 miles below. This ridge was in rear of the city, forming an angle with the Rappahannock. Between the ridge and the river there is a plain, narrow at the point, where Fredericksburg stands, but widening out as it approaches the Massaponax. On the north side of the river the high bluffs gave us good opportunities for placing the batteries, which were to command the town and the plain upon which our troops were to move.
For a full understanding of the position of the batteries and the general movement of the artillery, I beg to refer to the report of my chief of artillery, Brigadier General H. J. Hunt.
Had it been determined to cross at Skinker's Neck, I should have endeavored, in case of success, to have moved in the direction of Guiney's Station, with a view of interrupting the enemy's communications, and forcing him to fight outside his intrenchments. When this intention was abandoned, in consequence of the heavy concentration of the enemy at or near Skinker's Neck, and it had been decided to cross at or near the town, I hoped to be able to seize some point on the enemy's line near the Massaponax, and thereby separate his forces on the river below from those occupying the crest, or ridge, in rear of the town.
In speaking of this crest, or ridge, I shall speak of it as occupied by the enemy, and shall call the point near the Massaponax the right of the crest, and that on the river, and in rear of and above the town, the left; and in speaking of our own forces it will be remembered that General Sumner's command was on our extreme right and General Franklin's command was on the extreme left. I deem this remark necessary, because in some prominent quotations from my previous reports my meaning has been misinterpreted.
During the night of the 10th the bridge material was taken to the proper points on the river, and soon after 3 o'clock on the morning of the 11th the working parties commenced throwing the bridges, protected by infantry, placed under cover of the banks, and by artillery,
*Omitted. A revised statement of the organization, December 11-15, 1862, appears on pp.48-61.