War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0089 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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on the bluffs above, One of the lower bridges, for General Franklin's command, was completed by 10.30 a.m. without serious trouble, and afterward a second bridge was constructed at the same point. The upper bridge, near the Lacy house, and the middle bridge, near the steamboat landing, were about two-birds built at 6 a.m., when the enemy opened upon the working parties with musketry with such severity as to cause them to leave the work. Our artillery was unable to silence this fire, the fog being so dense as to make accurate firing impossible. Frequent attempts were made to continue the work, but to no purpose.

About noon the fog cleared away, and we were able, with our artillery, to check the fire of the enemy. After consultation with Generals Hunt and Woodbury, I decided to resume the work on the bridges, and gave directions, in accordance with a suggestion of General Hunt, to send men over in pontoons to the other shore as rapidly as possible, to drive the enemy from his position on the opposite bank. This work was most gallantly performed by Colonel Hall's brigade-the Seventh Michigan and Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts-at the upper bridges, and by the Eighty-ninth New York at the middle bridge, and the enemy were soon driven from their position. The throwing of the bridges was resumed, and they were soon afterward finished.

No more difficult feat has been performed during the war than the throwing of these bridges in the face of the enemy by these brave men; and I take pleasure in referring to the reports of General Woodbury and Lieutenant Comstock for a more detailed account of this gallant work.

It was now near night-fall. One brigade of Franklin's division crossed over to the south side; drove the enemy's pickets from the houses near the brigade head, and Howard's division, together with a brigade from the Ninth Corps, both of General Sumner's command, crossed over on the upper and middle bridges, and, after some sharp skirmishing, occupied the town before daylight on the morning of the 12th.

During this day, the 12th, Sumner's and Franklin's commands crossed over and took position on the south bank, and General Hooker's grand division was held in readiness to support either the right or left, or to press the enemy in case the other command succeeded in moving him.

The line, as now established, was as follows: The Second Corps held the center and right of the town; the Ninth Corps was on the left of the Second Corps, and connected with General Franklin's right, at Deep Run, the whole of this force being nearly parallel to the river; the Sixth Corps was formed on the left of the Ninth Corps, nearly parallel with the old Richmond road, and the First Corps on the left of the Sixth, nearly at right angles with it, its left resting on the river.

The plain below the town is interrupted by hedges and ditches to a considerable extent, which gives good covering to an enemy, making it difficult to maneuver upon.

The old Richmond road, spoken of above, runs from the town in a line nearly parallel with the river, to a point near the Massaponax, where it turns to the south, and passes near the right of the crest, or ridge, which runs in rear of the town, and was then occupied by the enemy in force. In order to pass down this road it was necessary to occupy the extreme right of this crest, which was designated on the map then in use by the army as "Hamilton's."

By the night of the 12th the troops were all in position, and I visited the different commands with a view to determining as to future movements. The delay in laying the bridges had rendered some change in