War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0091 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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of the crest, and either force its evacuation or the capitulation of the forces occupying it.

It was my intention, in case this point had been gained, to push Generals Sumner and Hooker against the left of the crest, and prevent at least the removal of the artillery of the enemy, in case they attempted a retreat. The above orders were prepared in accordance with these views.

It will be seen that General Franklin was directed to seize, if possible, the heights near Captain Hamilton's, and to send at once a column of attack for that purpose, composed of a division at least, in the lead, well supported, and to keep his whole command in readiness to move down the old Richmond road. The object of this order is clear. It was necessary to seize this height in order to enable the remainder of his forces to move down the old Richmond road, with a view of getting in rear of the enemy's line on the crest. He was ordered to seize these heights, if possible, and to do it at once. I sent him a copy of the order to General Sumner, in which it will be seen that I directed General Sumner's column not to move until he received orders from me, while he [General Franklin] was ordered to move at once. The movements were not intended to be simultaneous; in fact, I did not intend to move General Sumner until I learned that Franklin was about to gain the heights near Hamilton's, which I then supposed he was entirely able to do. I sent the order to General Franklin by General James A. Hardie, a member of my staff; it reached him at 7.30 a.m. I cannot possibly give a more intelligent account of the movements of General Franklin's command that day than by copying into this reports the dispatches of General Hardie, which are as follows:

DECEMBER 13-7.40 A. M.

General Meade's division is to make the movement from our left; but it is just reported that the enemy's skirmishers are advancing, indicating an attack upon our position on the left.

9 A. M.

General Meade just moved out. Doubleday supports him. Meade's skirmishers, however, engaged at once with enemy's skirmishers. Battery opening on Meade, probably from position on old Richmond road.

9.40 A. M.

Two batteries playing upon Reynolds' advance, in rear of his first line, cause him to desist the advance. They are on the Bowling Green road, near the river. They must be silenced before he can advance. Heavy firing in our front.

11 A. M.

Meade advanced half a mile, and hold on. Infantry of enemy in wood in front of extreme left; also in front of Howe. No loss, so far, of great importance. General Vinton badly, but not dangerously, wounded.

Later.-Reynolds has been forced to develop his whole line. An attack of some force of enemy's troops on our left seem probable, as far as can now be judged. Stoneman has been directed to cross one division to support our left. Report of cavalry pickets from the other side of the river that enemy's troops were moving down the river, on this side, during the latter part of the night. Howe's pickets reported movement in their front, same direction; still, they have a strong force, well posted with batteries, here.

12 NOON.

Birney's division is now getting into position. That done, Reynolds, will order Meade to advance. Batteries over the river are to shell the enemy's position in the wood in front of Reynolds' left. He thinks the effect will be to promote Meade's advance. A column of the enemy's infantry is passing along the crest of the hills from right to left, as we look at it.

12.05 P. M.

General Meade's line is advancing in the directs you prescribed this morning.