War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0095 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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account of the working of his command and the cavalry division under General Pleasonton.

At 1.30 p.m. I ordered General Hooker to support General Sumner with his command. Soon after receiving this order, he [General Hooker] sent an aide-de-camp to me with the statement that he did not think the attack would be successful. I directed him to make the assault. Some time afterward General Hooker came to me in person with the same statement. I reiterated my order, which he then proceeded to obey. The afternoon was now well advanced. General Franklin before this had been positively ordered to attack with his whole force, and I hoped before sundown to have broken through the enemy's line. This order was not carried out.

At 4 p.m. General Humphreys was directed to attack, General Sykes' division moving in support of Humphreys' right. All these men fought with determined courage, but without success. General Humphreys was conspicuous for his gallantry throughout the action.

To the accompanying report of General Hooker I beg to refer for more detailed statement of his command, together with the cavalry division under General Averell.

Our forces had been repulsed at all points, and it was necessary to look upon the day's work as a failure. It is not pleasant to dwell upon these results, even at this distance of time, and I have, therefore, been thus brief in my statement of them.

From the night of the 13th until the night of the 15th, our men held their positions. Something was done in the way of intrenching, and some angry skirmishing and annoying artillery firing was indulged in in the mean time.

I directed preparations to be made for another attack on the morning of the 14th, but, for reasons not necessary to mention here, I countermanded the order.

On the night of the 15th, I decided to remove the army to the north side of the river, and the work was accomplished without loss of men or materiel. The reports of the grand division commanders give the details of this movement. My aide-de-camp, Major William Cutting, remained on the south side until the last of the troops passed over, and reported to me at daylight that the bridges were being taken up. The grand divisions returned to their respective positions.

On December 17, I made a report to General Halleck, which is marked G in the appendix.* I refer to this because it was understood by many that it was written at the suggestion of the President or Secretary of War. Such is not the fact. It was written at my headquarters, without consultation with any person outside of my own personal staff, and is correct in all particulars.

Immediately after the engagement on the 13th, I sent Major William Goddard with dispatches to Washington, and on the following morning forwarded others, by Colonel Lloyd Aspinwall, requesting them both to give to the authorities at Washington verbal information of what had transpired.

Preparations were at once commenced to refit the army, and I decided to make another movement against the enemy. On December 26, I ordered three days' cooked rations, with ten days' supply in the wagons, together with a supply of forage, beef-cattle, ammunition, and other stores, and for the entire army to be ready to move at twelve hours' notice. It is not worth while to give the details of this intended


*See under that date, p.66.