At this crossing Lieuts. J. C. Wiggins and George J. Clarke, with their flagmen, preceded the other troops, and were the first to reach the shore and ascend the hill on the other side. Finding their advanced position untenable, from the severity of the enemy's fire, they fell back to the line of our skirmishers, and moved forward again with them, opening communication with Lieutenant F. Homer, stationed upon the Corn Bluff, near Captain De Russy's batteries. This communication was kept up until 10 p.m., when the officers were withdrawn by order of General Franklin. Lieuts. J. B. Brooks and C. F. Stone crossed with the advance of General Couch's corps, but, owing to the lateness of the hour and the rapid rising of the fog and smoke, were unable to attain any satisfactory communication.
On December 12, the dense fog and the smoke from the burning town precluded the possibility of any communication until about 2 p.m., when it was established between the headquarters station at the Phillips house and the station at the Lacy house, and upon the Corn Bluff, and also with Lieutenants Brooks and Stone, located in the steeple of the court-house in Fredericksburg. Lines were also successfully worked from General Franklin, by Lieutenant E. C. Pierce, to Lieutenants Wiggins and Clarke, with General Smith, and from General Smith to the station near Captain De Russy's batteries.
On the 13th instant, communication was successfully established between all the before-mentioned points; five stations communicating to the headquarters station, which was under charge of Lieutenants Hall and Taylor. Lieuts. L. B. Norton, William S. Stryker, and T. R. Clarke, when not engaged upon other duties, assisted in the labors at this point. General Couch being about to advance with his corps, Lieutenants Brooks and Stone were directed to accompany him, having been relieved by Lieuts. F. E. Yates and F. Fuller, at the court-house steeple.
This station was effectively worked by Lieutenant Fuller, assisted by but one flagman until night, Lieutenant Yates having refused to remain upon that post, which was much exposed. The station on the hill, near Colonel Hays' batteries, having been one of but little importance, the officers (Lieuts. J. Gloskoski and F. W. Owen) were ordered to cross the river and to open communication with the headquarters station from a point near the left of the town, which was successfully accomplished although under the fire of the enemy. Lieutenants Hebrew and Barrett having been relieved by Lieuts. S. Adams and A. B. Jerome from duty upon the Corn Bluff, the former took position with General Willcox, while Lieutenant Barrett ascended the court-house steeple, from which point he conveyed, through Lieutenant Hebrew, to General Willcox the results of their observations. The communication on the left was continually kept up.
During December 14, the stations enumerated continued in successful operation. A new line was established by Lieuts. W. H. Hill and C. H. Cary, communicating from General Franklin's headquarters, through the station on the Corn Bluff, to the Phillips house. Captain De Russy's batteries having been moved to a point farther south, a station was established at Seddon's house by Lieutenants Wiggins and Homer, communicating with Lieuts. E. C. Pierce, and G. J. Clarke, at General Franklin's headquarters. The station on the left of the town was this day removed, by request of the surgeons, to a point in the vicinity from which the flags would not be visible to the enemy, their previous position having drawn the fire of the rebel batteries and endangered the wounded, then lying in the hospitals near by. Captain C S. Kendall and Lieutenant L. R. Fortescue were sent to the court-house