War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0162 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. V.A, MD., AND PA.

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[CHAP. XXXIII.

strongest force of the enemy must be south and southeast of Fredericksburg. Their infantry from opposite us moved in that direction.

On the 13th we were recalled from our station and ordered to Fredericksburg. There we established ourselves upon the roof of a house selected by you, for the purpose of communicating from General Willcox to General Sumner. From that place we had good view of the enemy south, southeast, of us, and we might have also communicated to Colonel Hays, and directed the shots of his guns, if signal station had remained there.

I could not preserve all messages for that day, because there were so many of them and often given few at once [sic], that I have had not time to note them all, except the following:*

General SUMNER:

General Butterfield is to send Griffin, his "right bower", to the assistance of General Sturgis.

WILLCOX.

General SUMNER:

General Sturgis reports that he is within 80 paces of the crest, but says, "for God's sake, send another division," as he has but one regiment in reserve. I have requested Butterfield to send a division.

WILLCOX,

General.

General SUMNER:

General Griffin is relieving General Sturgis, who is holding on in spite of everything until he is relieved.

WILLCOX.

6 P. M.

To 333:

From all appearances our troops haven't gained and inch of ground since 4 this p.m.

L.

Colonel TAYLOR, Chief of Staff:

General Couch reports that he has command of the crest of the hill, and I have ordered Sturgis to advance. Humphreys is ordered to support Couch.

WILLCOX.

(This message was sent first of all.)

Between 6 an 7 p.m. the shells of the enemy became very annoying. It seemed as if they directed several guns upon our station purposely to hit us, and there is not the least doubt that they were trying their best to do that. The roof under our feet, the trees over our heads, houses next to ours, everything near us was either broken, riddled by shells, or tumbled in ruins. The sentinel in front of our station was killed, several men in the house wounded, and in a neighboring hospital 15 wounded men killed by one shell. At last their range became so dangerous that the surgeons requested us, for God's sake, to stop signaling, as it endangered, they supposed, the lives of wounded men in hospitals. We agreed to that request, as by that time "the fate of the day" was decided, and we had no more important messages to send.

We remained on that station until the night, between 15th and 16th instant, when we learned that all our generals and all our troops had recrossed the river; then we also abandoned our position at 4 a.m., and reported in this camp.

I have the pleasure to remark that Lieutenant Owen remained cool

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*Purely personal dispatches are omitted.

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