War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0179 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

bridge. This I did by detaching it from the south shore, and swinging the south end down stream, to avoid the rocks, then separating it in the center, and taking it down the river in two rafts and two single boats, dismantled on the north end, on account of their being aground. The rafts were taken to the north shore, near the old suspension bridge piers, dismantled, all the materials carried on shore, and the boats hauled out of the water. There the pontoons and other bridge materials were left, in accordance with your instructions, and, at 10 a.m., I sent my men to camp.

There are still left on the bank of the river, near the north approach of these bridges, two army wagons loaded with chests, one tool wagon, and a small quantity of bridge material on the ground.

The lower bridge, in charge of Lieutenant Van Rensselaer, was disconnected at the south end and swung around the north shore, but was not dismantled.

Very respectfully,

I. SPAULDING,

Major Fiftieth New York Engineers, Commanding Detachment.

General D. P. WOODBURY,

Commanding Engineer Brigade.

Numbers 21. Report of Lieutenant Michael H. McGrath, Fiftieth New York Engineers.

CAMP WHITE OAK CHURCH,

December 13, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your orders, Company K and Company F, Fiftieth New York Engineers, under command of Captain McDonald, proceeded to the point designated by you, on the left bank of the Rappahanock River, and arrived about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 11th of December, unloaded the bridge material, and proceeded to lay the bridge. All went on quietly until we got within about 80 feet of the dock in Fredericksburg, when we were opened upon by a body of infantry lying concealed on the opposite shore. We had 2 privates wounded this first fire. Our artillery on the left bank opened fire on the points where the enemy were concealed, which, in about thirty minutes, silenced their fire. We went on the bridge again, and commenced work, but, as soon as we were collected together, the enemy poured a very heavy fire on us, which wounded Captain McDonald, 1 sergeant, and 3 privates. The range being so short and the fire so heavy, it was impossible for the men to work; they accordingly went under cover. Captain McDonald being wounded, I assumed command.

Our artillery gave them round shot and shell for another half hour, when their fire slackened, and finally entirely ceased. I then collected my men together, and made another attempt to finish the bridge, but, as soon as I got fairly at work, we were fired upon, the fire being much heavier than either of the others. We lost by this fire 2 men killed and 9 wounded.

It was then determined to make another attempt to lay the bridge, and to throw a body of infantry across the river in boats, to dislodge the enemy, which was accordingly done. At this time, having many of