my men disabled, and some of my men being absent on hospital duty, I could not collect sufficient force to man the boats conveying the infantry and at the same time proceed with the building of the bridge. I gave it up to a detachment of the Fifteenth Regiment New York Engineers, by order of Captain Bowers, assistant adjutant-general of the Engineer Brigade.
* * * * * *
M. H. McGRATH,
Lieutenant, Commanding Company F, Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers.
Major IRA SPAULDING,
Lieutenant, Commanding, Detachment of Fiftieth New York Engineers.
Numbers 22. Reports of Brigadier General Henry J. Hunt, U. S. Army, Chief of Artillery.
ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., January 10, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the general operations of the artillery of this army from December 10 to 16, 1862.
It having been determined to cross the Rappahannock at attack the enemy in his position, I received orders from Major-General Burnside to make the necessary disposition of the artillery, to protect the construction of the bridges and to cover the passage of the army.
It was determined to construct at least five bridges-two at the upper part of the town of Fredericksburg; one at the lower part, and two more about 1 1/4 miles below the second crossing place, the distance between the upper and lower bridges being 2 miles.
The enemy occupied the town and a ridge of hills extending from above the Falmouth ford to Massaponax River, 5 miles below. This ridge forms and angle with the river, passes behind the town, and is itself overlooked by another ridge behind it. Between the ridge and the river extends the plain on which the town of Fredericksburg stands; narrow at this point, but spreading out toward the Massaponax and the front of the lower bridges. This ridge is, from Falmouth down to where it touches the Massaponax, about 6 miles long.
On the north of the river the prolongation of the ridge, which crosses the river at Falmouth dam, forms a high and broken country at and near Falmouth. Bordering the river a narrow plain and broken ground extend to near the position selected for the middle bridges, whence a high ridge or bluff commences, and stretches in nearly a straight line to a point below the position of the lower bridges. This high ridge is about 2,500 yards long; is broken near the center by a deep and heavily wooded ravine, and is terminated by another ravine, perpendicular to its general direction. Beyond this ravine plains extend for about 800 yards, where a lower ridge, some 900 yards in length, and curving toward the river, terminates at Pollock's Mill, near the mouth of White Oak Run. The course of the river forms a curve, opening from the upper point of this bluff, and terminating near Pollock's Mill, thus leav-