War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0195 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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shot, or shrapnel, with fuses of from 5 to 10 seconds' length. Occasional shots were fired during the afternoon, not more than 15 or 20, and at sunset the battery bivouacked in position.

At daylight on the 12th* the firing was resumed, while the engineer corps was employed upon the bridge, until, at 10 to 11 a.m., the battery was ordered to fire upon the town, and, if possible, to fire the buildings. For this purpose percussion and fuse shells were used. The firing was continued, each gun being fired once in twelve minutes, until quite late in the afternoon, when another and successful attempt to complete the bridge being commenced the battery concentrated a very rapid fire upon the buildings and terraces sheltering the enemy's riflemen. Shortly afterward the battery, by command, bivouacked in position.

During the firing of the 11th, one gun was disabled by the breaking of an axle-tree, and sent to the rear. I attribute the accident to the excessive of the 3-inch gun, which, when checked in clayey and partially softened ground, I have noticed to be subject to many such fractures.

In the firing of the 11th and 12th instant, about 800 rounds of ammunition were expended.

At the commencement of the action of the 13th, the battery co-operated as far as possible with our advancing lines, by firing on the enemy's artillery and skirmishers until our lines approached so nearly those of the enemy that continued firing became dangerous to our infantry to our infantry, when firing was discontinued. At about 1 p.m., by command of General Hunt, the battery was conducted across the river and placed in position, under command of General Couch, by Major Doull. Up to this time about 300 rounds of ammunition were expended. At 7 o'clock on Sunday evening, the 14th, the battery recrossed the river, by command of General Couch, and reported to you at about 8 p.m. The battery bivouacked until the morning of the 16th, when it was placed in position in rear of the plain commanding the lower part of Fredericksburg, in readiness to repel an attack on the engineer force detailed for the removal of the pontoon bridge. The battery remained in position until 10 o'clock of the 20th, when, by your command, it returned to its former camp, reporting to chief of artillery, Griffin's division.

It may be proper to state that, from the experience of the last nine days, as well as from ten months' active service with the 3-inch gun, I consider it inferior at ranges of from 900 to 1,500 yards to the 10-pounder Parrott gun.

The Schenkl percussion and the Hotchkiss fuse shells worked to entire satisfaction.

The ordnance ammunition with metallic packing failed in almost every instance to ignite the fuse, and I consider it worthless when explosion constitutes the chief value of a projectile. As solid shot, the ordnance shrapnel was serviceable in the cannonade of Fredericksburg.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Captain First Rhode Island Artillery, Commanding, Battery C.

Colonel C. H. TOMPKINS,

First Rhode Island Artillery.


*Captain Waterman is in error as regards this date. The firing spoken of occurred on the 11th, and not on the 12th of December.-C. H. TOMPKINS, Colonel Rhode Island Artillery.