and attended to the business of the battery as thoroughly as if we were on drill.
I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHARLES D. OWEN,
Captain First Rhode Island Artillery, Commanding Battery G.
Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM HAYS,
Commanding Reserve Artillery.
No. 43. Report of Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin, Battery E, Second U. S. Artillery.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., December 18, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of Battery E, Second Artillery, during the late action near Fredericksburg:
In obedience to your instructions, the battery left its camp at 7 p.m. on the 10th instant, and proceeded to its position. Three guns were immediately placed in position on the knoll to the right of King's battery, and the other three were placed in position before daybreak on the slope of the corn-field, to the right and front of the other three. The ground and its surroundings you are familiar with, so they need no description. In the morning the fog hid the city from sight, save occasional glimpses of the steeples. At 9 a.m. I received orders to open fire on the city. I fired slowly and carefully, the fog preventing me from seeing the effect of the shot. I fired well to the right, to avoid injuring the batteries opposite the town. My right gun burst at the second shot. A little after 10 a.m. I placed the two right guns on a ridge between the corn-field and the knoll on which the three guns were placed, in order to be able to fire across the river on the batteries masked in the woods opposite our position. During the day we fired a few shot to determine ranges, and into the city. About sunset the rebel batteries in rear of the city opened fire on it, our troops having then taken the place. Captains Roemer's, Durell's, King's, and my own guns were immediately turned upon them. We fired but a few minutes, when the enemy's guns, masked in the woods opposite, opened a brisk fire on us. We returned the fire, and, in about ten minutes, silenced them.
On the 12th instant, at 10 a.m., some of the rebel batteries opened on the city. The battery opened on them, and they soon ceased firing. Later in the morning we fired at some of the enemy's infantry, who at once sheltered themselves in a gulley. Several times we opened on the enemy's batteries, to check them from shelling the suburbs of the city.
December 13. The morning very foggy. About 12 m. the attack commenced on the city. The battery silenced two or three of the enemy's nearest guns. An order came from General Burnside to silence the guns which were firing on our troops. We fired steadily and carefully for an hour upon them, but the distance (about 3,300 yards), and the fact of the rebel guns being in thick earthworks, made it impossible for us to do them much injury. The guns in the works nearest to us would soon cease firing when we fired on them. Those close by the battle-ground, for the reasons above given, I could not silence. We fired at their guns at intervals during the whole afternoon.