War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0223 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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troops debouched from the town by two streets leading into the Plank and Telegraph roads. The ditch or canal heretofore mentioned was impassable, except at the bridges. A little beyond it the ground rises, forming a cover, behind which the troops were able to deploy. The rise or crest is about half way between the outer edge of the city and the foot of the heights which were to be carried. The intermediate ground was obstructed here and there by houses and garden fences. This plain was swept by a converging artillery and musketry fire of the enemy. Over it Mason went with his skirmishers, followed by Kimball and the balance of French's division, working nearly up tot he stone wall at the foot of the heights, behind which the enemy sought shelter. To support his advance, General French had a section of Arnold's battery, soon joined by the other two sections. Hancock followed with his division in the order of Zook's, Meagher's, and Caldwell's brigades, and, pressing on, came up with the advance of French, and, joining it, pushed on with determination.

At this moment (1 p.m.) I ordered Hancock and French to carry the enemy's works by storm. Seeing shortly that this could not be done, the men falling by hundreds, Howard was directed to move his division to the right of the Telegraph road, and turn the enemy's left, the ground presenting some favorable features for such an attack. Nearly at the same instant both Generals Hancock and French sent urgent requests for re-enforcements, and Howard was recalled and ordered in on the Telegraph road, Colonel Owen's brigade being pushed up to the front, followed by Hall's brigade, Sully being in support. Brigadier-General Willcox, commanding Ninth Corps, had now sent in Sturgis' division on our left.

About 2 p.m. Hooker came on the ground with Butterfield's corps, Whipple's division relieving Howard's, on the latter being ordered to the front, in the duty of holding the right of the town.

The following dispatch was received from General Sumner about 3 p.m.:


December 13, 1862-2.40 p.m.

General COUCH:

Hooker has been ordered to put in everything. You must hold on until he comes in.

By command of Brevet Major-General Sumner:


Lieutenant, Aide-de-Camp,&c.

The Second Corps held its ground, many of the regiments out of ammunition, relying upon the bayonet. Our batteries on the left bank of the river aided our efforts.

About 4 p.m., in the absence of General Hooker, I directed General Humphreys, who, I presumed, had orders to co-operate, to move forward his division. He twice led his men forward with great gallantry, but was unsuccessful in effecting a lodgment, and retired.

At 4.15, Hazard, with his battery of light 12-pounders, was ordered forward to within 300 yards of the enemy's line, for the purpose of breaking up that part of the line which was delivering so destructive a fire on the Ninth Corps. The duty was bravely done. Captain Frank, First New York Artillery, was soon after effectively sent in on Hazard's left by Major-General Hooker, who came up.

Lieutenant Thomas' battery (C), Fourth U. S. Artillery, was in action for a short time on the left, doing good service. Kirby's battery was held in readiness to act at a critical period, only one section being in action.