A. First Lieutenant Ehlers, who was seriously wounded three times, showed himself in the most gallant manner, and I wish that the case pending against him for absence without leave may be dropped.
I remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Fifty-second Regiment New York Volunteers.
Lieutenant CHARLES P. HATCH,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
No. 74. Report of Captain James W. Britt, Fifty-seventh New York Infantry.
FALMOUTH, VA., December 19, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that this regiment, in pursuance to orders, moved at 1 a.m. on the 11th instant to support the engineers in laying the bridge near the Lacy house, and opposite the city of Fredericksburg. About 4 a.m. the enemy's sharpshooters opened fire upon us from their concealment in the houses and behind the walls in the city. Being in an exposed place, and the mist adding to the security of the enemy's position, our situation was a very disagreeable one, and our loss considerable.
Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman, commanding the regiment, was wounded soon after the fire of the enemy opened, and taken from the field. About 8 o'clock, the enemy's fire having been silenced, and having nearly exhausted our ammunition, we were relieved by the Seventh Regiment Michigan Volunteers, when we returned to our former camp.
About 2 p.m. we were ordered to join the brigade then lying in the vicinity of the Phillips house, where we bivouacked for the night. After crossing the pontoon bridge at an early hour the next morning, we remained under arms on the river bank until sunset, and bivouacked in the same position. Forming with the remainder of the brigade on the morning of the 13th, we remained under arms from half an hour before daybreak until 12, when the regiment moved to the front, crossing the railroad by the right rested upon the left of the Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers, when we moved by the left flank in line of battle toward the enemy's works, until we reached the crest of a small hill, and within 60 yards of the enemy, who were protected by a stone wall running parallel to our lines. The men were ordered to lie down and returned the enemy's fire. After lying in this position for three hours and a half, under a most terrific fire of artillery and musketry, the regiment, being relieved, was withdrawn to the shelter of the town, reoccupying the original position on the bank of the river.
Major Throop being severely wounded, the command of the regiment, reduced to 84 men present, devolved upon me. In this position we remained, constantly under arms, until the evening of the 15th, when, at 10 p.m., we relieved the pickets of the first line, and were in turn relieved by the Twelfth Regiment New York Volunteers at about 2 a.m. of the 16th; after which we crossed the pontoon bridge and returned to camp near Falmouth, vacated on the 11th instant.
Our loss in the two engagements was 9 out of 17 officers, and more than one-third of the men present for duty.*
*But see revised statement, p.130.