During both engagements, I am happy to say the command fully sustained its previous reputation.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES W. BRITT,
Captain, Commanding Fifty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers.
Lieutenant CHARLES P. HATCH,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
No. 75. Report of Lieutenant James G. Derrickson, Sixty-sixth New York Infantry.
FALMOUTH, VA., December 16, 1862.
SIR: The fortune of war has devolved upon me the task of forwarding a report of the part which the Sixty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers took in the recent battles at Fredericksburg, Va.
December 11, the Sixty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant Colonel James H. Bull, left the camp which we now occupy at 1.30 am., and at 2.30 a.m. took position on the north bank of the Rappahannock, on the right of the Lacy house.
The Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers was on our immediate left, and to these two regiments the support of the engineers in the construction of the upper pontoon bridge was intrusted. Between 5 and 6 a.m. the enemy opened a brisk fire of musketry upon the engineers and the regiments supporting them. The men were ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel Bull to reserve their fire until daylight, when they could fire with effect, which order was obeyed, although the regiment was subjected to a heavy fire.
About 8 a.m. Lieutenant-Colonel Bull, while zealously and unflinchingly performing his duty, received a mortal wound. Captain Julius Wehle then assumed command. The fire of the enemy's riflemen had by this time ceased, with the exception of a few scattering shots, and our batteries on the hill above were vigorously shelling the town. During the bombardment numbers of our shell burst prematurely. Among the victims of this unfortunate occurrence were two brave and efficient officers, Captain John P. Dodge and Lieutenant James Switzer, Company D, the former mortally and the latter severely wounded. Several enlisted men were also wounded from the same cause.
About 3 p.m. the regiment was relieved, and took position in rear of a battery about one-fourth of a mile from the river. Finally we were marched to the woods on the right of General Sumner's headquarters, where we bivouacked for the night.
December 12, the regiment shortly after daylight crossed the river at the upper pontoon bridge, and remained in the city on the river bank near the lower bridge during the day and night.
December 13, at 9 a.m., marched to the main street of the city, and stood under arms until 12 m., when we moved toward the enemy, debouched from the town, and formed on the plain in line of battle. Here the regiment was halted, in order to form on the left of the Twenty-seventh Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. Here a fearful fire of artillery, both direct and enfilading, thinned our ranks, and here, too, the regiment lost its commander, Captain Wehle, an officer who had proved himself a true soldier in many a previous fight. Captain John S. Hammell now assumed command, and, in compliance with orders, the regiment