No. 84. Report of Colonel George N. Morgan, First Minnesota Infantry.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., December 16, 1862.
In accordance with Paragraph 742 of the Army Regulations, I have the honor of submitting a report of the part taken by my regiment in the occupation of the city of Fredericksburg and the actions following thereupon.
At 2 o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 11th instant, I received orders from the general commanding brigade to have my command in readiness to march at 6.30 a.m., at which time the regiment marched from this camp and formed upon the left of the brigade, and, after a march of about 2 1/2 miles, reached a covered position near the point intended for crossing the Rappahannock River, and there halted until 5 p.m., awaiting the completion of the pontoon bridge. The regiment then crossed upon the bridge into the city of Fredericksburg under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery and a dropping fire from his sharpshooters, stationed in buildings in the city. Darkness coming on, the men bivouacked in the first street from the river, the enemy during the most of the night keeping up a scattering fire from adjacent buildings.
At daybreak on the morning of the 12th, we resumed the advance into the city and occupied it without further opposition, the enemy having retired to his works upon the eminence to the rear of the town. During this day and the night following, this regiment performed picket duty, being a portion of the time under a heavy artillery fire, in which 2 men were wounded.
On the morning of the 13th instant, they were relieved picket, and were shortly afterward ordered to the front to take part in the action then progressing. Placed upon the right of the brigade, and marching by the right flank, the regiment took position in front and in support of Kirby's battery, upon an elevated ridge at the right of our line of battle. In this position the regiment was, for several hours, exposed to a tremendous cannonade of the enemy, who apparently concentrated their fire upon Kirby's guns and this regiment. Fortunately we escaped serious loss, the only casualties being 1 officer and 6 enlisted men wounded. Night coming on, we were ordered to a position in the rear of and in support of the picket lines, and continued to act as such support until the evening of the 14th instant, when we were again put on picket duty on a very exposed part of the battle-field near the advanced works of the enemy. Owing to the darkness and want of acquaintance with the ground, the task of establishing the line of pickets was a difficult and delicate one. In this duty, as on all occasions, I was much indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Colvill and Major Adams for their aid rendered in a careful reconnaissance of the enemy's line of pickets in front.
I regret here also to mention the loss of a brave and intelligent soldier-Corporal Irvine, of Company D. He was sent, by my order, to examine a point where the sound of intrenching tools could be heard, and which we afterward ascertained to be within the rebel lines. As he did not return, it is presumed he was captured by the enemy.
On account of the exposed condition of our lines, the precaution was taken during the night to dig slight trenches to protect the men from the artillery fire, and also that of the enemy's sharpshooters, stationed in rifle-pits and buildings which overlooked our position. This precaution,
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