War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0283 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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formed under the bank and rushed upon the first street, attacked the enemy, and, in the space of a few minutes, 31 prisoners were captured and a secure lodgment effected. Several men were here also wounded, and Lieutenant Emery and 1 man killed. The remainder of the regiment meanwhile crossed, and I directed the Nineteenth Massachusetts to follow and gain ground to the right, while the Seventh was ordered to push to the left. Seeing no preparations for advancing the bridge, which, according to the plan, was to have been under construction when the crossing was commenced, I went to the engineer battalion and asked the commanding officer to send down parties at once. He replied that General Woodbury was in command, and was away. I entreated that men should be instantly sent, nevertheless, but could obtain no satisfaction.

The firing in the street had now become general and quite rapid, and, as I had been informed that a brigade of the enemy had been seen moving toward the bridge head, I requested General Hunt to reopen fire upon the flanks and in advance of the party which had crossed. I afterward learned from prisoners taken that this brigade of the enemy was General Barksdale's, composed of the Thirteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-first Mississippi Regiments. Several prisoners were taken belonging to the Eighth Florida Regiment, which was in the city.

All firing upon the bridge had been now silenced, and the bridge was rapidly completed. I reported to General Burnside directly the conduct of the engineer troops. An order for the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers to move across the bridge the instant it was down was incorrectly transmitted, so as to cause Acting Major Macy, its commanding officer, to throw it across in boats. This regiment was held in line along the bank to resist any attempts of the enemy to recover this point by an exposed movement, and the Seventh Michigan Volunteers and the Nineteenth Massachusetts Volunteers could hold against any advance through buildings.

The moment the bridge was ready, the Forty-second and Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers and the One hundred and twenty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers moved across, and the Twentieth Massachusetts was formed in column in the street. The guide, a citizen, was killed at the head of the column. Upon attempting to cross the second street, it became evident that the enemy was in considerable force, and could only be dislodged by desperate fighting. It was fast growing dark, the troops were being crowded near the bridge head in a compact and unmanageable mass, and I was informed that the whole division was to cross to hold the city. It was impracticable, in my opinion, to attempt to relieve the press by throwing troops into the streets, where they could only be shot down, unable to return the fire. To give time to fight the enemy in his own way, I sent urgent requests to the rear to have the column halted on the other side of the river, but was ordered to push ahead. The Seventh and Nineteenth had been brought to a stand, and I ordered Acting Major Macy, commanding the Twentieth Massachusetts, to clear the street leading from the bridge at all hazards.

I cannot presume to express all that is due the officers and men of this regiment for the unflinching bravery and splendid discipline shown in the execution of the order. Platoon after platoon was swept away, but the head of the column did not falter. Ninety-seven officers and men were killed or wounded in the space of about 50 yards. When the edge of the town was reached, the Fifty-ninth New York was sent to