No. 99. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Sawyer, Eighth Ohio Infantry.
IN CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., December 16, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Eighth Ohio Volunteers in the battle near Fredericksburg on the 13th instant:
Pursuant to orders from General Kimball, I reported to Colonel John S. Mason, Fourth Ohio Volunteers, at 10.30 a.m., and was ordered by him to move up Hanover street by the left flank, until I should cross a deep ditch by a bridge on that street, when my regiment was to be deployed as skirmishers on the right of the line, the left forming a junction with the First Delaware, which, with the Fourth Ohio, were to pass to the front, farther to the left, on a street parallel with Hanover street. Captain Grubb, Fourth Ohio, was sent with me as a guide, but we had hardly moved a square when the enemy's sharpshooters in considerable force opened a murderous fire upon our front, killing and wounding several. We moved forward at a double-quick, crossed the bridge, and formed the line of skirmishers under cover of the bank, and then, moving briskly forward, drove the enemy out of a clump of houses, shops, &c., in our front, and formed a line under the cover of some fences and buildings, in easy range of the enemy's rifle-pits, and under an enfilading fire of small-arms and artillery from the right. This position we maintained, without any support whatever, for near an hour and a half, when Lieutenant-Colonel Lockwood, with the Seventh [West] Virginia, came to our relief. At this time, General Kimball having been wounded, Colonel Mason assumed command of the brigade, and ordered me to strengthen the right of my line, which was threatened by a heavy column of the enemy. This I did, driving the enemy from his position at the foot of the hill. We maintained this position until after 4 p.m., when, being wholly out of ammunition, by Colonel Mason's order I withdrew my lines.
During the entire day we were subjected to a most murderous fire of both artillery and small-arms, which swept our position, and the whole interval from our line to the town of Fredericksburg. Our line was too weak to advance farther upon the enemy's works, and our position was not passed by any troops up to the time of our withdrawal.
My loss was 6 killed, 28 wounded, and 2 missing.* Among the wounded I regret to mention Captain Allen, severely wounded, and Captain Pierce and Adjutant Lewis. Among the killed was Sergt. Major E. E. Henthorn, a most gallant and brave soldier. Full statement of our loss has been previously forwarded.
My officers and men behaved with the utmost courage and bravery, and deserve the highest reward and esteem at the hands of their country.
I have the honor, sir, to be your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Captain E. D. MASON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.
*But see revised statement, p.131.