No. 101. Report of Colonel Oliver H. Palmer, One hundred and eighth New York Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 18, 1862.
I have the honor to report that, pursuant to order, my command was put under arms at 7 o'clock on the morning of December 11, instant, and proceeded to a point on the railroad opposite the city of Fredericksburg, for the purpose of crossing the Rappahannock into Fredericksburg upon the completion of the pontoon bridges, then being laid for that object. By reason of the delay in the completion of the bridges the command did not cross the day, but bivouacked, as directed, near the place of crossing.
On the morning of December 12, the command was again under arms at about 7 o'clock, and, pursuant to order, crossed the river at about 8 o'clock in the morning into Fredericksburg. During the day the command remained under arms in the streets of the city, and were cantoned in the vacant houses and buildings during the night of the
On the morning of the next day, the 13th, the command was again put under arms, and at about 10 o'clock moved forward as directed, following the Third Brigade to the front, leaving the town by way of the railroad depot, and formed in line of battle in front of the enemy's intrenchments, 150 yards in rear of the Third Brigade.
After leaving the city, and upon filing to the right, to pass through the depot, the fire of the enemy was very severe. Their guns appeared to have the exact range of this passage, and the promptness and firmness of the troops in making this passage, and forming in order under such a fire in front, and also a severe cross-fire from the enemy's guns on the right, was highly creditable to their firmness and bravery.
After forming in line of battle, the command remained in position about twenty minutes, and was then ordered to advance in line of battle upon the enemy's works, and the advance was made in order at double-quick in the face of a terrific fire; but it was found impossible to dislodge the enemy from their position. In fact, the fire of our troops could not be made effective, but that of the enemy was terribly effective.
After sustaining this fire until their ammunition was exhausted, and until other troops were ordered forward to their relief, they were ordered to fall back. Part of the command, however, remained on the filed till nearly dark.
The conduct of the officers and men was highly commendable. It pains me, however, to report that Colonel Henry I. Zinn, of the One hundred and thirtieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, a brave and gallant officer and a noble man, was killed early in the engagement by a musket-ball while fearlessly cheering on his men.
I regret also to report that Lieutenant Colonel Sanford H. Perkins, in command of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, a brave and fearless officer, was severely wounded in the neck by a musket-ball while nobly discharging his duty at the head of his regiment, and had to be carried from the field.
Major Cyrus C. Clark, of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers a brave officers, was also wounded in the side by a shell while making the passage to the field, but it is believed not seriously.
In addition to the foregoing, 3 commissioned officers were killed and 13 wounded. Privates: Killed, 16; wounded, 192; missing, not known whether killed or wounded, 64.