of the Second Army Corps. The crossing was effected on the upper bridge by 11 a.m. and the division, too position on the street next the river and parallel with it, where the troops remained throughout the day, and bivouacked for the night resting near the bridge, and the left extending toward the right of General Getty.
About noon on the 13th, I received orders from your headquarters to support General Couch, who had been ordered to assault the enemy's works facing Fredericksburg. I moved my division at once to the upper portion of the city, toward the front, sheltering the troops as much as possible from the fire of the enemy under cover of the fences, houses, &c. Lieutenant Dickenson's battery (E), Fourth U. S. Artillery, was held in readiness to take up a position on a bluff to the left and front of the brick-kiln, with a view to driving the enemy from behind a stone fence, used by his sharpshooters as a breastwork. Battery D, First Rhode Island Artillery, was held in reserve. General Couch now commenced the attack, but the fire of the enemy's artillery and musketry was so severe that his (Couch's) left was soon broken and rolled back in irregular masses toward the city.
Observing this disaster, I ordered General Ferrero (12.30 p.m.) to advance with four regiments of his brigade, leaving the fifth (Colonel Potter's Fifty-first New York) to support Dickenson's battery, which was placed in position on the bluff before mentioned. Under cover of the battery, General Ferrero now moved forward very handsomely, completely checking the advancing foe and forcing him back with heavy loss. As soon as Lieutenants Dickenson's battery opened, the enemy concentrated a very heavy artillery fire upon it, and I was forced in less than a quarter of an hour to withdraw,it Lieutenant Dickenson and some 4 men and a number of horses having been killed and many others wounded.
The fire of artillery and musketry which the enemy now concentrated upon the Second Brigade was terrific, but they stood manfully up to their work. To relieve them in some degree, however, I sent forward the First Brigade, under General Nagle, with orders to take his position on the left of Ferrero, and throw forward his own left a little, so as to open a cross-fire in front of the Second Brigade. This General Nagle failed to execute, owing to the existence of deep and impassable ravines in his front. I then directed him to move by a flank to the direct support of Ferrero, which was executed at a double-quick, and with alacrity and rapidity. The Fifty-first New York (Colonel Potter) was now also ordered forward,and moved up with that impetuosity which has characterized this gallant regiment on so many hard-fought fields. My entire division was now engaged, and every human effort was made that could be made to carry the rifle-pits and stone fence of the enemy, but without success. Every man fought as if the fate of the day depended upon his own individual exertion. They fought, indeed, until every cartridge was expended, and even remaining upon the field long after their last cartridge was fired, and until regularly relieved at 7.20 p.m. by the division of General Griffin.
I then withdrew my division from the field, under cover of Captain Buckley's battery (D), First Rhode Island Artillery, which was placed in position for that purpose on the bluff formerly occupied by Dickenson's battery, this latter having been ordered to another part of the field by Major-General Hooker.
It would give me great pleasure to call your attention to a few of the many acts of individual courage and daring accomplished during this sanguinary action, but my space will not permit, and I can only ask your careful attention to the reports of brigade, regimental, and