Pursuant to orders, on the morning of the 11th instant, I left camp with my command, of 1,930 rank and file, at 7 o'clock, following General Nagle's brigade, and marched to the plateau in rear of General Sumner's headquarters; there halted, waiting for the completion of the pontoon bridge over the Rappahannock.
At about 3.30 p.m. I went to the river to see the progress made toward completing the bridge. While there, four companies of the Seventh Michigan Volunteers offered themselves to cross the river in boats, in order to dislodge the enemy's sharpshooters, stationed on the opposite bank, who had killed and wounded many of the engineers engaged on the bridge. The detachment crossed, drove the enemy from their position, and captured a number of prisoners. I immediately returned to report the fact, and met the commanding general riding toward the bridge, to whom I communicated the intelligence of the successful crossing. I then accompanied the general to the river, and there received orders to remain and see that the bridge was finished. Finding the work progressing rapidly, and thinking the troops on the opposite bank needed some one to direct them, I crossed, and made such dispositions as I deemed proper to secure the advantage already gained, remaining in command until Colonel Hall arrived with his brigade and took possession of the city, when I returned to my command, receiving orders to march with it to the old camp for the night.
On the morning of the 12th, at 8 o'clock, I again formed column, and crossed the river over the pontoon bridge, following the First Brigade. On arriving in Fredericksburg, I arranged my brigade in line of battle on the right and left of the road leading through the city, remaining there throughout the day and night.
On the morning of the 13th, I formed line and marched my command, by the left flank, through the second street running parallel with the river, the First Brigade occupying the river street. On arriving opposite General Willcox's headquarters, I halted the command, and there received orders to send a regiment to support the pickets on the front, then being driven in by the enemy. The Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers was detailed for this duty, and sent to the front to support General Getty's pickets. I also received orders to send a regiment to protect Lieutenant Dickenson's battery (E), Fourth Artillery, then going into position on the left of the railroad, near the brick-kilns. The Fifty-first New York Volunteers were placed in rear of this battery. The remained of my command was ordered to the outskirts of the city, to be ready to support General Hancock's division in case of need. I accordingly marched my command, with the exception of the Fifty-first New York Volunteers (supporting the battery), to a point near the railroad depot.
At 11.45 a.m., the left of Couch's command fell back, and I received orders to form and advance against the approaching enemy. I accordingly formed my brigade in two lines of battle, the left resting on the road parallel to the railroad, and advanced under a terrific fire of shell and musketry, never halting until we arrived in short range of the enemy, then pouring heavy volleys into their ranks, and driving them from their advanced position. Finding that the works could not be carried by my brigade, after remaining with them some time, I reported to General Sturgis that it was necessary to have re-enforcements, having previously sent forward the Fifty-first New York Volunteers, relieved from the support of the battery by its withdrawal. This regiment, although totally unsupported, advanced in gallant style, led by Colonel