of this regiment from the time of its departure from this camp, on the 11th instant, until its return this morning:
On forming line, we marched to the plateau overlooking Fredericksburg,where we rested until about 4 p.m., when I received an order, through Major Cutting, from General Burnside, to take my regiment to a point on the rive to be indicated, to aid in the construction of a bridge. I got ready immediately; but, meanwhile, the river having been crossed and the bridge completed, the order was countermanded.
On the 12th, I crossed the river with the brigade and bivouacked in Fredericksburg.
On the 13th, at about 11.30 a.m.., I was detached in support of a battery of the regular service,commanded by Lieutenant Dickenson. The battery got into position on the left of the railroad, in front of the brickkilns,and opened fire about 1 p.m., but was compelled to abandon its position in about half an hour, its commanding officer and many of the men having been killed or wounded by the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, concealed in a ravine in front. My loss was trifling. We held the position until ordered to support the rest of the brigade engaged in front of the enemy's works in the plain to the right, in rear of the town. I moved acrose the railroad, by the right flank, to near the center of the plain, when I flanked to the left, and advanced in line under a terrific fire. On coming up with the brigade, I placed my men in front of the Eleventh New Hampshire Volunteers, my left covering a portion of the right of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, these regiments being out of ammunition. About 4.30, re-enforcements began to arrive, and,as my ammunition was giving out, I received permission to withdraw, but deemed it advisable to wait until dark, when I withdrew with the rest of the brigade.
At 8.30 p.m. on the 14th we returned to the field with the brigade, holding the advance on the right of the railroad,where we remained until 1 a.m. this morning when relieved.
The conduct of the officers and men during all this period deserves the highest commendation. The regiment suffered none in its previous well-earned reputation for gallantry. Capts. S. H. Sims and D. F. Wright distinguished themselves for their coolness and bravery. Captain John Stuart was conspicuous for his activity and daring, although suffering from a painful wound received early in the action. First Lieutenants Buckley and Whitman and Second Lieutenants Butler, Schoonmaker,and Keen were all wounded,and deserve mention for their excellent conduct. I am particularly indebted to Major R. C. Mitchell and Captain John G. Wright, my field officers, for their zealous and cheerful assistance as well as for their skill and bravery.
I took into action 16 officers and 280 enlisted men; 6 officers were wounded, 10 privates were killed,and 53 non-commissioned officers and privates wounded; 5 are missing, most of whom I fear should be reported among the list of casualties,as some of them were seen to fall. I subjoin a list.*
Very respectfully,your obedient servant,
ROBERT B. POTTER,
Colonel Fifty-first New York Volunteers.
Captain G. H. McKIBBIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade.
*See revised statement, p. 132.