War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0331 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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Numbers 128 Report of Brigadier General George W. Getty, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.


Near Falmouth, Va., December 28, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of this division, in the engagements with the enemy, from Thursday morning, the 11th instant, till Tuesday morning, the 16th instant:

At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 11th instant, the Eighty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel H. S. Fairchild commanding, was placed in position on the river bank, opposite the old steamboat landing, to cover the laying of the central pontoon bridge. The engineers met with no opposition at first, and had succeeded in laying two-thirds of the bridge when they were driven from the work by the enemy's sharpshooters, who had occupied the buildings on the other side of the river bearing on the bridge. Four several attempts were made, but in each case the workmen were repulsed with loss.

At length Colonel Fairchild received orders from General Burnside to detail 4 officers and 100 men to cross the river in pontoon boats and take possession of the houses, driving out the sharpshooters. This order was most gallantly carried into effect. Captains Hazley, S. L. Judd, F. Burt, and Lieutenant W. M. Lewis, each in command of a detachment of 25 men, occupying each a boat, covered by the fire of the batteries and of regiments drawn up in line along the river bank, pushed hastily across, jumped out, and the next instant were in possession of the disputed buildings. Sixty-four prisoners, among them 4 officers, fell into their hands. The remainder of the sharpshooters beat a hasty retreat.

Colonel Fairchild immediately crossed over with the remainder of his gallant regiment in boats, and occupied the city in the vicinity of the bridge. This was accomplished by 4 p.m. December 11 and the bridge was now soon completed.

Equal or greater difficulty had been experienced in laying the bridge at the Lacy house. Nearly 100 men of the Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers under the command of Captain Marsh and Lieutenants Ford and Morgan, volunteered to assist the engineers, at the call of General Woodbury, and succeeded in laying one bay of the bridge, when, having two of their number wounded, they were ordered to retire by Major Spaulding, of the engineers.

Hawkins' brigade crossed at the central bridge at 8 p.m., December 11, and occupied the lower part of Fredericksburg, connecting on the right with Howard's division, Second Corps. One company from each regiment was thrown forward as a picket for the night. The next morning the One hundred and third Regiment New York Volunteers was placed on picket. The right rested on the railroad, where it connected with the pickets of the Second Corps, and the line extended a short distance along the railroad to the first cut, and thence to the left, along the ridge immediately in rear of the railroad at Hazel Creek.

At 5 p.m., December 12, Harland's brigade crossed at the central bridge, and was formed in line in Caroline street, the right resting on the railroad. Here arms were stacked, and during the night the troops occupied the houses and inclosures on the river side of the street, or