center of the enemy's line of works. Joining on the left of General Couch's line, the brigade commenced to move toward the point of attack, and, when about a third of the way, a halt was made at the railroad cut, where the brigade was formed,and a new start taken.
By this time it had become quite dark; in fact, so much so that we could not see 100 yards before us. But still the order was given to move forward, when the whole brigade moved on, passing a deep, wide mud slough and a deep canal cut. When the brigade arrived at this cut it received an enfilanding fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry; but, notwithstanding, the plateau on the other side was gained, the left of the line advancing till within about 10 yards of a stone wall, behind which a heavy infantry force of the enemy was concealed, which opened an increased artillery and infantry fire, and, in addition to this, the brigade received the fire of the Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers and Twentieth Maine Volunteers, who were on the left of General Couch's line, which our right had overlapped. This firing from all parties and from all directions, I should think, lasted about seven minutes, when I succeeded in stopping it, and then discovered that the greatest confusion existed. Everybody, from the smallest drummer boy up, seemed to be shouting to the full extent of his capacity. After considerable exertion, comparative quiet and order were restored, and the command reformed along the bank of the canal cut.
I then reported to you for further orders, and your ordered the command withdrawn and placed in its former position in the town, which was done. Owing to my misapprehension of your orders, the Ninth New York Volunteers was ordered to the support of a battery,and did not participate in the advance made by the brigade.
The brigade remained at Fredericksburg until the night of the 15th instant, when it returned to the former camps on this side of the river.
Before closing my report, I think it my duty to say that the brigade did as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Even with experienced troops and well-concerted measures, there will be more or less confusion incident to an advance in the dark, and when the nature of the ground is taken into consideration,and likewise that two-thirds of the men had never been under fire, they are certainly deserving of commendation for having behaved as well as they did.
Our loss in the brigade amounted to 12 killed, 177 wounded, and 54 missing. A complete list* is herewith inclosed.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
RUSH C. HAWKINS,
Colonel Ninth New York Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade.
Brigadier General GEORGE W. GETTY,
Commanding Third Division, Ninth Army Corps.
Numbers 131. Report of Colonel Michael T. Donohoe, Tenth New Hampshire Infantry.
OPPOSITE FREDERICKSBURG, VA.,
December 17, 1862
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken in the action of the 13th instant by this regiment:
On Saturday morning, 13th, I was ordered to take my regiment to the
*But see revised statement, p. 133.