Numbers 145. Report of Brigadier General George Stoneman, U. S. Army commanding Third Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD ARMY CORPS,
CENTER GRAND DIVISION.
Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 20, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the corps under my command during the recent engagement in and around Fredericksburg, Va.:
On the 9th instant, I received instructions from the headquarters center grand division to hold the corps in readiness to move on the night of the 10th instant, and place it in position at daybreak, on the morning of the 11th. In accordance with those instructions, the corps was delivered to hold itself in readiness to move at an hour's notice any time after sundown of the 10th instant; wagons packed and parked, and men and animals supplied with three days' rations.
On the morning of the 11th, pursuant to instructions received the day previous, the corps was put in motion, and occupied the position determined upon. As directed (Sumner's grand division, which I was to follow, not crossing during the day, owing to the delay in the construction of the pontoon bridge), my corps bivouacked during the night on the ground occupied in the morning.
The next morning the corps was moved down to the vicinity of the foot of the bridges, and held in readiness to move across the river, to the support of Sumner, at a moment's warning. Sumner's grand division did not get over till near 2 p.m. when Whipple's division was ordered to cross to Sumner's support. The town, however, was so much packed and jammed with the troops of Sumner that Whipple was unable to find room for his men, and he was directed to bivouac his division at the foot of the three bridges. Shortly before sundown I received instructions to move with the other two divisions of the Third Corps, Birney's (First) and Sickles' (Second), down the river about 3 1/2 miles, by the road, and place them at the foot of the two bridges over which the left grand division had that day crossed,and to communicate with General Franklin, in command of the left, which was completed by 10 p.m., the night being foggy and dark, and the road muddy and rough. This road was taken in order not to expose our movements to the enemy, which we should have done by moving down the river road, a shorter and better route.
At daylight the next morning both division were ready to cross at the lower ford at a moment's notice in support of Franklin, as directed. During the night of the 12th, I received directions from General Franklin to send four regiments to guard the bridge, and render such assistance as might be necessary in constructing roads, preventing straggling, &c., These four regiments were detailed from Carr's brigade.
About 9 a.m. on the 13th, I was directed by General Franklin to send half a regiment to support De Russy's batteries, on this die of the river, where they had been placed to support the left of General Reynolds' corps, on the other side of the stream. In place of dividing an effective regiment into two parts, I directed, one small regiment to be sent on this duty. Shortly afterward, 10.30 a.m. I was directed by Colonel Platt, assistant adjutant-general, to send the only long-range battery with me report to General Smith.
About 11.30 a.m. I received orders, through an aide-de-camp of Gen-