War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0367 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Birney located his headquarters next day, I met one or two regiments of General Ward's brigade, which were much broken, and were retreating . Passing these, our artillery appeared in view upon a slope about 100 yards distant. I then observed the One hundred and fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Collis, forming into line in rear of the battery immediately in front; and toward this regiment I pushed up. On coming up, by direction of General Robinson I formed the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers in line of battle in rear of the hundred and fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The One hundred and fourteenth were now ordered to advance, and at the same time the general ordered me to form on left of that regiment,and move forward with it. This was put in execution, and the regiment charged forward, passing Livingston's battery, and proceeding about 500 yards in front of it.

The enemy now became visible; many of his numbers were in the field, scarcely 30 yards distant, while a large body were moving across our front toward the woods, which they soon reached. We immediately opened a brisk fire which the enemy made a slight effort to return, but soon disappeared within the edge of the woods.

During the movement just described, the fire of shot and shell under which we had come up continued with unabated fury, and from it we suffered considerably. The line of batteries in our rear., however soon opened and succeeded in silencing those of the enemy. The infantry line, lying down, kept up a straggling fire upon the enemy, who occasionally showed himself at the woods.

Just before dark I threw out, by the general's order, a company of skirmishers to a ditch some 200 yards in front, with instructions to hold it against those of the enemy at all hazards. At dark the firing had almost entirely ceased, except on the line of skirmishers. No attempt was made during the night by either side to reopen the engagement. Before daybreak, with the general's permission, I relieved the company of skirmishers which had been sent out the evening previous with another company.

Sunday, the 14th instant, was passed without change of position or alarm of any kind, although a desultory fire was kept up all day between the skirmishers,and we were greatly annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters,who were posted in the woods. At dark our line of skirmishers was strengthened, by the general's order. This I did in my front by relieving the company on duty all day with a much larger company. The night passed in comparative silence, although an advance by the enemy was anticipated. In consequence of this, I ordered an increased watchfulness, and kept my command ready to receive the enemy at a moment's warning.

My skirmishers were promptly relieved at 6 o'clock by those of the One hundred and forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, and returned to their regiment in order. Some three hours after, the regiment was relieved by one from General Birney's brigade, and I fell back to the second line, by General Robinson's direction,and afterward moved still farther to the rear, to a position near the main road, where the greater part of the day was passed.

Toward evening I was ordered by General Robinson to move my regiment into to road, and form it in line on left of the One hundred and fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers. In this position I remained until ordered to move with the brigade at 10 p.m., when in order, the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers recrossed the Rappahannock, and proceeded to a bivouac about 2 miles from the river, from which place I