War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0372 OPERATIONS IN N. VA. W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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of the railroad. Those regiments were about 25 rods in advance of us. I moved through the field in line of battle. On arriving at the woods, I joined them on their right. The line was at an acute angle of 25 degrees, my regiment being farthest from the road.

The regiment that first arrived at the road and saw the position of the enemy became panic-stricken, and both regiments on my left retreated. I attempted to bring my regiment off by the left flank. When I gave the order, the right wing was driving the enemy, and was so hotly engaged that the order was not understood. The left wing having moved a few rods to the left, I was obliged to halt them, to hold the position, or my right wing would have been lost, for it was at this time flanked on the right. My left wing nobly held the force which had put two regiments to flight, until the right wing, which had advanced to the road, had joined them, when we retired, bringing off many of the wounded, the enemy following. They were not checked in their advance until General Berry, who was near at hand, arrived with his brigade and drove them back, punishing them severely. We fell back to our former position where we remained until the next morning, at which time 30 of my men were detailed to assist in working a battery, and the remained relieved the brigade guard. On the evening of the 15th, we recrossed the river. Being division officer of the day, it devolved on me to remain and bring in the division pickets, which though done without accident, was an unpleasant task.

I can but speak in the highest terms of praise of my men and officers during this fearful engagement. Several of those slightly wounded returned to duty as soon as their wounds were dressed. Major Pitcher, who fell, was a good and brave officer, and Christian. He was beloved and respected by all in the regiment. By order of General Birney, commanding division, this division camp is known by the name of Camp Pitcher, in honor of that brave officer.

Inclosed I send a list* of those engaged and the result, as near as can be ascertained. In justice to Surgeon Martin I would say that many wounded soldiers will long remember him for his kindness and exertions to make them comfortable.

On the morning of the 16th, we arrived at our present encampment, the same we left on the morning, of December 3, having been exposed seven days and nights without shelter and living on pork and hard bread since that time until the present. The duties of the men have been nothing but drills and ordinary camp duty.

Yours, respectfully,


Colonel, Commanding Fourth Maine Volunteers.


Adjutant-General, Augusta, Me.

Numbers 152. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William Birney, Thirty-eighth New York Infantry.

ON THE BATTLE-FIELD, December 15, 1862.

SIR: I respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-eighth New York Volunteers in the action of the 13th instant:

After crossing the Rappahannock, in the forenoon, with the brigade,


*Embodied in revised statement, p. 133.