I was ordered to support the batteries of the division, and was so employed until between 2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when the Thirty-eighth and Fortieth New York Volunteers were ordered to advance, under my command in line of battle against the enemy, to protect the retreat of a body of the Pennsylvania Reserves, part of General Reynolds' troops who had preceded us, and had been repulsed in disorder.
We advanced over a meadow intersected by two parallel ditch-drains from 5 to 6 feet deep, with steep sides, and at many points almost impassable. The line was thrown into partial disorder by these obstacles.
We were now under a heavy fire from the field and woods on left and front. Some 10 or 15 men fell, wounded, near the second ditch. The regiment continued to advance, the right wing entering the woods, the left, on the open field. At this point large numbers of General Reynolds' troops burst through the right wing in pell mell retreat. The Thirty-eighth moved now right-oblique into the woods, and then forward upon the enemy, posted in great strength in several lines on the slope beyond the railroad,and not ceasing to our in upon us a deadly and unbroken fire. The regiment charged some distance beyond the railroad, driving before it, in close fighting, the scattered rebels, who were pursuing the broken regiments, and did not march in retreat until 9 of its officers and 79 of its men were wounded and 14 killed.
Within an hour after this heavy loss, the regiment marched again in perfect order to the front line of battle, and remained on the battle-field until 7 p.m. on the 14th, taking no part in the fighting, but aiding in the capture of prisoners after the repulse of the enemy's attack.
This morning we are again on the front line; officers and men in fine spirits and ready to meet the enemy.
The number of enlisted men was 355.
The officers present did their duty nobly, leading their companies bravely to the charge.
Captain Dennett's services on the right wing were invaluable, and when the color-bearer (John Campbell) fell, mortally wounded, Lieutenant Pendergrast seized the colors and encouraged the men. Sergts. Dennis McCarty and Friend A. Smith, Corpl. Thomas C. Garrigan, and Private Philip Mahoney have been brought prominently to my notice for distinguished bravery. There are many others, however, who were equally deserving, and whom I shall mention in my supplementary report.
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Thirty-eighth New York Volunteers.
Captain JOHN M. COONEY,
Numbers 153. Report of Brigadier General Hiram G. Berry, U. S. Army,commanding Third Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,
Camp below Fredericksburg, Va., December 14, 1862
SIR: In conformity to orders from your headquarters, we broke up camp yesterday morning at 4 a.m., and moved with other brigades of this division, to the bank of the Rappahannock, just below Falmouth, where we were halted until 10.30 a.m. At that time we moved to the river to cross.