Under the direction of the surgeon-in-chief, 200 men, unable to march 10 miles, were left in charge of a medical officer, at the division hospital which was established at Fitzhugh mansion, near my camp. The teams were parked by brigades at their camps, and the ammunition wagons and ambulances were parked in front, ready to move when ordered. All the trains and the artillery were provided with three days' forage. The commissary and quartermaster of the division had on hand a large quantity of forage and subsistence, but no supply train having been furnished to the division until the 13th instant, this train was not loaded or parked until the following day. In the mean time economy in the use of subsistence and forage was enjoined upon the command. About 2,000 men remained, unfit to march for the want of shoes, until midnight of the 10th instant,in consequence of the delay in forwarding clothing for this division, which had been issued in Washington and turned over to the depot quartermaster there for transportation to Aquia on December 1.
During the afternoon of the 10th, I accompanied the brigadier-general commanding the corps, to ascertain the position to be occupied by the several divisions of the Third Corps, preparatory to crossing the Rappahannock opposite Fredericksburg, and to determine the best route to approach the bridges from our camp. The brigadier-general commanding the corps directed me to take the center and move by the straight road from Robinson's camp toward the Phillips house, halting in the valley on the right and rear of the mansion.
At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 11th, this division in light marching order moved from its camp and occupied a position in column of battalions, closed in mass, behind the timber which borders the elevated plain in rear of General Sumner's headquarters. These dispositions were completed before 9 o'clock. A shroud of mist enveloped the city and adjacent heights, concealing the dispositions and movements of the enemy. The city was soon on fire in many places, ignited by our shrapnel and shell, and all day the monotonous din of our artillery, to which the enemy scarcely replied, was only relieved at occasional intervals by the music of our bands. The men rested on their arms during the day, impatiently looking for the completion of the bridges, which had been obstinately resisted by a small force of the enemy, posted in the city near the river bank. We bivouacked for the night in the same order and position, meanwhile replenishing our haversacks with rations for another day.
Early on the morning of the 12th, the division was ordered forward toward the river,in the rear of Getty's division, of the right wing, which it had been directed to follow across the center pontoon bridge. The head of the column was halted in front of General Sumner's headquarters,and the troops massed on the slopes of the undulating ground to the right. In this position we remained, awaiting orders, until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the whole of Sumner's right wing having in the mean time crossed over, when we were ordered to proceed by the Telegraph road to Franklin's bridges, down the river, and, in conjunction with the First Division of this corps, to support the left wing, under Major-General Franklin. Although this march of about 4 miles was over tiresome roads and plowed fields, the men, in their eagerness for the advance, moved at a bricks pace, which brought us at dusk to our bivouac, on the ridge overlooking the river.
About 9 o'clock at night, in compliance with orders from the headquarters of the corps, I directed Brigadier-General Carr to detail four regiments of the First Brigade to occupy and hold the bridges known as