Island Cavalry, commanding my escort, and Lieutenant Eugene L. Townsend, Second Excelsior, also aided me frequently in the transmission of orders on the field.
I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
D. E. SICKLES,
Lieutenant Colonel A. J. ALEXANDER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Army Corps.
Numbers 156. Report of Brigadier General Joseph B. Carr, U. S. Army commanding First Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,
Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 17, 1862
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the recent movements of my command:
In compliance with orders, received from division headquarters December 10, my brigade struck tents at 6 o'clock on the morning of the 11th instant, and at 7 o'clock marched nearly 2 miles in the direction of Falmouth. There I formed in column of regiments, and remained during the entire day and night.
On the 12th, at 7.30 o'clock, I marched about 1 mile in the direction of Fredericksburg and halted. At 3.30 o'clock I was directed to march to the rear, and, while executing the order, I was directed to face about and march to Franklin's pontoon bridge, where I arrived at 7 p.m.., and bivouacked in the wood for the night. At 10 p.m., in compliance with orders from division headquarters, I sent four regiments, viz, Second New Hampshire, Colonel Marston; Eleventh Massachusetts, Colonel Blaisdell; Eleventh New Jersey, Colonel McAlister, and Sixteenth Massachusetts, Colonel Tannatt, to guard the bridges, with instructions to permit no one to cross without a pass from a general officer.
At 2 o'clock on the afternoon of the 13th, I was ordered across the bridge with the two remaining regiments (Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Tilghman, and First Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Baldwin). Arriving at the opposite side of the Rappahannock, I was directed by an aide-de-camp of General Stoneman to proceed to the front, which order I complied with, my right resting on General Howe's left, and my left on right of Seeley's battery. I then threw out my skirmishers., who engaged those of the enemy until after dusk. At 12 midnight tow regiments of my brigade (Second New Hampshire and Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers) were relieved from duty at the pontoon bridges by Colonel Park, Second New York Volunteers, Third Brigade, and marched to the front, forming my second line.
At 8.30 a.m. on the 14th, the two remaining regiments at the bridges (Sixteenth Massachusetts and Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers) were relieved and rejoined the brigade at the front. Skirmishers from all my regiments were now out, and engaged the skirmishers of the enemy until 4 p.m., when a truce having been agreed upon, all firing on my front ceased, and the dead and wounded were removed. During the night the Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers (Colonel Blaisdell) was engaged in throwing up rifle-pits at the front to protect our skirmishers.