War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0388 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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Numbers 160. Report of Colonel George H. Sharpe, One hundred and twentieth New York Infantry.


December 17, 1862

SIR: I respectfully beg leave to submit the following report of the movements of this regiment in connection with the late operations against Fredericksburg:

On the 4th instant, the regiment was ordered to report to Brigadier-General Woodbury for special duty, the details of which are set forth in a supplementary report, herewith forwarded to you for the information of the colonel commanding.*

The regiment returned to the camp near Falmouth on the 11th instant, and at 1 p.m. of the 13th instant, pursuant to orders, marched to join the brigade on the field of battle, on the other side of the river. I reached the field with full ranks at 4 p.m. in the midst of a heavy cannonading and was immediately on arrival placed in the front line of battle, within easy musket range of the enemy. Skirmishers were thrown out (to the number of 80), who found some cover in a ditch within a few rods of the opposing forces, and were from time to time relieved by other details.

Firing was brisk between our skirmishers and the enemy during the morning of the 14th, after which it was only occasional. On the night of the 14th, toward morning, the skirmishers were driven in by an advance, accompanied with rapid firing on the part of the enemy. The regiment immediately arose from where it was lying in line, and without noise or confusion prepared to receive any proposed attack; but our skirmishers soon, in their turn, drove back the enemy's skirmishers. I directed a small squad from each company to remain on the alert during the night, and ordered the men again to lie down on their arms.

On the 15th, there was little firing on the picket line occupied by this regiment, and in the evening we were relieved with the brigade to occupy the second line of battle.

At 9 p.m. of the same day, I received an order to hold the men in readiness to march at a moment's notice, and about midnight we recrossed the river and went into camp with the brigade about half a mile on this side, returning to our former camping-grounds on Tuesday morning.

I shall also add that a small detachment of 60 men from the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Westbrook, who had been left behind as a camp guard was with the brigade in its occupation of the heights opposite Fredericksburg and marched with the brigade across the river in advance of the regiment, on the arrival of which it rejoined this command.

To most of the men of this regiment this was the first opportunity they had had of finding themselves in the presence of the enemy and under fire both of musketry and artillery, and I take the liberty of respectfully adding, for the approval of the colonel commanding, under whose eye we were during the whole time, that, although the operations of this command were not of the most serious nature, the conduct of the


*Not found.