poured a shower of balls and shells, but the brigade was instructed to hold the position at all hazards, and it held it, and when their ammunition was expended the men laid down upon the ground and waited for relief. At this time the Second Brigade of this division advanced to the front to relieve us, and night coming on, the firing slackened and finally ceased. The command slept upon the ground they had so gallantly held.
During the night they were supplied with ammunition, and were prepared for such further duty as the dawn of day would require. The strength of the works in front of us was such that it was impossible to take them without other and greater force than was at our disposal, and the orders received at the dawn of day to spare ammunition, to guard against attack, and to hold the ground, were this that governed us during the day. The brigade remained upon the ground through the day, with occasional firing,and late at night, upon being relieved, they returned to the city of Fredericksburg for necessary rest.
The brigade remained in the city until early on the morning of Tuesday. Orders were then received to recross the river, which was accomplished quietly, and in the course of the day it arrived at this camp, upon the ground occupied by it on the 11th instant.
I have guns given a brief summary of the events that have transpired with his brigade during the period referred to. It is my duty to add a few words as to the manner in which their duty was discharged by both officers and men. There are difficulties in the way of any discrimination where all have discharged their full duty. The enemy had advantages of position, which they fully understood, and of which they availed themselves; but against all odds the brigade advanced to its assigned position in a manner which met my warm approval.
The Eighteenth massachusetts, on the right, the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes, in the eagerness of its gallant commander, pushed on in advance of the rest of the line, and, being thus temporarily separated from it, was exposed to a most galling fire. It was soon compelled to retire, reform, and rejoin the brigade. Captain George C. Ruby, the senior captain of the regiment, and a brave soldier, fell in this attack, and the regiment will mourn his loss.
The Twenty-fifth New York, under the command of Captain Connelly; the Thirteenth New York, at first under the command of Colonel Marshall, was early in the action, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall being compelled to retire in consequence of a severe wound in the neck; the One hundred and Eighteenth Pennsylvania,under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gwyn; the First Michigan, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott, who was wounded in the face, and very narrowly escaped; the Twenty-second Massachusetts, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Tilton, and the Second Maine, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Varney, who, being wounded in the head, was compelled to retire, devolving the command upon Major Sergeant, all deserve that I should mention them with approbation.
The detailed list of casualties,which I have had the honor to forward, is the best evidence that I can give the brigade occupied no place of safety, and sufficiently attests the fact that the duty assigned to it was not neglected.
I must not omit to mention the fearless and satisfactory manner in which my aide, Lieutenant W. S. Davis, conducted himself during the whole period of the conflict.
The brigade numbered in all 146 officers and 2,227 men.