the enemy extended many of their sharpshooters down to our left for the purpose of enfilading our lines, but the cross-fire of sharpshooters of the Sixteenth Michigan, which was posted on the railroad, and the troops on the left of my line, some of the Twentieth Maine, Eighty-third Pennsylvania, and Sixteenth Michigan, soon drove them out of the position they had chosen. Thus the day passed slowly away, the command from early dawn until after dark remaining lying on the ground, waiting for darkness to enable them to move in safety.
About 10 p.m. the command was relieved by a brigade of fresh troops, and my brigade, with the whole division, returned to Fredericksburg, and bivouacked in the streets. Here they remained until late in the afternoon of the 15th.
Never did officers or men perform such perilous duty as mine had done for the past thirty-six hours. The din of battle, the charge, and contest try most men's nerves, but that is nothing to what it is to be compelled to lie all day, scarcely sheltered at all, exposed to the shells and musketry of an ever-watchful enemy. But, under both and all these circumstances, I am proud to report I saw no signs of fear in either officers or men. Each and all performed their duty well and promptly.
Lieutenant-Colonel Conner, commanding the Forty-fourth New York Volunteers, was wounded early in the advance, and the command of that regiment devolved on Major Knox, who, with each of the other commandants of regiments, brought their regiments forward in order and well in hand.
Owing to the exposure of Saturday night and all of Sunday, I found myself seriously unwell on our return to Fredericksburg; and, fully satisfied that we were to return across the river, I was induced by my surgeon, late on the 15th, to give up the command to the next in rank, Colonel Vincent, and to return to camp. The subsequent return of the brigade to the line of the pickets, and their withdrawal across the river, was done under him, which duty he performed promptly and safely. Returned to camp on the 16th without any further loss of life.
Before closing, I beg leave to mention the name of Captain L. Lansing, my acting assistant adjutant-general, for the prompt and fearless manner he performed his arduous duty, very frequently much exposed, in carrying my orders to different points; also Lieutenant Jacklin, adjutant Sixteenth Michigan, who, for a portion of the time, acted as my aide.
Inclosed herewith will be found a full list of the killed, wounded, and missing in my brigade during the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. B. W. STOCKTON,
Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.
Captain C. B. MERVINE, Asst. Adjt. General, First Division.
No. 179. Report of Colonel Strong Vincent, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Infantry.
DECEMBER 17, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my command in the engagement of the 13th instant:
We came out of bivouac at sunrise of that morning; stood at arms
*Embodied in revised statement, p.136.