War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0453 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG,VA.

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the river bank, the enemy disappeared from the immediate vicinity of the river in force, and contented himself with watching our motions by a few vedettes or lookouts in sheltered positions. The bridges having been completed, arrangements were made to secure the bridge heads for the night, and the troops remained in their position until morning.

On the morning of the 12th, the crossing was made under cover of the fog, Smith's corps preceding the First, which crossed in the following order: Gibbon's division forming on the left of Smith's in two lines of brigades, deployed; Meade's division in two lines of brigades, deployed, with his left resting on the river about Smithfield, his right joining nearly at right angles with the left of Gibbon; Doubleday's division was maintained in reserve, formed in column on the bank of the river, in rear of Meade's left, the artillery of the divisions having joined them in the mean time,and crossed with them; that of Meade's and Gibbon's divisions was disposed to command the approach by the Bowling Green road. While these dispositions were being made, the skirmishers of the enemy had been met and driven from the ravines and houses in the vicinity of Smithfield, and that place strongly occupied by Meade.

Our dispositions having been completed between 4 and 5 p.m., and our pickets thrown out, the troops bivouacked for the night in their positions. The river bottom, on which we had debouched, was inclosed by a series of heights, running from the rear of Fredericksburg on the right to the valley of the Massaponax Creek on the left,at which point the nearest crest approached the Rappahannock to within probably less than a mile. The ranges of heights formed an arc, of which the railroad from Fredericksburg to Richmond may be said to form the chord,the road to Bowling Green running nearly parallel of it for this distance,but nearer the river, some 500 yards. On the left of this bottom the ground ascended gradually from the river bank to a point about half way between the two roads, when it fell off more suddenly to the line of the railroad, just beyond which the rise to the heights began. These were wooded from the rear to the crests in places, and in others the wood extended into the plain beyond the line of the railroad. All that could be seen of the enemy's position was that he occupied the crests of these heights with his artillery and infantry; the edge of the wood and the cuts of the railroad, with a line of skirmishers thrown out in front, and extending from the heights to a ravine and some houses on the river bank, opposite the extreme of hills on the left. This bottom was cultivated ground, and intersected by hedges and ditches running along the roads, but affording slight shelter of any description for our troops, while all our movements and dispositions were plainly visible to the enemy from the heights he occupied. All that could be discerned of his movements were those above mentioned.

On the morning of the 13th, I received from the commanding general of the left grand division the orders of the General-in-Chief for the attack on the right of the enemy's position (copy marked A, and appended hereto), and immediately directed General Meade to form his division for the attack, informing him that I would support him on the right with Gibbon's division and cover his left with Doubleday's.

About 8.30 a.m. Meade's division advanced across the Smithfield ravine, formed in column of two brigades, with the artillery between them the Third Brigade marching by the flank on the left and rear. It moved down the river some 500 or 600 yards, when it turned sharp to the right and crossed the Bowling Green road. The enemy's artillery opened from the crest and the angle of the Bowling Green road. I directed General Meade to put his column directly for the