War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0463 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG,VA.

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former position, with the exception of the artillery, the location of which was slightly changed. My line, as I have stated, ran along the Bowling Green road as far as the junction of the cross-road already referred to, and then made an angle to the left. At this angle Stewart's battery was placed. At first it acted in concert wit Gerrish's battery, but, about the time of Meade's and Gibbon's retreat, Gerrish's battery left the field to go a short distance to the rear for more ammunition, and Stewart was obliged to fight the batteries both in his front and on his left, the latter having an enfilading fire. Gerrish's battery afterward returned to its position and resumed its fire.

Upon examining the lines of General Meredith, I judged them to be too extended, as the enemy were pressing hard upon my center. I therefore directed General Meredith and Colonel Rogers to leave pickets out, and fall back for the night to a safer position, behind a ditch and embankment running perpendicularly from the the Bowling Green road to the wood on the river bank. The troops would thus be safe against a surprise in the night, and would be in easy supporting distance of any part of my line. As the ground temporarily abandoned was very open and commanded by our batteries, I knew the enemy could not establish himself there, and that I could resume possession of it at daylight the next morning.

It was now 4.30 p.m. A furious cannonade, apparently from more than forty pieces of artillery, opened upon us, sending an incessant shower of shot, shell, and case shot through our ranks until long after dark; at the same time a triple line of sharpshooter redoubled their efforts against the center, endeavoring to draw Stewart's battery away and to cover the advance of one or more of their batteries, which were now firing canister. Stewart,however, was fully equal to the occasion; nothing could exceed the accuracy of his fire and the sound judgment which regulated the discharges to suit the character of the attack. He blew up another of the enemy's caissons, disabled their pieces, and strewed the earth with slain. Captain Reynolds' battery had been sent a short distance, previous to the cannonade, to report to General Meredith, on the extreme left, the general having sent word that he was threatened with a charge of cavalry in that vicinity. Captain Reynolds found himself at once engaged with several batteries, and the repeatedly obliged them to shift their positions. He must have done good execution, for four dead horses were left on the ground in a single section of rebel artillery. He came in afterward with Meredith's brigade, and resumed his old position.

To fill the gap left by Reynolds' battery, and meet in some measure the overwhelming amount of artillery force in our front, Captain Wolcott, of the First Maryland Battery, was ordered to report to me. His guns were posted on my right, and at once opened upon the enemy with excellent effect. He was relieved the next morning by the Second Pennsylvania Battery, under Captain Cooper, who remained with as until we crossed the river.

I have stated that General Meredith and Colonel Rogers were ordered to take up a new position, and leave pickets out to cover the front of their brigades. There was unusual, and, as I deemed, unnecessary, delay in obeying this order on the part of General Meredith, and finding, after two hours had elapsed, that my instructions had not been carried out, I felt it my duty to relieve him of the command. I therefore placed the brigade under Colonel Cutler, of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, the next in command.

The persistent efforts being made to break through my center, and