in this position until the battery was withdrawn. I then advanced and took a strong position behind a hedge fence, between two of our batteries, on the Bowling Green road, and within about 700 yards of the wood and heights immediately in our front, and occupied by the rebels. The enemy's guns continued to play upon us until time after dark. Skirmishing was kept up with the enemy's advanced pickets until about 8 o'clock. We remained in this position until Monday night. My picket lines were within 250 yards of the enemy's, and during Sunday and Monday nights there was occasional firing, with little loss on either side.
Monday evening, before the retreat was ordered, my pickets agreed with the enemy's that during the night there should be no firing unless an attempt was made to advance on one side or the other. This contract was adhered to. Its enforcement aided us greatly in withdrawing our troops across the river under cover of the darkness.
Officers and men behaved admirably on the retreat, as they did during the entire fight. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men during the severe cannonading of Saturday. I can only say that the brigade sustained fully its well-earned reputation. Men all behaved so well I shall not attempt to speak of individual good conduct.
A full list* of the killed and wounded has been already forwarded to your headquarters.
Colonel Seventh Indiana, Commanding Second Brigade.
Captain E. P. HALSTEAD,
Asst. Adjt. General, First Division, First Army Corps.
No. 216. Report of Lieutenant Colonel J. William Hofman, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry.
CAMP NEAR PRATT'S LANDING, VA., December 24, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the operations of the
Fifty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, under my command, in the battles before Fredericksburg, on the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant.
On the morning of the 13th, the regiment marched, with the brigade, from the pontoon bridge to the plateau. There we took post in line on the left of the brigade, and continued with it during the battle, having had no special duty assigned to us. The regiment sustained no loss in either killed, wounded and missing.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, yours,
J. W. HOFMANN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Vols.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Brigade.
*Embodied in revised statement,p.138.