No. 217. Report of Colonel William F. Rogers, Twenty-first New York Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 19, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Third Brigade, First Division, First Army Corps, during the operations at and near Fredericksburg, Va., from the 11th to the 16th instant, inclusive:
Brigadier-General Paul been called to Washington in consequence of severe domestic affliction, the command of the brigade devolved upon the undersigned. The brigade moved with the division in its numerical order from camp, near general headquarters, at 5.30 a.m. on the 11th, and halted about 1 mile from the point where the pontoon bridges were to be thrown across the Rappahannock River. There the division was massed in column by division, and bivouacked for the night.
On Friday, the 12th, the brigade moved with the column toward the river, halting on the high ground near the bank until General Meade's division had crossed, when it was put in motion at or about 12 m., crossing the stream on the upper bridge. Moving across the fields in the direction of Mr. Bernard's house, a battery of the enemy, on a line parallel with the direction of the column, open upon it, without, however, doing us any damage.
Passing Bernard's house, about 4 p.m., by direction of General Doubleday, I formed the brigade in three lines, the Twentieth New York State Militia, Lieutenant-Colonel Hardenbergh, and the
Twenty-first New York State Volunteers, Captain Layton, the latter on the right, forming the first line; the Thirty-fifth New York State Volunteers, Colonel N. B. Lord, and the Twenty-third New York State Volunteers, Colonel H. C. Hoffman, the third. The enemy's batteries did not molest us after passing the Bernard house. Night coming on, the men laid upon their arms without changing the position of the lines.
On Saturday, the 13th, the lines advanced about a mile between and parallel with the river and Bowling Green road, when the enemy's skirmishers revealed themselves, but were forced to retire, being shelled out of a copse of wood by Battery B, Fourth U. S. Artillery, and the First New Hampshire Battery, which advanced with the lines. Passing these woods the enemy's artillery and skirmishers, posted on the right of the Bowling Green road, commenced a rapid fire upon us, when, changing front forward on the first company of the first line, the brigade advanced rapidly and took possession of the Bowling Green road, driving back the enemy's skirmishers and silencing a battery planted not more than 500 or 600 yards in our front.
My first line remained in the road until our batteries were planted on my right and rear, when in retired about 100 yards to support them, leaving two companies in the road as skirmishers, to prevent the cannoneers from being annoyed by the enemy's sharpshooters. During these movements the enemy kept up a heavy and continuous fire upon our lines.
After dark, the brigade was drawn back to a fence running at right angles with the Bowling Green road, the batteries also retiring to the rear of time. The enemy continued to play upon us with is artillery, throwing heavy charges of shrapnel and canister, which fell around us