War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0501 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

commanding the brigade. It would have been worse than madness to have done as he directed. I looked behind me and saw no support. I sent immediately to the commander of the brigade, Colonel Lyle, to say that we must have support, as our ammunition was failing-in fact, it was entirely gone, as what we had left was unserviceable,j not being of the kind fitted for our pieces. Soon after this, a regiment belonging to the First Brigade (I think the One hundred and seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers) came up behind us to our support. I directed my men to lie down for them to charge past us to the front. After they had passed to the front and opened fire, this regiment withdrew to the rear, under orders, to collect cartridge-boxes with ammunition. The Twenty-sixth New York Volunteers withdrew with the regiment, and both regiments formed in line about 100 yards to the left and rear.

While we were occupying this position, Captain Lee, of General Gibbon's staff, rode up, and, in a most insulting manner, drew his pistol upon the men of this regiment and the Twenty-sixth New York. As these men had withdrawn in good order, and with a perfect consciousness of what they were about, and as it was not the first time they had been in action, I consider it my duty, as commanding officer of the regiment, to call attention to it. The men that he threatened were, to say the least, much cooler than he appeared to be. Dismissing Captain Lee, we formed here without time to collect any ammunition. We received various orders from different aides-de-camp, and were finally ordered to advance and charge bayonets upon the enemy in the wood. Without hesitation we advanced without a round of available ammunition, and charged across the railroad into the wood. On our left we saw the One hundred and thirty-sixth Regiment, of our brigade, who had maintained their position all this time, falling back from the wood, pursued by lines of rebels. The enemy were closing on our left, and I reported to Colonel Lyle that we could not hold our position, as all the troops on our right and left were falling back. I received orders to fall back. We retired in good order, and formed in rear of a battery nearly on the same ground we had first occupied in the morning, no re-enforcements arriving until an hour afterward.

Here we remained until early the next morning, December 14, when we moved to the left and formed in line of battle. In this position we remained until we received orders, on Monday, the 15th, when we were withdrawn across the river.

The casualties have been already reported in a special report.* It would be almost invidious to mention a special instance of bravery among men and officers who have already been honorably mentioned on many hard-fought fields.

I have to regret the loss of Lieutenant Charles W. Duke, commanding Company K, who fell gallantly at the head of his company. I have the honor to call your attention to Second Lieutenant William H. Hewlings, of Company C, who commanded the color company. Three sergeants of this company had been shot with the colors. Lieutenant Hewlings himself took the colors and gallantly bore them through the remainder of the fight and from the field.

Respectfully submitted.

WM. A. LEECH,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Lieutenant D. P. WEAVER,

A. A. A. G., 2nd Brigadier, 2nd Div., 1st Army Corps.

---------------

*Embodied in revised statement, p. 139.

---------------