War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0503 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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commanding division, I formed line of battle south of and parallel to the Bowling Green road, about 2 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, Va. This was executed under cover of the Thirteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, then deployed as skirmishers. My command was arranged as follows (Thirteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers deployed as skirmishers), commencing from the right of the line: First, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers; second, Ninety-seventh New York Volunteers; third, Eighty-third New York Volunteers, and fourth, Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. Having the line formed, I was then (about 9 a. m.) ordered to advance it to within about 300 yards of the skirt of a wood covering a range of hills immediately in our front and the grading of the Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad.

In the execution of this order I drew the fire of the enemy, whom I found strongly posted in force in the wood and behind the railroad track. The skirmishers being within good range, a lively fire was kept up by them with effect on both sides. The line not being in range, I caused the men to lie down, to avoid as much as possible the effect of the enemy's artillery, which had opened upon my line from right to left. Finding the right of my line exposed to two or three of the enemy's guns, using grape and canister, I ordered the Eighty-eighth Regiment forward under the cover of a slight elevation of ground, with directions to fire a volley at the battery. This was executed, and had the desired effect. The pieces were silenced and immediately withdrew, but, most singular to say, apparently frightened at the noise they had made themselves, with a few exceptions the whole regiment turned and ran toward the rear. With the assistance of my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Post, and an intervening ditch, I succeeded in stopping this disgraceful and causeless retrograde movement, and getting the regiment back upon the brigade line again, where it remained during the rest of the engagement, and fully retrieved itself by its firmness and steadiness thereafter.

At about 1 p. m. I was ordered to advance my line, which I did, to within a short distance of the wood, when the whole line became briskly engaged. The enemy seemed to concentrate the most of his fire on the two regiments on the left of my line (the Eleventh Pennsylvania and Eighty-third New York), which, from casualties and other causes, soon melted away, when the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel Lyle, was advanced and took their places on the left of the regiments on the right (the Ninety-seventh New York and Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania), which regiments were marched a short distance to the right to make room for and unmask the advancing line.

The two last-named regiments remained on the line and sustained themselves to the last, and did not leave the field until the whole division retired, which was about 2.30 p. m. The troops, generally, composing this brigade displayed a great deal of bravery and courage; none more so than the Ninety-seventh New York, commanded by Colonel Wheelock. This regiment stood firm from first to last. Lieutenant-Colonel Batchelder, commanding the right wing of the Thirteenth Massachusetts, deployed as skirmishers, is entitled to much praise for the skillful manner in which he maneuvered his command. Colonel Coulter, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania; Captain Hendrickson, commanding Eighty-third New York, and Captain J. A. Moesch, of the last-named regiment, are also entitled to honorable mention for their brave and gallant conduct on the field. There are many others in the command equally entitled to a classification with the above list, with whose names and