War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0506 OPERATION IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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mand for their bravery and steadiness while under the galling fire of the enemy, and for the manner in which they obeyed every order emanating from their superior officers.


Captain, Commanding Ninth New York State Militia.

Captain W. T. HARTZ,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Brigade.

Numbers 240. Report of Colonel Charles Wheelock, Ninety-seventh New York Infantry.

DECEMBER 18, 1862.

SIR: In accordance with brigade orders, I herewith send you a statement of the part taken by my command in the action of December 13.

Having crossed the Rappahannock River 2 1/2 miles below Fredericksburg on the morning of the 12th with the brigade, we took a position on the north side of the Bowling Green road, and remained there until the morning of the 13th. General Taylor's brigade, comprising the Thirteenth Massachusetts, Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Eighty-third New York Volunteers, Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and my regiment, the Ninety-seventh New York Volunteers, being in line, the Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania on the right and the Ninety-seventh New York second in line, my regiment was ordered to advance into the open field on the south side of the road, where the brigade line was formed by General Taylor, and the Thirteenth Massachusetts was thrown out as skirmishers in advance, when the whole line advanced one-fourth of a mile at 9 a. m. We were there halted, and ordered to lie down under a heavy fire of shell and grape from the enemy, and also from the enemy's sharpshooters from the wood, 80 rods off.

We lay in that position until 1 p. m., when we were ordered to advance in line to within 50 rods of the wood, under a sharp fire from the enemy, and commenced a heavy fire on the enemy. We remained in this position until ordered by General Taylor to fix bayonets and forward, which every man did with alacrity. We crossed the railroad to within 20 rods of the wood, where the enemy lay in force. We remained in this position until our ammunition (60 rounds) was nearly exhausted, when we were relieved by the Second Brigade. I then marched my regiment by the right flank, and took a position on the right of the Second Brigade, and continued the firing until the Second Brigade was relieved by the First Brigade, and still we remained with the Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania, and kept our front until ordered back by General Taylor. The enemy had batteries on our right and left flanks, near the wood, which kept up a heavy fire.

My command went into the field with 213 men and 217 officers. One hundred and eighty-one had arms and 32 were without arms. My object in taking in men without guns was to take the arms of those that fell and to help the wounded, which they did to my entire satisfaction. My loss was 5 killed, 33 wounded, and 10 missing.*

I wish to say that every officer and man behaved with courage and bravery, with one or two exceptions. My regiment was the first to advance into the field, and was the last to cross the road when we fell


*But see revised statement, p. 139.