War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0511 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Between 9 and 10 o'clock the column of attack was formed as follows: The First Brigade in line of battle on the crest of the hollow, and facing the railroad, with the Sixth Regiment deployed as skirmishers; the Second Brigade in rear of the First 300 paces; the Third Brigade by the flank, its right flank being a few rods to the rear of the First Brigade, having the Ninth Regiment deployed on its flank as skirmishers and flankers, and the batteries between the First and Second Brigades. This disposition had scarcely been made when the enemy opened a brisk fire from a battery posted on the Bowling Green road, the shot from which took the command from the left and rear.

Apprehending an attack from this quarter, the Third Brigade was faced to the left, thus forming, with the First, two sides of a square. Simpson's battery was advanced to the front and left of the Third Brigade, and Cooper's and Ransom's batteries moved to a knoll on the left of the First Brigade. These batteries immediately opened on the enemy's battery, and, in conjunction with some of General Doubleday's batteries in our rear, on the other side of the Bowling Green road, after twenty minutes' firing, silenced and compelled the withdrawal of the guns. During this artillery duel the enemy advanced a body of sharpshooters along the Bowling Green road, and under cover of the hedges and trees on the roadside.

General Jackson promptly sent out two companies of marksmen from his brigade, who drove the enemy back. No further demonstration on our left and rear being made, the advance was again determined on. Previous to pushing forward infantry, the batteries were directed to shell the heights and the wood in front. For this purpose, and to protect our line in case of falling back, Ransom's battery was moved to the right and front of the First Brigade, and Amsden's battery, which had just rejoined from detached duty, was posted on the right of Cooper's. During this operation, by the orders of the general commanding the First Corps, the Third Brigade changed front and formed in line of battle on the left of the First Brigade, its left extending very nearly opposite to the end of the ridge to be attacked. The formation was barely executed before the enemy opened a sharp fire from a battery posted on the heights to our extreme left. Cooper's, Amsden's, and Ransom's batteries were immediately turned on it, and after about thirty minutes' rapid firing the enemy abandoned the guns, having had two of his limbers or caissons blown up, the explosions from which were plainly visible.

As soon as the enemy's guns were silenced, the line of infantry was ordered to the attack. The First Brigade, on the right, advanced several hundred yards over cleared ground, driving the enemy's skirmishers before them, till they reached the woods previously described as being in front of the railroad, which they entered, driving the enemy out of them to the railroad, where they were found strongly posted in ditches and behind temporary defenses. The brigade (First) drove them from there and up the heights in their front, though, owing to a heavy fire being received on their right flank, they obliqued over to that side, but continued forcing the enemy back till they had crossed the crest of the hill; crossed a main road which runs along the crest, and reached open ground on the other side, where they were assailed by a severe fire from a large force in their front, and, at the same time, they enemy opened a battery which completely enfiladed them from the right flank. After holding their ground for some time, no support arriving, they were compelled to fall back to the railroad. The Second Brigade, which advanced in rear of the First, after reaching the railroad, was assailed with so severe a fire on their right flank that the Fourth Regiment halted and formed, faced to the right,