which they had been stacked. We here captured a large number of prisoners.
Having advanced about 700 or 800 yards beyond the railroad mentioned, we found our right-flank unprotected, General Gibbon's division not having advanced parallel with us. Our lines had gained the outer edge of the wood, and the rebel batteries and infantry on our right, not having anything to occupy their attention in front, concentrated on our right flank an enfilading fire that swept us down with murderous accuracy, and compelled us to retire. Owing to the density of the wood, and the unevenness of the ground over which we passed, the regiments became greatly confused. I am confident that had we been called upon to hold the ground we had so dearly won against the force on our front we could have done so.
Our loss was severe, amounting to 22 officers and 496 men killed, wounded, and missing, among whom was our brigade commander, Colonel Sinclair, who was wounded while gallantly leading forward his brigade.*
I am unable to enter more fully into detail, not having received all the regimental reports, and not having made the disposition of the brigade in the field.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.
Captain E. C. BAIRD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Meade's Division.
Numbers 249. Report of Colonel Chapman Biddle, One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania Infantry.
CAMP NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, VA., December 18, 1862.
LIEUTENANT: In obedience to brigade circular of this date, requesting a statement of the operations of the several regiments of the brigade in the engagement of Saturday last, the 13th instant, I have the honor to submit the following, respecting the One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers:
Early on the morning of the 13th, the brigade was moved from its camping ground, near Bernard's house, to the left and front, to the support of Ransom's battery, where it remained a considerable time in position. The ground occupied by the brigade was a portion of the extensive plain reaching above Fredericksburg, probably 3 miles in length by 1 mile or 1 1/4 miles in width. From one-third to one-half mile in front of us was the Richmond railroad, and just beyond the wooded heights, which inclose the plain.
Between 1 and 2 p. m. Meade's division was ordered to move forward to clear the wood, which was occupied by the enemy in force, the First Brigade leading. The advance was made promptly, and, after crossing three ditches and the railroad, the brigade entered the wood. The One hundred and twenty-first, continuing in line, reached the crest of the hill, passing on the way a number of the enemy's musket stacks. From the time the regiment entered the wood its advance was kept up steadily,
*But see revised statement, p. 139.