until the greatly superior force of the enemy, who were flanking us on both sides, compelled us to retire.
In withdrawing from the wood, the regiment retired with steadiness, though suffering severely from the enemy's fire. On reaching the plain, and at a short distance from the railroad, such of the regiment as came out together were formed in line, and there halted for a time. The regiment was then moved a short distance to the rear, where it remained until ordered back to the position it occupied on the night of the 12th.
While in the wood, the One hundred and twenty-first advanced to the extreme front, and it is believed that if the brigade had been supported the object contemplated by the general would have been accomplished. In closing this sketch, I take great pleasure in referring to the good conduct of the officers and men. I may mention that the order of the regiment was in a great measure due to the coolness and efficiency of Lieutenant-Colonel Davis and Major Biddle. If desired, it will afford me sincere satisfaction to furnish a list of the officers and men who distinguished themselves in the engagement.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigade, Meade's Division.
Numbers 250. Report of Colonel Albert L. Magilton, Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, commanding Second Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, Near Fredericksburg, Va., December 18, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Second Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, on the south side of the Rappahannock River:
The Second Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps, composed of the Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Regiments of Pennsylvania Reserves, and the One hundred and forty-second Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, crossed the Rappahannock River on the pontoon bridge Friday, December 12, and formed in column of division front, on the west of the Bernard mansion, when they were marched to a point a short distance east of the mansion, and deployed in line of battle, the left resting on the Rappahannock River, where we bivouacked for the night.
About 9 o'clock on Saturday morning, December 13, we marched across a small branch, and formed in line of battle parallel to the Fredericksburg and Bowling Green road, and about 100 yards to the east of the road facing the enemy's line of intrenchments. Here we were exposed to a very severe cannonade fire from the enemy for about two hours.
About 1 p. m. we were ordered forward to attack the enemy, and in support of the First Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, then about 100 yards in front. The brigade advanced in good line, and the One hundred and forty-second and Eighth Regiments were checked and stopped at the railroad. The Third, Fourth, and Seventh Regiments proceeded across the railroad and up the hills, driving the enemy