War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0523 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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the bridges, below Deep Creek, the head of the column arriving at the river about 7.30 a. m. The bridges not being completed, the command was sheltered as much as possible from the view of the enemy, where it remained till about 4 p. m., when I received orders to cross the river. General Devens' brigade, of General Newton's division (Third), was ordered to occupy both bridges in the crossing, and after that the lower bridge was to be used by the division of General Brooks (First), while the remaining brigades of the Third Division were to cross on the upper bridge. As soon as the skirmishers, under Colonel Wheaton, Second Rhode Island, were ready to cross, I opened a heavy fire of artillery on the houses on the plateau near the crossing, to drive out any enemy holding them, and this fire was maintained until our skirmishers reached the plateau. The troops were being rapidly thrown across, when an order came to retire all the troops but one brigade.

Owing to the lateness of the hour, there would not have been sufficient time for me to have deployed my command and taken any defensive position, and I was glad I was to have the daylight of the next day for that purpose. General Devens was selected by General Newton to keep the bridge head, while the troops were kept at a convenient distance, to support him in case he was attacked.

On Friday morning, soon after daylight, General Brooks' (First) division was crossed, and took position in front of General Devens, relieving his skirmishers. General Howe's (Second) division was then ordered across, and formed in line of battle on the left of General Brooks. General Newton's troops were then crossed and formed in columns in reserve.

As soon as the crossing was completed and the lines formed, I pushed the command forward, General Brooks holding the Richmond road and Deep Creek with one line in front of the creek, while General Howe occupied the crest of a hill, over which ran the Richmond road, his right at a sharp turn of Deep Creek. These movements were all made, when the fog, which had concealed us, lifted, and our lines became visible to the enemy, who occupied the hills in front of us.

The troops were as well protected as the topography would allow, and there was nothing to be done but maintain our skirmish line, which was engaged nearly all the time, and to submit quietly to the feeble and spasmodic artillery fire of the enemy, which both encircled and commanded us.

On Saturday, we were subjected to severe artillery practice, and our skirmishers were hotly engaged, but we silenced the fire of the enemy, and our skirmish line was retained at its advanced position. Toward evening General Newton was ordered from the reserve to support the left of the line of battle of the Sixth Corps, and assist in repelling the attack of the enemy on the troops under General Stoneman. After dark he was withdrawn to his former position.

On Sunday, with the exception of the angry skirmish line and an occasional artillery engagement, all was quiet, and our position merely maintained.

On Monday, General Newton relieved General Howe, whose troops had been so much exposed that they required rest. On Monday night the corps was ordered to cross after the other troops, and everything was done quietly and expeditiously. The artillery was placed on the north bank, as it crossed, by Captain West, my acting aide-de-camp, while Captain Ayres placed in position that necessary to form the line at the bridge head. General Devens' and Colonel Torbert's brigades formed the line to cover the troops, and the pickets were ordered in