New York Volunteers, was then placed in command, but was relieved by myself on the field of battle about 12 m.
During the 13th, the brigade was under fire of the artillery and musket shot of the enemy's skirmishers. Our loss will be found in the list of casualties appended.*
The morning of the 14th, we were relieved by the Second Brigade, and occupied the second line a few yards in the rear.
On the morning of the 15th, at 4 o'clock, the whole division was relieved by Newton's division, and occupied the position, in reserve, at the head of the pontoon bridge.
On the evening of the 15th, about 7.30 o'clock, we crossed the river and occupied a position on the north bank, covering the crossing of the troops on our left. We held this position until the evening of the 16th, and our sharpshooters, in conjunction with those of General Meade's division, kept the enemy at bay until the whole of the material of the pontoon bridge was safely removed.
From the time of assuming command in the first line, I am happy to bear tribute to the steadiness and good conduct of the brigade. It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to the intelligent services rendered me by Captain William H. Long, assistant adjutant-general, as well as by Lieutenants Alberts and Pemberton, my aides, during the four days we were under fire. To Captain Martindale, who volunteered his services on the occasion of this battle, I am under obligations for able and gallant services in assisting me to restore a line of skirmishers which was falling back. They went back.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. H. NEILL,
Captain THEODORE McGOWAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Division, Sixth Corps.
Numbers 260. Report of Brigadier General John Newton, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, SIXTH ARMY CORPS, December 20, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my report of this division in the operations of the army during the crossing of the Rappahannock, and until resuming position on the north bank of that river.
On the morning of Thursday, 11th instant, the division broke up its camp, near the White Oak Church, and marched to the bank of the Rappahannock. About an hour before sundown the division received orders to cross on the pontoon bridges below Fredericksburg. General Devens' brigade led (Colonel Wheaton's Second Rhode Island Regiment in front as skirmishers), followed by General Cochrane's and Colonel Rowley's brigades. Butler's battery (G), Second U. S. Artillery, accompanied Devens' brigade. General Brooks' division took the lower bridge immediately after General Devens' brigade had effected a crossing. Colonel Wheaton's regiment met with opposition from five companies of rebel skirmishers, whom they succeeded in driving back without difficulty, after inflicting a slight loss of prisoners and killed and
*Embodied in revised statement, p. 141.