to the attack, frequently breaking their ranks and forcing them to retreat to the shelter of the houses. Six times did the enemy, notwithstanding the havoc caused by our batteries, press on with great determination to within 100 yards of the foot of the hill, but here encountering the deadly fire of our infantry, his columns were broken and fled in confusion to the town.
In the third assault, the brave and lamented Brigadier General Thomas R. R. Cobb fell, at the head of his gallant troops, and, almost at the same moment, Brigadier-General Cooke was borne from the field severely wounded. Fearing that Cobb's brigade might exhaust its ammunition, General Longstreet had directed General Kershaw to take two regiments to its support. Arriving after the fall of General Cobb, he assumed command, his troops taking position on the crest and at the foot of the hill, to which point General Ransom also advanced three other regiments. The Washington Artillery, which had sustained they heavy fire of artillery and infantry with unshaken steadiness and contributed much to the repulse of the enemy, having exhausted its ammunition, was relieved about 4 p. m. by Colonel Alexander's battalion. The latter occupied the position during the rest of the engagement, and, by its well-directed fire, rendered great assistance in repelling the assaults made in the afternoon, the last of which occurred shortly before dark. This effort met the fate of those that preceded it, and, when night closed in, the shattered masses of the enemy had disappeared in the town, leaving the field covered with dead and wounded. Anderson's division supported the batteries on Longstreet's left, and, though not engaged, was exposed throughout the day to a hot artillery fire, which it sustained with steady courage.
During the night our lines were strengthened by the construction of earthworks at exposed points, and preparations made to receive the enemy next day.
The 14th, however, passed without a renewal of the attack. The enemy's batteries on both sides of the river played upon our lines at intervals, our own firing but little. The sharpshooters on each side skirmished occasionally along the front.
On the 15th, the enemy still retained his position, apparently ready for battle, but the day passed as the preceding.
The attack on the 13th had been so easily repulsed, and by so small a part of our army, that it was not supposed the enemy would limit his efforts to an attempt, which, in view of the magnitude of his preparations and the extent of his force, seemed to be comparatively insignificant. Believing, therefore, that he would attack us, it was not deemed expedient to lose the advantages of our position and expose the troops to the fire of his inaccessible batteries beyond the river, by advancing against him; but we were necessarily ignorant of the extent to which he had suffered, and only became aware of it when, on the morning of the 16th, it wash discovered that he had availed himself of the darkness of night, and the prevalence of a violent storm of wind and rain, to recross the river. The town was immediately reoccupied and our position on the river bank resumed.
In the engagement more than 900 prisoners and 9,000 stand of arms were taken. A large quantity of ammunition was found at Fredericksburg.
The extent of our casualties will appear from the accompanying report of the medical director. We have again to deplore the loss of valuable lives. In Brigadier-Generals Gregg and Cobb, the Confederacy has lost two of its noblest citizens and the army two of its bravest and most