War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0574 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

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opened upon the town a tremendous fire from his numerous batteries which lined the Stafford shore, to cover his crossing. This cannonading he continued during the day, with but little intermission, and without any response from my batteries. The command bivouacked for the night in the works beside their guns.

The next morning (12th instant), the fog was again exceedingly heavy. At 2 p. m. it had raised sufficiently for us to discern the hills opposite the city densely covered with the enemy's infantry and artillery. At 3.40 p. m. a heavy column was observed near the gas works below the town, upon which my batteries immediately opened a well-directed and destructive fire, causing the enemy to break and run for cover. During this firing the enemy's heavy batteries across the river opened upon us with shell and shot, disregarding which my men steadily worked their guns without replying. After about ten minutes, having dispersed the column, my batteries ceased firing, and continued to receive in silence the continued fire of the enemy.

Another night passed by, the officers and men beside their guns, brings us to the memorable 13th of December. At 12.30 p. m. the enemy was observed in force moving down upon our position through the streets of the town. Everything being in readiness, fire was immediately opened from all my batteries, at once halting and breaking his first advance. Again they emerged in greater force and apparently with much steadiness. Gaining the crest of an elevated piece of ground in our front, he opened upon our position a galling fire of musketry and of artillery from the hills beyond. The brigade of General Cobb in front of my batteries then opened fire and the battle became general all along our line. Again and again did their heavy masses come forth from the town, only to be mowed down and scattered in confusion as each time they formed and advanced. Three times their colors were leveled by the unerring aim of the gunners.

At 2 p. m. a portion of General Ransom's division (supporting column) moved steadily across the plateau in my rear. Halting but an instant on the crest of the hill, they delivered a volley, then plunged with a cheer into the road below and in front of us, already occupied by Cobb's troops. The sharpshooters of the enemy, under cover of a cut in front and the slope of the hill, kept up a galling fire upon our works, causing many of my gallant men to fall, killed and wounded, at their posts, among whom was Lieutenant H. A. Battles, fourth company, severely wounded in the arm by a minie ball. Five several times did heavy masses of the enemy's infantry, supported by light batteries which had been placed in position on the field, advance from the cover of the town and the scattered houses, only to meet the fate of those who preceded them. They fell by thousands under the judicious, steady, and unerring fire of my guns, encouraged and aided by the gallant conduct of the brave troops in the road in front of us.

At 5 p. m., after having been engaged four hours and a half against overwhelming odds of the enemy, I was compelled to relinquish the post of honor to Woolfolk's and Moody's batteries, Alexander's battalion, having one gun disabled, and having exhausted all the canister, shell, and case shot, and nearly every round of solid shot in the chests. More could not be supplied in position in time, the train being several miles distant.

On the 14th, my guns were held in reserve.

On the 15th, I took position in the works on the extreme left of our line, the position before occupied by Lane's battery, which I occupied until the 18th instant.