Numbers 277. Report of Captain John K. G. Nance, Third South Carolina Infantry.
DECEMBER 20, 1862.
SIR: As senior officer in command of the Third South Carolina Regiment, the duty devolves upon me to detail the operations of the same in the recent engagement at Fredericksburg, Va.
The regiment was aroused about 5 a. m. on Thursday, the 11th instant, by the firing of the signal guns, and soon afterward a courier from Brigadier-General Kershaw notified the colonel commanding that the enemy were attempting to cross the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg, Va., and ordered him to occupy its place in the line of battle previously designated. Accordingly, the regiment was put in motion, and, about 6 a. m., was put in position on the brow of the hill on the right of the Telegraph road and on the left of Captain Read's battery, with the Seventh South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bland, on our right, and the Second South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Colonel John D. Kennedy, on our left. Two companies of skirmishers (Captain Hance's company (A) of Rifles and Captain [J. K. G.] Nance's company (E) of Rifles) were deployed so as to cover the front of our regiment, and placed in the ditch at the foot of the hill occupied by the regiment. The orders given these company commanders were to hold their position as long as possible, and, when compelled, to fall back upon the regiment.
Thursday and Friday witnessed no advance by the enemy upon our immediate lines.
On Friday night the line of battle was changed from the top of the hill to its base, the regiment occupying the position previously held by the two companies of skirmishers. This position was strengthened during the night by digging pits and throwing up earthen breastworks.
On Saturday morning, the 13th instant, the enemy opened fire upon right and left of our lines at about 9 o'clock. About 1.50 p. m. Colonel Nance received an order from Brigadier-General Kershaw to so extend his lines as to occupy the works of the Second South Carolina Regiment, on our left. This order was subsequently revoked, upon the information that Colonel Kennedy had left a company to do this. About 2.15 p. m. a verbal order was extended by Brigadier-General Kershaw, ordering Colonel Nance to move his command, by the way he would designate, to the support of Brigadier General T. R. R. Cobb's command. The regiment was accordingly moved down the earth works into the Telegraph road, then down the Telegraph road near the mill on [Hazel Run] creek, and then up the newly made road to the top of the hill, just in rear of the cemetery, and from that point across the field in the rear of the Marye house, where Brigadier-General Kershaw ordered, through Major Gaillard, of the Second South Carolina Regiment, that the regiment should form in line of battle and advance on a line with the Second South Carolina Regiment. An order was received, through Lieutenant A. E. Doby, aide-de-camp, to the effect that our right should rest upon the Marye house. Soon after, Lieutenant Doby, aide-de-camp, insisted that the enemy should not be allowed to gain possession of the Marye house, and, accordingly, although only six companies were on the line, Colonel Nance promptly ordered the line forward. As the regiment reached the position on a line with the front of the Marye house, it was exposed to a most murderous fire from the enemy, plainly visible from that point. The line was ordered to move across the chain fence. The