NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, VA., December 31, 1862.
LIEUTENANT: It becoming my duty to make a report of the action of the Eighth Florida Regiment [commanded by Captain [David] Lang] during the engagement at Fredericksburg, December 11, 1862, I submit the following:
About 5 o'clock of the morning of the 11th, General Barksdale came to me at the ferry near Commerce street, accompanied by a portion of the Eighth Florida Regiment, numbering about 150 men [I suppose]. He said to me to assist Captain Lang, commanding, in putting his battalion in position, which I proceeded on my left, which would be in point-blank range of the enemy above the bridge then being rapidly constructed by them, my regiment bearing on the front and from a point below. Such dispositions being made, we easily swept the enemy from their bridge from above, below, and in front.
The battalion did good service and acted gallantly while commanded by Captain Lang. He obeyed my suggestions with alacrity, and proved himself a worthy, gallant, and efficient officer, but fell, severely wounded, about 11 a.m., after which time I received but little aid from the regiment, as it seemed troubled and in want of a commander.
I am compelled to state that a certain lieutenant [his name I do not recollect] so far forgot himself as to draw his pistol and threaten to kill some of my sharpshooters if they fired again, as it would draw the enemy's fire on his position.
As to the conduct of the portion of the regiment sent to re-enforce Captain Govan, I refer you to his inclosed report.
JOHN C. FISER,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Seventeenth Mississippi Regiment.
Lieutenant JOHN A. BARKSDALE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
No. 284. Report of Captain A. R. Govan, Seventeenth Mississippi Infantry.
DECEMBER 31, 1862.
SIR: The Florida companies that reported to me on the 11th instant were ordered into position on my right. The entire command, in my opinion, did not constitute 40 men. They were ordered to conform to the movement of the command. The officer in command of said companies failed repeatedly to obey my commands when ordered to fire on the bridge-builders, and so silent was his command that I scarcely knew he was in position. His excuse for not firing was that his position was too much exposed, and firing would draw the fire of artillery. I was informed that the officer was withdrawing his command by 2 o'clock. I passed the order down the line to fall back, which was promptly obeyed. I am convinced that if any were captured it was from inefficiency and from fear of being killed in the retreat. The position was held till sunset.
A. R. GOVAN,
Captain, Commanding Company B.
Lieutenant-Colonel [JOHN C.] FISER,
Commanding Seventeenth Mississippi Regiment.