the battle nothing of interest occurred, my command being occupied only in constructing in part one or two batteries on our front and picketing on the canal in front of the house of Dr. Taylor, and thence on the Rappahannock above, some three-fourths of a mile.
The enemy's camps were visible on the far side of the Rappahannock upon our arrival, and increased perceptibly for several days afterward. It was not long before the enemy were seen to be engaged in constructing batteries at various points on the heights beyond their river, and immediately on its banks. New batteries daily appeared, till at length, extending from a point a mile above Falmouth, at convenient intervals, they reached Fredericksburg, and thence even down the river some 3 or 4 miles. On a great part of this line there were two tiers of batteries-one on the first bank of the river and the other on heights-commanding a level plateau in rear of this bank. Most of the guns of these various batteries could be made to bear both upon the city of Fredericksburg and on our batteries that crowned the heights on this side of the Rappahannock. The lines of the enemy's batteries following the inflections of the river, enabled them to dispose of their pieces so as to enfilade most of the streets of the town; even those at right angles were alike exposed.
The two armies continued thus confronting each other on the opposite banks of the river, each constructing batteries, and the hostile pickets in full view and in close proximity. The batteries scarcely fired a gun, and the pickets, by mutual and tacit understanding, refrained entirely from the use of their rifles. This condition of affairs continued from day to day, till at length each party, perhaps, became impatient from delay and eager for the fray.
On the morning of the 10th, nothing unusual appeared upon my part of the line. The enemy's batteries and our own were as inactive as before. The pickets were neither stronger nor weaker. The day passed off quietly, and at dark there was nothing to indicate, to the closest observer on my front, that the enemy was preparing for or meditating an attack. Nothing occurred in the early part of the night to give warning of the intended attack; but about 4.30 a.m. our signal guns were fired, upon hearing of which all were aroused and the command placed under arms. Little before the dawn of day, musketry was heard in the direction of and in Fredericksburg, and after that the fire of the enemy's batteries began. Repairing to the front to my line of pickets before it was clear day, I learned that there was none of the enemy's infantry anywhere visible. The enemy's batteries continued to fire with much spirit, and, as far as I could see, entirely concentrated upon the town of Fredericksburg. Many women and children, in great fright, with husbands and servants, were fleeing from their homes at this early hour to escape the enemy's terrible shells and cannon balls.
Soon after it was clear daylight, I moved my brigade up to the front and formed it in line of battle, under cover of the forest and near the edge of an open field fronting the river and the town, my left resting upon the river 150 yards to the left of Dr. Taylor's house, and then extending to the right across the road on the right of Dr. Taylor's leading into the town, and thence along the base of the hill, upon which Lane's battery to the rear was placed, crossed a deep ravine, and then bearing slightly to the rear of the Whitworth gun of Lane's battery, and then, crossing another ravine, reached to Huger's battery. The right of my line, four regiments, occupied this line and the fifth was held in rear of the center of this line. General Wright's brigade was on my right flank. The battery of Captain [J. W.] Lewis, attached to the brigade, was in