defect in the ammunition we used, by which few of our shells burst. My own observation entirely confirmed the numerous complaints made to me from the batteries. Much, if not most, of this difficulty is, I made satisfied, justly attributable to the fuses.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel and Chief of Artillery, Second Corps.
Lieutenant General THOMAS J. JACKSON,
Commanding Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
No. 305. Reports of Colonel J. Thompson, Brown, First Virginia Artillery.
DECEMBER 19, 1862.
CAPTAIN: In obedience to orders, I beg leave to submit the following report of the operations of my command in the late engagement before Fredericksburg:
About 11 o'clock, Saturday morning, my batteries were ordered to a position in rear of Hamilton's house, ready to be called on as occasion might require. About 12 o'clock, by order Colonel [S.] Crutchfield, I sent two Parrott rifles from Captain Poague's battery, under command of Lieutenant [Archibald] Graham, and two similar pieces from the Third Howitzers, under Lieutenant [James S.] Utz, to report to Major [John] Pelham, on the right of the railroad. Shortly afterward I was ordered to send to the same point four other rifle guns, viz, two 10-pounders Parrotts and one brass rifle from Second Howitzers, and one 3-inch rifle from Captain Dance's battery, all under the command of Captain Watson, Second Howitzers. These eight guns were actively engaged and suffered severely from the enemy's artillery and sharpshooters.
I have to lament the loss at this part of the field of a gallant and most excellent officer, Lieutenant Utz, commanding Third Howitzers.
The ammunition of most of the pieces was exhausted before dark and the pieces themselves withdrawn. Having obtained ammunition for the two rifles of Third Howitzers, I sent them back to the field, where they remained in company with the three pieces of Captain Watson's battery until about 9 o'clock.
About 2 o'clock, by order of Colonel Crutchfield, I placed in position on the hill to the extreme right of our infantry line the two 20-pounder Parrotts of Captain Poague's battery. These two pieces unaided engaged the enemy's artillery and afterward opened upon the infantry. The exact range of the hill having been obtained by much previous firing, our loss at this point was heavy. Among the killed was Lieutenant [John B.] McCorkle, a brave soldier and estimable gentleman. Later in the evening, Lieutenant-Colonel [L. M.] Coleman brought up two howitzers from Captain Dance's battery and placed them on the left of Captain Poague's pieces. Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman was severely wounded at this point, but remained on the field until after dark. I fear I shall lose the assistance of this valuable officer for several months. Late in the evening two pieces of Captain Hupp's battery, under Lieutenant [Charles B.] Griffin, were ordered to the right of the