War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0641 Chapter XXXIII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA.

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No. 306. Report of Major D. B. Bridgford, Chief Provost-Marshal.


MAJOR: In obedience to an order from the lieutenant-general commanding, I herewith transmit the operations of the provost guard, consisting of the battalion and Captain [T. E.] Upshaw's squadron of cavalry.

On December 11, received an order to move toward Fredericksburg with two days' rations, cooked and placed in haversacks.

December 12, moved at dawn on the Fredericksburg road to Hamilton's Crossing, where I placed a guard, for the purpose of arresting all stragglers. Also placed a guard, consisting of cavalry and infantry, along the whole line of the corps and in rear of the line of battle about half a mile, with instructions to arrest all men without proper passes on authorized business for their commands, to be brought to the guard placed on the railroad; there my surgeon was stationed to examine all men claiming to be sick without proper passes from their brigade or regimental surgeons. Numbers, however, were really sick and totally unfit for duty; they were without passes. When a sufficient number were collected together, I sent them under charge of cavalry to be delivered to the first major-general whose command was going into the fight, to place them in front and most exposed portion of his command. I am happy to state the number arrested and sent forward were comparatively few in consideration of the size of the army.

During the 13th and 14th, the number sent in under guard was only 526. Numbers were turned back, owing to their not having proper passes to return to the rear to cook, &c.

I am most happy to state I had no occasion to carry into effect the order to shoot all stragglers who refused to go forward, or, if caught a second time upon the evidence of two witnesses to shoot them. Had I occasion to carry it into effect, it certainly should have been executed to the very letter.

During the 13th and 14th, received and placed under guard 324 prisoners of war, which I sent to Richmond, by order of General Lee. Eleven of them were commissioned officers, and paroled by me; the balance I took names, regiments, brigades, and corps as far as possible, in obedience to your order.

December 16, received 109 prisoners of war, which I paroled and sent to Guiney's Depot, under command of Captain Upshaw, with instructions to have them forwarded by railroad to Richmond, if possible, which orders were carried into effect. During the same day I went through Drs. H. Black's and W. H. Whitehead's hospital, where I paroled 23 Federal prisoners. A considerable number of wounded prisoners were sent to Richmond. They do not appear in this statement, nor could I by any means ascertain the number.

On the 17th, received an order to move with my entire guard in rear of General D. H. Hill's division on the Port Royal road. Captain Upshaw, with his squadron, being absent, I ordered, Captain [J.] Tucker to assist in bringing up the rear.

On the 18th, encamped on Mr. Brooks' farm, near where General D. H. Hill's division halted. I am happy to inform you that there was little or no straggling; the number did not exceed 30, notwithstanding I used