Orr's rifle regiment, was not engaged with the enemy, as they retired under the fire from my own regiment, no doubt accelerated by their finding themselves at the mercy of the Second Brigade, which had faced about, and in an advance a few yards beyond their entire flank would have been exposed to a severe and raking fire. Brigadier-General Paxton's brigade came up after I had driven the enemy off, but I am not aware that they were engaged at all with them at or near my position.
I understand that General Early's brigade, under command of Colonel Walker, passed the left of the Second Brigade and marched to the front; but as I was on the right of the brigade at this time and in thick woods I did not see it myself. Shortly after this, by order from General A. P. Hill, I moved the brigade forward as a support to Colonel Walker's brigade, and found him occupying the line of the railroad. The enemy were drawn out in line of battle some 600 yards distant from the railroad, but beyond advancing their skirmishers made no forward movement.
At dark an order came from Lieutenant-General Jackson, ordering an advance of the whole line. I accordingly advanced to the railroad, which I still found held by Colonel Walker's brigade, who had received no such order, as Colonel Walker informed me. Shortly after my reaching the railroad, a message was sent to me through Colonel McGowan, Fourteenth South Carolina Regiment, from one of Lieutenant-General Jackson's staff, countermanding the order for a general advance of the line. I accordingly marched the brigade back to the position which it had held during the day, where we bivouacked for the night.
I desire to mention the good conduct of Sergeant [T. R.] Pratt, Company G, Orr's regiment rifles, who had rallied a squad of his company after his regiment had been broken and driven off by the enemy, and came to me and asked me to assign him a position, which I did on the right of my own regiment.
Nothing of moment occurred after this day's [13th] engagement. The brigade suffered severely, considering that only two regiments were actually engaged with the enemy. Lists of killed and wounded, amounting to 363, have been already forwarded to you.*
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. H. HAMILTON,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, Light Division.
Major R. C. MORGAN,
No. 312. Report of Brigadier General Edward L. Thomas, C. S. Army, commanding Third [Thomas'] Brigade.
HDQRS. THOMAS' Brigadier, GENERAL A. P. HILL'S DIV., December 20, 1862.
MAJOR: On Friday, December 12, according to orders from Major-General Hill, this brigade left its camp near Mr. John Alsops' house, moved in the direction of Fredericksburg, and was directed to take position in line of battle on the military road, with orders to support General Pender, who occupied the front and left of the division. The
*Not found; but see report No. 265, p.560. Lieuts. William J. Dickson, William W. Higgins, and J. Berry Sloan reported as killed.