No. 324. Reports of Brigadier General Robert F. Hoke, C. S. Army, commanding Trimble's brigade.
HEADQUARTERS TRIMBLE'S BRIGADE, December 19, 1862.
MAJOR: I respectfully report that on Saturday, 13th of this month, I received orders from General Early to form my brigade immediately behind General Hays' brigade, with my right resting upon the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad, at Hamilton's Crossing, about 4 miles from Fredericksburg. I remained in this position for about two hours under a very heavy cannonading, and lost a number of men in this place. The infantry firing at the front became quite heavy, and General Early ordered me to move my brigade by the left flank and let my right rest upon the left of General Hays. I had scarcely gotten in this position before he ordered me to the front, to the support of General [J. J.] Archer. I moved promptly and steadily to the front, and found General Archer had been driven back and the enemy had occupied the woods upon the top of the hill. I soon drove them from this position, and found upon getting to the intrenchments at the edge of the woods that they had retreated to the railroad, in which place they had held reserves. I saw that it would not do to allow them to remain in the railroad, as that point commanded a large portion of our intrenchments at the edge of the woods, and that I would lose from their sharpshooters; so I immediately ordered a charge, and drove them from this place, killing about 200 and wounding a large number, 100 of whom fell into my hands. I must have wounded quite a number of the enemy at this point who were able to make their escape, as I was immediately upon them. I also captured about 300 prisoners. I had brought from this point about 400 stand of arms and left a number across the railroad. After driving them from the railroad, I followed them to the fence beyond the road, and at this point halted to see if I could go farther. While I was in this position, the main line of the enemy gave back about 50 yards, and my opinion is that if a brigade had been upon my right we could have driven the whole line. I remained in this position for some time to see if any other forces were coming forward, and in the mean time the enemy threw a brigade down the river road, preparatory to making an attack upon my right flank, and, seeing my position would soon become a critical one, I ordered the Twenty-first North Carolina and Twenty-first Georgia Regiments and First North Carolina Battalion back to the railroad, under Lieutenant-Colonel [Thomas W.] Hooper, with orders to hold it to the last, and ordered the Fifteenth Alabama and Twelfth Georgia Regiments back to the intrenchments at the edge of the woods. All of which was done effectually and promptly and with a very slight loss.
My loss in this charge and falling back was only 2 men killed and about 30 wounded, most of which were very slight.
Lieutenant-Colonel [T. B.] Scott was killed while falling back to the woods. He acted most gallantly and did his duty nobly.*
I held my position in the railroad and at the edge of the woods until Monday morning [15th], at which time I was relieved by General D. H. Hill's troops.
I cannot say too much in praise of the officers and men under my command. All did their duty nobly and went into the fight with a
*Lieutenant Thomas J. Verdery, Twenty-first Georgia also reported killed.