in what way the enemy gained this advanced position, and what disposition had been made of our front line, it is impossible for me to say. The gap was there and they pushed forward with a large infantry force and a battery of artillery, as was ascertained from prisoners captured and wounded men upon the field. Observing them through the dense foliage at a distance, and the brigadier being at a different point on the line, I took the responsibility of filing my regiment to the right, presenting my front to the enemy. No sooner had I gotten into position than they opened a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, to which the regiment replied rapidly and effectively, men and officers standing to their posts and doing their duty as only veterans know how.
I rejoice to be able to say that there were but few men in the regiment who disgraced the name of soldier. It was during this brief but brisk fight that the regiment sustained a loss of 3 killed and 17 wounded. Among the latter were Lieutenant William B. Colston, commanding Company E, and Lieutenant J. J. Haines, Company E.*
The enemy soon fled. We then advanced to within a short distance of the railroad [the front line of the army], and remained in this position until about 7 p.m., sending forward Company C, Captain [W. W.] Randolph, as skirmishers to the railroad.
At this time the brigade was withdrawn to the military road, where we slept upon our arms until 3.30 a.m. 14th instant, when we were ordered to take position in advance along the line of railroad. There was quite lively skirmishing during the entire day. Had 1 man wounded.
About 5 a.m. on the 15th instant, the brigade was relieved by Rodes' brigade of D. H. Hill's division, and returned to the rear in third line [reserve].
During the entire four days of exposure, suspense, and danger, both officers and men evinced the true spirit of patriots and soldiers. I cannot but feel proud of the honor of having commanded such men.
Captain R. T. Colston, second in command, and Adjt. R. W. Hunter deserve honorable mention at my hands for gallantry and good conduct during the engagement, and their material aid in the command of the regiment.
J. Q. A. NADENBOUSCH,
Captain, Commanding Second Regiment Virginia Infantry.
Lieutenant C. S. ARNALL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
No. 331. Report of Major William Terry, Fourth Virginia Infantry.
DECEMBER 23, 1862.
SIR: On the 12th instant, the Fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers left camp, 5 miles northwest of Guiney's Station, and moved in direction of Fredericksburg, arriving at Hamilton's Crossing before noon, remaining near there some hours. Early in the afternoon the regiment, with the brigade, moved forward and was put in position in rear of a portion of
*Casualties embodied in Report No. 265, p.562.