HEADQUARTERS, December 19, 1862.
General Ransom's division was engaged throughout the battle, and was quite as distinguished as any troops upon the field.
December 19, 1862.
Brigadier General R. RANSON, Jr., Commanding Division:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 17th was received yesterday. The communication from the commanding general to the War Department, made on the 14th instant, was not intended as an official report of the battle of the 13th. It was written on the field, and was intended to explain our position more than anything else, and was dictated at a time when we were hourly in expectation of a general battle. Some uneasiness seemed to exist in Richmond in consequence of the occupation of Fredericksburg by the enemy, and this report was made for the purpose of satisfying the Government that our lines were in rear of Fredericksburg.
The commanding general had no thought that it would ever be published, much less that it would go out to the world as his official report of the battle.
He particularly regrets that injustice has been done your command, as the first reports are more apt to make lasting impressions than later and more truthful ones.
I trust that your gallant and devoted command will be satisfied to await for truth in the official reports.
I remain, most respectfully,
Lieutenant General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 19, 1862.
DEAR SIR: No note, as stated in yours of this morning, has been sent to the general. Longstreet doubtless mentioned your having been omitted in his report, although I had previously mentioned it. He will doubtless do you justice, and while omission in first report to those knowing circumstances might seem strange, yet you, who know his justice and conscientiousness, will not attribute it to other than the right cause-misunderstanding of facts at the moment of writing.
R. H. CHILTON,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.
P. S.-I did not show your note to the general, as I know he already regrets the omission.