lower bridges below Fredericksburg and its subsequent march to the United States Ford, which was crossed on the 1st instant. The division met the enemy in battle on the 2nd and 3rd instant.
A little before noon on the 2nd instant, the Third Brigade, composed of the First and Second Regiments U. S. Sharpshooters, Colonel Berdan commanding, was sent forward, by order of the major-general commanding the corps, to report to Brigadier-General Birney, commanding the First Division, who, it was understood, was to make a reconnaissance in force. The report of the part taken by Colonel Berdan's command on this day will, therefore, appear in General Birney's report. It is, however, due them to state that they did most effective service in capturing a great number of prisoners.
About 12 m. the First Brigade, Colonel Franklin commanding, composed of the One hundred and twenty-fourth New York Volunteers, Colonel Ellis; the Eighty-sixth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Chapin, and the One hundred and twenty second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel McGovern; the Second Brigade, colonel Bowman, commanding, composed of the Twelfth New Hampshire Volunteers, Colonel Potter; the One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Crowther; the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Opp, and the artillery, Battery H, First Ohio, and the Tenth and Eleventh New York Batteries, were ordered to the support of the First division, which was reported driving the enemy. The division was marched out on the Plank road about three-fourths of a mile; then to the left through the woods 1 mile, leaving the batteries at the farm about midway between the Plank road and our line of battle, when it formed in line, the Second Brigade and the One hundred and twenty-fourth New York of the right, connecting with General Ward's brigade, and the two remaining regiments of the First Brigade on the left, connecting with General Williams' command, of the Twelfth Corps.
We advanced in fine style, the First Brigade firing a few volleys, and all feeling almost sure of success, when word was brought of the breaking on the Eleventh Corps, and orders to retire at once toward the Plank road. This we did, arriving at dark at the position where we left our batteries. The enemy was then holding the Plank road in our front and advancing toward our position, in pursuit of the retreating Eleventh corps, when our batteries opened upon him with great vigor and effectually checked his advance.
The First Brigade was then out in position in two lines, to the left and front of the batteries, close to the woods on the edge of the open field, the Second Brigade supporting the batteries in the rear. Our troops remained in this position under arms all night, and repulsed several times the attempts of the enemy to force our lines.
Before daybreak the entire division moved in the direction of the brick house, known and General Hooker's headquarters, and was placed in the following position: the First Brigade in two lines on the right of the Plank road, a battery of artillery being on the left of the road and a little in our rear. The brigade held this position in a most gallant style after the withdrawal of General Berry's troops, and staid the advance of the enemy, who seemed to come on in crowds rather than in any lines of battle.
The battery on their left being withdrawn, the One hundred and twenty-fourth and Eighty-sixth New York Volunteers reformed on the left of the Plank road, and charged vigorously upon the enemy, who were then coming down the road and over the works erected as a covering to the battery.