eral Howe directed his right to retire to a less advanced position. The movement was quietly executed, the enemy still pressing fiercely on his front.
Wheaton's brigade and two regiments of the Light Brigade had been sent from the extreme right to his support, and Butler's battery (G, Second U. S. Artillery) was sent rapidly by a road through the wood to his rear. The division reformed promptly, the batteries keeping up a most effective fire upon the wood. The advance of the enemy was checked, his troops were scattered and driven back with fearful loss, and the new position was easily maintained until nightfall. Several hundred prisoners, including 1 general officer and many others of rank, and 3 battle-flags, were captured from the enemy in this engagement.
As soon as it was dark, Newton's and Brooks' divisions, with the Light Brigade, fell rapidly back upon Banks' Ford, and took position on the heights in that neighborhood and in the rifle-pits. When these movements were completed, Howe was directed to fall back, and at once abandoned his position and moved to the river, taking position on Newton's right.
On Tuesday, the 5th, at 2 a. m., I received the order of the commanding general to withdraw from my position, cross the river, take up the bridge, and cover the ford. The order was immediately executed, the enemy mean while shelling the brigades from commanding positions above us, on the river. When the last of the column was on the bridge, I receive a dispatch form the commanding general countermanding the order to withdraw. My command was on the left bank it could not recross before daylight, and must do it then, if at all, in face of the enemy, whose batteries completely commanded the bridges. I accordingly went into camp in the vicinity of the ford, sending an adequate force to guard the river and watch the ford.
The losses of the Sixth Corps in these operations were 4,925 killed, wounded, and missing.* We captured from the enemy, according to the best information we could obtain, 5 battle-flags, 15 pieces of artillery-9 of which were brought off, the others falling into the hands of the enemy upon the subsequent reoccupation of Fredericksburg by his forces-and 1,400 prisoners, including many officers of rank. No material of any kind belonging to the corps fell into the hands of the enemy except several wagons and a forge that were passing through Fredericksburg at the time of its reoccupation by this forces.
I must add, in closing, that the conduct of the troops from the first crossing of the river until our return to Banks' Ford was such as to merit my heartiest approbation.
To Major-General Newton, commanding Third Division, and Brigadier-General Brooks, commanding First Division, I am indebted for excellent counsel and for the gallant and spirited manner in which they carried out their orders.
To Brigadier-General Howe, for his determined bravery in resisting repeated charges of an overwhelming force of the enemy, the safety of the command was greatly indebted.
To General Gibbon I am indebted for his effective support in the engagement of Sunday morning.
The gallant conduct of Colonel Burnham, in leading the Light Brigade to the assault on the rifle-pits in rear of Fredericksburg, is worthy of the highest admiration.
*But see revised statement, pp. 172, 189.
36 R R-VOL XXV, PT I