Numbers 207. Report of Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, First Rhode Island Artillery, Chief of Artillery.
OFFICE CHIEF OF ART., SIXTH ARMY CORPS, May 15, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the artillery of this corps in the recent operations:
On Tuesday, the 28th ultimo, the Sixth Corps left its camp and moved to the vicinity of Franklin's crossing, near the month of Deep Run. Arriving near the bank of the river about sunset, the artillery was parked near Sands' house, behind the woods, and secure from the observation of the enemy.
During the night, in obedience to your orders, Harn's, McCarthy's, Rigby's, and Cown's batteries were placed upon the heights about 600 yards distant from the river, and were nearly in the same position as that occupied by these batteries on December 13 last. Willison's battery was parked upon the flat behind a slight crest, 300 yards in rear of where the bridges were to be thrown, with instructions to move forward into battery, and command and protect the bridges should the enemy attack in force. Seeley's battery, of the Third Corps, having reported to me, was also parked upon the flat, some 500 yards to the right of Williston's, and the same instructions were given him. All were in position an hour before daylight. The other batteries remained in park near Sands' house, ready to move froward into position should their services be required.
Just before daybreak, a brigade (Russell's) of Brooks' division crossed the river in the boats, and occupied the rifle-pits on the other side, but slight resistance being made by the enemy. The division was crossed and the bridges thrown over without further resistance. As soon as the bridges were completed, Williston's battery crossed the river and took position behind the rifle-pits lately occupied by the enemy. The other batteries of the corps, except those in position upon the heights, were moved down and parked on the plain near the bridge-heads.
On Thursday, the 30th, Seeley was relieved by Kinzie's battery, and ordered to report to his division commander. The same afternoon Kinzie was ordered to report to you at Banks' Ford.
On Saturday, the 2nd instant, the troops of the corps remaining upon this side of the river were ordered to cross, and the batteries crossed with their respective divisions. At 12 o'clock that night, the corps moved out upon the Bowling Green road, and took up its line of march for Fredericksburg, Newton's division (to which had been attached the Light Brigade) in advance; Butler's, Harn's, and McCarthy's batteries were with this division; Martin's and Cowan's batteries with Howe' division, and Willston's, McCartney's, Rigby's, and Hexamer's batteries with Brooks' division.
The column entered Fredericksburg and took possession of the town about daybreak of Sunday, 3rd instant, having skirmished with the enemy all the way from Deep Run. The enemy having opened fire from all the way from Deep Run. The enemy having opened fire from their works in rear of the thrown. Harn's battery was placed in position on the right of the railroad, near the gas-works; McCarthy and Butler on the left of the railroad-McCarthy on the right of Butler, and both, owing to the nature of the ground, about 100 yards in advance of Harn's position-and immediately opened fire upon the enemy's works, marking excellent practice and doing good execution, as subsequent investigation showed.