War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0580 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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12 p. m. At this hour the commnad was again moved in rear of the Third Brigade to the river bank, with orders to cross in boats. Owing to some unaccountable delay connected with the management of the pontoon boats, the Third Brigade did not commence the crossing until 5 a. m. As the boats touched the opposite shore, a heavy fire from the enemy's pickets was opened upon them, to which they were in no position to reply. Fearing the effect of the fire upon the crowded boats in the darkness of night, and knowing that some time must necessarily elapse before our troops could disembark and dislodge the enemy, I ordered the Sixteenth New York Volunteers to fire a volley by battalion across the river and over the boats, taking care that their pieces were so elevated as not to endanger our own troops. This had the effect of silencing his fire, the balance of the division crossing without loss and with great rapidity. Upon reaching the right bank of the river, my lines were formed in the rear of and as a support to the Third Brigade, which was cautiously extending the circle of skirmishers thrown to the front and lanks, and advancing its supports in line of battle, the picket line being finally established, with its right resting on Deep Run, at its confluence with the river, extending in a semicircle to the left, until it touched the river again in the rear of the ruins of the Bernard house, with small detachments thrown out on either flank for observation. This formation, with but few changes, was maintained until the afternoon of May 2, when, by a flunk movements of the Thirty-first New York Volunteers up Keep Run, the enemy were attacked on their skirmish line, and made to abandon it, with little loss on our side. This movement secured to us the Richmond road as far to the left to the left as the Bernard house, and the whole of the strong position of Deep Run for a picket line.

At 10 p. m. the balance of the corps, General Newton's division in the advance, commenced crossing the river, and moved to the right on the road to Fredericksburg. Skirmishing with the enemy's pickets commenced immediately after crossing Deep Run, and was kept up until the head of the column reached the city. At 4 a. m. I fell in their rear of Colonel Grant's brigade, of General Howe's division, but, upon reaching the point where the road crosses the run, he threatening aspect of the enemy on our left caused the general commanding the division to make such disposition of his command as to be ready to repel and attack of infantry or to cover therm from the artillery fire which was opened upon our columns from two batteries on our left and rear. The One hundred and twenty-first and Sixteenth New York and the Fifth Maine Regiments were marched to a position on the Richmond road, in the rear of the First Massachusetts and the First Maryland Batteries, and joining with the First Brigade on their left, the Third Brigade extending the line of battle to a point on the river in rear of the Bernard house. The Twenty-seventh New York and the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Regiments were on the right bank of the river and sheltered from the artillery fire by the ravine.

A short time after this disposition had been made, the general commanding the division directed me to send forward one regiment to take the railroad on the right of the ravine, in order to develop more fully the enemy's position and numbers. This was effected by the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Major Lessig commanding, in a splendid and dashing manner, and developed a long line of battle, formed under cover of rifle pits, about 100 yards in rear of and complete controlling the railroad. The position of this regiment being an exposed one, I ordered the Fifth Maine up the ravine to connect with its left.