On the 3rd instant, at 1 a. m., the regiments moved from its position on the river to the front as far as the ravine. From this point I was immediately ordered to move to a position on the Bowling Green road, on the left of our line of battle, and the position held by the First Maryland and First Massachusetts Batteries, which were engaging the enemy in that neighborhood.
I remained here until about noon of the 3rd, when we were withdrawn, and joined the column on its march through Fredericksburg, and advanced on the Plank road over the heights, which were now in our possession. Advancing along this Plank road about 2 1\2 miles from Fredericksburg, we came upon the enemy near Salem Heights. This regiment was formed in line on the left side of the road, and advanced in this position, following the First Brigade about 1 mile. Here the enemy was posted in considerable force and in strong position on Salem Heights. The One hundred and twenty-first New York Volunteers were formed on our left, and advanced with us till within musket-shot of the enemy's line. Here, the Twenty-third New Jersey Volunteers being immediately in my front, I received and order from General Barlett to march my regiment by the right flank to the right side of the road, which was immediately executed. Having gained the right of the Twenty-third New Jersey Volunteers, General Batlett in person directed m e to advance my regiment into the wood and attack the enemy's lines. The wood into which we advanced was a dense thicket of second growth and brush, about 30 yards in width, through which the men could advance but slowly and with the utmost difficulty. As we entered the wood we encountered a most destructive fire, under which we succeeded in gaining the farther edge of the wood, finding ourselves less than 50 yards from the enemy, who were protected by breastworks and a hedge-row apparently along the side of a road running at right angles with the Plank road. Immediately on our left flank stood Saled Church, a brick edifice, in which was posted a large body of the enemy, which opened a harassing and early fire from its windows, and form port-holes in its sides made by removing the brick.
Soon after we had gained this position, the regiment on our left retired precipitately, and the enemy advanced along the road and on our left until they had passed my left flank and were gaining my rear. Finding it impossible to hold my position with the line broken on my left, with no one on my right, and without any supporting line, I ordered my command to fall back slowly. No sooner had my line commenced to move to the rear than the enemy sprang forward and poured in a hot fire, under which I found it impossible to rally the men with success. I accordingly fell back beyond the range of their guns, where I rallied the regiment under its colors, and proceeded to join the brigade, which had taken its position on the ground near where our line of battle had been first formed.
As all the movements of the regiment were conducted under the immediate supervision of the general commanding the brigade, I can well refrain from entering upon any comments concerning the conduct of my officers and men on this occasion. He will not fail to accord them such just praise as they may have earned.
On the 4th instant, we occupied the position assigned to us on the left of the Plank road, but did not engage in any action or skirmish. Just before sundown two companies were thrown out as skirmishers across a deep ravine, connecting with the line of skirmishers on the left of the Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers.
At dusk the regiment was withdrawn from its position, and during