Numbers 221. Report of Brigadier General David A. Russell, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, May 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report:
On Tuesday, the 28th day April last, this command received marching orders, and at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of that day the respective regiments broke camp and marched down to within about 1 mile of a point on the Rappahannock River, and nearly 1 1\2 miles below Fredericksburg. About sunset we went into camp, and I was them ordered by Brigadier W. T. H. Brooks, commanding this division, to have the command in readiness to cross the river in boats at 11 o'clock that night. Punctually at 11 o'clock we were under arms, awaiting the order to march from General Brooks, which order we received about 12 o'clock. The command was moved down to the road running parallel with the river, and there the head of the column was halted, to await the arrival of the pontoon boats, the respective regiments of the command having been divided into companies of 45 men each, properly officered, and the commanding officers of each company having been instructed, as the pontoon boats came along in succession, to move, each in order with a boat, and to remain quietly with that boat till the crossing had been effected. The arrangements for crossing were not perfected till 4.20 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, April 29. Day was just dawning when, at a given signal, twenty-three boats started, manned by oarsmen of the Engineer Corps, and filled with troops from the One hundred and nineteenth, Ninety-fifth, and Forty-ninth Regiments Pennsylvania Volunteers, and a portion of the Thirty-second Regiment New York Volunteers. The boats gallantly vied with one another in the struggle to be the first to land; crossed in good order, and the men landed, with little opposition, beneath the steep bank of the river. The boats immediately pushed off to cross the river again for the remainder of this command and the other brigades of this division, while the troops who had landed quickly climbed the bank and began forming in line to advance. The line was but partly formed when a sudden and heavy volley of musketry was fired from the rifle-pits of the enemy directly in front, which did not, however, in the slightest degree disconcert the troops. A line of skirmishers was thrown out on our right and left, and in five minutes landing we had possession of the enemy's outer line of rifle-pits, and immediately after gained a long and strong rifle pit in rear of and parallel to the first two. We captured 2 prisoners here, a lieutenant and 1 private, who were at once sent across the river to General Brooks. These prisoners reported that the force opposing us was Early's division of Jackson's corps. Two dispatches were also sent from this point to General Brooks, informing him of our success. We steadily but cautiously advanced to about half a mile from the river banks, where the line was halted beneath the brow of a gentle slope. The enemy appeared to have fled hastily, after firing the first volley, and we found and collected several muskets which they had thrown away in their flight. Our loss in this encounter was 11 in killed and wounded. We held our position till 5.30 o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, when we were relieved by the First Brigade of this division.
All night Thursday this brigade was under arms, awake, and ready to move at a moment's notice.
On the night of Saturday, May 2, orders were received to have this