War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0596 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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Numbers 224. Report of Captain James H. Rigby, Battery A, Maryland Light Artillery.


SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the morning of the 28th of April, I received an order to report with my battery to Colonel Charles Tompkins, at the Sands house. I found the colonel about 5 o'clock in the evening, and was ordered by him to take a position on the heights opposite Fredericksburg. I left camp about 2.30 a. m., 29th, for the place designated; arrived there, and placed my battery in position at about 4 a. m. I remained there without having occasion to fire on the enemy until the evening of May 2, when I was ordered to cross the river and report to you.

About 6 o'clock on Sunday morning, May 3, I was ordered by you to take a position in front of two small earthworks, in which the enemy were working four brass 12-pounders. After a lively engagement of about two hours' duration, they were compelled to retire, and the forts were immediately occupied by two 20-pounder Parrots. At the same time an attempt was made to re-enforce them with four 12-pounders, but the solid shot from Captain McCartney's 12-pounders and the shell from a section of Captain Hexamer's and my own battery fell among them so thick that I do not think they succeeded in placing more than one of the guns in position. We remained in this position until the heights in the rear of Fredericksburg were in possession of our troops, when I was ordered by General Brooks to proceed to Fredericksburg. In this position I fired 200 Schenkl percussion shell and 250 Schenkl combination shrapnel, at a distance of 1,200 yards; had 1 man and 1 horse wounded. I arrived in the city about 1 p. m., and rested about three-fourths of an hour, after which started, in company with the brigade, for the heights. After resting there about half an hour, was ordered to follow the Third Brigade, First Division. Had not proceeded more than 1 1\2 miles, when we fell on the enemy's pickets. Just as we reached the top of a hill in the road, they opened upon us with a rifled gun, at a distance of about 800 yards. The second shell exploded directly in front of my right piece, severely wounding Sergt. John Wormsley and killing his horse. My right piece was immediately thrown forward, and took a position on the left of the road; the rest of my guns were placed in position on the right of the road, from which point we delivered a very effective fire, judging from the haste in which the enemy withdrew his guns. We followed him about a mile, when he made a stand upon a high ridge in rear of a dense wood. Here a severe engagement took place between the infantry, the artillery not being very actively engaged, until near sundown, when the rebels pressed our infantry so hard they were compelled to retire. At this time I poured shrapnel into them as fast as I could, and as soon as they came within the range my right section gave them canister. I w as unable to fire canister from my other guns on account of the large numbers of our troops directly in front of them. Night ended this engagement. I the two positions I fired 150 Schenkl percussion shell, 200 Schenkl combination shrapnel, and 10 rounds of canister. I had 1 sergeant severely wounded, 1 horse killed, and 1 crippled.

The next morning (Monday, May 4). I was ordered to report to General Howe for duty. I found him about 7 a. m. He placed me in a position on the Banks' Ford road, about 250 yards to the left of the