The importance of the action fought by the Second Division on the 4th will be understood when it is known that it was attacked by three strong divisions of the enemy (McLaws', Anderson's, and Early's), the attack directed by the senior general of the enemy (General Lee), and with a view to cut the communication of the Sixth Corps with its river crossing, which attack, if successful, must have resulted either in the destruction or capture of the Sixth Corps; yet the Second Division, almost unaided, successfully repulsed the attack, and without losing a gun or prisoner to the enemy.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. P. HOWE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Lieutenant Colonel M. T. McMAHON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Sixth Army Corps.
Numbers 227. Reports of Colonel Lewis A. Grant, Fifth Vermont Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. 2nd Brigadier, 2nd DIV., 6TH ARMY CORPS,
May 6, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Second Brigade in the battle of Fredericksburg on the 3rd instant.
On the march form the ground near the bridge, the Second Brigade followed the Third, and when it halted the right rested in the road about half a mile from Fredericksburg, and the left rested on Deep Run. Subsequently three regiments were moved up in the road in the rear of the batteries, the right resting near the creek which flows just to the left of Fredericksburg. The other three regiments formed in the rear of the road, the right resting in the rear of Cowan's battery.
When it was determined to make the attack, the Sixth Vermont, Colonel E. L. Barney, the Twenty-sixth New Jersey, Colonel A. J. Morrison, and the Second Vermont, Colonel James H. Walbridge, were selected for the purpose. These regiments were to form the second line of attack, and they were arranged from right to left in the order above named. They charged across the plain to the railroad in splendid style. The Sixth Vermont bore to the right, crossed the creek, and followed the Thirty-third New York on to the first range of hills, near Fredericksburg. Soon after passing the railroad, the Twenty sixth New Jersey broke, and, in some confusion, bore to the left and in front of the Second Vermont. I ordered the Second Vermont by the right flank, and took it around by the right of the barns, and up the highest range of hills commanding Fredericksburg. The enemy left the works and some of their guns and fled in confusion, but subsequently rallied upon a swell of ground beyond, and returned a brisk fire upon the Second Vermont, which regiment engaged the enemy as soon as it gained the crest of the hill. The Thirty-third New York, Colonel Taylor, also came up about the same time and went into the engagement. The Seventh Maine, Lieutenant-Colonel Connor, soon followed, and the enemy were entirely driven from that part of the hill. In the meantime the Third Vermont, Colonel T. O. Seaver, and the Fourth Vermont, Colonel C. B. Stoughton, came to the support of the Second Vermont in