War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0814 N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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also returning, with the gallant and generous purpose to aid us, supposed to be in danger, but without orders from yourself. We could not learn reliably what were your wishes, nor definitely where you were, or whether you were returning. To make sure, I dispatched my assistant adjutant-general along the route of your march to find you, state the facts, and ask instructions. We determined to wait until 11 p.m. to hear from you before making any further change. About 10 o'clock, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, of your staff, arrived, and informed us that you were returning to the position vacated about noon, and would probably be at your late headquarters by the time we could ride thither. General Hays and myself accordingly set out to see you. About 11 we found you on the railroad line, readjusting your troops. You informed us that, under some exaggerated report of our danger, General Barksdale and Gordon had deemed it their duty to return, and that, being informed of his, you had feel constrained to do the same, as you force must not be thus divided with a formidable enemy in the rear, and you had, therefore, come back to reoccupy the position and defend the place. You then desired me to accompany you to your bivouac, and there showed me a letter from the commanding general, expressing apprehension that his wishes had been misunderstood; that he had not intended positively to require your withdrawal, but to leave it to your direction, according to the force and movements of the enemy near Fredericksburg. I expressed regret that this had not been known before so many of my guns had been sent away, and reminded you how much we were weakened on the left by sending away those guns, and how much advantage had been yielded to the enemy; that we would be so much weaker and the enemy so much stronger for all this, and that with so long a line and so small a force, the enemy having now gained so much ground, you would find it exceedingly hard to meet him with adequate force, where he might choose his real attack. However, the decision being to defend, I cheerfully pledged myself to do the best in my power.

It was not 1 o'clock at night. On the stretch for some twenty hours, and nearly without food, I was considerably exhausted, and therefore laid down at Mr. Garnett's for a little rest. At 3.30 a.m., having slept one and a half hours, I was in motion again, and reached Lee's Hill by or before sunrise. The guns had been mainly replaced in position, Colonel Walton having charge of the artillery on Marye's Hill and Colonel Cabell of that on Howison's and Lee's Hills. The enemy was now seen in force between Deep Run and Fredericksburg. They had also occupied the town, and had a number of batteries, some of which were of superior power, in the town and on the plain below. It was now obvious that the main attack the enemy would not be on the right, but on the center and left. Information to this effect being sent you, you dispatched General Hays' brigade to re-enforce General Barksdale. General Wilcox also brought some regiments from above. These re-enforcements were by General Barksdale deemed most urgently needed to meet a heavy column of the enemy threatening the extreme left, and were accordingly directed thither. At the same time, on this information from General Barksdale, I directed two guns of the Washington Artillery, not yet in position, to be sent immediately to the most advanced works on the left. They reached their destination in time, and did good service in repelling the enemy at that point. In addition to these two guns, Major Eshelman, in accordance with General Barksdale's wish, caused to be removed from the position commanding the Plank road street the gun of Captain Miller's battery, Washington Artillery, there stationed. This change was not communicated to me,