out three positions on the river near Hayden's, the upper one of which I selected, and just before daybreak I opened on the camp-fires, in fair view and easy range, with ten rifles. After firing deliberately 15 rounds to the gun, the pieces were limbered up, and started back through the mud to Chancellorsville. Captain [William B.] Hurt's battery had already been stopped by General Anderson, as the weight of some of the carriages made it doubtful whether they could pass over the road.
Soon after this, the Yankee skirmishers made a demonstration below United States Ford, on the south side, as if they intended to cut off this battalion. The artillery was hurried off immediately, while Anderson's skirmishers engaged them in front. I remained behind until after daylight, to see the effect of the firing. A very large wagon train, densely parked, occupied a field on the slope of the crest. The horses were picketed parallel, and on the side next to the river. Crippled horses could be seen hobbling through the streets, while I thought I discovered dead teamsters lying among the wagons. The firing I took to be very acculate. I could distinctly hear the crash of the wagon bodies. This report was confirmed by the prisoners. From this point, after it was decided Hooker would not make a demonstration below United States Ford, General Anderson was ordered down to the brick church, and the rifle battalion was ordered to follow him. I received orders from Colonel Alexander as soon as I arrived at the brick church to await his decision as to the propriety of putting the rifle battalion into position at Smith's house, above Banks' Ford. The Yankees had a battery on the north bank of the Rappahannock opposite this point, which enfiladed to while of McLaws' and Anderson's line whenever an advance was made from the brick church toward Fredericksburg.
While awaiting Colonel Alexander's explorations, orders came for Anderson's division to move up, and consequently for my battalion to follow. After advancing a short distance with the column, an order from Colonel Alexander required me to report forthwith to Smith's house with my entire battalion, and to assume command of whatever rifled pieces I might find there already, and to dispose of them as might seem best to me, and to take entire command of the operations at that point. I halted my battalion, and galloped forward immediately to General Anderson for his instructions, under this conflict of orders. After making the explanations to him, he requested the immediate reference of the matter to General Lee for his decision. I referred the matter to General Lee, and stated to him that I saw ten Napoleon guns of Alexander's battalion which seemed to be unassigned. After inquiry, General lee ordered up these ten Napoleons to follow the movements of Anderson's division, on the right, under Major [Frank] Huger, while the rifled pieces went off to the left, to take position near Smith's house, above Banks' Ford. I was informed that I would find pits all ready for the pieces, but, on examination, I found positions for four guns had been arranged by cutting away the undergrowth, and that to get positions for other pieces I would have to advance out into the abatis and clear away room through the fallen timber. The stumps had all bene cut so high that each one had to be cut off a second time. Some of the men and horses had not received rations for twenty-four hours, while they had been continually on the tramp. The evening was sultry and oppressive; some of the men fainted from exposure; all suffered intensely, but, in consequence of some delay on the right, and driving up the axmen of the gun detachments as much as they could bear, the positions were all made ready for the pieces by the time the movement on the right was inaugurated.