War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0172 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter XLIII.

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but were met with signal defeat. I had the pleasure to witness a collision between two of the enemy's squadrons, one charging to the front and the other to the rear. They could not stand the sabers. Captain Watkins, Third Virginia Cavalry, behaved heroically, and was, I regret to say, severely wounded. We had none killed, but several wounded and several horses killed. I had Lee's brigade only, now commanded by Wickham. Bayard had his own and Stoneman's cavalry. Our wounded and many of the enemy's were brought away. One captain among the prisoners. I have no information particularly important. Heintzelman and Sigel are about Fairfax Court-House. I will thank you to send this hurried note to General R. E. Lee.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,




DECEMBER 11-15, 1862.- Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.

Report of Brigadier General Nelson Taylor, U. S. Army, commanding division.


Camp near Fletcher's Chapel, Va., December 24, 1862.

GENERAL: I herewith inclose the brigade reports of the brigades composing this division, together with the reports from the commandants of regiments composing the brigades, and also the report of the chief of artillery, accompanied with the reports of the commandants of each battery.* From a careful perusal of these reports you will be enabled to obtain a clear comprehension of the part taken by each regiment and brigade, the details of which I thought might be of assistance to you in making out the report for the division. You will observe, of course, some conflict in the various statements, but from your own observation and that of your aides you will easily discriminate between that which they represent and which really took place, and no doubt be enabled to drawn sound and correct conclusions of the whole. A very little is onet charge over the railroad track and into the woods was pre eminently successful. The enemy was routed and driven from his position with actual loss by the bayonet and many prisoners taken. We possessed ourselves of his position and occupied if for some time, and I only consented to give it up when I found the troops on my left had retired and saw a heavy column of the enemy marching down the skirt of the wood to attack my left flank. (See Colonel Bates' (Twelfth Massachusetts) reports.+) No re-enforcements coming to my support, and amid a universal cry of a want of ammunition, I deemed the position no longer tenable. Such being the state of affairs, I felt that it was my duty to order the division to fall back; that to persist in holding the position longer without the assurance of being speedily re-enforced (which I was not) would be the sacrificing unnecessarily of many lives. The division, at about 2.30 p. m., fell back to the position it occupied in the morning in comparative good order with but slight loss, where, covered by skirmishers, it was reformed and at 5 p. m. supplied with ammunition. Between 3 and 4 p. m. General Sickles' division, of General Stoneman's corps, took a position on the ground which our division occupied in the morning and relieved our skirmishers. No real demonstration was


* See VOL. XXI, p. 481-508.

+ See VOL. XXI, p. 497.