War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 1024 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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all my energies were directed to save the wing from being overpowered, and its line of retreat cut off, I received a verbal message from General Burnside, by one of his staff, that General Sumner's troops were being hard pressed, with a request to make a diversion in his favor if I could. To this I also responded that I would do my best. For the details of what was done by me during the day I leave General Hardie's dispatches to speak for themselves. He was at my side from shortly after sunrise until sunset. He not only knew of every order and movement made by me, or under my direction, but was a perfectly competent judge of their wisdom and sufficiency. In the performance of an act of common justice he has placed these dispatches at my disposal. A The following are copies of all those sent by him on the 13th of December, the day of the battle:

HEADQUARTERS FRANKLIN'S GRAND DIVISION,

December 13 - 7.40 a. m.

General BURNSIDE:

General Meade's division is to make the movement from our left, but it is just reported that the enemy's skirmishers are advancing, indicating an attack upon our position on the left.

9 A. M.

General Meade just moved out. Doubleday supports him. Meade's skirmishers engaged, however, at once with enemy's skirmishers. Battery opening on Meade, probably from position on old Richmond road.

11. A. M.

Meade advanced half a mile and holds on. Infantry of enemy in woods in front of extreme left; also in front of Howe. No loss so far of great importance. General Vinton badly but no dangerously wounded.

LATER.- Reynolds has been forced to develop his whole line. An attack of some force of enemy's troops on our left seems probable, as far as can now by judged. Stoneman has been directed to cross one division to support our left. Report of cavalry pickets from the other side of the river that enemy's troops were moving down the river on this side during the latter part of the night. Howe's pickets reported movements in their front, same direction. Still they have a strong force well psoted, with batteries there.

12 M.

Birney's division is now getting into position. That done, Reynolds will order Meade to advance. Batteries over the river are to shell the enemy's position in the woods in front of Reynolds' left. He thinks the effect will be to protect Meade's advance. A column of the enemy's infantry is passing along the crest of the hills, from right to left as we look at it.

12.05 P. M.

General Meade's line is advancing in the direction you prescribed this morning.

1 P. M.

Enemy opened a battery on Reynolds, enfilading Meade. Reynolds has opened all his batteries on it; no report yet. Reynolds hotly engaged at this moment; will report in a few moments again.

1.15 P. M.

Heavy engagements of infantry. Enemy in force where battery is. Meade is assaulting the hill; will report in a few minutes again.

1.25 P. M.

Meade is in the woods in his front; seems to be able to hold on. Reynolds will push Gibbon in, if necessary. The battery and woods referred to must be near Hamilton's house. The infantry firing is prolonged and quite heavy. Things look well enough. Men in fine spirits.

1.40 P. M.

Meade having carried a portion of the enemy's position in the woods, we have 300 prisoners. Enemy's battery on extreme left retired. Tough work; men fight well. Gibbon has advanced to Meade's right; men fight well, driving the enemy. Meade has suffered severely. Doubleday, to Meade's left, not engaged.

a In addition to the forces referred to in these dispatches, a division from Genorps reported to me late in the afternoon, and was put in the vicinity of the bridges; too late, however, to aid in any of the operations on the extreme left.