War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 1025 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

2.15 P. M.

Gibbon and Meade driven back from the woods. Newton gone forward. Jackson's corps of the enemy attacks on the left. General Gibbon slightly wounded. General Bayard mortally wounded by a shell. Things do not look as well on Reynolds' front; still we'll have new troops in soon.

2.25 P. M.

Dispatch received. Franklin will do his best. New troops gone in. Will report soon again.

3 P. M.

Reynolds seems to be holding his own. Things look better somewhat.

3.40 P. M.

Gibbon's and Meade's division are badly used up, and I fear another advance on the enemy on our left cannot be made this afternoon. Doubleday's division will replace Meade's as soon as it can be collected, and if it be done in time of course another attack will be made. The enemy are in force in the woods on our left toward Hamilton's, and are threatening the safety of that portion of our line. They seem to have detached a portion of their force to our front, where Howe and Brooks are now engaged. Brooks has some prisoners, and is down to the railroad. Just as soon as the left is safe our forces here will be prepared for a front attack, but it may be too late this afternoon. Indeed, we are engaged in front anyhow. Notwithstanding the unpleasant items I relate, the morale generally of the troops is good.

4.30 P. M.

The enemy is still in force on our left and front. An attack on our batteries in front has been repulsed. A new attack has just opened on our left, but the left is safe, though it is too late to advance either to the left or front.

I am willing to abide by this testimony, to determine whether I lost the battle of Fredericksburg in consequence of my disobedience of an order directing me "to attack with a division at least and to keep it well supported." On the night following I was with General Burnside at his headquarters, when he informed me that he intended to renew the attack from the right and to lead the Ninth Corps in person. At two interviews during that night (which lasted at least two hours) he did not intimate to me any dispprobation of my conduct, or of that of my officers and men, during that day. Again I ureged upon him that if the attack was to be renewed, to renew it from the left, but with such force and preparations as would command success. An order, however, for an attack from the right was given by him. On the following day I had another interview with General Burnside, at his request, in which he informed me that strong protests were made against a renewal of the attack by Generals Sumner and Hooker, and be abanoned the plan of another attack with expressions of the greatest reluctance. I was with him for two or three hours on that occasion; and during that interview he did not express or intimate, in his language or deportment toward me, that he was not entirely satisfied with my conduct and that of my officers and men. On the Wednesday or Thursday following I had another interview with him, in which, so far frome expressing any dissatisfaction with me, he stated very distinclty that I alone of his generals had "held up his hands" (as he expressed it); that he had fully determined to resing his command, and to recommend me as his successor, as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. From that time until I was relieved from the command of the Left although frequently called into consultation by General Burnside, he never told me, or gave me to understand, that I had either misconstructed or disobeyed his orders, or was in any way responsible for the disaster of the 13th, or had in the least lost his confidence. Indeed, had he believed that I had disobeyed his orders

65 R R - VOL LI, PT I