eks, and the few who had been compelled to remain behind plainly exhibited in their features that the apprehension of doom was pressing like an iron weight upon their hearts.
The knowledge on their part that more than a hundred hostile cannon, planted on the dominating Shepherd's Heights of Stafford, over the river, bore directly on their unfortunate town, might well have given disquietude to this community of non-combatants.
A lively contrast was presented, however, in the demeanour of Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, stationed at Fredericksburg, the men of which were wandering carelessly about, talking and laughing, as if there were no Yankees within the radius of a thousand miles from them, or making themselves at home in several of the largest houses which had been quite converted into barracks.
As the river was not more than 200 yards wide, we could distinctly see each one of the numerous Yankee sentinels who were pacing to and fro in their lightblue overcoats on the opposite
received here that under cover of the fog the enemy had endeavoured to lay his pontoon bridges across the river, but that, by the accurate and effective fire of Barksdale's Mississippi brigade, the Federal engineers and working parties had been driven off with heavy loss, and all their efforts had been so far unsuccessful.
The cae of the Federal batteries and a like number of our own, and had now ceased altogether; and the quiet of the morning was disturbed only by the repeated cracks of Barksdale's rifles sounding over from the river, from which we knew that the enemy's bridge-building was still resisted with spirit.
The frequent reports which reached use to prevent the passage of the river by the Federal army; and having entertained from the beginning no idea of seriously contesting this, he now gave orders for Barksdale's brigade to withdraw gradually from the town, and to keep up only a feigned resistance.
Accordingly, about 2 P. M., Fredericksburg was altogether abandoned by
The inhabitants had nearly all deserted the place, the only visible exceptions being here and there a wretched pauper or aged negro, to whom no refuge elsewhere was open, creeping noiselessly along the silent street.
The brave soldiers of Barksdale's brigade, however, who had so nobly resisted the first attempt of the enemy to cross the river, were re-established in the town, and comfortably installed in several of the large buildings now abandoned.
The firing of the pickets having once h the General himself, I was on excellent terms, and we used to assemble in a large tent which Major Latrobe, Major Fairfax, and Captain Rodgers occupied together, or else in a large hospital-tent in which the three doctors of the Staff-Cullen, Barksdale, and Maurychummed together with a most harmonious result.
The mess arrangements at Longstreet's headquarters were always more satisfactorily ordered than those of our own, especially in the matter of fluids, to which Stuart objected altogether