ed the road leading from Hamilton's Crossing to Port Royal, our right extending to Massaponax Creek, and our line of battle thus stood nearly perpendicular to the lines of the main army.
The bulk of the artillery, numbering about 250 pieces, was well posted all along the lines, but was principally concentrated into large batteries, on the extreme right, under Colonel Lindsay Walker, in the centre under Colonel Alexander, and on the left opposite Fredericksburg, on Marye's Heights, under Colonel Walton.
The Rappahannock is closely lined on its northern bank by a range of commanding hills, on which the hostile artillery, consisting of more than 300 pieces, some of them of heavier calibre than had ever before been employed in the field, were advantageously posted.
The greater part of them, especially those on the Stafford Heights, bore immediately on the town, but nearly all were in a position to sweep the plains on our side of the river.
The entire strength of the Federal army in th
s men here to certain death and destruction is utterly incomprehensible.
All along Marye's Heights runs a sunken road, fenced in with a stone wall on either side, which in itself constituted a most formidable defensive work for our troops; a little higher up the hill there was a regular line of intrenchments, the defenders of which might fire over the heads of those below them, and the crest was occupied by the numerous pieces of the famous Washington Artillery, under their gallant commander Colonel Walton; so that the assailants were received with a triple sheet of fire, which swept them away by hundreds.
The Federals certainly behaved with the utmost gallantry.
Line after line moved forward to the assault, only to recoil again and again from the murderous tempest of shot, shell, and bullets, and to strew yet more thickly with dead and wounded the crimsoned field, which was afterwards most appropriately named the slaughter-pen.
Pickett's division was but little engaged here, the w