previous next


Report of Major-General Ransom.

Headquarters division, camp near Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 20, 1862.
Major G. M. Sorrel, Assistant Adjutant-General First Corps A. N. V.:
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of my division during the several days' operations before Fredericksburg, commencing on the eleventh instant:

On the morning of that day the division took position about six hundred yards in rear of our batteries, which were upon Marye's and Willis's Hills, and at the time occupied by the Washington artillery. About noon, it was withdrawn to the Telegraph road, a little in rear of where General Longstreet had his headquarters during the day. At nine o'clock P. M., it retook the position of the morning, Cooke's brigade being advanced to within two hundred yards of our batteries, and the Twenty-fourth North Carolina, of my brigade, was placed in a ditch on the left, and in the prolongation of Cobb's brigade, which occupied the Telegraph road in front of Marye's and Willis's hills. The left of the Twenty-fourth rested on the plank road. My batteries remained in rear of the division.

On the twelfth there was no change except the placing of three long-range guns from Cooper's battery near Howison's house on the right of the Telegraph road. During these two days occasional shells from the enemy's guns burst among and near the troops, but there were few or no injuries.

About half past 11 o'clock A. M., on the thirteenth, large numbers of skirmishers were thrown out from the town by the enemy, and it soon became evident that an effort would be made to take our batteries, which I was supporting. Cooke's brigade was ordered to occupy the crest of Marye's and Willis's Hills, which was done in fine style. By this time the enemy backed his skirmishers with a compact line, and advanced towards the hills; but the Washington artillery and a well-directed fire from Cobb's and Cooke's brigades drove them quickly back to their shelter in the town. But a few minutes elapsed before another line was formed by the enemy, he all the while keeping up a brisk fire with sharpshooters. This line advanced with the utmost determination, and some few of them got within fifty yards of our line; but the whole were forced to retire in wild confusion before the telling fire of our small arms at such short range.

During this attack, two of Cooke's regiments, being badly exposed, (for there were then no rifle-pits on the hills,) were thrown into the road with Cobb's brigade. For some few minutes there was a cessation of fire; but we were not kept long in expectancy. The enemy now seemed determined to reach our position, and formed, apparently, a triple line. Observing this movement on his part, I brought up the three regiments of my brigade to within one hundred yards of the crest of the hills, and pushed forward the Twenty-fifth North Carolina volunteers to the crest. The enemy, almost massed, moved to the charge heroically, and met the withering fire of our artillery and small arms with wonderful stanchness. On they came to within less than one hundred and fifty paces of our line; but nothing could live before the sheet of lead that was hurled at them from this distance. They momentarily wavered, broke, and rushed headlong from the field. A few, however, more resolute than the rest, lingered under cover of some fences and houses, and annoyed us with a scattering but well-directed fire. The Twenty-fifth North Carolina volunteers reached the crest of the hill just in time to pour into the enemy a few volleys at most deadly range, and then took position, shoulder to shoulder, with Cobb's and Cooke's men in the road.

During this attack, the gallant Brigadier-General Cobb was mortally wounded, and almost at the same instant Brigadier-General Cooke was wounded and taken from the field. Colonel Hall, Forty-sixth North Carolina volunteers, succeeded to the command of his brigade. Nothing daunted by the fearful punishment he had received, the enemy brought out fresh and increased numbers of troops. Fearing lest he might, by mere force of numbers, pass over our line, I determined to meet him with every man at my disposal, and started in person to place the remaining two regiment of my brigade. Just at this instant, Brigadier-General Kershaw dashed, on horseback, at the head of one of his regiments, up the new road leading from the Telegraph road, and near the mill, and led it into the fight immediately at Marye's house. A second regiment from his brigade followed and took position in rear of and near the graveyard on Willis's Hill, and remained there. I now advanced my regiments, and placed one a few yards in rear of Marye's house, and the other on its right and a little more retired. With his increased numbers the enemy moved forward. Our men held their fire until it would be fatally effective; meantime, our artillery was spreading fearful havoc among the enemy's ranks. Still he advanced and received the destructive fire of our line; even more resolute than before, he seemed determined, madly, to press on; but his efforts could avail nothing. At length, broken and seemingly dismayed, the whole mass turned and fled to the very centre of the town. At this time, I sent my Adjutant-General to the road to ascertain the condition of the troops and the amount of ammunition on hand. His report was truly gratifying, representing the men in highest spirits, and abundance of ammunition. I had ordered Cobb's brigade to be supplied from my wagons.

The afternoon was now nearly spent, and it appeared that the enemy would not again renew his attempts to carry our position. Again, however, an effort, more feeble than those which had preceded, was made to push his troops over the bodies of the now numerous slain. The sun was down, and darkness was fast hiding the enemy from view, and it was reasonable to suppose there would be no further movement, at least toward

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Telegraph (New Mexico, United States) (4)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. R. Cooke (6)
Thomas R. R. Cobb (6)
L. Marye (3)
G. A. Willis (1)
G. Moxley Sorrel (1)
R. Ransom (1)
James Longstreet (1)
J. B. Kershaw (1)
E. D. Hall (1)
Samuel Cooper (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 20th, 1862 AD (1)
13th (1)
12th (1)
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: