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[102] the point we held; but the frequent and determined assaults he had made would not permit me to despise either his courage or his hardihood, and thinking that, as a last alternative, he might resort to the bayonet under cover of darkness, I massed my little command so as to meet such an attack with all the power we were capable of exerting. Instead, however, of a charge with the bayonet, just after dark he opened a tremendous fire of small arms, and at short range, upon my whole line. This last desperate and maddened attack met the same fate which had befallen those which preceded, and his hosts were sent, actually howling, back to their beaten comrades in the town. A short time before the last attack, Brigadier-General Kemper had reported to me with his brigade. With two of his regiments I relieved the Twenty-fourth North Carolina volunteers, which had been in the ditch two days, and placed the others in close supporting distance at the crest of the hill.

During the whole time the enemy's artillery had not ceased to play upon us; but our batteries took no notice of it, reserving their fire and using it against the enemy's infantry, as it would form and advance, with extraordinary effect. Thus ended the fighting in front of Fredericksburg.

By ten o'clock P. M., General Kershaw had put the whole of his brigade in the road, and sent me word he could hold it. I was satisfied no further attempt would be made by the enemy before daylight, and withdrew my division two hundred yards, and permitted it to rest. At this time of night, I received orders to send a battery of long-range guns to Major Garnett. The three guns of Cooper's, at Howison's house, were sent, and they replaced by a like number from Branch's battery.

Until about four P. M., on the thirteenth, the Washington artillery had served in the batteries, when it was relieved by Colonel Alexander's battalion, and, during the night, I replaced five of his guns with twelve-pounder howitzers from my batteries. During the day, only three of my guns were in action, and those were at the Howison house. I am informed by the report of the captain that they did good service, both in the direction of Fredericksburg and more to the right.

On the fourteenth little of moment occurred. The enemy annoyed us by an unceasing fire from sharpshooters, but did little injury. Early on that night, I was directed to return Kemper's brigade to General Pickett. It was replaced by my own. Before daylight, orders came to relieve Jenkins's brigade, on the right of the Telegraph road, which I had now with my own, and the latter was replaced by Cooke's and one regiment from Featherston's, which was immediately on my left.

Late in the afternoon of the fifteenth, large numbers of infantry were seen collecting in the town, and the sharpshooters again began to be troublesome. Colonel Alexander and Lieutenant Branch, the latter having charge of a twelve-pounder howitzer and a Napoleon which Colonel A. had sent me, by a few well-directed shells dispersed the infantry in the town and dislodged the sharpshooters.

About daylight on the morning of the sixteenth, Brigadier-General Jenkins, with his brigade, reported to me, and relieved Cooke's.

Too high commendation cannot be bestowed upon the troops under my command, and those of other corps who came under my observation; and I trust it will not be out of place to mention some, at least, of the latter. The unwavering firmness evinced throughout, by all, raises them to the highest pitch of admiration.

The field, on the thirteenth, presented the unprecedented spectacle of a fierce battle raging, and not a straggler from the ranks.

Brigadier-General Cooke was wounded early in the action, but handled his troops well.

Brigadier-General Kemper came upon the field late, but in the handsomest style, under a galling fire, moved his command into position with the greatest alacrity and steadiness, and, during this time, lost a few killed and quite a number wounded.

While I do not disparage any, I cannot fail to mention the splendid and dashing action of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Bryson commanding, in going into battle.

Though no part of my command, I will not pass over the already famous Washington artillery. Its gallantry and efficiency are above praise.

Colonel Alexander, of the artillery, brought in his battalion admirably, and relieved the Washington artillery under a hot fire.

I regret that I could not witness the part taken by the long-range guns of my batteries; but, from the commanders' reports, they did good service, both in the direction of Fredericksburg and more to the right of our lines. Lieutenant Branch, in charge of the two pieces above mentioned, handled them beautifully.

Lieutenant and Adjutant Cooke, Twenty-fourth North Carolina volunteers, was severely wounded. I have before witnessed his conduct, and no one more highly merits promotion.

The valuable assistance and daring gallantry of my Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain Thomas Rowland, and volunteer Aid, Dr. H. I. Davis, deserve my warmest commendation. They, three times each during the day, traversed the entire front of my line, descending and returning from the road, thus six times running the gantlet of a most fearful fire.

I am much indebted to Lieutenant E. A. Thorn, ordnance officer for division, for his devotion and energy. Whatever might have been the duration of the battle, so long as ammunition could have been had, I felt sure that my troops would be supplied. After the battle, he collected about two thousand small arms.

Lieutenant and Aid-de-camp Brodnax rendered valuable aid.

I should fail in my duty if I did not notice the splendid dash of General Kershaw and his staff.

Lieutenant Landry, of Captain Maurin's battery,

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