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[124] found General Archer had been driven back, and the enemy had occupied the woods upon the top of the hill. I soon drove them from this position, and found, upon getting to the intrenchments at the edge of the woods, that they had retreated to the railroad, in which place they had held reserves. I saw that it would not do to allow them to remain in the railroad, as that point commanded a large portion of our intrenchments at the edge of the woods, and that I would lose from their sharpshooters; so I immediately ordered a charge, and drove them from their place, killing about two hundred, and wounding a large number, one hundred of whom fell into my hands. I must have wounded quite a number of the enemy at this point who were able to make their escape, as I was immediately upon them. I also captured about three hundred prisoners. I had brought from this point about four hundred stand of arms, and left a number across the railroad. After driving them from the railroad, I followed them to the fence beyond the road, and at this point halted to see if I could go farther. While I was in this position, the main line of the enemy gave back about fifty yards; and my opinion is, that if a brigade had been upon my right we could have driven the whole line. I remained in this position for some time, to see if any other forces were coming forward; and in the mean time the enemy threw a brigade down the river road, preparatory to making an attack upon my right flank, and seeing my position would soon become a critical one, I ordered the Twenty-first North Carolina and Twenty-first Georgia regiments and First North Carolina battalion back to the railroad, under Lieutenant-Colonel Harper, with orders to hold it to the last, and ordered the Fifteenth Alabama and Twelfth Georgia regiments back to the intrenchments at the edge of the woods, all of which was done effectually and promptly, and with a very slight loss. My loss in this charge and falling back was only two men killed and about thirty wounded, most of which were very slight. Lieutenant-Colonel Scott was killed while falling back to the woods. He acted most gallantly, and did his duty nobly. I held my position in the railroad, and at the edge of the woods, until Monday morning, fifteenth, at which time I was relieved by General D. H. Hill's troops. I cannot say too much in praise of the officers and men under my command; all did their duty nobly, and went into the fight with a spirit of determination, and it would be doing injustice to note any one particularly. Captain A. Hoffman, acting ordnance officer, was of great service to me upon the field. My tabular report of killed and wounded has been sent in. The report of the action of the battery attached to this brigade will be made by Captain Latimer, who was acting chief of artillery on that day.

Very respectfully,

R. F. Hoke, Colonel, commanding Brigade,
Official copy: S. Hale, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Report of Colonel Walker, commanding brigade.

headquarters Early's brigade, Dec. 26th, 1862.
Major S. Hale, Acting A. A. G.
I have the honor to report the operations of Early's brigade in the battle near Fredericksburg, on the thirteenth instant:

We were placed in position by General Early, commanding division, in the second line of battle, supporting A. P. Hill's division. The action had not continued over half an hour, before I received an order from General Early (through Major Wilson, volunteer aid) to advance at double-quick, as the enemy had cut their way through the first line, and were advancing. I put the brigade in motion, and met the enemy about the middle of the woods; but they fell back as we came up, and we continued to press them closely, driving them across the railroad, and following them some distance beyond into the open field. When we reached the railroad there was no support on our left, and a large column of Federal infantry were moving across the railroad, about four hundred yards to our left, and entering the woods. Fearing to advance farther to our front. I drew my command back to the railroad, and held that position, after detailing Lieutenant-Colonel Terrill, with the Thirteenth Virginia, to deploy his regiment on our left flank, and directing him to advance under cover of the timber to engage the enemy's column on our left upon the flank. This was done promptly, and Thomas's brigade, of A. P. Hill's division, engaging them in front about the same time, they fell back in good order, but scarcely firing a gun in their retreat. The two fires told severely upon them, as the large number of dead and wounded left on that part of the field clearly showed. After this column of the enemy fell back, there was for some time no body of their troops in sight, but not deeming it prudent to give up the advantage of our position by advancing in pursuit over the open plain, I continued to hold the railroad for the remainder of the evening without any molestation from the enemy, further than by forming a fresh line of troops in sight, but out of our range, and throwing out skirmishers, who kept up a straggling fire until night. After dark, I left pickets on the railroad, and withdrew my command back into the woods about one hundred and fifty yards, and bivouacked for the night.

Early the next morning, we were relieved by Paxton's brigade, and joined the division.

Our loss was one hundred and fifty-seven in killed and wounded. I cannot close without expressing my admiration for the manner in which this brigade performed its duty, and the gallantry and bravery exhibited by both officers and men. I had no trouble in getting them to fight, but a good deal to get them to stop, when in my opinion it was impudent to go farther.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

J. A. Walker, Colonel, commanding Brigade
Official copy: S. Hale, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

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J. A. Early (4)
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