W. D. Wood, of the Thirty-first Georgia, prevented the intended barbarism. At this part of the railroad a short neck of woods juts out into the plain; so that on our right and left were the open field, while before the line lay this neck of thickly matted woods. Under its shelter the enemy fled, pursued by these four regiments with so much precipitation that both parties entered the ditches beyond almost together. At the railroad and in these ditches a large number of prisoners were captured and sent to the rear, among whom was one colonel and several officers of minor grade. A battery posted to the left, on a hill about two hundred yards distant from the last ditches referred to, tempted the troops still .farther into the field, firing as they advanced towards it upon men and horses with such effect as to cause a portion of the battery to be withdrawn and the remainder to be abandoned. The prize was virtually in the hands of these gallant men, being abandoned and within seventy-five yards of the place where they stood; but at this moment a heavy line of the enemy advanced on our right flank, (learned since to have been General Birney's division,) and seeing that all had been accomplished which was in the power of these men to do, I communicated to them the order to retire to the protection of the woods. In the heat of the contest these four regiments may have “gone too far,” but brave men in that important struggle feel that they scarcely went far enough. Colonel Atkinson, in command of the brigade, participating fully in the enthusiasm of the charge, was wounded in the arm, above the elbow, soon after entering the field, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Colonel Lamar, wounded by having a part of one of his fingers shot off, retired from the ground; and Major McCarthy succeeded to the command, leading the regiment into the open plain, assisted by Captain Peter Brennan. Colonel W. H. Stiles, commanding his regiment through the entire fight, I have the pleasure to state, did his duty, and did it well. I cannot forbear to mention, in terms of unqualified praise, the heroism of Captain E. P. Lawton, assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, from the beginning of the advance until near the close of the fight, when he received a dangerous wound, and was unavoidably left in the open plain, where he fell. Cheering on the men, leading this regiment, or restoring the line of another, encouraging officers, he was everywhere along the whole line, the bravest among the brave. Just as the four regiments emerged from the neck of woods referred to, his horse was shot from under him, and, in falling, so far disabled him that thousands less ardent or determined would have felt justified in leaving the field; but limping on, he rejoined the line again in their advance towards the battery, but soon received the wound with which he fell. It is gratifying to me to be able to record that officers and men generally behaved with the courage characteristic of the southern soldier, continuing for the brigade a well-deserved reputation. The report of casualties will testify how severe the fire was through which these brave men passed in driving the enemy before them. The Staunton artillery, commanded by Lieutenant A. W. Garber, (attached to this brigade,) at half past 4 o'clock, was ordered to the extreme right of our lines, and was actively engaged on the plain about two hours, when the batteries of the enemy ceased firing. The officers and men behaved with coolness and gallantry. Lieutenant Garber had his horse shot from under him during the engagement, but suffered no loss of his men. I am extremely gratified to mention that by the activity of Surgeon George F. Cooper, senior surgeon of the brigade, although with limited transportation, our numerous wounded received prompt attention. I have the honor to be, Major, Your obedient servant,
Report of Brigadier-General Pender.
headquarters Pender's brigade, December 20, 1862.General: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the fight of December thirteenth, before Fredericksburg: I was placed in position Friday morning, early, on the extreme left of the division, in a skirt of wood, where we had no protection, nor could have, from the enemy's artillery. Two batteries were placed in my front; the right one commanded by Captain Davidson, who, I will here state, acted throughout with the greatest judgment, coolness, and bravery. Friday was taken up by slight skirmish firing, and now and then a slight artillery duel. Saturday morning we were engaged in the same manner. In the afternoon, however, when the enemy advanced on the right, they opened a most tremendous fire of artillery upon the batteries in my front, playing upon them from the front and right, from at least four batteries. This fire was most destructive to my men. At about this time a heavy line of skirmishers advanced within range of Captain Davidson's battery, and kept up a hot fire upon him. One of their balls, at this time, killed my aid, Lieutenant Sheppard, while he was very gallantly and coolly trying to rally some men who had broken on our right and were making to the rear. These skirmishers became so annoying that additional companies had to be thrown out, under the efficient Major Cole, to drive them back, which he did, and held them in check long after his ammunition had given out. Colonel McElroy, with his regiment, the Sixteenth North Carolina, had been placed, early in the morning, near the railroad cut, and in front of the left battery, which this day consisted of some rifle pieces, under Captain Latimer--as brave a soldier as I ever saw — to support it. He was here much exposed,
Major-General A. P. Hill, commanding Light Division:
Major-General A. P. Hill, commanding Light Division: