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[131] with such an overwhelming force, I despatched Captain Hawks to General Gregg for reenforcements, with instructions, if he was unable to send them, to apply to General Thomas, or anybody else whom he might see in command of troops, for assistance. My whole command held their ground until the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh had fired away not only their own ammunition, but that of their dead and wounded, which, in some cases, was handed to them by their officers. When these two regiments had ceased firing, the enemy, in column, doubled on the centre, bore down in mass from behind the hill upon the left of the Twenty-eighth and right of the Thirty-third, and the “power of numbers” forced them entirely across the railroad. The Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh, being flanked right and left, fell back in an orderly manner, and were resupplied with ammunition. A well-directed volley from the Thirty-third checked the enemy for a time, and Colonel Avery ordered a charge; but, being unsupported on his right, he countermanded the order, and withdrew his regiment into the woods, about seventy-five yards from the railroad. The Eighteenth regiment then fell back about one hundred yards, the right companies firing into the foe until he reached the woods in the pursuit. The Seventh, being on the left, fell back about fifty yards, in perfect order. During the greater part of the engagement the enemy's artillery played upon the woods in our rear. While awaiting reenforcements, I sent my aid, Lieutenant Lane, to the left, to tell Lieutenant-Colonel Hill, if he could possibly be spared, to come to the assistance of my right, as it was heavily pressed. The right, however, was forced to fall back before the order could be delivered. General Thomas came to my assistance, but too late to save my line. He encountered the enemy in the edge of the woods, drove them back, and, with the Eighteenth and Seventh regiments of my brigade on his left, chased them to their first position. The Thirty-third, in accordance with orders, held the position in the woods to which it had fallen back, until I could move up the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh, when all again resumed their positions on the railroad. That night the whole brigade was aligned on the track, and skirmishers thrown forward, preparatory to a general advance. After this order was countermanded, my command rested on their arms until morning, when, having already been on duty upwards of forty-eight hours, there was heavy skirmishing along my whole front — a number of men being killed and wounded. We formed a portion of the second line on Monday, and, as we occupied an exposed position, the men soon constructed a very good temporary breastwork of logs, brush, and dirt, behind which they rested until Tuesday morning, when it was ascertained that the enemy had all recrossed the Rappahannock.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the gallantry of Colonels Avery, Barber, Lowe, and Purdie, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hill. They all commanded their regiments with bravery, and to my entire satisfaction. Colonel Purdie was slightly wounded. Colonel Barber received a painful wound in the neck, which, for a time, paralyzed his right arm, but he reported for duty again on Tuesday.

The other officers, both field and company, generally discharged their duties well.

Colonel Avery alludes in high terms to the efficiency of Lieutenant-Colonel Cowan. Colonel Purdie, in his report, makes an unenviable allusion to one of his officers, name not given.

The Yankee wretches dragged Lieutenant J. W. Peters, Company C, Thirty-seventh regiment, some distance by the legs, after he had been wounded in the head and leg.

The men of the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh fought like brave men, long and well, while those of the other regiments calmly held their positions under a heavy artillery fire, one of the most trying positions in which soldiers can be placed.

I cannot refrain making special allusion to our conscripts, many of whom were under fire for the first time. They proved themselves worthy accessions to a brigade which has borne itself well in all the battles of the last eight months.

Captain F. T. Hawks, the assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Oscar Lane, my aid, and private James W. Shepperd, my courier, were of great assistance to me throughout the fight, often carrying orders and messages for me under the hottest fire.

Our ambulance corps was very efficient, and removed our wounded rapidly. Lieutenant James A. Bryan, ordnance officer, was untiring in his exertions to keep the command supplied with ammunition.

Our loss in officers was two killed, twenty-five wounded, and five prisoners; enlisted men, sixty killed, two hundred and thirty-two wounded, one hundred and eighty-three prisoners, and twenty-eight missing--an aggregate of six hundred and twenty-five.


James H. Lane, Brigadier-General.

Report of Colonel Brockenbrough, commanding brigade.

Headquarters field's brigade, December 21, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of this brigade in the late battle near Fredericksburg:

Stationed upon the extreme right of our division, we remained in this position until the concentrated forces of the enemy passed through a gap in, and reached the rear of, our lines. There being no enemy in our immediate front, and reenforcements being called for, I withdrew my command from its first position, and hurried as rapidly as possible to the point indicated. We moved up by the left flank, and so urgent and repeated were the calls for reenforcements that my two leading regiments, viz., Forty-seventh Virginia, Colonel Mayo, and the Twenty-second

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