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[144] suggestions with alacrity, and proved himself a worthy, gallant, and efficient officer, but fell, severely wounded, about eleven o'clock A. M., after which time I received but little aid from the regiment, as it seemed troubled and in want of a commander. I am compelled to state that a certain lieutenant (his name I do not recollect) so far forgot himself as to draw his pistol and threaten to kill some of my sharpshooters if they fired again, as it would draw the enemy's fire on the position. As to the conduct of the portion of the regiment sent to reenforce Captain Govan, I refer you to his enclosed report.

Very respectfully,

John C. Fizer. Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding Seventeenth Mississippi Regiment.


Report of Colonel Fizer.

headquarters Seventeenth Mississippi regiment, near Fredericksburg, Va., December 19, 1862.
To John R. Barksdale, A. A. G.:
Sir: I have the honor of submitting the following report of the action of the Seventeenth regiment Mississippi volunteers, while defending the passage of the Rappahannock, opposite the city of Fredericksburg, on the morning of the eleventh December, 1862:

Being ordered to the city on picket duty on the ninth instant, I was ordered to dispose of my regiment so as to guard the river from the ferry to a point about three quarters of a mile below. I promptly made such disposition as I thought would check the enemy, if he attempted to force a passage at or between either point indicated. The line of pickets consisted of two wings, the right commanded by Captain A. G. Govan, and the left by Captain A. J. Pulliam. The reserve I stationed at or near the market-house. About eleven o'clock P. M. of the tenth instant, you ordered me to double my pickets, which was promptly done, by sending to the right wing companies I and K, and to the left companies H and C; and, about four o'clock A. M. of the eleventh instant, you, in person, ordered me with my reserve, consisting of Companies D, E, G, and part of F, to repair at once to the upper ford, as the enemy were rapidly putting in their pontoons, preparatory to crossing. I reached the point as soon as possible, and, on getting there, found the enemy busily working on the bridge, having extended it about thirty feet on the water. On reaching this point, I relieved Captain Pulliam, and assumed command in person. You having left it discretionary with me when to begin the attack, I immediately made such disposition of the seven companies as I thought would be most effective. Knowing there were many families occupying the houses on the margin of the river, I deemed it proper to notify all the women and children of their danger, and give them time to get from under range of the enemy's guns. This being accomplished about five A. M., I ordered my men to fire on the bridge-builders, which they obeyed promptly and deliberately, and I think with stunning effect, the command being echoed by Captain Govan. on the right, in the same manner and with equal effect, causing the enemy to throw down their implements and quit their work in great confusion. After which they immediately opened a heavy, galling, and concentrated fire of musketry and artillery upon both wings for an hour, and, supposing they had driven us from our position, they again began their work on the bridges. But as soon as we discovered them at work we renewed the attack, and drove them pellmell from the bridges. They made nine desperate attempts to finish their bridges, but were severely punished and promptly repulsed at every attempt. They used their artillery incessantly, with a heavy detachment of sharpshooters, for twelve hours, we holding our position firmly the whole time, until about half past 4 P. M., when they increased their artillery and infantry, and their batteries becoming so numerous and concentrated, we could not use our rifles. Being deprived of all protection, we were compelled to fall back to Caroline Street, and, from there, were ordered from town. Having to abandon my position, (on the left,) believing Captain Govan still holding the lower bridge, and knowing the enemy to have crossed, I immediately despatched a courier to notify him to fall back, fearing he would be taken. He rendered me very valuable assistance, and held his position firmly and with great gallantry and unusual firmness, supported by a part of the gallant Eighteenth Mississippi regiment, composed of Companies A, I, and K. Lieutenant Radcliff deserves special notice for his able assistance to Captain Govan. I call your attention especially to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Ourster, commanding Company F. Much credit is due to Lieutenant G. E. Thurmond, Company B, acting adjutant, for his promptness, coolness, and efficiency, in face of danger. Lieutenant Sweeney, of Company D, deserves much credit for promptness and efficiency. Captain G. R. Cherry, with his gallant company, stood the shot and shell like veterans, as did the commands of Captains Pulliam and Middleton and Lieutenants Patton and Lindly. I cannot close without according to Wm. C. Nelson, private of Company G, the highest praise for his services as courier, bearing despatches when shot and shell fell thickest and fastest. Much credit is also due to Private C. H. Johnson, Company F, for his valuable services as courier. First Lieutenant Jonas B. Clayton, Company G, quit his post, severely wounded, about three o'clock P. M., after having done valuable service with his gallant company. Colonel Carter, of the Thirteenth Mississippi regiment, furnished me with ten valuable sharpshooters, which rendered valuable service.

Very respectfully,

John C. Fizer, Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers.
P. S. The casualties in the regiment during the engagement were one hundred and sixteen killed, wounded, and missing.



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