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[156] regiment behave with more gallantry and with cooler courage, seemingly having determined to conquer or die.


James R. Edmondson, Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding Twenty-Seventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

Report of Major William Terry.

headquarters Fourth regiment Virginia volunteers, December 23, 1862.
Captain Charles S. Arnold, A. A. A. General Paxton's Brigade:
Sir: On the twelfth instant the Fourth regiment Virginia volunteers left camp, five miles north-west of Guineas Station, and moved in the direction of Fredericksburg, arriving at Hamilton's Crossing before noon, remaining near there some hours. Early in the afternoon the regiment, with the brigade, moved forward, and was put in position in rear of a portion of A. P. Hill's division, in the woods west of the railroad, and to the right of the road leading from Hamilton's Crossing in the direction of the Telegraph road. The regiment several times 'changed position during the afternoon, and rested for the night by their guns, a little in rear of the summit in these woods — the Fourth regiment during the day occupying the left of the brigade.

Early next morning, the thirteenth instant, the evidence of the approaching conflict was heard in brisk skirmishing and cannonading, the enemy's shot and shell passing and frequently bursting near the Fourth regiment, but doing no damage. Toward noon the regiment was retired a few hundred yards and formed in line of battle, from which position we soon moved forward by the front. Early in this movement Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner was severely wounded in the face by a fragment of shell, whilst gallantly leading his regiment, and carried from the field. As the next in rank, I assumed command. The regiment continued to move forward in direction of the heavy infantry firing in front, until we passed the crest of the hill, when we moved by the right flank along, and crossing the military road. Here the Fourth regiment was ordered to take position on the extreme right of the brigade, which was promptly done, and again formed in line of battle. During this time we were exposed to a galling fire of shot and shell, which wounded several of my men.

The engagement still progressing, we were again ordered forward along the military road, and took a position then unoccupied by any troops, some one hundred yards to the west of, and parallel to, the railroad. I threw out skirmishers in front of the regiment, who kept up a brisk fire with the enemy's skirmishers until dark, killing and wounding several of them. We remained here until after night, when I was ordered to follow the Twenty-seventh regiment. We moved a short distance to the rear along the military road, by which we had advanced, lying down for the night by the road side.

At three A. M., fourteenth instant, we were aroused, moved a few hundred yards through the woods, in the direction of Fredericksburg, and were placed in position behind the embankment of the railroad — the Second Virginia regiment resting upon a skirt of woods which crossed the railroad, and the Fourth regiment on the left of the Second. We remained in this position during Sunday, the fourteenth instant, hourly expecting a general advance of the enemy, but the day passed without any incident worthy of notice, beyond the skirmishing between the sharpshooters on both sides. I, however, restrained the Fourth regiment, and permitted no firing, and thus protected my men from any loss.

At dawn on Monday morning, the fifteenth instant, my regiment was relieved from duty on the advance post, and retired, with the brigade, about one mile to the rear, in the woods, where we remained till Tuesday morning, from which place we marched to our present encampment in Caroline county.

Of the conduct of officers and men, from Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner down, it affords me great pleasure to speak in the highest terms of commendation. For coolness and steadiness under a trying fire of artillery, I never saw their conduct surpassed. And while they were not called on to participate in an infantry fight, they showed they were ready to meet its danger and to do their duty. And I avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the officers and men for their cheerful, prompt, and ready obedience to orders under every circumstance; and, when all have behaved so well, I should do injustice did I attempt to bestow marked distinction upon any. I must also express my regret at the loss the service has sustained in the wounding of Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner, whose whole conduct during this war, on many hard-fought battle-fields, has marked him as a most trustworthy and efficient officer.

I give below a list of the casualties.

Very respectfully, &c.,

William Terry, Major, commanding Fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

List of Casualties in the Fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

Field and Staff.--Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner, severely wounded in the face.

Company A.--Corporal Thomas Chatwell, shot in foot.

Company C.--Wounded: Private S. S. Coddall, in right foot; private William Boyd, in left leg; private George Pratt, in left leg; private C. L. Terry, in the back.

Company D.--Wounded: Private G. H. Hudge, in right leg; private A. J. Wolfe, in right hip.

Company F.--Wounded: Sergeant T. R. Stamper, in foot; private W. S. Shupe, in right hip; private S. O. Canico, in left side.

Company G.--Wounded: Sergeant J. H. Sublett, left hip; Corporal G. A. Willis, left arm; private P. Hall, in left hip and breast.

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