Ransom's division was withdrawn and placed in reserve. During the night the enemy finished his bridges and began to throw his troops across. His movements, early on the twelfth, seemed to be directly against our right; but when the fog lifted, columns were seen opposite Fredericksburg, the head of them then crossing at the bridges opposite the city. Ransom's division was moved back to the Marye Hill. Featherston's brigade of Anderson's division (previously occupying this hill) was closed in upon the other brigades of Anderson. The entire day was occupied by the enemy in throwing his forces across the river and deploying his columns. Our batteries were opened upon the masses of infantry whenever they were in certain range. Our fire invariably drew that of the enemy's on the opposite heights, and they generally kept up the fire long after our batteries had ceased. Early on the morning of the thirteenth, I rode to the right of my position, Hood's division. The dense fog in the early twilight concealed the enemy from view; but his commands, “Forward, guide centre, march!” were distinctly heard at different points near my right. From the direction of the sound, and the position of his troops the day before, I concluded that his attack would be upon General Jackson, at some point beyond my right. I therefore rode back to a point near the centre of my forces, giving notice to General Hood that the enemy would attack General Jackson beyond his right, that be should watch carefully the movements, and when an opportunity offered, he should move forward and attack the enemy's flank. Similar instructions were given to General Pickett, with orders to cooperate with General Hood. The attack was made, as had been anticipated. It did not appear to have all the force of a real attack, however, and General Hood did not feel authorized to make more than a partial advance. Where he did move out, he drove the enemy back in handsome style. About eleven o'clock, A. M., I sent orders for the batteries to play upon the streets and bridges beyond the city, by way of diversion in favor of our right. The batteries had hardly opened, when the enemy's infantry began to move out toward my line. Our pickets in front of the Marye house were soon driven in, and the enemy began to deploy his forces in front of that point. Our artillery, being in position, opened fire as soon as the masses became dense enough to warrant it. This fire was very destructive and demoralizing in its effects, and frequently made gaps in the enemy's ranks that could be seen at the distance of a mile. The enemy continued his advance, and made his attack at the Marye Hill in hand — some style. He did not meet the fire of our infantry with any heart, however, and was therefore readily repulsed. Another effort was speedily made, but with little more success. The attack was again renewed, and again repulsed. Other forces were seen preparing for another attack, when I suggested to General McLaws the propriety of reenforcing his advanced line with a brigade. He had previously reenforced with part of Kershaw's brigade, and ordered forward the balance. About this time, Brigadier-General T. R. R. Cobb fell, mortally wounded, and almost simultaneously Brigadier-General, J. R. Cooke was severely wounded. General Kershaw dashed to the front to take the command. General Ransom, on the Marye Hill, was charged with the immediate care of the point attacked, with orders to send forward additional reenforcements, if it should become necessary, and to use Featherston's brigade (Anderson's division) if he. should require it. The attack upon our right seemed to subside about two o'clock, when I directed Major-General Pickett to send me two of his brigades. One (Kemper's) was sent to General Ransom, to be placed in some secure position, to be ready in case it should be wanted. The other (Jenkins's) was ordered to General McLaws, to replace that of Kershaw in his line. The enemy soon completed his arrangements for a renewed attack, and moved forward with much determination. He met with no better success than he had on the previous occasions. These efforts were repeated and continued from time to time till after night, when he left the field literally strewn with his dead and wounded. Colonel Walton's ammunition was exhausted about sunset, and his batteries were relieved by Colonel Alexander's. Orders were given for fresh supplies of ammunition, and for everything to be prepared for a renewal of the battle at daylight. On the fourteenth there was little firing between the sharpshooters. The enemy, screening his forces under a slight descent in the ground, held a position about four hundred yards in front of us. In the afternoon, I sent Captain Latrobe, of my staff, to the left to place artillery in position to play along the enemy's line, with instructions to Colonel Alexander to use such artillery there as he might think proper. The point was selected and the pits made by light the following morning. General Ransom was also ordered to strengthen his position on the Marye Hill by rifle trenches. Similar instructions were sent along the entire line. These preparations were made to meet the grand attack of the enemy, confidently expected on Monday morning. As the attack was not made, the artillery and General Ransom's sharpshooters opened upon the enemy and drove him back to cover in the city. During the night the enemy recrossed the river. His retreat was not discovered till he had crossed the river and cut his bridges at this end. Our sharpshooters were moved forward, and our old positions resumed. Four hundred prisoners, fifty-five hundred stands of small arms, and two hundred and fifty thousand rounds of small arm ammunition were captured. Our loss, for the number engaged, was quite heavy. Brigadier-General T. R. R. Cobb fell, mortally wounded, in the heat of the battle of the thirteenth. He defended his position with great gallantry and ability. In him we have lost one of our most promising officers and statesmen. A tabular statement and lists of the killed, wounded, and missing accompany this report.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.