previous next

[163] on this side during the latter part of the night. Howe's pickets reported movements in their front, same direction. Still they have a strong force well posted, with batteries there.

12 o'clock M.
Birney's division is now getting into position. That done, Reynolds will order Meade to advance. Batteries over the river are to shell the enemy's position in the woods in front of Reynolds's left. He thinks the effect will be to protect Meade's advance. A column of the enemy's infantry is passing along the crest of the hills from right to left, as we look at it.

12.5 P. M.
General Meade's line is advancing in the direction you prescribed this morning.

1 o'clock P. M.
Enemy opened a battery on Reynolds, enfilading Meade. Reynolds has opened all his batteries on it; no report yet. Reynolds hotly engaged at this moment; will report in a few moments again.

1.15 o'clock P. M.
Heavy engagements of infantry. Enemy in force where battery is. Meade is assaulting the hill; will report in a few minutes again.

1.25 o'clock P. M.
Meade is in the woods in his front; seems to be able to hold on. Reynolds will push Gibbon in if necessary. The battery and woods referred to must be near Hamilton's house. The infantry firing is prolonged and quite heavy. Things look well enough. Men in fine spirits.

1.40 o'clock P. M.
Meade having carried a portion of the enemy's position in the woods, we have three hundred prisoners. Enemy's batteries on extreme left retired. Tough work; men fight well. Gibbon has advanced to Meade's right; men fight well, driving the enemy. Meade has suffered severely. Doubleday to Meade's left not engaged.

2 1/4 o'clock P. M.
Gibbon and Meade driven back from the woods. Newton gone forward. Jackson's corps of the enemy attacks on the left. General Gibbon slightly wounded. General Bayard mortally wounded by a shell. Things do not look as well on Reynolds's front, still we'll have new troops in soon.

2.25 P. M.
Despatch received. Franklin will do his best. New troops gone in — will report soon again.

3 o'clock P. M.
Reynolds seems to be holding his own. Things look better somewhat.

3.40 o'clock P. M.
Gibbon's and Meade's divisions are badly used up, and I fear another advance on the enemy on our left cannot be made this afternoon. Doubleday's division will replace Meade's as soon as it can be collected, and if it be done in time, of course another attack will be made. The enemy are in force in the woods on our left towards Hamilton's, and are threatening the safety of that portion of our line. They seem to have detached a portion of their force to our front, where Howe and Brooks are now engaged. Brooks has some prisoners, and is down to the railroad. Just as soon as the left is safe, our forces here will be prepared for a front attack, but it may be too late this afternoon. Indeed, we are engaged in front anyhow. Notwithstanding the unpleasant items I relate, the morale generally of the troops is good.

4 1/2 o'clock P. M.
The enemy is still in force on our left and front. An attack on our batteries in front has been repulsed. A new attack has just opened on our left, but the left is safe, though it is too late to advance either to the left or front.

I am willing to abide by this testimony, to determine whether I lost the battle of Fredericksburg in consequence of my disobedience of an order directing me “to attack with a division at least, and to keep it well supported.”

On the night following I was with General Burnside at his headquarters, when he informed me that he intended to renew the attack from the right, and to lead the Ninth corps in person. At two interviews during that night, (which lasted at least two hours,) he did not intimate to me any disapprobation of my conduct, or of that of my officers and men, during that day.

Again I urged upon him that if the attack was to be renewed to renew it from the left, but with such force and preparations as would command success. An order, however, for an attack from the right was given by him. On the following day I had another interview with General Burnside, at his request, in which he informed me that strong protests were made against a renewal of the attack by Generals Sumner and Hooker, and he abandoned the plan of another attack with expressions of the greatest reluctance. I was with him for two or three hours on that occasion and during that interview he did not express or intimate, in his language or deportment toward me, that he was not entirely satisfied with my conduct, and that of my officers and men. On the Wednesday or Thursday following I had another interview with him, in which, so far from expressing any dissatisfaction with me, he stated very distinctly, that I alone of his generals had “held up his hands,” (as he expressed it;) that he had fully determined to resign his command, and to recommend me as his successor, as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. From that time until I was relieved from the command of the left grand division, although frequently called into consultation by General Burnside, he never had told me, or gave me to understand, that I either misconstrued or disobeyed his orders, or was in any way responsible for the disaster of the thirteenth, or had in the least lost his confidence. Indeed, had he believed that I had disobeyed his orders on the thirteenth, he could not have discharged his duty to the country without preferring charges against me to that effect.

It was during the period of time last referred to that the General Order No. 8, to which the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Hamilton (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George G. Meade (13)
John F. Reynolds (8)
Gibbon (5)
Ambrose E. Burnside (3)
Frank E. Howe (2)
Doubleday (2)
J. M. Brooks (2)
Sumner (1)
John Newton (1)
Joseph Hooker (1)
W. B. Franklin (1)
Birney (1)
Bayard (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
13th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: