The battle of Fredericksburg.
Paper no. 1.
Crossing the river and occupying the town.
On the 15th of November General Burnside
put his columns in motion towards Fredericksburg
, and on the same day General Lee
's Battery and a Mississippi regiment of infantry, which had been guarding railroad bridges near Richmond
, to reinforce the Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Ball
, which was in observation at that point.
This force reached Fredericksburg
on the 17th, a short while before the arrival at Falmouth
of the head of the Federal
column under Major-General Sumner
, and a small artillery duel occurred between Lewis
's Battery and a Federal rifle battery, under a Captain Petitt
, the latter having decidedly the best of it, as Lewis
carried but four very inferior guns.
Much credit was claimed at the time for this small Confederate force for preventing the crossing of the Rappahannock
by the Federals
, but, however impudent its intentions may have been, this claim cannot be admitted, for Sumner
had positive orders from Burnside
not to cross; and these orders were reiterated that night, on Sumner
's asking permission to go over and take Lewis
Meanwhile, information being received from the calvary of the appearance of Federal gunboats and transports at Acquia Creek
, and of large wagon trains moving from Catlett's Station towards Falmouth
, on the 17th General Lee
ordered General Longstreet
to march rapidly to Fredericksburg
's and Ransom
's Divisions of Infantry, accompanied by their battalion of artillery, W. H. F. Lee
's Brigade of Calvary, and Lane
's rifle battery from the Reserve Artillery.
At the same time General Stuart
was ordered to force a crossing of the Rappahannock
at Warrenton Springs, and discover the enemy's movements.
This being gallantly done, the calvary advanced as far as Warrenton
, and found that Burnside
's base had been changed to Acquia Creek
, and his whole army was on the march towards Falmouth
On receipt of this information, on the 19th the remainder of Longstreet
's corps and the Reserve Artillery was put in motion for Frederickburg, via Raccoon
and Morton's Fords, and Jackson
's Corps was ordered from the Valley
to concentrate at Orange C. H.
On the 20th Burnside
's entire army was concentrated opposite Fredericksburg
, and on the same day McLaws
's and Ransom
's Divisions under