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[296] constructing bridges, and his attempts to cross in boats under the cover of artillery and musketry fire were repelled until late in the afternoon, when General Barksdale was ordered to retire; he had directed Lieutenant Colonel Fizer, commanding the Seventeenth Mississippi Regiment of Barksdale's brigade, to select some skillful marksmen, and proceed to check the operations of the pioneers, who had commenced to lay pontons above the city. Colonel Fizer described to me the novel and bold expedient to which he successfully resorted. He said his sharpshooters were placed in rifle pits, on the bank opposite to that from which the bridge was started, and that his men were instructed to aim only at the bridge-builders. At dawn the workmen came forward to lay the cover on the bridge; fire was opened, some were killed, and the rest of the party driven ashore. Then the enemy's batteries and riflemen opened a heavy fire on his position, when his men would sit down in the rifle pits and remain quiet until the cannonade ceased. Probably under the supposition that our sharpshooters had been driven off, the workmen would return; our sharpshooters would arise and repeat the lesson lately given. This, he said, with intervals of about an hour, during which a continuous and heavy fire of artillery was kept up, occurred nine times, with the same result—a repulse with severe loss; for twelve hours, every attempt to construct a bridge at that point was defeated. Then, under orders, they withdrew.

During the night and the succeeding day the enemy crossed in large numbers at and below the town, secured from material interruption by a dense fog. Longstreet's corps constituted our left, with Anderson's division resting on the river, and those of McLaws, Pickett, and Hood extending to the right. A. P. Hill, of Jackson's corps, was posted between Hood's right and Hamilton's Crossing, on the railroad. His front line occupied the edge of a wood. Early and Taliaferro's divisions constituted Jackson's second line, D. H. Hill's division his reserve. His artillery was distributed along this line in the most eligible positions, so as to command the open ground in front.

Shortly after 9 A. M. the partial rising of the mist disclosed a large force moving in line of battle against Jackson. Dense masses appeared in front of A. P. Hill, stretching far up the river in the direction of Fredericksburg. As they advanced, Major Pellham of Stuart's horse artillery opened a rapid and well-directed enfilade fire, which arrested their progress. Four batteries immediately turned upon him and, upon his withdrawal, the enemy extended his left down the Port Royal road, his numerous batteries opening with vigor upon Jackson's line. Eliciting no

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J. B. Hood (2)
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