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[185]

The official reports on this subject are as follows:

Headquarters, Second Division, Second Corps December 19TH, 1862.
Colonel: I have the honor to state that the Seventh Michigan passed over not far from 3 P. M. The Nineteenth Massachusetts followed immediately, at about 3.30 P. M., it having been necessary for the boats to cross twice with the Seventh Michigan. The boats crossed three times to carry over the Nineteenth. The bridge was commenced after the Nineteenth had crossed, and completed at sunset, about 4.30. The Twentieth followed the Nineteenth in boats before the bridge was completed. No other regiments crossed in boats.

The Nineteenth Massachusetts having lost two regimental commanders, it cannot be ascertained with certainty what its losses were in that affair, separate from the following battles. Col. Hall thinks there were about 10 killed and about 28 wounded.

O. O. Howard, Brig. Gen., Commadg. Div.

Report of Gen. O. O. Howard Commanding 2d Div.

2d Corps, dated Dec. 19th, 1862 to Corps. H. Q.

‘I think the Seventh Michigan Regiment, also the Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, deserve honorable and public mention for gallantry in crossing the river and securing a foothold in the town of Fredericksburg on the evening of the 11th instant.’

The crossing of the river in the boats gave rise to one of the poems written during the war by George H. Boker of Philadelphia.

They leaped into the rocking shallops—
     Ten offered where one could go;
And the breeze was alive with laughter
     Till the boatmen began to row.

And many a brave, stout fellow
     Who sprang in the boats with mirth
Ere they made that fatal crossing
     Was only lifeless earth.

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