30,000 men. It was proposed to carry Marye's Hill, yonder before Early
's corps, which held it, could receive aid from Lee
The land immediately behind the town forms a smooth, elevated plain, extending back a quarter of a mile, then rises to a ridge which ranges east and west, abutting at the east upon a ravine; this is Marye
's Hill, upon which guns were planted in every position to rake the plain at its foot.
At the foot of this ridge is the telegraph road, twenty-five feet wide, which in many places is cut in the side of the hill and is not visible above the surface of the ground.
The road is flanked by the famous stone-wall, four feet high on the side towards the town, against which, in December, the heroic divisions of French and Hancock
were hurled to certain destruction.
This position was of such strength that, it is said, in December only 1,700 men were found necessary to occupy it, against an attacking force approaching the town.
South of and behind Marye's Hill is another table-land, which emerges on its southern side into another range of hills, then bristling with cannon, as was the ridge below.
In the absence of any considerable Confederate force upon the east of this position, and with a heavy fire upon Marye's Hill from the Union
heavy batteries on the superior heights upon the north side of the river, the storming of the position was practicable, and its capture by a determined assault upon its right flank, thus avoiding the direct and enfilade fire from its immediate front, was possible.
The Sixth Corps, and its gallant associate command, Gibbon
's division, before noon had carried both Marye's and Cemetery ridges
at the point of the bayonet, and, with the prisoners they had captured, were pressing on.
The line of battle of the Sixth Corps extended from the pontoon bridge at Franklin's Crossing, to the right of the town of Fredericksburg
Our First Division, Gen. Brooks
, consisting of Torbert
's New Jersey brigade, Bartlett
's brigade, the Twenty-seventh, Sixteenth, and One Hundred and Twenty-first New York, Fifth Maine, and Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania, and the Third Brigade, embracing the Eighteenth, Thirty-first and Thirty-second New York and Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania, with the batteries of Williston