smooth-bores, effective at 1,500 yds. We had exchanged for these at Harrison's Landing
rifles and two brass howitzers.
We had employed these twelve-pounders at South Mountain
, but probably at no previous time had they been more serviceable than now, in aiding to check the advance of the determined masses that sought first by dogged onsets to break and scatter our ranks on the right, and later, to turn that flank with the hope of capturing a considerable number.
The vastly numerically superior force opposed to General Sedgwick
rendered it a triumph of generalship that he should hold his ground for a considerable time, and then, when prudence required the gradual retirement of his troops, so admirably were they handled that what the enemy at first fancied a retreat, he having massed a large part of his force to turn our left, was a prolonged resistance with bold front and resolute defence.
The general seemed intuitively to perceive the mental condition of his troops, as to their confidence or lack of confidence in their ability to do, and he had, moreover, the gift of inspiring confidence when untoward circumstances might beget a temporary faltering in the disposition of some corps.
One day, while engaged in exercising this faculty, which he possessed in an eminent degree, he lost his life, his prominent figure having been exposed to the enemy's sharpshooters.
Seven or eight miles above Fredericksburg
is a crossing called Banks' Ford; as night approached, the movements of the corps, which the nature of things necessitated, had been in the direction of this crossing.
Reaching the vicinity of the ford, in line, the corps intrenched itself in a position to cover the crossing in its rear.
It seemed at first that it might be the general's intention to hold this position, but the disastrous fire of Confederate batteries near the Decker House
, which were so posted upon higher ground at a bend of the river, as to be able to rake the rear of our force, plainly showed the situation to be indefensible, and it was with extreme difficulty that the corps was able to cross after midnight, one bridge having been destroyed by the Confederate artillery.
The loss of the Sixth Corps in this campaign reached 5,000 men. Our company mourned little Benny Daniels
, a brave, smooth-faced, black-eyed lad, whom a casual observer would have