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[245] Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. McClellan had begun a new forward movement, promising activity, but did not long continue it. Shortly after his return into Virginia he was relieved and Burnside appointed to the command.

The field of Fredericksburg was singularly open as a fighting ground. As noted by skilled observers, its peculiar situation, with hills in the rear and the river in the foreground, made it a panorama of a battlefield rarely equaled for clearness of observation. In its absence of woods it appeared more like a battleground in war-scarred Belgium. Along the Rappahannock was the gray town (young when the revolution was growing) crowded with troops in glittering line of battle. To the right, at Sligo; to the left, at Amarett farm, were still other masses. Up to 10 a. m. the view of the field had been impaired by a thick fog, which disappearing, the army lines became visible in the plain between us and the Rappahannock, extending far to the left toward Fredericksburg. Two miles or less back from the river were our lines, defending earthworks. Burnside had at first sat down at Falmouth on the north side of the Rappahannock. This was an unwise move, since he should have anticipated Lee by taking possession of the heights back of that town. General Lee answered his blunder by making triple defenses. At Marye's hill the Washington artillery had its guns behind earthworks en barbette.

Starke's brigade, under Colonel Pendleton, the First regiment being commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Nolan, the Fifteenth by Lieut.Col. McG. Goodwyn, the Second by Maj. M. A. Grogan and the Fourteenth by Capt. H. M. Verlander, supported Thomas' brigade early on the 13th, and on the 14th relieved General Pender on the front line. His skirmishers were engaged sharply through the day, and his brigade was three times under a considerable fire. Two men were killed and 34 wounded. Hays' brigade reached the field about 10 a. m.

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S. D. Lee (2)
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H. M. Verlander (1)
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