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[579] veil that enveloped the town. The sun burst forth, throwing a vivid light over the lists where the two armies were about to measure strength. Smoking ruins marked here and there the ravages caused by Federal shells; but in general the houses, built of brick, had withstood the effects of the bombardment, whilst Barksdale's sharpshooters, who had not been dislodged, again interrupted the construction of the bridge. On the heights beyond Fredericksburg the divisions of Anderson and McLaws could be seen drawn up in line of battle; their artillery, ready for action, reserved its fire until the enemy's infantry should be compelled to deploy before it at short range.

Franklin had completed the construction of his bridges, but was ordered by the general-in-chief not to cross the river until those in process of construction before Fredericksburg were finished. In order to conquer the resistance which the Federals encountered before that town, Hunt proposed to Burnside to ship some soldiers in the boats that had not yet been fastened together, and send them to the other side of the river to dislodge the enemy's sharpshooters; this is what should have been done at the very first. The Seventh Michigan, the Tenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, one thousand men in all, thus crossed rapidly over, losing but a few men. They were soon reinforced; and the Mississippians, driven into the centre of the town, left behind them sixty prisoners, thirty killed and one hundred wounded. Toward four o'clock the two bridges were at last completed, and Sumner sent Howard's division to occupy Fredericksburg. The Rappahannock was then crossed at all the points; but it was getting dark, and the 11th day of December was drawing to a close. It was the first respite granted to the enemy.

The latter had taken advantage of it. At the sound of the alarm-gun, Lee had hastened to Longstreet's headquarters, although afraid lest this movement might prove to be only a feint; but when the fog cleared away, discovering to him the whole Federal army, and when Hood's outposts had exchanged a few shots on the right bank of the river with Franklin's cavalry, all doubts were at once dispelled. The satisfaction which the commander of the Confederate army experienced at this sight, and which he did not conceal from those around him, was shared by all his

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