The appearance of the Yankee Army in Front of Fredericksburg — shells Thrown into the town — supposed destination of the threatening force.
The Fredericksburg Herald
has a highly interesting account of the military operations in the vicinity of that city.
The information was received on Sunday night that the enemy had left Warrenton
, and were moving on Fredericksburg
the streets were filled with rumors as to the character of the advance, one man, from the upper part of Stafford
, saving there had passed his house three brigades, embracing cavalry, infantry, and artillery.
About noon the enemy arrived on the hills in the rear of Fairmont
, but kept their force out of view, being drawn up from Lawson's Hill back as far as Mr. John R. Fitzhugh
's — The enemy planted four pieces of artillery in the skirt of woods on the hill at Miss Mary Scott
's a commanding position.
Four other pieces were understood to be on the highway in the immediate neighborhood.
We had four pieces of artillery near the ‘ "White Plains
"’ house, (Mr.
S. H.Owens a,) within the corporation; but the point is not compactly built over, the woolen factory.
Hesston's and Book
's flouring miles besides several private residences being in the vicinity.
About three o'clock in the afternoon, an artillery duel commenced which was kept up with much spirit by the enemy.
It continued for several hours.
One of our men was killed and another severely wounded.
We have a report — but cannot vouch for his correctness — that the enemy had fifteen killed and wounded. One of our shells was seen to explode immediately over one of their pieces among the men. Nearly, if not all, the sadness of the enemy fell within the corporation — Several passed through the house of Mr. S. H. Owns
Some four or five passed in the vicinity of Mr. J. J. Chew
's and Mr. J. H. Bradley
One fell in the garden of Mr. Joseph Alsep
which fronts on Main street, where the courses, except in the immediate vicinity, are closely built.
There was also one shot through the Paper Mill
, George, a son of Mr. John Timberlake
, who was at the upper and of town, a looker on, had the loss of one foot lacerated by a passing shot, which was the only injury sustained on the part of citizens.
Tuesday was a remarkably quiet day. No firing on either side.
The only incident was the gallant conduct of Capt. Green
, of the 47th regiment, (at home here on special duty.) and a squad of four men. With four cavalrymen Capt
. G. crossed the Rappahannock
at Banks's Ford, a few miles above this place, dashed at a wagon train, captured eight men and several mules.
Had his force been a little larger he might have set fire to and burned the wagons some of which had ammunition in them.--This heroic and daring little party did not have much time to tarry, as a force of infantry were near at hand, from whom they received sixty or seventy shots, but escaped unhurt, and succeeded in putting the river between them and the enemy, although they had several miles to go before reaching it. The prisoners captured (seven of whom were brought in) say they belong to French
's brigade, Couch
's division, Sumner
[It is understood to-day (the 18th, when we write,) that Fredericksburg
is to be held by our forces — Whilst no just cause will be given for shelling the town, as the fighting on the ordinary principles of civilized warfare would be for the fords, and therefore not in the compactly built part of the town,) yet the impression is very strongly entertained that the enemy will first threaten and then actually shell us, in the hope that the place will be evacuated and that thus the Rappahannock
may be passed by them.
As matters stand the view is by no means a pleasant one, but we rejoice to say the sentiment is general that, if the Government
thinks it will subserve the great end in view, our people are ready for the sacrifice.
, who has been in command, together with Lieut.-Col. Critcher
, have been most assiduous in their efforts at guarding the town from the Federal
troops who now menace it.]
Wednesday has come and gone and Fredericksburg
Early in the forenoon batteries were planted on the hills from Falmouth
down to the lower ferry, on Bray
's farm, a distance of over smile, and threatening to each and every part of the town.
The hills at no point are scarcely as much as a quarter of a mile from our first street, on the bank of the river, so that the proximity is intensely interesting.
Our citizens, for the most part, take it as a joke that may be carried too far, and others don't see much about it to laugh at. During the afternoon the impression prevailed that the enemy were embarking in the vicinity of Aquia creek
, the Potomac river
being reported as fad of transports.
Thursday morning opens in lowering style — a thick, cloudy sky, with spattering rain.
Along the whole range of hills, from Falmouth
down, stand batteries frowning and threatening destruction to the old burg.
About half past 9 o'clock bang, bang, was the salute, until nine shots were discharged.
‘"Where is it ?"’ ‘"What are they firing at? "’ were the inquiries that passed among the burgers at the corners of the streets.
The firing was from the battery on the very high hill on the Bray farm
which overlooks the country for miles around.
There may have been a cavalry camp discovered on this side, or it may have been to empty the guns in consequence of the rains during the night; but as we have not been informed, and fear if we crossed over to inquire we might find some trouble in returning, we have concluded to remain where we are, and leave the matter open to conjecture.
Indeed, it might be cruel to destroy some people's conjectures by giving them the real cause of the firing; but it is believed that the ‘"wood train"’ was fired at after it left the railroad depot to go down the road.
A large foraging party went down the river road into Stafford
, and will probably continue its depredations into King George.
The train consisted of 175 wagons, and had with it four pieces of artillery, two infantry and two cavalry companies.--There could not well have been a more disagreeable night.
The rain fell with unremitting constancy, and the air was chilly.
This morning (Friday) all continues quiet between the two forces, except now and then the tattoo of a far off Yankee drum, or the sound of a cavalryman's bugle, falls upon the ear.
The writer in the Herald,
writing later than the above says:
That the army in front has been of large proportions we have no reason to doubt, but many facts to establish; but, at the same time, we are impressed with the conviction that this decided demonstration is a feint, and that Gen. Burnside
concluded that he could do this and yet lose but little, if any, time in embarking his army at points along the Potomac
— Aquia creek
and Potomac creek
— for the real point of attack on Richmond
The main column for this attack will, we believe, move via Suffolk
, and probably lesser columns from other points.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the Potomac river
was covered with vessels of all sizes and kinds, mainly of the transport order.
That these vessels were intended to carry off the army is an opinion entertained by many.
Enough of the army will be left over the river though to ‘ "keep up appearances"’ We shall not be surprised if by Saturday night the main bulk of Burnside
's force is well on its way to their new destination, though of course this is a conjecture to a great extent.
We understand that Federal prisoners captured, estimate their numbers at over 100,000, but we doubt the figures.
The Confederate force here is under officers in whom our people can well afford to repose trust, and be the battle here or remote, there is no cause to fear the result.
We deem it but proper to say that others differ with us in regard to Gen. Burnside
's movements, and insist that this will be the base of his operations.
Of course, under this impression, many families have left town and others are leaving.