Important from Fredericksburg — the enemy Recrosses the Rappahannock.
The public expectation that the battle in front of Fredericksburg
would be renewed on Monday or yesterday has been disappointed, and the appearances now are that the enemy will not again attempt his ‘"on to Richmond
"’ march via Fredericksburg
Yesterday morning, when it was confidently anticipated and predicted that the day would not close without another bloody struggle, the community was astonished at reading the annexed dispatch upon the bulletin boards of the different newspapers of the city:
Headquarters near Fredericksburg, December 16th, 1862.
As far as can be ascertained this stormy morning the enemy has disappeared in our immediate front, and has recrossed the Rappahannock
I presume he is meditating a passage at some other point. R. E. Lre, Gen. Com
Nothing further was learned until the arrival of the train late in the afternoon, which brought down a confirmation of the dispatch, and the additional statement that they had stolen their dead from the field under cover of the night.
No better evidence need be desired of the completeness of the victory on Saturday than this sudden and unexpected withdrawal of Burnside
from the south side of the Rappahannock
It is a frank admission of a defeat and, whatever his future movements may be, this ‘"change of base."’ will be regarded as a confession of the inability of his own forces to meet successfully those of the Confederacy
A gentleman who came down on the cars last night says that great disappointment was felt among our troops when they learned that the enemy had withdrawn without a second time offering battle.
The general desire among the men was that the fighting should be continued until a decisive triumph was obtained, and they had not the slightest apprehension of the ultimate result of a general fight.
Many of the wounded in Saturday's fight, who have been at Guinea's Station and other points along the railroad, were brought to the city during the day yesterday, and distributed among the different hospitals.
Some of them were severely, whilst others were only slightly, injured; but all seemed to be cheerful, and evinced gratification that their blood had not been shed without advantage on the hills around Fredericksburg
Arrival of wounded and prisoners.
cars that arrived at 9 o'clock yesterday morning brought down 250 of our wounded and 40 of the wounded Abolition soldiers.
About 5 o'clock yesterday evening another train arrived over the same road with 300 of our wounded and a train was expected last night with the remainder, and also another instalment of disabled Yankees.
The Central train also came in yesterday with 90 disabled Abolition prisoners, and they report 1,500 of their comrades at the Junction
, making their way to this city under guard.
Exclusive of the wounded Confederates who were expected and had not arrived up to 11 o'clock last night about 2,650 of our wounded have been brought to Richmond
, 1,500 having been brought in on Sunday and Monday.
The arrival last night would finish all these whose condition required the advice of a Surgeon.
The wounded Yankees
are loud in their praise of the determined valor of the men and all unite in declaring that they got the worst whipping at Fredericksburg
they ever and received.
When the result of the engagement becomes known this statement will no doubt be conceded to be true by everybody.
say that the battle at Fredericksburg
will end the war.
Gen. Lee's official report.
The following official report of General Lee
was received in this city on yesterday:
Headquarters army Northern Va.,14th December, 1862.
Sir — On the night of the 10th inst, the enemy commenced to throw three bridges over the Rappahannock
--two at Fredericksburg
and the third about a mile and a quarter below, near the month of Deep Run
The plain on which Fredericksburg
stands is so completely commanded by the of Stafford
, in possession of the enemy, that no effectual opposition could be offered to the construction of the bridges or the passage of the river, without exposing our troops to the destructive fire of his numerous batteries.
Positions were, therefore, selected to oppose his advance after crossing.
The narrowness of the Rappahannock
, its winding course, and deep bed, afforded opportunity for the construction of bridges at points beyond the reach of our artillery, and the banks had to be watched by skirmishers.
The latter, sheltering themselves behind the houses, drove back the working parties of the enemy at the bridges opposite the city; but at the lowest point of crossing, where no shelter could be had, our sharpshooters were themselves driven off, and the completion of the bridge was effected about noon on the 11th.
In the afternoon of that day the enemy's batteries opened upon the city, and by dark had so demolished the houses on the river bank as to deprive our skirmishers of shelter — and, under cover of his guns he effected a lodgment in the town.
The troops which had so gallantly held their position in the city, under the severe cannonade during the day, resisting the advance of the enemy at every step, were withdrawn during the night, as were also those who, with equal tenacity, had maintained their post as the lowest bridge.
Under cover of darkness and of a dense fog, on the 12th, a large force passed the river and took position on the right bank, protected by their heavy guns on the left.
The morning of the 13th, his arrangements for attack being completed, about 9 o'clock--the movement veiled by a fog — he advanced boldly in large force against our right wing. Gen. Jackson
's corps occupied the right on our line, which rested on the railroad; Gen. Longstreet
's the left, extending along the heights to the Rappahannock
, with two brigades of cavalry, was posted in the extensive plain on our extreme right.
As soon as the advance of the enemy was discovered through the fog. Gen. Stuart
, with his accustomed promptness, moved up a section of his horse artillery, which opened with effect upon his flank, and drew upon the gallant Pelham
a heavy fire, which he sustained unflinchingly for about two hours. In the meantime the enemy was fiercely encountered by Gen. A. P. Hill
's division, forming Gen. Jackson
's right, and, after an coordinate combat, repulsed.
During this attack, which was protracted and hotly contested, two of Gen. Hill
's brigades were driven back upon our second line.
, with part of his division, being ordered to his support, drove the enemy back from the point of woods he had seized, and pursued him into the plain until arrested by his artillery.
The right of the enemy's column extending beyond Hill
's front, encountered the right of Gen. Hood
, of Longstreet
's The enemy took possession of a small copse in front of Hood
, but were quickly dispossessed and repulsed with loss.
During the attack on our right the enemy was crossing troops ever his bridges at Fredericksburg
, and massing them in front of Longstreet
's line.--Soon after his repulse on our right he commenced a series of attacks on our left, with a view of obtaining possession of the heights immediately overlooking the town.
These repeated attacks were repulsed in gallant style by the Washington Artillery, under Colonel Walton
, and a portion of McLaws
's division, which occupied these heights.
The last assault was made after dark, when Col. Alexander
's battalion had relieved the Washington Artillery, (whose ammunition had been exhausted,) and ended the contest for the day. The enemy was supported in his attacks by the fire of strong batteries of artillery on the right bank of the river, as well as by his numerous heavy batteries on the Stafford heights
Our loss during the operations, since the movements of the enemy began, amounts to about 1,800 killed and wounded. Among the former I regret to report the death of the patriotic soldier and states man, Brig' Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb
, who fell upon our left; and among the latter, that brave soldier and accomplished gentleman, Brig-General Maxcy Gregg
, who was very seriously, and, it is feared, mortally wounded, during the attack on our right.
The enemy to-day has been apparently engaged in earing for his wounded and burying his dead.
His troops are visible in their first position in line of battle, but, with the exception of some desultory cannonading and firing between skirmishers, he has not attempted to renew the attack.
About five hundred and fifty prisoners were taken during the engagement, but the full extent of his loss is unknown.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
[Official] R. E. Lee
, General. Charles Marshall
and A. D. C.