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SCENE OF OPERATIONS. 241
the enemy's first line of works. At the foot of and running parallel with this range, is a massive stone wall, behind which infantry were posted. In the rear of the first is another and much higher chain of hills, extending down the river for several miles. Along the top of these woody heights ran the road, referred to by General Burnside, connecting the rebel right with the rebel left, which rested immediately back of the city.
Crossing Hazel Creek, a small stream skirting the lower part of the place and emptying into the Rappahannock, the ground becomes very level, stretching out into a broad plateau, and traversed by the Bowling Green turnpike, running half a mile back from the river, and the Fredericksburg and Richmond railroad still further back. The Bernard House was located on the bank, about one mile and a half below the city. Three-fourths of a mile lower down, the Massaponax Creek flows into the Rappahannock. This plain, bounded on the north by Hazel Creek, east by the Rappahannock, west by a chain of hills, and south by the Massaponax, was the theatre of General Franklin's operations. While he advanced and occupied some point in these hills, Sumner and Hooker were to storm the batteries in the rear of Fredericksburg. Our narrative will be confined mainly to the left Grand Division.
Long before daylight Friday morning, it commenced crossing, and by ten o'clock was all over. As fast as the various commands reached the
242 SKIRMISHING AND ARTILLERY FIRING.
opposite shore, they debouched upon the plain, spreading out like a fan, prepared to sweep down the enemy before them. The Thirty-third passed over the bridge about 1\ o'clock. An hour and a half later the Sixth Corps was drawn up in line of battle, facing to the west. The First Corps joined on further to the left. Skirmishers were deployed, and feeling their way cautiously forward, encountered those of the enemy near the Bowling Green road. The first man wounded was John S. Havens, of Company H, Thirty-third, which was in the front. After a few moments the rebels fell back, leaving.us in possession of the road. Owing to the dense fog which prevailed, it was deemed best not to fight the battle that day, and our troops moved no further forward. About 2£ o'clock in the afternoon, the enemy opened some masked guns from the heights on our batteries facing in that direction, which, immediately limbering up, moved several yards further to the front and returned the fire. The artillery duel was kept up for some time, resulting in but little loss to us.
General Burnside rode down from the right at sunset, and was received with vociferous cheering by the Regiments as he galloped rapidly by. Officers and men had alike admired the courage which led him to boldly cross the'river and endeavor to clear up the mystery which enshrouded the enemy; and now that the rebels had apparently retreated, leaving a mere shell of an army to oppose us, their admiration for their chief knew no bounds.
CHAPTER XXVII. BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG,
FOUGHT SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13TH.
Franklin's troops slept upon their arms that night, little dreaming of the fierce conflict of the morrow. At an early hour Saturday morning, it became evident that the enemy, instead of having fallen back, were
Battle-field of the Left Grand Division.
concentrating their forces, with the design of giving us battle. The sun rose clear in the heavens, though the mist and fog of a late Indian summer enveloped
244 ADVANCE OF THE SKIRMISH LINE.
the plain. The air was mild and balmy as on a September day, and the fifty thousand men whom the reveille woke from their slumbers began to prepare for action, and were soon marshalled in "battle's magnificently stern array."
They were arranged as follows: The Sixth Corps, under General Smith, on the right, composed of three Divisions, viz: General Newton's on the extreme right and rear, resting near the bridges; General Brooks' in the centre, and General Howe's on the left. The First Army Corps, General Reynolds, extended still further to the left, drawn up in the following order: General Gibbon's Division on the right, connecting with General Howe's; General Meade's, centre; and General Doubleday's, left, facing to the southward, and resting nearly on the river. The Thirty-third was posted in the first of the three lines of battle, to support a battery. General Jackson commanded the rebels in front of us. At an early hour the Thirteenth Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Bucktails, among other Regiments, were deployed in front, as skirmishers, between whom and the enemy's skirmishers considerable firing ensued. General Vinton, now commander of the Brigade, venturing too far in front, was shot through the groin, and conveyed back to the Bernard House, which had been appropriated for the Division Hospital. Col. Taylor took command until the arrival of Gen. Neill, formerly of the Twenty-third Pennsylvania. As soon as the heavy mist cleared away, Capt. Hall's Second Maine Battery, planted at the right of Gibbon's Division,
GALLANT CHARGE BY MEADE. 245
opened upon the enemy. Artillery firing now became general along the whole line. Heavy siege guns in our rear, the First Maryland and First Massachusetts Batteries, and Battery D, Fifth Artillery, on the right; Captain Ransom's and Captain Walker's in front, and Harris' Independent on the left, kept up a terrific fire on the rebels. Orders now came to advance, and about nine o'clock, Gibbon's and Meade's Divisions commenced moving slowly forward, thereby almost straightening our lines, which were previously arranged somewhat in the form of a crescent. Considerable resistance was met with, but the forces continued to move forward, until at midday the line of battle was half a mile in advance of where it had been in the morning.
But now came the reserve fire of the enemy, with terrific force. Shot and shell were poured into our men from all along the heights, which, curving around in the shape of a horse-shoe, exposed them to an enfilading fire. The rebel infantry likewise appeared, and fired rapidly. Still Meade and Gibbon continued to press on, and as the enemy gave way, cheer after cheer rent the air from our troops. General Meade now led his Division on a charge, and pressing on the edge of the crest, skilfully penetrated an opening in the enemy's lines and captured several hundred prisoners, belonging to the Sixty-first Georgia and Thirty-first North Carolina Regiments. Owing, however, to the lack of reinforcements, he was eventually compelbd to fall back. While the fight was progressing at this point, Jackson sent down a