Report of Maj. Gen. John B. Hood, C. S. Army, Commanding Hood's Division.
DECEMBER 11-15, 1862.--Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXI [S# 31]
Near Fredericksburg, Va., --,1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the participation of my command, composed of the Texas brigade, Brig. Gen. J. B. Robertson commanding; Law's brigade, Brig. Gen. E. M. Law commanding; Anderson's brigade, Brig. Gen. G. T. Anderson commanding; Toombs' brigade, Col. H. L. Benning commanding, and Reilly's, Bachman's, and Garden's batteries, in the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, and other operations in connection therewith:
In obedience to instructions from the lieutenant-general commanding, on hearing the signal guns about 2 o'clock on the morning of December 11, I immediately formed my command and moved into position along the crest of hills stretching from Dr. Reynolds' house to near the railroad crossing, and occupied the Bowling Green road with a heavy line of skirmishers. Soon afterward I pushed forward about 100 riflemen to harass the enemy in his efforts to throw a bridge across the Rappahannock River at the mouth of Deep Run. This party was unable, however, to effect the desired object, in consequence of the ground not affording protection to the men within rifle range of the river. My scouts having reported near dark that the enemy had completed a bridge across the river immediately below the mouth of Deep Run and in my front, I increased my force in the Bowling Green road and threw a line of skirmishers to the front, with orders to the commanding officer to hold the road. The enemy commenced crossing infantry and artillery at dark, and continued doing so throughout the night, at the same time deploying to their left to and below Mr. Arthur Bernard's house, thereby indicating his intention to attack our right. During the night I withdrew the force from the Bowling Green road and the line of skirmishers back to the road.
About 10 o'clock on the morning of the 12th, I was relieved by General A. P. Hill's division, and, in obedience to orders from the lieutenant-general commanding, relieved General Pickett on my left. Discovering a body of the enemy's cavalry deployed along the railroad, I detached two companies from Toombs' and one company from Law's brigades, and without loss on our side drove them off, killing 2 or 3 men and 5 horses. About dark, General Pickett reoccupied his original position, and, in compliance with instructions from the lieutenant-general commanding, I moved my command back to my original position, with orders to co-operate with A. P. Hill or any other troops of General T. J. Jackson's corps.
On the 13th, during the engagement on the right of our line, a considerable force of the enemy defiled from the right bank of Deep Run, and, forming line of battle, advanced, driving our skirmishers from and occupying the railroad. Two of Brigadier-General Law's regiments, the Fifty-seventh North Carolina, Col. A. C. Godwin commanding, and Fifty-fourth North Carolina, Col. J. C. S. McDowell commanding, were thrown forward, the Fifty-seventh leading, and in a gallant style drove the enemy from the position he had gained, following him up to within 300 yards of the Bowling Green road, and punishing him severely. These regiments, with the Fourth Alabama (Law's brigade) in support, held the railroad until dark, when they were relieved by other troops from my command, who retained possession of it until the enemy recrossed the river, on the night of the 15th.
As usual, Brigadier-General Law was conspicuous upon the field, acting with great gallantry, and had his horse killed under him while personally directing the movements of his brigade.
It is with much pleasure that I call your attention to the gallant bearing of both the officers and men of the Fifty-seventh North Carolina Regiment, Col. A. C. Godwin commanding, in their charge on a superior force of the enemy posted in the strong position he had gained. Equal praise is due the Fifty-fourth North Carolina Regiment, Col. J. C. S. McDowell commanding, for their able support of the Fifty-seventh, and especially for their display of discipline in changing front under fire to cover the left flank of the Fifty-seventh from the fire of a force of the enemy occupying Deep Run below the railroad, to which they became exposed in consequence of their pursuit of the force they had dislodged. Indeed, I cannot in justice omit to mention the bearing and morale of my entire command during the time the enemy was in our front, as evidenced by their earnest desire to be led to battle and their presence at all times, as, to the best of my knowledge, not a single officer or man left ranks without proper authority. The members of my staff were, as usual, at their posts and zealous in the discharge of every duty devolving upon them.
Below will be found a summary of the casualties of my command.
For further particulars, attention is called to accompanying reports of brigade commanders.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. HOOD,
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