Report of Col. Samuel K. Zook, Fifty-seventh New York Infantry, Commanding Third Brigade.
DECEMBER 11-15, 1862.--Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXI [S# 31]
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,
Falmouth, Va., December 20, 1862.
Capt. JOHN HANCOCK,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade from the 11th to the 16th instant, inclusive:
Under orders received from General Couch, at General Sumner's headquarters, on the night of December 10, I detailed the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers to report to Major Spaulding, of the engineers, at the Lacy house, to assist in building bridges, and to protect the work.
The enemy opened fire upon them about 6 a.m. of the 11th. The Fifty-seventh New York was relieved about 8 a.m. by the Seventh Michigan. Its loss was Lieut. Col. A. B. Chapman, Captains Mott and Bell, and Lieutenants Brewster and White, wounded, besides 2 men killed and 23 wounded. The Sixty-sixth New York was relieved about 3 p.m. by the was Lieut. Col. James H. Bull and Capt. John P. Dodge, killed, and Lieutenant Switzer seriously wounded; also several men wounded.
A t 7 a.m. of the 11th, the Fifty-third Pennsylvania, Second Delaware, and Fifty-second New York having been formed, with the Twenty-seventh Connecticut, near the camp of the latter, on the Stafford CourtHouse road, took up the line of march about 8 a.m., in rear of the Irish Brigade for a point near the Phillips house, where they bivouacked, having been joined by the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth New York during the afternoon.
About 8 a.m. on the 12th, the brigade resumed its march at the head of the division, and, having crossed the Rappahannock at the Lacy house bridge, took position near the lower bridge, in Fredericksburg.
The Fifty-third Pennsylvania was immediately deployed as skirmishers in rear of the town, and drove the rebel pickets some distance, with the loss of 1 man mortally wounded. The brigade bivouacked on the ground occupied by it in the morning, nothing else having been done worthy of note. The Fifty-third Regiment, having been relieved during the afternoon, bivouacked with the others.
December 13, about 9 a.m., the Fifty-second New York and Second Delaware were sent on picket, but were soon after relieved, and formed on the left of the brigade, which had taken a position on Caroline Street, right resting on the railroad.
At 12 m., seeing General French's last regiment filing out past the railroad depot, I directed the Fifty-third Pennsylvania and Twenty-seventh Connecticut to pass out by the same route. The Sixty-sixth and Fifty-seventh New York, conducted by Lieut. Charles H. H. Broome, aide-de-camp, moved out through the next street to the eastward, and the Second Delaware and Fifty-second New York, conducted by Lieut. J. M. Faville, aide-de-camp, marched by the street next that taken by Lieutenant Broome. All these commands filed to the right at the outskirts of the town, and formed line of battle, with the Fifty-third Pennsylvania resting on Hanover street, and the Fifty-second New York on the railroad. The brigade then advanced rapidly over the crest of the hill nearest the enemy's line, under a very heavy fire of artillery from the heights, and musketry from a stone wall, sunken road, and numerous rifle-pits, charging over the division of its former commander (General French), and taking a position which was not passed by any other line during the day, though some of Kimball's men reached it.
The line was relieved about 4 p.m. (except the Fifty-third Pennsylvania, which held on until 7 p.m.) by a portion of General Sykes' division, and marched back to its former bivouac, near the river, where it rested that night and the two following days.
On the night of the 15th, the brigade, with the 'addition of the Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth New York, from General Caldwell's, relieved the pickets in rear of the town about 9 p.m., and was in turn relieved by a brigade of General Sykes' command about 3 a.m., when it recrossed the river to the camp it occupied before the attack on Fredericksburg. The Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth New York also returned to their former camp.
The regiments of the brigade fought in line, and were commanded as follows: The Fifty-third Pennsylvania, Col. John R. Brooke; Twenty-seventh Connecticut, Col. Richard S. Bostwick; Sixty-sixth New York, Capt. Julius Wehle, killed; Fifty-seventh New York, Maj. N. G. Throop, wounded; Second Delaware, Col. William P. Bally, slightly wounded, and Fifty-second New York, Col. Paul Frank.
I am gratified to state that the conduct of both officers and men of the brigade was all that could be desired. The Twenty seventh Connecticut, having never before been under fire, and being wretchedly armed, deserve much credit. Colonels Brooke and Frank and Captain Wehle maintained the reputation for splendid courage and distinguished conduct won by them at Fair Oaks, and so well sustained in subsequent battles.
Chaplain J. W. Leek, of the Twenty-seventh Connecticut, deserves special mention. He went fearlessly into the hottest fire, cheering the regiment on in the most gallant manner.
To my staff I am under great obligations for valuable assistance; especially to Lieutenants Faville and Broome, for the handsome manner in which they aided in taking the brigade into action.
The loss of the brigade in the action of the 13th was 7 commissioned officers killed and 31 wounded ; 52 enlisted men killed, 395 wounded, and 42 missing. Total, 527.
I have the honor to be, captain, your very obedient servant,
S. K. ZOOK,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
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