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HEROIC ASSAULTS ON MARYE'S HEIGHTS.
most of Hancock's corps, especially force Franklin; while Hooker himMeagher's Irish brigade, composed self, believing the attack hopeless, of the 63d, 69th, and 88th New York, required repeated and imperative orthe 28th Massachusetts, and the 116th ders from Burnside to induce him to Pennsylvania, which dashed itself re-order an advance; but Humphreys's peatedly against those impregnable division was at length thrown out from heights, until two-thirds” of its num- Fredericksburg, and bore its full part ber strewed the ground; when the in the front attack, losing heavily. remnant fell back to a position of And thus the fight was maintained comparative safety, and were suc- till after dark--assault after assault ceeded as they had been supported, being delivered by divisions advancby other brigades and divisions; each ing against twice their numbers, on to be exposed in its turn to like ground where treble the force was pitiless, useless, hopeless slaughter. required for the attack that sufficed Thus Hancock's and French's corps for the defense; while a hundred were successively sent up against Rebel cannon, posted on heights those slippery heights, girdled with which our few guns on that side of batteries, rising, tier above tier, to the river could scarcely reach, and its crest, all carefully trained upon could not effectually batter, swept the approaches from Fredericksburg; our men down from the moment that while that fatal stone wall-so strong they began to advance, and while that even artillery could make no they could do nothing but charge, impression on it-completely shel- and fall, and die. And when night tered Barksdale's brigade, which, so at length mercifully arrested this soon as our charging columns came fruitless massacre, though the terwithin rifle-shot, poured into their races and slopes leading up to the faces the deadliest storm of musketry. Rebel works were piled with our Howard's division supported the two dead and our disabled, there was no in advance; while one division of pretense that the Rebel front had Wilcox's (9th, late Burnside's) corps been advanced one foot from the was detached to maintain communi- ground held by it in the morning. cation with Franklin on our left. We had reason enough for sorrow,
Hooker's grand division was divi- but none for shame. ded, and in good part sent to rëen- Franklin, on our left, beside his
11 Gen. Meagher, in his official report, says: Heights, towering immediately in their front. "Of the 1,200 I led into action, only 280 ap- | Never at Fontenoy, Albuera, nor at Waterloo, peared on parade next morning."
was more undoubted courage displayed by the
sons of Erin than during those six frantic dashes Among his officers who fell, he mentions Col.
which they directed against the almost impregHeenan, Lt.-Col. Mulholland, and Maj. Bard
nable position of their foe. well, 116th Pa.; Maj. Wm. Horgan and Adj.
“That any mortal men could have carried the J. R. Young, 88th N. Y.; Maj. James Cavanagh, | position before which they were wantonly sacri69th N. Y.; and Maj. Carraher, 28th Mass. ficed, defended as it was, it seems to me idle for The London Times's correspondent, watching
a moment to believe. But the bodies which lie
in dense masses within 40 yards of the muzzles the battle from the heights, and writing from
of Col. Walton's guns are the best evidence what Lee's headquarters, says:
manner of men they were who pressed on to "To the Irish division, commanded by Gen. 1 death with the dauntlessness of a race which has Meagher, was principally committed the despe- gained glory on a thousand battle-fields, and rate task of bursting out of the town of Freder- never more richly deserved it than at the foot icksburg, and forming, under the withering fire of Marye's Heights on the 13th day of Decemof the Confederate batteries, to attack Maryo's Iber, 1862."
own 40,000 men, was rëenforced, the / of the two corps of Reynolds (16,000) night before, by two divisions (Kear- and W.F. Smith (21,000), with cavny's and Hooker's own) from Hook- alry under Bayard, raising it nearly er, raising his command nearly to or quite to 40,000. At 9 A. M., Rey55,000. At least half our entire force nolds advanced on the left; Meade's across the river was thus with Frank- division, in front, being immediately lin on the left, where the main attack assailed by Rebel batteries (J. E. B. manifestly should have been made, Stuart's) on his left flank, which comand where Burnside appears to have pelled him to halt and silence them. purposed that it should have been At 11 A. M., he pushed on, fighting; made. But it was after 7 A. M. of the while one of Hooker's divisions in fatal day when Franklin received his reserve was brought across, and Birorders; which, if they were intended ney's and Gibbon's divisions were to direct a determined attack in full moved up to his support. Reynolds's force, were certainly very blindly and corps being thus all in line of battle, vaguely worded,whereas, a military Meade again gallantly advanced into order should be as precise and clear as the woods in his front; grappling, at language will allow, and as positive as 1, in fierce encounter, with A. P. the circumstances will warrant. It is Hill's corps, crushing back the brigvery certain that a Massena or a Blu- ades of Archer and Lane, and, forcing cher could have found warrant in that his way in between them, took some order for attacking at once with his 200 prisoners. Here, in attempting entire corps, leaving Hooker's men to rally Orr's rifles, which had been to defend the bridges and act as a disorganized, fell Brig.-Gen. Maxcy reserve; but, if hot work is wanted Gregg, 18 mortally wounded. of a Franklin, it should be required But the enemy rallied all their and prescribed in terms more peremp- forces; Early's division, composed of tory and less equivocal. He asserts Lawton'sTrimble's, and his own that he expected and awaited further brigades, which, with D. H. Hill's orders, which he never in terms re- corps, had arrived that morning from ceived ; at least, not till it was too Port Royal, after a severe nightlate to obey them with any hope of march, and been posted behind A. P. success.
Hill, rushed to the front; and Meade's Franklin's grand division consisted division, lacking prompt support, OUR LOSSES AT FREDERICKSBURG.
12 "Gen. Hardie will carry this dispatch to | moves by columns, distant from each other, with you and remain with you during the day. The a view of avoiding the possibility of a collision General commanding directs that you keep your of our own forces, which might occur in a genewhole command in position for a rapid move ral movement during the fog. Two of Gen. ment down the old Richmond road, and you will Hooker's divisions are in your rear at the send out at once a division, at least, to pass be- bridges, and will remain there as supports. low Smithfield, to seize, if possible, the heights Copies of instructions to Gens. Sumner and near Capt. Hamilton's, on this side of the Massa- Hooker will be forwarded to you by an Orderly ponax, taking care to keep it well supported and very soon. You will keep your whole command its line of retreat open. He has ordered another | in readiness to move at once as soon as the fog column, of a division or more, to be moved from lifts. The watchword, which, if possible, should Gen. Sumner's command up the plank road to be given to every company, will be 'Scott.' its intersection of the telegraph road, where they "I have the honor to be, General, very rewill divide, with a view to seizing the heights spectfully, your obedient servant, on both of those roads. Holding these heights,
"John G. PARKE, Chief of Staff. with the heights near Capt. Hamilton's, will. I "Major-Gen. FRANKLIN, Commanding Grand hope, compel the enemy to evacuate the whole
Division Army of Potomac.' ridge between these points. He makes these 13 Governor elect of South Carolina.
hurled backebel charge, nock.
was overwhelmed and driven back, The advance of Reynolds's left was with heavy loss, to the railroad, which for some time retarded by Stuart's they had crossed in their advance, cavalry, holding the extreme Rebel where they made a brief stand, but right, whose battery opened a most were again hurled back by an im- annoying cross-fire on our infantry petuous, determined Rebel charge, as it advanced from the Rappahanlosing many prisoners.
nock. The 9th New York was first Meade had already called for aid: sent to take this battery, but failed and Gen. Gibbon had advanced on taking to their heels instead; when his right, and one of Birney's brig- a brigade was brought up by Gen. ades on his left, whereby the enemy Tyler, and charged with no better were checked and repulsed; Col. At success. A third charge was stopped kinson, commanding Lawton's brig- by the deadly fire of the Rebel batade, being here wounded and taken tery; when more troops were brought prisoner. Meade's division fell back, up on our side, and the enemy at having lost 1,760 men this day out length flanked and gradually crowdsome 6,000 engaged; having, of its ed back to the Massaponax; but they three Brigadiers, Gen. C. F. Jackson still maintained a bold front, and killed, and Col. Wm. T. Sinclair se- kept up the contest till nightfall; verely wounded. Maj.-Gen. Gibbon, having succeeded in diverting from on his right, was also wounded and Reynolds's main attack in front a taken off the field; whereupon, his force which he could ill afford to division fell back also.
spare. Sickles's division of Hooker's men, Our losses on this bloody day were which had followed Birney's to the not less than 15,000 men; though front, took the place of Gibbon's; but the number returned as actually Smith's corps--21,000 strong-was killed, wounded, and taken prisoners, not sent in, and remained nearer to foots up but 13,771-as follows: Fredericksburg, not determinedly en
Killed, Wound. Miss'g. Total. gaged throughout the day. Yet, even Reynolds's and Stoneman's corps (the latter composed of Birney's and Total...... . . . . . . ....1,152 9,101 3,234 13,771 Sickles's divisions) showed so strong Not one of these died more laa front that Stonewall Jackson did mented than Maj.-Gen. George D. not venture to assume the offensive Bayard, commanding our cavalry on till nightfall; when a very brief ex- the left, who was struck by a shell perience convinced him that he might and mortally wounded; dying that better let well alone.14
night. But 28 years old, and on the 14 Jackson, with exemplary. candor, says in to make preparations for the attempt. In order his official report:
to guard against disaster, the infantry was to be “Repulsed on the right, left, and center, the preceded by artillery, and the movement postenemy, soon after, rëformed his lines, and gave poned until late in the evening; so that, if comsome indications of a purpose to renew the at- pelled to retire, it would be under the cover of tack. I waited some time to receive it; but, he night. Owing to unexpected delay, the movemaking no forward movement, I determined, if ment could not be got ready till late in the eveprudent, to do so myself. The artillery of the ning. The first gun had hardly moved forward enemy was so judiciously posted as to make an from the wood a hundred yards, when the eneadvance of our troops across the plain very my's artillery rëopened, and so completely swept hazardous; yet it was so promising of good re- our front as to satisfy me that the proposed sults, if successfully executed, as to induće me I movement should be abandoned."
Hooker's grand division..... 327
eve of marriage, his death fell like a | life, a nobler spirit, a grander, more pall on many loving hearts.
benignant destiny! Lee at first reported his losses at “about 1,800 killed and wounded” It would be incredible on any tes
—one of those preposterous misrepre- timony less conclusive than his own sentations to which commanders on that Gen. Burnside, on the very heel either side were too prone. His ac- of this prodigal, horrible carnage, retual loss, as embodied in the detailed solved to attack again next day, and reports of Longstreet and Jackson, on the very point where the enemy's was over 5,000,15 and may probably lines had been proved impregnable at be fairly estimated at 6,000, including a cost of 10,000 men. Another butch500 unwounded prisoners. He claims ery as fruitless and still more demorto have taken 900 prisoners and 9,000 alizing would doubtless have been insmall arms, but no guns.
curred, but for the timely and forciThus closed what the exulting cor- ble remonstrance of stern old Sumner respondent at Lee's headquarters of --who never kept out of a fight when The Times (London) calls “ a memo- | there was a shadow of excuse for gorable day to the historian of the De- ing in—and who protested, backed cline and Fall of the American Re- by nearly every General in the army, public.” Not so, O owl-eyed scribe! against such suicidal madness. Burnbut rather one of those days of side finally gave way, and thus probbloody baptism from whose regen- ably saved the 9th corps (of old, his erating flood that Republic was di- own) from useless, inexcusable sacrivinely appointed to rise to a purer fice.
15 Longstreet reports his losses thus: killed, the enemy into their next line, and, by going in 251; wounded, 1,516; missing, 127: total, 1,894. with them, they would not be able to fire upon Jackson gives his as-killed, 344; wounded,
us to any great extent. I left Gen. Sumner with 2,545; missing, 526: total, 3,415: grand total,
that understanding, and directed him to give the
order. The order was given, and the column of 5,309. Among their killed, beside those already
| attack was formed. mentioned, was Brig.-Gen. T. R. R. Cobb, of Ga., " The next morning, just before the column brother of Howell Cobb. Among their wound was to have started, Gen. Sumner came to me ed, were Brig.-Gens. J. R. Cooke and W. D.
and said: "General, I hope you will desist from
this attack; I do not know of any general officer Pender.
who approves of it; and I think it will prove 16 He says, in his testimony before the Com
disastrous to the army.' Advice of that kind mittee on the Conduct of the War:
from Gen. Sumner, who has always been in favor "The two attacks were made, and we were of an advance whenever it was possible, caused repulsed; still holding a portion of the ground me to hesitate. I kept the column of attack we had fought upon, but not our extreme ad-formed, and sent over for the division and corps vance.
commanders, and consulted with them. They "That night, I went all over the field on our unanimously voted against the attack. I then right; in fact, I was with the officers and men went over to see the other officers of the comuntil nearly daylight. I found the feeling to be mand on the other side, and found that the same rather against an attack the next morning; in impression prevailed among them. I then sent fact, it was decidedly against it.
for Gen. Franklin, who was on the left, and he "I returned to my headquarters, and, after was of exactly the same opinion. This caused conversation with Gen. Sumner, told him that I me to decide that I ought not to make the attack wanted him to order the 9th army corps--which I had contemplated. And besides, inasmuch as was the corps I originally commanded-to form the President of the United States had told me the next morning a column of attack by regi- | not to be in haste in making this attack; that ments. It consisted of some 18 old regiments, he would give me all the support that he could, and some new ones; and I desired the column to | but he did not want the Army of the Potomac make a direct attack upon the enemy's works. | destroyed, I felt that I could not take the responI thought that these regiments, by coming quick- sibility of ordering the attack, notwithstanding ly up after each other, would be able to carry my own belief at the time that the works of the the stone wall and the batteries in front, forcing I enemy could be carried.".