Col. Richard Byrnes

 fredericksburg report


Near Falmouth, Va., December 21, 1862

SIR: In compliance with instructions from division headquarters, I have the honor to transmit herewith the following report of the operations of this command during the late battle before Fredericksburg, Va.:

The regiment broke up camp on the morning of the 11th instant, and proceeded with the brigade, by Stafford Court-House road, to the ravine in rear of General Sumnerís headquarters, where it formed in column of battalion, and rested behind its stacks during the day.

At 5p.m. it moved to a skirt of wood on a road to the right of General Sumnerís headquarters, where it bivouacked for the night.

At 8a.m. on the 12th instant resumed the march, and crossed the Rappahannock by the right or upper pontoon bridge to Fredericksburg, and, effecting our crossing without loss, moved to the left along the road fronting the river until we arrived almost opposite the lower pontoon bridge, where the line halted and stacked arms in column of battalion, left in front. We remained in this position until 12p.m. on the 13th instant, when, with the remainder of the brigade, the line was formed, this regiment being in the center, and marched back in the direction of the upper pontoon bridge, halting at the railroad. Here we remained two hours, exposed to the fire from the enemyís batteries, and losing 4 men, wounded by shells. The line was then moved through the streets to the plain opposite the enemyís works, being all the time exposed to a heavy shot and shell fire, and suffering severely.

Following the direction of the column, we crossed the canal by the flank files undoubled, and reformed line of battle on opposite side, where we remained lying on the ground for ten minutes, when the order was given to advance in line, and we marched to the crest of the hill, directly in front of grape, canister, and musketry.

On arriving at the crest of the hill, the firing was so severe and concentrated that the men were compelled to take shelter by lying down and many endeavored to hold their position by piling wood, to form a barricade, in rear of a brick house on our right, behind which they did good execution, until ordered to retire with remainder of the brigade, which we did in good order, and halted in our former position by the railroad, where we remained until dark, when we were ordered to recross the pontoon bridge and bring over all our wounded, which we accomplished successfully, and encamped for the night on the ground occupied by us on the night of the 11th instant.

On the morning of the 14th instant, we recrossed the river by the lower pontoon bridge, and occupied the position held by us on the 12th instant. Here ammunition was distributed to the men sufficient to make up the original complement of 60 rounds per man.

We remained in this place until the night the of the 15th instant, when, with the remainder of the troops, we evacuated the city under the cover of the darkness, crossing by the upper pontoon bridge, and marched directly to our camping grounds near Falmouth, Va., occupied by us previous to the morning of the 11th instant.

In justice to the brave men who have fallen, I cannot refrain from bearing testimony to their gallant conduct, and have also to express my gratification at the behavior of the whole regiment throughout the action.

The number of casualties incurred by the regiment was as follows: Killed, 11; wounded, 116; missing, 30; total 157.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding. 28th Massachusetts Infantry

Lieut. John J. Blake,
Acting Assistant Adjutant- General


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