Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/268

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262 Southern Historical Society Papers.

[From the Richmond Dispatch, December 20, 1891.]


To the Editor of the Dispatch :

Sunday, December i3th, was the anniversary of the first battle of Fredericksburg, and looking back through the dim vista of the past that memorable event, with the bombardment of the roth, is vividly recalled. It was a stormy and distressing time to many of the old residents of the old town, who were unable to leave the place when the Federal General Burnside notified them that he would bombard their homes. Many were compelled to remain within the town. A few of the residents gathered together what few articles they could carry with them, and leaving the city, located wherever they could find shelter within the lines of Lee's army, back of the town. Well do I remember with what cheerful resignation the female portion of the refugees accepted the trying conditions forced upon them by the abandonment of their homes, and how, after the battle had been fought and the victory won by the gallant and heroic Confederate army, they returned to their pillaged homes, and gathering together what was left by the thieving soldiery of the Federal army, cheerfully accepted the hard results. The day of the battle was a beautiful one, and the writer, occupying a position on a point of wooded land, midway between Hamilton's Crossing and Marye's Heights, could plainly see that Warren's portion of the battle-field where Warner's corps of Federal troops made the charge to capture Lee's position at Hamilton's Crossing. The Fredericksburg battery of artillery, com- manded by Major Carter Braxton, occupied a point across the rail- road under the heavy artillery that was planted on the hills above.


The charge of the Federal troops across the field, in front of Marye's Heights, could be plainly seen from the location 1 occupied, and I saw the lines of Warren's troops melt away and reform under the murderous fire that met them from the guns they were endeavor- ing to capture. I did not then visit this portion of the battle-field, but on the following dav after the Federals had been driven back across the Rappahannock, fearfully slaughtered and beaten, I walked over that portion of the field fronting "Marye's Heights," where