CAMP IN THE FIELD, Near Fredericksburg, Va., December 17, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make a report of the affair which occurred on the morning of the 16th instant.
In pursuance of orders, I proceeded with my command, under the direction of Captain Cavada, to the road and across the creek. Was told by the captain that Lieutenant-Colonel Rowe, One hundred and twenty-sixth Regiment, would give me my instructions. An officer was directed by the colonel to show me where to post my men, and the colonel directed me to hold the house (known as the block-house) at all hazards. After posting the men on the line, and having 12 left, I was directed to place them in the block-house and stay with them, remaining in the block-house, from daylight till 10 a. m. I saw a number of men, supposed to be Berdan Sharpshooters, being relieved. Discovered my mistake when I saw them taken toward the rebel camp. The rebels then approached toward the block-house, where I was posted with my men. They ran on until within 30 or 40 yards, when they demanded that we surrender, with the exclamation, "Down with your guns, you sons of bitches." We let them come a little nearer, when I ordered my men to fire, when the officer who commanded the rebels fell, and several others, wounded. They then broke and started off on a run. On looking around, I saw a large force closing in on us from three sides. I ordered my men to retire as quickly as possible. Before starting, however, a man appeared near the door. I ordered him to come in, taking his cartridge-box and gun from him; brought him away with me. We started down the picket line toward the road; saw guns lying along the line; followed the road to the town; saw a large number of rebels in the town; changed our direction toward the river; went up the shore to the railroad bridge; found the pontoon bridge removed. Our escape being cut off, then began to devise means to cross the river, when Private James Clark volunteered to swim across and bring or send a boat over, which he did after reaching the shore. Two men employed on the railroad took a pontoon boat over for us to cross in, when we arrived on this side about 12 o'clock with the men and prisoner. Did not discover that any of my men were missing until after roll-call, at sunset, when I found that 11 men of my company did not answer to their names. I believe now that the men I saw going toward the rebel camp were my men taken prisoners.
I am, very respectfully,