Col. Edgar M. Gregory, Ninety-first Pennsylvania Infantry.
CAMP NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, VA., December 18, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Ninety-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the engagement with the rebels at Fredericksburg Heights, Va., on the afternoon of the 13th instant:
At about 12 a.m. we crossed the pontoon bridge, and proceeded to some of the stores in the central part of the city, where, by order, we deposited therein the knapsacks and surplus baggage of the officers and men, after which the regiment took up the line of march for the rear [p.439] of the city, upon reaching which we halted for further orders. About 3.30 o'clock the regiment, along with the brigade, moved off to the battle-field, via one of the main roads leading from the city toward the rear, and, crossing the canal or creek, took our position on the left of the road. We halted but a short time here, when we were ordered to move to the right of the road, beneath a hill (beyond which the enemy's batteries were posted), our right resting in the meadow, near a tan-yard. While in this position the enemy moved a gun from one of the earthworks on our right, and placed it in a position to enfilade our lines. They immediately commenced shelling our position, and I have to report the following as the casualties in this regiment, in consequence of the fire of the rebels at this place, viz: One lieutenant severely wounded, since died, 6 men killed, and 1 man wounded. [The lieutenant was probably George Murphy.]
We were immediately removed to our former position, on the left of the road, where we remained until directed to prepare for assaulting the rebel works.
We were ordered into position on the left of the One hundred and twenty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Elder, and in the rear of the One hundred and twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Frick. The regiment started on the charge in this position about sunset, and marched up the hill and over the plains above. We steadily advanced, notwithstanding the fact that our path was almost completely blocked up by regiments of men lying in line of battle on the hill, and were while in this position constantly exposed to a terrific fire from the rebels, who were posted behind stone walls and formidable earthworks, while their batteries on the hill shelled us unceasingly. The advance continued beyond the brick house, about 30 or 40 yards, when we retired.
After retiring under cover of the hill, we returned to the city and remained under arms until about 5 a.m. 14th instant, when, under orders, we again proceeded to the battle-field, and remained at our old position until daylight.
We returned again and remained until Monday night, the 15th instant. About 8 o'clock we were ordered to proceed to the rear of the city, between Amelia and Fauquier streets. Three lines of pickets were posted as follows: Company A, Lieut. F. H. Gregory commanding, occupying the front line, the left resting on the west wall of the grave-yard, and extending west to the road. The second line, composed of Company E, Capt. John D. Lentz, and Company F, Capt. John H. Weeks, were posted about 60 yards immediately in the rear and parallel to Company A. While posting this second line of pickets, they were fired into by some one from the flank, which, upon inquiry, was found to be from the pickets of our own troops, under command of Colonel Roberts, wherein one of my men was slightly wounded. Our reserve was placed about 100 yards in rear of the second line, composed of seven companies.
Nothing further occurred during our stay at this post. We were relieved by the Fifth New York, and ordered to proceed as soon as possible to another part of the city, under the direction of Lieutenant Diehl, aide to Brigadier-General Tyler, and moved on until we reached a post below the city near the railroad, arriving at about 1 a. m. on the morning of the 16th instant. Remaining on duty at this post until daylight, we were ordered to retire.
For particulars of that affair, and a full report of the killed, wounded, and missing, I refer you to my report of the 17th instant. [footnote:] Not found; but see revised statement, p.137. [end of footnote]
In conclusion, I have the pleasure to say that my officers and men discharged their duties faithfully until the close of the battle.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
E. M. GREGORY, Colonel, Commanding.
Capt. H. C. RANNEY, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Brigade.