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History of Cambria County, V.2

night. On last Friday troops were passing us all day; it was said they were going to Belle Plains; it is generally expected that we will go into winter quarters here.
    Tuesday, 9. Routed out at 5 a. m.; began march at 8: traveled about 5 miles; crossing the Little Potomac creek, and up the steepest hill I have found in Virginia. We camped at 1 p. m.
    Wednesday, 10. Started at 8 a. m., marched about 5 miles and camped on the road to Falmouth; 4 miles to Falmouth and 4 miles to Belle Plains.
    Thursday, 11. Troops and pontoon bridges passing all day; a great fight is expected today about Fredericksburg. Began march at 5 a. m. Heard artillery firing as we continued, becoming louder at every step. We camped about half mile from the Rappahannock. I met Charles H. Veil today; he is one of Gen. Reynolds' orderlies. Reynolds is our crops commander. We are in the first division, under Gen. Meade. Veil told me the firing was at our men putting down the pontoon bridges; there are 3 down now.
    Friday, 12. Marched at 7 and laid in a field near the river, waiting to cross. We are about three-quarters of a mile from Fredericksburg; a chaplain of a New York regiment told us we had taken possession of that place. About 2 p. m. we crossed the Rappahannock about 2 miles below Fredericksburg, on a pontoon bridge; we halted in line of battle near or in front of the Barnard House, a large stone mansion owned by a rebel congressman; the enemy are in their fortifications near us; the whole army crossed today. We could see the rebel pickets in the woods.
Fredericksburg Battle, December 13, 1862.

    Saturday, 13. Terrific cannonading began at 7 a. m. About 8 a. m. we marched on a double-quick across a little run, and formed on a small hill; then forward on a double-quick over a rough road and high fence, midst the whistling of shot and shell; I could not keep up, but soon came up to the boys, who were lying on the ground, their faces in the mud; one of our batteries, 4 or 5 guns, was about 30 feet from me; the noise was terrific, almost deafening; the enemy was trying to silence it; it was said a rebel caisson exploded, killing 80 men. About 2 p. m. we were ordered to advance on a double-quick; we went midst the bursting of shells and whistling of bullets; we could feel the wind caused by them, but the boys went on, loading and firing as they went; got in a rifle pit; we were under fire for two hours; our regiment exhausted their ammunition, 40 to 50 rounds; our men broke the rebel line, driving them across the railroad; Col. Lyle, the brigade commander, saved our regiment from capture; the other regiments of our brigade got out before we did, and gave us a cheer; our regiment received great praise and honor for their bravery; we fell back.
    The loss in our company is: Robert H. Pike, was seen

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Created: 22 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors