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The Battle of Fredericksburg

At 2 p.m. on the 13th of December, 1862, the 1st Brigade, consisting of the
3rd and 4th Regiments and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 12th Regiment,
and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 14th Regiment, lead the 2nd Division
across the Rappahannock and into Fredericksburg. The Brigade moved to
the rear of the city via Hanover street. Here they were placed under cover in
a ditch some 6 feet wide and 10 feet deep. After Humphreys’ division (3rd
Division, 5th Army Corps) was repulsed the Brigade was first ordered to form
in line of battle and take the enemy’s batteries in front at the point of the
bayonet.  Before the line of battle was fully formed, however, orders were
received not to advance. Since the Brigade took up more room than could
be covered in the ditch the 3rd and 4th infantry were moved into a cemetery
on the south side of town (leading, to jokes, passed among the officers and
men about having a decent place to be buried in).

Company B, 4th U. S., commanded by First Lieutenant Abner R. Benedict,
was sent forward as pickets, positioned to the right of pickets from the 3rd
Infantry. At midnight the rest of the regiment moved forward about 300 yards
to the front and left to relieve volunteers moved forward earlier in the evening
(Lt. Col. Hull, 62nd Pennsylvania). Positioned on the crest of a hill, the left of the Regiment resting on Hanover
street, the right of the regiment resting on a large tannery on Plank road, the regiment spent the remainder of
the night. As fog lifted the next morning, Confederate troops opened fire from rifle pits, 100 yards distant and
from a frame house, on the right of Plank road road, some 75 yards distant. From these positions the Rebels
kept up a continuous and commanding fire on the right of the regiment and on the line of Union pickets, laying
down in a field directly in their front.

Noticing the position of Lieutenant Benedict’s pickets, Captain Dryer ordered him to fall back to a ditch near
the cemetery and then, if possible, to the cemetery itself. Withdrawing, Lieutenant Benedict was severely
wounded along with 1 sergeant mortally wounded. Prior to withdrawing Lieutenant Benedict had 7 men wounded.
Around 11 a.m. on Sunday the 14th, using their bayonets, the men of the 3rd and 4th U.S. Regiments were able
to make a hole in the tanery's brick wall, and occupy it. Posting men at the windows, and making additional
loop-holes the troops were able to drive the Confederates from their positions on the right. Fire was kept up until
the Brigade was relieved at midnight. At that time, after burying their dead, the Brigade moved back into
Fredericksburg and bivouacked for the rest of the night and all day, December 15th. On the morning of the 16th,
the Brigade, having been designated the rear guard, the regiment crossed the Rappahannock and marched back
to the camp near Falmouth and bivouacked.

During the engagement the 4th US. had 2 officers severely wounded, 2 sergeants and 2 privates killed, and 3
sergeants and 8 privates wounded.