Colonel Carter’s report

On Dec. 28, 1862, Col. John W. Carter, commanding the 13th Regiment at Fredericksburg, wrote the following report to Gen. Barksdale of the regiment’s fight on Dec. 11:

GENERAL: In accordance with your order, I marched my regiment, at about 5 o’clock on the morning of the 11th instant, to the market-house in Fredericksburg, when I was ordered by you to take position on Caroline street, await Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser’s orders , send [his 17th Miss. Regt] reinforcements whenever he called on me to do so, and, should he be unable to hold his position, then, in that event, to withdraw my regiment to the market-house.

I accordingly took position on Caroline street, immediately in rear of the position occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser, and opened communication with him, where I remained until about 4 p.m., under a very heavy and destructive fire from the batteries of the enemy on the opposite side of the river. About 4 p.m. Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser asked me for 10 men to act as sharpshooters, which I promptly sent him. About 4 p.m. Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser sent to me for two companies, which I was proceeding with when I met him retiring with his command to the market-house, being unable to hold his position longer.

I immediately formed my regiment, and withdrew it to the market-house, when I was ordered by you to form in the next street (toward the river) and engage the enemy. But before I could do so, I ascertained that the enemy occupied the street on which I was ordered to form, and was advancing. I immediately disposed of my regiment on the street which I then occupied [Princess Anne], so as to command as many streets running at right angles with the river as I possibly could, and engaged the enemy at once, driving him toward the river, after a spirited engagement of two hours.

Having fired the last gun at the retreating enemy, I was then ordered to withdraw my regiment from the town, which order I promptly obeyed. The enemy’s loss, after crossing the river, in the engagement with my regiment, is estimated to be over 200 killed and wounded. I refer you to the report already furnished you of the loss which we sustained.

Capt. J.L. Clark [of the Spartan Band] was killed by a solid shot early in the morning. He was a promising young officer. Capt. [Thomas] W. Thurman [of the Newton Rifles] was dangerously wounded later in the day, fell in the hands of the enemy, and, in all probability, is dead. Lieut. [John] M. Stovall [of the Kemper Legion] is missing, and is supposed to be killed.

I wish to call your attention to the gallant and meritorious conduct of Capt. [George LaValle] Donald [of the Secessionists]. who had immediate command of several companies, which did fine execution, without sustaining serious loss. I wish also to make mention of the coolness, bravery and soldier-like conduct of both officers and enlisted men of my command.


Colonel, Commanding,

Thirteenth Mississippi Regiment.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Fredericksburg, Newton Rifles, The Kemper Legion, The Secessionists, The Spartan Band and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Colonel Carter’s report

  1. thats my great great great grandfather!

  2. Kendall, Captain, Mississippi Nat'l Guard (Retired) says:

    Anyone figure out who the 10 sharpshooters from the 13th were?

  3. Kendall, Captain, Mississippi Nat'l Guard (Retired) says:

    Capt. J. L. Clark “Early action was killed while asleep by a cannon ball entering his breast and coming out at back.” J. C. Rietti Military Annals of Mississippi Confederate

  4. Dick Stanley says:

    Ad hoc appointments of sharpshooters apparently weren’t unusual, Kendall, as most of the 13th’s soldiers were good shots. Jess McLean doesn’t have their names and I don’t know of anyone else who does.

    Captain James Lafayette Clark, “killed by solid shot” at Fredericksburg, began as a first lieutenant with the Spartan Band, according to McLean’s research. He was an unmarried, 24-year-old physician from Alabama living in Sparta when he joined May 2, 1861, at Corinth. He had two brothers in the Spartan Band, Second Corporal Silas Washington Clark, a 19-year-old farmer, and Second Sergeant Thomas Benton Clark, 21, a family overseer, both from Montpelier in Chickasaw County who had joined in March, ’61.

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