Gen. Barksdale, the brigade commander, later wrote that Gen McLaws moved some of the division north of Fredericksburg to meet the enemy. The Mississippians, however, were detailed to Gen. Early.
The Thirteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Regiments were pulled back from Fredericksburg and initially posted at Marye’s Hill. The Twenty-First Regiment was left in Fredericksburg to picket the river. It was April 30, 1863.
The 17th’s Private Robert A. Moore wrote in his diary “The enemy have crossed the river above this place in large force & it seems to be his intention to gain the rear of Fredericksburg if possible.
“[Our] troops are moving up the river. All has been quiet on the line in front of us except some artillery firing across the river.”
It was a warm, showery Thursday.
“By Gen. Early’s order,” Gen. Barksdale later wrote, “with the Thirteenth and Seventeenth Regiments, I relieved the pickets of Generals Kershaw and Woffard above the railroad. The brigade was then extended over a picket line of not less than five miles.”
Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill concluded: “There was some cannonading on the right this evening and heavy skirmishing on the left.”
He heard that the Union forces above Fredericksburg (on the Rebel left) were crossing in greater numbers than the forces below it.