Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.

Dec. 17 1862


My dear Sisters,

You no doubt are anxious to hear from me since the events of past few days.  The papers will give you all the particulars of the crossing of the Rappahannock, as well as the recrossing and are not very particular as to the truth of the facts, only so they have a telling effect and read well.  My Corps, or two Divisions of it, made the attack on the left, and after almost gaining the object let it slip.  They did not do as well as I expected tho’ they advanced under Artillery fire very well.  When it came to the attack of the wooded heights they faltered and failed—we are fortunate that it is not worse.  The crossing at this point was a failure, from the fact that to have been successful it ought to have been a surprise, and we should have advanced at once and carried the heights as was intended.  As it was. we lost one day by the failure to throw over the Bridges at the town without serious opposition and to have risked more than we did would have probably caused the loss of the whole Army in case of another repulse.  You must not show this to anyone.  I and my staff escaped without any mishap save to some of the orderlies and couriers.

Believe me ever

Your affectionate Brother

John F. Reynolds


         Meade has rec’d his app’t as Maj. Gen’l but mine has not reached me yet, tho’ I have had a notice through Seth Williams of its having been made.