Fort Hood

 

 

 

 

A Tense Night at Ford Hood


In addition to the well known battlefields around Fredericksburg, there are numerous Civil War related
features in more obscure areas. One of these sites is an earthwork called Fort Hood that commands a
stretch of the Rappahannock River, downstream from the town.


During the days immediately preceding the Battle of Fredericksburg, Fort Hood was occupied by

members of the 9th Georgia Infantry. On December 11, Captain George Hillyer commanded the contingent
of Georgians stationed along the river. His account of a tense night along the picket line in Fort Hood,
while Union troops pushed across the river, was later published in the Athens Southern Banner:


Near Fredericksburg, Dec. 18, ‘62


. .I was at night-fall again sent out with a picket consisting of my own company and
ten men of company E, to hold Fort Hood, a fortification on the Southern bank of the
river four miles below Fredericksburg. About ten o’clock Major Jones visited the Fort
and informed me that the Generals desired me to know that the enemy were at that
moment crossing heavy columns of infantry at the mouth of “Deep Run,” two miles
above me, and were filing down the river. I had my pickets posted so as to watch both
banks of the river for [a] half mile above the fort, and carefully arranging the order of
my retreat, and keeping my line of pickets well in hand, I waited the result, taking my
station at the uppermost point where my men were posted. About 11 o’clock I went
down to the right for the purpose of giving some instructions to Lt. Dyer, in command
of the fort, near which is an old Ferry, where Gen. Hood thought it likely the enemy
would endeavor to throw over another bridge during the night. As I arrived at the fort
I heard heavy firing at the post I had just left. Sending Jack Giles who was with me
into the fort with an order to Lt. Dyer I hurried back up the river to the post where the
firing was going on. The men (those of Co. E.) reported that a scouting party had at-
tempted to come over in a bateau, and they had fired on them and driven them back.
But as it was quite dark and the river being thinly frozen over in the middle and thickly
at the banks, and the tide rising, made a great popping and cracking noise, I was of the
opinion and am yet, that they were mistaken, and fired at nothing. I accordingly or-
dered them to cease firing. After this, all was quiet for the remainder of the night. Next
morning about 9 o’clock I was astonished to hear from a scout who came out in search
of me, that two men of the ten before mentioned had run back to camp at the time of the
firing the night before, and reported that we were all taken prisoners, and in conse-
quence of the rumor the brigade had been under arms all night and in fact a large por-
tion of the troops of the right wing had partly changed front. I wrote Gen. Anderson a
note setting the matter right, and about mid-day being relieved by a company from
Gen. A.P. Hill’s Division, I marched back to the line of battle and rejoined the regiment.


George Hillyer

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