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Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!
A stunning defeat for the Union. Confederate Robert E. Lee suffered roughly 5,000 casualties but inflicted nearly 13,000--on his opponent, General Ambrose Burnside.

Fredericksburg I
Maryes' Heights Virginia
American Civil War
December 11-15, 1862


Fredericksburg 1 would unfold in an amphitheater bounded by the Rappahannock River and by the line of hills fortified by Lee. When Jackson's men arrived Longstreet moved his corps north, defending five miles of Lee's front. He mounted guns at Strong points such as Taylor's Hill, Marye's Heights, Howison Hill, and Telegraph (later Lee's) Hill, the Confederate command post. "Old Pete's" five divisions of infantry supported his artillery at the base of the slopes.

Journal Of Rufus Rowe
Witness To The Battle Of Fredricksburg

Witness the raw carnage of war; the dead horses, the deafening boom of cannon and gun fire, the exhaustion and hunger, soldiers stripping clothes and items off dead soldiers, truces agreed upon too bury the dead

On November 14, Union General Burnside, now in command of the Army of the Potomac, sent a corps to occupy the vicinity of Falmouth near Fredericksburg. The rest of the army soon followed.  Lee reacted by entrenching his army on the heights behind the town.

On December 11, Union engineers laid five pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock under fire. On the 12th, the Federal army crossed over, and on December 13, Burnside mounted a series of futile frontal assaults on Prospect Hill and Marye's Heights that resulted in staggering casualties.

Meade's division, on the Union left flank, briefly penetrated Jackson's line but was driven back by a counterattack. Union generals C. Feger Jackson and George Bayard, and Confederate generals Thomas R.R. Cobb and Maxey Gregg were killed.

On December 15, Burnside called off the offensive and recrossed the river, ending the campaign.  Burnside initiated a new offensive in January 1863, which quickly bogged down in the winter mud. The abortive "Mud March" and other failures led to Burnside's replacement by Major General Joseph Hooker in January 1863.

Result(s): Confederate victory

Location: Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg

Campaign: Fredericksburg Campaign (November-December 1862) This campaign had just this battle Campaigns

Date(s): December 11-15, 1862

Principal Commanders: Major General Ambrose E. Burnside [US]; General Robert E. Lee [CS]

Forces Engaged: 172,504 total (US 100,007; CS 72,497)

Estimated Casualties: 17,929 total (US 13,353; CS 4,576)


Fredericksburg
Voices of the Civil War

The courage of the troops who fought at Fredericksburg through their actual accounts. You can sence how the south felt it would win the war after this northern defeat from the soilders letters

Click for full size map
Fredericksburg Campaign Map


Burnside
Burnside
Ambrose Burnside, the Union general, was a major player on the Civil War stage from the first clash at Bull Run until the final summer of the war. He led a corps or army during most of this time and played important roles in various theaters of the war.




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Fighting Joe Hooker
Union general Joseph Hooker assumed command of an army demoralized by defeat and diminished by desertion. Acting swiftly, the general reorganized his army, routed corruption among quartermasters, improved food and sanitation, and boosted morale by granting furloughs and amnesties. The test of his military skill came in the battle of Chancellorsville. It was one of the Union Army's worst defeats

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Cobb's and Kershaw's Confederate Troops Behind a Stone Wall Defending Fredericksburg, c.1862
Cobb's and Kershaw's Confederate Troops
Behind a Stone Wall Defending Fredericksburg, c.1862

24 in. x 18 in.
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Sources:
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US Army
U.S. Library of Congress.


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