Fredericksburg Campaign Map
American Civil War
December 11-15, 1862
After Antietam both armies returned to face each other in Virginia, General Robert E. Lee situated near Culpeper and General McClellan at Warrenton. But McClellan’s slowness, his failure to accomplish more at Antietam, and perhaps his rather arrogant habit of offering gratuitous political advice to his superiors, coupled with the intense anti-McClellan views of the joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, convinced Lincoln that he could retain him in command no longer. On November 7 Lincoln replaced him with General Burnside, who had won distinction in operations that gained control of ports on the North Carolina coast and who had led the IX Corps at Antietam. Burnside, acutely aware of his own limitations, accepted the post with reluctance.
Burnside decided to march rapidly to Fredericksburg and then to advance along the railroad line to Richmond before Lee could intercept him. Such a move by the army, now 120,000 strong, would cut Lee off from his main base. Burnside’s advance elements reached the north bank of the Rappahannock on November 17, well ahead of Lee. But a series of minor failures delayed the completion of pontoon bridges, and Lee moved his army to high ground on the west side of the river before the Federal forces could cross. Lee’s situation resembled McClellan’s position at Malvern Hill that had proved the folly of frontal assaults against combined artillery and infantry strong points. But Burnside thought the sheer weight of numbers could smash through the Confederates. continued below map
To achieve greater ease of tactical control, Burnside had created three headquarters higher than corps—the Right, Center, and Left Grand Divisions under Maj. Generals Edwin V. Sumner, Joseph Hooker, and William B. Franklin, respectively—with two corps plus cavalry assigned to each grand division. Burnside originally planned to make the main thrust by the Center and Left Grand Divisions against General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson’s positions on a long, low-wooded ridge southeast of the town. The Right Grand Division would cross three pontoon bridges at Fredericksburg and attack Marye’s Heights, a steep eminence about one mile from the river where CSA General Longstreet’s men were posted. On the morning of December 15, he weakened the attack on the left, feeling that under cover of 147 heavy siege and field guns on the heights on the Union side of the river much could be achieved by a better-balanced attack along the whole line.
Burnside’s engineers had begun laying the bridges as early as December 11. But harassment from Confederate sharpshooters complicated the operation, and it was not until the next day that all the assault units were over the river. After an artillery duel on the morning of the thirteenth, the fog lifted to reveal dense Union columns moving forward to the attack. Part of the Left Grand Division, finding a weakness in Jackson’s line, drove in to seize the ridge; but as Burnside had weakened this part of the assault, the Federals were not able to hold against Confederate counterattacks. On the right, the troops had to cross a mile of open ground to reach Marye’s Heights, traverse a drainage canal, and face a fusillade of fire from the infamous sunken road and stone wall behind which Longstreet had placed four ranks of riflemen. In a series of assaults the Union soldiers pushed to the stone wall but no farther. As a demonstration of valor, the Union attacks all along the line were exemplary; as a demonstration of tactical skill, they were tragic. Lee, personally observing the failed attacks on the Confederate right wing, commented: "It is well that war is so terrible—we should grow too fond of it."
The Union Army of the Potomac lost 12,000 men at Fredericksburg, while the CSA Army of Northern Virginia suffered only 5,300 casualties. Burnside planned to renew the attack on the following day. Jackson, whose enthusiasm in battle sometimes approached the point of frenzy, suggested that the Confederates strip off their clothes for better identification and strike the Army of the Potomac in a night attack. But Lee knew of Burnside’s plans from a captured order and vetoed the scheme. When the Federal corps commanders talked Burnside out of renewing the attack, both armies settled into winter quarters facing each other across the Rappahannock. Fredericksburg, a disastrous defeat, was otherwise noteworthy for the U.S. Army in that the telegraph first saw extensive battlefield use, linking headquarters with forward batteries during the action—a forerunner of twentieth century battlefield communications.
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.
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
From Manassas to Appomattox: General James Longstreet
According to some, he was partially to blame for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg; according to others, if Lee had followed Longstreet's advice, they would have won that battle. He has been called stubborn and vain; and he has been lauded as one of the greatest tacticians of the Civil War
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.
The Civil War for Kids
History explodes in this activity guide spanning the turmoil preceding secession, the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, the fierce battles on land and sea, and finally the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.
Lee Vs. McClellan: The First Campaign
An interesting account of the struggle for western Virginia in 1861. It follows that year's rolls of Generals McClellan and Lee; the former using the successes of the campaign to further his reputation and career, and the latter struggling to straighten out a quagmire and failing to do so
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
Robert E. Lee
This book not only offers concise detail but also gives terrific insight into the state of the Union and Confederacy during Lee's life. Lee was truly a one of kind gentleman and American, and had Virginia not been in the south or neutral, he ultimately would have led the Union forces.
Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims
While a cadet at West Point, Jackson collected maxims as part of his quest for status as a gentleman, and in the mid-1850s he carefully inscribed these maxims in a personal notebook, which disappeared after his death in 1863. In the 1990s, the author discovered the long-lost book of maxims in the archives of Tulane University
Kill-Cavalry: The Life of Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
Nicknamed "Kill-Cavalry" because of the unusually high casualty rate among his men, cavalry commander Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was also the most notorious scoundrel in the Union army. Kilpatrick lied, thieved, and whored his way through the Civil War, yet managed to attain the stars of a major general.
The Man, the Soldier, the Legend
Jackson traces his life from his humble beginnings, through his military career, to his untimely death in 1863, discussing his military campaigns and strategies, religious beliefs, personal eccentricities
Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History
Definitive Reference Work, this volume, rich with over 500 illustrations, 75 maps, and 250 primary source documents, offers more than 1,600 entries that chart the war's strategic aims, analyze diplomatic and political maneuvering, describe key military actions, sketch important participants, assess developments in military science, and discuss the social and financial impact of the conflict.
Battleground 7: Bull Run
July 21, 1861 The earliest large-scale engagement of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run found J.E. Johnston's outnumbered Rebels fighting a desperate delaying action versus the powerful Union army of Irvin McDowell. It was in this battle that General Thomas J. Jackson earned his famous nickname "Stonewall"
Civil War Battles
You decide the outcome of a duel between two determined generals in the American Civil War. It's 1864 and the Union forces are ready to make a final drive into the Deep South. General William T. Sherman advances to destroy the Confederate Army of Tennessee & capture the city of Atlanta. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston planned on using Georgia's difficult terrain to inflict heavy losses
Civil War Battles
A defining moment in the Civil War -- one that could have spelled victory for the South if things had been slightly different. At Chickamauga Creek near Chattanooga, TN there was a battle that earned it a new nickname: "River Of Blood." Chattanooga was a vital rail station at the time and had fallen to Union General Rosecrans
History Channel Civil War
There are about a half-dozen different small arms types, but the Henry is the best for rapid repeating fire and least reloading. The shotgun they give you is useless: you must aim spot-on to affect an enemy, so why not just use the rifle? Grenades are useful at times.
Age of Rifles 1846 - 1905
Game lets you design and play turn-based strategic battles. You can create scenarios betwen years 1846 and 1905. You have complete control over all the units, and can customize their firepower, movement points, strength, aggressiveness, etc. Supports 1 or 2 players
Civil War A Nation Divided
Rally the troops and organize a counterattack -- Your strategic decision and talent as a commander will decide if the Union is preserved or if Dixie wins its independence
Sid Meier's Civil War Collection
Take command of either Confederate or Union troops and command them to attack from the trees, rally around the general, or do any number of other realistic military actions. The AI reacts to your commands as if it was a real Civil War general, and offers infinite replayability. The random-scenario generator provides endless variations on the battles
Civil War Battles
Campaign Gettysburg is simply the best of all the HPS Civil War games. While all of those are very good in their own right they simply do not compete with the level of detail presented here.
Hundreds of scenarios and multiple OOBs are only the start, the best thing is the campaign game
The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
Here is the saga of celebrated generals and ordinary soldiers, a heroic and transcendent president and a country that had to divide itself in two in order to become one
Civil War Historic 1000-piece Puzzle
The famous faces and fearsome facts of the Civil War are captured in this 1,000-piece cardboard puzzle for Civil War buffs and serious puzzle fans.
Civil War Cannon
Collectible Models and childrens playsets
Miniature Collectible Civil War Cannon12 pound Civil War field cannon replica weapon collectible is a detailed 1/12th scale military caisson replica weapon collectible as used throughout the Civil War
Childrens Cannon Set. Includes 6 gray cannon with black wheels that measure 4.5 inches long