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Mapa da batalha de Fredericksburg, metade superior
Mapa da batalha de Fredericksburg, metade superior
Metade Superior - Mapa Completo - Metade Inferior
Mapa retirado de Batalhas e líderes da Guerra Civil: III: Retiro de Gettysburg, p.74
Retorne à batalha de Fredericksburg
Editar patentes militares
- MG = Major General
- BG = Brigadeiro General
- Col = Coronel
- Ltc = Tenente Coronel
- Maj = Maior
- Cpt = Capitão
- Tenente = 1º Tenente
Editar unidades da Sede Geral
- Oneida (New York) Cavalry: Cpt Daniel P. Mann, Companies. BCH & ampI: Cpt Marcus A. Reno, Empresas A e E: Cpt James B. McIntyre
- Sturgis (Illinois) Rifles: Cpt James Steel
- 22 de Nova Jersey
- 29 de Nova Jersey
- 30 de Nova Jersey
- 31º New Jersey
- 9ª Infantaria de Nova York, Companhia G: Cpt Charles Criança: Cel John S. Crocker
- 147ª Nova York: Maj Charles J. Whiting (5 empresas): Cpt Royal T. Frank
Brigada de engenheiro voluntário: BG Daniel Phineas Woodbury
- 15 de Nova York: Cel John M. Murphy
- 50ª Nova York: Tenente William H. Pettes: Cpt James C. Duane
- : Cpt Elijah D. Taft
- Bateria A, 1º Batalhão Luz de Nova York: Cpt Otto Diederichs
- Bateria B, 1º Batalhão Luz de Nova York: Cpt Adolph Voegelee
- Bateria C, 1º Batalhão Luz de Nova York: Ten Bernhard Wever
- Bateria D, 1º Batalhão Luz de Nova York: Cpt Charles Kusserow: Cpt William M. Graham
- Bateria A, 2 ° Estados Unidos: Cpt John C. Tidball: Ten Marcus P. Miller: Ten David H. Kinzie
- 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, Company C: Cpt Josiah C. Fuller
Artilharia solta: Maj Thomas S. Trumbull
Edição da Grande Divisão Direita
II Corps Edit
BG John C. Caldwell (C)
Coronel George W. Von Schack
- : Cel Edward E. Cross (C), Maj Edward E. Sturtevant (k), Cpt James E. Larkin (C), Cpt Horace T. H. Pierce: Cel John E. Bendix (C), Tenente Coronel George W. von Schack, Cpt G. A. von Bransen: Cel Nelson A. Miles (C): Tenente Enos C. Brooks (C): Cel H. Boyd McKeen (C), Cpt William Wilson: Col Hiram L. Brown (C), Tenente David B. McCreary
- : Cel Richard Byrnes: Tenente Richard C. Bentley (C), Maj Joseph O'Neill (C), Cpt Patrick J. Condon: Cel Robert Nugent (C), Cpt James Saunders: Cel Patrick Kelly: Cel Dennis Heenan (C), Tenente St. Clair Augustine Mulholland (C), Tenente Francis T. Quinlan
- : Cel Richard S. Bostwick: Cel William P. Bailey (C): Cel Paul Frank: Tenente Alford B. Chapman (C), Maj N. Garrow Throop (mw), Cpt James W. Britt: Tenente James H. Bull (k), Cpt Julius Wehle (k), Cpt John S. Hammell (C), Tenente James G. Derrickson: Cel John R. Brooke
- : Cpt Rufus D. Pettit: Tenente Evan Thomas
- : Cel Frederick D. Sewall, Tenente Francis E. Heath: Maj Chase Philbrick (C), Cpt John Murkland, Cpt Charles H. Watson: Cpt William Plumer: Cel George N. Morgan: Cpt William F. Russell: Cel James A. Sutter: Ltc James Huston
Coronel Norman J. Hall (C)
Coronel William R. Lee
- : Cpt H. G. O. Weymouth (C): Cpt George N. Macy: Tenente Henry Baxter (C), Maj Thomas J. Hunt: Tenente George N. Bomford: Tenente William Northedge
- 127th Pennsylvania:  Cel William W. Jennings
- : Cpt William A. Arnold: Cpt John G. Hazard
BG Nathan Kimball (C)
Cel John S. Mason
- : Maj Elijah H. C. Cavins
- 24 de Nova Jersey: Cel William B. Robertson
- 28 de Nova Jersey: Cel Moses N. Wisewell (C), Tenente E. A. L. Roberts: Cel John S. Mason, Tenente James H. Godman (C), Cpt Gordon A. Stewart: Tenente Franklin Sawyer: Cel Joseph Snider (C), Tenente Jonathan H. Lockwood
- : Tenente Sanford H. Perkins (C), Cpt Samuel H. Davis: Tenente Charles J. Powers: Cel Henry I. Zinn (k), Cpt William M. Porter
Cel John W. Andrews 
Tenente William Jameson
Tenente John W. Marshall
- : Maj Thomas A. Smyth: Cel John D. MacGregor (C), Tenente William Jameson, Maj Charles W. Kruger: Cel John E. Bendix (C), Cpt Salmon Winchester (mw), Cpt George F. Hopper:  Tenente Charles Albright
- : Cpt John D. Frank: Cpt Charles D. Owen
IX Corps Edit
- 6ª Cavalaria de Nova York, Companhia B: Cpt Hillman A. Hall
- 6ª Cavalaria de Nova York, Companhia C: Cpt William L. Heermance
- : Cel Henry Bowman: Cel Thomas Welsh: Tenente David A. Leckey
- Bateria D, 1ª Luz de Nova York: Cpt Thomas W. Osborn
- Baterias L e M, 3º Estados Unidos: Lt Horace J. Hayden
- : Cel William S. Clark: Maj Sidney Willard (mw), Cpt Stephen H. Andrews: Cel Walter Harriman: Cel Robert Brown Potter: Cel John F. Hartranft
- : Cpt Jacob Roemer: Cpt George W. Durell: Cpt William W. Buckley: Ten George Dickenson (k), Tenente John Egan
- : Maj John E. Ward, Cpt Henry M. Hoyt: Cel Griffin Alexander Stedman, Jr.: Tenente Samuel Tolles: Cpt Charles L. Upham: Cel Arthur H. Dutton: Tenente Joseph B. Curtis (k), Maj Martin P. Buffum
- : Tenente Samuel N. Benjamin: Tenente James Gillies
Cavalry Division Edit
- 6ª Cavalaria de Nova York: Cel Thomas C. Devin, Tenente Duncan McVicar: Tenente Amos E. Griffiths: Cpt George C. Cram
- Battery M, 2 ° Estados Unidos: Ten Alexander C. M. Pennington, Jr.
Centro da Grande Divisão Editar
III Corps Edit
- : Cel John Van Valkenburg: Cel John A. Danks: Cel Andrew H. Tippin: Cel Amor A. McKnight: Cel Charles H. T. Collis: Cel Henry J. Madill
- : Cel Moses B. Lakeman: Cel Elijah Walker
- 38ª Nova York: Tenente William Birney (C): Tenente Nelson A. Gesner (C): Coronel Régis de Trobriand: Coronel Charles T. Campbell (C), Tenente Peter Sides: Cel Asher S. Leidy (C), Tenente Edwin Ruthwin Biles
- : Cel Thomas A. Roberts: Maj Moses B. Houghton: Tenente John Gilluly (k), Maj Edward T. Sherlock: Cel J. Frederick Pierson: Cel Samuel B. Hayman: Cel George F. Chester
- : Tenente Clark B. Baldwin, Cel Napoleon B. McLaughlen: Cel William E. Blaisdell: Cel Thomas R. Tannatt: Cel Gilman Marston: Cel Robert McAllister: Tenente Benjamin C. Tilghman
- : Cpt A. Judson Clark
- 4ª bateria, New York Light: Lt Joseph E. Nairn
- Bateria H, 1.º Estados Unidos: Ten. Justin E. Dimick: Ten. Francis W. Seeley
- : Cel Joseph H. Potter: Maj James J. Byrne: Cel Samuel M. Bowman: Tenente James Crowther
- 10th Battery, New York Light: Cpt John T. Bruen: Cpt Albert A. Von Puttkammer: Lt George W. Norton
Edição do V Corpo
- : Tenente George Varney (C), Maj Daniel F. Sargent
- Atiradores de elite de Massachusetts, 2ª Companhia: Cpt Lewis E. Wentworth: Tenente Joseph Hayes: Tenente William S. Tilton: Tenente Ira C. Abbott (C): Cel Elisha Marshall (C), Tenente Francis A. Schoeffel: Cpt Patrick Connelly: Tenente James Gwyn
- : Cel Adelbert Ames, Tenente Joshua L. Chamberlain: Tenente Jonas H. Titus Jr.: Tenente Norval E. Welch: Tenente Robert M. Richardson: Comandante John Vickers: Tenente Freeman Conner (C), Maj Edward B. Knox: Cel Strong Vincent
- : Cpt Augustus Pearl Martin
- 5th Battery (E), Massachusetts Light: Cpt Charles A. Phillips: Cpt Richard Waterman: Lt Charles E. Hazlett
- 1º Estados Unidos: Ltc Casper Trepp
- : Cpt John D. Wilkins: Cpt Hiram Dryer, 1º Batalhão: Cpt Matthew M. Blunt
- 12º Estados Unidos, 2º Batalhão: Cpt Thomas M. Anderson, 1º Batalhão: Cpt John D. O'Connell
- 14º Estados Unidos, 2º Batalhão: Cpt Giles B. Overton
Maj George L. Andrews
Maj Charles S. Lovell
- e 2º Estados Unidos (batalhão): Cpt Salem S. Marsh: Cpt Levi C. Bootes: Cpt David P. Hancock: Cpt Henry E. Maynadier: Cpt Charles S. Russell e 19º Estados Unidos (batalhão): Cpt John P. Wales
- : Cel John B. Clark: Tenente William B. Shaut: Cel Franklin B. Orador: Cel Edward J. Allen
- : Tenente William H. Phillips
- Baterias E e G, 1º Estados Unidos: Cpt Alanson Merwin Randol 
- : Coronel Horace B. Sargent
- 3ª Cavalaria da Pensilvânia: Tenente Edward S. Jones: Cel James K. Kerr: Cpt James E. Harrison
- Baterias B e L, 2º Estados Unidos: Cpt James M. Robertson
Left Grand Division Edit
Editar I Corps
- : Tenente John McKie, Jr.: Tenente Samuel R. Beardsley: Tenente Morgan H. Chrysler: Tenente William H. de Bevoise: Maj Homer R. Stoughton
Cpt George A. Gerrish (C)
Cpt John A. Reynolds
BG John Gibbon (C)
BG Nelson Taylor
- : Tenente Charles W. Tilden: Maj John A. Kress: Maj Gilbert G. Prey: Maj Daniel A. Sharp (C), Cpt Abraham Moore: Cel Thomas F. McCoy
BG Nelson Taylor
Col Samuel H. Leonard
- : Cel Samuel H. Leonard, Tenente N. Walter Batchelder: Cpt John Hendrickson (C), Cpt Joseph A. Moesch (C), Tenente Isaac E. Hoagland, Tenente Henry P. Claire: Cel Charles Wheelock: Cel Richard Coulter (C), Cpt Christian Kuhn: Maj David A. Griffith
- : Cpt William C. Talley: Cel William McCandless, Cpt Timothy Mealey: Maj Wellington H. Ent: Cpt Charles F. Taylor (C), Cpt Edward Irvin (C): Col Chapman Biddle
- : Cel Horatio G. Sickel: Tenente Richard H. Woolworth: Cel Henry C. Bolinger (C): Maj Silas M. Baily: Cel Robert P. Cummins
- : Coronel Joseph W. Fisher, Tenente George Dare (C), Maj Frank Zentemeyer (mw): Tenente Robert Anderson, Maj James M. Snodgrass: Maj James B. Knox: Tenente Samuel M. Jackson: Cpt Richard Gustin
- : Tenente John G. Simpson: Cpt James H. Cooper
- Bateria G, 1.º farol da Pensilvânia: Cpt Frank P. Amsden: Cpt Dunbar R. Ransom
Edição VI Corpo
- , Empresa L: Tenente George Vanderbilt
- 6ª Cavalaria da Pensilvânia, Companhia I: Cpt James Starr
- 6ª Cavalaria da Pensilvânia, Companhia K: Cpt Frederick C. Newhall
- : Tenente Mark W. Collet: Cel Samuel L. Buck: Cel Henry W. Brown: Cel William B. Hatch (C), Tenente James N. Duffy: Tenente Edward L. Campbell: Cel Henry O. Ryerson
- : Cel George R. Myers: Tenente Leopold C. Newman: Cel Francis E. Pinto: Tenente Elisha Hall
- : Cpt John W. Wolcott
- 1ª bateria (A), Massachusetts Light: Cpt William H. McCarthey: Cpt William Hexamer
- Bateria D, 2 ° Estados Unidos: Tenente Edward B. Williston
- 26 de Nova Jersey: Cel Andrew J. Morrison: Tenente Charles H. Joyce: Cel Breed N. Hyde: Cel Charles B. Stoughton: Cel Lewis A. Grant: Cel Nathan Lord, Jr.
BG Francis L. Vinton (C)
Coronel Robert F. Taylor
BG Thomas H. Neill
Esta página oferece 3 relatos maravilhosamente detalhados dos 13º Voluntários de Massachusetts na batalha de Fredericksburg. Essas histórias não estavam disponíveis quando postei a narrativa original em 2012. Coletivamente, o novo material apresentado aqui fornece informações associadas a 3 das 4 vítimas fatais sofridas pelo regimento na batalha. Eles são Charles Armstrong, C. J. Taylor e Edmond H. Kendall. (As informações sobre a quarta fatalidade, George E. Bigelow, estão publicadas na página "Fim do Ano" deste site). O detalhe mais abrangente aqui é encontrado nas memórias do soldado Bourne Spooner & # 8217s, intitulado & # 8220In The Ranks. & # 8221. Ele foi enviado a mim por Maxine Glenn, um descendente direto do soldado Spooner.
Maxine transcreveu o documento do livro de memórias escrito à mão original. O soldado Spooner relata suas experiências na linha de conflito com detalhes precisos.
Uma segunda nova fonte é a história da revista Bivouac publicada em 1884, possivelmente escrita pelo tenente Edward Rollins, Companhia D, um veterano do regimento e um dos três editores da revista Bivouac. Esta anedota narra a conversa sinistra de Edmond H. Kendall com seu amigo Gilbert H. Greenwood no dia anterior à batalha.
A terceira nova referência postada aqui é um artigo de jornal de Worcester, Massachusetts, de autoria de um veterano do regimento em 1870. Ele recria o drama emocional vivido pelos homens conforme a batalha iminente se aproximava. Este artigo intitulado, & # 8220A primeira derrota em Fredericksburg & # 8221 abre a página.
As memórias de Sam Webster e John S. Fay encontradas aqui foram postadas na página original de Fredericksburg deste site em 2012, mas são relatos igualmente notáveis do regimento em batalha. Fay descreve a retirada furtiva do Exército do Potomac, de volta para a segurança do rio Rappahannock. Um destacamento da 13ª Missa. Piquetes sob o comando do major J. P. Gould estavam entre as últimas tropas a cruzar novamente, encerrando assim a campanha do general Burnside.
Uma nota sobre as fotografias
Esta página foi agraciada com as imagens do fotógrafo Buddy Secor.
Buddy Secor, de Fredericksburg, já me concedeu permissão para usar seu trabalho. Mais de suas imagens podem ser vistas no flickr sob o pseudônimo de "ninja pix". Buddy empresta seus talentos ao American Battlefield Trust. Ele ganhou o Grande Prêmio no concurso de fotografia de 2012 do Trust e obteve o 2º lugar em 2010 no National Cherry Blossom Festival de Washington, D.C.
Suas paisagens assombrosas de Slaughter Pen Farm, onde o 13º Massachusetts lutou, e seus retratos de soldado de perto [encenações] contribuem muito para a recriação desses eventos dramáticos e as emoções correspondentes evocadas nas narrativas. O trabalho transcende a estética desta página.
Veja mais fotos de Buddy aqui: Ninja Pix.
CRÉDITOS DE IMAGENS: Todas as imagens são da coleção de imagens digitais da Biblioteca do Congresso, com as seguintes exceções: Turquia em fuga do Wikimedia Commons Ilustrações de Charles Reed das Coleções Digitais da Biblioteca Pública de Nova York, [www.nypl.org] "The Federal Attack at the Slaughter Pen Farm "de Battles & amp Leaders of the Civil War, People's Pictoral Edition, Century Company, Nova York, 1894. Retrato do soldado Bourne Spooner dos leilões militares históricos de Frohne, Oshkosh, Wisconsin A imagem do general Nelson Taylor é do (agora extinto) website "Generals and Brevets," http://www.generalsandbrevets.com/ngt/taylorn.htm Capitão Augustine Harlow, Co. D, é do Army Heritage Education Center, banco de dados de imagens digitais, Massachusetts. Coleção MOLLUS A imagem Brushfire era encontrado em dailygazette.com que acompanha o artigo "A estação do fogo chegou com uma vingança." por Peter R. Barber, 23 de abril de 2018 Cabo George Henry Hill da descendente de Hill, Carol Robbins, enviado por Alan Arno ld A ilustração de Frederic Remington de três soldados examinando seus pés doloridos é do Civil War Times Illustrated. As fotos do campo de batalha da brigada de Taylor foram tiradas por Susan Forbush, quando visitamos o campo de batalha juntos em 2012. As fotos de Buddy Secor incluem: The Slaughter Pen Farm no pôr do sol, (duas imagens), soldados ao redor da fogueira e a equipe da bateria de latão em ação. TODAS AS IMAGENS FORAM EDITADAS no PHOTOSHOP.
Mapa Mapa da batalha de Chancellorsville, incluindo operações de 29 de abril a 5 de maio de 1863.
Os mapas nos materiais das Coleções de mapas foram publicados antes de 1922, produzidos pelo governo dos Estados Unidos, ou ambos (consulte os registros do catálogo que acompanham cada mapa para obter informações sobre data de publicação e fonte). A Biblioteca do Congresso está fornecendo acesso a esses materiais para fins educacionais e de pesquisa e não tem conhecimento de qualquer proteção de direitos autorais dos EUA (consulte o Título 17 do Código dos Estados Unidos) ou quaisquer outras restrições nos materiais da Coleção de Mapas.
Observe que a permissão por escrito dos proprietários dos direitos autorais e / ou outros detentores dos direitos (como publicidade e / ou direitos de privacidade) é necessária para distribuição, reprodução ou outro uso de itens protegidos além do permitido pelo uso justo ou outras isenções legais. A responsabilidade por fazer uma avaliação legal independente de um item e garantir todas as permissões necessárias, em última análise, recai sobre as pessoas que desejam usar o item.
Linha de crédito: Biblioteca do Congresso, Divisão de Geografia e Mapas.
Batalha de Fredericksburg
Em 13 de dezembro de 1862, o General Confederado Robert E. Lee e # x2019s Exército da Virgínia do Norte repele uma série de ataques do General Ambrose Burnside e # x2019s Exército do Potomac em Fredericksburg, Virgínia. A derrota foi uma das derrotas mais decisivas para o exército da União e desferiu um sério golpe no moral do Norte no inverno de 1862-63.
Burnside assumiu o comando do Exército do Potomac em novembro de 1862 depois que George McClellan não conseguiu perseguir Lee na Virgínia após a Batalha de Antietam em Maryland em 17 de setembro. Burnside imediatamente elaborou um plano para mover-se contra a capital confederada em Richmond, Virgínia. Isso exigia uma marcha rápida dos federais de suas posições no norte da Virgínia até Fredericksburg, no rio Rappahannock. Burnside planejava cruzar o rio naquele ponto e continuar para o sul.
A campanha começou de forma promissora pelo Sindicato. O exército desceu rapidamente o Rappahannock, mas depois parou do outro lado do rio de Fredericksburg. Devido à má execução das ordens, uma ponte flutuante ficou vários dias sem funcionar. O atraso permitiu que Lee movesse suas tropas para o lugar ao longo das alturas de Marye & # x2019s, acima de Fredericksburg. Os confederados estavam protegidos em uma estrada afundada protegida por um muro de pedra, olhando para as encostas abertas que se estendiam desde a orla de Fredericksburg. A posição confederada era tão forte que um oficial rebelde afirmou que & # x201Ca galinha não poderia viver naquele campo quando o abrimos. & # X201D
Burnside decidiu atacar de qualquer maneira. Em 13 de dezembro, ele lançou 14 ataques contra as linhas confederadas. Embora a artilharia da União fosse eficaz contra os rebeldes, o campo de 600 jardas foi um campo de matança para o ataque dos ianques. Nenhum soldado da União alcançou a parede no topo de Marye & # x2019s Heights, e poucos chegaram a menos de 50 metros dela. & # x201É bom que a guerra seja tão horrível, do contrário, gostaríamos muito dela & # x201D Lee observou ao General James Longstreet enquanto eles assistiam à carnificina. Uma noite extremamente fria congelou muitos dos mortos e feridos da União.
A batalha de Fredericksburg e suas muitas interpretações
O centésimo terceiro aniversário da Batalha de Fredericksburg, travada de 11 a 15 de dezembro de 1862, oferece um importante lembrete não só dos enormes custos da Guerra Civil, mas também de que as principais realizações da guerra & # 8211 preservação da União e a emancipação dos escravos & # 8211 não era de forma inevitável. Depois de derrotar os confederados nas batalhas de Antietam, Perryville e Corinto, as forças da União no outono de 1862 renovaram suas ofensivas contra Richmond, Chattanooga e Vicksburg. No entanto, cada um desses esforços se mostrou decepcionante e caro. Nos estados do norte, o desespero e o descontentamento aumentaram. Para a administração de Lincoln, a situação política era desanimadora, pois os republicanos sofreram sérias perdas nas eleições do outono de 1862.
O que resultou em um aparente impasse no teatro oriental da guerra levou o presidente Abraham Lincoln a substituir o General George B. McClellan pelo General Ambrose E. Burnside como comandante do Exército do Potomac em novembro de 1862. Mesmo assim, o Exército do Potomac permaneceu lotado com os leais a McClellan, e o general Joseph Hooker estava abertamente em busca do primeiro lugar. Burnside entendeu claramente que seu antecessor havia sido removido porque não era agressivo o suficiente, e ele podia sentir a pressão política para desferir um golpe contra o general confederado Robert E. Lee. O general da União propôs mover-se em direção a Fredericksburg, Virgínia, preliminar para uma ofensiva contra Richmond. Burnside marchou com seu exército por impressionantes quarenta milhas em dois dias, deixando Lee adivinhando sobre as intenções da União. Mas então a ofensiva ficou paralisada à medida que a trapalhada burocrática atrasou a chegada dos pontões necessários para construir uma ponte sobre o rio Rappahannock. O atraso permitiu a Lee concentrar suas forças e estabelecer fortes posições defensivas.
No início da manhã de 11 de dezembro, os engenheiros de Burnside finalmente começaram a colocar pontes flutuantes em Rappahannock. A artilharia da União bombardeou os confederados e uma brigada da União cruzou o rio e enfrentou o inimigo. Eventualmente, eles expulsaram os defensores confederados & # 8211, embora não sem uma boa luta de rua, um evento raro durante a Guerra Civil Americana. Nos dias seguintes, os soldados da União saquearam completamente Fredericksburg.
Em 13 de dezembro, Burnside ordenou ao general William B. Franklin que atacasse a direita confederada. Não correu bem. Ordens elaboradas de forma descuidada, confusão sobre a rede de estradas e a própria falta de iniciativa de Franklin levaram primeiro ao atraso e depois a um ataque fraco realizado em grande parte por uma única divisão. Enquanto isso, pensando que Franklin havia alcançado um sucesso muito maior do que ele, Burnside ordenou ataques contra a esquerda confederada para expulsar os rebeldes de Mayre's Heights, na retaguarda de Fredericksburg. O fogo de artilharia confederado bem posicionado e o que alguns participantes descreveram como uma “folha de fogo” das tropas posicionadas atrás de um muro de pedra repeliram todos esses assaltos. Outros ataques continuaram pelo resto do dia e os soldados confederados repeliram todos eles, infligindo pesadas baixas às tropas da União. Ao cair da noite, dezessete diferentes brigadas da União atacaram a esquerda confederada. Centenas de homens permaneceram presos no campo em meio aos gritos de seus companheiros feridos e moribundos.
Vários generais tiveram que convencer Burnside a não liderar seu amado Nono Corpo em um ataque desesperado no dia seguinte, mas em 16 de dezembro ele retirou o Exército do Potomac de Fredericksburg. De sua parte, Lee esperou pacientemente, esperando outro ataque da União. Ele estava furioso porque os Yankees haviam escapado e frustrado com o que ele e Stonewall Jackson mais tarde considerariam uma vitória incompleta, se não vazia.
Embora a batalha tenha custado aos confederados mais de 5.000 baixas, os federais haviam perdido quase 13.000 homens. As tréguas funerárias, as valas comuns, os hospitais de campanha improvisados e as cirurgias realizadas à luz de velas significariam que as imagens, sons e cheiros da batalha permaneceriam gravados nas mentes dos soldados de ambos os lados por muitos anos. Longas listas de mortos e feridos (muitas vezes incompletas e imprecisas) logo encheram as colunas dos jornais.
As notícias da batalha chegaram rápida e frequentemente de forma imprecisa pelo telégrafo. De Horace Greeley New York Tribune alegou descontroladamente que Burnside havia “superado” Lee ao retirar seu exército de Fredericksburg. Um editorial do dia de Natal acrescentou que, além das baixas, pouco se perdera em Fredericksburg. Permaneceu para o TribunaO amargo rival, The New York Herald, para afirmar o óbvio, embora não sem algum prazer: "Nesta época de Natal, quando boas fadas enchem o ar, dificilmente podemos nos maravilhar com o súbito milagre que nos mostrou o caso Fredericksburg em sua verdadeira luz, e nos deu ocasião para alegria nacional em vez de tristeza nacional. ” Os inquietos senadores republicanos agiram para se livrar do secretário de Estado William H. Seward, a quem viram como o gênio do mal que impedia o governo de levar adiante a guerra com sucesso, embora Lincoln tenha conseguido lidar com a crise de gabinete que se seguiu habilmente. o Vezes de Londres previu a queda iminente da república americana. Uma forte alta nos preços do ouro (o equivalente daquela época ao Dow Jones Industrial Average) refletiu a tristeza de Fredericksburg. Houve considerável especulação & # 8211 incluindo abolicionistas Harriet Beecher Stowe e Frederick Douglass & # 8211 que Lincoln poderia até mesmo atrasar a emissão da Proclamação de Emancipação final.
Recém-encorajados, os democratas pela paz “Copperhead” cogitaram palavras como “massacre” e “carnificina”. Os soldados do Exército do Potomac e o povo do Norte geralmente perderam a fé na causa, procuraram culpados pela perda devastadora em Fredericksburg e aplaudiram os rumores de mediação estrangeira que mais uma vez começaram a circular. A culpa pelo desastre recaiu sobre Burnside, ou sobre o general em chefe Henry W. Halleck, ou sobre o secretário da Guerra Edwin M. Stanton, ou sobre Lincoln, houve até chamadas para trazer McClellan de volta. Burnside assumiu total responsabilidade pelo fracasso em Fredericksburg, embora Lincoln tenha emitido uma carta bizarra sugerindo que o fracasso foi principalmente "um acidente" e parabenizando o exército por as baixas terem sido "comparativamente tão pequenas". O moral no Exército do Potomac atingiu novas baixas e uma onda de deserções se seguiu.
No entanto, no final, aquela força de combate muito sitiada se mostrou notavelmente resistente. Um tenente admitiu que alguns dos homens podem ter "amaldiçoado as estrelas e listras" logo após a batalha, mas "esses mesmos soldados lutarão como cães machos quando se trata de arranhões". Na verdade, os resmungões veteranos poderiam ser "mais confiáveis". A maneira mais rápida de acabar com a guerra, acreditava esse soldado, era dar uma boa surra nos Rebs e silenciar os “resmungões” em casa. Para os confederados, entretanto, uma vitória relativamente fácil produziu um perigoso excesso de confiança. Em muitos aspectos, Fredericksburg foi um ponto baixo enganoso na fortuna federal e um ponto alto igualmente enganador para os confederados.
Seja qual for o desespero resultante, confusão e pensamento positivo, poucos contemporâneos duvidaram do significado da batalha. Clara Barton foi para o sul para ajudar os feridos Louisa May Alcott foi trabalhar como enfermeira em um hospital de Washington. Walt Whitman viajou para Falmouth para cuidar de seu irmão ferido Herman Melville escreveu um poema. Em Londres, Karl Marx fumegou com a incompetência militar e Henry Adams reuniu coragem para enfrentar outro desastre da União. De alguma forma, a guerra e até mesmo essa batalha importavam para todos & # 8211, desde o frenologista que havia oferecido uma leitura ridiculamente tola do personagem de Burnside para o sóbrio editor do Americano científico que culpou os políticos e generais pelas desgraças da nação.
A guerra se arrastaria por quase dois anos e meio. E em um mundo onde, nas palavras do apóstolo Paulo, muitas vezes "vemos através de um vidro sombrio", a batalha de Fredericksburg pode muito bem servir como um lembrete saudável de nossas forças humanas e, mais importante, de todos os nossos limitações humanas.
Campos de batalha da guerra civil americana: antes e agora
A guerra que mudou para sempre a paisagem social americana também afetou a sua paisagem física. Revisite alguns dos campos de batalha mais famosos da história da Guerra Civil Americana e como eles se parecem hoje.
Little Round Top é uma das duas colinas mais proeminentes ao sul de Gettysburg, Pensilvânia. Durante o segundo dia da batalha lá em 1863, a colina se tornou um ponto focal nos ataques de flanco de Robert E. Lee contra as tropas da União. O Major General Gouverneur K. Warren, engenheiro-chefe do Exército do Potomac, levou suas tropas da União ao topo da colina, ganhando terreno elevado contra os Confederados bem a tempo. A luta por Little Round Top foi incrivelmente feroz, com uma bala atingindo fatalmente o Union Coronel Strong Vincent durante o primeiro contra-vôlei confederado. Suas palavras finais foram supostamente: "Não ceda um centímetro". Os atiradores de elite do sul tiveram sucesso em abater vários oficiais de alto escalão do Sindicato na tentativa de lançar a defesa de Little Round Top no caos. Mas as tropas da União conseguiram matar mais do que o dobro de confederados que perderam de suas próprias fileiras.
Após um desastre da União na batalha de Fredericksburg, o Sul estava pronto para o sucesso simultâneo na forma de "a maior vitória de Lee" e a derrota na forma da morte do homem que muitos consideravam o melhor general da Confederação, Stonewall Jackson. Ambos os eventos ocorreram na batalha de Chancellorsville. Superado em número de mais de dois para um, o Exército de Lee da Virgínia do Norte enfrentou Joseph Hooker e o que ele chamou de "o melhor exército do planeta". Foi a confiança de Hooker neste exército que provou ser sua queda em Chancellorsville. Enquanto Hooker parava para esperar reforços, Stonewall Jackson se tornou famoso por sua promessa em Fredericksburg de "matar até o último homem" e tomou a iniciativa, montando um ataque apesar de estar em grande desvantagem numérica. Suas ações ditaram os eventos da Batalha de Chancellorsville, enquanto forçavam o exército de Hooker a lutar em termos confederados. Durante uma de suas muitas acusações contra as linhas da União, Jackson perdeu um braço e mais tarde morreu em decorrência dos ferimentos. O Sul havia perdido seu comandante mais zeloso.
Apenas Gettysburg resultou em mais vítimas. A mais sangrenta batalha da Guerra Civil disputada no Sul, de 18 a 20 de setembro de 1863, 34.000 americanos perderam a vida ou membros em Chickamauga.
Bull Run e fraslFirst Manassas
A primeira grande batalha terrestre travada na Virgínia, Bull Run viu mais de 60.000 soldados engajados. A luta acirrada do coronel Thomas Jackson em Henry House Hill rendeu-lhe o apelido de "Stonewall". Uma carga tardia de cavalaria do Coronel Confederado Jeb Brown deixou as forças da União cambaleando. O fogo da artilharia confederada definiu a já caótica retirada ainda mais no caminho para o pandemônio. O pior para a retirada da União, porém, foram as multidões de curiosos que vieram de Washington para ver o espetáculo.
Apenas dois dias depois de assumir o comando do Exército do Potomac do excessivamente cauteloso George McClellan, o General Ambrose Burnside abandonou o ritmo lento de seu predecessor em favor de uma corrida rápida até Fredericksburg, onde uma campanha bem-sucedida cortaria os suprimentos dos confederados de Richmond e facilitar a passagem de suprimentos da União de Washington em um movimento. Robert E. Lee dividiu seu Exército da Virgínia do Norte, já que McClellan se recusou a atacar Fredericksburg, deixando seus flancos desprotegidos e a cidade vulnerável. Mas antes que Burnside pudesse sitiar a cidade, ele primeiro teve que vadear o rio Rappahannock. O mau tempo e uma burocracia ineficiente significaram que, quando o equipamento necessário do pontão chegou para o exército de Burnside, os reforços chegaram para o de Lee. Como o plano de Burnside dependia de uma travessia tranquila e sem oposição até o rio, as forças da União estavam condenadas antes do início da batalha. No final, 17929 vítimas foram contabilizadas.
Este artigo aparece no Newsweeknovo livro de, "Lincoln: 150 anos depois," pelo editor de questões Tim Baker, do Topix Media Lab.
Crossing the Rappahannock, 11 de dezembro & # 821112
Os engenheiros da União começaram a montar seis pontes flutuantes antes do amanhecer de 11 de dezembro, duas ao norte do centro da cidade, uma terceira no extremo sul da cidade e três mais ao sul, perto da confluência de Rappahannock e Deep Run. Os engenheiros que construíram a ponte diretamente em frente à cidade foram atacados por atiradores de elite confederados, principalmente da brigada de Brig do Mississippi. Gen. William Barksdale, no comando das defesas da cidade. A artilharia da União tentou desalojar os atiradores, mas suas posições nos porões das casas tornaram o fogo de 150 armas quase ineficaz. Eventualmente, o comandante de artilharia de Burnside, Brig. O general Henry J. Hunt o convenceu a enviar grupos de desembarque de infantaria nos barcos pontões para proteger uma pequena cabeça de praia e derrotar os atiradores de elite. O coronel Norman J. Hall ofereceu sua brigada para esta tarefa. Burnside de repente ficou relutante, lamentando para Hall na frente de seus homens que "o esforço significou a morte para a maioria dos que deveriam empreender a viagem". Quando seus homens responderam ao pedido de Hall com três vivas, Burnside cedeu. Às 15h00, a artilharia da União começou um bombardeio preparatório e 135 soldados de infantaria do 7º Michigan e do 19º Massachusetts lotaram os pequenos barcos. Eles cruzaram com sucesso e se espalharam em uma linha de combate para limpar os atiradores de elite. Embora alguns dos confederados se tenham rendido, os combates prosseguiram rua a rua pela cidade enquanto os engenheiros completavam as pontes. A Grande Divisão Direita de Sumner começou a cruzar às 16h30, mas o grosso de seus homens não cruzou até 12 de dezembro. A Grande Divisão Central de Hooker cruzou em 13 de dezembro, usando as pontes norte e sul.
A limpeza dos edifícios da cidade pela infantaria de Sumner e pelo fogo de artilharia do outro lado do rio deu início ao primeiro grande combate urbano da guerra. Os artilheiros da União enviaram mais de 5.000 projéteis contra a cidade e as cordilheiras a oeste. Ao cair da noite, quatro brigadas de soldados da União ocuparam a cidade, que saquearam com uma fúria nunca vista na guerra até então. Esse comportamento enfureceu Lee, que comparou suas depredações com as dos antigos vândalos. A destruição também irritou as tropas confederadas, muitas das quais eram nativas da Virgínia. Muitos do lado da União também ficaram chocados com a destruição infligida a Fredericksburg. Civilian casualties were unusually sparse in the midst of such widespread violence George Rable estimates no more than four civilian deaths.
River crossings south of the city by Franklin's Left Grand Division were much less eventful. Both bridges were completed by 11 a.m. on December 11 while five batteries of Union artillery suppressed most sniper fire against the engineers. Franklin was ordered at 4 p.m. to cross his entire command, but only a single brigade was sent out before dark. Crossings resumed at dawn and were completed by 1 p.m. on December 12. Early on December 13, Jackson recalled his divisions under Jubal Early and D.H. Hill from down river positions to join his main defensive lines south of the city.
Burnside's verbal instructions on December 12 outlined a main attack by Franklin, supported by Hooker, on the southern flank, while Sumner made a secondary attack on the northern. His actual orders on December 13 were vague and confusing to his subordinates. Às 17 horas on December 12, he made a cursory inspection of the southern flank, where Franklin and his subordinates pressed him to give definite orders for a morning attack by the grand division, so they would have adequate time to position their forces overnight. However, Burnside demurred and the order did not reach Franklin until 7:15 or 7:45 a.m. When it arrived, it was not as Franklin expected. Rather than ordering an attack by the entire grand division of almost 60,000 men, Franklin was to keep his men in position, but was to send "a division at least" to seize the high ground (Prospect Hill) around Hamilton's Crossing, Sumner was to send one division through the city and up Telegraph Road, and both flanks were to be prepared to commit their entire commands. Burnside was apparently expecting these weak attacks to intimidate Lee, causing him to withdraw. Unfortunately, Franklin, who had originally advocated a vigorous assault, chose to interpret Burnside's order very conservatively. Brigue. Gen. James A. Hardie, who delivered the order, did not ensure that Burnside's intentions were understood by Franklin, and map inaccuracies about the road network made those intentions unclear. Furthermore, Burnside's choice of the verb "to seize" was less forceful in 19th century military terminology than an order "to carry" the heights.
South of the city, December 13
Franklin ordered his I Corps commander, Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, to select a division for the attack. Reynolds chose his smallest division, about 4,500 men commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade , and assigned Brig. Gen. John Gibbon's division to support Meade's attack. His reserve division, under Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday, was to face south and protect the left flank between the Richmond Road and the river. Meade's division began moving out 8:30 a.m. in a dense morning fog, which would not begin to lift until 10 a.m., with Gibbon's division following on its right rear. They moved parallel to the river initially, turning right to face the Richmond Road, where they began to be struck by enfilading fire from the Virginia Horse Artillery under Major John Pelham. Pelham started with two cannons—a 12-pounder Napoleon smoothbore and a rifled Blakely—but continued with only one after the latter was disabled by counter-battery fire. "Jeb" Stuart sent word to Pelham that he should feel free to withdraw from his dangerous position at any time, to which Pelham responded, "Tell the General I can hold my ground." The Iron Brigade (formerly Gibbon's command, but now led by Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith) was sent out to deal with the Confederate horse artillery. This action was mainly conducted by the 24th Michigan Infantry , a newly enlisted regiment that had joined the brigade in October. After about an hour, Pelham's ammunition began to run low and he withdrew. General Lee observed the action and commented about Pelham, age 24, "It is glorious to see such courage in one so young." The most prominent victim of Pelham's fire was Brig. Gen. George D. Bayard, a cavalry general mortally wounded by a shell while standing in reserve near Franklin's headquarters. Jackson's main artillery batteries had remained silent in the fog during this exchange, but the Union troops soon began to receive direct fire from Prospect Hill, principally five batteries directed by Lt. Col. Reuben Lindsay Walker, and Meade's attack was stalled about 600 yards from his initial objective for almost two hours by these combined artillery attacks.
The Union artillery fire was lifted as Meade's men moved forward around 1 p.m. Jackson's force of about 35,000 remained concealed on the wooded ridge to Meade's front. His formidable defensive line had an unforeseen flaw. In A.P. Hill's division's line, a triangular patch of the woods that extended beyond the railroad was swampy and covered with thick underbrush and the Confederates had left a 600-yard gap there between the brigades of Brig. Gens. James H. Lane and James J. Archer. Brigue. Gen. Maxcy Gregg's brigade stood about a quarter mile behind the gap. Meade's 1st Brigade (Col. William Sinclair) entered the gap, climbed the railroad embankment, and turned right into the underbrush, striking Lane's brigade in the flank. Following immediately behind, his 3rd Brigade (Brig. Gen. Feger Jackson) turned left and hit Archer's flank. The 2nd Brigade (Col. Albert L. Magilton) came up in support and intermixed with the leading brigades. As the gap widened with pressure on the flanks, thousands of Meade's men reached the top of the ridge and ran into Gregg's brigade. Many of these Confederates had stacked arms while taking cover from Union artillery and were not expecting to be attacked at that moment, so were killed or captured unarmed. Gregg at first mistook the Union soldiers for fleeing Confederate troops and ordered his men not to fire on them. While he rode prominently in front of his lines, the partially deaf Gregg could not hear the approaching Federals or their bullets flying around him. He was shot through the spinal cord, dying two days later.
Confederate reserves—the divisions of Brig. Gens. Jubal A. Early and William B. Taliaferro—moved into the fray from behind Gregg's original position. Inspired by their attack, regiments from Lane's and Archer's brigades rallied and formed a new defensive line in the gap. Now Meade's men were receiving fire from three sides and could not withstand the pressure. Feger Jackson attempted to flank a Confederate battery, but after his horse was shot and he began to lead on foot, he was shot in the head by a volley and his brigade fell back, leaderless (Col. Joseph W. Fisher soon replaced Jackson in command).
To Meade's right, Gibbon's division prepared to move forward at 1 p.m. Brigue. Gen. Nelson Taylor proposed to Gibbon that they supplement Meade's assault with a bayonet charge against Lane's position. However, Gibbon stated that this would violate his orders, so Taylor's brigade did not move forward until 1:30 p.m. The attack did not have the benefit of a gap to exploit, nor did the Union soldiers have any wooded cover for their advance, so progress was slow under heavy fire from Lane's brigade and Confederate artillery. Immediately following Taylor was the brigade of Col. Peter Lyle, and the advance of the two brigades ground to a halt before they reached the railroad. Committing his reserve at 1:45 p.m., Gibbon sent forward his brigade under Col. Adrian R. Root, which moved through the survivors of the first two brigades, but they were soon brought to a halt as well. Eventually some of the Federals reached the crest of the ridge and had some success during hand-to-hand fighting—men on both sides had depleted their ammunition and resorted to bayonets and rifle butts, and even empty rifles with bayonets thrown like javelins—but they were forced to withdraw back across the railroad embankment along with Meade's men to their left. Gibbon's attack, despite heavy casualties, had failed to support Meade's temporary breakthrough.
My God, General Reynolds, did they think my division could whip Lee's whole army?
After the battle Meade complained that some of Gibbon's officers had not charged quickly enough. But his primary frustration was with Brig. Gen. David B. Birney, whose division of the III Corps had been designated to support the attack as well. Birney claimed that his men had been subjected to damaging artillery fire as they formed up, that he had not understood the importance of Meade's attack, and that Reynolds had not ordered his division forward. When Meade galloped to the rear to confront Birney with a string of fierce profanities that, in the words of one staff lieutenant, "almost makes the stones creep," he was finally able to order the brigadier forward under his own responsibility, but harbored resentment for weeks. By this time, however, it was too late to accomplish any further offensive action.
Early's division began a counterattack, led initially by Col. Edmund N. Atkinson's Georgia brigade, which inspired the men from the brigades of Col. Robert Hoke, Brig. Gen. James J. Archer, and Col. John M. Brockenbrough to charge forward out of the railroad ditches, driving Meade's men from the woods in a disorderly retreat, followed closely by Gibbon's. Early's orders to his brigades were to pursue as far as the railroad, but in the chaos many kept up the pressure over the open fields as far as the old Richmond Road, where they were easier targets for Union artillery fire. The Confederates were also struck by the leading brigade of Birney's belated advance, commanded by Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward. Birney followed up with the brigades of Brig. Gens. Hiram G. Berry and John C. Robinson, which broke the Rebel advance that had threatened to drive the Union into the river. Any further Confederate advance was deterred by the arrival of the III Corps division of Brig. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles on the right. General Burnside, who by this time was focused on his attacks on Marye's Heights, was dismayed that his left flank attack had not achieved the success he assumed earlier in the day. He ordered Franklin to "advance his right and front," but despite repeated entreaties, Franklin refused, claiming that all of his forces had been engaged. This was not true, however, as the entire VI Corps and Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday's division of the I Corps had been mostly idle, suffering only a few casualties from artillery fire while they waited in reserve.
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.
The Confederates withdrew back to the safety of the hills south of town. Stonewall Jackson considered mounting a resumed counterattack, but the Federal artillery and impending darkness changed his mind. A fortuitous Union breakthrough had been wasted because Franklin did not reinforce Meade's success with some of the 20,000 men standing in reserve. Neither Franklin nor Reynolds took any personal involvement in the battle, and were unavailable to their subordinates at the critical point. Franklin's losses were about 5,000 casualties in comparison to Stonewall Jackson's 3,400, demonstrating the ferocity of the fighting. Skirmishing and artillery duels continued until dark, but no additional major attacks took place, while the center of the battle moved north to Marye's Heights.
Marye's Heights, December 13
On the northern end of the battlefield, Brig. Gen. William H. French's division of the II Corps prepared to move forward, subjected to Confederate artillery fire that was descending on the fog-covered city of Fredericksburg. General Burnside's orders to Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner , commander of the Right Grand Division, was to send "a division or more" to seize the high ground to the west of the city, assuming that his assault on the southern end of the Confederate line would be the decisive action of the battle. The avenue of approach was difficult—mostly open fields, but interrupted by scattered houses, fences, and gardens that would restrict the movement of battle lines. A canal stood about 200 yards west of the town, crossed by three narrow bridges, which would require the Union troops to funnel themselves into columns before proceeding. About 600 yards to the west of Fredericksburg was the low ridge known as Marye's Heights, rising 40 feet above the plain. (Although popularly known as Marye's Heights, the ridge was composed of several hills separated by ravines, from north to south: Taylor's Hill, Stansbury Hill, Marye's Hill, and Willis Hill.) Near the crest of the portion of the ridge comprising Marye's Hill and Willis Hill, a narrow lane in a slight cut—the Telegraph Road, known after the battle as the Sunken Road—was protected by a 4-foot stone wall, enhanced in places with log breastworks and abatis, making it a perfect infantry defensive position. Confederate Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws initially had about 2,000 men on the front line of Marye's Heights and there were an additional 7,000 men in reserve on the crest and behind the ridge. Massed artillery provided almost uninterrupted coverage of the plain below. General Longstreet had been assured by his artillery commander, Lt. Col. Edward Porter Alexander, "General, we cover that ground now so well that we will comb it as with a fine-tooth comb. A chicken could not live on that field when we open on it."
The fog lifted from the town around 10 a.m. and Sumner gave his order to advance an hour later. French's brigade under Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball began to move around noon. They advanced slowly through heavy artillery fire, crossed the canal in columns over the narrow bridges, and formed in line, with fixed bayonets, behind the protection of a shallow bluff. In perfect line of battle, they advanced up the muddy slope until they were cut down at about 125 yards from the stone wall by repeated rifle volleys. Some soldiers were able to get as close as 40 yards, but having suffered severe casualties from both the artillery and infantry fire, the survivors clung to the ground. Kimball was severely wounded during the assault, and his brigade suffered 25% casualties. French's brigades under Col. John W. Andrews and Col. Oliver H. Palmer followed, with casualty rates of almost 50%.
Sumner's original order called for the division of Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock to support French and Hancock sent forward his brigade under Col. Samuel K. Zook behind Palmer's. They met a similar fate. Next was his Irish Brigade under Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Meagher . By coincidence, they attacked the area defended by fellow Irishmen of Col. Robert McMillan's 24th Georgia Infantry. One Confederate who spotted the green regimental flags approaching cried out, "Oh God, what a pity! Here comes Meagher's fellows." But McMillan exhorted his troops: "Give it to them now, boys! Now's the time! Give it to them!" Hancock's final brigade was led by Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell. Leading his two regiments on the left, Col. Nelson A. Miles suggested to Caldwell that the practice of marching in formation, firing, and stopping to reload, made the Union soldiers easy targets, and that a concerted bayonet charge might be effective in carrying the works. Caldwell denied permission. Miles was struck by a bullet in the throat as he led his men to within 40 yards of the wall, where they were pinned down as their predecessors had been. Caldwell himself was soon struck by two bullets and put out of action.
The commander of the II Corps, Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch, was dismayed at the carnage wrought upon his two divisions in the hour of fighting and, like Col. Miles, realized that the tactics were not working. He first considered a massive bayonet charge to overwhelm the defenders, but as he surveyed the front, he quickly realized that French's and Hancock's divisions were in no shape to move forward again. He next planned for his final division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, to swing to the right and attempt to envelop the Confederate left, but upon receiving urgent requests for help from French and Hancock, he sent Howard's men over and around the fallen troops instead. The brigade of Col. Joshua Owen went in first, reinforced by Col. Norman J. Hall's brigade, and then two regiments of Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully's brigade. The other corps in Sumner's grand division was the IX Corps, and he sent in one of its divisions under Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis . After two hours of desperate fighting, four Union divisions had failed in the mission Burnside had originally assigned to one. Casualties were heavy: II Corps losses for the afternoon were 4,114, Sturgis's division 1,011.
While the Union Army paused, Longstreet reinforced his line so that there were four ranks of infantrymen behind the stone wall. Brigue. Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb of Georgia, who had commanded the key sector of the line, was mortally wounded by a sniper's bullet and was replaced by Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw. General Lee expressed concerns to Longstreet about the massing troops breaking his line, but Longstreet assured his commander, "General, if you put every man on the other side of the Potomac on that field to approach me over the same line, and give me plenty of ammunition, I will kill them all before they reach my line."
By midafternoon, Burnside had failed on both flanks to make progress against the Confederates. Rather than reconsidering his approach in the face of heavy casualties, he stubbornly decided to continue on the same path. He sent orders to Franklin to renew the assault on the left (which, as described earlier, the Left Grand Division commander ignored) and ordered his Center Grand Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, to cross the Rappahannock into Fredericksburg and continue the attack on Marye's Heights. Hooker performed a personal reconnaissance (something that neither Burnside nor Sumner had done, both remaining east of the river during the failed assaults) and returned to Burnside's headquarters to advise against the attack.
Brigue. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, commanding Hooker's V Corps, while waiting for Hooker to return from his conference with Burnside, sent his division under Brig. Gen. Charles Griffin to relieve Sturgis's men. By this time, Maj. Gen. George Pickett's Confederate division and one of Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood's brigades had marched north to reinforce Marye's Heights. Griffin smashed his three brigades against the Confederate position, one by one. Also concerned about Sturgis, Couch sent the six guns of Capt. John G. Hazard's Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, to within 150 yards of the Confederate line. They were hit hard by Confederate sharpshooter and artillery fire and provided no effective relief to Sturgis.
A soldier in Hancock's division reported movement in the Confederate line that led some to believe that the enemy might be retreating. Despite the unlikeliness of this supposition, the V Corps division of Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys was ordered to attack and capitalize on the situation. Humphreys led his first brigade on horseback, with his men moving over and around fallen troops with fixed bayonets and unloaded rifles some of the fallen men clutched at the passing pant legs, urging their comrades not to go forward, causing the brigade to become disorganized in their advance. The charge reached to within 50 yards before being cut down by concentrated rifle fire. Brigue. Gen. George Sykes was ordered to move forward with his V Corps regular army division to support Humphreys's retreat, but his men were caught in a crossfire and pinned down.
By 4 p.m., Hooker had returned from his meeting with Burnside, having failed to convince the commanding general to abandon the attacks. While Humphreys was still attacking, Hooker reluctantly ordered the IX Corps division of Brig. Gen. George W. Getty to attack as well, but this time to the leftmost portion of Marye's Heights, Willis Hill. Col. Rush Hawkins's brigade, followed by Col. Edward Harland's brigade, moved along an unfinished railroad line just north of Hazel Run, approaching close to the Confederate line without detection in the gathering twilight, but they were eventually detected, fired on, and repulsed.
Seven Union divisions had been sent in, generally one brigade at a time, for a total of fourteen individual charges, all of which failed, costing them from 6,000 to 8,000 casualties. Confederate losses at Marye's Heights totaled around 1,200. The falling of darkness and the pleas of Burnside's subordinates were enough to put an end to the attacks. Longstreet later wrote, "The charges had been desperate and bloody, but utterly hopeless." Thousands of Union soldiers spent the cold December night on the fields leading to the heights, unable to move or assist the wounded because of Confederate fire. That night, Burnside attempted to blame his subordinates for the disastrous attacks, but they argued that it was entirely his fault and no one else's.
Lull and withdrawal, December 14
During a dinner meeting the evening of December 13, Burnside dramatically announced that he would personally lead his old IX Corps in one final attack on Marye's Heights, but his generals talked him out of it the following morning. The armies remained in position throughout the day on December 14. That afternoon, Burnside asked Lee for a truce to attend to his wounded, which the latter graciously granted. The next day the Federal forces retreated across the river, and the campaign came to an end.
Testament to the extent of the carnage and suffering during the battle was the story of Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate Army sergeant with Company G, 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry. Stationed at the stone wall by the sunken road below Marye's Heights, Kirkland had a close up view to the suffering and like so many others was appalled at the cries for help of the Union wounded throughout the cold winter night of December 13, 1862. After obtaining permission from his commander, Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, Kirkland gathered canteens and in broad daylight, without the benefit of a cease fire or a flag of truce (refused by Kershaw), provided water to numerous Union wounded lying on the field of battle. Union soldiers held their fire as it was obvious what Kirkland's intent was. Kirkland was nicknamed the " Angel of Marye's Heights " for these actions, and is memorialized with a statue by Felix de Weldon on the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park where he carried out his actions.
Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11 - 15, 1862)
After the bloody Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) Confederate General Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat back into Virginia, ending his first invasion of the North. The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George McClellan chose not to pursue Lee's retreating Army of Northern Virginia, prompting President Abraham Lincoln to issue an executive order on November 5, 1862, replacing McClellan with Major General Ambrose E. Burnside.
Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck urged Burnside to launch an invasion of Virginia quickly. Burnside submitted a plan to Halleck on November 9 that called for the Army of the Potomac to cross the Rappahannock River at the town of Fredericksburg and seize control of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, which would be used for a rapid invasion of the Confederate capital at Richmond. Halleck and Lincoln approved the plan and by November 19, 1862, the 115,000-man Army of the Potomac was positioned to cross the Rappahannock at Stafford Heights across from Fredericksburg.
Burnside's plans began unraveling as he was forced to wait until November 25 for the arrival of pontoons his engineers would use to build temporary bridges spanning the river. Lee used the delay to move his army from Culpeper, Virginia, and fortify the area in and around Fredericksburg. Unable to find suitable alternative sites to cross the Rappahannock, and feeling pressured by Lincoln and Halleck, Burnside decided to continue the operation and assault Lee's well-entrenched, 78,000-man Army of Northern Virginia head on.
December 11, 1862
Concealed by early-morning fog on December 11, Union engineers began constructing three pontoon bridges across the river—two directly opposite Fredericksburg and one a mile downstream. As the Yankees hastened to complete their task, the fog lifted, exposing them to the watchful eyes of Confederates on the other side. Sharpshooters from Brigadier General William Barksdale's Mississippian brigade who occupied the town soon sent the engineers scurrying for cover.
Burnside countered by ordering his chief of artillery, Brigadier General Henry Hunt, to shower Fredericksburg with a massive bombardment beginning at 12:30 pm. Despite a barrage of more than 8,000 shells that ravaged the city's homes and commercial establishments, Barksdale's sharpshooters re-emerged after the bombardment ended, to continue their deadly assault on Burnside's engineers as they attempted to resume their construction.
As completing the bridges became impracticable, Hunt suggested sending infantry task forces across the river by boat to establish beachheads from which to begin operations and silence the Rebel sharpshooters. At 3:30 that afternoon, men from the 7th Michigan, 89th New York, and 19th Massachusetts clambered aboard small boats and crossed the Rappahannock under heavy fire and executed the first large-scale opposed river crossing in American history.
After establishing their bridgeheads, the Union infantrymen moved into town where they engaged in close-quarter urban combat with Barksdale's brigade for nearly four hours. Gradually, the Yankees cleared the buildings and drove the Rebels out of town, enabling Burnside's engineers to complete the bridges by 5 p.m.
December 12, 1862
With the bridges completed, thousands of Federal soldiers poured into Fredericksburg and began plundering the town. As the drunken Yankees looted and burned civilian homes and businesses, enraged Confederates continued fortifying their defenses on the heights above the town.
December 13, 1862
Action at Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Field
After re-establishing control of his army, on December 13, Burnside began his assault on Lee's army. The initial point of attack would be against Lee's right flank on the southern end of the battlefield at Prospect Hill. Burnside selected Major General William B. Franklin's Grand Division to lead the offensive. Their orders were to advance across a farm field, later known as the "Slaughter Pen," and drive Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's 2nd Corps from the woods on the other side.
Franklin had about 65,000 men at his disposal, but due to poorly worded orders from Burnside that morning, Franklin believed that he was to utilize only a small portion of his forces during the initial strike. Franklin selected two small divisions, totaling about 8,000 soldiers, from Major General John F. Reynolds' 1st Corps, to lead the onslaught against Jackson's 37,000 Confederate defenders. Reynolds' 3rd Division, commanded by Major General George Meade (future leader of the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg) would spearhead the attack. Meade's men would be supported on their right by Reynolds' 2nd Division, commanded by Brigadier General John Gibbon (former leader of the famous Iron Brigade).
As the Federals prepared to advance across the field, a single cannon on their left flank, manned by Major John Pelham of the Stewart Force Artillery, pinned them down for over an hour. It was not until Pelham ran out of ammunition that Union artillerists were able to move forward at 11:20 a.m. and shell Jackson's defenses for roughly forty minutes.
Assuming that the Union barrage had softened the Confederate lines, Meade and Gibbon finally moved forward around noon. As they advanced, the Yankees soon became disorganized when they were forced to cross a water-filled ditch fence. Adding to their plight, the Federals soon discovered that their artillerists had done little damage to the Rebel batteries in front of them. As the Bluecoats approached the Confederate lines, Jackson ordered his men to hold their fire until they came within about 800 yards. Upon entering this killing zone, Confederate artillerists unleashed a blistering fusillade that forced their victims to save themselves by lying prone in the cold December mud. Meade and Gibbon countered by signaling for their artillerists to resume firing on the Rebel batteries. For the next half hour or so, the gunners on both sides engaged in an artillery duel while the Union foot soldiers were pinned down.
Around 1 p.m., Meade ordered his men to rise and advance once again. Within the hour they maneuvered their way through an undefended swampy area. Two Union regiments broke through the Confederate line and crossed the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad tracks running through the area, surprising General Maxcy Gregg's Brigade who were resting in reserve with their arms stacked. During the subsequent melee, a Union bullet mortally wounded Gregg.
Despite the breakthrough, Meade's success quickly unraveled when three of his brigade commanders were wounded or killed. Ignoring Jackson's earlier instructions to not commit his troops, Major General Jubal Early sent three brigades into the gap and repulsed the Union breakthrough.
Meanwhile, when Gibbon saw Meade's Division surge forward, he urged his command to follow suit and try to sustain Meade's progress. Jackson countered by ordering forward two brigades commanded by Brigadier General Edward L. Thomas and Brigadier General James H. Lane. As the Yankees approached the railroad tracks separating the two forces, the Rebels unleashed a volley that stalled their advance. Although Gibbon may not have known it at the time, he was facing all three of his brothers who were members of Lane's North Carolina Brigade. By the time Gibbon's men reached the Rebel lines following three valiant charges, both sides ran low on ammunition and resorted to fixing bayonets or using their rifles like clubs.
Meade's attempts to bring forth reinforcements went unanswered. As more than 50,000 Union soldiers stood by in reserve, Confederate counterattacks repulsed the Union attacks. By 3 p.m., the Rebels had regained control of the southern portion of the eight-mile-long battle lines at Fredericksburg, and the Federals had squandered their best opportunity to win the conflict.
Casualties on and around Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Field totaled roughly 9,000. The Union lost 5,000 soldiers (killed, wounded, and missing/captured) while the Confederacy lost 4,000 soldiers.
Marye's Heights—the Valley of Death
As Major General William B. Franklin's Left Grand Division began its assault against Major General Thomas J Jackson's 2nd Corps on the right flank of the Confederate lines eight miles to the south, soldiers from Major General Edwin V. Sumner's Right Grand Division steeled themselves for a diversionary attack against General James Longstreet's 1st Corps on the heights of the river valley directly above Fredericksburg. At roughly 11 a.m. on December 13, the 1st Brigade of Brigadier General William French's 3rd Division, commanded by Brigadier General Nathan Kimball, marched out of Fredericksburg toward Marye's (pronounced Marie's) Heights.
Facing them were about 6,000 Rebel troops aligned along a sunken road behind a four-foot-high stone wall at the base of the ridge. Behind and above the infantry were nine batteries from the elite Washington Artillery of New Orleans on top of Marye's Heights. Loaded with canister and grapeshot, the Confederate's big guns were trained on the open field between the stone wall and the town.
Confounding the Union advance was a mill race that traversed the length the field. Fifteen feet wide and three to five feet deep, the man-made ditch stalled the Federals as they tried to wade across the icy water or pass over the three foot bridges that crossed the waterway. As the Yankees scrambled up the slippery slope on the opposite side, Confederate artillerists and infantrymen mowed them down with a deadly hail of canister, grapeshot, and musket fire. As Lieutenant-Colonel Edward P. Alexander, one of Longstreet's artillery commanders, had boasted before the battle "a chicken could not live on that field when we open up on it." The carnage was so great that Union soldiers later referred to the site as the Valley of Death.
Despite devastating losses against impossible circumstances, Burnside committed nearly all of the right wing of his army in three failed assaults against Marye's Heights by mid-day. The Federals who survived the assaults found themselves pinned down in a swale on the battlefield, unable to move forward or backward without risking death.
By 2:30 in the afternoon, Burnside learned that Franklin's attack against Jackson at Prospect Hill had failed. At that point, the Union leader began to fear that Lee would launch a counterattack at Marye's Heights, and drive the remainder of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac back through the town to the river where it might face annihilation. The best solution Burnside could conger up to save the right wing of his army was to commit his reserves from across the river to even more suicidal assaults against the impregnable Rebel defenses behind the stone wall until he could withdraw what remained of his forces under cover of darkness. Four times during the afternoon and evening, Burnside ordered more Union troops into the Confederate meat grinder. What began that morning as a diversionary assault to prevent Lee from re-deploying troops to the site of the main Union assault at Prospect Hill had morphed into a desperate attempt to trade lives for time to save what remained of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac. The results were devastating. The Army of the Potomac lost 8,000 men at Marye's Heights (killed, wounded, and missing/captured), yet not one Union soldier got within fifty yards of the stone wall. By comparison, the Confederacy suffered fewer than 1,000 casualties.
Among the Federal units that suffered horribly during the futile assaults was the famous Irish Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher (pronounced "mar"). Fighting without their battle-worn flag, which was in New York being restored, the Irishmen wore sprigs of boxwood on their hats to identify each other. On the other side of the stone wall stood Colonel Robert McMillan’s Georgia Brigade of Irishmen. As Meagher's men marched in good order toward their doom, chanting the old Irish cheer “Faugh-a-Bellagh” (“Clear the Way”), their fellow countrymen cut them down with a blistering sheet of hot lead. Of the roughly 1,315 Irish Federals who started up the hill, 545 were killed or wounded. The 69th New York lost all 16 of its officers. Despite their staggering losses, Meagher's men advanced farther than any other Union unit that day. Nonetheless, brigade historian Henry Clay Heisler later declared that Burnside's reckless blunder "was not a battle—it was a wholesale slaughter of human beings."
December 14, 1862
Despite overwhelming losses the day before, Burnside proposed resuming the attack on December 14 during a council of war with his general officers. Following occasional artillery exchanges between the two armies, Burnside acquiesced to the objections of his subordinates and pulled the Army of the Potomac back across the Rappahannock River. On December 15, the Army of Northern Virginia re-occupied the devastated town of Fredericksburg.
The Battle of Fredericksburg was the largest conflict of the Civil War. Nearly 200,000 combatants participated in the fighting, producing roughly 18,000 casualties. The Union lost an estimated 12,653 soldiers (1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 missing). The Confederacy suffered 5,377 casualties (608 killed, 4,116 wounded, and 653 missing). Despite the enormity of the battle and the magnitude of the losses, the Confederate tactical victory had very little strategic impact on the war. The Confederate victory was so absolute that upon viewing the carnage, Lee reported remarked to Longstreet that "It is good that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."
In the aftermath of the battle, President Lincoln came under extreme criticism in the North, even among Republican allies. Still, the fallout did not dissuade him from issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Following another failed offensive against Lee's army in late January 1863, derisively known as Burnside's Mud March, the War Department issued General Orders, No. 20 on January 25, announcing that "The President of the United States has directed . . . That Major General A. E. Burnside, at his own request, be relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac." The order went on to state "That Major General J. Hooker be assigned to the command of the Army of the Potomac."
In the South, jubilation reigned. Lee and his army became even more convinced of their invincibility. That mindset would serve them well when they collided with the brash Hooker in April at Chancellorsville, but may very well have led to their undoing at the Battle of Gettysburg in July.
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A vacation to Washington, DC has so much to offer. The options for tourist sites, museums, monuments, restaurants, and fun activities can rival just about any other major city in the United States. The one characteristic that really sets Washington, DC apart from other American cities is the amount of history that can be found both in town and on the doorstep of our nation’s capital in the neighboring areas of Virginia and Maryland.
The Civil War battlefields are a great way to learn about our history and to reflect on the sacrifices made during some of America’s darkest days. Our country is still young compared to many of the other nations around the world, but we have a rich history and fascinating stories that are waiting to be told to those who are interested in listening.
If you’re planning a trip to Washington, DC and you want to venture off the tourist path, then you should definitely consider visiting some of the the nearby American Civil War battlefields.