Battle of Fredericksburg, December 1862

Introduction

Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862On November 15, [1862,] it was known that the enemy was in motion toward the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and one regiment of infantry, with a battery of light artillery, was sent to re-enforce the garrison at Fredericksburg.

On the 17th, it was ascertained that Sumner's corps had marched from Catlett's Station in the direction of Falmouth, and information was also received that on the 15th some Federal gunboats and transports had entered Aquia Creek. This looked as if Fredericksburg was again to be occupied, and McLaws' and Ransom's divisions, accompanied by W. H. F. Lee's brigade of cavalry and Lane's battery, were ordered to proceed to that city. To ascertain more fully the movements of the enemy, General Stuart was directed to cross the Rappahannock.

On the morning of the 18th, he forced a passage at Warrenton Springs in the face of a regiment of cavalry and three pieces of artillery, guarding the ford, and reached Warrenton soon after the last of the enemy's column had left. The information he obtained confirmed the previous reports, and it was clear that the whole Federal Army, under Major-General Burnside, was moving toward Fredericksburg.

On the morning of the 19th, therefore, the remainder of Longstreet's corps was put in motion for that point. The advance of General Sumner reached Falmouth on the afternoon of the 17th, and attempted to cross the Rappahannock, but was driven back by Colonel [William B.] Ball with the Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry, four companies of Mississippi infantry, and [Capt. J. W.] Lewis' light battery.

On the 21st, it became apparent that General Burnside was concentrating his whole army on the north side of the Rappahannock.

On the same day, General Sumner summoned the corporate authorities of Fredericksburg to surrender the place by 5 p. m., and threatened, in case of refusal, to bombard the city at 9 o'clock next morning. The weather had been tempestuous for two days, and a storm was raging at the time of the summons. It was impossible to prevent the execution of the threat to shell the city, as it was completely exposed to the batteries on the Stafford hills, which were beyond our reach. The city authorities were informed that, while our forces would not use the place for military purposes, its occupation by the enemy would be resisted, and directions were given for the removal of the women and children as rapidly as possible. The threatened bombardment did not take place, but, in view of the imminence of a collision between the two armies, the in. habitants were advised to leave the city, and almost the entire population, without a murmur, abandoned their homes. History presents no instance of a people exhibiting a purer and more unselfish patriotism or a higher spirit of fortitude and courage than was evinced by the citizens of Fredericksburg. They cheerfully incurred great hardships and privations, and surrendered their homes and property to destruction rather than yield them into the hands of the enemies of their country.

General Burnside now commenced his preparations to force the passage of the Rappahannock and advance upon Richmond. When his army first began to move toward Fredericksburg, General Jackson, in pursuance of instructions, crossed the Blue Ridge, and placed his corps in the vicinity of Orange Court-House, to enable him more promptly to co-operate with Longstreet.

About November 26, he was directed to advance toward Fredericksburg, and as some Federal gunboats had appeared in the river at Port Royal, and it was possible that an attempt might be made to cross in that vicinity, D. H. Hill's division was stationed near that place, and the rest of Jackson's corps so disposed as to support Hill or Longstreet, as occasion might require. The fords of the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg were closely guarded by our cavalry, and the brigade of General W. H. F. Lee was stationed near Port Royal, to watch the river above and below.

On the 28th, General Hampton, guarding the Upper Rappahannock, crossed to make a reconnaissance on the enemy's right, and, proceeding as far as Dumfries and Occoquan, encountered and dispersed his cavalry, capturing two squadrons and a number of wagons. About the same time some dismounted men of Beale's regiment, Lee's brigade, crossed in boats below Port Royal, to observe the enemy's left, and took a number of prisoners.

On December 5, General D. H. Hill, with some of his field guns, assisted by Major Pelham, of Stuart's Horse Artillery, attacked the gun. boats at Port Royal and caused them to retire. With these exceptions, no important movement took place, but it became evident that the advance of the enemy would not be long delayed. The interval was employed in strengthening our lines, extending from the river about 1 miles above Fredericksburg along the range of hills in the rear of the city to the Richmond railroad. As these hills were commanded by the opposite heights in possession of the enemy, earthworks were constructed upon their crest at the most eligible positions for artillery. These positions were judiciously chosen and fortified, under the direction of Brigadier-General Pendleton, chief of artillery ; Colonel Cabell, of McLaws' division; Col. E. P. Alexander, and Capt. S. R. Johnston, of the engineers. To prevent gunboats from ascending the river, a battery, protected by intrenchments, was placed on the bank, about 4 miles below the city, in an excellent position, selected by my aide-de-camp, Major [T. M. R.] Talcott. The plain of Fredericksburg is so completely commanded by the Stafford Heights that no effectual opposition could be made to the construction of bridges or the passage of the river without exposing our troops to the destructive fire of the numerous batteries of the enemy. At the same time the narrowness of the Rappahannock, its winding course, and deep bed presented opportunities for laying down bridges at points secure from the fire of our artillery. Our position was, therefore, selected with a view to resist the enemy's advance after crossing, and the river was guarded only by a force sufficient to impede his movements until the army could be concentrated.

Before dawn, on December 11, our signal guns announced that the enemy was in motion. About 2 a.m. he commenced preparations to throw two bridges over the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, and one about 1 miles below, near the mouth of Deep Run. Two regiments of Barksdale's brigade, McLaws' division (the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Mississippi), guarded these points; the former, assisted by the Eighth Florida, of Anderson's division, being at the upper. The rest of the brigade, with the Third Georgia Regiment, also of Anderson's division, was held in reserve in the city. From daybreak until 4 p.m. the troops, sheltered behind the houses on the river bank, repelled the repeated efforts of the enemy to lay his bridges opposite the town, driving back his working parties and their supports with great slaughter. At the lower point, where there was no such protection, the enemy was successfully resisted until nearly noon, when, being greatly exposed to the fire of the batteries on the opposite heights and a superior force of infantry on the river bank, our troops were withdrawn, and about 1 p.m. the bridge was completed.

Soon afterward, one hundred and fifty pieces of artillery opened a furious fire upon the city, causing our troops to retire from the river bank about 4 p. m. The enemy then crossed in boats and proceeded rapidly to lay down the bridges. His advance into the town was bravely resisted until dark, when our troops were recalled, the necessary time for concentration having been gained.

During the night and the succeeding day the enemy crossed in large numbers at and below the town, secured from material interruption by a dense fog. Our artillery could only be used with effect when the occasional clearing of the mist rendered his columns visible. His batteries on the Stafford Heights fired at intervals upon our position. Longstreet's corps constituted our left, with Anderson's division resting upon the river, and those of McLaws, Pickett, and Hood extending to the right in the order named. Ransom's division supported the batteries on Marye's and Willis' Hills, at the foot of which Cobb's brigade, of McLaws' division, and the Twenty-fourth North Carolina, of Ransom's brigade, were stationed, protected by a stone wall. The immediate care of this point was committed to General Ransom. The Washington Artillery, under Colonel Walton, occupied the redoubts on the crest of Marye's Hill, and those on the heights to the right and left were held by part of the reserve artillery, Col. E. P. Alexander's battalion, and the division batteries of Anderson, Ransom, and McLaws. A.P. Hill, of Jackson's corps, was posted between Hood's right and Hamilton's Crossing on the railroad. His front line, consisting of the brigades of Pender, Lane, and Archer, occupied the edge of a wood. Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, with fourteen pieces of artillery, was posted near the right, supported by the Fortieth and Fifty-fifth Virginia Regiments, of Field's brigade, commanded by Colonel Brockenbrough. Lane's brigade, thrown forward in advance of the general line, held the woods, which here projected into the open ground. Thomas' brigade was stationed behind the interval between Lane and Pender; Gregg's in rear of that, between Lane and Archer. These two brigades, with the Forty-seventh Virginia Regiment and Twenty-second Virginia Battalion, of Field's brigade, constituted General Hill's reserve. Early's and Taliaferro's divisions composed Jackson's second line; D. H. Hill's division his reserve. His artillery was distributed along his line in the most eligible positions, so as to command the open ground in front. General Stuart, with two brigades of cavalry and his Horse Artillery, occupied the plain on Jackson's right, extending to Massaponax Creek.

On the morning of the 13th, the plain on which the Federal army lay was still enveloped in fog, making it impossible to discern its operations. At an early hour the batteries on the heights of Stafford began to play upon Longstreet's position. Shortly after 9 a.m. the partial rising of the mist disclosed a large force moving in line of battle against Jackson. Dense masses appeared in front of A. P. Hill, stretching far up the river in the direction of Fredericksburg. As they advanced, Major Pelham, of Stuart's Horse Artillery, who was stationed near the Port Royal road with one section, opened a rapid and well-directed enfilade fire, which arrested their progress. Four batteries immediately turned upon him, but he sustained their heavy fire with the unflinching courage that ever distinguished him. Upon his withdrawal, the enemy extended his left down the Port Royal road, and his numerous batteries opened with vigor upon Jackson's line. Eliciting no response his infantry moved forward to seize the position occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Walker. The latter, reserving his fire until their line had approached within less than 800 yards, opened upon it with such destructive effect as to cause it to waver and soon to retreat in confusion.

About 1 p.m. the main attack on our right began by a furious cannonade, under cover of which three compact lines of infantry advanced against Hill's front. They were received, as before, by our batteries, by whose fire they were momentarily checked, but, soon recovering, they pressed forward until, coming within range of our infantry, the contest became fierce and bloody. Archer and Lane repulsed those portions of the line immediately in front of them, but before the interval between these commands could be closed, the enemy pressed through in overwhelming numbers and turned the left of Archer and the right of Lane. Attacked in front and flank, two regiments of the former and the brigade of the latter, after a brave and obstinate resistance, gave way. Archer held his line with the First Tennessee, and, with the Fifth Alabama Battalion, assisted by the Forty-seventh Virginia Regiment and the Twenty-second Virginia Battalion, continued the struggle until the arrival of re-enforcements. Thomas came gallantly to the relief of Lane, and, joined by the Seventh and part of the Eighteenth North Carolina, of that brigade, repulsed the column that had broken Lane's line and drove it back to the railroad.

In the mean time a large force had penetrated the wood as far as Hill's reserve, and encountered Gregg's brigade. The attack was so sudden and unexpected that Orr's Rifles, mistaking the enemy for our own troops retiring, were thrown into confusion. While in the act of rallying them, that brave soldier and true patriot, Brig. Gen. Maxcy Gregg, fell, mortally wounded. Colonel Hamilton, upon whom the command devolved, with the four remaining regiments of the brigade and one company of the Rifles, met the enemy firmly and checked his further progress. The second line was advancing to the support of the first. Lawton's brigade, of Early's division, under Colonel Atkinson, first encountered the enemy, quickly followed on the right and left by the brigades of Trimble (under Colonel Hoke) and Early (under Colonel Walker). Taliaferro's division moved forward at the same time on Early's left, and his right regiment (the Second Virginia, belonging to Paxton's brigade) joined in the attack. The contest in the woods was short and decisive. The enemy was quickly routed and driven out with loss, and, though largely re-enforced, he was forced back and pursued to the shelter of the railroad embankment. Here he was gallantly charged by the brigades of Hoke and Atkinson, and driven across the plain to his batteries. Atkinson continuing the pursuit too far, his flank became exposed, and at the same time a heavy fire of musketry and artillery was directed against his front. Its ammunition becoming exhausted, and Colonel Atkinson being severely, and Capt. E. P. Lawton, [assistant] adjutant-general, mortally, wounded, the brigade was compelled to fall back to the main body, now occupying our original line of battle, with detachments thrown forward to the railroad.

The attack on Hill's left was repulsed by the artillery on that part of the line, against which the enemy directed a hot fire from twenty-four guns. One brigade advanced up Deep Run, sheltered by its banks from our batteries, but was charged and put to flight by the Sixteenth North Carolina, of Pender's brigade, assisted by the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh North Carolina, of Law's brigade, Hood's division. The repulse of the enemy on our right was decisive, and the attack was not renewed, but his batteries kept up an active fire at intervals, and sharpshooters skirmished along the front during the rest of the afternoon.

While these events were transpiring on our right, the enemy, in formidable numbers, made repeated and desperate assaults upon the left of our line.

About 11 a.m., having massed his troops under cover of the houses of Fredericksburg, he moved forward in strong columns to seize Marye's and Willis' Hills. General Ransom advanced Cooke's brigade to the top of the hill, and placed his own, with the exception of the Twenty-fourth North Carolina, a short distance in the rear. All the batteries on the Stafford Heights directed their fire upon the positions occupied by our artillery, with a view to silence it and cover the movement of the infantry. Without replying to this furious cannonade, our batteries poured a rapid and destructive fire into the dense lines of the enemy as they advanced to the attack, frequently breaking their ranks and forcing them to retreat to the shelter of the houses. Six times did the enemy, notwithstanding the havoc caused by our batteries, press on with great determination to within 100 yards of the foot or' the hill, but here encountering the deadly fir e of our infantry, his columns were broken and fled in confusion to the town.

In the third assault, the brave and lamented Brig. Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb fell, at the head of his gallant troops, and, almost at the same moment, Brigadier-General Cooke was borne from the field severely wounded. Fearing that Cobb's brigade might exhaust its ammunition, General Longstreet had directed General Kershaw to take two regiments to its support. Arriving after the fall of General Cobb, he assumed command, his troops taking position on the crest and at the foot of the hill, to which point General transom also advanced three other regiments. The Washington Artillery, which had sustained the heavy fire of artillery and infantry with unshaken steadiness and contributed much to the repulse of the enemy, having exhausted its ammunition, was relieved about 4 p.m. by Colonel Alexander's battalion. The latter occupied the position during the rest of the engagement, and, by its well-directed fire, rendered great assistance in repelling the assaults made in the afternoon, the last of which occurred shortly before dark. This effort met the fate of those that preceded it, and, when night closed in, the shattered masses of the enemy had disappeared in the town, leaving the field covered with dead and wounded. Anderson's division supported the batteries on Longstreet's left, and, though not engaged, was exposed throughout the day to a hot artillery fire, which it sustained with steady courage.

During the night our lines were strengthened by the construction of earthworks at exposed points, and preparations made to receive the enemy next day.

The 14th, however, passed without a renewal of the attack. The enemy's batteries on both sides of the river played upon our lines at intervals, our own firing but little. The sharpshooters on each side skirmished occasionally along the front.

On the 15th, the enemy still retained his position, apparently ready for battle, but the day passed as the preceding. The attack on the 13th had been so easily repulsed, and by so small a part of our army, that it was not supposed the enemy would limit his efforts to an attempt, which, in view of the magnitude of his preparations and the extent of his force, seemed to be comparatively insignificant. Believing, therefore, that he would attack us, it was not deemed expedient to lose the advantages of our position and expose the troops to the fire of his inaccessible batteries beyond the river, by advancing against him; but we were necessarily ignorant of the extent to which he had suffered, and only became aware of it when, on the morning of the 16th, it was discovered that he had availed himself of the darkness of night, and the prevalence of a violent storm of wind and rain, to re-cross the river. The town was immediately reoccupied and our position on the river bank resumed.

In the engagement more than 900 prisoners and 9,000 stand of arms were taken. A large quantity of ammunition was found at Fredericksburg.

The extent of our casualties will appear from the accompanying report of the medical director. We have again to deplore the loss of valuable lives. In Brigadier-Generals Gregg and Cobb, the Confederacy has lost two of its noblest citizens and the army two of its bravest and most distinguished officers. The country consents to the sacrifice of such men as these, and the gallant soldiers who fell with them, only to secure the inestimable blessing they died to obtain. The troops displayed at Fredericksburg in a high degree the spirit and courage that distinguished them throughout the campaign, while the calmness and steadiness with which orders were obeyed and maneuvers executed in the midst of battle, evinced the discipline of a veteran army.

The artillery rendered efficient service on every part of the field, and greatly assisted in the defeat of the enemy. The batteries were exposed to an unusually heavy fire of artillery and infantry, which officers and men sustained with a coolness and courage worthy of the highest praise. Those on our right, being without defensive works, suffered more severely. Among those who fell was Lieutenant-Colonel [Lewis M.] Coleman, First Regiment Virginia Artillery, who was mortally wounded while bravely discharging his duty.

To the vigilance, boldness, and energy of General Stuart and his cavalry is chiefly due the early and valuable information of the movements of the enemy. His reconnaissances frequently extended within the Federal lines, resulting in skirmishes and engagements, in which the cavalry was greatly distinguished. In the battle of Fredericksburg the cavalry effectually guarded our right, annoying the enemy and embarrassing his movements by hanging on his flank, and attacking when opportunity occurred. The nature of the ground and the relative positions of the armies prevented them from doing more.

To Generals Longstreet and Jackson great praise is due for the disposition and management of their respective corps. Their quick perception enabled them to discover the projected assaults upon their positions, and their ready skill to devise the best means to resist them. Besides their services in the field--which every battle of the campaign from Richmond to Fredericksburg has served to illustrate--I am also indebted to them for valuable counsel, both as regards the general operations of the army and the execution of the particular measures adopted.

To division and brigade commanders I must also express my thanks for the prompt, intelligent, and determined manner in which they executed their several parts.

To the officers or' the general staff--Brig. Gen. R. H. Chilton, adjutant and inspector general, assisted by Major [Henry E.] Peyton; Lieutenant-Colonel [James L.] Corley, chief quartermaster; Lieutenant-Colonel [Robert G.] Cole, chief commissary; Surgeon Guild, medical director, and Lieut. Col. B. G. Baldwin, chief of ordnance--were committed the care of their respective departments, and the charge of supplying the demands upon each. They were always in the field, anticipating, as far as possible, the wants of the troops.

My personal staff were unremittingly engaged in conveying and bringing information from all parts of the field. Colonel [Armistead L.] Long was particularly useful before and during the battle in posting and securing the artillery, in which he was untiringly aided by Capt. S. R. Johnston, of the Provisional Engineers; Majors [T. M. R.] Talcott and [Charles S.] Venable, in examining the ground and the approaches of the enemy; Majors[Walter H.] Taylor and [Charles] Marshall in communicating orders and intelligence.

General Robert E. Lee's report of the Battle of Fredericksburg
April 10, 1863

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people 

Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.

7-12: Compare the human resources of the Union and the Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War and assess the tactical advantages of each side. [Utilize visual and mathematical data] 
5-12: Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history] 

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION[Portrait of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, officer of the Federal Army].
    PHOTOGRAPHER:  Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [Between 1860 and 1865]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

  2. DESCRIPTION[Warrenton, Va. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and staff].
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     1862 November
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 

  3. DESCRIPTIONView of Fredericksburg, Va. Nov. 1862
    CARTOGRAPHER:  E. Sachse & Co.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     Balt[im]o[re] 1863.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650

  4. DESCRIPTIONLetter from John S. Smith to Juliana Reynolds
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  November 25, 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  A Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections from the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C. 20540

  5. DESCRIPTIONThe Passage by the Grand Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Va., Midnight, Wednesday, December 10th, 1862. [Drawing]  
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 10, 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  6. DESCRIPTIONAmbrose E. Burnside to Henry W. Halleck (Telegram concerning military affairs)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 12, 1862 
    NOTES: "Our forces are crossing the river & thus far without opposition"
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  7. DESCRIPTIONDenning to Anson Stager  (Telegram reporting battle at Fredericksburg)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 13, 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  8. DESCRIPTIONJ. G. Garland to Anson Stager (Telegram reporting battle at Fredericksburg)
    CARTOGRAPHER:  DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  December 13, 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  9. DESCRIPTIONSketch of the battle of Fredericksburg, Saturday, Dec. 13th 1862, Right Wing, C.S.A., Lt. Gl. Jackson's corps / by Jed. Hotchkiss, T.E., 2nd Corps, A.N. Va.
    CARTOGRAPHER:  Jed. Hotchkiss
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     Dec. 13th 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650

  10. DESCRIPTIONBattle of Fredericksburg. Dec. 13, 1862
    CARTOGRAPHER:
     Jacob Wells
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [S.l., 1886]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650

  11. DESCRIPTIONSketch of the battle field of Fredericksburg / drawn by S. H. Brown, Topl. Engr. P.A.C.S. Decr. 13th 1862.
    CARTOGRAPHER:  S. H. Brown
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     How to Order Reproductions
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    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 

  12. DESCRIPTIONApproaches of A[rmy] of P[otomac] to Fredericksburg
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650

  13. DESCRIPTIONPassages of the Rappahannock and Battle of Fredericksburg, December 10th to 16th, 1862 : copied from the original belonging to Gen'l. Burnside / Topographical Bureau, April 8th, 1863 ; [signed] D. Callahan.
    CARTOGRAPHER:  Denis Callahan
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     1863
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Map Collections: 1500-2004
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650

  14. DESCRIPTIONHalt of Wilcox's Troops in Caroline street prevous[sic] to going in to battle
    CARTOGRAPHER:  Arthur Lumley
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862 December 13]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  15. DESCRIPTIONBattle of Fredericksburg, Va. Dec 13th 1862  
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [New York] : Currier & Ives, 1862
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographic Division

  16. DESCRIPTION[Attack on Fredericksburg]
    ARTIST: Alonzo Chappel
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862 December]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  17. DESCRIPTIONPickets--Near Fredericksburg
    ARTIST: Alfred R. Waud
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862 ca. December]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  18. DESCRIPTIONExamining passes / Union and rebel pickets--Fredericksburg, Va
    ARTIST: Arthur  Lumley
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:  [1862 ca. December]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  19. DESCRIPTIONAttack on the rebel works. Fredericksburg. Dec. 13th
    ARTIST:  Alfred R. Waud
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862] December 13.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  20. DESCRIPTIONThe signal telegraph train as used at the battle of Fredericksburg
    ARTIST:  Alfred R. Waud
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862 December 13]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  21. DESCRIPTIONBringing the wounded into Fredericksburg in the afternoon--of Saturday
    ARTIST:  Arthur Lumley
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1862 ca. December]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How To Order Copies of This Item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  22. DESCRIPTION: Anson Stager to Edwin M. Stanton (Telegram reporting battle at Fredericksburg)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: December 13, 1862
    NOTES: "The Col. 4th NYV just in wounded in arm He says we are getting best of it. The wounded & killed is immense. The battle rages furiously. Can hardly hear my Instrument. Gen Hancock I hear is wounded & all his staff cut up very badly, but the Irish brigades are fighting well. Gen Meagher of the Irish Brigade had his horse shot from under him but he is in front of his men cheering them on.
    They say they are in need of Surgeons. Wounded are arriving every minute, I will go into Fredericksburg & will tell you further tonight"
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  23. DESCRIPTIONAmbrose E. Burnside to Abraham Lincoln (Telegram reporting battle at Fredericksburg)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 14, 1862 
    NOTES: "I have just returned from the field Our troops are all over the River & hold the first ridge outside the town & three miles below we hope to Carry the Crest today. Our loss is heavy say five thousand."
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  24. DESCRIPTIONBurial of the dead. [Stereograph]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 15, 1862, published later
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  25. DESCRIPTIONBurial of dead at Fredericksburgh, Va. [Stereograph]
    PHOTOGRAPHER:  Brady & Co. (Washington, D.C.)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [December 15, 1862]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  26. DESCRIPTIONAmbrose E. Burnside to Henry W. Halleck (Telegram concerning military affairs)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 16, 1862
    NOTES: "I have thought it necessary to withdraw the Army to this side of the River and the movement has progressed satisfactorily thus far"
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  27. DESCRIPTIONAmbrose E. Burnside to Abraham Lincoln  (Telegram concerning military affairs)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     December 18, 1862
    NOTES: "Telegraph Lines have been down all day.... Our dead are all buried and the wounded are being cared for. The whole Army is in good Condition but our loss will much exceed the figures I first named to you -- will probably reach ten thousand (10.000)."
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  28. DESCRIPTIONLetter from Joseph F. Green to Juliana Smith Reynolds 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     January 2, 1863
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  A Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections from the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C. 20540

  29. DESCRIPTION[Fredericksburg, Va. Houses damaged by the shelling of December 13, 1862].
    PHOTOGRAPHER: James Gardner
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED:
     [1864 May]
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE:  Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

Additional Media Resources

Civil War Maps. From American Memory.

Military Battles and Campaigns. From American Memory.

Additional Instructional Resources

Chatham Plantation: Witness to the Civil War. From the National Park Service

Secondary Resources

Adams, Fannie Lewis Gwathmey. Reminiscences of a Childhood Spent at Hayfield Plantation Near Fredericksburg, Virginia during the Civil War. William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, 2nd Ser., Vol. 23, No. 3. (Jul., 1943), pp. 292-297.

Boteler, Alexander Robinson. "At Fredericksburg with Jackson." Civil War Times Illustrated 36(6): 20, 22, 78-79, 81-83.

Callaghan, James. "Red on Green: 'Meagher of the Sword' and the Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg" Civil War Times Illustrated 37(6): 54-62, 99-100.

Hennessey, John. "'It is Well that War is so Terrible.'" Civil War Times Illustrated 36(6): 56-63

Spalding, Branch. Jackson's Fredericksburg Tactics. The Journal of the American Military Institute, Vol. 3, No. 1. (Spring, 1939), pp. 39-42.

Warren, Craig A. "'Oh, God What a Pity' The Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg and the Creation of the Myth." Civil War History 47(3): 193-221

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

 

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