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The stone wall at Fredericksburg Behind the deadly stone wall of Marye's Heights after Sedgwick's men had swept across it in the gallant charge of May 3, 1863. This was one of the strongest natural positions stormed during the war. In front of this wall the previous year, nearly 6,000 of Burnside's men had fallen, and it was not carried. Again in the Chancellorsville campaign Sedgwick's Sixth Corps was ordered to assault it. It was defended the second time with the same death-dealing stubbornness but with less than a fourth of the former numbers--9,000 Confederates against 20,000 Federals. At eleven o'clock in the morning the line of battle, under Colonel Hiram Burnham, moved out over the awful field of the year before, supported to right and left by flanking columns. Up to within twenty-five yards of the wall they pressed, when again the flame of musketry fire belched forth, laying low in six minutes 36.5 per cent. of the Fifth Wisconsin and the Sixth Maine. The assailants wavered and rallied, and then with one impulse both columns and line of battle hurled themselves upon the wall in a fierce hand-to-hand combat. A soldier of the Seventh Massachusetts happened to peer through a crack in a board fence and saw that it covered the flank of the double line of Confederates in the road. Up and over the fence poured the Federals and drove the Confederates from the heights.

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May 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
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