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This photograph from the Fredericksburg river-bank recalls a terrible scene. On those memorable days of December 11 and 12, 1862, from these very trenches shown in the foreground, the ragged gray riflemen saw on that hillside across the river the blue of the uniforms of the massed Federal troops. The lines of tents made great white spaces, but the ground could hardly be seen for the host of men who were waiting, alas! to die by thousands on this coveted shore. From these hills, too, burst an incessant flaming and roaring cannon fire. Siege-guns and field artillery poured shot and shell into the town of Fredericksburg. Every house became a target, though deserted except for a few hardy and venturesome riflemen. There was scarcely a dwelling that escaped. Ruined and battered and bloody, Fredericksburg three times was a Federal hospital, and its backyards became little cemeteries.

The flaming heights

A target at Fredericksburg for the Federal guns


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