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Union soldiers in the just deserted Confederate Camp at Fredericksburg The camera has caught a dramatic moment in the period of Thompson's Music in Camp. It is May 3, 1863, and Sedgwick has carried the heights of Fredericksburg, impregnable to six assaults in December. One who was present reported: ‘Upon reaching the summit of the sharp hill, after passing through the extensive and well-wooded grounds of the Marye house, an exciting scene met the eye. A single glance exhibited to view the broad plateau alive with fleeing soldiers, riderless horses, and artillery and wagon-trains on a gallop.’ As no cavalry was at hand, the troops that carried the heights, ‘exhausted by the night march, the weight of several days' rations and sixty rounds of ammunition, and by the heat, fatigue, and excitement of battle, were allowed to halt for a short time. Many were soon asleep, while others made coffee and partook of their first meal that day.’ Captain A. J. Russell, the Government photographer who followed the army in its movements, dated this picture, May 3d, the very same day. The soldiers so confident in the picture were obliged to retreat across the Rappahannock, where, in a week or so, Thompson imagines the events of Music in Camp to take place. In a month these men were to fight the decisive battle of the war—Gettysburg.


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