previous next

[548] cavalry and artillery, made a reconnoissance as far as Warrenton, reaching there just after the rear of the Federal column had left. His report satisfied General Lee that the whole Federal army had gone to Fredericksburg. He had previously been informed as to Sumner's march. McLaws' and Ransom's divisions, accompanied by Lane's battery of artillery and W. H. F. Lee's brigade of cavalry, were at once put in motion for that place, and the whole of Longstreet's corps followed on the 19th. On the 21st Sumner summoned the town to surrender under a threat of cannonading it the next day. To this General Lee replied that the “Confederate forces would not use the place for military purposes, but 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 inhabitants were advised to leave the city, and almost the entire population, without a murmur, abandoned their houses. “History presents no instance of a people exhibiting a purer and more unselfish patriotism or a higher spirit of fortitude or 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 enemy of their country.”

While the poisoned cup was not passed around as at Capua before its inhabitants surrendered to Fulvius, they pledged their fortunes, their families and their household goods to the cause with the faith which characterized the Romans when they put up for sale the ground occupied by Hannibal's camps during his siege of the city, and it was bought at a price not at all below its value. The law passed at the instance of the Tribune Oppius forbade, in the dark days of Rome, any woman from wearing a gay colored dress, and that none should approach nearer than a mile of any city or town in a car drawn by horses, because the public need was so urgent that private expenses must be restrained by law so as to give more for defence. The women of Fredericksburg, equally as patriotic, obeyed “without a murmur,” and bore their proportion of the burdens of the hour, for the confirmation of which they have the recorded words of Robert E. Lee. On the 22d November, one day after the demand for the surrender of Fredericksburg, Stonewall Jackson began his march from Winchester, and in eight days transferred his corps, with an interval of two days rest, to the vicinity of Fredericksburg (Dabney, page 594).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sumner (2)
W. H. F. Lee (2)
Robert Ransom (1)
Lafayette McLaws (1)
J. Longstreet (1)
Robert E. Lee (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
James H. Lane (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Fulvius (1)
R. L. Dabney (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 22nd (1)
21st (1)
19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: