dislodge the Confederate army, recrossed the river. The Army of Northern Virginia was divided into two corps, under Longstreet and Jackson. The official returns on the 10th of December, 1862, one day before Burnside's advance, showed present for duty 78,228 (Walter Taylor's Four Years with Lee). Jackson's corps lost in killed, wounded and missing 3,415 (his report). Longstreet's loss was 1,894 (his report), making a total of 5,309. The battle of Fredericksburg was a grand sight as Lee witnessed it from the centre of his lines, on that memorable 13th of December, and Burnside through his field-glasses, from a more secure position two miles in rear of the battlefield, at the Philips' house, with the river flowing between himself and his troops. As the fog lifted it was like some grand drama disclosed by the curtain rolling up. The plain of Fredericksburg resembled the “field of the cloth of gold,” where--
The gilded parapets were crowned with faces,The roar of three hundred cannon (the Federals alone had three hundred and seventy-five in their army) formed the orchestra, the city of Fredericksburg their audience.
And the great tower filled with eyes up to the summit,
To rain influence and to judge the prize.
Hark! as those smouldering piles with thunder fall,As I stood at one time during the day on Hood's lines and saw this gorgeous military pageant beneath me — over one hundred thousand men in line of battle, a line of blue with bristling bayonets, both of whose flanks were visible — it was the grandest sight my eyes ever rested upon; and in history I cannot recall its parallel. The Federal plan of battle was defective, so far as trying to force General Lee's left, for that was impregnable. Were it possible to have carried Marye's hill, no Federal force could have lived there, for a concentrated converging fire from the heights in rear which commanded it, and of which Marye's was simply an outpost, would have swept them from its face. Holding fast with a small force in Fredericksburg, protected by reserve artillery in Stafford, and reinforcing Franklin with the bulk of Sumner, and Hooker swinging around by his left to have threatened the Confederate line of communication, would have drawn General Lee away from Marye's
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call.
Earth shook, red meteors flashed along the sky,
And conscious nature shuddered at the cry.