previous next
[365] but a few hundred yards wide. These fearless fighters, under the protection of the heavy walls of old colonial warehouses, shops and dwellings of brick and stone that fringed the south bank of the river, shot down repeated advances of the Federal pontoon builders, and frustrated nine successive attempts to lay the bridges, until the Federal commander, exasperated by the delay, turned loose his batteries upon the devoted town, and, amid flame and smoke and the fierce contention of sharpshooters, succeeded in crossing a body of infantry, which forced back Barksdale's men from the river and enabled him to lay his pontoons and commence the crossing of his army, but not until darkness had come. Barksdale's brave riflemen, by their tenacious contention, had snatched a day from the victory-anticipating Burnside.

Under cover of the darkness of the night of the 11th and of the dense winter fog of the next morning,45,500 infantrymen and 16 guns, under Franklin, crossed the pontoon bridges at Deep run, below Fredericksburg, and spread themselves a few miles along the line of the railway to Richmond running through the broad bottom lands south of the Rappahannock; while Sumner led 31,000 into Fredericksburg by the upper pontoon. As the day of December 12th advanced and the fog lifted, and Lee looked out from the high hill in the center of his position, which he had chosen for his headquarters, and saw this great host stretching for miles in his front, and to his right, in brave battle array, he knew at once that Burnside had adopted the perilous plan of a direct attack, which he had already made preparations to meet by the construction of a military road and the throwing up of protecting intrenchments for his artillery as well as his infantry. He promptly directed Jackson to concentrate his men on the right of the army and take command of the right wing. Capt. J. P. Smith, of Jackson's staff, rode, late in the day, 18 miles, to D. H. Hill's headquarters, down the river, and by marching over the same 18 miles that night, that capable commander brought his men into position, on Jackson's right, by dawn of the 13th; and by so doing before Burnside was ready to begin his assault, Lee was ready to receive it.

Not aware of the fleet-footedness of Jackson's men, and supposing from the information he had gathered by aerial reconnoissances, with balloons, that a large portion of

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
Deep Run (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Stonewall Jackson (4)
Burnside (3)
S. D. Lee (2)
William Barksdale (2)
Sumner (1)
J. P. Smith (1)
D. H. Hill (1)
W. B. Franklin (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.
December 12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: