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December 11th (search for this): chapter 20
to General Lee's headquarters, which were established on the old Telegraph road back from Fredericksburg. The mild weather that had prolonged the late autumn had given place to light snows, and the cold blasts from the North froze the ground and chilled Lee's veteran soldiery, who hovered around camp-fires in the dense forests, most of them without tents. Burnside issued twelve-days' rations to his army, confidently expecting to make the next issue at Richmond, and on the morning of December 11th, in a dense fog that concealed his movements, his pontoon builders hastened to the bank of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, to throw a bridge for the passage of Sumner's corps, and another, a short distance below, for the crossing of Franklin's corps, while 143 of his big guns, along a line more than three miles in length, gave fearful warning against any opposing movement from the side of the Confederates. Lee's two signal guns gave notice to his army of this Federal advance,
December 12th (search for this): chapter 20
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 infan
December 16th (search for this): chapter 20
nt. Not satisfied with this, Jackson desired to make an assault with the bayonet, after nightfall; thinking that the Federal batteries would not open on such an attack when they could not discriminate between friend and foe. Lee deemed this too hazardous, as his army was too small for such an offensive movement. He was not only receiving no reinforcements, but was constantly being called on to send away portions of his already small army to defend points in different States. On the 16th of December, after the retreat of Burnside to the Stafford heights, General Lee wrote to President Davis: I had supposed they were just preparing for battle, and was saving our men for the conflict. Their hosts crowned the hill and plain beyond the river, and their numbers to me are unknown. Still, I felt a confidence that we could stand the shock and was anxious for the blow that is to fall on some point, and was prepared to meet it here. Yesterday evening I had my suspicions that they migh
December 25th (search for this): chapter 20
rn [to the Stafford heights] during the night, but could not believe that they would relinquish their hopes after all their boasting and preparation; and when I say that the latter is equal to the former, you will have some idea of the magnitude. This morning they were all safe on the north side of the Rappahannock. They went as they cameā€”in the night. They suffered heavily as far as their battle went, but it did not go far enough to satisfy me. In a letter to his wife, written on Christmas day, after the battle, he said, after recounting the mercies of God's providence to his people during the past year: Our army was never in such good health and condition since I have been attached to it. I believe they share with me my disappointment that the enemy did not renew the combat on the 13th. I was holding back all that day and husbanding our strength and ammunition for the great struggle for which I thought I was preparing. Had I divined what was to have been his only effor
January, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 20
ing its patriotic courage and devotion, and by increasing its trust in Divine Providence by constant religious observances and supplications and prayers from nearly every member of its army, from its humblest private to the noble Christian soldier that led and, by example, encouraged them. Smarting under his failure to move on Richmond by way of Fredericksburg, Burnside was tempted, by a spell of mild weather, to try a movement toward Richmond around Lee's left, which he began by marching up the north bank of the Rappahannock, in January, 1863. But a storm set in, just after his movement began, which soon rendered the roads impassable and forced him to retire to his camps. He found the Confederates ready to dispute his crossing the Rappahannock at every point that he reached, and making fun of his attempts by erecting great signboards within their lines, visible to the Federal army, inscribed, This way to Richmond. This movement is known in history as Burnside's Mud Campaign.
E. P. Alexander (search for this): chapter 20
of Fredericksburg, of the embankments of the railway, and of the water-power canal, in a vain attempt to capture the batteries of the Washington artillery and of Alexander, then steadily belching destruction from the Marye hill. The broken plain between Fredericksburg and the sunken Telegraph road, with its stone fence in front an made by fresh troops in this direction, Lee had placed two fresh regiments in the sunken road and two on the crest of the heights, all in command of Ransom, and Alexander's guns were substituted for those of the Washington artillery. Humphreys' division, of the Second Federal corps, advanced to the ordered assault, with a spirit on their predecessors, was beyond the reach of human accomplishment. A thousand of Humphreys' men fell beneath the steady fire of the men of Kershaw, Ransom and Alexander, and added to the horrid harvest of death that already covered all the plain. Hooker held Sykes' division to cover Humphreys' retreat, while he sent Griffin's
R. H. Anderson (search for this): chapter 20
ove Falmouth. General Lee's point of observation was on Lee's hill, where the old Telegraph road, leading from Fredericksburg to Richmond, mounts to the summit of the promontory south of Hazel run. The divisions of Hood and Pickett, of the. First corps, were placed along the front between Deep and Hazel runs. Marye's heights were crowned with batteries, while under them, in front, protected by a thick stone fence on the east side of a highway, were the divisions of Ransom and McLaws. R. H. Anderson's division occupied the left, from the Marye's heights to the Rappahannock. Marye's hill was like a bastioned fortress overlooking Fredericksburg and commanding the valley of Deep run, toward its mouth, where the corps of Sumner had crossed the river. The general features of the position were somewhat like those at the Second Manassas, where Lee's two wings opened like great jaws of death to meet an advancing foe; but Marye's heights, on the left, were more formidable than those of Su
William Barksdale (search for this): chapter 20
n Longstreet's right, on the morning of the 12th; but D. H. Hill. and Early remained near Port Royal until Burnside should more fully uncover his intentions. Barksdale's brigade of Mississippians had been charged with the duty of defending the crossings of the Rappahannock in front of Fredericksburg, where that river is but a atteries 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 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 mil
supplanted him in command, at Warrenton, with Burnside, who at once hastened to execute an on to Ricon the south bank of the Rappahannock, before Burnside's pontoons arrived on the Stafford heights, o Interrupted in carrying out his intentions, Burnside took ample time to muster his 116,000 men anddense forests, most of them without tents. Burnside issued twelve-days' rations to his army, confll. and Early remained near Port Royal until Burnside should more fully uncover his intentions. snatched a day from the victory-anticipating Burnside. Under cover of the darkness of the night , in brave battle array, he knew at once that Burnside had adopted the perilous plan of a direct att, by dawn of the 13th; and by so doing before Burnside was ready to begin his assault, Lee was ready day, which had brought only dire disaster to Burnside's right, where more than 30,000 men; from thrt a small one to Longstreet's Confederates. Burnside attributed his defeat to the fact that the en[15 more...]
T. R. R. Cobb (search for this): chapter 20
losing up from the death-dealing, long-range missiles, the brave Federal soldiery pressed forward toward the foot of Marye's heights, only to be met by a withering blaze of musketry from the 2,000 riflemen of Georgia and North Carolina that Gen. T. R. R. Cobb held in command, in the sunken road behind the stone fence at the foot of the heights, and by a like fierce fire from muskets behind earthworks along the face of the hill above them. In this rash assault 1,200 of these brave men fell, dead and wounded, and the living were forced to give way. Hancock's division then followed to assault, in like gallant style, which Ransom, who had succeeded Cobb, who fell in meeting the first Federal onset, met by adding another regiment to those already in position. Hancock's fierce attack, in three courageous lines of battle, was met by a Confederate yell, and by a sheeted infantry fire that was reserved until his front was but a few hundred yards away and then swept down 2,000 of Hancock's me
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