Burnside Accepts the Blame… Again and Again and Again

December 22, 1862 (Monday) Since the Army of the Potomac, under Ambrose Burnside, slide back across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, much had transpired. To the typical infantryman, two armies stared at each other from opposite shores. But behind the curtain of blue, things were quickly spinning out of control (which is saying a lot,Read More

The Army of the Potomac Retreats Across the River

December 15, 1862 (Monday) As he peered through his telescope on this relatively mild dawn, General Ambrose Burnside must have known it was over. The first rays of sun shown the greatly improved Rebel works all along their five mile line above Fredericksburg. It was more than over. He was to blame and, decided theRead More

Union Generals Talk Burnside Out of a Disasterous Attack

December 14, 1862 (Sunday) The many piecemeal attacks of the previous day had failed – and failed miserably. Fourteen times had Ambrose Burnside’s Federals stormed up Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg, and fourteen times a much fewer number retreated back down. After darkness descended over the battlefield, writhing with bloody wounded and near-freezing survivors, Burnside calledRead More

Not War, But Madness – The Battle of Fredericksburg

December 13, 1862 (Saturday) The order to attack was late by several hours. General Ambrose Burnside, commanding the Army of the Potomac, poised on the Southern side of the Rappahannock and ready to attack the Rebels above and south of Fredericksburg, had waited too long again. The previous night, he had been convinced to attackRead More

The Confederate Defense and Union Sacking of Fredericksburg on the Eve of Battle

December 12, 1862 (Friday) General Robert E. Lee spent much of the previous night preparing his lines, which stretched from Marye’s Heights, above the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, along Prospect Hill, an extension of the Heights, south of town. In all, the line would be seven miles long. His left, atop Marye’s Heights, was heldRead More

Bridges Across the Rappahannock, Fredericksburg Destroyed

December 11, 1862 (Thursday) Under the cover of early morning darkness and some very opportune fog, the Union engineers began their work. Six pontoon bridges were to be built across the icy waters of the Rappahannock River so six infantry corps could cross and attack the Confederates at Fredericksburg. General Ambrose Burnside, the Union commanderRead More

Burnside’s Methodist Camp Meeting

December 10, 1862 (Wednesday) General Ambrose Burnside was not a happy man. The previous evening, the officers in Edwin Sumner’s Grand Division were distraught over the commanding General’s plans to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg to attack the Rebels in what appeared to be a frontal assault through a large town and up aRead More

Burnside Prepares for Battle, Some Opposition Arrises

December 9, 1862 (Tuesday) Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, had finally made up his mind. It wasn’t like there was a multitude of choices left to him. He had tried to cross the Rappahannock River, separating his force from the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, below the town of Fredericksburg,Read More

Confederates Squash Burnside’s Plan to Bypass Fredericksburg

December 5, 1862 (Friday) Crossing the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg was not exactly what General Ambrose Burnside had in mind. His entire Army of the Potomac had been situated opposite the Confederate-held town for two weeks, and he understood that crossing there could be disastrous. So he turned his attention downstream to a bend calledRead More

Stonewall Arrives in Fredericksburg to Disagreeable Plans

December 2, 1862 (Tuesday) Stonewall Jackson and his men had, for the past two weeks, endured one of the harshest marches of the war thus far. They suffered all sorts of weather (except for the warm, pleasant kind) and many were without shoes, blankets or heavy coats. But at last, they had arrived in Fredericksburg,Read More