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Carte de la moitié supérieure de la bataille de Fredericksburg

Carte de la moitié supérieure de la bataille de Fredericksburg


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Carte de la moitié supérieure de la bataille de Fredericksburg

Carte de la moitié supérieure de la bataille de Fredericksburg

Moitié supérieure - Carte complète - Moitié inférieure

Carte tirée de Batailles et chefs de la guerre civile : III : retraite de Gettysburg, p.74

Retour à la bataille de Fredericksburg



Grades militaires Modifier

  • MG = Général de division
  • BG = Général de brigade
  • Col = Colonel
  • Ltc = Lieutenant-colonel
  • Maj = Majeur
  • Cpt = Capitaine
  • Lieutenant = 1er lieutenant

Autre Modifier

Unités du quartier général général Modifier

  • Oneida (New York) Cavalerie : Cpt Daniel P. Mann, Compagnies. BCH&I : Cpt Marcus A. Reno , Compagnies A et E : Cpt James B. McIntyre
  • Fusils Sturgis (Illinois) : Cpt James Steel
  • 22e New Jersey
  • 29e New Jersey
  • 30e New Jersey
  • 31e New Jersey
  • 9th New York Infantry, Compagnie G : Cpt Charles Child : Col John S. Crocker
  • 147th New York : Maj Charles J. Whiting (5 compagnies) : Cpt Royal T. Frank

Brigade du génie volontaire : BG Daniel Phineas Woodbury

  • 15e New York : Col John M. Murphy
  • 50th New York : Ltc William H. Pettes : Cpt James C. Duane
    : Cpt Elijah D. Taft
  • Batterie A, 1er Bataillon New York Light : Cpt Otto Diederichs
  • Batterie B, 1er Bataillon New York Light : Cpt Adolph Voegelee
  • Batterie C, 1er Bataillon New York Light : Lt Bernhard Wever
  • Batterie D, 1er Bataillon New York Light : Cpt Charles Kusserow : Cpt William M. Graham
  • Batterie A, 2e États-Unis : Cpt John C. Tidball : Lt Marcus P. Miller : Lt David H. Kinzie
  • 32e d'infanterie du Massachusetts, compagnie C : Cpt Josiah C. Fuller

Artillerie seule : Maj Thomas S. Trumbull

Grande Division Droite Modifier

II Corps Modifier


BG John C. Caldwell (w)
Col George W. Von Schack

    : Col Edward E. Cross (w), Maj Edward E. Sturtevant (k), Cpt James E. Larkin (w), Cpt Horace T. H. Pierce : Col John E. Bendix (w), Lt. Col George W. von Schack, Cpt G. A. von Bransen : Col Nelson A. Miles (w) : Ltc Enos C. Brooks (w) : Col H. Boyd McKeen (w), Cpt William Wilson : Col Hiram L. Brown (w), Ltc David B. McCreary
    : Col Richard Byrnes : Ltc Richard C. Bentley (w), le maj Joseph O'Neill (w), Cpt Patrick J. Condon : Col Robert Nugent (w), Cpt James Saunders : Col Patrick Kelly : Col Dennis Heenan (w), Ltc St. Clair Augustine Mulholland (w), Lt Francis T. Quinlan
    : Col Richard S. Bostwick : Col William P. Bailey (w) : Col Paul Frank : Ltc Alford B. Chapman (w), le major N. Garrow Throop (mw), Cpt James W. Britt : Ltc James H. Bull (k), Cpt Julius Wehle (k), Cpt John S. Hammell (w), Lt James G. Derrickson : Col John R. Brooke
    : Cpt Rufus D. Pettit : Lt Evan Thomas
    : Col Frederick D. Sewall, Ltc Francis E. Heath : Maj Chase Philbrick (w), Cpt John Murkland, Cpt Charles H. Watson : Cpt William Plumer : Col George N. Morgan : Cpt William F. Russell : Col James A. Sutter : Ltc James Huston


Col Norman J. Hall (w)
Col William R. Lee

    : Cpt H. G. O. Weymouth (w) : Cpt George N. Macy : Ltc Henry Baxter (w), Maj Thomas J. Hunt : Ltc George N. Bomford : Ltc William Northedge
  • 127th Pennsylvanie : [3] Col William W. Jennings
    : Cpt William A. Arnold : Cpt John G. Hazard


BG Nathan Kimball (w)
Col John S. Mason

    : Maj Elijah H. C. Cavins
  • 24e New Jersey : Col William B. Robertson
  • 28e New Jersey : Col Moses N. Wisewell (w), Ltc E. A. L. Roberts : Col John S. Mason, Ltc James H. Godman (w), Cpt Gordon A. Stewart : Ltc Franklin Sawyer : Col Joseph Snider (w), Ltc Jonathan H. Lockwood
    : Ltc Sanford H. Perkins (w), Cpt Samuel H. Davis : Ltc Charles J. Pouvoirs : Col Henry I. Zinn (k), Cpt William M. Porter


Col John W. Andrews [4]
Ltc William Jameson
Ltc John W. Marshall

    : Maj Thomas A. Smyth : Col John D. MacGregor (w), Ltc William Jameson, Maj Charles W. Kruger : Col John E. Bendix (w), Cpt Salmon Winchester (mw), Cpt George F. Hopper : [5] Ltc Charles Albright
    : Cpt John D. Frank : Cpt Charles D. Owen

IX Corps Modifier

  • 6e de cavalerie de New York, compagnie B : Cpt Hillman A. Hall
  • 6th New York Cavalry, Compagnie C : Cpt William L. Heermance
    : Col Henry Bowman : Col Thomas Welsh : Ltc David A. Leckey
  • Batterie D, 1er New York Light : Cpt Thomas W. Osborn
  • Batteries L et M, 3e États-Unis : Lt Horace J. Hayden
    : Col William S. Clark : Maj Sidney Willard (mw), Cpt Stephen H. Andrews : Col Walter Harriman : Col Robert Brown Potter : Col John F. Hartranft
    : Cpt Jacob Roemer : Cpt George W. Durell : Cpt William W. Buckley : Lt George Dickenson (k), le lieutenant John Egan
    : Maj John E. Ward, Cpt Henry M. Hoyt : Col Griffin Alexander Stedman, Jr. : Ltc Samuel Tolles : Cpt Charles L. Upham : Col Arthur H. Dutton : Ltc Joseph B. Curtis (k), le major Martin P. Buffum
    : Lt Samuel N. Benjamin : Lt James Gillies

Division de cavalerie Modifier

  • 6th New York Cavalry : Col Thomas C. Devin, Ltc Duncan McVicar : Ltc Amos E. Griffiths : Cpt George C. Cram
  • Batterie M, 2e États-Unis : Lt Alexander C. M. Pennington, Jr.

Centre Grande Division Modifier

IIIe Corps Modifier

    : Col John Van Valkenburg : Maj John A. Danks : Col Andrew H. Tippin : Col Amor A. McKnight : Col Charles H. T. Collis : Col Henry J. Madill
    : Col Moses B. Lakeman : Col Elijah Walker
  • 38e New York : Ltc William Birney (w) : Ltc Nelson A. Gesner (w) : Col Régis de Trobriand : Col Charles T. Campbell (w), Ltc Peter Sides : Col Asher S. Leidy (w), Ltc Edwin Ruthwin Biles
    : Col Thomas A. Roberts : Maj Moses B. Houghton : Ltc John Gilluly (k), Maj Edward T. Sherlock : Col J. Frederick Pierson : Col Samuel B. Hayman : Col George F. Chester
    : Ltc Clark B. Baldwin, Col Napoleon B. McLaughlen : Col William E. Blaisdell : Col Thomas R. Tannatt : Col Gilman Marston : Col Robert McAllister : Ltc Benjamin C. Tilghman
    : Cpt A. Judson Clark
  • 4e batterie, New York Light : Lt Joseph E. Nairn
  • Batterie H, 1er États-Unis : Lt Justin E. Dimick : Lt Francis W. Seeley
    : Col Joseph H. Potter : Maj James J. Byrne : Col Samuel M. Bowman : Ltc James Crowther
  • 10e Batterie, New York Light : Cpt John T. Bruen : Cpt Albert A. Von Puttkammer : Lt George W. Norton

V Corps Modifier

    : Ltc George Varney (w), le maj Daniel F. Sargent
  • Les tireurs d'élite du Massachusetts, 2e compagnie : Cpt Lewis E. Wentworth : Ltc Joseph Hayes : Ltc William S. Tilton : Ltc Ira C. Abbott (w) : Col Elisha Marshall (w), Ltc Francis A. Schoeffel : Cpt Patrick Connelly : Ltc James Gwyn
    : Col Adelbert Ames, Ltc Joshua L. Chamberlain : Lt Jonas H. Titus Jr. : Ltc Norval E. Welch : Ltc Robert M. Richardson : Cpt John Vickers : Ltc Freeman Conner (w), Maj Edward B. Knox : Col Strong Vincent
    : Cpt Augustus Pearl Martin
  • 5e Batterie (E), Massachusetts Light : Cpt Charles A. Phillips : Cpt Richard Waterman : Lt Charles E. Hazlett
  • 1er États-Unis : Ltc Casper Trepp
    : Cpt John D. Wilkins : Cpt Hiram Dryer , 1er Bataillon : Cpt Matthew M. Blunt
  • 12e États-Unis, 2e Bataillon : Cpt Thomas M. Anderson , 1er Bataillon : Cpt John D. O'Connell
  • 14e États-Unis, 2e bataillon : Cpt Giles B. Overton


Maj George L. Andrews
Maj Charles S. Lovell

    et 2e États-Unis (bataillon) : Cpt Salem S. Marsh : Cpt Levi C. Bootes : Cpt David P. Hancock : Cpt Henry E. Maynadier : Cpt Charles S. Russell et 19e États-Unis (bataillon) : Cpt John P. Wales
    : Col John B. Clark : Ltc William B. Shaut : Col Franklin B. Speakman : Col Edward J. Allen
    : Lt William H. Phillips
  • Batteries E et G, 1er États-Unis : Cpt Alanson Merwin Randol[13]
    : Col Horace B. Sargent
  • 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry : Ltc Edward S. Jones : Col James K. Kerr : Cpt James E. Harrison
  • Batteries B et L, 2e États-Unis : Cpt James M. Robertson

Gauche Grande Division Modifier

I Corps Modifier

    : Ltc John McKie, Jr. : Ltc Samuel R. Beardsley : Ltc Morgan H. Chrysler : Ltc William H. de Bevoise : Maj Homer R. Stoughton


Cpt George A. Gerrish (w)
Cpt John A. Reynolds


BG John Gibbon (w)
BG Nelson Taylor

    : Ltc Charles W. Tilden : Maj John A. Kress : Maj Gilbert G. Prey : Maj Daniel A. Sharp (w), Cpt Abraham Moore : Col Thomas F. McCoy


BG Nelson Taylor
Col Samuel H. Léonard

    : Col Samuel H. Leonard, Ltc N. Walter Batchelder : Cpt John Hendrickson (w), Cpt Joseph A. Moesch (w), Lt Isaac E. Hoagland, Lt Henry P. Claire : Col Charles Wheelock : Col Richard Coulter (w), Cpt Christian Kuhn : Maj David A. Griffith
    : Cpt William C. Talley : Col William McCandless, Cpt Timothy Mealey : Maj Wellington H. Ent : Cpt Charles F. Taylor (w), Cpt Edward Irvin (w) : Col Chapman Biddle
    : Col Horatio G. Sickel : Ltc Richard H. Woolworth : Col Henry C. Bolinger (w) : Maj Silas M. Baily : Col Robert P. Cummins
    : Col Joseph W. Fisher, Ltc George Dare (w), le major Frank Zentemeyer (mw) : Ltc Robert Anderson, Maj James M. Snodgrass : Maj James B. Knox : Ltc Samuel M. Jackson : Cpt Richard Gustin
    : Lt John G. Simpson : Cpt James H. Cooper
  • Batterie G, 1er feu de Pennsylvanie : Cpt Frank P. Amsden : Cpt Dunbar R. Ransom

VIe Corps Modifier

    , Compagnie L : Lt George Vanderbilt
  • 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Compagnie I : Cpt James Starr
  • 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Compagnie K : Cpt Frederick C. Newhall
    : Ltc Mark W. Collet : Col Samuel L. Buck : Col Henry W. Brown : Col William B. Hatch (w), Ltc James N. Duffy : Ltc Edward L. Campbell : Col Henry O. Ryerson
    : Col George R. Myers : Ltc Leopold C. Newman : Col Francis E. Pinto : Ltc Elisha Hall
    : Cpt John W. Wolcott
  • 1re batterie (A), Massachusetts Light : Cpt William H. McCarthey : Cpt William Hexamer
  • Batterie D, 2e États-Unis : Lt Edward B. Williston
  • 26th New Jersey : Col Andrew J. Morrison : Ltc Charles H. Joyce : Col Breed N. Hyde : Col Charles B. Stoughton : Col Lewis A. Grant : Col Nathan Lord, Jr.


BG Francis L. Vinton (w)
Col Robert F. Taylor
BG Thomas H. Neill


Introduction

Cette page propose 3 récits merveilleusement détaillés des 13e volontaires du Massachusetts à la bataille de Fredericksburg. Ces histoires n'étaient pas disponibles lorsque j'ai publié le récit original en 2012. Collectivement, le nouveau matériel présenté ici fournit des informations associées à 3 des 4 pertes mortelles subies par le régiment lors de la bataille. Il s'agit de Charles Armstrong, C.J. Taylor et Edmond H. Kendall. (Des informations sur le quatrième décès, George E. Bigelow, sont publiées sur la page « Fin d'année » de ce site Web). Le détail le plus complet ici se trouve dans les mémoires du soldat Bourne Spooner intitulées "Dans les rangs". Il m'a été envoyé par Maxine Glenn, une descendante directe du soldat Spooner.

Maxine a transcrit le document à partir du mémoire manuscrit original. Le soldat Spooner raconte ses expériences sur la ligne d'escarmouche avec des détails précis.

Une deuxième nouvelle source est l'histoire du magazine Bivouac publiée en 1884, peut-être écrite par le lieutenant Edward Rollins, compagnie D, un vétéran du régiment, et l'un des 3 rédacteurs en chef du magazine Bivouac. Cette anecdote raconte la sinistre conversation d'Edmond H. Kendall avec son ami Gilbert H. Greenwood la veille de la bataille.

La troisième nouvelle référence publiée ici est un article de journal de Worcester, Massachusetts, rédigé par un vétéran du régiment en 1870. Il recrée le drame émotionnel vécu par les hommes à l'approche de la bataille imminente. Cet article intitulé “The First Defeat at Fredericksburg” ouvre la page.

Les mémoires de Sam Webster et John S. Fay trouvées ici ont été publiées sur la page originale de Fredericksburg de ce site Web en 2012, mais ce sont des récits tout aussi remarquables du régiment au combat. Fay décrit la retraite furtive de l'armée du Potomac, de retour de l'autre côté de la rivière Rappahannock pour se mettre en sécurité. Un détachement de piquets du 13e Mass. sous le commandement du major J. P. Gould fut parmi les toutes dernières troupes à retraverser, mettant ainsi fin à la campagne du général Burnside.

Une note sur les photographies

Cette page est ornée des images du photographe Buddy Secor.

Buddy Secor de Fredericksburg, m'a accordé la permission d'utiliser son travail dans le passé. D'autres de ses images peuvent être visionnées sur flickr sous le pseudonyme « ninja pix ». Buddy prête ses talents à l'American Battlefield Trust. Il a remporté le Grand Prix du concours de photographie du Trust en 2012, et il a remporté la 2e place en 2010 au National Cherry Blossom Festival de Washington, D.C.

Ses paysages obsédants de la Slaughter Pen Farm, où le 13th Massachusetts a combattu, et ses portraits rapprochés de soldats [reconstituteurs] ajoutent grandement à la recréation de ces événements dramatiques et des émotions correspondantes évoquées dans les récits. L'œuvre transcende l'esthétique de cette page.

Voir plus de photos de Buddy ici : Ninja Pix.

CRÉDITS D'IMAGES : Toutes les images proviennent de la collection d'images numériques de la Bibliothèque du Congrès, avec les exceptions suivantes : Slaughter Pen Farm" de Battles & Leaders of the Civil War, People's Pictoral Edition, Century Company, New York, 1894. Portrait du soldat Bourne Spooner de Frohne's Historic Military Auctions, Oshkosh, Wisconsin site Web « Generals and Brevets », http://www.generalsandbrevets.com/ngt/taylorn.htm Le capitaine Augustine Harlow, Co. D, provient de l'Army Heritage Education Center, Digital Image Database, Mass. Collection MOLLUS L'image Brushfire a été trouvé sur dailygazette.com accompagnant l'article « Saison des feux de brousse arrivée avec une vengeance. » par Peter R. Barber, 23 avril 2018 Caporal George Henry Hill de la descendante de Hill, Carol Robbins, envoyé par Alan Arno ld L'illustration de Frederic Remington de trois soldats examinant leurs pieds endoloris est tirée de Civil War Times Illustrated. Les photographies du marqueur de champ de bataille pour la brigade de Taylor ont été prises par Susan Forbush, lorsque nous avons visité le champ de bataille ensemble en 2012. au coucher du soleil (deux images), des soldats autour du feu de camp et l'équipage de la batterie de cuivres en action. TOUTES LES IMAGES ont été éditées dans PHOTOSHOP.


Carte Carte de la bataille de Chancellorsville, incluant les opérations du 29 avril au 5 mai 1863.

Les cartes des documents des collections de cartes ont été soit publiées avant 1922, produites par le gouvernement des États-Unis, soit les deux (voir les notices du catalogue qui accompagnent chaque carte pour obtenir des informations sur la date de publication et la source). La Bibliothèque du Congrès donne accès à ces documents à des fins éducatives et de recherche et n'a connaissance d'aucune protection du droit d'auteur aux États-Unis (voir le titre 17 du Code des États-Unis) ou de toute autre restriction dans les documents de la collection de cartes.

Notez que l'autorisation écrite des titulaires de droits d'auteur et/ou d'autres titulaires de droits (tels que les droits de publicité et/ou de confidentialité) est requise pour la distribution, la reproduction ou toute autre utilisation des éléments protégés au-delà de celle autorisée par l'utilisation équitable ou d'autres exemptions statutaires. La responsabilité d'effectuer une évaluation juridique indépendante d'un article et d'obtenir les autorisations nécessaires incombe en fin de compte aux personnes souhaitant utiliser l'article.

Ligne de crédit : Bibliothèque du Congrès, Division de la géographie et des cartes.


Bataille de Fredericksburg

Le 13 décembre 1862, le général confédéré Robert E. Lee&# x2019s Army of Northern Virginia repousse une série d'attaques du général Ambrose Burnside&# x2019s Army of the Potomac à Fredericksburg, Virginie. La défaite fut l'une des pertes les plus décisives pour l'armée de l'Union, et elle porta un sérieux coup au moral du Nord au cours de l'hiver 1862-1863.

Burnside a pris le commandement de l'armée du Potomac en novembre 1862 après que George McClellan n'a pas réussi à poursuivre Lee en Virginie après la bataille d'Antietam dans le Maryland le 17 septembre. Burnside a immédiatement élaboré un plan pour se déplacer contre la capitale confédérée à Richmond, en Virginie. Cela a appelé à une marche rapide par les fédéraux de leurs positions dans le nord de la Virginie à Fredericksburg sur la rivière Rappahannock. Burnside prévoyait de traverser la rivière à cet endroit, puis de continuer vers le sud.

La campagne a commencé de façon prometteuse pour l'Union. L'armée descendit rapidement le Rappahannock, mais s'arrêta ensuite de l'autre côté de la rivière depuis Fredericksburg. En raison de la mauvaise exécution des commandes, un pont flottant n'était pas en place pendant plusieurs jours. Le retard a permis à Lee de déplacer ses troupes en place le long de Marye&# x2019s Heights au-dessus de Fredericksburg. Les confédérés étaient en sécurité dans une route en contrebas protégée par un mur de pierre, surplombant les pentes ouvertes qui s'étendaient depuis le bord de Fredericksburg. La position confédérée était si forte qu'un officier rebelle a affirmé que le poulet ne pouvait pas vivre sur ce champ lorsque nous l'ouvrons.

Burnside a décidé d'attaquer quand même. Le 13 décembre, il lance 14 attaques contre les lignes confédérées. Bien que l'artillerie de l'Union ait été efficace contre les rebelles, le champ de 600 verges était un terrain de jeu pour les attaquants Yankees. Aucun soldat de l'Union n'a atteint le mur au sommet de Marye&# x2019s Heights, et peu sont même venus à moins de 50 mètres de celui-ci. « C'est bien que la guerre soit si horrible, sinon nous devrions trop l'aimer », a observé Lee au général James Longstreet alors qu'ils regardaient le carnage. Une nuit extrêmement froide a gelé de nombreux morts et blessés de l'Union.


La bataille de Fredericksburg et ses nombreuses interprétations

L e cent cinquante-troisième anniversaire de la bataille de Fredericksburg, qui s'est déroulée du 11 au 15 décembre 1862, offre un rappel important non seulement des coûts énormes de la guerre civile, mais aussi du fait que les principales réalisations de la guerre - la préservation de l'Union et l'émancipation des esclaves n'était nullement inévitable. Après avoir vaincu les confédérés aux batailles d'Antietam, de Perryville et de Corinthe, les forces de l'Union à l'automne 1862 avaient renouvelé leurs offensives contre Richmond, Chattanooga et Vicksburg. Pourtant, chacun de ces efforts s'est avéré décevant et coûteux. Dans les États du Nord, le désespoir et la désaffection grandirent. Pour l'administration Lincoln, la situation politique était décourageante, car les républicains ont subi de lourdes pertes lors des élections de l'automne 1862.

Ce qui équivalait à une impasse apparente dans le théâtre oriental de la guerre a conduit le président Abraham Lincoln à remplacer le général George B. McClellan par le général Ambrose E. Burnside en tant que commandant de l'armée du Potomac en novembre 1862. Pourtant, l'armée du Potomac est restée remplie avec les loyalistes de McClellan, et le général Joseph Hooker visait ouvertement la première place. Burnside comprenait clairement que son prédécesseur avait été démis de ses fonctions parce qu'il n'était pas assez agressif, et il pouvait sentir la pression politique de porter un coup contre le général confédéré Robert E. Lee. Le général de l'Union propose de se diriger vers Fredericksburg, en Virginie, avant une offensive contre Richmond. Burnside a fait marcher son armée sur une distance étonnante de quarante milles en deux jours, laissant Lee deviner les intentions de l'Union. Mais ensuite, l'offensive s'est enlisée, car le cafouillage bureaucratique a retardé l'arrivée des pontons nécessaires pour franchir la rivière Rappahannock. Le retard a permis à Lee de concentrer ses forces et d'établir de solides positions défensives.

Au petit matin du 11 décembre, les ingénieurs de Burnside ont finalement commencé à poser des ponts flottants sur le Rappahannock. L'artillerie de l'Union bombarda les confédérés et une brigade de l'Union traversa la rivière et engagea l'ennemi. Finalement, ils ont chassé les défenseurs confédérés, mais non sans beaucoup de combats de rue, un événement rare pendant la guerre de Sécession. Pendant les jours suivants, les soldats de l'Union ont complètement saccagé Fredericksburg.

Le 13 décembre, Burnside ordonna au général William B. Franklin d'attaquer la droite confédérée. Ça ne s'est pas bien passé. Des ordres rédigés avec négligence, la confusion au sujet du réseau routier et le propre manque d'initiative de Franklin ont d'abord retardé puis conduit à un assaut faible mené en grande partie par une seule division. Pendant ce temps, pensant que Franklin avait obtenu beaucoup plus de succès que lui, Burnside ordonna des attaques contre les confédérés partis pour chasser les rebelles de Mayre's Heights à l'arrière de Fredericksburg. Des tirs d'artillerie confédérés bien placés et ce que certains participants ont décrit comme une « nappe de flammes » provenant de troupes stationnées derrière un mur de pierre ont repoussé tous ces assauts. D'autres assauts ont continué pour le reste de la journée et les soldats confédérés les ont tous repoussés, infligeant de lourdes pertes aux troupes de l'Union. À la tombée de la nuit, dix-sept brigades différentes de l'Union avaient attaqué la gauche confédérée. Des centaines d'hommes sont restés piégés sur le terrain au milieu des cris de leurs camarades blessés et mourants.

Plusieurs généraux ont dû convaincre Burnside de ne pas diriger son neuvième corps bien-aimé dans une attaque désespérée le lendemain, mais le 16 décembre, il avait retiré l'armée du Potomac de Fredericksburg. Pour sa part, Lee avait patiemment attendu, s'attendant à une autre attaque de l'Union. Il était furieux que les Yankees se soient échappés et frustré par ce que lui et Stonewall Jackson considéreraient plus tard comme une victoire incomplète, voire vide.

Bien que la bataille ait coûté aux confédérés plus de 5 000 victimes, les fédéraux ont perdu près de 13 000 hommes. Les trêves funéraires, les charniers, les hôpitaux de campagne de fortune et les opérations chirurgicales effectuées à la lueur des bougies signifieraient que les images, les sons et les odeurs de la bataille resteraient gravés dans l'esprit des soldats des deux côtés pour les années à venir. De longues listes de morts et de blessés (souvent incomplètes et inexactes) remplissent bientôt les colonnes des journaux.

Les nouvelles de la bataille sont arrivées rapidement et souvent de manière inexacte par télégraphe. Horace Greeley Tribune de New York affirma sauvagement que Burnside avait « surclassé » Lee en retirant son armée de Fredericksburg, un éditorial du jour de Noël ajouta qu'à part les pertes, peu de choses avaient été perdues à Fredericksburg. Il restait pour le Tribuneson rival acharné, Le New York Herald, pour affirmer l'évidence, mais non sans quelque plaisir : « En cette période de Noël, où de bonnes fées remplissent l'air, nous ne pouvons guère nous émerveiller du miracle soudain qui nous a montré l'affaire de Fredericksburg sous son vrai jour, et nous a donné l'occasion de joie nationale au lieu de tristesse nationale. Les sénateurs républicains rétifs ont décidé de se débarrasser du secrétaire d'État de William H. Seward, qu'ils considéraient comme le génie maléfique empêchant le gouvernement de mener la guerre avec succès, bien que Lincoln ait réussi à gérer adroitement la crise ministérielle qui s'ensuivit. Les Fois de Londres prévoyait la chute imminente de la république américaine. Une forte hausse des prix de l'or (l'équivalent à cette époque du Dow Jones Industrial Average) a reflété la morosité de Fredericksburg. Il y avait de nombreuses spéculations, y compris de la part des abolitionnistes Harriet Beecher Stowe et Frederick Douglass, selon lesquelles Lincoln pourrait même retarder la publication de la proclamation d'émancipation finale.

Nouvellement enhardis, les démocrates de la paix « Copperhead » ont utilisé des mots tels que « abattage » et « boucherie ». Les soldats de l'armée du Potomac et les habitants du Nord perdent généralement confiance en la cause, recherchent les coupables de la perte dévastatrice de Fredericksburg et encouragent les rumeurs de médiation étrangère qui recommencent à circuler. La responsabilité du désastre retomba sur Burnside, ou sur le général en chef Henry W. Halleck, ou sur le secrétaire à la Guerre Edwin M. Stanton, ou sur Lincoln, il y eut même des appels pour ramener McClellan. Burnside a assumé l'entière responsabilité de l'échec de Fredericksburg, bien que Lincoln ait publié une lettre bizarre suggérant que l'échec était principalement « un accident » et félicitant l'armée que les pertes aient été « comparativement si faibles ». Le moral dans l'armée du Potomac a atteint de nouveaux creux et une vague de désertions a suivi.

Pourtant, en fin de compte, cette force de combat très assiégée s'est avérée remarquablement résistante. Un lieutenant a admis que certains des hommes avaient peut-être « maudit les étoiles et les rayures » juste après la bataille, mais « ces mêmes soldats se battront comme des chiens de taureau quand il s'agira de se gratter ». En effet, les vétérans qui grognent pourraient être "plus fiables". Le moyen le plus rapide de mettre fin à la guerre, croyait ce soldat, était de donner un bon coup de fouet aux Rebs et de faire taire les « croakers » à la maison. Pour les confédérés, pendant ce temps, une victoire relativement facile a produit un excès de confiance dangereux. À bien des égards, Fredericksburg était un point bas trompeur dans les fortunes fédérales et un point culminant tout aussi trompeur pour les confédérés.

Quels que soient le désespoir, la confusion et les vœux pieux qui en résultèrent, peu de contemporains doutaient de l'importance de la bataille. Clara Barton s'est dirigée vers le sud pour aider les blessés Louisa May Alcott est allé travailler comme infirmière dans un hôpital de Washington. Walt Whitman s'est rendu à Falmouth pour s'occuper de son frère blessé, Herman Melville, qui a écrit un poème. À Londres, Karl Marx fulminait à cause de l'incompétence militaire et Henry Adams fit preuve de courage pour faire face à un autre désastre de l'Union. D'une manière ou d'une autre, la guerre et même cette bataille importaient à tout le monde, du phrénologue qui avait offert une lecture ridiculement idiote du personnage de Burnside au rédacteur en chef du magazine. Scientifique américain qui a blâmé les politiciens et les généraux pour les malheurs de la nation.

La guerre durera près de deux ans et demi. Et dans un monde où, selon les mots de l'apôtre Paul, nous « voyons souvent à travers un verre sombre », la bataille de Fredericksburg pourrait bien servir de rappel sain à la fois de nos forces humaines et, plus important encore, de nos trop limites humaines.


Champs de bataille de la guerre de Sécession : hier et aujourd'hui

La guerre qui a changé à jamais le paysage social américain a également affecté son paysage physique. Revisitez certains des champs de bataille les plus célèbres de l'histoire de la guerre de Sécession et à quoi ils ressemblent aujourd'hui.

Little Round Top est l'une des deux collines les plus importantes au sud de Gettysburg, en Pennsylvanie. Au cours du deuxième jour de la bataille en 1863, la colline est devenue le point central des attaques de flanc de Robert E. Lee contre les troupes de l'Union. Le major-général Gouverneur K. Warren, ingénieur en chef de l'armée du Potomac, précipita ses troupes de l'Union au sommet de la colline, gagnant le terrain contre les confédérés en un rien de temps. La lutte pour Little Round Top était incroyablement féroce, avec une balle frappant mortellement le colonel de l'Union Strong Vincent lors de la première contre-volée confédérée. Ses derniers mots auraient été : « Ne donnez pas un pouce. » Les tireurs d'élite du Sud ont réussi à éliminer plusieurs officiers de haut rang de l'Union dans le but de jeter la défense de Little Round Top dans le chaos. Mais les troupes de l'Union ont réussi à tuer plus de deux fois plus de confédérés que dans leurs propres rangs.

Chancellorsville

Après une débâcle de l'Union à la bataille de Fredericksburg, le Sud était prêt pour un succès simultané sous la forme de « la plus grande victoire de Lee » et une défaite sous la forme de la disparition de l'homme que beaucoup considéraient comme le meilleur général de la Confédération, Stonewall Jackson. Les deux événements se sont produits à la bataille de Chancellorsville. En infériorité numérique plus de deux contre un, l'armée de Lee de Virginie du Nord affronta Joseph Hooker et ce qu'il appelait, « la meilleure armée de la planète ». C'est la confiance de Hooker dans cette armée qui s'est avérée être sa chute à Chancellorsville. Alors que Hooker s'arrêtait pour attendre des renforts, Stonewall Jackson, célèbre pour sa promesse à Fredericksburg de "tuer jusqu'au dernier homme", a pris l'initiative, lançant une attaque malgré le fait qu'il soit largement dépassé en nombre. Ses actions ont dicté les événements de la bataille de Chancellorsville, car elles ont forcé l'armée de Hooker à se battre aux conditions confédérées. Au cours de l'une de ses nombreuses accusations contre les lignes de l'Union, Jackson a perdu un bras et est décédé plus tard des suites de ses blessures. Le Sud avait perdu son commandant le plus zélé.

Chickamauga

Seul Gettysburg a fait plus de victimes. La bataille la plus sanglante de la guerre civile disputée dans le Sud, du 18 au 20 septembre 1863, 34 000 Américains ont perdu la vie ou un membre à Chickamauga.

Bull Run&fraslFirst Manassas

La première grande bataille terrestre livrée en Virginie, Bull Run a vu plus de 60 000 soldats s'engager. Les combats acharnés du colonel Thomas Jackson à Henry House Hill lui ont valu le surnom de « Stonewall ». Une charge de cavalerie tardive par le colonel confédéré Jeb Brown a mis les forces de l'Union sous le choc. Le feu de l'artillerie confédérée a poussé la retraite déjà chaotique encore plus loin sur la route du pandémonium. Le pire pour la retraite de l'Union, cependant, était la foule de spectateurs venus de Washington pour voir le spectacle.

Fredericksburg

À peine deux jours après avoir pris le commandement de l'armée du Potomac de George McClellan trop prudent, le général Ambrose Burnside a abandonné le rythme lent de son prédécesseur en faveur d'un sprint tous azimuts à Fredericksburg, où une campagne réussie couperait les approvisionnements confédérés de Richmond et faciliter le passage des fournitures de l'Union depuis Washington en un seul geste. Robert E. Lee avait divisé son armée de Virginie du Nord, car McClellan refusait d'attaquer Fredericksburg, laissant ses flancs sans protection et la ville vulnérable. Mais avant que Burnside ne puisse assiéger la ville, il devait d'abord traverser à gué la rivière Rappahannock. Le mauvais temps et une bureaucratie inefficace signifiaient qu'au moment où l'équipement de ponton nécessaire arrivait pour l'armée de Burnside, des renforts étaient arrivés pour celle de Lee. Parce que le plan de Burnside dépendait d'une traversée en douceur et sans opposition de la rivière, les forces de l'Union étaient condamnées avant le début de la bataille. À sa fin, 17929 victimes avaient été dénombrées.

Cet article apparaît dans le Semaine d'actualitésle nouveau livre de "Lincoln : 150 ans plus tard," par le rédacteur en chef Tim Baker de Topix Media Lab.


Bataille

Traversée du Rappahannock, le 11 décembre󈝸

Les ingénieurs de l'Union ont commencé à assembler six ponts flottants avant l'aube du 11 décembre, deux juste au nord du centre-ville, un troisième à l'extrémité sud de la ville et trois plus au sud, près du confluent du Rappahannock et de Deep Run. Les ingénieurs qui construisaient le pont directement en face de la ville ont été la cible de tirs punitifs de tireurs d'élite confédérés, principalement de la brigade du Mississippi de Brig. Le général William Barksdale, commandant les défenses de la ville. L'artillerie de l'Union a tenté de déloger les tireurs d'élite, mais leurs positions dans les caves des maisons ont rendu le feu de 150 canons pour la plupart inefficaces. Finalement, le commandant de l'artillerie de Burnside, le brigadier. Le général Henry J. Hunt l'a convaincu d'envoyer des équipes de débarquement d'infanterie dans les bateaux pontons pour sécuriser une petite tête de pont et mettre en déroute les tireurs d'élite. Le colonel Norman J. Hall a proposé sa brigade pour cette mission. Burnside est soudainement devenu réticent, déplorant à Hall devant ses hommes que "l'effort signifiait la mort pour la plupart de ceux qui devraient entreprendre le voyage". Lorsque ses hommes ont répondu à la demande de Hall par trois acclamations, Burnside a cédé. A 15 heures, l'artillerie de l'Union commence un bombardement préparatoire et 135 fantassins du 7th Michigan et du 19th Massachusetts s'entassent dans les petits bateaux. Ils ont traversé avec succès et se sont déployés en une ligne d'escarmouche pour dégager les tireurs d'élite. Bien que certains des confédérés se soient rendus, les combats se sont déroulés rue par rue à travers la ville tandis que les ingénieurs achevaient les ponts. La grande division droite de Sumner a commencé à traverser à 16 h 30, mais la majeure partie de ses hommes n'a pas traversé avant le 12 décembre. La grande division du centre de Hooker a traversé le 13 décembre, en utilisant à la fois les ponts nord et sud.

Le nettoyage des bâtiments de la ville par l'infanterie de Sumner et par les tirs d'artillerie de l'autre côté de la rivière a commencé le premier grand combat urbain de la guerre. Les artilleurs de l'Union ont envoyé plus de 5 000 obus contre la ville et les crêtes à l'ouest. À la tombée de la nuit, quatre brigades des troupes de l'Union occupent la ville, qu'elles pillent avec une fureur jamais vue dans la guerre jusqu'alors. Ce comportement a enragé Lee, qui a comparé leurs déprédations avec celles des anciens Vandales. La destruction a également mis en colère les troupes confédérées, dont beaucoup étaient originaires de Virginie. Beaucoup du côté de l'Union ont également été choqués par les destructions infligées à Fredericksburg. Civilian casualties were unusually sparse in the midst of such widespread violence George Rable estimates no more than four civilian deaths.

River crossings south of the city by Franklin's Left Grand Division were much less eventful. Both bridges were completed by 11 a.m. on December 11 while five batteries of Union artillery suppressed most sniper fire against the engineers. Franklin was ordered at 4 p.m. to cross his entire command, but only a single brigade was sent out before dark. Crossings resumed at dawn and were completed by 1 p.m. on December 12. Early on December 13, Jackson recalled his divisions under Jubal Early and D.H. Hill from down river positions to join his main defensive lines south of the city.

Burnside's verbal instructions on December 12 outlined a main attack by Franklin, supported by Hooker, on the southern flank, while Sumner made a secondary attack on the northern. His actual orders on December 13 were vague and confusing to his subordinates. À 17 heures. on December 12, he made a cursory inspection of the southern flank, where Franklin and his subordinates pressed him to give definite orders for a morning attack by the grand division, so they would have adequate time to position their forces overnight. However, Burnside demurred and the order did not reach Franklin until 7:15 or 7:45 a.m. When it arrived, it was not as Franklin expected. Rather than ordering an attack by the entire grand division of almost 60,000 men, Franklin was to keep his men in position, but was to send "a division at least" to seize the high ground (Prospect Hill) around Hamilton's Crossing, Sumner was to send one division through the city and up Telegraph Road, and both flanks were to be prepared to commit their entire commands. Burnside was apparently expecting these weak attacks to intimidate Lee, causing him to withdraw. Unfortunately, Franklin, who had originally advocated a vigorous assault, chose to interpret Burnside's order very conservatively. Brick. Gen. James A. Hardie, who delivered the order, did not ensure that Burnside's intentions were understood by Franklin, and map inaccuracies about the road network made those intentions unclear. Furthermore, Burnside's choice of the verb "to seize" was less forceful in 19th century military terminology than an order "to carry" the heights.

South of the city, December 13

Franklin ordered his I Corps commander, Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, to select a division for the attack. Reynolds chose his smallest division, about 4,500 men commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade , and assigned Brig. Gen. John Gibbon's division to support Meade's attack. His reserve division, under Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday, was to face south and protect the left flank between the Richmond Road and the river. Meade's division began moving out 8:30 a.m. in a dense morning fog, which would not begin to lift until 10 a.m., with Gibbon's division following on its right rear. They moved parallel to the river initially, turning right to face the Richmond Road, where they began to be struck by enfilading fire from the Virginia Horse Artillery under Major John Pelham. Pelham started with two cannons—a 12-pounder Napoleon smoothbore and a rifled Blakely—but continued with only one after the latter was disabled by counter-battery fire. "Jeb" Stuart sent word to Pelham that he should feel free to withdraw from his dangerous position at any time, to which Pelham responded, "Tell the General I can hold my ground." The Iron Brigade (formerly Gibbon's command, but now led by Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith) was sent out to deal with the Confederate horse artillery. This action was mainly conducted by the 24th Michigan Infantry , a newly enlisted regiment that had joined the brigade in October. After about an hour, Pelham's ammunition began to run low and he withdrew. General Lee observed the action and commented about Pelham, age 24, "It is glorious to see such courage in one so young." The most prominent victim of Pelham's fire was Brig. Gen. George D. Bayard, a cavalry general mortally wounded by a shell while standing in reserve near Franklin's headquarters. Jackson's main artillery batteries had remained silent in the fog during this exchange, but the Union troops soon began to receive direct fire from Prospect Hill, principally five batteries directed by Lt. Col. Reuben Lindsay Walker, and Meade's attack was stalled about 600 yards from his initial objective for almost two hours by these combined artillery attacks.

The Union artillery fire was lifted as Meade's men moved forward around 1 p.m. Jackson's force of about 35,000 remained concealed on the wooded ridge to Meade's front. His formidable defensive line had an unforeseen flaw. In A.P. Hill's division's line, a triangular patch of the woods that extended beyond the railroad was swampy and covered with thick underbrush and the Confederates had left a 600-yard gap there between the brigades of Brig. Gén. James H. Lane and James J. Archer. Brick. Gen. Maxcy Gregg's brigade stood about a quarter mile behind the gap. Meade's 1st Brigade (Col. William Sinclair) entered the gap, climbed the railroad embankment, and turned right into the underbrush, striking Lane's brigade in the flank. Following immediately behind, his 3rd Brigade (Brig. Gen. Feger Jackson) turned left and hit Archer's flank. The 2nd Brigade (Col. Albert L. Magilton) came up in support and intermixed with the leading brigades. As the gap widened with pressure on the flanks, thousands of Meade's men reached the top of the ridge and ran into Gregg's brigade. Many of these Confederates had stacked arms while taking cover from Union artillery and were not expecting to be attacked at that moment, so were killed or captured unarmed. Gregg at first mistook the Union soldiers for fleeing Confederate troops and ordered his men not to fire on them. While he rode prominently in front of his lines, the partially deaf Gregg could not hear the approaching Federals or their bullets flying around him. He was shot through the spinal cord, dying two days later.

Confederate reserves—the divisions of Brig. Gén. Jubal A. Early and William B. Taliaferro—moved into the fray from behind Gregg's original position. Inspired by their attack, regiments from Lane's and Archer's brigades rallied and formed a new defensive line in the gap. Now Meade's men were receiving fire from three sides and could not withstand the pressure. Feger Jackson attempted to flank a Confederate battery, but after his horse was shot and he began to lead on foot, he was shot in the head by a volley and his brigade fell back, leaderless (Col. Joseph W. Fisher soon replaced Jackson in command).

To Meade's right, Gibbon's division prepared to move forward at 1 p.m. Brick. Gen. Nelson Taylor proposed to Gibbon that they supplement Meade's assault with a bayonet charge against Lane's position. However, Gibbon stated that this would violate his orders, so Taylor's brigade did not move forward until 1:30 p.m. The attack did not have the benefit of a gap to exploit, nor did the Union soldiers have any wooded cover for their advance, so progress was slow under heavy fire from Lane's brigade and Confederate artillery. Immediately following Taylor was the brigade of Col. Peter Lyle, and the advance of the two brigades ground to a halt before they reached the railroad. Committing his reserve at 1:45 p.m., Gibbon sent forward his brigade under Col. Adrian R. Root, which moved through the survivors of the first two brigades, but they were soon brought to a halt as well. Eventually some of the Federals reached the crest of the ridge and had some success during hand-to-hand fighting—men on both sides had depleted their ammunition and resorted to bayonets and rifle butts, and even empty rifles with bayonets thrown like javelins—but they were forced to withdraw back across the railroad embankment along with Meade's men to their left. Gibbon's attack, despite heavy casualties, had failed to support Meade's temporary breakthrough.

My God, General Reynolds, did they think my division could whip Lee's whole army?

After the battle Meade complained that some of Gibbon's officers had not charged quickly enough. But his primary frustration was with Brig. Gen. David B. Birney, whose division of the III Corps had been designated to support the attack as well. Birney claimed that his men had been subjected to damaging artillery fire as they formed up, that he had not understood the importance of Meade's attack, and that Reynolds had not ordered his division forward. When Meade galloped to the rear to confront Birney with a string of fierce profanities that, in the words of one staff lieutenant, "almost makes the stones creep," he was finally able to order the brigadier forward under his own responsibility, but harbored resentment for weeks. By this time, however, it was too late to accomplish any further offensive action.

Early's division began a counterattack, led initially by Col. Edmund N. Atkinson's Georgia brigade, which inspired the men from the brigades of Col. Robert Hoke, Brig. Gen. James J. Archer, and Col. John M. Brockenbrough to charge forward out of the railroad ditches, driving Meade's men from the woods in a disorderly retreat, followed closely by Gibbon's. Early's orders to his brigades were to pursue as far as the railroad, but in the chaos many kept up the pressure over the open fields as far as the old Richmond Road, where they were easier targets for Union artillery fire. The Confederates were also struck by the leading brigade of Birney's belated advance, commanded by Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward. Birney followed up with the brigades of Brig. Gén. Hiram G. Berry and John C. Robinson, which broke the Rebel advance that had threatened to drive the Union into the river. Any further Confederate advance was deterred by the arrival of the III Corps division of Brig. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles on the right. General Burnside, who by this time was focused on his attacks on Marye's Heights, was dismayed that his left flank attack had not achieved the success he assumed earlier in the day. He ordered Franklin to "advance his right and front," but despite repeated entreaties, Franklin refused, claiming that all of his forces had been engaged. This was not true, however, as the entire VI Corps and Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday's division of the I Corps had been mostly idle, suffering only a few casualties from artillery fire while they waited in reserve.

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.

The Confederates withdrew back to the safety of the hills south of town. Stonewall Jackson considered mounting a resumed counterattack, but the Federal artillery and impending darkness changed his mind. A fortuitous Union breakthrough had been wasted because Franklin did not reinforce Meade's success with some of the 20,000 men standing in reserve. Neither Franklin nor Reynolds took any personal involvement in the battle, and were unavailable to their subordinates at the critical point. Franklin's losses were about 5,000 casualties in comparison to Stonewall Jackson's 3,400, demonstrating the ferocity of the fighting. Skirmishing and artillery duels continued until dark, but no additional major attacks took place, while the center of the battle moved north to Marye's Heights.

Marye's Heights, December 13

On the northern end of the battlefield, Brig. Gen. William H. French's division of the II Corps prepared to move forward, subjected to Confederate artillery fire that was descending on the fog-covered city of Fredericksburg. General Burnside's orders to Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner , commander of the Right Grand Division, was to send "a division or more" to seize the high ground to the west of the city, assuming that his assault on the southern end of the Confederate line would be the decisive action of the battle. The avenue of approach was difficult—mostly open fields, but interrupted by scattered houses, fences, and gardens that would restrict the movement of battle lines. A canal stood about 200 yards west of the town, crossed by three narrow bridges, which would require the Union troops to funnel themselves into columns before proceeding. About 600 yards to the west of Fredericksburg was the low ridge known as Marye's Heights, rising 40󈞞 feet above the plain. (Although popularly known as Marye's Heights, the ridge was composed of several hills separated by ravines, from north to south: Taylor's Hill, Stansbury Hill, Marye's Hill, and Willis Hill.) Near the crest of the portion of the ridge comprising Marye's Hill and Willis Hill, a narrow lane in a slight cut—the Telegraph Road, known after the battle as the Sunken Road—was protected by a 4-foot stone wall, enhanced in places with log breastworks and abatis, making it a perfect infantry defensive position. Confederate Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws initially had about 2,000 men on the front line of Marye's Heights and there were an additional 7,000 men in reserve on the crest and behind the ridge. Massed artillery provided almost uninterrupted coverage of the plain below. General Longstreet had been assured by his artillery commander, Lt. Col. Edward Porter Alexander, "General, we cover that ground now so well that we will comb it as with a fine-tooth comb. A chicken could not live on that field when we open on it."

The fog lifted from the town around 10 a.m. and Sumner gave his order to advance an hour later. French's brigade under Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball began to move around noon. They advanced slowly through heavy artillery fire, crossed the canal in columns over the narrow bridges, and formed in line, with fixed bayonets, behind the protection of a shallow bluff. In perfect line of battle, they advanced up the muddy slope until they were cut down at about 125 yards from the stone wall by repeated rifle volleys. Some soldiers were able to get as close as 40 yards, but having suffered severe casualties from both the artillery and infantry fire, the survivors clung to the ground. Kimball was severely wounded during the assault, and his brigade suffered 25% casualties. French's brigades under Col. John W. Andrews and Col. Oliver H. Palmer followed, with casualty rates of almost 50%.

Sumner's original order called for the division of Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock to support French and Hancock sent forward his brigade under Col. Samuel K. Zook behind Palmer's. They met a similar fate. Next was his Irish Brigade under Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Meagher . By coincidence, they attacked the area defended by fellow Irishmen of Col. Robert McMillan's 24th Georgia Infantry. One Confederate who spotted the green regimental flags approaching cried out, "Oh God, what a pity! Here comes Meagher's fellows." But McMillan exhorted his troops: "Give it to them now, boys! Now's the time! Give it to them!" Hancock's final brigade was led by Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell. Leading his two regiments on the left, Col. Nelson A. Miles suggested to Caldwell that the practice of marching in formation, firing, and stopping to reload, made the Union soldiers easy targets, and that a concerted bayonet charge might be effective in carrying the works. Caldwell denied permission. Miles was struck by a bullet in the throat as he led his men to within 40 yards of the wall, where they were pinned down as their predecessors had been. Caldwell himself was soon struck by two bullets and put out of action.

The commander of the II Corps, Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch, was dismayed at the carnage wrought upon his two divisions in the hour of fighting and, like Col. Miles, realized that the tactics were not working. He first considered a massive bayonet charge to overwhelm the defenders, but as he surveyed the front, he quickly realized that French's and Hancock's divisions were in no shape to move forward again. He next planned for his final division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, to swing to the right and attempt to envelop the Confederate left, but upon receiving urgent requests for help from French and Hancock, he sent Howard's men over and around the fallen troops instead. The brigade of Col. Joshua Owen went in first, reinforced by Col. Norman J. Hall's brigade, and then two regiments of Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully's brigade. The other corps in Sumner's grand division was the IX Corps, and he sent in one of its divisions under Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis . After two hours of desperate fighting, four Union divisions had failed in the mission Burnside had originally assigned to one. Casualties were heavy: II Corps losses for the afternoon were 4,114, Sturgis's division 1,011.

While the Union Army paused, Longstreet reinforced his line so that there were four ranks of infantrymen behind the stone wall. Brick. Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb of Georgia, who had commanded the key sector of the line, was mortally wounded by a sniper's bullet and was replaced by Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw. General Lee expressed concerns to Longstreet about the massing troops breaking his line, but Longstreet assured his commander, "General, if you put every man on the other side of the Potomac on that field to approach me over the same line, and give me plenty of ammunition, I will kill them all before they reach my line."

By midafternoon, Burnside had failed on both flanks to make progress against the Confederates. Rather than reconsidering his approach in the face of heavy casualties, he stubbornly decided to continue on the same path. He sent orders to Franklin to renew the assault on the left (which, as described earlier, the Left Grand Division commander ignored) and ordered his Center Grand Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, to cross the Rappahannock into Fredericksburg and continue the attack on Marye's Heights. Hooker performed a personal reconnaissance (something that neither Burnside nor Sumner had done, both remaining east of the river during the failed assaults) and returned to Burnside's headquarters to advise against the attack.

Brick. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, commanding Hooker's V Corps, while waiting for Hooker to return from his conference with Burnside, sent his division under Brig. Gen. Charles Griffin to relieve Sturgis's men. By this time, Maj. Gen. George Pickett's Confederate division and one of Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood's brigades had marched north to reinforce Marye's Heights. Griffin smashed his three brigades against the Confederate position, one by one. Also concerned about Sturgis, Couch sent the six guns of Capt. John G. Hazard's Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, to within 150 yards of the Confederate line. They were hit hard by Confederate sharpshooter and artillery fire and provided no effective relief to Sturgis.

A soldier in Hancock's division reported movement in the Confederate line that led some to believe that the enemy might be retreating. Despite the unlikeliness of this supposition, the V Corps division of Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys was ordered to attack and capitalize on the situation. Humphreys led his first brigade on horseback, with his men moving over and around fallen troops with fixed bayonets and unloaded rifles some of the fallen men clutched at the passing pant legs, urging their comrades not to go forward, causing the brigade to become disorganized in their advance. The charge reached to within 50 yards before being cut down by concentrated rifle fire. Brick. Gen. George Sykes was ordered to move forward with his V Corps regular army division to support Humphreys's retreat, but his men were caught in a crossfire and pinned down.

By 4 p.m., Hooker had returned from his meeting with Burnside, having failed to convince the commanding general to abandon the attacks. While Humphreys was still attacking, Hooker reluctantly ordered the IX Corps division of Brig. Gen. George W. Getty to attack as well, but this time to the leftmost portion of Marye's Heights, Willis Hill. Col. Rush Hawkins's brigade, followed by Col. Edward Harland's brigade, moved along an unfinished railroad line just north of Hazel Run, approaching close to the Confederate line without detection in the gathering twilight, but they were eventually detected, fired on, and repulsed.

Seven Union divisions had been sent in, generally one brigade at a time, for a total of fourteen individual charges, all of which failed, costing them from 6,000 to 8,000 casualties. Confederate losses at Marye's Heights totaled around 1,200. The falling of darkness and the pleas of Burnside's subordinates were enough to put an end to the attacks. Longstreet later wrote, "The charges had been desperate and bloody, but utterly hopeless." Thousands of Union soldiers spent the cold December night on the fields leading to the heights, unable to move or assist the wounded because of Confederate fire. That night, Burnside attempted to blame his subordinates for the disastrous attacks, but they argued that it was entirely his fault and no one else's.

Lull and withdrawal, December 14󈝻

During a dinner meeting the evening of December 13, Burnside dramatically announced that he would personally lead his old IX Corps in one final attack on Marye's Heights, but his generals talked him out of it the following morning. The armies remained in position throughout the day on December 14. That afternoon, Burnside asked Lee for a truce to attend to his wounded, which the latter graciously granted. The next day the Federal forces retreated across the river, and the campaign came to an end.

Testament to the extent of the carnage and suffering during the battle was the story of Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate Army sergeant with Company G, 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry. Stationed at the stone wall by the sunken road below Marye's Heights, Kirkland had a close up view to the suffering and like so many others was appalled at the cries for help of the Union wounded throughout the cold winter night of December 13, 1862. After obtaining permission from his commander, Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, Kirkland gathered canteens and in broad daylight, without the benefit of a cease fire or a flag of truce (refused by Kershaw), provided water to numerous Union wounded lying on the field of battle. Union soldiers held their fire as it was obvious what Kirkland's intent was. Kirkland was nicknamed the " Angel of Marye's Heights " for these actions, and is memorialized with a statue by Felix de Weldon on the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park where he carried out his actions.


Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11 - 15, 1862)

Prelude
After the bloody Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) Confederate General Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat back into Virginia, ending his first invasion of the North. The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George McClellan chose not to pursue Lee's retreating Army of Northern Virginia, prompting President Abraham Lincoln to issue an executive order on November 5, 1862, replacing McClellan with Major General Ambrose E. Burnside.

Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck urged Burnside to launch an invasion of Virginia quickly. Burnside submitted a plan to Halleck on November 9 that called for the Army of the Potomac to cross the Rappahannock River at the town of Fredericksburg and seize control of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, which would be used for a rapid invasion of the Confederate capital at Richmond. Halleck and Lincoln approved the plan and by November 19, 1862, the 115,000-man Army of the Potomac was positioned to cross the Rappahannock at Stafford Heights across from Fredericksburg.

Burnside's plans began unraveling as he was forced to wait until November 25 for the arrival of pontoons his engineers would use to build temporary bridges spanning the river. Lee used the delay to move his army from Culpeper, Virginia, and fortify the area in and around Fredericksburg. Unable to find suitable alternative sites to cross the Rappahannock, and feeling pressured by Lincoln and Halleck, Burnside decided to continue the operation and assault Lee's well-entrenched, 78,000-man Army of Northern Virginia head on.

December 11, 1862
Concealed by early-morning fog on December 11, Union engineers began constructing three pontoon bridges across the river—two directly opposite Fredericksburg and one a mile downstream. As the Yankees hastened to complete their task, the fog lifted, exposing them to the watchful eyes of Confederates on the other side. Sharpshooters from Brigadier General William Barksdale's Mississippian brigade who occupied the town soon sent the engineers scurrying for cover.

Burnside countered by ordering his chief of artillery, Brigadier General Henry Hunt, to shower Fredericksburg with a massive bombardment beginning at 12:30 pm. Despite a barrage of more than 8,000 shells that ravaged the city's homes and commercial establishments, Barksdale's sharpshooters re-emerged after the bombardment ended, to continue their deadly assault on Burnside's engineers as they attempted to resume their construction.

As completing the bridges became impracticable, Hunt suggested sending infantry task forces across the river by boat to establish beachheads from which to begin operations and silence the Rebel sharpshooters. At 3:30 that afternoon, men from the 7th Michigan, 89th New York, and 19th Massachusetts clambered aboard small boats and crossed the Rappahannock under heavy fire and executed the first large-scale opposed river crossing in American history.

After establishing their bridgeheads, the Union infantrymen moved into town where they engaged in close-quarter urban combat with Barksdale's brigade for nearly four hours. Gradually, the Yankees cleared the buildings and drove the Rebels out of town, enabling Burnside's engineers to complete the bridges by 5 p.m.

December 12, 1862
With the bridges completed, thousands of Federal soldiers poured into Fredericksburg and began plundering the town. As the drunken Yankees looted and burned civilian homes and businesses, enraged Confederates continued fortifying their defenses on the heights above the town.

December 13, 1862
Action at Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Field
After re-establishing control of his army, on December 13, Burnside began his assault on Lee's army. The initial point of attack would be against Lee's right flank on the southern end of the battlefield at Prospect Hill. Burnside selected Major General William B. Franklin's Grand Division to lead the offensive. Their orders were to advance across a farm field, later known as the "Slaughter Pen," and drive Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's 2nd Corps from the woods on the other side.

Franklin had about 65,000 men at his disposal, but due to poorly worded orders from Burnside that morning, Franklin believed that he was to utilize only a small portion of his forces during the initial strike. Franklin selected two small divisions, totaling about 8,000 soldiers, from Major General John F. Reynolds' 1st Corps, to lead the onslaught against Jackson's 37,000 Confederate defenders. Reynolds' 3rd Division, commanded by Major General George Meade (future leader of the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg) would spearhead the attack. Meade's men would be supported on their right by Reynolds' 2nd Division, commanded by Brigadier General John Gibbon (former leader of the famous Iron Brigade).

As the Federals prepared to advance across the field, a single cannon on their left flank, manned by Major John Pelham of the Stewart Force Artillery, pinned them down for over an hour. It was not until Pelham ran out of ammunition that Union artillerists were able to move forward at 11:20 a.m. and shell Jackson's defenses for roughly forty minutes.

Assuming that the Union barrage had softened the Confederate lines, Meade and Gibbon finally moved forward around noon. As they advanced, the Yankees soon became disorganized when they were forced to cross a water-filled ditch fence. Adding to their plight, the Federals soon discovered that their artillerists had done little damage to the Rebel batteries in front of them. As the Bluecoats approached the Confederate lines, Jackson ordered his men to hold their fire until they came within about 800 yards. Upon entering this killing zone, Confederate artillerists unleashed a blistering fusillade that forced their victims to save themselves by lying prone in the cold December mud. Meade and Gibbon countered by signaling for their artillerists to resume firing on the Rebel batteries. For the next half hour or so, the gunners on both sides engaged in an artillery duel while the Union foot soldiers were pinned down.

Around 1 p.m., Meade ordered his men to rise and advance once again. Within the hour they maneuvered their way through an undefended swampy area. Two Union regiments broke through the Confederate line and crossed the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad tracks running through the area, surprising General Maxcy Gregg's Brigade who were resting in reserve with their arms stacked. During the subsequent melee, a Union bullet mortally wounded Gregg.

Despite the breakthrough, Meade's success quickly unraveled when three of his brigade commanders were wounded or killed. Ignoring Jackson's earlier instructions to not commit his troops, Major General Jubal Early sent three brigades into the gap and repulsed the Union breakthrough.

Meanwhile, when Gibbon saw Meade's Division surge forward, he urged his command to follow suit and try to sustain Meade's progress. Jackson countered by ordering forward two brigades commanded by Brigadier General Edward L. Thomas and Brigadier General James H. Lane. As the Yankees approached the railroad tracks separating the two forces, the Rebels unleashed a volley that stalled their advance. Although Gibbon may not have known it at the time, he was facing all three of his brothers who were members of Lane's North Carolina Brigade. By the time Gibbon's men reached the Rebel lines following three valiant charges, both sides ran low on ammunition and resorted to fixing bayonets or using their rifles like clubs.

Meade's attempts to bring forth reinforcements went unanswered. As more than 50,000 Union soldiers stood by in reserve, Confederate counterattacks repulsed the Union attacks. By 3 p.m., the Rebels had regained control of the southern portion of the eight-mile-long battle lines at Fredericksburg, and the Federals had squandered their best opportunity to win the conflict.

Casualties on and around Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Field totaled roughly 9,000. The Union lost 5,000 soldiers (killed, wounded, and missing/captured) while the Confederacy lost 4,000 soldiers.

Marye's Heights—the Valley of Death
As Major General William B. Franklin's Left Grand Division began its assault against Major General Thomas J Jackson's 2nd Corps on the right flank of the Confederate lines eight miles to the south, soldiers from Major General Edwin V. Sumner's Right Grand Division steeled themselves for a diversionary attack against General James Longstreet's 1st Corps on the heights of the river valley directly above Fredericksburg. At roughly 11 a.m. on December 13, the 1st Brigade of Brigadier General William French's 3rd Division, commanded by Brigadier General Nathan Kimball, marched out of Fredericksburg toward Marye's (pronounced Marie's) Heights.

Facing them were about 6,000 Rebel troops aligned along a sunken road behind a four-foot-high stone wall at the base of the ridge. Behind and above the infantry were nine batteries from the elite Washington Artillery of New Orleans on top of Marye's Heights. Loaded with canister and grapeshot, the Confederate's big guns were trained on the open field between the stone wall and the town.

Confounding the Union advance was a mill race that traversed the length the field. Fifteen feet wide and three to five feet deep, the man-made ditch stalled the Federals as they tried to wade across the icy water or pass over the three foot bridges that crossed the waterway. As the Yankees scrambled up the slippery slope on the opposite side, Confederate artillerists and infantrymen mowed them down with a deadly hail of canister, grapeshot, and musket fire. As Lieutenant-Colonel Edward P. Alexander, one of Longstreet's artillery commanders, had boasted before the battle "a chicken could not live on that field when we open up on it." The carnage was so great that Union soldiers later referred to the site as the Valley of Death.

Despite devastating losses against impossible circumstances, Burnside committed nearly all of the right wing of his army in three failed assaults against Marye's Heights by mid-day. The Federals who survived the assaults found themselves pinned down in a swale on the battlefield, unable to move forward or backward without risking death.

By 2:30 in the afternoon, Burnside learned that Franklin's attack against Jackson at Prospect Hill had failed. At that point, the Union leader began to fear that Lee would launch a counterattack at Marye's Heights, and drive the remainder of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac back through the town to the river where it might face annihilation. The best solution Burnside could conger up to save the right wing of his army was to commit his reserves from across the river to even more suicidal assaults against the impregnable Rebel defenses behind the stone wall until he could withdraw what remained of his forces under cover of darkness. Four times during the afternoon and evening, Burnside ordered more Union troops into the Confederate meat grinder. What began that morning as a diversionary assault to prevent Lee from re-deploying troops to the site of the main Union assault at Prospect Hill had morphed into a desperate attempt to trade lives for time to save what remained of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac. Les résultats ont été dévastateurs. The Army of the Potomac lost 8,000 men at Marye's Heights (killed, wounded, and missing/captured), yet not one Union soldier got within fifty yards of the stone wall. By comparison, the Confederacy suffered fewer than 1,000 casualties.

Among the Federal units that suffered horribly during the futile assaults was the famous Irish Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher (pronounced "mar"). Fighting without their battle-worn flag, which was in New York being restored, the Irishmen wore sprigs of boxwood on their hats to identify each other. On the other side of the stone wall stood Colonel Robert McMillan’s Georgia Brigade of Irishmen. As Meagher's men marched in good order toward their doom, chanting the old Irish cheer “Faugh-a-Bellagh” (“Clear the Way”), their fellow countrymen cut them down with a blistering sheet of hot lead. Of the roughly 1,315 Irish Federals who started up the hill, 545 were killed or wounded. The 69th New York lost all 16 of its officers. Despite their staggering losses, Meagher's men advanced farther than any other Union unit that day. Nonetheless, brigade historian Henry Clay Heisler later declared that Burnside's reckless blunder "was not a battle—it was a wholesale slaughter of human beings."

December 14󈝻, 1862
Despite overwhelming losses the day before, Burnside proposed resuming the attack on December 14 during a council of war with his general officers. Following occasional artillery exchanges between the two armies, Burnside acquiesced to the objections of his subordinates and pulled the Army of the Potomac back across the Rappahannock River. On December 15, the Army of Northern Virginia re-occupied the devastated town of Fredericksburg.

Conséquences
The Battle of Fredericksburg was the largest conflict of the Civil War. Nearly 200,000 combatants participated in the fighting, producing roughly 18,000 casualties. The Union lost an estimated 12,653 soldiers (1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 missing). The Confederacy suffered 5,377 casualties (608 killed, 4,116 wounded, and 653 missing). Despite the enormity of the battle and the magnitude of the losses, the Confederate tactical victory had very little strategic impact on the war. The Confederate victory was so absolute that upon viewing the carnage, Lee reported remarked to Longstreet that "It is good that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."

In the aftermath of the battle, President Lincoln came under extreme criticism in the North, even among Republican allies. Still, the fallout did not dissuade him from issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

Following another failed offensive against Lee's army in late January 1863, derisively known as Burnside's Mud March, the War Department issued General Orders, No. 20 on January 25, announcing that "The President of the United States has directed . . . That Major General A. E. Burnside, at his own request, be relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac." The order went on to state "That Major General J. Hooker be assigned to the command of the Army of the Potomac."

In the South, jubilation reigned. Lee and his army became even more convinced of their invincibility. That mindset would serve them well when they collided with the brash Hooker in April at Chancellorsville, but may very well have led to their undoing at the Battle of Gettysburg in July.


Ready to book a room for your own Washington, DC Civil War vacation? Here are some hotel deals to consider:

A vacation to Washington, DC has so much to offer. The options for tourist sites, museums, monuments, restaurants, and fun activities can rival just about any other major city in the United States. The one characteristic that really sets Washington, DC apart from other American cities is the amount of history that can be found both in town and on the doorstep of our nation’s capital in the neighboring areas of Virginia and Maryland.

The Civil War battlefields are a great way to learn about our history and to reflect on the sacrifices made during some of America’s darkest days. Our country is still young compared to many of the other nations around the world, but we have a rich history and fascinating stories that are waiting to be told to those who are interested in listening.

If you’re planning a trip to Washington, DC and you want to venture off the tourist path, then you should definitely consider visiting some of the the nearby American Civil War battlefields.


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