Battle of Fredericksburg

By: Leslie Harris & Kristin Kuchno

details of the war

The Battle of Fredericksburg was one of the early battles in the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee was the Confederate general and Ambrose Burnside was the Union general. The battle took place in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The battle was from the 11th of December to the 15th of December. There were 12,600 Union casualties and 5,300 for the Confederate side. It was part of the Fredericksburg campaign. On November 14, Burnside sent 120,000 troops to occupy the vicinity of Falmouth near Fredericksburg. Lee reacted by sending his army behind the town. The Union was the first to attack. The confederacy ended up winning because Burnside gave incorrect orders and took blame for the Union loss. He was later replaced by Joseph Hooker as commander of the army.

Significance and the effects it had on both sides

The significance of the Battle of Fredericksburg is that it has a Confederate victory but a Union story. General Robert E. Lee thought it was a empty victory (a victory that didn't mean anything or was to easy). It didn't really have an effect on either sides but since the Union lost they were mad.

Eyewitness Account

Timothy Webster, Union soldier

"In December 1862, Webster wrote his wife Harriet (‘Hattie’) about the buildup of Union and Confederate troops near Fredericksburg, Va.: ‘We are about 15 miles from where a great battle is expected to come off soon. It is at Fredericksburg. There are mountains on each side of the creek and there are cannon of all size and it seems that they are without number on both sides. They are planted on these mountains base to base. It is plain to see each ones movements with the artillery. We have got 5 pontoon bridges swung across the stream. Our army is to cross under all their fire.’ Union engineers began laying pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock on December 11. The next day, wave after wave of Union troops crossed the river and moved against entrenched Confederate positions in and around Fredericksburg. On December 16, Webster described to Hattie the Battle of Fredericksburg, his green regiment’s baptism of fire: ‘I’ll take this present opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am yet to be numbered among the living. Last Friday we crossed the Rappahannock into the field of battle and I tell you it has been a field of battle with great slaughter. There have been 7 killed out of our regiment and quite a number wounded."