Battle of Fredericksburg: 10 Things You Should Know

Those of you who are consistent readers of the blog here at Part Time Commander know that I have been writing various articles relating to battles and leaders of the United States’ Civil War.

So much of the information I have researched has weighed heavily on my brain, and I see so many similarities to the way things are going in the United States now. No, it isn’t a North against South, but rather a Red against Blue.

Will we fall into another Civil War? I hope and pray not.

How can we keep from doing so?

I believe the key word is respect.

We must all respect the other opinions and do our best to work together. We must accept the leadership we currently have and if you are not satisfied, vote the next election. But to threaten bodily harm or other aggressive actions will only cause the same in return. Just take a look at the cousins who killed cousins, friends who killed friends and neighbors who killed neighbors in the Civil War.

Do not allow it to happen again… Please.

Okay, enough of my opinion… Today, we are going to look at a Civil War battle that took place in Virginia and was a battle that played a major part in the continuance of the Civil War.

Here are 10 things you should know about the Battle of Fredericksburg.

The pontoons to cross the river. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

#1: It Was Cold

I find no mention of snow, but I guarantee that it was quite cold. The dates of this battle was December 11th through the 15th of 1862.

#2: The Union Plan

Abraham Lincoln felt that he needed to have more action and try to get this bitter war over. The best way to achieve that would be capturing the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

The plan for the Army of the Potomac was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in November and quickly run to Richmond. But logistics did not work out properly and the pontoons needed to cross the river did not arrive until mid December.

The Confederates were able to create a defensive line in that time.

#3: The Union Commander Did Not Actually Want That Command

Major General George McClellan was the commander of the Army of the Potomac but when he failed to decimate the Confederates after the Union win at the Battle of Antietam, Major General Ambrose Burnside was ordered to replace him.

Burnside had already turned down 2 other promotions from President Lincoln and he felt he was not qualified to Command the Army of the Potomac. But because he was ordered, he reluctantly agreed.

This is what he wrote to a friend: “Had I been asked to take it I should have declined; but, being ordered, I cheerfully obeyed.”

#4: Casualty Counts Were High

The Union forces had a casualty count of approximately 12,600 while the Confederates had 5,300.

#5: The Number Of Troops Who Fought

The Battle of Fredericksburg had one of the highest counts of total troops who fought. There were approximately 114,000 Union troops and approximately 72,500 Confederate troops.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Battle Of The Wilderness: Top 10 Cool Facts
  2. Top 10 Civil War Battles
  3. The Top 15 Army Leadership Failures Of All Time
  4. Top 15 Robert E Lee Quotes
  5. Battle Of Chancellorsville: Top 10 Amazing Facts

#6: Flank Attacks

Burnside knew that Confederate forces led by Longstreet held high ground on one flank and the other flank was held by “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops, also on high ground.

It would have made more sense to take all forces and attack the center because being on high ground, it would take time and energy to bring those flank positions down and the odds were good he could have broke through Lee’s forces.

But Major General Burnside ordered 2 commanders, Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin and Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner to take their troops and attack those flanks.

They were decimated and it was quite obvious to the Confederates what Burnside planned.

#7: The Confederates Won

I believe it is obvious, but the Confederates easily won this battle. If they would have lost, there is a good chance the War would have been over.

#8: Consequences For The Union

After the Battle of Fredericksburg, Union morale sunk to a super low state.

Many Union soldiers deserted and fighting and arguments between Union officers reached an all-time high.

Even President Lincoln was considering calling the Civil War quits.

#9: Burnside Relieved

President Lincoln took Major General out of the Command position approximately 1 month after the Battle of Fredericksburg.

#10: And General Robert E. Lee Said

While many would think that General Lee would have been elated by the victory, his words showed differently.

We must remember that there were many deaths on both sides and many of these soldiers and officers were once friends.

After the Battle of Fredericksburg, General Lee said:

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

Final Thoughts

This battle was devastating for the Union, but we do know that President Lincoln and the Union Army moved past this defeat and finally defeated the Confederates.

Again, I hope and pray this country will never face anything like this again.

What are your thoughts?

I ask one last thing… And please share with all. Whether you side with the Blue or the Red, please, let’s make a commitment to work together as Americans. We may not agree, but we are brothers and sisters; let’s learn to be American together instead of being hateful toward each other.

Have a great day!

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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