The Battle of Fredericksburg: Top 10 Cool Facts

In today’s post, I’d like to share 10 cool facts about The Battle of Fredericksburg.

In case you aren’t familiar with this battle, it was an important battle during the Civil War, in the United States. It took place in 1862 and lasted four days.

Thousands of Soldiers gave their lives and the battle turned out to be an important Confederate victory.

The Battle of Fredericksburg: Top 10 Cool Facts

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

# 1: It Was Cold

I find no mention of snow, but I guarantee that it was quite cold. The dates of this battle were 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 two 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

Thousands of men were wounded and/or killed during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Both sides suffered significant casualties.

One of the most one-sided battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg cost the Army of the Potomac 1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 captured/missing. For the Confederates, casualties were 608 killed, 4,116 wounded, and 653 captured/missing. ~

# 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 200,000 Soldiers involved in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

The Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, involved nearly 200,000 combatants, the largest concentration of troops in any Civil War battle. Ambrose Burnside, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, had ordered his more than 120,000 troops to cross the Rappahannock River, where they made a two-pronged attack on the right and left flanks of Robert E. Lee’s 80,000-strong Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg. ~

# 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 two 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 one month after the Battle of Fredericksburg.

If General Burnside could be forgiven for launching the initial attack on the morning of December 13, there can be no forgiveness for his subsequent decisions to continue feeding Union troops into the meat-grinder that was Mayre’s Heights. From after dawn that morning until shortly after dusk that evening, one Union regiment after another fell before the stone wall. Confederate artillery on the heights mangled Union soldiers’ bodies, severed limbs, inflicted devastating wounds that were often fatal. Those troops that got closer to the wall were mowed down by Confederate infantry who expertly used the shelter of the sunken road and stone wall to tear into approaching Union troops.

Burnside’s folly at Fredericksburg led to his removal from command and his replacement by General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker, who the following May lost the Battle of Chancellorsville in yet another devastating Union defeat. ~

# 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

In conclusion, The Battle of Fredericksburg 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.

What are your thoughts about this battle? What facts did I leave out but should have included? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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