1999 Road Trip: Fredericksburg

The Battle of Fredericksburg was the first of four major Civil War battles within less than 20 miles of Fredericksburg, VA. It took place from December 11-13, 1862. The Union forces were commanded by General Ambrose E. Burnside and the Confederate forces were commanded by General Robert E. Lee.

Fredericksburg lies roughly in the middle of the shortest path between Washington D.C. and Richmond, VA -- the capitals of the U.S.A. and the C.S.A. respectively. It was only natural that Union forces trying to reach Richmond would pass through Fredericksburg.

Gen. Burnside planned to quickly cross the Rappahannock River via pontoons and get into Fredericksburg before the Confederate forces could react. A delay in the arrival of the pontoons slowed him up long enough to allow Gen. Lee to thoroughly fortify Marye's Heights beyond Fredericksburg. By the time Gen. Burnside's forces could attack, it was a hopeless cause.

Despite a valiant effort led by Union General George Meade against Confederate General Stonewall Jackson that did achieve some temporary success, by the end of the battle it was unquestionably a Confederate victory.

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