Major General James Longstreet’s First Corps of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was positioned on Marye’s Heights in a sunken roadway behind a stone wall. Brig. General Wm. French’s commanded the Third Division Division and, Brig. General Hancock commanded the First Division of the Second Army Corps, commanded by Maj. General Couch of the Right Grand Division, commanded by Maj. General Edwin Sumner. These two divisions formed the first and second wave of an assault on Longstreet’s Corps. The Union soldiers were pounded by rebel artillery fire as soon as they left the town below and as they ascended, the heights were met with murderous fire of the well-positioned troops of General Longstreet’s Corps.
With little regard of the slaughter of the first two divisions, General Burnside ordered more assaults as two divisions of the II Corps advanced and met the same fate as the previous assaults and then the three divisions of the V Corps. Burnside withdrew with over 12,500 casualties.