The battle of Fredericksburg was a defensive masterpiece by Robert E. Lee as the Army of Northern Virginia with 72,500 troops soundly defeated the Union’s Army of the Potomac, with 116,000 soldiers.

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Fredericksburg, Virginia
13 December 1862

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The Federal Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside, was located north of the Rappahannock River; the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Major General Robert E. Lee, was located across the river in Fredericksburg and area beyond.


Federal artillery was positioned at the Chatham House, a beautiful house and estate located on the north side of the Rappahannock River.


Major General Wm. Franklin commanded the Left Grand Division of Burnside’s Army of the Potomac and consisted of Major General John Reynolds’s I Corps and Major General Smiths VI Corps. Two of the three divisions of the Federal I Corps advanced against Major General Thomas J. Jackson’s Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. Major General George Meade advanced his Third Division with Brig. General Gibbons’ Second Division on his right while Brig. General Abner Doubleday’s First Division remained behind the Old Richmond Road. Due to a Confederate error in judgment, the Federals exploited a gap in the Confederate battle line but without any support from General Franklin and with 20,000 troops standing idle, the Union advanced was halted and repulsed.

Fredericksburg, Page Two

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