Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.
Battle of Fredericksburg
From December 11th to December 15th, 1862, the Confederate Army fought the Union Army in and near the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The battle was one of the deadliest encounters of the American Civil War, with Union soldiers suffering three times as many causalities, or deaths, as the Confederate side. It was also one of the largest battles of the Civil War, with a total of 200,000 soldiers fighting.
The Opposing Sides
The northern Union soldiers were represented by the Army of the Potomac, led for the first time by General Ambrose Burnside. Burnside had just taken command, after his appointment by President Abraham Lincoln on November 7th. He wanted to move his army to take the Confederate capital: Richmond, Virginia. Burnside moved his troops through Virginia towards the northern side of the Rappahannock River.
Meanwhile, General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate soldiers, representing the South. Lee moved his soldiers into position along the southern banks of the Rappahannock River. General Lee and his soldiers needed to defend their capital city of Richmond.
While Burnside began to move troops towards the Rappahannock River, Lee was able to respond by moving his soldiers along the hills to prepare for battle. Burnside wanted to cross the river at Falmouth, but that section of the river was deep. The Union soldiers needed pontoon, or floating, bridges in order to make it across. But something went wrong when Burnside asked for the bridges, and they were delayed in arriving. Most of the soldiers did not cross the river until December 12.
The delay gave Confederate soldiers time to get into a strong position on higher ground. They set up a strong defense on a ridge called Marye's Heights.
Heavy fighting began on the morning of December 13th. The left wing of Burnside's army began attacking the Confederate soldiers. At first, they seemed successful, but again, a miscommunication allowed the South to counterattack. The Army of the Potomac could have sent another wave of 50,000 men forward, but they held back. Union soldiers advancing towards Marye's Heights were killed by the thousands. General Burnside continued to send more units to attack at Marye's Heights, but they failed each time.
Finally, on the afternoon of December 14th, Burnside asked Lee for a truce so that they could care for their wounded soldiers. On December 15th the Union troops pulled back in retreat. The Union Army had suffered almost 13,000 casualties; the Confederates, just under 5,000. The South was the clear winner of the battle, and General Lee was celebrated for his leadership. In the North, the reactions were just the opposite. The Army and President Lincoln were harshly criticized, and General Burnside was removed from his position about one month later.
The Battle of Fredericksburg was a deadly battle during the civil war, with some of the greatest casualties suffered at any battle. General Burnside attempted to lead Union troops to take the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. However, the Confederate troops, led by General Lee, had stronger leadership and positions and were able to keep their position in the city.
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