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Battle of Fredericksburg - Essay Example

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The Battle of Fredericksburg The Battle of Fredericksburg is one of the most significant and, certainly, interesting conflicts during the Civil War. This is mainly because of two reasons. The first is that it is one of the victories earned by the Confederate forces against the Union, which proved important in the battle for public support raging in both of the Union and Confederacy’s camps…
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Download file to see previous pages It started December 11, 1862 and ended four days later. The importance of the battle for both sides is paramount. The outcome, for instance, could prop up the Lincoln administration’s campaign for public support, which has suffered a great loss in public confidence owing to the failure of the Union forces to crush the Confederate army and defeat General Lee once and for all. On the other hand, for the Confederacy, the battle, though did not have any significant strategic import, achieved a psychological boost that trumpeted the might and capability of their forces. According to Eckenrode and Conrad, the battle is the culmination of the peak of the confederate strength in the course of the Civil War.1 How Fredericksburg came to be the battleground for this winter war was explained by Longstreet and Piston who wrote: Before the end of November it became evident that Fredericksburg was to be our winter station and the scene of a severe battle before it could be relieved… Towards the latter part of the month General Jackson was called down and assigned position on the right near Hamilton’s Crossing and the Massaponax. ...
Under cover of this fire, the Yankees attempted to construct two pontoon bridges opposite the city, but were repeatedly driven off by our sharpshooters in the rifle pits along the shore and in the houses.3 In the beginning the battle was expected to be a victory for the Union forces because they outnumbered Lee’s men. Under the command of General Ambrose Burnside, the Union army was 120,000 strong. General Longstreet wrote about the fateful day before the assault took place: “The flags of the Federals fluttered gaily, the polished arms shone brightly in the sunlight, and the beautiful uniforms of the buoyant troops gave to the scene the air of a holiday occasion rather than a spectacle of a great army about to be thrown into the tumult of battle.”4 But the attempt to rebuild a destroyed bridge necessary to cross into the city cost the Union Army a month, allowing Lee’s Confederate forces to receive reinforcements such as James Longstreet’s 41,000 men who began fortifying Marye’s Heights, which overlooked a wide canal and drainage ditch that the Union troops had to cross; “Stonewall” Jackson’s 39,000 soldiers who were positioned in Longstreet’s right flank; and, Lee’s 90,000 assembled army, who with the time wasted by the Union forces rebuilding the bridge, was able to secure the heights that covered most of the ground river. As events unfolded, the tides were turned and the expedition became a debacle for the Union army. The difficulty of the assault was recounted no less than General Burnside who later wrote about the bloody ambush: The stone wall [commanded by Longstreet’s men] proved too strong for the valor of our troops. Never did a hotter fire greet an advancing party. The plain in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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