Time Line for Battle of Fredericksburg
by Mac Wyckoff
Sept. 17, 1862: Battle of Antietam
Sept. 18, 1862: Under cover of darkness, Confederate army withdraws
south of the Potomac River.
Sept. 22: In the aftermath of the Union strategical success at
Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln announces that the Emancipation Proclamation
will take effect of Jan. 1, 1863
Oct. 26, 1862: The Union Army of the Potomac begins to cross
the Potomac into Virginia.
Oct. 31, 1862: In response to this Union movement, Longstreet's
Confederate Corps begins march to Culpeper. Jackson's Corps remains near
Nov. 3, 1862: Longstreet's command arrives in Culpeper to block
Union movement south.
Nov. 7, 1862: President Lincoln relieves General George McClellan
and appoints General Ambrose Burnside to command the Army of the Potomac.
Nov. 9, 1862: Burnside proposes plan to shift army to Falmouth
and march directly to Richmond.
Nov. 12, 1862: General-in-Chief Henry Halleck orders pontoons
to be sent to Aquia Creek in Stafford County.
Nov. 15, 1862: Army of the Potomac begins march to Falmouth.
Nov. 17, 1862: Army of the Potomac begins to arrive in Falmouth.
Burnside decides to wait for the pontoon trains to arrive before crossing
Nov. 18. 1862: One pontoon train arrives at Aquia Creek while
the other is still in Washington
Nov. 19, 1862: The entire Army of the Potomac is now in Falmouth.
The other pontoon train leaves Washington. Longstreet's men begin to arrive
in Fredericksburg. Burnside's window of opportunity has slammed shut.
Nov. 21: Jackson's Corps leaves Winchester.
Nov. 24, 1862: The second pontoon train arrives
Dec. 3, 1862: Jackson's Corps arrives in Fredericksburg area.
Dec. 5, 1862: A major snowfall delays military operations for
Dec. 11, 1862: Union engineers begin building three pontoon bridges.
General Barksdale's Mississippians along the riverbank delay the crossing.
Union bombardment damages the city. Civilians seek refuge west of town.
Late in the afternoon, Union soldiers row across the river and establish
a beachhead. After a bloody fight in the streets of Fredericksburg, Barksdale
withdraws. Engineers then finish building the bridges.
Dec. 12: Army of the Potomac crosses the river and the soldiers
vandalize the city. Burnside decides to make a two-prong attack the next
Dec. 13: The main attack at Prospect Hill breaks through a gap
in the Confederate line, but Southern reinforcements drive the Federals
back after a competitive fight. The Union assaults on the Stone Wall at
the base of Marye's Heights are easily repulsed in a bloody disaster.
Dec. 14: Minor skirmishing along the front line. A day of tremendous
suffering. Richard Kirkland, a young South Carolinian, performs one of
the great humanitarian acts of American history in helping wounded Yankees
at great risk to himself.
Dec: 15: Minor skirmishing and suffering continue. Under cover
of darkness, the Union army retreats across the river.
Dec. 16: Union soldiers go into camp while Confederates reclaim
the city and begin the cleanup and burial of the dead.