YOUR TOWN:  Caroline | Culpeper | King George | Fredericksburg | Orange | Spotsylvania | Stafford | Westmoreland     TODAY: 04.19.2014 | 

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 Winchester.

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 the Rappahannock.

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 a week.

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 day.

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.