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pursue him.

the army.

McClellan fails to were the fatigue and exhaustion of his troops; the absence of the supply trains; the losses of the army, and demoralization of some of the corps; the want of ammunition. President Lincoln, thankful for the expulsion of Lee, but dissatisfied that he Lincoln visits the was not pursued, visited the army on the 1st of October, and remained with it several days. Porter made a reconnoissance in force beyond the Potomac on the 20th, but was driven back. Lee deliberately retired toward Winchester. A portion of his cavalry, under Stuart, however, recrossed the river on the 10th of October, at once insulting the national army, and making good the boast of the Confederates by a raid into Stuart's raid into Pennsylvania. He captured Chambersburg in that state, and there destroyed a large quantity of supplies. He burned machine shops, trains of cars, and other property. He made a complete circuit round McClellan's army, and returned into Virginia by crossing the Potomac below him. The Confederates might truly boast that they had at length carried the war into the Free States.



Failure of Lee's

So ended Lee's sortie. It had cost him nearly 30,000 men, and, notwithstanding the capture of expedition. Harper's Ferry, had been a signal failure. Day after day passed on. The Confederates were being re-enforced and reorganized. The government was incessantly urging McClellan to advance. He, on his part, was standing still, and importunately demanding reenforcements, clothing, shoes, horses. His army became at length 150,000 strong. On October 6th Halleck telegraphed to him: "The President directs ernment for McClel- that you cross the Potomac and give battle lan's advance. to the enemy, or drive him South. Your army must move now, while the roads are good." Another fortnight elapsed (October 21), and still there was

Urgency of the gov



no forward movement. Halleck telegraphed again: "The President does not expect impossibilities, but he is very anxious that all this good weather should not be wasted His repeated pro- in inactivity." McClellan now fixed upon



November 1st as the earliest date at which he should be ready, and about that time crossed the Potomac, moving leisurely down the east side of the Blue Ridge, Lee moving parallel to him in the valley on the other side. McClellan's direction was toward Gordonsville. Lee, therefore, to prevent the Confederate communications being severed, marched directly and rapidly to that place. It became evident that McClellan's relations with the government were operating very disad vantageously. On the 7th of November a heavy snowstorm set in; the approach of winter was betokened. He is removed from Lincoln's forbearance at last gave way. At command. midnight of that day orders arrived from Washington directing McClellan to turn over the comBurnside succeeds mand of the army to General Burnside. McClellan at this time had reached Rector



pass the Rappahan


A portion of the Army of the Potomac was now reorganized in grand divisions. Burnside, believing that the true line of operations against Richmond was the direct Burnside resolves to one, resolved on moving the army to Frednock at Fredericks- ericksburg, masking his intention by a pretended advance on Gordonsville. Lee, however, discovered what the real movement was to be, and while Burnside marched along the north bank of the Rappahannock to Falmouth, he marched along the south bank to Fredericksburg. The two armies thus stood confronting each other on the opposite sides of the river.

Burnside had hoped to cross the Rappahannock before Lee could resist him successfully. On reaching Falmouth

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he found, however, that the passage across the river to Fredericksburg was checked. The bridges had been burned, and the pontoons expected from Washington had not arrived a delay which gave Lee the opportunity of fortifying the heights behind the town.

The armies con

The national army thus lay on the range of hills on the north side of the Rappahannock, the fronting each other. Confederates on the range of hills on the south side. Between them was Fredericksburg. The plain on which the city stood was completely commanded by the guns of both sides. Whichever entered it must be destroyed. The national troops, as we are now to see, ventured, and met with a bloody repulse. The Confed erates did not dare to pursue them. It was not until the night of December 10th that things were ready for throwing the pontoons across the river, and in the interval the Confederate cavalry had made an excursion as far as Dumfries, in Burnside's rear.



There was a sharp struggle in completing the pontoon The laying of the opposite the city, daylight having come before it was finished; the sharp-shooters, from their rifle-pits and from the houses on the edge of the river, made it impossible to continue the work. Through the fog which hung over the city columns of smoke were seen here and there ascending from houses set on fire by the furious bombardment with which Burnside hoped to drive off the Confederate riflemen. The cannonading was in vain, except as a cover to one hundred volunteers who daringly crossed over in boats, and expelled the Confederates from the houses and rifle-pits with the bayonet. The bridge was now (4 P.M.) finished, and troops thrown across.

A second pontoon, lower down the river, was laid without interruption, the plain in front of it being commanded by the national artillery,

Passage of the river.



and the opposite bank having thus been secured, others were added without delay, and the passage of the Rappahannock completed. Sumner's grand division and a section of Hooker's crossed before dark at the upper bridge; that of Franklin, consistin of the corps of Reynolds and Smith, at the lower. The movement was continued on the morning of the next day (12th) without intermission. The fortified position of the Confederates on the heights in the rear of Fredericksburg consisted of two lines of batteries overlooking the city. Their army, about 80,000 strong, lay in a semicircle from a point a mile above Fredericksburg to one about four miles below. Stonewall Jackson commanded on their right, Longstreet on their left. On the national side, Franklin was on the left, Hooker occupied the centre, and Sumner the right.

The Confederate army at Fredericksburg.


Behind Fredericksburg, the plain, gradually ascending, presents many inequalities of surface, and the bounding heights, trending toward the river, not only command the space in front, but also flank it. The Confederates had planted batteries in every available position to sweep this plain. There was a narrow road, skirted by a stone wall about four feet high, which ran along the foot of the heights.

Burnside had learned from a prisoner that the Confederates had cut another road in the rear of the line of heights, by means of which they connected the two wings of their army, and avoided a long detour through a difficult country.

His object, therefore, was to obtain possession of this road by making a powerful attack with his

left, and, as soon as that had succeeded, to assault the position with his right. He then intended to advance his centre against their front and drive them out of their works. These operations would therefore bring

Plan of the battle.

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successively into action Franklin, who was on the left, Sumner on the right, and Hooker at the centre. Franklin's force was strengthened by two of Hooker's best divisions, and was from 55,000 to 60,000 strong.

By some alleged misunderstanding, Franklin, instead of making a vigorous—the main-attack, limited his operations to a mere reconnoissance, and, as we are now to see, the direct attacks of Sumner and Hooker, being unsupported, failed.


A dense fog had covered the valley of the RappahanThe battle of Fred- nock on the morning of the 13th of December, but before eleven o'clock it had been dispersed by the rays of the sun. Concealed in its cloudy veil, the Confederate General Longstreet had personally come so near the national lines that he could hear their officers' commands. He found that an attack was to be made on Jackson, and notified him of it.

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