Fredericksburg Historic Site
Fredericksburg Battlefield - Virginia Historic Site

Battle of Fredericksburg

Where is Fredericksburg?

The Fredericksburg Battlefield is part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park located at 1013 Lafayette Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

Fredericksburg Battlefield Map

Did you know: After General McClellan had failed to capture Lee’s Army fleeing into Virginia following the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln replaced McClellan with General Ambrose Burnside, whose long side whiskers on his face gave rise to the popular term known as “sideburns”.

THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG

Early in the Civil War, the North was often thwarted by energetic rebel troops who fought largely on their own turf and waged impressive campaigns against Union forces. From 1861 until late 1862, President Lincoln waited patiently for an overwhelming victory which could end the war- or at least give the Confederates a reason to reconsider secession. He didn’t get one. From December 11th- 15th, 1862 Union Generals Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker faced off against Confederate Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and James “Pete” Longstreet near the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia in what would become one of the most humiliating defeats of Union forces in the war.

Buoyed by their spirited leader Jackson- whose religious fervor helped propel his undersupplied troops to sometimes surprising victories- the Confederates routed Burnside’s forces in one of the most lop-sided defeats experienced by the North. Burnside had tried to cross the Rappahannock River to attack the city, but experienced delays which allowed the Confederates to attack them as they approached. Burnside’s troops came under heavy fire and experienced heavy losses. Later attacks by Union Generals Edwin Sumner and Joseph Hooker against the heavily fortified Marye’s Heights area met with overwhelming force from the rebels, who inflicted devastating casualties on the Union side of roughly 2-to-1. After four days of humiliating defeats, Burnside decided to retreat and left the area on December 15th. Lincoln was not pleased. Burnside was later relieved of command… and the President continued to look for a General who could finally win a decisive victory in what was becoming an embarrassing struggle.

Today the Battle of Fredericksburg is remembered at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, which also covers the Battle of Chancellorsville.