Civil War (3 of 9)
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The NPG's Warren Perry visits the Frederickburg National Military Park and discusses the Battle of Fredericksburg, which took placed on December 13, 1862. Part of our ongoing series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. --- General George McClellan spent a lot of time fretting about how to get at the Confederate heart in Richmond in the spring and summer of 1862, but his campaign failed. Antietam, though not a setback, was certainly not the great victory for which President Abraham Lincoln had hoped. Lincoln, dissatisfied with the general's performance, bid goodbye to him in October of 1862 and replaced him with Ambrose Burnside; Burnside had no intention of his mission being misinterpreted. Burnside wanted to take Richmond. Cooked into his notions of taking the Confederate capital was also some hope of recovering his reputation from a slippery performance at Antietam. Burnside planned to plow the distance between Washington and Richmond with his McClellan-trained Army of the Potomac. Halfway between these two cities Richmond lay embedded his one big obstacle—the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of Robert E. Lee. With well over 100000 men, Burnside had a head of steam and was prepared to confront Lee until he came to his first great challenge—the Rappahannock River, which ran west-to-east on the north side of Fredericksburg. Although the Rappahannock was by no means a large river, it was sufficiently cold and sufficiently deep to heel the ...


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