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Prelude to the Battle of Fredericksburg


This major Civil War battle was fought on December 13, 1862, but by November 23, the preliminary activities were underway.

Military operations were extremely difficult in the winter in northern Virginia, but Union General Ambrose Burnside had orders to cause hostilities against the forces of Robert E. Lee. In prior years, since the war began, the Army of the Potomac went into winter quarters to wait out the inclement, and impossible to move troops in, weather. But in the winter of 1862, they took a trip to the Rappahnnock River on the heights of Falmouth.

James Longstreet’s army corp faced then on the high bluff named Marye’s Heights.

Between these two armies, lay the town of Fredericksburg, where the frightened residents awaited the start of the conflict. Burnside ordered the town to surrender, with threats of firing cannon on the town.

The town’s major, unable to surrender, asked for time to take the young, old, sick and female residents from the town. This was agreed to by the Union army, so long as no “hostile demonstrations” occurred.

For more info on the preparations and the ensuing battle, visit these sites:

For info on my Civil War romances, including my new release, The Christmas Ball, visit my website



  1. Port Royal had the same happen to it before the Battle of Fredericksburg. Our plantation is just across the river from Port Royal and 20 minutes from Fredericksburg. In a letter to President Johnson, our owner during the Civil War, Carolinus Turner spoke of knowing General Ambrose Burnside.

    Belle Grove Plantation

  2. How cool, Michelle! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. When you think about this situation, it even makes it worse. It must have been very hard on some of these leaders knowing they were threatening the lives of citizens if they could let them take the people out of town before destroying it. I honestly can’t see the point of this.

  4. Yeah, really, Paisley! But they did drive citizens out of their homes, then set fire to the houses. And this happened on both sides. A way of demoralizing the enemy, I guess.

  5. Interesting story. Much of war doesn’t make sense.

  6. It sure doesn’t, Ella. Thanks for stopping by.

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