|Innis House, which witnessed the Battle of Fredericksburg.|
We first noticed the signs as we drove in along River Road, adjacent to the Rappahannock River: we were traveling through the battlefield of the Battle of Fredericksburg, which was fought December 11 -15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg.
Despite its impact on the city itself, the battle was a major Confederate victory and one of the most lopsided defeats of the Civil War for Union forces. The battle had over 18,000 casualties.
Burnside’s plan was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in mid-November and race to the Confederate capital of Richmond before Lee’s army could stop him. Bureaucratic delays prevented Burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time and Lee moved his army to block the crossings.
|From Marye’s Heights, looking over the Sunken Road.|
|An old house along the Sunken Road still bears the scars of the battle.|
We headed to Marye’s Heights to explore part of the battlefield, although in reality, we’d unknowingly spent the day on the battlefield, having been walking through historic downtown Fredericksburg all day.
|The inside of the Innis House still shows how thick the
damage from the gunshot and shell fragments was by the end of the battle.
The battle is notable because it featured the first major opposed river crossing in American military history, and as Union and Confederate troops fought in the streets of Fredericksburg, they unknowingly participated in the Civil War’s first urban combat.