The Battle of Sunken Road – Fredericksburg Campaign, December 1862

On my way back from Hanover Courthouse I came across the Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park, so I stopped to take a look, go to the Visitor Center and learn about the battle, and take a few pictures. The first picture is a view of a wall at the top of the hill.  This is the view that you would have had if you were a Union Soldier in December of 1862.  Imagine 1,000 Confederates on the other side of that wall, protected from your bullets, firing at you. For some reason the Union Generals decided to march their troops through an open field to the top of the hill, where the Confederate Army was waiting out of sight behind that stone wall.  In addition, the Confederates had a battery of guns on the hill behind their line.  The Union soldiers had approximately 8000 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing on this field alone.  If you want to see what it was like, check out the movie “Gods & Generals”.  It’s not a great movie, but it does depict the horrifying battle where Union troops bodies stacked up so high that other soldiers hid behind them.  It’s hard to imagine how anyone would be brave enough to follow the orders to march up that hill.

The second picture is from the vantage point of the Confederate soldier looking down the hill behind the wall.  In order to know what this battlefield would look like in 1862 you have to imagine that there were no trees and this was a field then that went all the way to the town of Fredericksburg, which sits on the Rappahannock River.

History has always interested me.  Sorry if this is boring, but I think it’s cool to live in Virginia where nearly everywhere you go, there is something to learn.


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