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Answer: Pontoon Bridges. Due to a series of mislaid orders, pontoon bridges necessary for bridging the Rappahannock failed to reach the Army of the Potomac in a timely fashion, thereby allowing General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia ample time to occupy the town and fortify the heights beyond it.
Answer: Mississippi. Barksdale's Brigade consisted of the 13th, 17th, 18th, and 21st Mississippi regiments.
To see more photos of the Fredericksburg battlefield, check out our Fredericksburg Photo Gallery.
Answer: The Harvard Regiment. Owing to Harvard education of most of the regiment’s officers—including four of its commanders—after the war the 20th Massachusetts became known as the Harvard Regiment. Among these elite were future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and two descendants of Paul Revere. Their blue-blood pedigree, however, did nothing to soften their edge in battle. Their gallant charge through the streets of Fredericksburg of Confederates would cost them dearly.
Answer: A vast majority of Union soldiers participated in looting and other wonton destruction of the abandoned Rebel city. While Union forces filed into the town in anticipation of the next phase of the battle, soldiers—often joined by their officers—began to raid or destroy abandoned stores and homes in Fredericksburg. Food, liquor and even personal property were taken by soldiers as retribution for the rebellion and the war.
Answer: The Gallant Pelham. As early as the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, cavalry chief Jeb Stuart was referring to his premier artillerist as “The Gallant Pelham” for is bravery. At Fredericksburg Pelham's daring prompted Gen. Lee to remark "it is glorious to see such courage in one so young."
Answer: Dead Horse Hill. Union artillery rounds overshooting Confederate positions on Prospect Hill inadvertently landed among horses placed on the reverse slope of the hill. The magnificent carnage in horseflesh led men to call the place “Dead Horse Hill.”
Answer: Jubal Early. Though his alleged drunkenness had raised Jackson’s ire just a month earlier, Jubal Early played a pivotal role in blocking the Federal breakthrough on the Confederate right, stopping what would turn out to be the Yankees’ best opportunity to win the battle.
Answer: North Carolina. Originally born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, John Gibbon’s family relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina when the boy was 11. A West Pointer, John Gibbon cast his lot with the Union. His brothers, on the other hand, chose to defend their adopted home state.
To learn more about John Gibbon's role in the battle of Fredericksburg, check out this video with historian Frank O'Reilly »
Answer: "...we would grow too fond of it." Intensely saddened by the Federal losses at Prospect Hill, Lee lamented “it is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.”
Answer: All of the above. While the Stone Wall along the Sunken Road provided vital protection for Longstreet’s troops, other obstacles disrupted the Union assaults and caused great confusion among the attackers. Struggling amidst these impediments, Union troops were easy targets for the relatively safe Confederates.
Answer: Chicken. When asked about the strength of his position, Alexander reportedly told General Longstreet that “a chicken could not live on that field when we open on it.”
Answer: Attached sprigs of Virginia boxwood to their caps. As his men formed for their charge on the Sunken Road, General Thomas Meagher issued each of his men a sprig of green boxwood with which to adorn his cap as a symbol of the unit's Irish heritage. Ever known for its performance in battle, the brigade reportedly advanced farther than any other Union troops on that part of the field and it is said that the Federal troops found closest to the Stone Wall wore boxwood in their caps.
Answer: Thomas R. R. Cobb. Newly promoted Brig. Gen. Thomas R. R. Cobb, a Georgia politician, was convinced of the effectiveness of his position at the stone wall that he reportedly proclaimed “if they wait for me to fall back, they will wait a long time.” Cobb, however, was struck in the thigh by a piece of shrapnel and eventually succumbed to his wound.
Answer: Burnside would personally lead his old command, the Ninth Corps, in another desperate assault against Marye’s Heights. In spite of catastrophic losses, Burnside believed an early morning assault would overrun the Confederate stronghold in the Sunken Road. Burnside would personally lead the charge which would be carried out by the Ninth Corps, with the Fifth Corps in support. Fortunately, the orders were never carried out.
Answer: The Slaughter Pen Farm. In the costliest private preservation effort in America’s history, the Civil War Preservation Trust acquired 208 acres of hallowed ground on the southern end of the Fredericksburg battlefield, preserving the most important part of the battlefield for future generations.
Learn more about how you can help protect the Fredericksburg battlefield and Save the Slaughter Pen Farm »
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