Answers to Trivia from the Archives

Q. What December battle featured the first significant urban combat in US military history?

A. Fredericksburg

On December 11, Union troops crossed the Rappahannock and streamed into the streets of Fredericksburg.  While most of Robert E. Lee's army camped outside the city, Gen. William Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade remained in town, forcing the Federals to fight house to house, through streets and alleys. Eventually, the Union troops drove the Confederates from town and began preparing for their main assault on December 13.

Read General E.P. Alexander's description of the fight for Fredericksburg »


Q. What American naval officer became the first admiral in the US Navy in July 1862?

A. David Glasgow Farragut

Adm. David G. Farragut (Library of Congress)

When the war began, the highest rank in the navy was "Flag Officer." As the Navy expanded, however, it became clear that the service needed higher ranks so that the officers could cooperate on equal terms with generals in the Army, who outranked Navy captains even though they usually had much less military experience.  Because of his success in capturing the city of New Orleans, Congress chose Farragut as the first rear admiral.  By the end of his career, Farragut would rise to the rank of full (four star) admiral.

Read newspaper coverage of the battle of New Orleans»

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