Part XVII

Burnside Seeks To Capture Richmond, November and December, 1862.

       Lee's army was recruited after his arrival in the lower valley of Virginia to a total of all arms, immediately under himself, of about 40,000. McClellan concentrated his army early in November about Warrenton, where he was relieved of command by General Burnside, who planned at once another advance on Richmond by way of Fredericksburg. Lee therefore ordered Longstreet to that place and Jackson to Orange Court House. About the middle of the month the Federal advance appeared opposite Fredericksburg and with some surprise saw the Confederate guns already posted on the hills in their front. By the 12th of December, Burnside had his army of 100,000 men, as he testified before the committee on the conduct of the war, aligned against Lee's 73,000 on the south side of the river, and on the morning of the 13th began the terrible battle. Attack after attack was most bravely made by the army of the Potomac, with great pertinacity, notwithstanding their repeated repulses with fearful slaughter. Burnside's defeat was overwhelming, and the casualties were so great that the unfortunate Federal general, after one later and futile advance, relinquished his hope of gaining Richmond and willingly retired from command.

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