Today, December 11, 1862: Union Invades Fredericksburg, Virginia

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president by the newly founded Republican Party. Part of his campaign rested upon his statement:

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“Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free…”

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was declared the winner of the presidential race. He received 1,866,452 votes (39.8% of the popular vote). Stephen Douglas, a Democrat, received 1,380,202 votes (29.5% of the popular vote). John Breckinridge received 18.1% of the popular vote and John Bell received 12.6% of the popular. To win the White House in 1860, there were 303 total electoral votes meaning a candidate needed to receive 152 electoral votes to win. Lincoln garnered 180 electoral votes, Breckinridge received 72, Bell got 39 and Douglas garnered a mere 12 electoral votes,

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On December 20, two and half months before Lincoln was to be sworn in as the 16th President of the United States, South Carolina ceded from the Union. By the end of February 1861, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also ceded from the Union.

On February 9, 1861, the Confederate States of America is formed and West Point graduate and politician Jefferson Davis is elected as the first and only President of the Confederate States.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as the first Republican President in US history.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate General Pierre Beauregard launches an attack on the Union held Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay, South Carolina. This aggression launches the Civil War.

On April 14, 1861, Confederates capture Fort Sumter and raise the ‘Stars and Bars’ Confederate flag.

On April 6-7, 1862, Confederate forces launch a surprise attack on Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces at Shiloh, along the Tennessee River. The Union loses 13,000 troops and the Confederates lose 10,000 troops.

On April 24, 1862, Union Naval Officer David Farragut captures New Orleans, a vital port on the mouth of the Mississippi River.

On June 1, 1862, General Robert E. Lee takes command of Confederate forces after General Joseph Johnston is severely wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines.

On August 29-30, 1862, the Second Battle of Bull Run takes place between Union General John Pope and Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet. Union forces retreated back to defend Washington DC.

On September 4-9, 1862, Confederate General Lee marches 50,000 troops northwest of Washington DC.

On September 17, 1862, Confederate troops under Lee clash with Union troops under General George McClelland at Antietam in what turned out to be one of the bloodiest days in American history with over 26,000 troops from both sides, killed, wounded or missing.

On November 7, 1862, Lincoln removes McClelland from command and replaces him with General Ambrose Burnside.

On this day, December 11, 1862, Union General Ambrose Burnside faces off with Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Fredericksburg is about 45 miles south, southwest of Washington DC. Burnside is in command of around 106,000 Union troops and Lee is in command of about 72,500 troops.

On the first day of the battle, the Union forces managed to build a pontoon bridge to cross the Rappahannock River.

On December 12,1862, Union troops moved into Fredericksburg and proceeded to loot and vandalize the town.

On December 13, 1862, heavier fighting began and casualties ran high. Under cover of darkness, Richard Kirkland, a Confederate soldier from South Carolina, climbed over a stone wall to give water and warm clothing to some of the wounded Union soldiers lying on the ground. He was later referred to as the Angel of Marye’s Heights and was lasting symbol for humanitarian efforts. Sadly, Kirkland was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.

On December 15, 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg ended with Burnside and the Union forces pulling back across the Rappahannock River. The battle was a decisive Confederate victory. Even though the Union forces outnumbered the Confederate troops by over 30,000, the Confederates suffered only 5,300 casualties compared to the 12,700 casualties suffered by the Union forces.

On January 25, 1863, Lincoln replaces Burnside with General Joseph Hooker, nicknames Fighting Joe.


Sources for the above includes: The U.S. Civil War 1861-1865; Civil War Timeline; Fredericksburg; Battle Of Fredericksburg; Federals Occupy Fredericksburg; Battle of Fredericksburg; Battle of Fredericksburg History; Fredericksburg; Battle of Fredericksburg; United States Presidential Election of 1860


Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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