Lower Fredericksburg

I have always been interested in finding out how the terrain of Fredericksburg influenced the Battle of Fredericksburg. I begin this research by looking at one area of the city; the lower or southern end. This area of study is bounded by the Rappahannock River on the east, Hazel Run on the south, and the Fredericksburg, Richmond and Potomac (RF&P) Railroad on the west and north. It is this part of town, just south of the RF&P railroad tracks, that is often neglected by tourists. It was an important area because several Union Continue reading

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Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery – Part 3

This is a short post. While I was researching my next several topics, I came across a reference to one of the Confederate soldiers highlighted in my last post (click here).  I was paging through William Owen’s book on the Washington Artillery when I came across a reference to Major James Charles Campbell of Company K, 18th Mississippi Regiment.  I include this passage in order to make his biography a little clearer.

Owen is explaining the loss of Marye’s Heights on 3 May, 1863 in what is called the second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville Campaign.  Owen misidentifies Campbell as a Lieutenant Colonel. Continue reading

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Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery – Part 2

Memorial Day, officially the last Monday of May, is set aside as the time when the nation honors the dead of all wars. The sheer magnitude of the 620,000+ dead, the direct result of the Civil War dictated the need to remember the fallen in a different way. Various cities and groups have veyed to be the “first” to act upon this need.  In the South, this was generally ascribed to the Ladies Memorial Associations and the name given was ‘Decoration Day’. On this day, women would go to the known graves and lay flowers. In Continue reading

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Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery – Part 1

The Fredericksburg City Cemetery was established on February 10, 1844, when the Legislature of Virginia issued a charter to the Fredericksburg Cemetery Company. The cemetery faced present-day William Street, its east side adjacent to Washington Avenue. It can be entered at the gate located at the junction of Washington Avenue and Amelia Street. The original iron and sandstone entrance gate, although no longer used, still stands facing William Street.

S1-FC-Gate-web

City cemeterry original 1844 gate made of local sandstone in the Gothic Revival style. This gate on William Street is no longer used.

The damage inflicted by the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, and the impoverished condition of the town’s citizens following the war, made proper maintenance of the two-acre city cemetery difficult to accomplish. Many efforts of varying success were initiated to improve its grounds, culminating in the formation of the City Cemetery Company Auxiliary in October 1925. Continue reading

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Donaldsonville Artillery (part 2)

This is the second of two articles devoted to the Donaldsonville Artillery Battery. Previously, I wrote about the unit itself and the part it played in the Battle of Fredericksburg (here). In this post, I shift my focus to the individuals who were touched by the battery.
It is seldom that one event appears in the written narratives of both Confederate and Union accounts. Here is one that involved the Donaldsonville artillery battery on the Confederate side and on the Union side, the forces of Generals Howard and Humphreys. These accounts took place on the afternoon of Saturday December 13th during the Battle of Fredericksburg. I feel this one small event within the battle itself encapsulates the drama of the entire battle.
I start with a portion of the report of Captain Victor Maurin, the battery commander of the Donaldsonville artillery.
“…Captain [O.] Latrobe, of General Longstreet’s staff, came and suggested the propriety of dislodging two or three regiments standing behind a steep hill, which not only protected, but also concealed them from our men, on whom they were evidently preparing to make a charge. But my 10-pounder Parrott could not be brought to bear on them without taking it out of the bastion, and, to do this, were to meet almost certain death from the guns in front, which had by this time obtained a perfect range. However, the suggestion was no sooner made than Lieutenant Landry ordered it out, and, together with Captain Latrobe, helped the men to pull and put in position. It was scarcely out, and not yet in position, when Cannoneer [Claudius] Linossier fell, dead, pierced to the heart by a piece of shell. The fate of their comrade seemed to inspire my men with renewed determination, and, undaunted by the shots of the guns and bullets of the sharpshooters, which were flying thick and fast around them, they behaved with the calm courage which deserves the highest praise. The piece was loaded and fired with such precision that not one shot was lost, but every one telling with frightful effect. It was loaded for the fourth time, and was ready to fire, when it was disabled by a shell, which broke a wheel, and at the same time wounded 3 men-Corpl. Thomas Morel, whose skill as a gunner cannot be too highly prized, Cannoneer Dernon Leblanc, whose foot has since been amputated, and F. Perez, severely wounded in three different places. But the object was accomplished; some fled, some were killed, and the remainder dared not leave their cover. At night the broken wheel was replaced, and the piece relieved…” Continue reading

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