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The Battle of Fredericksburg (Second)

May 3, 1863 in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Chancellorsville Campaign

Union Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- - - -




Confederate Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early
Forces Killed Wounded Captured
- - - -



**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Union Victory

BATTLE SUMMARY

The Second Battle of Fredericksburg was also known as the Battle of Marye’s Heights.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding the Army of the Potomac, had taken the bulk of his forces up the Rappahannock River to a point northwest of Fredericksburg and had crossed both the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers to get on the Confederate left flank and rear. He left Maj. Gen. John Sedgewick's VI Corps opposite fredericksburg to attempt a diversionary attack to hold the Confederates there in their defensive positions.
Gen. Robert E. Lee, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, was not deceived by the ruse. He moved his force west to meet Hooker's threat, leaving only Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early's division to hold the heights west of the city, including the stone wall and sunken road at the base of Marye's Heights.
When Hooker's advance was halted at Chancellorsville, he ordered Sedgewick to seize Marye's Heights and then advance to attack Lee's right flank. Several times, Sedgewick charged the heights and was driven back by Brig. Gen. William Barksdale's brigade of Mississippians, who had seen heavy fighting on the same ground 5 months earlier. During a truce to remove the wounded, Sedgewick learned that the Mississippians had suffered severe losses and were barely able to cover their lines.
Ordering his men to carry unloaded rifles so they would not stop to fire and reload, Sedgewick attacked again with a daring and gallant bayonet charge that drove the Confederates off the heights and back toward Richmond. pausing only long enough to regroup, Early proceeded west toward Chancellorsville. Lee had learned that the heights had been lost and another Union force was moving toward him.
On May 3, Lee boldly split his army in Hooker's front and marched 2 divisions back toward Fredericksburg. The Union VI Corps under Sedgwick was reinforced by Maj. Gen. John Gibbon’s II Corps division. They crossed the Rappahannock River, assaulted the Confederate entrenchments on Marye’s Heights. Late that afternoon, Confederates under Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws met Sedgewick's advance division near Salem Church on the Orange Turnpike and halted it. This was the same ground assaulted by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside in the First Battle of Fredericksburg, which resulted in horrendous Union losses.
On May 4, Early also came up. Attacked furiously on 3 sides, Sedgewick wisely abandoned any idea of joining Hooker. Instead, he swung his corps around toward the rappahannock to project his flanks and that night crossed the river at Scott's Ford, just below Bank's ford. Hooker made no move to help Sedgewick at any time.

In this battle, Early was defending with a virtually skeleton force, many of which were spread out to the north and south of the Heights.
The outnumbered Confederates withdrew and regrouped west and southeast of town.




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