Battle of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania: December 11 to 13, 1862

When General McClellan failed to pursue the Confederates after the devastating battle of Antietam, President Lincoln withdrew his support, replacing him with General Ambrose E. Burnside. Burnside took the army to Fredericksburg, an old colonial center near the Rappahannock River between Washington, D. C. and Richmond, Virginia. He assembled some 120,000 men opposite the town. But General Lee had 78,000 men stationed on high ground. On December 13th a thick blanket of fog spread across the plain and at dawn the Union army began its attack on the Confederate lines. The battle yielded little to the Union forces, and General Franklin suspended the battle.