The Fredericksburg Campaign
No other general on either side of the American Civil War had the opportunity to end the war in a single day that Union General Ambrose Burnside had on December 12, 1862. Burnside's plan to cross the Rappahannock River and surprise Robert E. Lee's overextended Army of Northern Virginia was a brilliant one, perhaps the boldest stroke conceived during the war.Unfortunately, the plan for a river crossing in winter was overly ambitious, and Burnside was one of the unluckiest generals of the war. Delays in the river crossing allowed the Confederates to occupy strong positions on a slope above the Rappahannock. What followed bore more resemblance to the doomed assaults of World War I than to a Civil War battle, as Burnside refused to call off the attack and fed more troops into the slaughter.James Longstreet's Confederates on the heights were more sorely pressed than was apparent to the Northerners, and feared they would run out of bullets before they had run out of targets. This tragic engagement is now best known for the gallant charge of the North's Irish Brigade and Joshua Chamberlain's somber account of his close brush with death. In the familiar Great Campaigns fashion, Victor Brooks' dramatic text is supplemented by sidebars on aspects of the campaign, a complete order of battle and specially commissioned maps.