History of the Administration of President Lincoln: Including His Speeches, Letters, Addresses, Proclamations, and Messages. With a Preliminary Sketch of His Life

By Henry J. Raymond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
MILITARY EVENTS OF 1863--THE REBEL DEFEAT AT GETTYSBURG--FALL OF VICKSBURG AND PORT HUDSON.

THE military events of 1863, though of very great importance, are much less closely connected with the direct action of the President than those which occurred in 1862; we shall not attempt, therefore, to narrate them as much in detail. When General Burnside succeeded General McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac, on the 7th of November, 1862, that army was at Warrenton, the rebel forces falling back before it towards Richmond. Deeming it impossible to force the enemy to a decisive battle, and unsafe to follow him to Richmond on a line which must make it very difficult to keep up his communications, General Burnside, on the 15th, turned his army towards Fredericksburg--marching on the north bank of the Rappahannock, intending to cross the river, take possession of Fredericksburg, and march upon Richmond from that point. The advance division, under General Sumner, arrived opposite Fredericksburg on the 19th; but a pontoon train, which had been ordered and was expected to be there at the same time, had not come--so that crossing at the moment was impossible. The delay that thus became unavoidable, enabled General Lee to bring up a strong force from the rebel army, and possess himself of the heights of Fredericksburg. On the night of the 10th of December, General Burnside threw a bridge of pontoons across the river, and the next day constructed four bridges, under cover of a terrific bombardment of the town. On the 11th and 12th his army was crossed over, and on the 13th attacked the ene-

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