2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Fredericksburg Campaign - November & December 1862
The Town of Fredericksburg 1862

View of Fredericksburg, 1862

As the above view shows, as 1862 ground to an end, the Federals had a monumental task ahead of them. The Army of the Potomac's newest commanding general, Ambrose Everett Burnside, believed that the government relieved his predecessor, Major General George B. McClellan, of his command due to their dissatisfaction with Little Mac's perceived inaction after Antietam. General Burnside had planned on decisive action by stealing a march on General Lee and moving quickly on Richmond. However, despite successfully slipping away from Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, when Burnside arrived at Fredericksburg, the pontoons he had order to allow him to cross the Rappahannock and advance on Richmond had not yet arrived. As he waited, General Lee moved his army onto the heights west of town and secured his position. With General Lee's left flank anchored firmly on the river and his right on Prospect Hill, Burnside saw that he had few options. Washington expected action or he could face McClellan's fate. To maintain the initiative, he decided on a frontal assault. It would cost the Union thousands.

The Town of Fredericksburg in May of 1863