The Civil War, Day by Day

Strategy in the Snow


Strategy in the Snow

Across the river lay the Federal Army of the Potomac, now commanded by General Ambrose B. Burnside, who was the latest in a succession of unsuccessful Northern commanders to lead the army. The Federals were massed in force, outnumbering Lee’s legions as usual. Despite their superior numbers, Burnsides’ forces remained immobile, leaving Lee to wait on the inevitable Northern attack - while trying to predict where and when it would come.

By the end of November, Lee was certain Burnside would cross the Rappahannock and launch his assault through Fredericksburg and over the plains just below the city. On the evening of November 29, 1862, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson arrived at Lee’s headquarters, which were established at Hamilton’s Crossing near Fredericksburg. Jackson, accompanied by a single aide, had been summoned by Lee to help plot a defense against the impending Northern attack.

Amid the silently falling snow of a severe winter storm, Lee and Jackson studied maps of the area and developed a defensive strategy to meet Burnside’s advance. Their decision made, Jackson left to prepare for the battle to come. Two weeks later, Burnside would send his army against the Confederates in a powerful assault. Wave after wave of courageous Northern troops would try mightily - and fail - to capture the heavily fortified Southern position.

The strategy plotted in the snow would again thwart the Northern advance on Richmond, destroy the ambitions of another Federal commander and earn Jackson and Lee even greater reputations for invincibility.





November's Archived Features:

Sunday November 1, 2020
Monday November 2, 2020
Tuesday November 3, 2020
Wednesday November 4, 2020
Thursday November 5, 2020
Friday November 6, 2020
Saturday November 7, 2020
Sunday November 8, 2020
Monday November 9, 2020
Tuesday November 10, 2020
Wednesday November 11, 2020
Thursday November 12, 2020
Friday November 13, 2020
Saturday November 14, 2020
Sunday November 15, 2020
Monday November 16, 2020
Tuesday November 17, 2020
Wednesday November 18, 2020
Thursday November 19, 2020
Friday November 20, 2020
Saturday November 21, 2020
Sunday November 22, 2020
Monday November 23, 2020
Tuesday November 24, 2020
Wednesday November 25, 2020
Thursday November 26, 2020
Friday November 27, 2020
Saturday November 28, 2020

 

 

 
All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.