The Civil War, Day by Day

Confederate Sunset


Confederate Sunset

Soon it would be dark and the golden time would end.

General Robert E. Lee and his highly regarded Army of Northern Virginia waited for the enemy at Fredericksburg. Two months earlier, in one of the bloodiest engagements of the War Between the States, Lee’s gray legions had thoroughly defeated the Army of the Potomac under General Ambrose E. Burnside at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Lee had directed a masterful defensive strategy. General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson’s Corps had anchored the right of Lee’s fortified line; General James Longstreet’s Corps had held the left. It had proved to be an impregnable defense that had repeatedly repelled courageous but futile assaults by Burnside’s Northern forces. When the battle had ended, the Army of the Potomac was forced to withdraw, Northern casualties were double those of Lee’s, Burnside was destined to lose his command, and the Northern drive against Richmond was stalled again.

Now, in early February, Lee would wield his battle-worn army in defense of Southern independence for two more years, the golden time of Southern hope and glory was fading. At Fredericksburg in February, Lee, Jackson and Longstreet had their last days together.

Soon it would be dark and the golden time would end.





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Monday March 1, 2021
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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.