Monday, December 17, 2012

Burnsides Retreats

On December 15th the Union army retreated, two days after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Lee had won the most lopsided victory of the war. Burnside had chosen to cross the Rappahannock River and attack where Lee was prepared for him. Instead of focusing his efforts where he achieved a temporary breakthrough, he continued throwing his men forward in hopeless and bloody assaults against the Sunken Road. The Union army and nation lost all their confidence in Burnside. One northern war correspondent wrote:
It can hardly be in human nature for men to show more valor, or generals to manifest less judgment than were perceptible on our side that day.
A soldier said:
Almost everyone was cursing Burnside as the author of the defeat at Fredericksburg. At the Reviews when he rode along the lines & the Colonels would call out--'Three cheers for Burnside' the men would stand silent & sullen or mutter curses against him.
Although Burnside had been badly defeated, Lincoln had not lost confidence in him. He would remain in command of the Army of the Potomac.


Anonymous said...

One admirable thing to be said about Burnside is that it seems he took responsibility for the battle and didn't blame others like McClellan often would.

Joshua Horn said...

Thanks for the comment, that is definitely true!

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