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Stephens House Site Along the Sunken Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia
The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, from December 11 to December 15, 1862, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War. The Union Army suffered terrible casualties in futile frontal assaults on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city, bringing to an early end their campaign against the Confederate capital of Richmond. The battle was the result of an effort by the Union Army to regain the initiative in its struggle against Lee's smaller but more aggressive army. Burnside was appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac in November, replacing Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. Although McClellan had stopped Lee at the Battle of Antietam in September, President Abraham Lincoln believed he lacked decisiveness, did not pursue and destroy Lee's army in Maryland, and wasted excessive time reorganizing and re-equipping his army following major battles. Burnside, in response to prodding from Lincoln and General-in-Chief Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, planned a late fall offensive; he communicated his plan to Halleck on November 9. The plan relied on quick movement and deceit. He would concentrate his army in a visible fashion near Warrenton, feigning a movement on Culpeper Court House, Orange Court House, or Gordonsville. Then he would rapidly shift his army southeast and cross the Rappahannock River to Fredericksburg, hoping that Robert E. Lee would sit still, unclear as to Burnside's intentions, while the Union Army made a rapid movement against Richmond, south along the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad from Fredericksburg. Burnside selected this plan because he was concerned that if he were to move directly south from Warrenton, he would be exposed to a flanking attack from Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, whose corps was at that time in the Shenandoah Valley south of Winchester. He also believed that the Orange and Alexandria Railroad would be an inadequate supply line. While Burnside began assembling a supply base at Falmouth, near Fredericksburg, the Lincoln administration entertained a lengthy debate about the wisdom of his plan. Lincoln eventually approved but cautioned him to move with great speed, certainly doubting that Lee would cooperate as Burnside anticipated. The Union Army began marching on November 15, and the first elements arrived in Falmouth on November 17. Burnside's plan quickly went awry—he had ordered pontoon bridges to be sent to the front and assembled for his quick crossing of the Rappahannock, but because of administrative bungling, the bridges had not preceded the army. As Sumner arrived, he strongly urged an immediate crossing of the river to scatter the token Confederate force of 500 men in the town and occupying the commanding heights to the west. Burnside began to panic, worried that the increasing autumn rains would make the fording points unusable and that Sumner might be cut off and destroyed. He squandered his initiative and ordered Sumner to wait in Falmouth. By November 21, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's Corps had arrived near Fredericksburg, and Jackson's was following rapidly. Lee at first anticipated that he would fight Burnside northwest of Fredericksburg and that it might be necessary to drop back behind the North Anna River. But when he saw how slowly Burnside was moving, he directed all of his army toward Fredericksburg. The first pontoon bridges arrived at Falmouth on November 25, much too late to enable the Army of the Potomac to cross the river without opposition. Burnside still had an opportunity, however, because he was facing only half of Lee's army, not yet dug in, and if he acted quickly, he might be able to attack Longstreet and defeat him before Jackson arrived. Once again he squandered his opportunity. The bridges arrived at the end of the month, and by this time Jackson was present and Longstreet was preparing strong defenses. Burnside originally planned to cross his army east of Fredericksburg, 10 miles (16 km) downstream, but Early's division arrived there and blocked him. So he decided to cross directly at Fredericksburg. On December 9, he wrote to Halleck, "I think now the enemy will be more surprised by a crossing immediately in our front than any other part of the river. ... I'm convinced that a large force of the enemy is now concentrated at Port Royal, its left resting on Fredericksburg, which we hope to turn." In addition to his numerical advantage in troop strength, Burnside also had the advantage of knowing his army could not be attacked effectively. On the other side of the Rappahannock, 220 artillery pieces had been located on the ridge known as Stafford Heights to prevent Lee's army from mounting any major counterattacks. Lee had great faith inlongex1
I got my ND filter yesterday yay, then it rained all day :( Luckily I have a baby that likes to wake at 4.10 every morning, so while my husband was sending him back to sleep I headed to the beach with the dog and my trusty camera. It didn't go well really. First off the tide was really high, no chance to get on the beach without risk of drowning. I love photography but not enough to die for it. Ok so I see some niceish rocks in the sea and guess they would be good enough to experiment with. I ignored the lovers standing holding each other watching the sun rise (awwww), really there was a couple down there just standing hugging at 4.30 am, crazy people! Maybe I have no romance in my soul but was just interested in getting my photos and not getting mugged. My first shot was completely black, I needed a longer exposure, so I change to 60 seconds- still black damn. I try going back more but the camera wont co-operate, so I try shooting the sky where it is lighter....and my battery runs out. I didn't have my bag either with the spare. Nothing else for it then I headed home dragging the dog and snarling at the lovers (still there after all that time). So I get home, grab spare battery, put the camera on manual mode, figure out how to get a longer exposure time (what does BULB mean anyway?) and head back down the beach sans dog. Just as I reach the end of the path and scope where to take my shot....my tripod decides to fall apart, I shit ye not! Luckily I had the actually camera strap on my neck, maybe I do actually have some good luck after all. The tide was out a little further too so I could actually get down on the beach this time. I had to stick the tripod back together as a temporary measure. Set my shot up without the filter, focussed and the nice rocks in the foreground (a mistake I realise now), replace filter and take a few shots adjusting the shutter speed as I go to get the best exposure. I burned in the almost cloudless sky thanks to Tontoshorse for that super tip! My aim next time will be to either focus on the background or get everything in focus...but thats what it is all about....learning to use my camera, experimenting and challenging what I already know. Any tips and feedback would be most appreciated as I have a long way to go before I get this right.
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