The more men in a battle, the more assured victory is. But in this case however, that gets turned around.
The Major General for the Battle at Fredericksburg of the Union was Ambrose Burnside. His Generals were Sumner, Franklin, and Hooker. The Major General for the Confederates was Robert Lee. His Generals were Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson. Major General Burnside had a total of 116,000 men and Major General Lee had a total of 72,000 men.
Ambrose Burnside wanted to go to Gordonsville to make Lee think that he was going to keep going that way and then Burnside was going to go South East to Fredericksburg. He realized that he would be fast and that he would have to cross the Rappahannock River to get there but he thought he could do it. After he would take Fredericksburg he would have a straight path to Richmond and he would try and take it. Burnside thought he could take it easily because it only had four infantry companies, one cavalry regiment, and a battery of light artillery. Since Lee didn’t really know what to do and he heard that Sumner’s troops were approaching Fredericksburg he ordered Longstreet to send two brigades to Fredericksburg and then he would send a cavalry and artillery brigade of his own to defend it.
After awhile Lee heard that Burnside’s whole army was nearing Fredericksburg. So he went to Fredericksburg with his troops a little north of Richmond where he wanted to have the battle against Burnside. But when he got there the Confederate President Jefferson Davis told him to battle at Fredericksburg, so he did. When Longstreet got there he placed them strategically. He put one division right behind Fredericksburg, he put one on both sides of a creek to the right, one to the far right, and one to the far left. Lee put one brigade inside Fredericksburg to kill whoever tries to cross the river. Then Lee sent for Stonewall Jackson. When he came Lee placed the divisions so that if Burnside tried to go another way he couldn’t.
When Burnside’s army was where they were at to cross the Rappahannock River they couldn’t. It was too stormy and people were sniping at them when they tried. Most importantly, the pontoons (bridges) Burnside sent for when he thought up this plan weren’t there. When he decided he would have to go another way he talked with President Lincoln and they made a new plan. It was to go down river five miles and cross there. When they went down there though, they noticed that Lee’s divisions were there so Burnside decided at last to cross in front of Fredericksburg and surprise Lee. He would take Fredericksburg before Lee got there and then defend there. He would do this December 11.
The biggest problem Major General Burnside had was getting across the river. First, his engineers had to make the pontoons, which was very hard since whoever tried working on it would die by the sharp shooters inside Fredericksburg. Burnside couldn’t stop the sharp shooters so easily since they were in rifle pits, so he shot them with the batteries. Once all of the pontoons were made three would be thrown into the river right next to Fredericksburg, the other two would be thrown half a mile to a mile down the river. Since the batteries weren’t doing any good against the sharp shooters Burnside sent a brigade to cross the river and kill them.
The Union won the city of Fredericksburg easily. The next day was made for more preparations and Burnside was getting all of his men across the river. Franklin and Hooker were in front of Lee, and Sumner was in front of them. When the men went out they didn’t have any cover except when they hugged the ground, which still wasn’t very much cover. Every time the Union soldiers went out to attack they let themselves be easy targets for the Confederates. Sumner sent a final assault at them from Fredericksburg, he had General French and hi brigade lead it and General Hancock right behind him. This attack failed miserably failed.