On Dec 11, 1862 the Union Army was pinned on the Northern shore of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg
, unable to cross the river and invade the town. This desperate situation led to two decisions by General Burnside of the Union Army that ultimately had wide ranging effects not just on the outcome at Fredericksburg, but on how the US would conduct war in the future. [more inside]
“If ever men should celebrate the day with the rapt ardor of devotees, it is the soldiers of the Union,” bent on “saving the Union of the revolutionary fathers from destruction.”
The residents of Fredericksburg VA didn't celebrate Independence Day in 1862. It was no longer their Independence Day. However, just across the river, within both sight and sound of the residents of Fredericksburg, the Union Army threw a raucous celebration, complete with fireworks, artillery salutes, mule races, a greased pole, and a greased pig.
On May 23, 1861, Spotsylvania County, Virginia voted 1323 - 0 in favor of succession from the Union. Historian John Hennessy provides an explanation
of how that vote came to be a perfect 100% in favor of succession. So people rebelling against "Northern tyranny" themselves used tyranny to rig a vote that was undoubtedly going to go overwhelmingly in their favor anyway?
The exact same moment in history (the arrival of Union troops in Fredericksburg VA in 1862), as described by a white woman resident of the area, and a black slave. It would be an understatement to say they had diverging viewpoints.
Confederate soldier Richard Kirkland
is known as the "Angel of Marye's Heights" for venturing in between the opposing army's lines to give water to his wounded foes. The Union soldiers were mowed down the previous day in a series of futile attacks against the Confederate positions. The story fits in with the narrative of post-war reconciliation and reunion and offers an inspiring tale of humanity amid the carnage of war. There is a statue
at the Fredericksburg battlefield and a movie
in the works.
But did it really happen? One writer takes a look at the records, and it doesn't seem likely
. [more inside]
Virginia woman could get 2 years in prison for throwing McDonald's bag
- a jury in Stafford County, Virginia has recommended a two-year prison sentence for Jessica Julia Hall, a 25-year-old mother of three, for throwing a bag with a soft drink inside into the car next to her. She was convicted of a felony offense after getting into an altercation with another driver on I-95
between Fredericksburg, VA and Washington, DC - widely considered to be one of the most congested stretches of road
on the East Coast. Anyone who drives in the DC area can tell you how overcrowded
the highways are. It gets worse in the summer when the tempratures rise and tempers flare
. This could be an example of excessive justice, or perhaps juries in this area have had enough
On December 13, 1862, Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland
of the 2nd Carolina stood in the Sunken Road
at the bottom of Marye's Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg
. The 19-year-old Kirkland was part of Longstreet's First Corps; across from him was Hooker's Center Grand Division, part of the Army of the Potomac under Ambrose Burnside. (More boring history stuff inside.)