On Tuesday, November 18, 1862, Union General Edwin Sumner’s Right Grand Division of the restructured Army of the Potomac arrived at Falmouth on the bluffs across the Rappahannock* River from Fredericksburg, Virginia.
A major conflict seemed inevitable as both Union and Confederate forces moved toward Fredericksburg. In other news, President Jefferson Davis, after the hasty resignation of George Randolph, appointed Major General Gustavus W. Smith temporary Secretary of War for the Confederate States of America.
Davis apparently had little faith in Smith. In four days the president would name a new secretary of war and subsequently deny Smith a promotion, while officers junior to him would be advanced. By February 1863 Smith would resign his Confederate commission and become a volunteer aide on the staff of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.