On Wednesday, November 26, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln journeyed from Washington, D.C. to Belle Plain on Aquia Creek for a conference with Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was concerned about a direct assault at Fredericksburg, Virginia against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
The president proposed creating a second Union force south of the Rappahannock and a third force on the Pamunkey River creating a three-pronged assault against Lee’s troops. Lincoln’s plan would have forced Burnside to delay for weeks while mustering additional Union forces. After significant discussion, General Burnside rejected the president’s plan, thereby insuring that the Battle of Fredericksburg would soon occur. Lincoln acquiesced, hoping Burnside knew best relative to dealing with Robert E. Lee.