This Week in the Civil War - 458

Dec 10, 2012

On Tuesday, December 9, 1862 General Ambrose Burnside ordered his Union commanders to report to army headquarters at noon, by which time they would have alerted their troops, supplied each man with sixty rounds of ammunition, and started to issue three days’ cooked rations. 

Burnside informed his commanders that the assault on Fredericksburg would begin in the predawn darkness of Thursday, December 11.  After days of delay, the usually upbeat Burnside had turned fretful and morose before attacking, even advising his superiors in Washington, D.C., “I deem it my duty to say that I cannot make the promise of probable success with the faith that I did when I supposed that all the parts of the plan would be carried out.”  Forced to directly assault Lee, Burnside anticipated Union defeat.