Before the battle of Fredericksburg, Robert E. Lee asked General James Longstreet if the Confederate artillery was prepared to fight off the anticipated assault of 114,000 Federals. Longstreet replied, “General, we cover that ground now so well… a chicken could not live on that field when we open on it.”
Burnside’s Federals crossed the Rappahannock and attacked Lee’s defensive positions on the hills surrounding Fredericksburg on Saturday, December 13, 1862. Given a day to move to reinforce Lee, Jackson’s corps joined with Lee and Longstreet to repulse assault after assault by the Federals. By 6 pm, the battle was over with the Army of the Potomac suffering 12,653 casualties to 5309 for the Confederates. On Monday, December 15, a humiliated Army of the Potomac withdrew to safety across the Rappahannock.