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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

December 14, 1862

Soldier Wrote of Battle of Frederickburg

A Georgia soldier wrote home to his wife, describing what he witnessed at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

“…Again I have to record the clash of arms. On the morning of the 11th, I was awakened from sleep by the roaring cannon and the bursting shells in the city. It seems that about 5 o’clock in the morning, the enemy had attempted to throw pontoon bridges across the river. Our men, know these plans, gave them to understand that they would have something to do and the battle began at once. It being the plan of General Lee to fall back and let them cross after firing, it was according[ly] done and they commenced shelling the city, which they continued to do all day, our battery not firing on them but held out. … They set the city on fire about 3 o’clock. … The firing continued all day Thursday, and Thursday night they crossed the river and next day the battle opened at daylight with increased energy. All day the firing continued with great fury and progress. … And again Saturday the 13th the conflict commenced with more fury than ever, all up and down the river for ten miles. You could hear nothing but the roar of cannon and after a while the musketry began, and it seemed as though you had set fire to a canebrake of a thousand acres. …you could see the Yankees charge our batteries and could see them run back as often. One battery they charged seven times, but were driven back as often with great slaughter. … The battle continued all along the lines and no doubt the enemy was badly whipped. … Already some of the noblest sons of Georgia have fallen, among them T.R.R. Cobb was killed on yesterday. …” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 197-199.