Meeting of December 9, 2010

Stephen Wright on “Battle of Fredericksburg” and Michael A. Cavanaugh on a Defense of Gen. Burnside

man at podium

Stephen Wright

seated man reading

Mike Cavanaugh

Noted as being one of the most one-sided battles of the Civil War, the battle of Fredericksburg is also remarkable in that Union casualties were more than twice those suffered by the Confederates and the armies at Fredericksburg represented the largest number of armed men ever to confront each other for combat during the war.

Following the battle, both General Burnside and President Lincoln came under harsh criticism for the defeat at Fredericksburg. Radical Republican Senator Zachariah Chandler wrote, “The President is a weak man, too weak for the occasion, and those fool or traitor generals are wasting time and yet more precious blood in indecisive battles and delays.” Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin visited President Lincoln after touring the ravaged battlefield. The period following the battle of Fredericksburg was one of the darkest for the sixteenth President. He said of it, “If there is a worse place than hell, I am in it.”

For this program, Steven Wright presented a short PowerPoint presentation on the Battle of Fredericksburg, followed by another short program by Michael A. Cavanaugh putting forward author William Marvel’s defense of Major General Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac from his book on Burnside. Afterward, an old fashioned Civil War Round Table discussion of the controversy ended a very interesting and educational night.

December 2010 Newsletter