The battlefield was again foggy, but also with a smoky mist from the previous day’s fighting, as well as very quiet on the morning of Dec. 14, 1862—except for the pitiful groans and cries for water from the Union wounded, so seriously hurt they could not even crawl back to their lines near the town.

Diarist William H. Hill of the Spartan Band and Mike Hubbert of the Minutemen of Attala recorded for that Sunday no more than some brief skirmishing between the Union and Confederate pickets and some Union artillery fire from Fredericksburg and the distant Stafford Heights on the Union side of the Rappahanock.

Robert A. Moore of the 17th Mississippi agreed. “Nothing has happened today except the [picket] firing and some cannonading at long-range.”

The inactivity surprised the Confederate high command, as General Edward Porter Alexander reported for the Southern Historical Society in 1882:

“As the conflict on Saturday had been continued with such pertinacity until restrained by night, its renewal was confidently expected on the morning of the 14th, and it seems that it was indeed only averted by the urgent entreaties of General [Edwin Vose] Sumner, and after a column of assault had been already formed.”

Commanding Union General Ambrose Burnside had planned, Porter wrote, to lead his own Ninth Corps by regiments, in columns, in a new assault on the Rebel positions on Marye’s Heights. But Sumner dissuaded him, and when the fog lifted that morning Burnside’s heavy columns were seen dispersed.

“The Sabbath was accordingly passed by each army in simply inviting an assault from its adversary,” Alexander continued.  “The Confederate artillery were ordered to reserve their ammunition entirely for the enemy’s infantry, and consequently submitted quietly to the enemy’s practice and only fired occasionally when a moving column would come in [s]ight. The sharpshooting was active, however, on both [s]ides…. it being known in the Confederate lines that the [Union] Eleventh corps, under Siegel, was marching rapidly to join Burnside, a renewal of the attack was confidently expected on Monday morning”

The Rebels, accordingly, spent the night strengthening and reinforcing their lines, none of which involved changes of position for the Mississippi Brigade or the 13th Mississippi.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg, Mike M. Hubbert Diary, The Commanders, The Minute Men of Attala, The Spartan Band, William H. Hill Diary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s