Undoubtedly tired of their meat and bread diets since the start of the war two years before, the 13th and the Barksdale Brigade gratefully turned to fishing the Rappahannock River at Fredricksburg.
“The soldiers of this brigade are catching large quantities of fish with seines,” quartermaster clerk William H. Hill wrote in his diary on April 23, 1863, “more than they can consume. The principal kinds of fish caught here are White Shad, Mullets, Sturgeon, Herring, Catfish, Rockfish Carp, and Perch.”
The 17th Mississippi diarist Robert Moore wrote that he “caught mostly herring” though “there are a great many fish in the river.”
Meanwhile, Hill recorded, the Union army was reported to be crossing the river at Port Royal, about twenty miles below the town. The next day, division commander Gen. Lafayette McLaws ordered the brigade “to be ready to move at any moment.”