Gen. McLaws wrote his wife, Emily, a quick letter on the evening of April 29, 1863, about the previous night’s Union crossing of the river below and above Fredericksburg which he expected to become a renewed battle.
Below the town they had surprised “a North Carolina Regiment, capturing near a hundred men and succeeded in establishing themselves on our side, building two or three bridges and crossing a large body of men before Genl Lee was apprised of the fact.
“Of Course I was ignorant of it for the North Carolinians not only allowed themselves to be surprised and captured but failed to notify any one either on their right or left of the circumstances.
“In consequence the whole line was jeopardized. Fortunately a Georgia regiment was on their right, which gave such stubborn resistance the enemy were driven back & kept at bay until ten o’clock this morning when our troops got into position.
“…Who is to blame tis useless to inquire now, all we have to do is to keep firm and confident, and rely upon the God of battles as our shield and we will pluck safety & honor from the very jaws of danger.
“Upon the eve of great and stirring events,” he concluded, his thoughts turned to home and wife and children and “the thought of them nerves me to be more worthy of them.”
Via “A Soldier’s General:The Civil War Letters of Major General Lafayette McLaws,” edited by John C. Oeffinger.