November 7, 1862, as an early snowfall covered on the Union camps near
Warrenton, VA, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside received news that he
replace George B. McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac. A
week later, the Federals began their march toward Fredericksburg,
camps on Stafford Heights and along the Rappahannock at Falmouth. On
November 18-19th, Longstreet departed Culpeper
for Fredericksburg, and established camp on the heights west of town;
arrived on December 1-3, and deployed downriver from Fredericksburg.
Burnside formulated attack plans in early December,
including use of pontoon boats to cross the river and occupy the town.
At dawn on December 11,
Union engineers began constructing
the pontoon bridges. Facing resistance from Barksdale's Mississippians,
they sent over several units to clear the town of the remaining
The city was also bombarded by artillery, which ignited several fires
destroyed much of the town. On December 12 the Union Army crossed the
and formed up on the river bank.
Major General Ambrose E.
Burnside, now commanding the
Army of the Potomac, threw the right Grand Division of his army against
Lee’s entrenched positions on Marye’s Heights, hoping to draw
Confederate troops away from his main attack by the Union left.
Burnside ordered his divisions to attack one brigade at a time, to draw
out the assault and to pull ever greater numbers of Southern troops
from his main objective.
The men of the Irish Brigade were the fourth
brigade ordered to attack the stone wall at the base of Marye’s
Heights. The brigade would attack this day without most of its green
regimental flags, the New York regiments having sent their flags north
for repair or replacement after heavy combat use; only the 28th
Massachusetts would carry its Irish colors into battle on this terrible
day. To replace the missing flags, each member of the brigade attached
a sprig of green boxwood to his hat, demonstrating his pride in Ireland
and in the Brigade.
the Southern position, the Irish Brigade had to cross a gently sloping,
open plain, and came under constant fire during their approach.
Pressing forward under murderous fire, the Brigade came within 30 yards
of the wall before it was cut to pieces and halted in its tracks. After
the battle, many of the bodies found closest to the wall bore the small
sprigs of boxwood still tucked neatly into their forage caps.
THANK YOU: THANKS
TO ALL OF THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED. Together, we had the opportunity for
the first time
to recreate the attack of the Irish Brigade on the actual ground of
Marye's Heights. The Federal reenactors represented the five
regiments of Meagher's famed brigade: The 69th New York, the 88th New
York, the 28th Massachusetts, the 63rd New York and the 116th
Pennsylvania. Confederates portrayed the regiments that fought
under Kershaw and Cobb,
several ranks deep, behind the stone wall at the base of the heights.
It was a grand experience that required a lot of coordination, on both
sides of the wall.
"Irish Brigade" Yahoo
Group for Federals: If you are interested keeping in the loop
about the Irish Brigade and the 145th events, please join our Yahoo
Click to join Irishbrigade145
Questions: Confederate and civilians
may send questions to EPow47@aol.com.
Federals should send questions to email@example.com.
47th Virginia, Co. I
"The Stafford Guard"