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Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Union Attacks Begin

 

—The Battle of Fredericksburg —

 
The Union Attacks Begin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
1. The Union Attacks Begin Marker
Inscription. In 1862 the ground in front of you was an open plain stretching from here to the outskirts of Fredericksburg, one-half mile away. As Union troops left the town to attack Marye's Heights, they had to break ranks to cross a canal ditch, then knock down fences on an old fairground. For the last 300-400 yards of their advance toward the Sunken Road, they were virtually without cover.

Eighteen Union brigades - more than 30,000 men - successively swept across the field. For eight hours the killing continued. "Our men were slaughtered like sheep," recalled one Federal soldier. "The whole plain was covered with blankets, haversacks, wounded men and dead men.... We stood it as long as we could, and were ordered to fall back - when the whole brigade broke and run...."

Every face wore an expression of seriousness and dread....
Private Benjamin Borton, 24th New Jersey Infantry

Of the many attacks made by the Union army at Fredericksburg, none was more famous than that of the Irish Brigade. Wearing sprigs of boxwood in their caps to remind them of their heritage, some men of the brigade approached to within 50 yards of the wall before withering under the Confederate fire.
 
Erected by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park - National Park Service - U.S. Dept.
Irish Brigade image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 19, 2008
2. Irish Brigade
of the Interior.
 
Location. 38° 17.698′ N, 77° 28.095′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Sunken Road and Lafayette Boulevard (Virginia Route 1), on the right when traveling north on Sunken Road. Touch for map. Located on the Sunken Road walking trail, which starts at the Fredericksburg battlefield visitor center. The Sunken Road is closed to vehicle traffic. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Field of Battle (a few steps from this marker); The Confederate Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Sunken Road Walking Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Artillery (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas R. R. Cobb (within shouting distance of this marker); The Willis Hill Buildings (within shouting distance of this marker); The Stephens House (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederates on the Ridge (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a painting depicting the charge of the Irish Brigade.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Union Attacks Begin Marker along the Sunken Road image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
3. The Union Attacks Begin Marker along the Sunken Road
Lay of the Land image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 25, 2008
4. Lay of the Land
This map, displayed in the nearby visitor center, details the ground over which the Union army made its attack.
"The Irish Brigade Charging Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg" by Don Troiani image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, July 23, 2016
5. "The Irish Brigade Charging Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg" by Don Troiani
The painting shown on the marker also makes up a part of a large display in the Visitor Center, including a drum from the 28th Massachusetts Regiment of the Irish Brigade.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,630 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on July 26, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   3, 4. submitted on June 23, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on July 23, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.
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