Excerpt from National History of the War for the Union, Civil, Military and Naval, Vol. 3 of 3: Founded on Official and Other Authentic Documents
Open, and an important advantage gained for the campaign, as there were few of the enemy at that time at Fredericks burg. General Sumner, knowing the military importance Of the heights in the rear of the town, and anxious to occupy them, would have crossed at once by a ford; but as there was a prospect of a rise in the river and the division might be cut off from supplies and from the rest of the army, their movement was for bidden by General Burnside. Thus early was the new' march to Richmond arrested. Delay had occurred at Washington, and the non-arrival of the pontoons com pelled the army, as it came up, to rest on the left bank Of the river, while the enemy, by a parallel movement on the Opposite side, moved in force to the rear of Fredericksburg, and occupying a range Of hills - a most defensible position confronted the Union army at that place. General Burnside, disappointed in his projected rapid movement towards the Confederate capital, and prospect of meeting the enemy before General Jack son, who, it was understood, had lingered in the valley of the Shenandoah, could come up with his command, was compelled for a time to watch the enemy on the opposite bank, while he laid new plans to bring the army of General Lee under inevi tably disadvantageous circumstances for himself to an engagement. Both armies were now in easy communication with their respective bases: the Confederates by direct railway line with Richmond. Sixty-five miles distant, and the inter mediate depots while the Union army, after a brief period of busy preparation, received its supplies from Washington by water to the storehouses at Acquia Creek, and thence over a railway'of four teen miles to the camp at Falmouth. The high grounds on either side of the river gave to each 'army an excellent de fensive position.
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