Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division
The Sacking of Fredericksburg
Early on the morning of December 11, 1862, Union engineers rushed forward to lay down pontoon bridges over the Rappahannock River, only to be met with harassing fire from inside Fredericksburg. By late afternoon, an artillery bombardment and assault parties on boats had cleared the town for Union troops, who then spent the night destroying whatever was left of it. "The town was all ransacked. [B]ooks, chairs and every kind of furniture was lying on the Streets," a Pennsylvania soldier wrote in a letter to his brother. "Some of the boys got books and some other things. Haze Boyd got Milton's complete works lying in the Streets."