Question of the Week: 12/10-16/18

The anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg is coming up this week, and we’re going to try something slightly different for Questions of the Week.

Share the best quote/observation about this battle (primary source or history book) in a comment and let us know why it’s the best in your opinion.

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 12/10-16/18

  1. When I read the Question of the Week this morning, the first thought that came to my mind was the one credited to the 20th Maine, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. To be honest I read this statement from him some time ago and I may have it wrong or it may not be completely accurate. But, if my memory is correct, Chamberlain was said to have made the observation while he was involved in the charge and resultant carnage in front of the Confederate lines at Marye’s Heights that he “never felt more alive” in his entire life than he did at that moment. I was and still am amazed and puzzled by this remark. First of all was it an accurate quote? And if it was, what did it mean? Did it show his admiration and love for the men in his regiment who gave their all for a cause even to the giving the ultimate sacrifice for that cause. Could it mean that life without meaning, life without a cherished goal was not worth living. I don’t know.

  2. I’ll stick with the obvious, and that is RE Lee’s quote that goes thus:

    “It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it.”

  3. I’ll go with E. Porter Alexander’s comment: “A chicken could not live on that field once we open on it!”. This time the Confederate artillery reigned supreme. This was not generally the case – take Gettysburg for instance. Gen. D. H Hill was quoted as saying “give me Confederate infantry and Union artillery and I will take any position” or words to that effect.

  4. “The Army is held by the throat by a few sharpshooters” declared Union General Ambrose Burnside as his engineers were engaged by Confederate General William Barksdale’s Mississipians along the Fredericksburg side of the river. Burnside’s blunder would be remembered as one of the greatest failures in American Military History. I believe this quote shows just how desperate Lincoln was to attack the Confederacy as a result of General George B. McClellan failures to win major battles at the start of the war in 1861. Although Burnside would be removed from command and replaced by Fighting Joe (Joseph Hooker), it shows the desperation Lincoln was dealing with trying to end the war as soon as he possibly could and rebuild the nation. Almost as if Lincoln was willing to suffer the loss of hundreds of men just to achieve a victory for the north.

  5. The President is a weak man, too weak for the occasion, and those fool or traitor generals are wasting time and yet more precious blood in indecisive battles and delays.
    Chandler Zachariah U.S. Senator Mich.

  6. As the more obvious ones have been taken, I’ll go with Captain Greenlee Davidson spraying the Union masses with double shot canister, crowed, “The head of the column went down like wheat before the reaper,”. It’s indicative of the carnage that was occurring and not @ Marye’s Heights. He was referring to great barrages they had just unleashed but they were soon overrun and this back and forth continued with both forces celebrating success only to suffer more deaths than they could imagine.

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: