The Crossing of the Army

Middle Pontoon Site, Fredericksburg city docks, Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 2020

On the far side of the river is Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington.

On this date, December 11, 1862, the Army of the Potomac began crossing the Rappahannock River here on the lower end of town and at the upper end of town, as well. They also established a third crossing site further downriver at a place that became known as Franklin’s Crossing.

To support the amphibious assault, Federal artillerists bombarded the city. “Tons of iron were hurled against this place,” one of the city’s defenders recalled. “[T]he deafening roar of cannon and bursting shells, falling walls and chimneys, bricks and timbers flying through the air, houses set on fire, the smoke adding to the already heavy fog, the bursting flames through the housetops, made a scene which has no parallel in history. It was appalling and indescribable, a condition which would paralyze the stoutest heart….”

3 Responses to The Crossing of the Army

  1. I love it Chris! So much attention is given to the Upper Crossing that the Middle & Lower Crossings are usually forgotten. Thank you for helping us to remember these lesser mentioned locations. Have a wonderful Holiday Season !

  2. I stayed on the top floor in a bed and breakfast during a Thanksgiving trip to Fredericksburg and saw a singed rafter above the bed

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