Monday, March 03, 2014

March 2014 Travel Photo: Overlooking from Marye's Heights

In December 1862 a crime was committed by Union generals Ambrose Burnsides, Edwin Sumner, and Darius Couch.  Union forces were meant to distract Confederate forces, firmly entrenched on Marye's Heights, while the main Union force worked its way around the Virginian town of Fredericksburg.  Instead Union commanders ordered one brigade at a time to assault the position.  Fourteen times Union soldiers were easily cut down.  8,000 Union men were needlessly killed.

Standing on top of Marye's Heights it is easy to see why the assault failed despite urban encroachment and trees.  The heights dominate an easy slope which denied Union forces much cover.  With the main Confederate force entrenched at the base of the heights and artillery and snipers placed on top, I could easily see how Union forces were picked off piecemeal.  Famed groups such as the Irish Brigade, an infantry outfit made up of Irish Immigrants and the third most causalitied Union unit in the war, were among the victims of the slaughter.

Photo take at the edge of the "National Cemetery" (center).  Notice how the heights drop off suddenly.

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