From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

Battle of Fredericksburg

How did Lee regard the Battle of Fredericksburg?

Lee, surprisingly, was not elated by his success. He seems to have gauged Burnside accurately and believed that the Union general would make another attempt, in which the destruction would have been even greater. Lee later admitted to confidantes that he had hoped for a greater slaughter of the Union army. Even the capture of a great deal of federal equipment did not thrill him; he commented that it only meant more money for the Northern manufacturers and profiteers.

The rest of the South did not share Lee’s apprehensions, however. The news of Fredericksburg cheered up thousands, perhaps even millions, of white Southerners who had received a multitude of bad news during 1862. For the South, it was appropriate to close the year with a defensive victory.


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