Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Union Soldiers Near Fredericksburg.

May 1, 2013

Library of Congress,Miscellaneous document sources

Union Soldiers Entrenched Near Fredericksburg - May 2, 1863

For a long time this photo was identified as being from Petersburg in 1864 or 1865.  Today it is widely acknowledged as being from Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863, late April or early May.


Various information and sources related to the photo:

“Union soldiers entrenched along the west bank of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, Virginia” – Library of Congress image.  Photograph by Andrew J. Russell. “Formerly misidentified with the title “Union Soldiers in trenches before Petersburg,” Dec. 1864.”

“Line of Brooks’ Division at Fredericksburg, May 2, 1863. Rebels charged here 20 minutes after the picture was taken but were repulsed and driven back.” – hand written caption on a copy of the photo at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.)

“Line of Brooks’ Division at Fredericksburg, VA. April 29 or 50, 1863” – hand written caption on a copy at U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center.

“Soldiers in the trenches before battle, Petersburg, Va., 1865. 111-B-157.” – National Archives copy identification as Petersburg has been disputed by Civil War historians and photo-historians with documentary evidence suggesting that this image of Union forces was taken by Andrew J. Russell just before the Second Battle of Fredericksburg in the spring of 1863.

A Grand Old Photo Revisited – A somewhat detailed analysis by Barry McGhan at The Center for Civil War Photography.

Union Soldiers by the Rappahannock – Encyclopedia Virginia: “Union soldiers in William T. H. Brooks’s division of John Sedgwick’s Sixth Corps huddle together on the west bank of the Rappahannock River on April 29 or 30, 1863. Comprised mostly of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania regiments, the division had just crossed the river on pontoon boats about a mile south of Fredericksburg and now occupied abandoned Confederate rifle pits, with Confederate pickets probably four hundred yards distant.”

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