Friday, May 3, 2013

Storming Marye's Heights

Sunday, May 3, 1863

The Twentieth Massachusetts arrived at the Lacy House at 4:00 A.M. to prepare for crossing the Rappahannock River into Fredericksburg. An attack from the south by General John Sedgwick cleared the Confederates from the river bank, and General John Gibbon’s division crossed the Rappahannock River around 6:00 A.M. The Twentieth Massachusetts attempted to scale Marye's Heights from the north, but were delayed by the need to build makeshift bridges at two stream crossings. Their delay allowed the Confederates sufficient time to fortify Marye's Heights. As the Twentieth tried to assail the heights they met with enemy rifle fire and artillery shells. A frontal assault by General John Sedgwick coordinated with a flank attack by the Twentieth Massachusetts was successful, and Marye's Heights was taken by the Union troops. General John Sedgwick was ordered to continue on the Orange Plank Road and connect with General Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville.1

1Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 233-37.

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