November 17, 1862: Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, with his Grand Division, is the first of Burnside’s infantry to arrive at Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg. He is unable to cross, however.
---Julis LeGrand, of New Orleans, writes to her friend, Mrs. Brown, about the war spirit (or lack of it) in the city:
A dull and heavy anxiety has settled upon us. We hear nothing upon which we can rely, and know nothing to which we can cling with comfort. Those who come in say there is much joy beyond the lines, but no one can give the why and wherefore. In the meantime we are leading the lives which women have lead since Troy fell; wearing away time with memories, regrets and fears; alternating fits of suppression, with flights, imaginary, to the red fields where great principles are contended for, lost and won; while men, more privileged, are abroad and astir, making name and fortune and helping to make a nation. There was a frolic on board the English ship a few nights since . . . There was acting and dancing, and fish, flesh and fowl suffered in the name of our cause. Toasts were drunk to our great spirits to whom it seems the destiny of a nation is entrusted. How my heart warms to the weary, battle-stained heroes. . . . I can’t tell you what a life of suppression we lead. I feel it more because I know and feel all that is going on outside. I am like a pent-up volcano. I wish I had a field for my energies. I hate common life, a life of visiting, dressing and tattling, which seems to devolve on women, and now that there is better work to do, real tragedy, real romance and history weaving every day, I suffer, suffer, leading the life I do.