Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 1862

Dec. 17, 1862: George Templeton Strong writes in his journal the grim results of Fredericksburg:
Burnside pleads guilty to failure and repulse. The inews arriving yesterday afternoon, has produced serious depression and discouragement. The battle of Fredericksburg was a defeat with heavy loss, damaging to the national cause. . . .

—The New York Express offers this vehement editorial in the heated political aftermath of Fredericksburg:
. . . it is evident, now, – either the Administration must die, or the Government must die. The Administration and the Government can no longer live together. One or the other must perish. Which shall it be? Never, never, the Government. – long live the Government! – and, oh, ye Republicans – responsible for this Administration – change or abolish your Administration.

—Gen. Burnside writes to Gen. Halleck and Pres. Lincoln. Among other things, he confesses this:
   As the day broke, our long lines of troops were seen marching to their different positions as if going on parade; not the least demoralization or disorganization existed.
    To the brave officers and soldiers who accomplished the feat of this recrossing in the face of the enemy I owe everything. For the failure in the attack I am responsible, as the extreme gallantry, courage, and endurance shown by them was never excelled, and would have carried the points, had it been possible.
To the families and friends of the dead I can only offer my heartfelt sympathy, but for the wounded I can offer my earnest prayers for their comfort and final recovery.
    The fact that I decided to move from Warrenton onto this line rather against the opinion of the President, Secretary, and yourself, and that you have left the whole management in my hands, without giving me orders, makes me the more responsible.

—In North Carolina, near Goldsboro, Union troops under Gen. Foster defeat Confederates under Gen. Evans in a sharp battle, thus enabling the Union troops to destroy the railroad link to Goldsboro and Kinston.





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