Sesquicentennial: The Battle of Fredericksburg

December 11, 2012

Research by Mount Auburn Volunteers Bill McEvoy and Rosemarie Smurzynski
Photos by Bill McEvoy

The Battle of Fredericksburg, VA was fought on December 11 – 15, 1862. On December 11th Union engineers laid five pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock; on the 12th the Army crossed over; on the 13th the assault began; by the 15th General Burnside called off the offensive and retreated. Union casualties were almost twice that of the confederates. A number of men now buried in Mount Auburn fought in this historic battle. 

War Correspondent, Charles Carleton Coffin wrote: “At five o’clock on the morning of the 11th of December two signal guns were fired on the heights ofFredericksburg: deep and heavy their roar, rolling along the valley, echoing from hill to hill, rousing the sleepers of both armies.  We who listened upon the Falmouth Hills knew that the crossing was not a surprise, but the rebels were ready for battle.  And now as the day dawned there came a rattling of musketry along the river.  The Rebels opened fire. The gunners at the batteries were quick to respond….But in the town the Mississippians took shelter in the buildings and poured a deadly fire upon the bridge-builders.  Almost every soldier who attempted to carry a plank fell.”  ~ Boys of ’61



Mount Auburn residents who died in the battle

Arthur Buckminster Fuller 1822-1862
Lot # 2566 Pyrola Path
Chaplain, 16th Regiment
Died December 11, 1862; interred December 24, 1862
Monument Inscription: Arthur Buckminster Fuller, Born at Cambridge August 10, 1822, Graduated Harvard College 1843, graduated Harvard Divinity School 1847, Commisioned Chaplain of the 16th Massachusetts Volunteers Aug. 1, 1861.  Killed at Fredericksburg, Va. Dec. 11, 1862. “I must do something for my Country.”

Edgar Newcomb  1840 -1862
Lot # 1702 Sedge Path
First Lieutenant, 19th Regiment
Died December 20, 1862; interred December 27, 1862
Monument Inscription: Edgar M. Newcomb. Lieut 19th Regt. M. Vols. Died 12-20-1862 Falmouth, Va. of wounds received at the battle of Fredericksburg, age 22 yrs. 

Arthur Dehon 1841 – 1862
Lot # 2337 Bellwort Path
First Lieutenant, 12th Regiment aide-de-camp to General Meade
Died December 13, 1862; interred December 22, 1862
Monument Inscription: Arthur Dehon, 1st Lieutenant 12 Mass. Infantry Born Jan.24, 1841 Killed Dec. 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Va.

Charles Follen Cabot 1836-1862
Lot #2888 Lavender Path
Captain, 20th Regiment
Died December 11, 1862; interred December 18
Monument Inscription: Charles Follen Cabot died Dec. 11, 1862 age 26 yrs. Killed at Fredericksburg, Md. [sic]

Samuel Foster Haven 1832 -1862
Lot # 1470 Rhodora Path
Surgeon, 15th Regiment
Died December 13; interred January 17, 1863 
Monument Inscription: S. Foster Haven, Jr. M.D. Surgeon 15th Mass Regt. Killed in battle at Fredericksburg, Va. Dec. 13, 1862, age 31 yrs.

Sidney Willard 1831-1862
Lot # 1108 Ailanthus Path
Captain, 35th Regiment;
Wounded December 13, 1862; died December 14; interred December 20
Monument Inscription: Sidney Willard Major, 35 vols. Mass. Born 2-3-1831 Died at Fredericksburg, Va. 12-14-1862


Mount Auburn residents who participated in the battle

Charles Carleton Coffin 1823-1896
Lot # 5981 Gentian Path
War Correspondent,BostonJournal 
Wrote Boys of ’61, Four years of fighting; personal observation

Henry Pickering Bowditch 1840-1911
Lot #  1208 Tulip Path
First Lieutenant, 1stCalvary, 1862. Regiment in reserve at Fredericksburg
He later became dean ofHarvardMedicalSchool.

Edward Needles Hallowell 1836-1871
Lot # 4124 Indian Ridge path
Lieutenant 20th wounded New Hope Church; Col 54th under Robert Gould Shaw
Was a wool merchant; wounds from the war cut his life short.

Charles Devens 1820-1891
Lot # 1594 Tulip path
Colonel of 15th Regiment; brigadier general 1862; first to occupy Richmond 864
Served as Mass Supreme Court Judge

Albion Parris Howe 1818-1897
Lot # 6547 Goldenrod Path
Major General, commanded 2nd division VI Corps at Fredericksburg
On Military Commission that tried the conspirators of Lincoln’s assassination.

Philip Mason -1842- 1864
Lot # 3492 Saffron Path
First Lieutenant 1st U. S. Light Artillery
Monument Inscription: Philip D. Mason, Lt. 1st Rgt. U.S. Artillery.  Died July 18, 1864 of wound received in the battle of Trevilian Station, Va. Aged 22 yrs.  In Battles of Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville.



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