In early June 1863, while some of the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to push north for an invasion of Pennsylvania, others fought another Rappahannock River crossing just south of Fredericksburg by elements of the Sixth Corps. Labeled by Col. Lewis A. Grant of the Vermont Brigade as “an exciting and brilliant affair,” some of the rank and file asked to do the fighting were not so thrilled.
Writing to the Syracuse, New York, Journal newspaper, a soldier in the 122nd New York noted about June 6: “The [pontoon] bridges had been laid with a sharp resistance in which Capt. Cross of the Engineers, and Captain of a New Jersey regiment and several men were killed, and eighteen wounded, in all a loss of about twenty five.” The writer explained that “Johnny Butternut is not very good natured this time either,” and that “they are as waspish as a nest of bumble-bees after we have mowed over their nests in the old meadow at home.”
After about a week of occupying the south bank, the Federals fell back to the Stafford County side of the river and eventually ended up at Gettysburg with the rest of the army.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.