The Stone Wall is the location of some of the most courageous and bloodiest fighting during the Battle of Fredericksburg. The Confederates held the high ground and over looked the long stretch of open ground that the Union would have to move across. The Stone Wall protects what has been come to be known as “The Sunken Road”. General McLaws CSA had 2000 men on the wall and had 7000 in return on the crest and behind the hill, he also had artillery support on top of the hill that covered the Unions approach step by step. It was General Hancock’s men from the Union that charged to the Stone Wall. This entry can be used in conjunction with the other entry of the battle entitled The Battle of Fredericksburg. The fighting at the stone wall was dramatized in the 2003 film, Gods and Generals.
The fighting started with fixed bayonets on the morning of
December 13, the land is similar to what Picketts charge was in fact the Unions
battle cry during that was “remember Fredericksburg”. The Union had to cross
small canals on a narrow bridge and realign into lines of battle before
marching up the land, the land was muddy and slick. As soon as they stepped out
from behind the small bluff used to align they were under constant fire from
the Confederates batteries on Maryse heights under the command of Lt. Col.
Edward Porter Alexander. The first charge was cut down around 125 yards from
the stone wall, some soldiers did make it closer but were cut down before they
could breach the wall.
The Union charged 6 times on the day of December 13 all met
the same fate as the first, death and carnage and failure. After each repulse
of the Union attack General Longstreet reinforced his lines behind the stone
wall when at the peak of the battle had 6000 men behind the wall. During the
battle there also was fighting between two Irish Brigades, one was Confederates
and the other was Union, when the Confederates saw the battle flag of the Irish
Brigade from the Union shouts of “Oh God, what a pity, here comes Meaghers