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The Second Battle of Marye's Heights (Or the Second Battle of Fredericksburg) took place on May 3, 1863. The battle was part of what is known as Chancellorsville Campaign (April 30-May 6 1863). The Confederate troops were holding the position of Marye's Heights when the Union forces of Major General Sedgwick arrived. The objective of the Union troops was to clear out the Confederate troops and hold the position. The Union troops spent hours fighting the Confederates with out any luck of pushing them away from the position. Finally a new strategy to have three charging columnns of troops was set into place and forced the Confederates out of Marye's Heights. This would be the only real victory for the Union during a disastrous campaign. Not to be confused with the more famous Battle of Fredericksburg which took place in December of 1862


  • Marye's Heights Wall. Taken after the battle.
  • An Example of the Map of Marye's Heights
  • Destroyed artillery caisson and horses following the battle.
  • Alfred Waud's sketch for Harper's Ferry Illustrated depicting the pontoon bridge used by Union Major General John Sedgwick's portion of the army

General Robert Lee and his troops had just driven the enemy from Chancellorsville and was already beginning to plan his next attack but stopped for two hours to let his men rest.  During their rest Lee heard news that Union Major General Sedgwick had broken through at Fredericksburg and was on his way behind him.  Sedgewick was in command of the left wing of the Union Army under Major General Hooker and was ordered to march on the Orange Plank Road to Chancellorsville.  The plan was for Sedgwick to attack Lee's forces from behind while Hooker attacked his front.  Sedgwick began marching after midnight on May 2, 1863 toward Fredericksburg.  By day light they had reached Marye's Heights but the Confederates had gained control already.  

Sedgwick sent Brigadier General Newton to see how many Confederate troops were holding the position.  Major General Jubal Early and his 12,000 troops were ready for Newton and Sedgwick's troops.  Sedgwick's troops were sent out to fight against the Confederates to take control of the position but were stopped without any real effort.  After failure during the first attack on the Confederate flanks, Sedgwick decided to change position and have three columnns of troops running with bayonets up to the Confederate flanks.  Sedgwick believed that the Union troops charging with bayonets would overwhelm the Confederates and bring success to the attack.

The order was given for the three columnns of troops to charge the Heights but at first did not seem to be working to their advantage as many Union Troops in the first columnn fell.  As the columnns began to reach the walls of Marye's Heights the Confederates started to drop back.  Finally the Union troops pushed their way up the Heights and captured the guns that were used against them.  The Confederate troops that were not killed, wounded, or captured retreated south.

Davis, Danny. "Return to Fredericksburg." America's Civil War 5, no. 4 (September 1992): 30–37. Catton, Bruce. Glory Road. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1952. Furgurson, Ernest B. Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave. New York: Knopf, 1992. Gallagher, Gary W. "East of Chancellorsville: Jubal A. Early at Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church" in Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath, edited by Gary W. Gallagher. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Sears, Stephen W. Chancellorsville. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Parsons, Philip W. "The union Sixth Army Corps in the Chancellorsville Campaign: A Study of the Engagements of Second Fredericksburg, Salem Church, and Banks's Ford, May 3–4, 1863" McFarland and Company, Inc. Jefferson, North Carolina and London. Mackowski, Chris, and Kristopher D. White. Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2013.