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688 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 25 illus., 8 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index

Civil War America

ISBN  978-0-8078-2673-7
Published: March 2002

ISBN  978-0-8078-7269-7
Published: August 2012

Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!

By George C. Rable

Awards & Distinctions

2003 Lincoln Prize, Lincoln and Soldiers Institute

2004 Distinguished Book Award in American History, Society for Military History

2002 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award, Military Order of the Stars and Bars

2002 Jefferson Davis Award, Museum of the Confederacy

During the battle of Gettysburg, as Union troops along Cemetery Ridge rebuffed Pickett's Charge, they were heard to shout, "Give them Fredericksburg!" Their cries reverberated from a clash that, although fought some six months earlier, clearly loomed large in the minds of Civil War soldiers.

Fought on December 13, 1862, the battle of Fredericksburg ended in a stunning defeat for the Union. Confederate general Robert E. Lee suffered roughly 5,000 casualties but inflicted more than twice that many losses--nearly 13,000--on his opponent, General Ambrose Burnside. As news of the Union loss traveled north, it spread a wave of public despair that extended all the way to President Lincoln. In the beleaguered Confederacy, the southern victory bolstered flagging hopes, as Lee and his men began to take on an aura of invincibility.

George Rable offers a gripping account of the battle of Fredericksburg and places the campaign within its broader political, social, and military context. Blending battlefield and home front history, he not only addresses questions of strategy and tactics but also explores material conditions in camp, the rhythms and disruptions of military life, and the enduring effects of the carnage on survivors--both civilian and military--on both sides.

About the Author

George C. Rable holds the Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama. He is author of God's Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War, and Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism, and The Confederate Republic: A Revolution against Politics.


"A surprisingly easy read because Rable never assumes the reader already knows about army life."
--Washington Post

"Rable has written a new kind of battle history that melds many different types of history into one, all-inclusive narrative. Rable is one of the most versatile Civil War historians in the field today."
--Civil War History

"Skillfully done. . . . The pace of the story is fast . . . much like the battle itself. . . . One of the most interesting renditions of any battle."
--Civil War News

"A very balanced, readable, and thought-provoking account. . . . The author never loses sight of the common soldier--the evocative text is filled with first-person descriptions of life in the camp, on the march, in battle, or in field hospitals. It captures the bravery, ineptitude, and heartache of soldiers and generals alike."
--Blue & Gray Magazine

“Masterful . . . . By successfully synthesizing recent scholarship and plowing new ground as well, this book takes its place as the best volume published thus far in the Littlefield History of the Civil War Era.”
--American Historical Review

"[This book] sets a new standard for Civil War historians who write about military campaigns. George C. Rable provides not just an account of a horrific battle, but how it changed the course of the war for both sides and the men who fought in its ranks."
--Civil War Book Review

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