Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/387

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The Battle of Fredericksburg.—1862

I ASCERTAINED on December 9 that all the preparations for the proposed active operations were completed, and that they would be undertaken immediately. The plan decided upon by General Burnside, and communicated formally to the Grand Division commanders, was as follows:

To concentrate all the siege and most of the field artillery on the ridge on which the plateau on the left bank abutted, and from which their fire would command the town, the opposite plain, and the encircling hills beyond it.

To throw five bridges across the river during the night of the 10th to the 11th — two at the upper end of Fredericksburg, one at the lower end, and two a mile below the latter; making the total distance between the extreme bridges about two miles.

Immediately after the completion of the bridges, the Right Grand Division was to cross by the upper bridges and move through Fredericksburg and form beyond the town. The Left Grand Division was to cross by the two lower bridges to the plain on the right bank, and the Centre Grand Division to be held in reserve on the north bank, ready to move either to the support of the Right or Left Grand Division.

The Right Grand Division to attack the enemy's left on the Fredericksburg heights with one of Hooker's corps and with a division of the other as reserve.

The Left Grand Division to make a simultaneous and diverting attack on the rebel right, with Stoneman's division in reserve.

On the 10th, the unmistakable signs of impending action were observable on all sides. There were conferences at army-corps and division headquarters, increased home