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June 5, 1863: Union probes Rebel lines near Fredericksburg

Jun. 5, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Confederate dead are buried in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1863.
Confederate dead are buried in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1863. (Mathew Brady / National Archives)
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FREDERICKSBURG, VA. — Union troops skirmished with Greycoats along the Rappahannock River today, just downstream from Fredericksburg, Va.

With reports that the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia is mustering for an invasion into the north, Federal VI Corps commander Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick ordered a reconnaissance across the Rappahannock at Franklin’s Crossing near Deep Run to test Confederate defenses.

Crossing the river under fire, Federal regiments from New Jersey and Vermont captured Confederate rifle pits on the southern banks of the river, but were soon driven back to the other side.

Union units suffered 57 casualties, but captured at least 35 rebel troops.

A rear guard of Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill’s III Corps is covering the defense of Fredericksburg as the rest of the Confederate army moves west towards the Shenandoah Valley where it is expected to begin its push into Union-held territory.

Meanwhile, reports are coming in that rationing has begun for rebel troops and civilians alike now under siege at the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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