1Lt. EVAN M WOODWARD,.
2d Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry
13 December 1862.
Fought December 11-15, 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg turned out to be the largest in Civil War history with close to 200,000 combatants. Gen Burnsides’ plan to cross the river before R.E. Lee could get into position didn’t go as well as the Union General hoped.
After a 2 week delay, on December 11th, Union engineers built six bridges across the Rappahannock under fire, while Union artillery shelled the town.
Union troops began crossing the river and the process of routing confederates from the city. The bulk of Burnside’s Army was across the river and in position by the evening of the 12th and early on the 13th, Burnside ordered assaults on Confederate position dug in on Prospect Hill and Marye’s Heights. Union casualties were staggering.
Several Generals from both sides were killed early in the engagement, leaving hundreds of soldiers without definitive leadership. The See-saw battle went on until the 15th when Burnside gave the order for his men to retreat back across the river in defeat.
It was in the middle of this Chaotic 4-day knuckle to knuckle; sword to sword; musket to musket; street brawl that Adjutant 1Lt. Evan M Woodward went into action redeeming himself as an officer and giving the Union the only wisp of victory that day.
Woodward was Considered inept as an officer and discharged from the Army in as a Captain in 1861. The severe casualty rate lowered the standards and Woodward was recalled and demoted to the rank of 1Lt.
Woodward proved himself at Fredricksburg earning the Medal of Honor.
His citation reads just one sentence:
“Advanced between the lines, demanded and received the surrender of the 19th Georgia Infantry and captured their battle flag”.