Battle of Fredericksburg – December 13, 1862

In the unsuccessful 1862 Northern campaign to capture the Southern capital of Richmond, Union and Confederate armies clashed at the small town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. As part of the Army of the Potomac, The Old Guard served in the division of U.S. Regulars commanded by General George Sykes.


Excerpt from Lieutenant Dangerfield Parker, Company D, 3rd Infantry:
“At Fredericksburg the 3rd with the Division it was attached to [2nd Division, 5th Corps] acted as support to the fruitless attack on Marye’s hill. It took up position at dark in the cemetery and during the night was ordered out upon the plank road taking up position behind a tannery which was immediately upon this road and from the windows of which the entrenchments of the enemy could be commanded – they being but a stone’s throw off. Skirmishers were thrown out on the right flank from the 3rd and 4th Infantry and in the morning at early dawn it was, of course, necessary to relieve them. In doing so our losses were heavy from the fire of the enemy’s sharp-shooters. Our men ran to cover behind the tannery as quickly as possible, but some were killed and others wounded within a few feet of cover.”


In the battle of Fredericksburg, the Regiment lost 3 men killed and 12 wounded.

On December 15, as the Union forces retired, the 3rd Infantry was the last unit to cross the pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock River out of the devastated town of Fredericksburg and back to safety. The 3rd Infantry would go on to fight at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before moving to New York City to recruit and rest, while also assisting to quell the draft riots.

Battle of Fredericksburg – December 13, 1862

In the unsuccessful 1862 Northern campaign to capture the Southern capital of Richmond, Union and Confederate armies clashed at the small town of Fredericksburg, Virginia. As part of the Army of the Potomac, The Old Guard served in the division of U.S. Regulars commanded by General George Sykes.


Excerpt from Lieutenant Dangerfield Parker, Company D, 3rd Infantry:
“At Fredericksburg the 3rd with the Division it was attached to [2nd Division, 5th Corps] acted as support to the fruitless attack on Marye’s hill. It took up position at dark in the cemetery and during the night was ordered out upon the plank road taking up position behind a tannery which was immediately upon this road and from the windows of which the entrenchments of the enemy could be commanded – they being but a stone’s throw off. Skirmishers were thrown out on the right flank from the 3rd and 4th Infantry and in the morning at early dawn it was, of course, necessary to relieve them. In doing so our losses were heavy from the fire of the enemy’s sharp-shooters. Our men ran to cover behind the tannery as quickly as possible, but some were killed and others wounded within a few feet of cover.”


In the battle of Fredericksburg, the Regiment lost 3 men killed and 12 wounded.

On December 15, as the Union forces retired, the 3rd Infantry was the last unit to cross the pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock River out of the devastated town of Fredericksburg and back to safety. The 3rd Infantry would go on to fight at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before moving to New York City to recruit and rest, while also assisting to quell the draft riots.

Battle of Santa Rosa Island – October 9, 1861

Aerial view of Fort Pickens, Florida (via Bing Maps).

At the beginning of the Civil War, four Union forts stood in Confederate territory, still garrisoned by Union soldiers. The forts stood as threats to the newly-seceded Confederate nation. The April 12, 1861 attack on Fort Sumter saw the surrender of Union forces in the first shots fired in the Civil War.

Companies C & E of the 3rd Infantry Regiment were part of the forces manning Fort Pickens,  having deployed from Fort Hamilton, NY and arrived in Pensacola on April 16, 1861. Just after midnight on October 9, 1861, Confederate BG Richard Anderson landed two steamers full of troops on Santa Rosa Island, the 40-mile barrier island on which Fort Pickens is located. His 1200 men attacked soldiers of the 6th New York Infantry Regiment, who were encamped about one mile east of the fort. The New York Regiment was routed and fell back until reinforcements from the fort could stop the Confederate advance. The Confederates took a defensive stance, eventually falling back and leaving Santa Rosa Island. The battle saw 1800 men engaged in battle, with 150 causalities and losses. The Regiment carries the battle streamer “FLORIDA 1861” for this and a later action at Fort Pickens.

Construction on Fort Pickens was started in 1829 and completed in 1834, with slaves laboring to build it with over 22,000,000 bricks. The fort saw service and upgrades through World War II, and retired from service in 1947. The site was a Florida State Park until 1971, when it was incorporated into Gulf Islands National Seashore. After renovations to the site, it re-opened to the public in 1976.