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The signs were unmistakable: the attack was coming. For weeks, General Robert E. Lee's troops at Fredericksburg had been threatened by General Ambrose E. Burnside's huge Northern army. Now, on December 12th, reports indicated Federal forces were massing for the long-awaited assault. Lee's troops the Army of Northern Virginia were outnumbered as usual, but they held strong positions on high ground. To meet the massive attack by the Army of the Potomac, they would need every advantage. To finalize battle plans, Lee conferred with his "right arm," General Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson, his cavalry corps commander, General J.E.B. Stuart and other key commanders. What emerged from Lee's battle plans was an almost impregnable Confederate defensive line at Fredericksburg. When the enemy made the attack, the Army of Northern Virginia would be ready. Lee had developed what appeared to be a plan for certain victory and it was. The next day, in a series of courageous but futile assaults, the Federal army would dash itself to defeat against the rock-hard Confederate defenses. The Battle of Fredericksburg would prove to be one of Robert E. Lee's greatest victories.

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