The battle of Fredericksburg, fought between Dec. 11-15, 1862, is touted as one of the greatest battles of the Confederate Army. It is also the largest show of force on the confederate side prior to Gettysburg. Even with 78,513 men against 122,029 Union soldiers, the Confederate Army caused more than double the losses to Union forces with 12,653 men killed, wounded, or captured compared to 5,377 killed, wounded, or captured on the Confederate side. Armies on both sides remained ready for battle until the 14th when a truce was called the next morning to allow the Union army to tend to their wounded. On the last night of the battle, a rare sighting of an Aurora Borealis, presumably caused by a solar flare, was observed over the battlefield. The next morning Union forces retreated. It was a crushing defeat for the Union, as they were in desperate need of a victory to garner support of the public in the north.