Monday, September 5, 2011

Rain Can Be Pesky Sometimes : Burnside's 'Mud March"

In this dreary rainy day that most of Georgia and South Tennessee seems to be going through, lets take the opportunity to look at the past and see how such rain ruined somebody else's day.

In January 1863, Union Major General Ambrose Burnside launched an offensive operation to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee's flank while Cavalry attacked and destroyed the rear supply lines. This offensive came after Burnside's horrifying defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg and in hopes of restoring morale and the Maj. General's reputation.

Burnside's initial plan was to cross the Rappahannock River south of Fredericksburg, VA on January 1st. This would outflank General Lee placing the Army of the Potomac in perfect position to strike a decisive blow to  General Lee's Army of Northern Virgina. Due to political maneuvering, and orders of President Lincoln, Burnside altered the plan. This time, Burnside would cross upstream at Bank's Ford.

On January 20, 1863, the Army of the Potomac began its movements in mild weather but later in the evening a steady rain began. This rain persisted for two days turning unpaved roads into traps of mud that rose up to knee deep on soldiers. After many complaints from subordinates, Burnside finally ordered his Army back to Fredericksburg.

The 'Mud March" would be Maj. General Burnside's last attempt at commanding the Army of the Potomax as President Lincoln would soon replace him with General Hooker.

So on this horribly wet day, keep in mind that things, could always be worse.

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