Sunday, January 20, 2013

Burnside's "Mud March"

Tuesday, January 20, 1863

The Twentieth Massachusetts received orders to march toward Fredericksburg, as General Ambrose Burnside planned to advance upon the city and redeem the failure of the attack on December 13. Generals Joseph Hooker and William Franklin were ordered to march north six miles and cross the Rappahannock River at Banks' Ford in a flanking move on Fredericksburg and General Edwin Sumner was to cross at Falmouth to directly assault the city. As the army began their move rain ensued for several days, and the advance of the army was impeded by heavy rain and mud. After three days the campaign, known as the "Mud March," was halted permanently. General Burnside's fate as commander of the Union Army was likewise sealed.1

1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 225-26.

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