Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Battle of Goldsborough Bridge 150th Anniversary-- Part 2

The Union troops had begun their march six days earlier from New Bern.  These were not the hardened veterans who later came through North Carolina under General Sherman in 1865.  For many this was their first test in the field against enemy troops.  A fair number were nine month volunteers from Massachusetts,Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

Randy Sauls, a local historian and founder of the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield Association (thanks Mr. Sauls), said their journey had been "grueling.  We know that every night of the march....the men's water in their canteens froze.  And we know they didn't have tents."

Sleeping outside in NC in December is not my idea of fun, especially during a cold snap.

This battle (or skirmish as it has been called, even though it would have been a huge battle during the War of 1812) was a part of the Fredericksburg Campaign, whose battle had taken place just four days earlier.  It was part of a two-pronged Union attempt to end the war.  Plans called for Foster to march from New Bern and destroy the bridge, stopping Confederate supplies coming from Wilmington on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad (at one time the longest railroad in the United States.

While this was happening, Union General Burnside would attack Lee's Army at Fredericksburg and, with its superior numbers, win a stunning victory.  With no replacement supplies, Lee would have to abandon Richmond and the war would be over.

Sometimes, the Best Laid Plans....  --Old Secesh

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