Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"The Mud March" Painting by Mort Kunstler

This is the print for January 2015.

"FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, JANUARY 21, 1863:  They were the soldiers of the Union's Army of the Potomac and they were advancing against  the enemy as General Ambrose Burnside attempted to flank Robert E. Lee's army.  The march was conducted in the midst of a brutally fierce winter storm.

"The weather caused the road to be churned into an ocean of mus.  It was "an indescribable chaos of pontoons, vehicles and artillery," a federal officer would later recall, "wagons upset by the roadside, guns stalled in the mud--horses and mules buried in the liquid mud."

"Driving rain flailed man and beast alike -- and yet these men in blue did not yield.  Onward they pushed, led by Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine.  They were determined to have another contest with the enemy who had prevailed so many times before.  But it would not be here and now.  Battle would not come at this time."

Of course, Chamberlain made quite a name for himself some six months later at this battle fought near the town of Gettysburg.  Burnside was trying to atone for his disaster at the Battle of Fredericksburg the previous month.

You see the lightning and driving streams of rain as the men trudge through knee high mud trying to pull a cannon.  A place I wouldn't want to be.

--Old Secesh

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