Tag Archives: Ambrose Burnside

Obstinate Maine soldiers muck home: Mud March, part 3

Caught by a cold rain while attempting to outflank Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg on January 20, 1863, Union soldiers, horses, and mules suffered immeasurably as the Ambrose Burnside-planned attack dissolved into the “Mud March.” With horses and mules unable to pull mud-stuck cannons, caissons, and wagons, Union infantrymen taking to the flooded roadside terrain […]

Even the weather fights the Yankees: Mud March, part 2

His direct assaults on Confederate-defended Fredericksburg handily repulsed in mid-December 1862, Ambrose Burnside decided to outflank Robert E. Lee’s dug-in veterans 5½ weeks later. Burnside planned to wheel his Army of the Potomac over the Rappahannock River to flank Lee’s army and force it to fight on open ground, where the Yankees could surely outmaneuver […]

Burnside rolls the dice to destroy his army: Mud March, part 1

His bloody ambition unquenched by the 12,500 soldiers sacrificed at Fredericksburg, Ambrose Burnside took another crack at Robert E. Lee in mid-January 1863. The resulting fiasco almost destroyed the Army of the Potomac, instead. “Words are inadequate to describe the scenes of that eventful campaign,” acerbically commented 1st Sgt. Edwin B. Houghton of Co. A, […]

Joe Hooker takes command, and Maine boys notice, part II

The arrival of Joe Hooker at Army of the Potomac headquarters in late January 1863 stirred interest, trepidation, and many questions. Within weeks he instituted morale-building improvements that restored the army’s elan. “Never was the magic influence of a single man more clearly shown than when Hooker assumed command,” said Capt. Charles P. Mattocks of […]

Maine boys notice when Joe Hooker takes command, part I

Despite all the immorality-related baggage (drinking, carousing with prostitutes, etc.) historically associated with him, Joseph Hooker helped save the Union in winter 1863. Abraham Lincoln could have done worse than replace Ambrose Burnside with Hooker, at least in the months prior to Chancellorsville. In the regimental camps sprinkled across Stafford County opposite Fredericksburg, morale all […]

We fight “because one should love his country the best of all”

  He had survived the slaughter at Fredericksburg, the “Mud March,” and a winter so cold and deadly that at least one historian would describe it as the equivalent of Valley Forge for the miserably sullen Army of the Potomac. So why did he stay with the standards? Other Union soldiers had deserted during winter […]