With today being celebrated as Robert E. Lee Day along with Martin Luther King Day, it seems most fitting to include a little story about mud and an event of the American Civil War. This, in turn, leads to a personal childhood mud story.
|The Battle of Fredericksburg by Kurz and Allison.|
General Burnside is itching to get the best of General Lee. He devises a plan to draw Lee's Confederate soldiers away from their defenses, thus out into the open. A perfect plan as long as the weather remains dry, a necessity to the success of the plan. Did the weather remain in Burnside's favor? Absolutely not! Several days of heavy rain turn the roads of Virginia into a muddy quagmire bogging everything down.
Logistical problems delayed the laying of a pontoon bridge across the Rappahannock River, and a huge traffic jam snarled the army's progress. In one day, the 5th New York moved only a mile and a half. The roads became unnavigable, and conflicting orders caused two corps to march across each other's paths. Horses, wagons, and cannons were stuck in mud, and the element of surprise was lost. Jeering Confederates taunted the Yankees with shouts and signs that read "Burnside's Army Stuck in the Mud." Source: History.com
|Civil War: The Mud March|
On January 23, General Burnside gave up his attempt to, as he put it, "strike a great and mortal blow to the rebellion." That was it. Enough. A total fiasco! So disastrous, Burnside was removed as commander of the Union Army on January 25.
A Personal Reflection...
What is history without a story from childhood? Each of us has a fond memory that perhaps either directly or indirectly connects our lives in some way to past historical events.
Mine is a story of mud. . .
When I was a little girl
I loved to eat dirt
My favorite recipe, mud pies—
One cup water, two cups Mother Earth
When I think about it now
"Was I completely insane?"
If asked to eat it today
I would say, "Never again!"
One memorable day at school
My teacher read a story out loud
A story about a soldier
That made me grin both inside and out
His story was a story of mud
"Reddish brown mud, blackish mud, gray mud
Soggy mud, dried up mud, hopeless mud
Even suck-your-shoe-off-your-foot mud. . .
Mud all over his pants and his boots
Mud in his water and mud in his food
Woolen blankets coated with caked mud
So stiff they wouldn't do anyone good. . .
Mud so think guns sand to their axles
Mules disappeared without a trace
Once a soldier stuck deep in the mud
Used his musket to mark his place"
This soldier fought
Alongside many who died
In civil war
Filled with hardship and pride
Now as I reminisce of my days with mud
On my face, clothes, socks, even shoes
I think about this lonely Union soldier
With his mud pies amidst the blues