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This week in the Civil War

US force mired in mud

Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside attempts a winter offensive in the Virginia countryside, later dubbed the “Mud March,” 150 years ago during the Civil War.

It would go down in failure. The abortive military campaign was intended to boost the flagging morale of the Union’s Army of the Potomac and restore Burnside’s reputation after his bruising defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.

The offensive began in mild weather on Jan. 20, 1863, but a night of heavy rain bogged down Union attempts to place a pontoon bridge across the Rappahannock River for troops and weapons to cross. Burnside’s forces found themselves bogging down in mud along the riverbank amid rebel sniper fire, and the campaign had to be called off.

In a matter of days, President Abraham Lincoln would sack Burnside, replacing him with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker at the helm of the Army of the Potomac.

– Associated Press