Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 21, 1863 (Wednesday): The Deluge

Winter Campaigning

JANUARY 21, [1863]-7.40 [a.m.]
    It is not possible to get these boats into the river so that we can make a fight to-day, and the enemy will have all night to concentrate against us. There are yet no boats ready to put in the water, and they are all along the road for 2 miles. The artillery is none of it in position, and not all here, the road blocked by pontoons. I think the state of the weather should be reported at once.

     W. F. S. [WM. F. SMITH,]

HEADQUARTERS CENTER GRAND DIVISION, Sweatman House, Va., January 21, 1863-11 a.m.
Brigadier General W. W. AVERELL,
Commanding Cavalry Brigade:
    I am directed by the major-general commanding to request that you will not leave your camp until further orders; and, in case you should have left, to request that you will return to it immediately, and there await further orders. The general would advise you to re-establish your camps, owing to the precarious of the weather.
     Very respectfully, &c.,

    Major and Aide-de-Camp.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 21, Part 1, Page 991.

Krick's "Civil War Weather In Virginia" records that following two days of intermittent snow and low's around sunrise in the 20's there was an inch and a quarter of rain during the night and high wind.  The rain continued on the 21st, rendering the roads by which Burnside's troops were attempting to pass quagmires.  The "mud march" was off to an inauspicious start, especially as the Confederates were becoming increasingly aware of the activity on the other side of the river.

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