With there being some coverage on the podcast coming this week of the Mud March, I wanted to recommend my favorite Fredericksburg book, "The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock" by Frank O'Reilly. Frank has worked at the Fredericksburg park for years and is a great story teller. Anyone that has seen Frank give a presentation will likely remember his booming voice without a microphone. In the book I thought Frank did a good job covering both ends of the field at Fredericksburg, where some authors focus too much on Marye's Heights. Burnside's difficulties with the administration, his efforts to oust some of his subbordinates and the Mud March are also covered.
In regards to the Mud March there are some vivid descriptions in the book of the difficulty faced by the soldiers as they marched through the mud:
"Burnside awoke to raindrops pattering on his tent. A staff officer in Humphreys’ division noted that the rain commenced at 7:00 P.M. Baldy Smith wiped the first droplets from his forehead and said he
was "devoutly thankful, for I knew the campaign was ended.""
"The Union army awoke on January 21, after a comfortless night, to discover "every thing [was] one sea of mud." Roads had become slick, then muddy, and in a short time, they were transformed into a pool of "liquid mud.""
"Teamsters, "noted the world over for their proficiency in profanity," used "their whole catalogue of oaths, with many new combinations invented for the occasion." But, as a worn-out onlooker noted, "it was no use.""
Here is one of Frank's presentations from the park Youtube page.