satisfactory to Colonel Upton
Being in the middle of a dense wood it did not give opportunity for instruction and drill, so he had it moved to the edge of the woods, looking out into an open field upon which he resumed his careful system of drill of the men and instruction of the officers.
The occupation of these winter quarters was interrupted by the movement of the Army which has ever since been called “Burnside
's mud March.”
This began on the 19th day of January, 1863.
The weather was pleasant, and had been for several days.
The ground was frozen hard, and the roads in fine condition.
The evident intention was to cross the river somewhere above Fredericksburg
and flank the Confederate army out of the strong position on the hills behind the city.
The movement began auspiciously, but an immediate change in the weather made a ridiculous failure of it. Heavy rain, with a warm southern wind took the frost out of the ground during the afternoon and night of the first day, and artillery and trains the next morning found themselves sunk hub deep in the soft earth.
By doubling up their teams they could scarcely pull these guns and wagons out of the fields into the road, and the roads were soon so deep in mud that further progress was impossible.
The third day the question became important how to get the army back into camp.
Long ropes were used which, manned by men stationed along the road in difficult sections, were attached to the stranded gun or wagon to haul it upon firmer ground where the team could handle it.
In this movement the 121st was one of the regiments that reached the vicinity of Bank's Ford, where the crossing was to have been made, and when the return to camp was ordered it formed part of the rear guard left at the ford to cover the withdrawal and observe the enemy.