- Feb 23, 2013
Douglas is absolutely, completely and utterly wrong about this. I volunteer at Burnside Bridge and I have forded the creek just below Burnside Bridge, so I know whereof I speak. There is no way the federals could have forded the creek at the bridge for several important reasons:
1. A squad tried during the first assault on the bridge. They were all shot dead.
2. The sides of the creek bed are too steep near the bridge - you might get yourself in, but getting out is another question.
And you would never get your cannon, etc. in and out there. Cannon would topple directly into the creek bed because of the steep sides and stay there.
3. The bottom is uneven there - some rock, some silt, all slippery. Try getting across without falling. You fall, your powder is wet, you are useless as a soldier, and the Confederates would have killed you anyway.
4. Water slows you down even if it just ankle deep. When men are shooting at you, you can't be slowed down. They can and did kill you.
Sorry, but Douglas is just wrong when it comes to fording that creek under battle conditions. He was thinking with his brain as a seven-year-old playing in the creek, not a soldier trying to ford it with military equipment under battle conditions.
Rob - some very interesting observations, and you may well be right. I can't find my copy of the book, though, and I was wondering something. The points you make are certainly valid, but Douglas was a veteran soldier and staff officer. Wouldn't he have surely known about all the difficulties crossing the creek?
Was Douglas referring to someplace else further from the bridge? Has the terrain changed since the war?