Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

RSS feed of this blog

Was It ‘The Fall Line’s Fault’?

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Union troops cross the Rappahannock River in pontoons, firing at and being fired at by Confederate sharpshooters in Fredericksburg, Oehmigke & Riemschneider published its “Crossing the Rappahannock” lithograph in the Civil War period. (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS)


In Wednesday’s New York Times, historical novelist Jean Huets assesses the impact of rocks, rivers and geography to the progress of the Civil War in Virginia.

From her post on the Times’ Disunion blog:

“The great big Fall Line problem for Burnside was the Rappahannock River, which threads its way between Fredericksburg and Falmouth. The Rappahannock didn’t set out to foil the general. West of Fredericksburg, it flows as little more than a brisk, rocky stream, much as the James does west of Richmond. On escaping the hard, narrowing gorges of the Piedmont, the river spreads and deepens on the soft Tidewater. Shippers liked it; a general trying to get an army across it did not.”