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anemone
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1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/16/2017 1:51:26 PM
Fighting in 1861 had been spasmodic and sometimes fierce.

First Bull Run, with four thousand killed and wounded, and Wilon's Creek, with well over two thousand, had been notably bloody .

What happened in the following year - in terms of sheer slaughter - was so much worse that one has to wonder as to the whys and wherefores.

The Medical Director, Dr Jones, attempted to compile a statistical record of Confederate casualties, and his tabulation reveals that more than one third of all the southern soldiers who were killed in action or wounded throughout the war were casualties of the 1862 fighting .

Bearing in mind the intensity of the warfare of the second half of the war, this record for 1862 is remarkable. What imparted this monstrous bloodiness to the battles of 1862 ?

There were fifteen single days of battle in the entire war in which more than ten thousand men were killed or wounded in a specific engagement Six of these occurred in 1862 : the worst, Antietam, reaching twenty one thousand on 17 September.

There were hosts of others with five to nine thousand being cut down in battle on a single day, with a conspicuously high number of them being in that fateful year, 1862.

Shiloh was the great game changer. Four thousand killed and sixteen wounded-of the wounded-a further two thousand plus would die of wounds- on 6-7 April, three quarters of them on the first day.At times on the 6th- it was a close run thing.

It was as if, as Shelby Fooote so memorably said in that ground breaking TV series :

"Shiloh came out of nowhere....and the bloodiness of it was astounding"

Well, it did come form somewhere , and we might do well to speculate as to the reasons.For Grant -he came to realise the meaning of total war-a war which is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the accepted rules of war are disregarded. However the result at Shiloh brought him low.

Both sides deplored the Shiloh result for one reason or another.


Regards

Jim
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anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 3:56:35 AM
Addendum

following this now "notorious"" battle-which had sent shock waves through both Union and Confederacy--reporters many far from the battle, spread the story that Grant had been drunk, falsely alleging that this had resulted in many of his men being bayoneted in their tents because of a lack of defensive preparedness.This was without foundation-although he did have am alcohol problem- and the press siezed on this and was having a field day

Despite the Union victory, Grant's reputation suffered in Northern public opinion. Many credited Buell with taking control of the broken Union forces and leading them to victory on April 7.

Calls for Grant's removal overwhelmed the White House. President Lincoln replied with one of his most famous quotations about Grant: "I can't spare this man; he fights"
but he was demoted.Question is -Why all the furore????

Regards

Jim
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phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 7:22:20 AM
The South never smiled again after Shiloh .

So wrote George Washington Cable, a Louisiana man who was around at the time.

Grant himself emphasised how Shiloh convinced him that this was going to be a war of conquest, fought to the finish.

Shiloh itself imparted something awful to the Civil War; but to what might we attribute the special fury with which that battle was fought ?

We must not under estimate the fierceness of some of the fighting that had gone before : Wison's Creek, Belmont and Fort Donelson had been really nasty and must have galvanised people ; and, of course, there had been First Bull Run and Ball's Bluff in the East.

I suppose that when AS Johnston and his entourage set out to defeat the Yankees and drive them into the Tennessee River, they knew that this was going to have to be a do or die affair....and die they did, as the fate of Johnston reveals. The South was really on the ropes, and so it's understandable that the Confederates fought with such fury.

The figures of that Confederate source Jim cited are revealing, indicating the battle casualties of the Southern armies :

1861....1,315 killed ; 4.054 wounded.

1862...18,582 killed ; 68,659 wounded.

1863....11,876 killled; 51,313 wounded.

No surprise that the figure for 1862 was many times that of 1861 ; but rather astonishing to see how it so greatly surpassed that of 1863.


In addition to those counted as killed, there would have been thousands more who died from wounds, and, presumably, men who were posted as missing who were in fact dead. The figure for 1863 seems too small. But the inference is very clear : 1862 was, indeed, a massive bloodbath .

Regards , Phil
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morris crumley
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 9:03:11 AM
Many reasons. By 1862, full scale military operations were numerous..and spread across the entire thousand-mile front.

The men who volunteered were mostly young men new to combat. They wanted to "get at the other fellow" and bemoaned such pathetic practices such as "diggin` in."

The commanders were students of the French military, fighting Napoleonic battles...in a "post-Napoleonic age."

The system of care and removal of the wounded, field hospital care, and evacuated medical care were not fully formed...causing many to die of wounds that they might have survived later in the war.

Often, those battles of 1862 involved both forces fighting out in the open...slugging it out toe to toe.


And by the end of 1862, many field commanders were learning that massed formations attacking over extended "killing fields" were shot down in mass by rifled weapons. The common soldier became a firm believer...a "born again" engineer at throwing up field fortifications...and loving the spade and shovel. Those who were wounded, received better care and from more disciplined and greatly improved medical systems.

1862 was the Civil War`s learning curve.

Respects, Morris
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anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 9:33:27 AM
Many thanks Morris for sharing your view of the opening of the Civil War and the treatment of the wounded during the war .I have taken the liberty of using part of an official document relating to the care of the wounded after the battle of Shiloh. Hereunder an excerpt :-


Quote:
Some of these hospitals, especially those under the direction of the United States Sanitary Commission, were of great service. They were ready to receive all sick and wounded, without regard to States or even to politics, taking the wounded Confederates as willingly as our own.

Others, especially those who came under the orders of Governors of States, were of little assistance, and caused much irregularity. Messages were sent to the regiments that a boat was at the Landing ready to take to their homes all wounded and sick from certain States.

The men would crowd in numbers to the Landing, a few wounded, but mostly the sick and homesick. After the men had been enticed to the river and were lying in the mud in front of the boats- it was determined in one instance by the Governor to take only the wounded, and this boat went off with a few wounded, leaving many very sick men to get back to their camps as they best could.

By the end of the week after the battle all our wounded had been sent off, with but few exceptions of men who had been taken to camps of regiments in General Grant's army during the battle. These have since been found and provided for.



[Read More]

Regards

Jim

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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 10:00:35 AM
You make a convincing case, Morris.

The South was very prodigal in its tactics in 1862.

DH Hill made a memorable comment to that effect, something like We were very lavish of blood in those days...it was thought a grand thing to charge a battery . That's not verbatim, so bear with me.

He was alluding to the Seven Days, and I note that more confederates were killed in that fighting than at Gettysburg. Gaines's Mill, 27 June 1862, was one of the three bloodiest days of the war for the South ( can't prove that, but I believe it so ).

For the Yankees, 1864 was the bloodiest year.

But they, too, took terrific casualties in 1862. It's ironic that McClellan, proponent of " limited " warfare and notoriously reluctant to go for the all out battle, sustained the worst one day casualty count of the war at Antietam.

Regards , Phil



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anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 10:15:32 AM
Lee's late June offensive would ever afterward be known as the Seven Days Battles. It might have been, in its way, as shocking to Americans in 1862 as Pearl Harbor in 1941, or the terrorist attacks in 2001. First, it had produced unimaginable carnage.

It had been the bloodiest week in American history, producing more than 34,000 casualties (19,000 Confederate, 15,000 Union). Second, the reversal of fortune in the Seven Days Battles has been identified as the first great turning point in the war.

For almost a year the Union juggernaut had been rolling seemingly irresistibly toward victory, and, indeed had rolled to the very threshold of Richmond.

NB I am of the opinion that McClelland-he of the limited offensive; was way out of his depth in this engagement.This was a near as dammit "total war"-something that Grant had realised and espoused after Shiloh; but not Mc Clelland.

"Our success has not been as great or complete as we should have desired. ... Under ordinary circumstances the Federal Army should have been destroyed."
General Robert E. Lee



Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 11:56:16 AM
It's somehow fitting that the very last day of that year produced another terrible battle.

The fighting at Stones River on 31 December 1862 was extreme even by Civil War standards.

The battle was known as Murfreesboro in the South : that's a quirk of the Civil War....Northerners preferred to name a battle by a river, Southerners by the nearby town ; hence Antietam in the North, Sharpsburg in the South...and several others that come to mind.

The numbers killed or wounded that day were in the order of thirteen to fourteen thousand...very close to the first day of Shiloh. Indeed, the similarities between Shiloh and Stones River are astonishing, not least in the respective casualty list : for the North, 13,047 at Shiloh, and 12,906 at Stones River ; for the South, 10,699 at Shiloh and 10,266 at Murfreesboro. The later battle was concluded on 2 January, 1863...but the prepondernace of the bloodshed had taken place on 31 December.

For the Union army, the bloodshed - in proportionate terms - was worse than that of Gettysburg....and that's saying something.

Another Western battle in 1862 merits attention : Perryville, in Kentucky , in October.

Here, again, the Confederate general Briaxton Bragg gained initial advantage by fierce attack, and then somehow failed to exploit...a recurring theme.

It was not as big as a fight as either Shiloh or Stones River, but was considered as one of the most sternly contested of the war. The Confederate force was small - only sixteen thousand - but it suffered heavy losses and inflicted greater loss still.

That was the redeeming feature of Bragg's dismal record....he inflicted great destruction on the enemy force ; so much so that his subsequent failure to exploit is all the more culpable.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 2:11:05 PM
Phil,

Bragg couldn't exploit Perryville because he forces were too spread out and Kirby Smith wasn't really acting in concert with him. There was really no unity/harmony in command with Bragg and Smith basically doing their own thing. Plus attacking was in many ways the worst thing he could have done and the attack should have been demolished. There were no Confederate troops confronting close to half the Union line. A couple of Union Brigades routed and the panic spread and basically most of the force ran without being engaged. But there were major reinforcements near and had Bragg tried to exploit he would have gotten it handed to him.

Edit Plus Bragg isn't on the field, Hardee is fighting the battle. Bragg I believe is 20-30 miles away and still trying to control the battle.
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anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 2:47:39 PM
George B. McClellan's advance on Richmond was halted and the Army of Northern Virginia fell back into the Richmond defensive works. Union casualties were 5,031 (790 killed, 3,594 wounded, 647 captured or missing) and Confederate 6,134 (980 killed, 4,749 wounded, 405 captured or missing).

The battle was frequently remembered by the Union soldiers as the Battle of Fair Oaks Station because that is where they did their best fighting, whereas the Confederates, for the same reason, called it Seven Pines. Historian Stephen W. Sears remarked that its current common name, Seven Pines, is the most appropriate because it was at the crossroads of Seven Pines that the heaviest fighting and highest casualties occurred.

Despite claiming victory, McClellan was shaken by the experience. He wrote to his wife, "I am tired of the sickening sight of the battlefield, with its mangled corpses & poor suffering wounded! Victory has no charms for me when purchased at such cost."Not something that one would expect to hear from an Army GeneraL and he had worse to come in the Seven Days Battles-IMO he was quite unfit to command in this war.

He redeployed all of his army except for the V Corps south of the river, and although he continued to plan for a siege and the capture of Richmond, he lost the strategic initiative. An offensive begun by the new Confederate commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee, would be planned while the Union troops passively sat in the outskirts of Richmond.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 6:58:23 PM
Jim,

You'll see from your post that ten thousand men were killed or wounded at Seven Pines.

That was a two day engagement : 31 May - 1 June 1862.

Most of them fell on the first of the two days....... a good example of one of those several days in 1862 when the better part of ten thousand men were killed or wounded.

Among the Confederate casualties was their commander, Joseph E. Johnston, who was very severely wounded by a shell fragment in the chest.

At that time, the army he commanded was not known as the Army of Northern Virginia. That title was assumed when RE Lee took command.

With Lee in command of that army, a new era of high intensity warfare was ushered in.

Regards , Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/17/2017 10:23:48 PM
Jim & Phil,

A point about Seven Pines and Johnston's wounding, at that point he was so secretive that GW Smith his second in command didn't know the plan of battle nor the positions of all the units of the army. Davis and Lee rode to his HDQ after hearing the battle back in Richmond and upon their arriving Johnston left and was soon after wounded.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 3:34:18 AM
At the end of June 1862, Lee began a series of attacks that became known as the Seven Days Battles.

The first major battle, at Mechanicsville, was poorly coordinated by Lee and his subordinates and resulted in heavy casualties for little tactical gain.

However this battle had a significant impact on McClellan's nerve.As was indicated in a letter to his wife (previous post)

The surprise appearance of Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's troops in the battle (when they had last been reported to be many miles away in the Shenandoah Valley) convinced McClellan that he was even more outnumbered than he had thought.

He reported to Washington that he faced 200,000 Confederates (the actual number was 85,000


He was excellent at raising, organizing, and getting devotion out of his army, but as an actual field commander, he was an idiot.

So overall, I would say that he was mediocre at best.


Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 3:38:31 AM
Thanks, John,

Where would we be without these interesting and essential perspectives that you offer us ? !

I had not realised that Brag had been so far distant from the Perryville battle.

I hope that my dwelling on the casualty figures does not make me into a one trick pony ; but I think it worth mentioning that, from the moment of its inception under Lee's command at the beginning of June 1862 until the end of the year, the Army of Northern Virginia lost fifty thousand of its men killed or wounded. That speaks volumes about the intensity of the fighting that characterised 1862 in the East after Marse Robert took command. He certainly inflicted at least equal bloodshed on his enemy, culminating in a three to one disparity at Fredericksburg on 13 December, when 12,000 Yankees were cut down compared with 4,000 of his men.

In the same period, Lee lost fewer than three thousand of his men taken prisoner in battle, while his troops captured tens of thousands.

When soldiers fight with their blood and guts, and yield so few prisoners, it says a lot about high morale and confidence in leadership.

Some commentators think that Lee was excessively prodigal, especially given his inferior manpower resources.

If so, then 1862 testifies to this.

If so ....I would argue that Lee was right to fight as he did, even if the cost was so high.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 4:06:18 AM
In spring 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac took the offensive on the Virginia Peninsula, where its ultimate target was Richmond, the Confederate capital. Northern morale was high despite high casualties eg Shiloh.

Recent Union victories in the West prompted expectations of a similar outcome in the Peninsula Campaign that would lead to a swift and successful end to the war.

As the Army of the Potomac pushed forward, it was hampered not only by Confederate forces but also inclement weather, inferior roads, geographical surprises not indicated on the army’s unsatisfactory maps, and overcautious leadership.ie McClelland

It was further hampered by Stonewall Jackson’s spring Shenandoah Valley Campaign and, after June 1, by the skill of the new commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee. After the failure of the Peninsula Campaign, the Union suffered additional disappointing setbacks.

General Lee’s first incursion into Northern territory ended with heavy Union and Confederate losses along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, when more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action in this, the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 5:01:23 AM
Earlier on I stated that that were fifteen battles in the Civil War when more than ten thousand men were killed or wounded in one day.

I was wrong : there were seventeen....six in 1862, six in 1863 and five in 1864.

There were so many more entailing close to that number, but some of them - Cold Harbor on 3 June 1864, and Frankin on 30 November that year, for example - were one sided with relatively few killed or wounded in one of the armies engaged.

As for my statement that the Army of Northern Virginia was inaugurated when Lee took command....I have to admit that the Department of Northern Virginia had been designated a military district in 1861, and that sometimes Jeff Davis had referred to " the Army of Northern Virginia ".....but the proper christening did not become established until the beginning of June, 1862....thence forward The Army of Northern Virginia would become Lee's trademark.

Heck....what's in a name ?

It's extraordinary to reflect that when Lee took command, there were adverse comments in the press and in private literature ....it was avowed by one that Lee was fastidious and squeamish at the thought of bloodshed, and was not made of the right stuff for battlefield command !

Regards , Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 5:58:06 AM
Shiloh, Perryville and Stones River were the three big battles in the West in 1862.

There were other engagements out there that year that merit mention, especially on account of the ferocity with which they were fought.

Iuka and Corinth, especially.....these both demonstrated the determination of southern soldiers to close with the enemy that so characterised the battles of 1862.

Not many people remember, let alone talk about, Iuka.

A small scale affair in comparison with the legendary big battles, but, in its own way, singularly bitter.

A Union battery was overrun at bayonet point, and suffered uniquely high numbers of killed in the annals of the artillerymen's war.

The battle of Iuka, Mississippi , was fought on 19 September, 1862 : the very day that Lee ordered his army to retreat from Sharpsburg.

This fact alone serves to remind us that the war was being fought at high intensity in both East and West at that time . This was a high water mark for the Confederacy, with simultaneous offensives in Mississippi , Kentucky and Maryland....the Union was fighting on the defensive and was seriously imperilled.

Only three or four thousand men were engaged on either side at Iuka, but in proportion the casualties were grim.

The Yankees reported 144 killed, 598 wounded and 40 missing. The Eleventh Ohio Battery entered the fight with 54 cannoneers : of these, 46 were hit. Only 3 of the battery's 80 horses were left unscathed.

The confederates reported 85 killed, 410 wounded and 157 missing. The extraordinary disparity between this report and the testimony of Rosecrans, the Union commander, must be countenanced. He stated that 162 dead rebels were found laid out for burial behind the local Methodist Church, and that he counted another 99 on the battlefield...implying a threefold increase in the officially reported number in the Confederate return. Much the same kind of disparity can be seen in the reports of the subsequent battle at Corinth . Who - or what - should we believe ?

A small affair, then Iuka, but a distinctly nasty one : not least in its gruesome aftermath in the Mississippi September heat...the ground was visited ten days later, and was described as white as snow with creeping worms .

Regards , Phil





---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 6:07:13 AM
Phil-looking at factors which determined whether a battle was won or lost-leadership must surely be in the fore front.Returning to Shiloh-undoubtedly leadership was was of great importance

Ulysses S. Gran had captured important forts in February 1862 and launched a full-scale invasion of Tennessee. The fall of these forts was inaccurately blamed on Johnston. However he was not ready to give up yet.

In March 1862, Johnston organized the Army of Mississippi with P.G.T. Beauregard. He launched his attack at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. Johnston's plan was to drive the Union army from its landing point on the Tennessee River into the surrounding swamps. He assigned Beauregard to coordinate the attack.

Beauregard disagreed with his strategy and instead planned to drive the enemy back toward the river. He in turn directed reconnaissance at this plan, resulting in the ultimate failure to pinpoint Grant's army. On the first day of battle, Johnston personally led the attack on the enemy. He was a victim of friendly fire, receiving a hit in the knee which severed an artery. Johnston died within an hour.

His death resulted in critical reassignments of his command to less talented generals who failed to repair the virtually doomed Western Theatre.

A Leader disobeyed by a subordinate; and the leader's untimely death- resulted in a battle lost IMO

There are of course other factors worthy of consideration These events include the Declaration of Emancipation,the elections of 1862 and 1864, and the possible intervention by European nations.

Events are often double-edged swords, sometimes providing a military advantage- while negatively affecting the popular will to fight.eg disease,starvation and a disbelief in the orders given

In addition, both sides may attempt to develop and manufacture new technologies, both historical and speculative, such as ironclads, submarines, torpedoes, observation balloons, repeating rifles and Gatling guns

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 7:51:02 AM
Jim,

You say leadership must surely be in the fore front .

Too much so, wouldn't you say, in regard to Shiloh ?

Leadership in the fore front cost the Confederate commander his life.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 8:40:02 AM
By forefront I did mean foremost-Johnston was killed by friendly fire.So OK I made a mistake in my English.As the war progressed- so the presence of the General in the forward areas declined; but by no means ceased altogether.Stonewall Jackson for more leading light- shot by a sharpshooter I must however stress that this applies to Generals in overall command of an action.

Antietam
More Americans died in battle on September 17, 1862, than on any other day in the nation's military history. Antietam is sometimes cited as the bloodiest day in all of American history, but the deaths from the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 are significantly higher.

The bloodiest battle in American history was Gettysburg, but its more than 46,000 casualties occurred over three days. Antietam ranks fifth in terms of total casualties in Civil War battles, falling behind Chickamauga, Chancellorsville, and Spotsylvania Court House.

President Lincoln was disappointed in McClellan's performance. He believed that McClellan's overly cautious and poorly coordinated actions in the field had forced the battle to a draw rather than a crippling Confederate defeat.

The president was even more astonished that from September 17 to October 26, despite repeated entreaties from the War Department and the president himself, McClellan declined to pursue Lee across the Potomac, citing shortages of equipment and the fear of overextending his forces.

General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck wrote in his official report, "The long inactivity of so large an army in the face of a defeated foe, and during the most favourable season for rapid movements and a vigorous campaign, was a matter of great disappointment and regret."

Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command of the Army of the Potomac on November 5, effectively ending the general's military career.

NB.Another example of poor leadership in the field-somewhat akin to made's reluctance after Gettysburg

Regards

Jim
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 9:14:26 AM
That's a revelation to me, Jim....that Johnston was mortally wounded by friendly fire at Shiloh. Can you cite the source of that statement, please ?

Stonewall Jackson was definitely felled by friendly fire : no doubt about that. Almost exactly two years later, in almost exactly the same spot in virtually identical circumstances, Longstreet was also cut down by a friendly volley, although he lived to tell the tale. Some of his party did not.

I wonder about Johnston at Shiloh. He was , perhaps, not doing his job properly if he felt compelled to intervene and lead personally. He was actually encouraging his men to use the bayonet, riding along the lines and tapping the bayonets with this tin cup.... this is the weapon you must rely on boys ! This will do the work !

Then he moves forward with them and is nicked in an artery behind the knee, bleeding to death because no one applied a simple tourniquet.

Maybe the fact that he was shot behind the knee does imply friendly fire...I would appreciate some more info about this.

What I'm thinking, though, is whether generalship in 1862 entailed too much leading from the front. Was this because the generals felt that their men were innately unsteady, and needed that kind of leadership ? Or was it because there was a genuine, infectious enthusiasm for getting to grips with the foe, from the ranks to the high command ?

Generals were still being killed leading from the front in the last months of the war : look no further than Franklin.

Regards , Phil

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 9:33:23 AM
Death of General Johnston extracted fro Wikipedia

While dealing with the Hornet's Nest, the South suffered a serious setback with the death of their commanding general. Albert Sidney Johnston was mortally wounded at about 2:30 p.m. as he led attacks on the Union left through the Widow Bell's cotton field against the Peach Orchard, accompanied by Tennessee governor Isham Harris. Johnston was shot in his right leg, behind the knee.

Deeming the wound insignificant (possibly due to a wound he received 25 years earlier that had inflicted permanent nerve damage preventing him from feeling how bad his injury was), Johnston continued on leading the battle. Eventually, Johnston's staff members noticed him slumping in his saddle. Harris asked Johnston if he was wounded, and the general replied "Yes, and I fear seriously."

Earlier in the battle, Johnston had sent his personal surgeon to care for the wounded Confederate troops and Yankee prisoners, and there was no medical staff at his current location. An aide helped him off his horse and laid him down under a tree, then went to fetch his surgeon, but did not apply a tourniquet to Johnston's wounded leg.

Before a doctor could be found, Johnston bled to death from a torn popliteal artery that caused internal bleeding and blood to collect unnoticed in his riding boot.

PS. I am now not so sure that it was Friendly fire that killed Johnston- as he was riding back from the fray when he was hit.




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Jim







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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 9:48:27 AM
No allusion to friendly fire, then, Jim ?

I consulted three books on my shelves, and none of them stated - or even implied - that AS Johnston was hit by his own troops.

Apparently, Beauregard was derisory about Johnston's command style, and inferred that leading troops in such a manner was folly for an army commander.

Regards, Phil
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 10:36:14 AM
I am sure that I saw "friendly fire" somewhere in my raking of the net but i could not find again -so studying what was happening-I came to the conclusion that he was indeed shot by the enemy.Nice o Beauregard to so mock him-he wanted Johnston's position and got it-only to fail.
Have you seen my Antietam post -3 or 4 posts back??

PS One account indicates that he was charging and driving the Union troops back; but was caught in enfilade fire and wheeled to face it- when hit by a stray bullet behind the knee.Friendly Fire????


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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 11:06:20 AM
Jim,

Yes, have seen your Antietam post.

There is a good deal of commentary on the ranking of these battles in terms of bloodiness.

Some of the historians appear to fail to understand that total casualties do not always equate to bloodiness : my point being that - to cite one example - a large proportion of casualties at Chancellorsville were prisoners, and did not shed their blood on the field....although, Lord knows, too many of them perished in their captivity.

Antietam certainly rates as the bloodiest single day. There had been some significant skirmishing on the 16th, and afterwards on the 18th of September , but if we isolate just the 17th, that bloodiest day, we can be fairly sure that no less that 21,000 men were killed and wounded that day : 11,500 Northerners and 9,500 Southerners. Perhaps 1,500 - equally divided between the two armies - were unwounded prisoners .

Here's my reckoning for the bloodiest single days of battle in 1862 :

Shiloh - April 6 - 15,000

Gaines's Mill - June 27 - 13,000

Second Mannassas, - August 30 - 11,000

Antietam - September 17 - 21,000

Fredericksburg - December 13 - 16,000

Stones River - December 31 - 14,000

Antietam was, indeed, the bloodiest day in American history. I would not classify the natural disasters as " bloody' in the same way I would a battlefield conflict .

Loss of life in a hurricane is one thing, bloodshed in battle another.

The number killed in action at Antietam was officially stated as 2,108 for the North ; the most authoritative estimate for the South is 1,546. Probably another 200 or so of the confederate missing were also dead. Of the 16,783 wounded ( 9,029 Union and 7,754 Confederate ) , well in excess of 2,000 would have died.

At least six thousand deaths can be attributed to Antietam, with another fifteen thousand surviving with wounds.

McClellan insisted that his men buried 2,700 dead confederates, and that hundreds more had been buried by the enemy. He was adamant that the Confederates had suffered the heavier casualties, and cited the reports of his burial parties as conclusive proof.

Inflating the enemy's casualties, as well as his strength, added kudos, and supported his description of the battle as a work of art .

Regards, Phil

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 11:35:17 AM
Many thanks Phil-I knew you would sort out the wheat from the chaff-obviously many historians do include POW's in the Total Loss bag but strictly speaking a POW is not a casualty- unless he has suffered a wound.

I guess you must be a McClelland supporter-no comment in that area-well he had been CinC AotP for 1861 into 1862; but he was- for my money- far too sensitive and overcautious to meet the Lincoln/Halleck demands; and out of the box comes a rejuvinated, Fire Eeating,Insensitive Grant to take up the reins for Vicksburg and the Mississippi Campaign.

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Jim
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 11:47:40 AM
Jim,

It wasn't so much the plan that PTGB changed but the implementation. The AOM was divided into 3 Corps under Bragg, Hardee and Polk and a Reserve under Breckinridge. The plan was for Hardee to be on the right, Bragg in the center and Polk on left but PTGB changed that to each Corps spread out along the entire line and going in one after the other. There was no command and control and units got mixed up with each other and no way to sort it out under fire, BTGB didn't disobey Johnston he gave his ok to the change as basically PTGB was acting as chief of staff and 2nd in command. Also they know exactly where the Union units were located. Some Confederate units had been sitting waiting to attack for close to 2 days.

I also don't know where your getting friendly fire killed Johnston? Possible maybe but all the accounts I've read say otherwise. Jackson was killed by friendly fire and Longstreet wounded by friendly fire.

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 11:54:42 AM
The Battle of Fredericksburg 11-15 Dec.1862

The Union army suffered 12,653 casualties (1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, 1,769 captured/missing). Two Union generals were mortally wounded: Brig. Gens. George D. Bayard and Conrad F. Jackson.

The Confederate army lost 5,377 (608 killed, 4,116 wounded, 653 captured/missing), most of them in the early fighting on Jackson's front. Confederate Brig. Gens. Maxcy Gregg and T. R. R. Cobb were both mortally wounded.

The casualties sustained by each army showed clearly how disastrous the Union army's tactics were. Although the fighting on the southern flank produced roughly equal casualties (about 4,000 Confederate, 5,000 Union), the northern flank was completely lopsided, with about eight Union casualties for each Confederate.

General Burnside's men had suffered considerably more in the attack originally meant as a diversion than in his main effort.

Confederate reaction to the news of the victory

The South erupted in jubilation over their great victory. The Richmond Examiner described it as a "stunning defeat to the invader, a splendid victory to the defender of the sacred soil."

General Lee, normally reserved, was described by the Charleston Mercury as "jubilant, almost off-balance, and seemingly desirous of embracing everyone who calls on him." The newspaper also exclaimed that, "General Lee knows his business and the army has yet known no such word as fail."

Regards

Jim
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 12:10:24 PM
"I also don't know where your getting friendly fire killed Johnston? Possible maybe but all the accounts I've read say otherwise. Jackson was killed by friendly fire and Longstreet wounded by friendly fire."

John this was purely speculative-Johnston and his men were driving the Union troops back; but were met with enfilade fire .Wheeling to meet this fire from the side of them- Johnston was shot by a stray bullet in the back of the knee.
Question -who could/ would fire such a shot from behind ????

John -many thanks for the detail I missed in the Shiloh battle-you are great help.

PS I am aware of Jackson and Longstret's gunshots

Regards

Jim
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 1:15:03 PM
Jim,

Note that barely ten per cent of the Union casualties at Fredericksburg were posted as killed. A large portion of those reported missing certainly shared their fate.

That figure of 1,284 killed needs to be increased to over three thousand fatalities to allow for those missing and the mortally wounded.

Strange to relate, Lee fell into deep depression after Fredericksburg.

He did not draw oxygen from defensive victories: he flourished on the attack.... a propensity that worked against him in Pennsylvania in the following summer.

Regards,

Phil
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 1:32:03 PM
"General Lee, normally reserved, was described by the Charleston Mercury as "jubilant, almost off-balance, and seemingly desirous of embracing everyone who calls on him." The newspaper also exclaimed that, "General Lee knows his business and the army has yet known no such word as fail."

_Phil- is the above BS then ??? I tend to agree 3000 K or DOW

Historians differ in reporting Union casualties in the Marye's Heights sector. Esposito, in notes for map 73, cites "over 6,000." Goolrick, p. 87, cites 7,000. Gallagher, p. 23, "nearly 8,000." All other references list total battle casualties.

Here I take it that the historians are including POWs as casualties.

NB.Casualty lists gives the number of men in a unit who were killed, wounded, or went missing in an engagement. However, combat threw armies into administrative chaos and the accounting done in the hours or days immediately following a battle often raises as many questions as it answers.

For example: Who are the missing? Weren't many of these soldiers killed and not found? What, exactly, qualifies a wound and did armies account for this the same way? What became of wounded soldiers? Did they rejoin their unit; did they return home; did they die?

A wholly accurate count will almost certainly never be made. The effects of this devastating conflict are still felt today.

For Major Battle Casualties
[Read More]


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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 3:11:16 PM
Jim,

You were correct, I reckon, in an earlier post when you cited a disparity of eight to one against the North in the Marye's Heights sector of the Fredericksburg battle, and a much more even balance in the battle between Jackson and Meade.

I like the link you've posted regarding the contentious problem of ascertaining the meaning of those casualty lists.

You'll forgive me, I hope, for the way I've jumped around from one theatre to another, and from one battle to another, in this thread.

I appreciate that you might have preferred a chronological sequence.

The thing is, the year 1862 was rather bewildering....imagine how propitiously it began for the North, with that success at Mill Springs at the start of the year, followed by Forts Henry and Donelson, Pea Ridge in Arkansas, the capture of that huge southern emblem, New Orleans .

Shiloh was a horror, but even that did not hold back the Northern surge.

Meanwhile, the mighty army of McClellan was inching towards Richmond.

It all changed so dramatically.

The common denominator has to be the impact of RE Lee.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Montgomery liked to depict himself in this light, but, by all the Saints, he was a mere pipsqueak compared with the towering influence of Lee on the conduct of war.

By later summer and autumn of 1862, the war had turned in the South's favour : Washington was imperilled, and the Union cause with it.

And so we have a year replete with terrible battles, as the fortunes of war swayed this way and that.

Perhaps 175,000 soldiers, - maybe more - North and South, shed their blood in battle that year...and how many more endured a harsh or fatal captivity is anyone's guess. Add on to that the squalour of army life, and the lethal illnesses that came with it, and the overall cost in lives must have been immense.

If I had to select one battle, most emblematic of 1862, it would have to be Stones River, fought on that year's last day.

Here we have a truly desperate fight, in which a Northern army - which had ushered in so much success in the opening part of the year - finds itself struggling in existential crisis. A huge Southern onslaught, a battle of terrific intensity, with a casualty list to match. The fact that it was fought on the year's very last day speaks volumes about how dramatic and unpredictable 1862 was to prove.

With the background of such carnage and uncertainty, it's small wonder that Lincoln sought to impose some coherence on the war by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation after Antietam.

Regards , Phil
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John R. Price
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/18/2017 3:18:01 PM
Jim,

The Union line wasn't uniformly driven back and that volley could have come from 100-200 yards away. There was some speculation that it was a ricochet. The main problem is that Johnston doesn't seek help when he actually got hit and Harris is speculating exactly when he got hit. I believe if you did deeper you will find more than one wound although the other were slight, grazing shots, there were other holes in his clothes and his horse was wounded.

Oh at Fredricksburg most of the casualties on Jackson's front didn't happen early in the fight but late basically at the end of the attempts on Mayre's Heights. Meade attacks and hits a dead spot of swampy land that has Archer and Cobb on the flanks and Gregg offset in the rear. He does drive Gregg who was unprepared but is counter-attacked by elements of Early's Division and driven back. Basically he attacked into a box.
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 4:25:57 AM
John-Again many thanks for the additional Shiloh details; which can and do, alter the scenario considerably.Re. Fredericksburg-here I take it that it was Early who attacked into an empty box; and his effort wasted. More help-more grist to the mill.

Regards

Jim
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 4:46:23 AM
the Battle ofStones River 31 Dec 1862 into 1863

The following morning, Rosecrans was re-supplied and reinforced. Convinced that Rosecran's position would only get stronger and fearful that winter rains would raise the river and split his army, Bragg began retreating around 10:00 PM on January 3.

His withdrawal eventually halted at Tullahoma, TN. Bloodied, Rosecrans stayed at Murfreesboro and did not attempt a pursuit.

Deemed a Union victory, the fighting raised Northern spirits following the recent disaster at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Transforming Murfreesboro into a supply base, Rosecrans remained until embarking on the Tullahoma Campaign the following June.

The fighting at Stones River cost Rosecrans 1,730 killed, 7,802 wounded, and 3,717 captured/missing. Confederate losses were slightly less, numbering 1,294 killed, 7,945 wounded, and 1,027 captured/missing. Extremely bloody relative to the numbers engaged (43,400 vs. 37,712)

Stones River saw the highest percentage of casualties of any major battle during the war. Following the battle, Bragg was severely criticized by other Confederate leaders. He only retained his post due to President Jefferson Davis' inability to find a suitable replacement.

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 5:26:02 AM

Quote:
And so we have a year replete with terrible battles, as the fortunes of war swayed this way and that.

Perhaps 175,000 soldiers, - maybe more - North and South, shed their blood in battle that year...and how many more endured a harsh or fatal captivity is anyone's guess. Add on to that the squalour of army life, and the lethal illnesses that came with it, and the overall cost in lives must have been immense.


And so with Stones River the figure of 200,000 + is raches. We must therefore look critically at why these battles were so bloody.

In 1862 we see unit tactics under fire evolving and commanders were moving away from the Napoleonic formation warfare as prescribed by Hardee, and towards fighting from cover ; the use of fortifications also became common place.Essentially the North wanted control of Southern resources and the South fought tooth and nail to prevent this from happening-this Southern fervour was crucial factor

Rifles still had a longer reloading time and naturally the soldiers felt more comfortable behind some kind of shelter from the now more discriminate rifle fire open air advance to firing position.

One of the primary innovations of civil war tactics during 1862 was the widespread use of fortifications to contain the enemy armies. These preceded the use the of trench war, although the Americans had yet to fully capitalise on or develop the automatic machine gun.It was the frontal assault where most men of either side fell.

To revisit the central question, did new infantry tactics cause high casualties rates Not so much in direct killing; but wounding took aman out of battle and whether he survived or died, the rifle had an impact on the way the war was conducted but some data suggests it wasn't considerably more lethal than the smoothbore musket until the advent of smokeless powder. Prior to this large units with rifles would obscure the battlefield over time with thick white smoke, negating its range benefits.

The Minnie ball itself was also an important innovation. It seems that there were a cluster of innovations surrounding small-arms at this time- that were all important contributors to the evolution of tactics.Include the artillery in this which raked enemy lines with all sorts of missiles from shot and shell, to cannister and scrap iron.

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Jim

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 5:29:53 AM

Quote:
the Battle ofStones River 31 Dec 1862 into 1863

The following morning, Rosecrans was re-supplied and reinforced. Convinced that Rosecran's position would only get stronger and fearful that winter rains would raise the river and split his army, Bragg began retreating around 10:00 PM on January 3.

His withdrawal eventually halted at Tullahoma, TN. Bloodied, Rosecrans stayed at Murfreesboro and did not attempt a pursuit.

Deemed a Union victory, the fighting raised Northern spirits following the recent disaster at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Transforming Murfreesboro into a supply base, Rosecrans remained until embarking on the Tullahoma Campaign the following June.

The fighting at Stones River cost Rosecrans 1,730 killed, 7,802 wounded, and 3,717 captured/missing. Confederate losses were slightly less, numbering 1,294 killed, 7,945 wounded, and 1,027 captured/missing. Extremely bloody relative to the numbers engaged (43,400 vs. 37,712)

Stones River saw the highest percentage of casualties of any major battle during the war. Following the battle, Bragg was severely criticized by other Confederate leaders. He only retained his post due to President Jefferson Davis' inability to find a suitable replacement.

Regards

Jim
--anemone



It's my belief that at Stones River at least one quarter of the confederate missing were dead.

This is a recurrent theme in civil war casualty lists : the side that holds the field can recover and account for its dead. At Shiloh and Stones River the Yankees held the field, and their very large numbers of missing were pretty well all prisoners. In both battles the confederates abandoned the field, and a significant number of their missing were dead or abandoned to die there.

At Shiloh, Bragg's command had the heaviest casualties of all four confederate corps engaged : his corps reported 353 killed, 2,441 wounded and 634 missing. In his report after the battle, Bragg was adamant that nearly all his missing had been killed. Maybe he was unwilling to accept the prospect that his men chose to surrender.

All the same, this might well explain why the confederate loss of reported killed at Stones River was so much lower than that of the Union.

Regards, Phil
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 5:49:42 AM
After a single day of fighting at Antietam, for example, 23,000 men and untold numbers of horses and mules lay killed or wounded. Neither side's army had grave registration units; soldiers were not issued official badges of identification, there was no formal policy of notification for the families of the slain, and neither side had an ambulance service.

Makeshift crews of soldiers were detailed after battles to dispose of the dead and often found themselves lacking basic necessities such as carts or shovels. These failures of capacity were made evident in the length of time it took to attend to casualties.

A week after Antietam, a Union surgeon reported that, “the dead were almost wholly unburied, and the stench arising from it was such as to breed a pestilence.” As a result, bodies were often thrown into unidentified mass trench graves.

In such circumstances, tens of thousands of soldiers died unknown, and tens of thousands of families were left without any consoling knowledge of their loved ones’ fates, circumstances of death, or place of burial. At least half of the Civil War dead were never identified.


As the war continued, these realities became increasingly intolerable, and Americans worked in both official and informal ways to combat such dehumanization and loss. Soldiers endeavored to locate, inter, and honor slain comrades; merchants created and marketed identity disks for soldiers; the men themselves pinned their scribbled names to their uniforms before especially dangerous encounters.

Voluntary organizations like the U.S. Sanitary Commission emerged and devoted their energies to compiling lists of killed and wounded from hundreds of Union hospitals, creating records of battlefield burials, and offering aid to families in locating the lost and, for those with means, shipping embalmed bodies home.

Families swarmed to battle sites in the aftermath of engagements to search for dead or wounded relatives, actively seeking information otherwise unavailable to them, hoping to fill what one northern observer called the “dread void of uncertainty.”

Many of the missing soldiers of the Union Army lay in graves scattered across the South, often unmarked and unrecorded. In the fall of 1865, U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs ordered an assessment of the condition and location of graves to ensure their protection, an increasingly urgent issue in face of growing bitterness and defiance in the defeated South.

Units of northern soldiers searched across the battle fronts of the war for slain Yankees, inaugurating what became over the next six years a massive federally supported reburial program.

Ultimately, 303,536 Union soldiers were reinterred in 74 new national cemeteries, and Congress officially established the national cemetery system. Careful attention to the content of graves and to the documentation that poured in from families and former comrades permitted the identification of 54 percent of the reburied soldiers.

Some thirty thousand of the reinterred were black soldiers. Just as they were segregated into the U.S. Colored Troops in life, so in death they were buried in areas designated “colored” on the drawings that mapped the new national cemeteries.

Regards

Jim

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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 7:54:47 AM
TheSeven Days Battles 25 June-1 July 1862

The two most important results culminating from the Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1, 1862) around Richmond were that (1) General Robert E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia; and (2) the larger Union Army of the Potomac was defeated and forced away from Richmond--effectively ending Union General George McClellan's ambitious Peninsula Campaign.

McClellan's army of more than 100,000 men was first thwarted near Yorktown in April, where the Federals began siege operations. But Confederate commander General Joseph Johnston decided to withdraw his forces, retreating to the outskirts of Richmond.

After the inconclusive Battle of Williamsburg, the ever-cautious Johnston launched a surprise attack at the Battle of Seven Pines. It also resulted in a bloody stalemate, but Johnston's wounding led to Lee taking command of the disorganized forces in May 1862.

After a month of reorganization while McClellan remained immobile, Lee went on the offensive. During six major battles over seven days, Lee's army, now including Stonewall Jackson's four divisions--drove the Federals back to the James River without winning a decisive victory.

In the battles--Oak Grove, Mechanicsville, Gaines's Mill, Garnett's and Golding's Farms, Savage's Station, Frayser's Farm and White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill--Lee lost about 20,000 men, but he had succeeded in protecting the capital and forcing McClellan back toward Washington.

Considered a major Confederate victory, the Seven Days Battles also ended McClellan's doomed Peninsula Campaign; raised hopes in the South while "Northern morale was crushed by McClellan's retreat"; served as the beginnings of the "Lee Myth," making Lee the most respected man in the South; began a string of victories (aside from the Battle of Antietam) by Lee over his Union adversaries; led to McClellan being passed over (by Henry Halleck) as the Union General-in-Chief.

It"emboldened" Lee to stay on the offensive, following up his victories in the Seven Days with more triumphs at 2nd Bull Run and Fredericksburg a few months later.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia suffered about 20,000 casualties (3,494 killed, 15,758 wounded, and 952 captured or missing) out of a total of over 90,000 soldiers during the Seven Days. McClellan reported casualties of about 16,000 (1,734 killed, 8,062 wounded, and 6,053 captured or missing) out of a total of 105,445. Despite their victory, many Confederates were stunned by the losses.

The effects of the Seven Days Battles were widespread. After a successful start on the Peninsula that foretold an early end to the war, Northern morale was crushed by McClellan's retreat. Despite heavy casualties and clumsy tactical performances by Lee and his generals, Confederate morale skyrocketed, and Lee was emboldened to continue his aggressive strategy through Second Bull Run and the Maryland Campaign.

McClellan's previous position as general-in-chief of all the Union armies, vacant since March, was filled on July 23, 1862, by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, although McClellan did retain command of the Army of the Potomac.

Lee reacted to the performances of his subordinates by a reorganization of his army and by forcing the reassignment of Holmes and Magruder out of Virginia.

Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2549

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/19/2017 12:00:38 PM
Jim, In one of your earlier posts - probably an extract from some history site - you highlighted the crucial factor of Southern fervour.

What do you think best exemplifies this ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

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