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 Civil War - General    
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 11:57:44 AM
Phil,

I think that example would work well out West but I'm not so sure about the East for 64 and again from what I've seen there were plenty of Union regiments armed with smoothbores and flintlock conversions in 62. In 62 both sides were very short on arms. I've read a article on a Republican politicians son who bought old flintlocks from the government for say $1 and then did a very shoddy conversion that cost maybe another $2 and then sold them back for $50, all this set up by his father's connections, and 90% wouldn't fire a round and the rest broke after a handful of rounds fired.

That 62 example for the Confederates sounds s hell of a lot like Shiloh except I think there would have been more shotguns.
---------------
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"


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 12:34:27 PM
John,

Yes, your'e on the money here ; what I think, though, is that Paddy Griffiths was pitching this as a very notional depiction....he emphasised that this was to give some idea of how the dynamics of a civil war firefight might be assessed.

The message comes over that the Yankees enjoyed the advantage of volume of firepower ; but the rebels made a better account of themselves in terms of accuracy.

As to how far the casualty statistics of 1862 battles might be cited to endorse his suggestions ....it would be a very daunting task of extrapolation.


Editing here : a fight that merits discussion is the famous clash at Brawner's Farm, or Groveton, 28 August 1862. The Iron Brigade made its debut there.

Any info on how the opposing infantry were armed in that battle ?


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
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 2:28:31 PM
Phil,

I have found that at Brawnwe's Farm the Iron Brigade was armed with a mix of Austrian Lorenz and Springfield rifles. I believe 2 regiments each. Still looking.
---------------
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"


jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 178

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 4:18:44 PM

Quote:
Phil,

I have found that at Brawnwe's Farm the Iron Brigade was armed with a mix of Austrian Lorenz and Springfield rifles. I believe 2 regiments each. Still looking.
--John R. Price


Over at the forum for the Authentic Campaigner website, one of the posters transcribed the ordnance returns for the Iron Brigade for late 1862-late 1863.

The earliest he had was from the 4th quarter of 1862. (Months after Brawner's Farm) At that time, all but the 2nd Wisconsin had Springfields (1855,1861). The 2nd Wis. had the Austrian Lorenz. This remained the case for about another year. The last returns he posted were for the 3rd quarter of 1863. These show that the 2nd WI had swapped out their Lorenz muskets for British Enfields (P1853).

His posts begin on the second page of this thread, from 2009: [Read More]

Yours,

JohnT

July 29 edit: A closer reading shows that the 7th Wisconsin also had a preponderance Austrian Lorenz muskets until the 3rd quarter reports for 1863. At that point they had been issued Springfields.

Good call, John P !



Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 6:02:17 PM
To both Johns, thanks !

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/28/2017 12:00:07 PM
The awful bloodshed of 1862 was made worse by the great numbers of soldiers who were left wounded or dying in the hands of the enemy .
There was a huge ebb and flow of battle that year, and with it came retreat that entailed abandonment of thousands.

In the Seven Days alone , six thousand union soldiers were posted as missing in action: a number that was to be replicated a couple of months later in the Second Bull Run battles....both engagements entailing defeat and retreat for the North. Twelve thousand yankees missing: the big majority of them prisoners, no doubt. But we can be sure that many of them were killed or left dying on the field.

There must have been Southern families, too, who faced the ordeal of grief compounded by uncertainty.

This surely was a horrible feature of the enlargement and intensification of the war which became all too apparent in 1862.

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 3:27:57 AM
There are some interesting you tube videos of live testing of the .69 rifled musket firing the minie and the round ball. Comparisons of accuracy etc.

Likewise comparisons between accuracy of flintlock smoothbores and rifled muskets over varying ranges.

It's so apparent that - for all the increased range and accuracy that the rifled muskets imparted to the battlefield - the great test of the infantry combat was the close quarters stuff at ranges of one hundred yards or less.

No wonder buck and ball was resorted to.

Is it the case that the smoothbores required a larger powder charge, and discharged a heavier projectile ?

If so, might this have imparted a greater lethality ?

I mention this because in the early battles of the war, when, presumably, more soldiers were using smoothbores, the proportion of immediate fatalities among the men who were hit was - by official count - significantly higher than it was to be in the later battles. Perhaps this reflects the much closer ranges of infantry combat.

Hoping to gain your help here.

Editing : Point in question....two battles, separated by exactly two years : Williamsburg, 5 May 1862, Union casualties 456 killed and 1,410 wounded ; ratio of killed to wounded about one to three. Forward two years, 5-6 May, Wilderness, Union casualties 2,246 killed and 12,037 wounded ; ratio of killed to wounded, one to well over five. Misleading, to a degree, on account of large numbers of missing in the Wilderness who might have been killed not being included as such.....but, all the same, this pattern is replicated in several other engagements. Does this suggest that earlier infantry combat was more fatal to those who were hit by virtue of different weaponry and consequential use of primitive close quarter tactics ?

Some more thoughts : might these disparate ratios of those posted as killed imply different methods of counting - and evacuating - the wounded ?

Perhaps, in the Williamsburg example, a number of men posted as killed were in fact wounded men who died a day or two later. Later in the war, more immediate evacuation of the wounded, and a more meticulous accounting of their fate, meant that such men were counted among the wounded, despite the fact that they subsequently died. This would certainly alter the ratios significantly enough to explain the differences between, say, a Wilson's Creek and a Cedar Creek.

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 5:02:11 AM
At Shiloh, Grant's Army of the Tennessee and Buell's Army of the Ohio fought the same enemy, on the same ground, and, presumably, faced the same weapons.

But while Grant's killed amounted to nearly one fourth of his wounded, Buell's amounted to not much more than one eigth of his.

I note, however, that those regimental casualties that I have seen for Buell's command indicate that the relatively low number of killed was exceeded by those who died of wounds, suggesting that dying men were recovered quickly from the field and posted as wounded rather than killed.

It might aso reflect the appallingly intense battle of the first day, which exceeded that of the second in terms of furious close quarters fighting . This does not imply that day two at Shiloh was a walk in the park ; but the battle offers interesting scope for interpretation of casualty statistics .

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 5:24:42 AM
Here's another striking disparity in the ratio of killed to wounded in an 1862 battle.

Antietam was not only the war's bloodiest day ....the proportion posted as killed ran rather high, with 2,108 reported KIA as against 9,549 WIA in the AoP.

But within those figures there were major differences.

From my cherished Time Life volumes, I lift this passage :

At the centre of the XII Corps line, the 27th Indiana engaged in a brutal fire fight with Georgians and North Carolinians from one of Hill's brigades. Many of the Confederates were firing buck-and-ball cartridges that contained three pieces of buckshot in addition to the standard ball. At close range, these loads sprayed out like shotgun shells. The nature of the ammunition resulted in 11 wounded for every one man killed, but the overall casualty count was enormous.

In this case, then, close quarters fighting did not raise the incidence of fatalities among those who were hit.

Is it time for me to stop flogging this horse ?

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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1957

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 8:36:30 AM

Quote:
Is it time for me to stop flogging this horse ?

Regards , Phil--Phil andrade


I´m reading it Phil.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 9:51:45 AM
Reassuring to learn that you're reading it, Trevor ...but, above all, delightful to see that you're mending and gearing up, bit by bit, to re enter the fray !

You've been missed.

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
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/31/2017 10:47:24 PM
Phil,

The condition, physical and supply, of the AOM on the 2nd Day at Shiloh might have a lot to do with Buell's casualty figures. They never really reorganized and regained command and control and resupply of ammunition was a issue. The single road from Corinth was a quagmire from recent rain to the point that Johnston didn't even attempt to bring food other than three days cooked with the men and the 2nd Day was the fourth day. Then throw in the fact that the majority had went through their food two day prior. There hadn't been much sleeping for the last 2-3 nights.
---------------
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"


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/1/2017 2:22:51 AM
Thanks, John.

This is something I had not been sufficiently aware of.

I would suggest that, apart from producing some of the severest battles of the war, 1862 produced two of the most controversial : Shiloh and Antietam.

Would we agree that - apart from Gettysburg - these are the two battles that have generated the most heated controversy ?

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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 459

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/1/2017 6:35:41 AM

Quote:
Would we agree that - apart from Gettysburg - these are the two battles that have generated the most heated controversy ?--Phil andrade


Cold Harbour?

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/1/2017 8:30:19 AM
Why Cold Harbor, Colin ?

Interested to see your take on this.

Certainly, in terms of notoriety, it stands pre-eminent....but that is rather different from the notion of controversy, where we argue the rights and wrongs of decisions.

Grant himself admitted that his decision to attack on 3 June 1864 was something he regretted ; in a sense, thereby pre-empting future controversy.

I have seen a form of controversy, though, in the depiction of the battle as an exaggerated horror : Gordon Rhea arguing emphatically that the actual losses, although heavy, were not as exceptional as commentators - both at the time and over the ensuing century and a half - would have us believe .

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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 459

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/1/2017 10:41:01 AM
Hi Phil,

Grant's quote re Cold Harbour, in full:

I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. I might say the same thing of the assault of the 22d of May, 1863, at Vicksburg. At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained. Indeed, the advantages other than those of relative losses, were on the Confederate side. Before that, the Army of Northern Virginia seemed to have acquired a wholesome regard for the courage, endurance, and soldierly qualities generally of the Army of the Potomac. They no longer wanted to fight them "one Confederate to five Yanks." Indeed, they seemed to have given up any idea of gaining any advantage of their antagonist in the open field. They had come to much prefer breastworks in their front to the Army of the Potomac. This charge seemed to revive their hopes temporarily; but it was of short duration. The effect upon the Army of the Potomac was the reverse. When we reached the James River, however, all effects of the battle of Cold Harbor seemed to have disappeared.

Grant accepted responsibility, yet immediately tried to mitigate his decision by saying he made similar decisions elsewhere and that the attack ultimately didn't ultimately hurt the morale of his army anyway. What an astonishing position taken by Grant, a solider whose general work and determination in the Civil War I can only admire. I don't know whether his opinion is arrogant or sheer denial.

To me, Cold Harbour ranks alongside Shiloh, Antietam and Gettysburg in pre-eminent battles. A poor co-ordinated attack plan; substantial enemy entrechments; horrendous casualties; ineffective intelligence and information on the impact and outcome of the assault; refusal by the higher echelons to accept the inevitable and stop, regroup and try again elsewhere.

Cold Harbour highlighted, a good half a century before the world would truly sit up and notice, that the nature of war had changed and that wars would rarely be won by single decisive encounters again. Grant went for a Napoleon-style knock out blow; what Lee received was a Haig-esque fistful of attrition.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 553

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/1/2017 11:18:09 AM
Phil,

"most heated controversy" With the general public I can agree but I'm of the opinion that there is controversy aplenty in just about every battle and skirmish of the Civil War. You have the Lost Cause, the Cult of Political Correctness and every individual participant from Grant to John Casler, "For Years in the Stonewall Brigade," writing a book painting their service and decisions in the best possible light. My perfect example is how can Grant say Joe Johnston was his most skilled opponent when he never faced him on a battlefield and Johnston wasn't responsible for the tactics or strategy in any battle he did fight? The worst part is when he wrote the book he had to know that.
---------------
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"


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2601

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 8/2/2017 6:02:33 AM
John,

Another memoir that exemplifies the syndrome you're complaining about is I Rode with Stonewall by Henry Kyd Douglas .

I heard it said by a Civil War expert the other month that the more apt title would be STONEWALL RODE WITH ME

Colin,

A propos Cold Harbor, some of the controversy did indeed focus on the question of how many Yankee soldiers were shot down in how many minutes.

Seven thousand in half an hour is frequently cited.

Other accounts attribute the entire Cold Harbor casualty list from 1-12 June to the single day of June 3rd, and insist that more than twelve thousand men were killed or wounded, most of them in a few minutes.

Then you get the counter arguments, suggesting that the loss was by no means exceptional, and actually understating the casualty figures.

Being that we're discussing the battles of 1862, I would add that perhaps the record of extreme slaughter in a few moments was established by the terrible punishment inflicted on Sedgwick's division at Antietam, when well over two thousand of his men were cut down in - literally - a few minutes.

There are suggestions that Cold Harbor featured heavily in this respect in 1862 as well as in 1864. I allude, of course, to the Battle of Gaines's Mill on 27 June 1862 which might legitimately be called the First Battle of Cold Harbor. On this occasion, it was the Confederates who suffered the bigger casualty list, since they were repulsed several times as they tried to storm the union works. But, when they did manage to take the position, the anecdotal accounts indicate that they inflicted dreadful slaughter on the yankees, some of it literally at bayonet point. The union casualty list for this engagement includes 894 killed and 3,107 wounded : an extraordinarily high proportion of killed. This battle reveals that, while the attackers tended to take the heavier casualties, once a defensive line was broken the results for those who had defended it were dire. Similarly, heavy Union casualties at Shiloh and Murfreesboro tell the same story.

Editing : I am guilty of slight rhetorical exaggeration when I state that well over two thousand of Sedgwick's men were cut down in short order at Antietam.
The official casualty figures for the battle return 373 killed and 1,593 wounded : a total of 1,966. There were, however, an additional 244 posted as missing...a total of 2,210 casualties in a very short period of time. The same source states that the division deployed 5,437 men in the battle.

In his account of Gettysburg in Battles and Leaders, Longstreet describes the repulse of Pickett and writes how his division was cut up by the Federals who killed and wounded more than two thousand men in about thirty minutes .

It's quite something to see how bad the experience of Sedgwick's division was at Antietam : not so widely known as the fate of Pickett's at Gettysburg, although the loss is not that dissimilar : at Gettysburg, Pickett's division had a strength of 5,944 and lost 497 killed and 1,752 wounded, a total of 2,249, or 38%.

Sedwick's suffered 36% killed or wounded , in perhaps a shorter period of time.

Yes, these 1862 battles were appalling affairs.

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

 Civil War - General    
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