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The current time is: 11/20/2017 2:48:39 AM
 Civil War - General    
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BWilson

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Posts: 3448

Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/7/2017 4:08:34 AM
 How able were larger forces (say, brigade and larger) to move and operate in difficult terrain? A cursory look at the war lends the impression that most operations took place in more or less open terrain and not too far from railways, navigable rivers, or other lines of communication. There are battles like The Wilderness that defy this impression, but were they outliers? How able were supply trains able to keep up in forested or rough terrain?

 Thanks for commenting.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/7/2017 10:05:20 AM
BW,

Simple answer was they weren't able to keep up. Plus the Wilderness has a pretty well built up road network and isn't far from rail lines and navigable rivers. Look at the problems Loring had trying to retreat through the Miss Wilderness devoid of a built up road network after Champion Hill or Longstreet moving from East Tenn back to Virginia. Throw in the fact that Grant won't even attempt to use Loring's route to try to attack Vicksburg. Or the fact that once the rail line from Jackson to Raymond, Edwards depot and Grand Gulf is torn up Johnston doesn't even attempt to get anywhere near Vicksburg once Grant puts it under siege and at least demonstrate trying to draw Grant away.
---------------
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"


BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/7/2017 11:35:18 AM
 Thanks John. Did Sherman's March to the Sea live off the land?

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/7/2017 10:53:25 PM
BW,

The answer to that is yes and no or maybe somewhat. Sherman had at least a month in Atlanta stockpiling supplies and when he does go on his March to the Sea he follows the rail lines path bringing as many cars full of supplies as he can with him heavy on ammunition. Then the route is also through the most heavily cultivated areas of Georgia so he sends out the "Bummers" to spread wreakage, ruin and fear across the land and take everything that isn't nailed down. Is he living off the land? Somewhat he is short on food supplies but in reality I believe its more to try and break the political will of the people to support the war by giving them a taste of war and making them pay a personal price to support it.
---------------
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"


BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/8/2017 1:24:22 AM
 Thanks again John. A very concise and clear response.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/8/2017 1:43:57 AM
BW,

A couple of years back, well it might be more than a couple time seems to have speeded up since 2000, there was a great discussion on the logistics of the Civil War that I mainly sat back and learned a lot from. The main point was that the supply wagons not only had to carry supplies for the army but also for themselves. That once you got over 25 miles the wagons had to devote too much space to the food, water and feed for the teams that there wasn't enough space left to sufficiently supply the army for any extended period of time. Think Lee at Gettysburg he really only had enough ammunition for one major battle and there was no hope to get resupplied while he was in PA. Remember the relief when they got to Falling Waters and there was a ammunition train waiting across the river? It makes a lot of sense especially for the ammunition and if water has to be delivered in bulk like at Corinth.
---------------
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"


BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/8/2017 4:14:51 AM
John,

 So it sounds like a 25-mile radius of action from a "supply point" -- railhead, river landing, city, etc. Interesting in that it limited the overland approach routes of the federal forces; the South could sort of predict where major advances would have to occur, apart from wild cards like a coastal landing by federal troops.

 Did all of the roads become morasses of mud during the winter, or were some at least covered in stones or gravel that allowed good road travel in bad weather? I assume the most important roads had some all-weather capability.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/8/2017 4:00:25 PM
BW,

I'm sure some had at least partial all-weather capability but what percentage I don't know.

In the early part of the war yes the overland "invasion routes" would have been very predictable but the Union's industrial capability and manpower allows them to lay a lot of track and spur lines during the war so that by 64 the Overland and the March to the Sea are possible when in 62 and 63 they wouldn't have been.
---------------
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"


BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 12:53:24 AM
John,

 Hmm, yes, the construction of new rail lines as a way of moving into areas in which it was previously difficult to bring supplies forward. One of the benefits of being the dominant industrial power in the war. And rail lines are much more weather-resistant than roads ... although horse-drawn wagons would still have to move from a depot at the railhead to forces in the field.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 12:53:04 PM
BW,

Didn't Grant build a spur line from City Point to basically the front lines in 64-65?
---------------
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"


BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 1:09:24 PM

Quote:
When General Grant began the siege of Richmond and Petersburg, two cities close to each other, he set up an enormous rail depot at City Point from which he provisioned his army. Without the miles of track, engines and rolling stock, Grant would have had to supply his troops with numerous wagons pulled teams of horses managed by teamsters which would have required more forage for the horses and more food for the teamsters. It is possible that General Grant may not have been able to continue his hold on the cities of Richmond and Petersburg if the railroads had not been built to carry supplies from the harbor at City Point to his troops at the front.
[Read More]

John,

 Sure sounds like it. This is from Wikipedia:


Quote:
Initial railroad operations began when the USMRR rebuilt and restored service along 9 miles of the Petersburg and City Point Railroad’s line. As the Union Army steadily extended its siege lines to the south and west, the USMRR construction corps followed in the Army’s wake extending rail service from City Point to positions behind the new Union left flank. Eventually the USMRR added 21 additional miles of track which partially encircled Petersburg from the east to the southwest. Parts of the USMRR extension are preserved today within the borders of Fort Lee, Virginia where a series of four historic markers show the route that the railroad followed behind the Union lines. When Petersburg was eventually abandoned in 1865 the 25 engines and 275 pieces of other rolling stock had logged a grand total of 2,300,000 operating miles.


 This Park Service page also describes the extension of the railway. [Read More]


Quote:
The Logistics
As the siege progressed Grant extended his lines around Petersburg and the United States Military Railroad (USMRR) followed. After every major action, with few exceptions, the railroaders received orders to investigate the terrain and chose a site suitable for a temporary rail line. In the nine months of the siege 21 miles would be laid, 25 locomotives and more than 275 rolling stock would be used, and 2,300,000 miles would be logged on the railroad. Thousands of troops used the line but the primary cargo was food, weapons, and ammunition. Wounded soldiers were eventually transported by rail to the Depot Field Hospital at City Point.

Stations were established along the railroad for distribution of supplies. Sidings were built at these stations so trains unloading would not interfere with other trains on the line. On average eighteen trains made the trip from City Point to the front and back again and timetables were published to insure smooth running.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 1:54:33 PM
BW,

That is what I mean. Now maybe some can start to understand why I don't think all that came before Grant in command of the AOP can't be blamed for not doing what was logistically impossible and that Grant shouldn't get all the credit for doing what those who developed the USMRR made possible.

I'd also add it wasn't just laying new track and building spur lines but in quickly repairing that which the Confederates tore up. At each and every retreat during the Atlanta Campaign Johnston damaged the single rail line that both armies relied on but the USMRR repaired within days what the Confederacy would have taken months if ever for lack of resources.

I'd also point out that this is all hindsight. The railroads as a instrument of war were basically a very new thing and this was the first major use if I'm not mistaken.
---------------
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
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Moderator
Posts: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 2:07:46 PM
Apparently, water transport proved most efficacious logistically : railroad transport proved three times as costly as water ; wagon and mule transport was worse still, and cost ten times as much as rail.

The same source, Paddy Griffith's BATTLE In the Civil War, reckons that an army had to bring its own supplies with it ; exceptions being forces under 15,000 in remote areas, or under 30,000 in rich areas, which could just about fend for themselves.

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

BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 2:12:29 PM
 Thanks for the comments, fellows. Very informative, this thread is a keeper.

 Phil, question about the costs you mentioned: measured in money, time, or other supplies expended?

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 2:29:30 PM
Phil,

I don't care the size of force it wasn't going to be able to resupply ammunition from the countryside. Maybe if you take a major city or supply point but even then the enemy is going to try and destroy as much as possible leaving little to fall in your hands.
---------------
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
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Posts: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 2:30:59 PM
Out of my depth on this one, Bill!

I wish I knew more about the logistics.

My guess is that he used all those criteria you mentioned ; I suppose time was especially pertinent.

He writes a lot about the impact of insufficient roads making battle deployment fragmentary and dispersed.

Too few roads chocked with too many men and wagons played havoc with plans.

I have noticed from study of the war's statistics that, compared with Napoleonic battles, civil war commanders were singularly unsuccessful in getting all their men into action. This is apparent in the casualty figures : even at Gettysburg, neither of the armies suffered aggregate casualty rates as high as those of Waterloo ; although - and this is significant - individual regimental losses at Gettysburg were even more extreme. The corollary is that large cohorts of the civil war armies did not engage, even if they were on the scene, so to speak. I suspect that we might attribute this to the difficulties in control and communication inherent in trying to deploy large armies in the face of logistical difficulties. The individual corps were too far away from each other, and failed to concentrate properly.

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
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E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 2:31:49 PM
Phil,

I was hoping you would show up on one of these. Do you have a casualty breakdown by day and corps for Spotsylvania?
---------------
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
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Posts: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 3:00:58 PM
John,

Let me have a go at that one.

It might need a day or so before I can do justice to the task : from memory, and dealing with Union casualties only, we could attribute 2,500 to the fighting of 8 May ; about 4,500+ to the big battle on 10 May ; 7,000 + to the worst day on 12 May ; probably 3,000 to the repulse on 18 May and the severe fight at Alsop's Farm on 19 May...and another 1,500 to the incessant skirmishing and sharpshooting that raged in between. About 18,500 in all.

Individual corps casualties will be hard for me to compile.

I've got Young's book on the confederate numbers, and might manage to pitch something decent in, but there'll be a lot of guesswork !

Editing : a good example, you've picked, John ! Spotsylvania shows only too well how snarled up movement cost so much blood and life. Isn't it said that Sheridan's Cavalry blocked the road, and cost those vital minutes that allowed Dick Anderson's boys to dig in and consolidate their hold on that vital crossroads ?
This was one of the most excruciating touch and go moments of the war

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: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/9/2017 6:41:23 PM
Phil;

I'm asking because I'm in the middle of a account of the battle and one of the sources is Warren's papers. Warren is giving almost 1,500 as the 5th Corps loss on the 8th and given that Robinson's Division was basically broken up because of the loss sustained that day I'm wondering if he's understating. Now your saying 2,500 and that tells me he isn't but 6th Corps got roughly handled also and 2nd while not heavily engaged had 2 brigades beat up pretty badly and the Cavalry skirmished with loss all the way from the Wilderness and Wilson almost got himself cut off and trapped.
---------------
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
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 1:42:48 AM
John,

Gordon Rhea mentions that Warren understated his casualty list in the Wilderness fighting of 5-6 May ; I have heard that he actually told his aide to suppress the count of killed in his command and designate them as missing instead, as if to minimise the awful implications of his return.

If these allegations are true, then you're right to wonder about whether he understated his report of the loss he suffered on day one at Spotsylvania.

Treat my estimate of 2,500 yankee casualties that day with circumspection : I was guessing and relying on memory rather than consulting my books.


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: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 5:35:03 AM
Phil,

I'm looking at a quote from a company commander in the 39th Mass that out of 87 men he brought into the fight he only had 7 standing and another from the 17th US Infantry that out of 500 only 75 remained. That would be one third of all the Corps loss in 2 regiments when the entire Corps was engaged rather heavily. I don't know on the one hand it might be that the units went into battle right off the march and maybe they aren't accounting for straggling on the march and some of the assumed casualties filtered in that night but then I keep going back to Robinson's Division being broken up. That was 3 brigades of 14 regiments and had to take at least 4500 into battle and all 4 of the Corps Divisions made attacks that were repulsed with loss.
---------------
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
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 8:44:58 AM
John,

You are, of course, right in qualifying the extravagant claims of regimental loss : these are so often alarming, but equally misleading.

A regiment carries 500 on its strength, enters a fight, and only 100 answer roll call. Half of the missing men are not casualties : they're dispersed and rejoin later.

I expect that this was very much the case on 8 May at Spotsylvania : the men were thoroughly exhausted and, to a degree, demoralised (?)....small wonder that so many drifted away in what was, by any reckoning, a nasty fight.

I've tried to investigate casualty figures, and my first port of call is that classic account of AA Humphreys on the Virginia Campaign.

A treasure, I think.

Before I deal with the figures, I must cite this from Humphreys, page 71 :

There was nothing in the site of Spotsylvania Court House that gave it special military strength . Its military importance was derived from it proximity to the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad and the stage and telegraph roads between these towns. Roads also radiated from it in all directions, including a good wagon-road to Richmond. But sufficiently good roads southwards lay open to us on either side of it, by which, if we did not attack in front, we could have moved to turn either flank .

I think that's a classic citation of how the road and rail lay out impinged on strategy and tactics in this war. Given that this was in one of the more intensively settled areas of the theatres of war, one can only imagine how much more this significance was amplified in other , more remote, regions of the conflict.

Humphrey's predicates his estimates of casualties on the reports of Surgeon McParlin, Medical Director of the AoP.

These are irrefutable as primary sources ; but they only register the wounded who were recovered from the field , and do not take into account those who were killed in action, nor do they give information about the missing in action , whether prisoners, or men left dead, wounded or dying on the battlefield.

McParlin reported that the wounded brought in from Warren's corps on the 8th and 9th of May - nearly all of them from the 8th - numbered 1,419. If we allow for, say, 300 killed and additional numbers of missing, we're sniffing around a total of close to two thousand for Warren's command that day.....yes, it does appear that Warren understated his loss.

The number of wounded cavalrymen reported for the morning of 8 May was 250 : that's a surprisingly large figure, indicating just how hard the fighting was as the armies struggled to gain control of these vital roads.

Humphreys estimated that the Second and Sixth corps each lost about 150 wounded on the 8th and 9th....he pitches a total of 1,969 wounded, and extrapolates a notional figure of 443 killed , aggregating 2,412 killed and wounded for the three corps and the cavalry. He adds that the number of missing was small.

I would suggest that there were perhaps three hundred missing ; the number of missing in action for the entire period 8-21 May was officially returned as 2,258, and I would have thought that at least ten per cent of these could be attributed to the fighting on 8 May.

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

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Posts: 2862

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 8:53:32 AM

Quote:
 Thanks for the comments, fellows. Very informative, this thread is a keeper.

 Phil, question about the costs you mentioned: measured in money, time, or other supplies expended?

Cheers

BW
--BWilson



Your right Bill,

A very intriguing thread! General observation, any water transport, it would seem on the surface, (pun intended, ) would have favored the North, but most battles being fought inland would be less affected, Any figures on the Union moving troops and supplies via ship, how significant was it?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 9:10:12 AM
Dave,

 Found this on the Transportation Corps website.


Quote:
RIVER TRANSPORTATION

“We are much obliged to the Tennessee [River} which has favored us most opportunely, for I am never easy with a railroad which takes a whole army to guard, each foot of rail is essential to the whole; whereas, they can’t stop the Tennessee, and each boat can makes its own game.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman, “Sinews of War”

Water transportation was critical to Union logistics, particularly in the West, where the Mississippi and other rivers flowed into the very center of the Confederacy. Steam operations lacked initial organization and the Army hired most of the boats used from individual owners or small companies.

The cargo capacity of the western steamboats varied all the way from under 100 tons to the 1,700 tons of the chartered side-wheel steamer, the SULTANA. An Army supply officer calculated that an ordinary Ohio River steamboat of 500 tons would carry enough supplies on one trip to subsist an army of 40,000 men and 18,000 horses for nearly two days. This was the equivalent of five 10-car freight trains.

Steamboats were somewhat slower than rail but the actual difference in speed was not appreciable. On a tonnage basis, one steam boat could move 500 tons of freight from Cincinnati to St Louis much more rapidly than could one or two trains shuttling back and forth.
[Read More]

 I think the key is what is mentioned here; the difference between the East and the West. The biggest rivers flowed into the Mississippi and down to the Gulf.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 12:31:36 PM
Phil,

Thanks but I have to add something to your extrapolations of killed and missing. Neither side asked for a truce to recover wounded and like in the Wilderness there was some woods catching or being set on fire. Wouldn't those factors bump up the totals for Fifth and Sixth Corps?

Also Second Corps battle was Miles and Smyth detached from the rest of the corps and attacked again leaving the majority of wounded on the field.
---------------
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"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 12:40:16 PM
BW,

I agree with what is being said about the rivers and steamboats in the West but then for the most part don't you then need landings with some sort of rudimentary docks the availability of which then becomes a limiting factor in where a invasion could take place such as Pittsburg landing as a example? Current, water level and shoreline hae to be suitable for the offloading of supplies and the loading of wounded.
---------------
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: 2538

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 12:48:43 PM
Look at what Sherman cites in terms of numbers : an army of 40,000 men and 18,000 horses .

It's all those beasts that are mind boggling to behold : whether they be horses, mules, cattle or swine.

Marshalling of men is enough to daunt the consummate professionals : making sure they're armed, fed and led so that they can be where they're supposed to be and do what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it. But....all those animals !

The space taken up by a horse is so much greater than the space taken up by a man. Factor in the need to feed them, shoe them, provide them with harnesses, saddles and what not.

Come to think of it, one of the principal achievements of the armies in the American Civil War might be the successful mobilising of all those animals.

More than one soldier died as a result of a kick from a mule. Tetanus posed a threat to wounded men.

I realise now that I've been unaware of - or, at least complacent about - the magnitude of the task of moving those armies of men and animals across some very challenging terraine.

For every RE Lee, there had to be a legion of farriers and shit shovelers to make things work.

The Union army fired two million rounds of musketry and twenty thousand rounds of artillery at the Battle of Murfreesboro . This was in mid winter in a craggy, cold and dismal battlefield. From now on, when I contemplate such statistics, I must not forget the four legged dynamic behind them.

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: 527

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/10/2017 1:03:31 PM
Phil,

That is why the 25 mile limit. A 8 mule team for every wagon and 3-4 days to do the round trip means about 25% of the capacity of the wagon has to go to the food and water to keep the mules moving at 25 miles. You have to add 25% to the supply needs of the army just to break even and if you try and stretch it you can't keep up because too much of the space in each and every wagon is being used just to keep that specific team moving.
---------------
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"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3448

Re: Movement of forces
Posted on: 11/19/2017 5:49:48 AM

Quote:
BW,

I'm sure some had at least partial all-weather capability but what percentage I don't know.

In the early part of the war yes the overland "invasion routes" would have been very predictable but the Union's industrial capability and manpower allows them to lay a lot of track and spur lines during the war so that by 64 the Overland and the March to the Sea are possible when in 62 and 63 they wouldn't have been.
--John R. Price


John,

 I'm not sure where to look on the 'net for information like this, but I found this.


Quote:
we estimate it cost $4,805 per mile to build (Majewski 2000, 47-51, Reiser 1951, 76). The Federal government, on the other hand, spent $13,455 per mile to complete the first 200 miles of the National Road (Fishlow 2000, 549). Besides costing much less, the Pennsylvania Pike was far better in quality. The toll gates along the Pittsburgh Pike provided a steady stream of revenue for repairs. The National Road, on the other hand, depended upon intermittent government outlays for basic maintenance, and the road quickly deteriorated. One army engineer in 1832 found “the road in a shocking condition, and every rod of it will require great repair; some of it now is almost impassable” (quoted in Searight, 60). Historians have found that travelers generally preferred to take the Pittsburgh Pike rather than the National Road. . . .

The plank road technique appears to have been introduced into Canada from Russia in 1840. It reached New York a few years later, after the village Salina, near Syracuse, sent civil engineer George Geddes to Toronto to investigate. After two trips Geddes (whose father, James, was an engineer for the Erie and Champlain Canals, and an enthusiastic canal advocate) was convinced of the plank roads’ feasibility and became their great booster. Plank roads, he wrote in Scientific American (Geddes 1850a), could be built at an average cost of $1,500 – although $1,900 would have been more accurate (Majewski, Baer and Klein 1994, 109, fn15). Geddes also published a pamphlet containing an influential, if overly optimistic, estimate that Toronto’s road planks had lasted eight years (Geddes 1850b). Simplicity of design made plank roads even more attractive. Road builders put down two parallel lines of timbers four or five feet apart, which formed the “foundation” of the road. They then laid, at right angles, planks that were about eight feet long and three or four inches thick. Builders used no nails or glue to secure the planks – they were secured only by their own weight – but they did build ditches on each side of the road to insure proper drainage (Klein and Majewski 1994, 42-43). . . .

although plank roads were smooth and sturdy, faring better in rain and snow than did dirt and gravel roads, they lasted only four or five years – not the eight to twelve years that promoters had claimed. Thus, the rush of construction ended suddenly by 1853, and by 1865 most companies had either switched to dirt and gravel surfaces or abandoned their road altogether.
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 This has information on how the roads of the late 1700s were built: [Read More] This page [Read More] describes roads in England in the 1700s. There was a qualitative leap:


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Yet despite the obvious objection that the first travellers would be paying out good money to drive on the same bad road, turnpikes were a great success. They were the direct cause of Britain's roads being transformed from uneven muddy swamps into useable highways. In 1754 the journey from London to Manchester took four and a half days, but 30 years later it took just over a day.


 It would be interesting to see a turnpike map from the Civil War era. Sounds like the roads were sketchy during the wet seasons.

Cheers,

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

 Civil War - General    
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