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(1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Message
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 1061
Bloody Chickamauga.
Posted on: 10/22/2020 7:06:13 PM

Often neglected, the battle at Chickamauga was pretty nasty affair.
From the Courier-Journal. Louisville Kentucky. October 3, 1863.

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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 1061
Bloody Chickamauga.
Posted on: 10/23/2020 8:20:52 AM


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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Bloody Chickamauga.
Posted on: 10/23/2020 8:57:49 AM

Both articles so interesting, Larry. Your decision to remind us of Chickamauga is timely and appropriate : as you say, it’s been overlooked.

I must confess that the 3rd Kentucky, cited in the first article, left me wondering which side it fought on. Kentuckians fought each other in some battles, just as did Marylanders and Missourians....the Civil War had an added bitterness when it came to the border states. Mary Todd Lincoln knew all about this, when her brother (?) was killed fighting for the Confederacy at Chickamauga. I insert a question mark because I don’t know whether this officer - Helm - was a half brother, step brother or brother in law : I think that he was a Kentuckian.

This 3rd Ky fought for the Union, and took significant punishment , but escaped lightly compared with the 100th Illinois that featured in the second article you pitched.

Note the reference Most of the wounded and all of the killed fell into the enemy’s hands.

This has an important bearing on the interpretation of the casualty figures. The rebels won the battle , but paid a truly Pyrrhic price : they reported significantly heavier loss in killed and wounded than the defeated yankees. On the other hand, the Union casualty figures were inflated by an enormous number of missing in action - approaching 5,000. Of these, white the great majority were prisoners, a significant number had also been killed, or were left dying on the field, and, had these been properly accounted for, the disparity in the bloodshed suffered and reported by the two armies would have been reduced somewhat.

The fate of the 3rd Ky was more fortunate, in so far as the wounded were recovered and brought into friendly hands : of their 99 casualties, only 14 were posted as missing, and there is actually a reassuring comment by the regiment’s Assistant Surgeon that the wounded were being cared for as well as could be expected in the circumstances .

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
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 1061
Bloody Chickamauga.
Posted on: 10/24/2020 4:02:21 PM

From the Yorkville Inquirer, Yorkville South Carolina. September 23, 1863

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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Bloody Chickamauga.
Posted on: 10/25/2020 8:28:45 AM

Larry,

Interesting to see that Bragg telegraphed that four thousand prisoners had been captured.

He was clearly not exaggerating .

The official union casualty returns posted 16,170 casualties, of whom 4,757 were reported as missing, and it certainly strikes me as plausible that , of these, four thousand were unwounded prisoners, and that the remaining 757 were killed or wounded, roughly equally divided between the living and the dead. This would suggest that the 1,657 yankees reported as killed in action implies that 2,000 or so had been slain, and that , allowing for subsequent mortality among the wounded, the final death toll for the north was going to be at least double the initial return of 1,657 KIA .

If memory serves me, Bragg lamented that two fifths of his own army had been killed or wounded : that seems like rhetorical exaggeration, but if we confine the claim to infantry only, it might be frighteningly close to the truth.

It might also be that Bragg was keen to emphasise his loss to render him less susceptible to the charge that he was culpable for failure to exploit the victory.

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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