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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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Phil andrade
London, UK
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The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 7:42:49 AM
A morbid turn of thought for the New Year, so forgive me for broaching this topic.

Those of us who have browsed the photographic legacy of America’s bloodiest day will have seen the gruesome pictures of the battlefield dead photographed after Lee’s army withdrew.

The photo of corpses strewn along the Hagerstown Turnpike reveals the fate of Confederate soldiers who were struck down as they fought, and it’s apparent that the men died in the location pictured.

Then there is a hetacomb of dead photographed in the Bloody Lane : the intense concentration of dead suggests either that men were slaughtered there en masse, or that they might have been moved there for burial and photographed before they were covered over. One eye witness spoke of 200 dead rebels being counted in a 500 foot stretch of the Lane, which certainly sounds plausible given the evidence of the photograph. But, I’m asking, do you think those hundreds were also gathered together to facilitate quick interment, or did they actually perish together in a great cluster ?

There is a similar photograph taken of British dead clogging the trenches at Spion Kop in South Africa nearly forty years later, and that, too, begs the same question from me.

A famous painting of the Bloody Lane at Antietam depicts the position being stormed as the battle raged, and leaves the unmistakable impression that the southern dead were literally heaped there in huge numbers as they had been caught by enfilade fire and massacred.

In the lecture series that I’ve just been watching, though, the speaker is pretty insistent that the photo I allude to was taken after the dead had been moved there for burial.

Any comments and suggestions appreciated,

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 hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 8:53:05 AM
Thomas Livermore of the 5th NH wrote of the Bloody Lane

"In this road there lay so many dead rebels that they formed a line which one might have walked upon as far as I could see. It was on this ghastly flooring that we kneeled for the last struggle."
Livermore also stated that he knelt on a dead body and fired on the oncoming rebels

The 5th NH had stormed and occupied the Lane. There it drove out the rebs and also blunted a rebel counterattack to retake it

morris crumley
Dunwoody, GA, USA
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Posts: 1931

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 9:29:11 AM
There is a lot of dispute that can arise from anything about that war. (I dispute the accepted 'story' about the Devil`s Den Sharpshooter") but as John has pointed out...there exists copious evidence, in the form of contemporary diary entries, journals, letters to family , etc...that the dead were stacked up like cord wood in the sunken road...during and immediately after the fight.

I think it more a testament to the horror of effective enfilade fire on a fixed position than Union burial details.


Respects, Morris
---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Posts: 4489

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 9:45:02 AM
Guys,

A sad carnage for sure! Here are a lot of actual pictures of the dead at Antietam!

[Read More]

Ghastly! What say you?

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 10:49:07 AM
People do seem to cluster when they die. In the aftermath of disasters the dead are found heaped together : perhaps they seek comfort or respond to a herd instinct in extremis.

The fate of the rebel soldiers in that sunken lane at Antietam was indeed a cruel one, and I’m inclined to accept the lurid descriptions : having seen the place, it struck me that, without the protection of the zig zag effect afforded by proper and prudent trench construction, such a place would have been a death trap for hundreds. It’s also a sobering thought that - before they died - the men who perished there also meted out appalling punishment to the attacking yankees.

I should think that the men who delivered that enfilade fire were not inclined to offer quarter after what they had witnessed happening to the first waves of federal troops who were cut down as they encountered the fire that emanated from that lane.

The Mississippians who were caught in that Railroad Cut on Day One at Gettysburg were spared the same fate ; but even they took horrific losses before their surrender was accepted.

It does seem that, in some of the war’s sternest battles, a high proportion of the men killed were found concentrated in small areas.

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 hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 11:30:25 AM
A story was related that the men of the 5th NH shot down some rebels who tried to surrender as the Bloody Lane was overrun. This has never been proved.

Sgt Charles Hale 5th NH related that upon entering the Lane a badly wounded reb tried to stick him with a bayonet. The reb missed and Hale felt that the reb was too far gone to waste his time on him. He did state that he saw others using their bayonets and gun stocks as they advanced into the Lane.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 11:36:36 AM
Anecdotal accounts from rescue and recovery after disasters tell us that dead people are often found in clusters, as if the herd instinct takes over in extremis.

It seems that Civil War battlefields also yielded large proportions of their victims in small areas : the fury and killing being concentrated in notorious hot spots.

From what I’ve seen of the Antietam battlefield, it’s very clear that the Bloody Lane must have been a death trap for hundreds : the lack of zig zag effect - that properly constructed trenches afford - set those rebels up for lethal enfilade fire.

The fact that, before they perished, those southerners had taken an enormous toll of the attacking Yankees probably made their fate all the more merciless.

On reflection, I’m inclined to agree with Morris and accept the testimony of veterans that the southern dead were clogging up the lane in their hundreds.

Editing : apologies for repeating what I’d written a couple of posts back....the server failed initially and I thought that I’d lost my post.

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

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
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Posts: 1085

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 2:37:06 PM
Ken Burns suggested that Brady wasn't above repositioning the dead for "compositional purposes".

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 3:35:07 PM
Phil,

It was only DH Hill's Division using the road as a defensive position and that accounted for maybe 97% of the combat they tool part in at Antietam so if you have the casualty reports for them you can basically answer the question. If memory serves the Division went into the battle with about 2700 men after South Mountain. Dick Anderson's Division counter=attacked but again if memory serves didn't make it to the road.

Also if memory serves from my visits and current day pictures the impression is that the "road" was pretty much straight line at the point that the fight took place but from my readings it was more like a series of angles. Meaning that id standing on one flank you wouldn't be able to look straight down the line and see the other flank. That 500 foot stretch could actually be 2 or 3 slightly offset fighting position which might account for the clustering you are talking about.
---------------
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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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 3:52:29 PM
A brief reference to Frassanito’s book on Antietam has helped me make up my mind.

What was photographed was appalling enough : a veritable heap of festering bodies....but, in the author’s opinion, this was after many portions of the lane had already been cleared of the dead .

One of the satisfying things about keeping large numbers of books is the sheer reassuring feel of cover bound volumes which still give a pleasure that browsing the web fails to do.

And, of all the possessions on my bookshelves, none has given me more pleasure and information than my collection of Time Life volumes on the Civil War which I bought about thirty years ago.

The volume on Antietam gives an elaborate photographic back up to the text, but there are also numbers of pages which reproduce the paintings of artists who, with greater or lesser accuracy, attempted to depict the battlefield scenes of the war.

One such was Captain James Hope of the 2nd Vermont Volunteers, who was not only a landscape artist by profession, but also a survivor of the Battle of Antietam who set out to bear witness to what he had seen and endured there. Hope was discharged from the army because of illness in December 1862, and he spent many years thereafter creating five paintings depicting the dreadful fighting of that battle. Of the Sunken Lane, he wrote ..the Confederate dead lay three deep for half a mile. If this seems like rhetorical exaggeration , his picture of it certainly testifies to his statement ; moreover, veterans of the battle praised his work for accuracy, with one dissenter saying that there were not enough dead men in evidence on the hills !

One of his pictures depicts the 7th Maine advancing over the confederate dead in the lane ; another one focuses more on the lane itself, and it is literally crammed with heaps of dead, including one southerner still kneeling in firing position, shot through the brain and remaining set in his pose. Surely, this was something that the artist himself had seen.

That’s it, for me at least....this was indeed the charnel house of legend .

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: 4489

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 4:15:50 PM
Guys,

Here is a 1 I/2 hour documentary, on the Battle of Antietam ! If you have time & haven't seen it, IMHO it's very well done, & worth your time! If I recall the second video, talks about the tremendous fatal casualties the Reb's took in the Sunken Lane? Their findings after walking the battlefield, where that, as the advancing Union moved forward, & attacked, certain areas afforded a higher protected firing line, for them, where murderous fire could be laid into a very vulnerable exposed Bloody Lane position, used by the Confederates! Also are mentioned other areas that suffered the most casualties at Antietam, & just what factors caused this carnage, using modern equipment and modern techniques to uncover why??!

[Read More]

Anyone see this episode or hear about this factor? This 2nd video explains why certain areas of the Antietam battlefield were such killing hot spots!? This is the Battlefield Detectives episode I'm talking about!?

[Read More]

Comments, does the use of modern science & military factors study help explain CW history? anyone??

Regards,
Dave
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Larry Purtell
USA
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Posts: 696

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 4:53:52 PM
Always remember that Frassanito is a living human prone to bias and his own interpretation. Yet I believe his take on the Antietam photos is 95% accurate.
---------------
"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 5:14:54 PM

Quote:
Phil,

It was only DH Hill's Division using the road as a defensive position and that accounted for maybe 97% of the combat they tool part in at Antietam so if you have the casualty reports for them you can basically answer the question. If memory serves the Division went into the battle with about 2700 men after South Mountain. Dick Anderson's Division counter=attacked but again if memory serves didn't make it to the road.

Also if memory serves from my visits and current day pictures the impression is that the "road" was pretty much straight line at the point that the fight took place but from my readings it was more like a series of angles. Meaning that id standing on one flank you wouldn't be able to look straight down the line and see the other flank. That 500 foot stretch could actually be 2 or 3 slightly offset fighting position which might account for the clustering you are talking about.
--John R. Price


Thanks John,

You make valuable observations .

The best source I have for rebel casualties in the battle is Ezra Carman’s tabulation, and he credits DH Hill’s division with 5,795 engaged ; the casualties in that command are stated as 2,310 : 352 killed, 1,439 wounded and 519 missing. It’s a fair assumption that twenty to twenty five per cent of the missing had been killed.
That implies upwards of 450 dead in that sector of the battle : maybe at least one quarter of all the confederates who were killed that day died in and around the Bloody Lane. A lot of supposition on my part here.

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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Posts: 887

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/2/2019 7:58:06 PM
Phil,

First I have to correct myself and say that part of DH Hill's Division fought in support of Hood in the "cornfield." I believe Ripley's, Colquitt's and Garland's Brigades. I also don't think Ripley's played any part in the fight for the "sunken road." Hill says Ripley attached the brigade to Walker and fell back with him after falling back from the "cornfield."


Second you are high in the number for the whole Division as per Hill's report in which he states that st South Mountain he had less than 5,000 effectives in the whole Division and on Sept 17th less than 3,000 effectives. He's giving a loss of 3,241 for South Mountain and Antietam.


www.civilwarhome.com/dhhillantietam.html


EDIT I also have to add that Garland's Brigade was pretty demoralized after losing Garland and Tew at South Mountain and it was they that broke first in the "cornfield" and maybe only 400 rallied after that retreat.


Hill says he had 1,500 to 1,700 in line the next morning.


He'd also saying that Rhodes lost a total of 625 but that he had 1,200 at South Mountain and lost 422 there.








---------------
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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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 1:50:02 AM
John,

What a bewildering array of contradictions these figures from various sources offer us !

The estimates of Ezra Carman are regarded as the most authoratitive : I did note, however, that the figure of strength engaged he gives for DH Hill’s division is significantly higher than that for any other confederate division in the battle. He reckons a forty per cent casualty rate for Hill’s command, which certainly seems in harmony with the experience of other divisions on both sides that got badly cut up.

It might be instructive to take a look at the yankee casualties in that sector of the battle, and use them as a kind of yardstick. I think that the divisions of French and Richardson suffered a combined total of well over 2,500 casualties , of whom more than 500 were posted as killed outright. I cannot believe that the rebel loss was much lower ; and I am confident that the southern loss in killed there was appalling : the terrible enfilade fire would have hit men repeatedly and caused an unusually high fatality rate among the men who were hit.

I must get up to make the early morning cup of tea, and I will look at the Carman figures for the yankees in the Bloody Lane sector and attach them as an edit.

Editing : French and Richardson’s divisions took a combined total of 2,927 casualties, of whom 510 were posted as killed, 2,265 wounded and 152 missing.


Another edit : my beloved Time Life volume on Antietam mentions DH Hill having 2,500 men available to man the Sunken Lane, after the battering that his division had already taken supporting the rebel fighting in the Cornfield sector....very much in accordance with your views, John. We have to allow for the support given by Anderson's division, too. The volume reckons that confederate casualties in this sector came to 2,600. I'm at a loss to explain the whys and wherefores of Carman's estimate of the strength of DH Hill's division...Colonel Taylor , in his " Four Years with General Lee", estimates that Hill's divisional strength at Sharpsburg was about 3,000. Taylor was prone to understating Lee's numbers, admittedly, but it still leaves me with the impression that you're right about Carman's excessively high figure. I do, however, feel great confidence in Carman's statement of the casualty figures.

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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 5:48:42 AM
The Sunken Road, also known as the Bloody Lane, is among the most important and recognizable topographical features of the American Civil War.

Worn down from years of wagon traffic, the Sharpsburg, Maryland farm lane transformed into a graveyard after a day of conflict between the Union and Confederate armies during the Battle of Antietam..

Between 9:30am and 1pm on September 17, 1862, Union Major General William French led 5,500 soldiers in an attack on Confederate Major General D. H. Hill and his 2,600 soldiers, who held the Sunken Road for most of the morning.

The struggle ended in exhaustion with 5,500 casualties and no advantage gained on either side. The Sunken Road, now called the Bloody Lane, was one struggle of the deadliest single day of the Civil War.

The land is now part of Antietam National Battlefield and protected by the National Park Service. Source--Civil War Trust


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 6:15:26 AM
Trying to make statistical sense of this battle is driving me batty.

I suppose all battles are hard to gauge , on account of confusion and chaos ; I’m also falling victim to my own fixations and fastidiousness !

What is so bewildering is that the accounts not only conflict ; the various sources also contradict themselves !

Henderson, who wrote one of the most highly regarded books about Stonewall Jackson, twice alludes to DH Hill’s division being about 5,000 strong in the battle ; and then, in his tabular summary , he cites the strength as 3,500.

Sears alludes to the 2,500 men that Hill had on hand to man the Sunken Road at the outset of the fighting there. He then goes on to state that the rebel casualties amounted to 2,600 in the fight for that sector, which equates to nearly 30% of the men engaged. That implies that nine thousand rebels were deployed during the struggle for the position.

I really wonder if these authors actually care about their own arithmetical sleights of hand.

Perhaps this is most intelligible if we consider the Sunken Road area to have been a “ vortex of battle “ that sucked in more and more men : rather like the Wheatfield at Gettysburg , or, indeed, the Cornfield at Antietam itself.

One thing is consistent : all the accounts agree that the casualties in DH Hill’s division were in the order of 40%.

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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 8:26:27 AM

Quote:
No other campaign and battle in the war had such momentous, multiple consequences as Antietam.

In July 1863 the dual Union triumphs at Gettysburg and Vicksburg struck another blow that blunted a renewed Confederate offensive in the East and cut off the western third of the Confederacy from the rest.

In September 1864 Sherman's capture of Atlanta electrified the North and set the stage for the final drive to Union victory. These also were pivotal moments.

But they would never have happened if the triple Confederate offensives in Mississippi, Kentucky, and most of all Maryland had not been defeated in the fall of 1862.


— James M. McPherson, Crossroads of Freedom

Question--Did this battle which ended seemingly without result for either side--change the course of the war as claimed by many accounts on the internet;and if so -how so?????
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John R. Price
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 9:48:24 AM
Phil,

How many of the Union casualties come from the artillery concentration used against them? I believe there were 23 guns firing in support of Hill and then Longstreet brought in more when he broke.


I agree we have to account for the 3,600 in Anderson's Division for the total casualties in the area but your specific question was about the casualties taken in the "sunken lane" and the "clusters" of bodies described and photographed in the "sunken land" and from the sources I've seen, both Confederate and Union Anderson's men didn't make it into the "sunken lane." They covered Hill's retreat from the "sunken lane" from a position in rear of it and then counter-attacked but failed to dislodge the Union troops now occupying the position.


I'm starting to wonder if maybe half of the bodies photographed are Union from the counter-attack and more significantly from the line of artillery shooting double canister into the "sunken lane" from point blank range after the Union tool 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"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 887

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 9:52:23 AM
Jim,

The Emancipation Proclamation. Political victory can be just as or more important than military.
---------------
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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 10:03:12 AM
Yes John-I agree-- but dis this battle alter the course of the war.?? and if so--How so?????

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 887

Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 10:42:03 AM
Jim,

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation based on Antietam. He called it a victory and issued the EP. I'd also put forth you had the mid term Congressional election coming up in Nov and a clear cut Union loss isn't going to help Republican or War Dem candidates. Then if Little Mac doesn't force Lee to retreat somebody else is going to have to meaning pulling troops from IMHO the West, Rosey or Grant, opening up possibilities in Middle Tenn or Miss. If you subtract a significant force from either Middle Tenn or Vicksburg in winter of 62 are the campaigns there in spring and summer of 63 successful?
---------------
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: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 11:10:14 AM
Thank you John for clearing this matter up -it was via Lincoln's EP ; and I can now see where the "alteration in the course of the war" originates---particularly the deployment of Union forces for the 1963 spring offensives.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

john hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 11:29:55 AM
Lincoln claimed the high moral ground by issuing the EP. It served noticed to both GB and France to stay out. If they entered the war they would be supporting slavery, something they could not do. So yes it altered the course of the war

GregT
Three Rivers, MA, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 12:42:21 PM
I have never read or seen anything that says the dead were buried in the lane itself.

If anyone has I'd be interested where they've come across this.

anemone
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 1:15:55 PM

Quote:
Lincoln claimed the high moral ground by issuing the EP. It served noticed to both GB and France to stay out. If they entered the war they would be supporting slavery, something they could not do. So yes it altered the course of the war
--john hayward



Thank you John

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War (1861–1865).

It legally recognised the belligerent status of the Confederate States of America (CSA) but never recognised it as a nation and neither signed a treaty with it nor ever exchanged ambassadors.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 2:49:05 PM
GregT,

I don't believe anybody has claimed that here.
---------------
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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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/3/2019 5:24:22 PM

Quote:
I have never read or seen anything that says the dead were buried in the lane itself.

If anyone has I'd be interested where they've come across this.
--GregT


Looking back on what I’ve written, I fear that I might have conveyed that impression.

I should not have done so.

What burial places were selected ?

We know that McClellan claimed that his men buried 2,700 rebel dead, in addition to hundreds that had already been interred by the rebels themselves.

I wonder if it was deemed practical to move the southern dead to collecting points, and thence to interment in burial trenches.

If the Sunken Road already contained a great concentration of enemy dead, then I can appreciate that it might have been used a a focal point, and bodies distributed in the surrounding fields brought there, with the aim of concentrating mass burials.

That does not imply that the lane itself was used as a burial place : although , surely, the immediate post battle interment would have been close at hand.

I wonder if there is a more detailed report about how - and where - this was done.

Editing : Frassanito comes to my aid here. On page 206 of his book, he writes :

For the most part, the task of burying the Confederate dead at Bloody Lane was delegated to the 130th Pennsylvania Volunteers of Col. Dwight Morris’s brigade, French’s division. Beginning their work sometime in the morning of September 19, members of the unit eventually reported a total of 138 enemy bodies , all of which were removed from the road and buried in trenches dug in the fields north of and adjacent to the road.

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
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 3:47:08 AM

Quote:
Phil,

How many of the Union casualties come from the artillery concentration used against them? I believe there were 23 guns firing in support of Hill and then Longstreet brought in more when he broke.


I agree we have to account for the 3,600 in Anderson's Division for the total casualties in the area but your specific question was about the casualties taken in the "sunken lane" and the "clusters" of bodies described and photographed in the "sunken land" and from the sources I've seen, both Confederate and Union Anderson's men didn't make it into the "sunken lane." They covered Hill's retreat from the "sunken lane" from a position in rear of it and then counter-attacked but failed to dislodge the Union troops now occupying the position.


I'm starting to wonder if maybe half of the bodies photographed are Union from the counter-attack and more significantly from the line of artillery shooting double canister into the "sunken lane" from point blank range after the Union tool it?

--John R. Price


John,

With two exceptions that I can think of, all the dead in Gardner’s photos of Antietam were rebels.....at least, that’s always been my assumption, and that of the authors who captioned the photos.

I would be very surprised if one of the most notorious of all the grisly images - that of the Bloody Lane in the aftermath of battle - turned out to contain union dead.

But it would not be the first time that we had to revise our perception of what’s in a famous photograph , and surely your suggestion is worthy of consideration.

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
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 3:47:39 AM

Quote:
Phil,

How many of the Union casualties come from the artillery concentration used against them? I believe there were 23 guns firing in support of Hill and then Longstreet brought in more when he broke.


I agree we have to account for the 3,600 in Anderson's Division for the total casualties in the area but your specific question was about the casualties taken in the "sunken lane" and the "clusters" of bodies described and photographed in the "sunken land" and from the sources I've seen, both Confederate and Union Anderson's men didn't make it into the "sunken lane." They covered Hill's retreat from the "sunken lane" from a position in rear of it and then counter-attacked but failed to dislodge the Union troops now occupying the position.


I'm starting to wonder if maybe half of the bodies photographed are Union from the counter-attack and more significantly from the line of artillery shooting double canister into the "sunken lane" from point blank range after the Union tool it?

--John R. Price


John,

With two exceptions that I can think of, all the dead in Gardner’s photos of Antietam were rebels.....at least, that’s always been my assumption, and that of the authors who captioned the photos.

I would be very surprised if one of the most notorious of all the grisly images - that of the Bloody Lane in the aftermath of battle - turned out to contain union dead.

But it would not be the first time that we had to revise our perception of what’s in a famous photograph , and surely your suggestion is worthy of consideration.

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
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 4:00:04 AM
Jim,

In tactical terms, I would rate Antietam a southern victory. Lee’s army survived against the odds, held its ground, and retreated umolested....three things which, in the circumstances, might be seen as something of a result for the confederacy.

In strategic terms, it was a defining union victory, since Lee had to withdraw and the existential threat to the Union was thereby contained, allowing Lincoln to draw up the Emancipation Proclamation , which was, so to speak, “ unleashing the beast “ in political, diplomatic and economic terms.

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: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 6:31:49 AM
Phil,

After the Union drives Hill to retreat and holds against Anderson's counter-attack they find the position too exposed to the newly set up Confederate artillery line less than 100 yards away and pull back a short distance to a more covered position. The "Bloody Lane" then becomes "no mans land" until Lee pulls back across the Potomic into Virginia. My point being Hill didn't take his dead with him and I doubt the Union did when they pulled back.


You found that a Union regiment buried 138 Rebel bodies found in the "Bloody Lane." Given that the length of area covered by the defensive position is about 2 miles and the actual defensive line is angled meaning the position to be manned is longer does 138 bodies buried fit the descriptions given or fit the impressions the photos imply? Throw in that this isn't a slit trench only wide enough to squeeze 2 people across but a road that freight wagons use with room to spare.


With respect if the photo doesn't contains Union dead then it is staged because the evidence tells me Union and Confederate dead were intermingled in the road and to get all the Union dead out some of the Confederate dead would have had to been moved.
---------------
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
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 6:39:32 AM
I am inclined to agree Phil--Antietam was a lost opportunity for the Union.

Although the Federal capital had been protected, and the battle is sometimes cited as having influenced Great Britain not to recognize the Confederacy, Lee had survived to fight on for another two and a half years.

Two months after the battle, President Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command.

More significantly, the battle gave Lincoln the confidence to issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862), announcing that unless the Confederates laid down their arms by January 1, 1863, he would free all slaves NOT residing in Union-controlled territory.

Losses: Union, 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, 753 captured or missing of 87,000; Confederate, 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, 1,018 captured or missing of 45,000

Regards

Jim.
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/4/2019 5:40:51 PM

Quote:
The Sunken Road, also known as the Bloody Lane, is among the most important and recognizable topographical features of the American Civil War.

Worn down from years of wagon traffic, the Sharpsburg, Maryland farm lane transformed into a graveyard after a day of conflict between the Union and Confederate armies during the Battle of Antietam..

Between 9:30am and 1pm on September 17, 1862, Union Major General William French led 5,500 soldiers in an attack on Confederate Major General D. H. Hill and his 2,600 soldiers, who held the Sunken Road for most of the morning.

The struggle ended in exhaustion with 5,500 casualties and no advantage gained on either side. The Sunken Road, now called the Bloody Lane, was one struggle of the deadliest single day of the Civil War.

The land is now part of Antietam National Battlefield and protected by the National Park Service. Source--Civil War Trust


[Read More]

Regards

Jim
--anemone



Hi Jim,

Check out this take on the reasons for so many casualties in the Bloody Lane, & other high casualty spots! They use modern methods, & science to prove their findings on the Battle of Antietam!?

[Read More]


Check it out & comment,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Phil andrade
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/5/2019 4:38:38 AM
Dave,

Good Heavens, my old friend, you do the thread honour with such contributions ! Thank you.

It’s almost tailormade to fit the question I was addressing, and it certainly throws light on the condition of combat in that sector of the battlefield.

I had not realised the extent to which “ buck and ball” was used by the Irish Brigade. It was, apparently, a weapon that tended to wound rather than kill. Some of the yankees in Mansfield’s Corps at Antietam were hit by blasts of buck and ball, and they reported more than ten wounded for every man killed in the units that were hit : an unusual thing in a battle in which the overall ratio was about four and a half to one for the Federals ( 2,108 killed and 9,549 wounded= 4.5 wounded for every one killed ).

The thing about the Bloody Lane that’s pertinent here is that the number of rebels killed was inordinately high compared with the number wounded : not consistent with buck and ball , and attributable, perhaps, to the deliberate killing of wounded men who might otherwise have been spared. In this sense, maybe, Antietam did display an exceptionally murderous aspect. Certainly, the terrible shock of sudden combat at close quarters, and the very high casualties suffered by the attacking yankees, would account for a “ no quarter “ approach.

The lie of the land at Antietam reminds me very much of Waterloo . What, on a map, looks like level open farmland changes on actual inspection to gentle swales and slopes that allow very large numbers of men to appear at close quarters as if from nowhere , and the resulting shock and intensity of combat is thereby increased. Add to this the fields of fire presented to heavy artillery concentration, and you have the killing ground formula. Incidentally, Waterloo produced 47,000 killed and wounded in a single day, twice the toll of Antietam.

Do I have a quibble about the presentation ? There was, I think, a tendency to underplay the bloodiness of fighting that had preceeded Antietam. The first day of Shiloh comes straight to my mind.....not the toll of Antietam ; but not so very far behind it. When Lee’s men stormed the yankee position at Gaines’s Mill on 27 June 1862, they took nearly as many casualties as they were to suffer at Antietam. There were other days yet to come which produced casualties on a scale that came quite close.....to be fair, Gary Gallagher did allude to this.

Fredericksburg cost the North as much blood in a single day ; the first day at Murfreesboro was especially frightful, particularly in proportionate terms ; Chancellorsville on 3 May 1863, and, of course, Day Two at Gettysburg were appalling slaughters, and, as for Chickamauga, Shelby Foote suggested that its second day might even have exceeded Antietam ( I disagree ). The Wilderness cost more Union lives than Antietam, even without the open fields of fire that distinguished Antietam and Gettysburg. There are several other contenders for extreme bloodshed. So I felt that the horror of Antietam was not unique, as depicted.

The commentary was right to emphasise that the official reckoning of men killed in action - 3,654 - needs to be adjusted upwards signicantly to account for men who died from wounds; there is also every likelihood that a substantial portion of the men reported as missing on the confederate side had also been killed. This applies to civil war battle casualties in most big engagements, to a greater or lesser degree. But I thought that the suggestion that as many as eight thousand fatalities can be attributed to Antietam was a bit of a stretch. Six thousand plus seems plausible to me.

All in all, though, I am impressed and grateful.

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
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/14/2019 2:39:47 PM
An interesting link.

[Read More]



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
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/14/2019 5:29:51 PM
Trevor,

What a fabulous contribution ! Thanks.

The intricacies of that research are mind boggling.

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 hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/14/2019 7:13:27 PM
My great great grandfather's unit the 7th NJ carried 1842 Springfield .69cal muskets up through Gettysburg. The idea of buck and ball was to increase the number of hits of an inaccurate weapon. The ball could kill but the 3 or 4 balls would wound. Human nature being what it is a wound man would require one man to to help him to the rear.So 1 dead 3 wounded and 3 more to help out. 7 men removed from the firing line

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The dead of Antietam : rebels in the Bloody Lane.
Posted on: 1/14/2019 8:09:06 PM
Hi Phil,

Glad you liked The Battlefield Detectives on Antietam, they certain portray some good evidence on certain areas of the battlefield being killing zones. Your right about Gary Gallagher , he is a very convincing CW lecturer, I have a series of his lectures on the Civil War.

As far as the Battlefield Detectives here are some of the episodes, including Shiloh, & Gettysburg, when your bored they sure beat whats on TV.

[Read More]

[Read More]


Enjoy, when time allows,
Regards,
MD

BTW, Any MHO'ers may find some episodes of interest on various battles!?
check them out, Also check out History Lecturer Gary Gallagher's lectures! time well spent,

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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