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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1439
Joined: 2004
December 22, 1862
12/22/2021 12:45:53 PM
From the Fayetteville Weekly Observer. Fayetteville N.C. December 22, 1862



From the "Inquirer" Lancaster PA. December 22, 1862




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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5455
Joined: 2004
December 22, 1862
12/22/2021 4:23:39 PM
Larry,

On my shelves is a small book I bought 45 years ago : THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, Extracts from The Times, 1860-65. This is a compendium of the reports of British journalists who reported their stories to London in the Civil war, and they make for interesting reading.

A report from " Our special Correspondent ", dated 20 December 1862, gives a harrowing account of the aftermath of the battle.

A ride along the whole length of the lines told also a sad tale of slaughter.....There, in every attitude of death, lying so close that you might step from body to body, lay acres of the Federal dead. It seemed that most of the faces which lay nearest to Colonel Walton's artillery were of the Milesian type. In one small garden , not more than half an acre in size, there were counted 151 corpses. I doubt that in any battle-field of modern times the dead have ever lain so thick and close. By universal consent of those who have seen all the great battles of this war, nothing like it has ever been seen before.......It is known that during the nights of the 13th and 14th very many bodies were carried off and buried by the Federals, but when the parties of Federals detailed to bury their comrades had completed their task it was found that under Marye's Heights they had buried 1,493 corpses and 800 more on the Federal left. Computing that 3,000 Federals fell dead on the field, and adding six or seven times that number of wounded, you may gain an approximate estimate of the Federal loss on the 13th of December. To this must be added upwards of a thousand prisoners taken by the Confederates, and all the straggles and deserters who strayed away from the Federal army. It is incontestable that the 13th of December will be graven as deep in the annals of the great Republic as is the anniversary of Jena upon the hearts of the Prussian people.

This very much endorses the account you posted from the Fayetville Weekly Observer from N.C. December 22 1862, which stated that " There must be 3,000 dead lying upon the field. Allowing five wounded for one killed, this would make the enemy's loss on Saturday 18,000 without deducting those officers and others who were carried off during Saturday night. "

Interesting English allusion to the Milesian type : this , I suspect, refers to Irish features.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5455
Joined: 2004
December 22, 1862
12/23/2021 9:43:53 AM
The corroboration between the article in the London Times and the Fayetteville counterpart lends credence to the claim that three thousand Federal dead were left on the field at Fredericksburg. The official Union casualty list of 12,653 acknowledges barely ten per cent of them as killed, so it's hard to reconcile the observations in the press cuttings with the evidence of the casualty returns. To make things more confusing still, the Union Medical Inspector General reported that, of the more than nine thousand posted as wounded, only 1,630 were serious cases. On the face of it, that looks like good news for the AoP, but there is a sinister corollary : the number of severe wounds taken into care was low, because there were many others who were abandoned in front of the rebel defences and were left to die because they could not be brought in. One of the most harrowing aspects of this battle's folklore is the fate of these dying yankees, whose plight was so distressing that one of the confederate soldiers from the Marye's Heights sector - Sergeant Kirkland - risked his own life as he ventured out between the lines to tend them. There is a statue of him on the battlefield, depicting him engaged in this task. I remember seeing it when I first visited the battlefield in 1985. When the number of killed in an official return seems lower than one might expect, it pays to be circumspect and Fredericksburg certainly exemplifies this.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

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