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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1438
Joined: 2004
December 25, 1862
12/25/2021 3:46:23 PM
From the New York Times.




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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6913
Joined: 2006
December 25, 1862
12/26/2021 9:02:05 AM
Hi Larry,

Thank for the nice article on the Michigan Regiments involved, my GGGG grandfather Andrew was in the 4th Michigan Cavalry, but he was in the Western Areas! But it's nice to see our Michigan boys getting some press!?

Also headline on the Blockade Runner was cool, that had to be exciting maritime times!?

Hope you had a good Christmas,
MD
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"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
Posts: 5452
Joined: 2004
December 25, 1862
12/26/2021 11:54:41 AM
Larry,

Let me echo Dave’s thanks. These Fredericksburg articles have been , I think, among the very best you’ve ever posted.

This last one really bears out my contention that the battle ranks, along with Cold Harbor, as one of the most horrific on account of the fate of the wounded who were left to die in front of the rebel lines. Hundreds, if not thousands, as our Michigan soldier writes, were left out there. The chief difference between Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor in this respect being that the wounded died in freezing weather at Fredericksburg , while at Cold Harbor they suffered in broiling heat.

His comment that the yankees who reached the stone wall were bayoneted doesn’t seem plausible : did any Union soldiers get close enough to that wall to engage in hand to hand combat ?

He mentions four lines of confederate infantry deployed behind the stone wall. I’ve read that the rebels were using the rear lines to load the rifles to pass forward, so that those firing could maintain a continuous rate of fire that became so intense and sustained that it resembled machine gun fire. Is this true ? Any idea about the actual number of rebel soldiers who manned that line ? I wonder how many rounds of musketry they were discharging every minute. The attacking yankees must have sought survival by lying down ; they even used the bodies of their comrades to construct a rampart to hide under.... so said Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

A gruesome thing to reflect on among the Christmas decorations .

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
vpatrick
MA MA USA
Posts: 2212
Joined: 2020
December 25, 1862
12/30/2021 9:34:45 PM
I find myself wondering which was the case; why a flag of "truce" was not attempted by the Union to retrieve their wounded or why the Confederates would not allow the Union to retrieve their wounded.

vpatrick
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nuts
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5452
Joined: 2004
December 25, 1862
12/31/2021 7:11:06 AM
Quote:
I find myself wondering which was the case; why a flag of "truce" was not attempted by the Union to retrieve their wounded or why the Confederates would not allow the Union to retrieve their wounded.

vpatrick



Vince,

Take a look at the article Larry posted about Josiah Lutz. A flag of truce was deployed to enable clearance of the field, but it must have been too late for many : even those who were recovered were, in some cases, going to succumb to their wounds.

People were touchy about asking for a truce : it was interpreted , sometimes, as an admission of defeat. Grant has been condemned by some because he failed to ask for a truce at Cold Harbor in June 1864, and, also, at Vicksburg after he had been repulsed on 22 May 1863. The fate of the wounded yankees was dire. As you say, it would be interesting to investigate the circumstances after Fredericksburg in this respect.

According to accounts that I’ve read, Burnside was distraught at the sight of his men lying out there, and was determined to lead another charge himself rather than abandon the field with so many of his comrades in arms suffering and dying where they had fallen.

The confederates found it harrowing, too, and look no further than the poignant story of Sergeant Kirkland for evidence of the compassion that some southern men felt for the stricken Union soldiers.

Let me wish you, and all my cherished friends here, the Happiest New Year !

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
vpatrick
MA MA USA
Posts: 2212
Joined: 2020
December 25, 1862
12/31/2021 4:37:54 PM
Thanks Phil your comments make sense and helped me see this from a different angle. I tend to look at the civil war through a current day lens at times. I think pride, (bravado?) or the fear of looking like a coward was another aspect of civil war participants that was so prevalent that caused alot of unnecessary death and just seems to me unnecessary. For instance, soldier after soldier picking up the colors from shot down flag holders a seemingly endless cycle of death that instantly makes the new flag holder an easy unarmed target and for some notion that maybe he could be the heroic talk of his hometown (who cares about hero talk if your too dead to hear it) and some kind of regimental pride. I always find myself saying to myself why not just leave the regimental colors on the ground or ignore the situation and just try to survive because your probably going to die if you pick the flag up and advance on the enemy. The Napoleonic tactics that were still employed during the Civil War where soldiers had to march across vast fields in closed ranks getting raked by rifle and canister fire all the while stepping over wounded comrades and closing the ranks and gaps at the same time. Just seemed like the deck was stacked in situations like this and cant help but wondering why more soldiers on both sides just didnt throw their hands up and say screw this than actually did. It would seem the fear of going back home labeled a coward or turning your back on someone from your home town far outweighed the fear of death, these are crazy people in my opinion. I dunno from my perspective if the game is rigged I don't want to play.

The same kind of thinking appears to also take place on the fields of Fredericksburg and elsewhere where appearances seemed everything as you indicated even if it means many men bleeding a slow death unnecessarily on a battlefield where the shooting had stopped and was clear as to who won the battle. I was thinking maybe the Confederates did not want union stretcher bearers in front of the wall because they may make notes concerning the strength of confederate positions or cannon locations. Men were very religious in those days and it confounds me that there were not more good Christian Confederate men like Sgt Kirkland who would have helped the wounded especially after seeing he was not getting shot at.

Thanks Phil interesting stuff and happy New Year to you as well!

vpatrick
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nuts

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