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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/25/2022 5:26:05 PM
from my understanding, none of the participants had the full picture of the battle.

Each only knew of their own front.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 177
Joined: 2020
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/25/2022 10:39:32 PM

09252022

Group,


In one post MR NYGiant references Clausewitz as a source for the retreat “rule”. Clausewitz actually used some
50 pages discussing victory and lost battles. Clearly not something for a simple “Rule” approach.

Clausewitz, “ln combats aimed at the destruction of the enemy’s army, the retreat from the battle field is
not always to be regarded as a relinquishment of this aim” (victory)
And again, defeat “is not quite identical with quitting the field of battle.”
Also “In combat the loss of moral force is the chief cause of the decision” (defeat)

Now I don’t like getting much into that source but since it was referenced its fair game
but it’s a theory, not meant as clear principles, so chasing too far is hardly likely to be of benefit.
Even the staunch disciples concede “the tortuous and self-contradictory quality of
much of the writing.” His vague generalities as easily lead to folly as to insight.

As a matter of argumentation holding to a single point from a single source
does not appear very convincing, but actually rather weak as a point of discussion.
But NYGiant is fully within his rights and apparently is not trying to convince any but himself.

thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 1:41:20 AM
Quote:
I learned it from Clausewitz, On War.


NYG,

Why haven’t you learned what mikemaps has just told us about Clausewitz’s definitions ?

Not quite so cut and dried as you depicted, apparently.

Larry Purcell has just furnished us with press articles that deserve mention.

There were indeed paeans of triumph in some of the northern papers.

Here again we might cite comparisons with the British reaction to El Alamein : a diet of defeat suddenly relieved by better news. I suppose news of Lee’s withdrawal from Maryland had the same effect.

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
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 4:48:40 AM
Quote:


Here’s an edit : NYG, how would you assess the tactical outcome of the Battle of Malvern Hill , 78 days before Antietam?
The AOP abandoned the field, and yielded the strategic victory to the South. No doubt there. But who got the better of the fighting that day ? A sharp rebel defeat, I’d say. Would you credit Lee with tactical victory at the Battle of Malvern Hill ?

Regards, Phil



Searching for the opinion of another nineteenth century warrior, I've been startled to find this endorsement by Henderson, in his Stonewall Jackson, page 337 :

The soldiers knew better.......... they were perfectly well aware that the battle on the Antietam, tactically speaking, was no more of a victory for the North than Malvern Hill had been for the South.

Delighted as I am to see such an eminent authority opine in favour of a point I'd made, I have to protest that the yankees were more successful, tactically, at Antietam than the rebels had been at Malvern Hill. At least at Antietam the Union soldiers were able to inflict casualties that rivalled their own, except in the southern sector of the battle. That excellent link that Vince sent us makes that clear.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 8:01:28 AM
Just to correct some misconceptions about Antietam.


Lee did NOT offer battle on September 18th. Lee and McClellan agreed to a truce so that wounded soldiers could be recovered. And that night, Lee abandoned the battlefield, leaving McClellan and the AoP the victors.
pesky thing those pesky facts.

What you people are mis-interpreting is a Pyrrhic victory.
======================================================================================================================================================

The first army to leave the battlefield or surrender is always reckoned to be the loser even if he achieved strategic goals.

Battles will be and always have been about one thing. Staying on the field the longest.

The first army to leave the battlefield or surrender is always reckoned to be the loser even if he achieved strategic goals.

If order is maintained an army could execute an ordered retreat and retreat in formation without receiving a lot of extra casualties. If instead formations disintegrate and a battalion of 500 soldiers becomes a group of 500 panicked individuals you will end up with a rout. It’s also possible that during a retreat or a rout parts of the army will surrender piecemeal.

Now we already established that the goal of a battle is to be the last army standing, and to achieve this you have to make the enemy rout or retreat. This is where killing the enemy comes in, the goal of a battle itself is never killing as many enemies as possible. Killing enemies is simply a way to get them to retreat or flee for their lives. Killing the enemy is simply part of a battle of morale and courage.

The number of enemies you need to kill or maim before a group of soldiers will break and flee depends on a large multitude of factors like having a good night sleep, having dysentery, fighting in foreign lands or your own province, having won a battle recently, being an experienced veteran etc etc.

The standard was to “conquer the field”. Whichever party claimed victory, would simply occupy the field of battle. Usually the opposing party camp as well. The losers would retreat or run away, often being slaughtered in the process. Most slaughter would actually usually occur in the pursuit phase. It is easy to kill people from behind.

But the undisputed victory went to the army which could camp at the field at the sunset.



Is there anything else I can help you with?




Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 8:45:32 AM
Are you sure Lee didn’t offer battle on the eighteenth ?

Damned fool that I am, I gave credence to you regarding your interpretation of Clausewitz.

Mikemaps rescued me from that.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 8:55:25 AM
Clausewitz, “ln combats aimed at the destruction of the enemy’s army, the retreat from the battle field is
not always to be regarded as a relinquishment of this aim” (victory)


Well, the way I read this, ...Clausewitz does admit that in some instances, retreat does not mean defeat.

What about the other instances?....What Clausewitz is saying , it that most of the time, a retreat means defeat. Sometimes it doesn't.

Basically, Clausewitz backs my position.

Words have meanings!



Nice try guys at parsing the words!
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 9:04:33 AM
Let me rescue you.
On September 18, both armies remained on the battlefield. They negotiated a temporary truce, allowing each side to remove its wounded from the battlefield. On the evening of September 18, the Confederates began their retreat. McClellan did not immediately pursue the Army of Northern Virginia.

https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Battle_of_Antietam

My reading of Clausewitz isa bit more refined. Clausewitz admits that a retreat SOMETIMES does not mean a defeat. The implication is that most to the time, a retreat does mean a defeat.

Anything else that I can help you with?
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 10:02:13 AM
This truce to allow clearance of the battlefield is something that merits investigation and discussion.

Was it formal, or informal ?

Grant was notorious for refusing to request such a truce at Vicksburg on 22 May 1863 and, of course, at Cold Harbor on 3 June 1864.

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
morris crumley
Dunwoody GA USA
Posts: 3065
Joined: 2007
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 11:00:02 AM
McClellan spends almost the whole battle at the Pry House. He climbs to the attic, stands on a barrel and observes through a trap door. He also crosses the yard to an observation telescope and looks across the Antietam. He only once crosses the creek to the west to personally take part in the action, and that limited to meeting Franklin. Franklin, normally as cautious as little Mac, pleads with McClellan to sen in his entire corps. Sumner, who exercises virtually no command and control over his disjointed attacks and movements, becomes undone over what has happened to Sedgwick and his men, and advises McClellan not to accede to Franklin.

Lee is all over the field checking and directly informing himself of his lines. At 10:00 he is even near the Dunker Church and doesn`t recognize a dirty gunner who must inform him he is his own son. He is virtually all over the field , along his line. He holds the field against almost double his number, then holds the field the next day inviting attack.

Yet we are to declare McClellan the tactical victor? In my opinion, that is not reality. I am entitled to that opinion. Many other historians agree with me. Many other don`t. But my calling Antietam a battle draw, and a strategic victory for the north is, in my entitled opinion....a realistic statement.

Respects, Morris
----------------------------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 11:11:12 AM

1. McClellan did NOT spend almost the entire battle at the Pry House. In fact it was not his headquarters. Research by Tom Clemens has shown that the HQ was in Keedysville. This has been documented pretty extensively.

Respectfully submitted, NYGiant



Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 11:50:46 AM
Quote:
McClellan spends almost the whole battle at the Pry House. He climbs to the attic, stands on a barrel and observes through a trap door. He also crosses the yard to an observation telescope and looks across the Antietam. He only once crosses the creek to the west to personally take part in the action, and that limited to meeting Franklin. Franklin, normally as cautious as little Mac, pleads with McClellan to sen in his entire corps. Sumner, who exercises virtually no command and control over his disjointed attacks and movements, becomes undone over what has happened to Sedgwick and his men, and advises McClellan not to accede to Franklin.

Lee is all over the field checking and directly informing himself of his lines. At 10:00 he is even near the Dunker Church and doesn`t recognize a dirty gunner who must inform him he is his own son. He is virtually all over the field , along his line. He holds the field against almost double his number, then holds the field the next day inviting attack.

Yet we are to declare McClellan the tactical victor? In my opinion, that is not reality. I am entitled to that opinion. Many other historians agree with me. Many other don`t. But my calling Antietam a battle draw, and a strategic victory for the north is, in my entitled opinion....a realistic statement.

Respects, Morris


Morris,

You’re right : what you say ties up nicely with that elegant verdict that the prestige of the day went to Lee, even though the prestige of the result was McClellan’s.

According to the accounts of several veterans, Lee definitely decided to offer battle on the eighteenth.

The fate of Lee’s wounded at Antietam might indicate how much the tactical outcome was different from that of Gettysburg, where an outright tactical defeat was suffered by the AoNV.

The number of confederate wounded at Antietam was almost exactly half that of Gettysburg. After Antietam, McClellan reported that 160 rebel wounded died in Union hospitals. The figure for Gettysburg was 1,461.
Circumspection required, obviously : perhaps the time period was much shorter in the aftermath of battle at Antietam. But the implications are significant, and lend weight to the argument that Lee secured a tactical result at Sharpsburg that was much better than that attending his subsequent invasion of Union soil.

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
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 2:32:08 PM
Lee did NOT offer battle on September 18th

Harsh, Taken at the Flood, page 427 :

Lee was a desperate leader of a desperate cause, who made a desperate decision to stand at Sharpsburg on September 18 .

Reconcile your statement with that quote from Harsh, please, NYG.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 4:31:10 PM
Sure....he made a truce to collect wounded off of the battlefield.

If he was that desperate, he could have attacked the top.

mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 177
Joined: 2020
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 4:31:11 PM

09262022
Group,

Here I am not trying to persuade the unpersuadable. But the rebel tactical win was complete by afternoon on the 17.
In a setpiece battle, side A vs side B both sides drawn up for battle (19th cent) and determined to fight, side A attacks
and assaults the Line of side B, Side B holds and repulses side A with heavy loss, side A retreats back to
their start line; side B wins.

This is Antietam. So the “rule” is subject to the circumstance of application. On the union right 3 corps
attacked for 4-5 hours and were tactically defeated and withdrew first, if you like rules?
Rebel (Lee) win, (Victory too grandiose). 3 corps about 75% of forces committed that day,
defeated, and unable to fight for next day and a half. Union generals not even sure
these troops could be relied upon to hold a line of battle in the event of an attack by the 25k strong reserve.
Which was partly why the reserve was not committed.
The left attack by union IX corps finally drove the rebels back there, but rebel counterattack
drove the union troops back to the west creek bank and these troops likewise fought
no more that day or the next.
Fighting on the union left a rebel tactical win, holding their
position at the end of the day, attack defeated.

Antietam a tactical rebel win as of day end 17. Union attacked failed to carry position and
withdrew back to start line.
Defeat. Rebels did pull back about half mile formed new line that was never attacked.
Rebel cohesion at the end superior to union in ready to fight when union troops apparently not.
Some will try to say it was McClellan defeated not the army. This is a distinction with no difference.
At least a couple of military commentators say the correct target of
strategy is the mind/morale of the enemy commander, defeat the enemy plan, defeat the enemy army.

Yes, we are all able to make our own evaluation. The value of discussion and debate is it
subjects our thesis to examination to test its validity.
One aspect is to address opposing points and try to refute them.
Simply ignoring counter points does not carry the discussion/analysis.

thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/26/2022 4:37:32 PM
Sorry, but you are failing to look at the entire picture.

The Confederates were pushed off of Union territory, bringing the invasion of the Union to a sudden halt.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 1:58:46 AM
Quote:
Sure....he made a truce to collect wounded off of the battlefield.

If he was that desperate, he could have attacked the top.

.

Who was “he” : Lee or McClellan ?

I allude to the truce 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
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 5:19:45 AM
Longstreet’s account in Battles and Leaders :

Thus the Confederates were enabled to drive the Federals back, and when night settled down the army of Lee was still in possession of the field…… We were so badly crushed that at the close of the day ten thousand fresh troops could have come in and taken Lee’s army and everything it had. But McClellan did not know it and [apparently] feared, when Burnside was pressed back, that Sharpsburg was a Confederate victory, and that he would have to retire. As it was, when night settled down both armies were content to stay where they were…… The next day [ the 18th] the Federals failed to advance, and both armies remained in position. During the day some of the Federals came over under a flag of truce to look after their dead and wounded.

General Walker wrote :

During the whole of the 18th the two armies rested in the positions which they had occupied at the close of the battle. There was a tacit truce, and Federal and Confederate burying-parties passed freely between the lines.

I want to know more about this “tacit truce “. Were Lee and McClellan involved personally ?

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 7:35:00 AM
Lee.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 8:22:38 AM
Cite the source, please.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 8:45:37 AM
sure...once I get home in a week and get my books out.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 9:30:31 AM
Reverting to comparisons between Antietam and Alamein, it must be emphasised that McClellan had to pick up a crisis at point blank range, on the hoof, as Lee and his army were triumphant in Virginia and moved into Maryland. He acted quickly and effectively, and his troops inflicted a significant defeat on the rebels at South Mountain. He was transformative in this.

Montgomery had the luxury of an established position at El Alamein, which had been consolidated by his predecessor Auchinlek, who didn’t get the credit for fighting Rommel to a standstill at the First Battle there.

Monty also accumulated massive supplies of men and materiel, and refused to attack until he was confident of success. He was also aided by a first class intelligence network which kept him on the front foot.

McClellan, of course, had the unique luck to acquire Lee’s Lost Order, but he was afflicted by grossly erroneous intelligence regarding the size of Lee’s army.

What are we to make of Little Mac’s insistence that he was outnumbered ?

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 9:56:05 AM
I think Phil has presented a pretty succinct and accurate assessment of what McClellan faced.

1. McClellan did pick up this crisis on the hoof.
2. McClellan did move briskly towards the enemy. Recall that this was an invading foreign army on American soil, and it was his duty to attack it.
3. Finding the enemy's orders was a rather commonplace event in the American Civil War.
4. By the time that McClellan received Lee's Special Order 191, it was a few days old. Was this a ruse? Did the elements of the ANV actually perform what the were ordered to do? Where was the ANV at that time he was given Special Order 191?


Montgomery did accumulate supplies since his Army was being re-supplied. And German supply convoys were being attacked and sunk by the Allies. The weight of superior supplies and logistics is staring to make its mark in WW II.

McClellan always thought he was out-numbered, even after the war when more information regarding the strength of the ANV was revealed.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 11:14:47 AM
There’s a reason for my persistent reference to the truce that is said to have taken place on the 18th at Antietam.

Uniquely bloody as the big day of battle was, it’s significant that the death rate among the wounded was markedly lower than it was to be at Gettysburg.

How far is this attributable to the truce ?

Might it be that the confinement of the battle, in terms of its duration and its relatively small area, afforded better access to the wounded and evacuation to medical care ?

About ten to eleven percent of the wounded at Antietam died ; at Gettysburg it was about fourteen percent.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 11:30:28 AM
Good question.

A cursory examination might attribute the reason to the triage method of determining the severity of wounds.

I do know that there were instances at Gettysburg where captured Union soldiers received no medical care for 3-4 days.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 2:20:42 PM
Abandoning the field was a critical factor in determining the mortality among the wounded.

It appears that, in this regard, Lee was very successful in saving his wounded : that said, many of the rebel wounded perished as his army withdrew, but at least they died amongst their comrades.

The fate of the yankees who were wounded at Chickamauga was conspicuously grim , as was that of their counterparts at Chancellorsville. In both those battles, only about ten percent of the federal casualties were confirmed as killed: the true number was more than double , taking into account the numbers of missing in action who were left dead or dying on the field. Fredericksburg was worse still in that respect, and then there was Cold Harbor.

At Antietam McClellan claimed that 2,700 confederate dead were buried by his men, in addition to hundreds that had been interred by the rebels 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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 3:11:10 PM
There wasn't much that medicine could offer.
99.8% of those with penetrating head wounds died.
67% of those shot in the chest, died.
87% of those shot in the abdomen died.
75% of those shot in the extremities, survived. And they underwent an amputation.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 3:38:49 PM
Quote:
There wasn't much that medicine could offer.
99.8% of those with penetrating head wounds died.
67% of those shot in the chest, died.
87% of those shot in the abdomen died.
75% of those shot in the extremities, survived. And they underwent an amputation.


Yet eighty six percent of the wounded survived.

There were heroic achievements by doctors, and some amazing resilience amongst their charges.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/27/2022 5:58:03 PM
those who did survive, the overwhelming majority were those who survived the amputation of an extremity.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/28/2022 3:12:39 AM
For all it’s terrible battles - and who could imagine a worse one than Antietam? - the fact remains that the squalor of the war killed many more men than the bullets. Had the outbreak of the war been postponed for a generation, one has to wonder whether better hygiene might have saved huge numbers of lives. But then , on the other hand, imagine what the commensurate increase in the killing power of weapons would have entailed !

Antietam provides the ultimate in terms of sustained violence that the American Civil War has to offer.

Perhaps I should reconsider that comment : how can we rank and rate such horrors ? The first day of Shiloh and the holocaust of the Wilderness come to mind, and several other contenders.

I think Antietam stands out in large measure because of its panoramic nature: it shares this with Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. And then there’s Franklin.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/28/2022 7:06:33 AM
Of every man killed in battle, 2 died of disease.

Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/28/2022 7:25:08 AM
Yes, those poor fellas got the worst of both worlds : lethal squalor and deadly battle. I understand that in many regiments the early months of the war entailed greatest mortality from disease, when the recruits were first exposed to camp life and had no immunity to the contagion that cramped living conditions exposed them to.

Antietam was, perhaps, one of the more “ old fashioned” battles of the war : two armies lined up in position facing each other, and hammering away in the open field for one day.

And, for that matter, El Alamein resembled the battles of an earlier war in Flanders, in its alignment of armies in position and its head on character.

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
NYGiant
Polo Grounds NY USA
Posts: 610
Joined: 2021
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/28/2022 7:47:52 AM
Soldiers recruited from cities as opposed to the rural areas, fared. better when exposed to camp life.

In 1860, measles, in an adult, was fatal disease. In 2022 measles, in an adult, is still a fatal disease.

The moniker "Childhood disease" does NOT mean that the disease is benign. It means the you are supposed to get it while a child. That's a misconception the anti-vaxxers make, much to the deterrent of their children.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/28/2022 2:20:52 PM
One of the aspects of Antietam that intrigues me is the role played by the artillery there.

I cannot state this as a matter of fact, but I suspect that the proportion of casualties inflicted by artillery in this battle was higher than the norm.

The Yankee deployed some powerful rifled artillery on the heights on the East of the river, and were able to mete out terrific punishment to the rebel gunners who remembered this fighting as “artillery hell “.

There are anecdotal accounts of confederate infantry being slaughtered by artillery fire as they tried to hold things together under awful pressure.

The rebel cannoneers were able to smite the advancing yankees from their gun platform around the Dunker Church.

If twenty one thousand soldiers were killed or wounded in twelve hours, I wonder how many thousands of them were victims of the artillery.

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
morris crumley
Dunwoody GA USA
Posts: 3065
Joined: 2007
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/29/2022 11:28:44 PM
One of the reflections I have made upon Antietam was this: The center of the Confederate line along the sunken lane was a fairly strong position from which to defend. But when Barlow`s 61st and 64th New York were advanced to a position from which they could enfilade the sunken road on the right of the line, the bodies started to pile up in the lane. Was this the cause, upon evaluation and after-action reports, of Longstreet`s insistence going forward on traverses in his prepared lines. We know that he was once again to use a sunken lane to great advantage at Fredericksburg. We also know that he continued to improve the position he held in the weeks after the battle there. In January,( I believe) Lee was called to Richmond for consultations with Davis. During this time frame, Longstreet invited Jackson to tour and inspect Longstreet`s improvements. Jackson was impressed with the extensive fortifications, a network of entrenchments and traverses....impressed enough to order more work to improve his own lines.
And did this add further confidence, in May, to Lee that 10,000 could hold the positions long enough against Sedgwick that he could move on Hooker at Chancellorsville and gain the time needed to meet that threat?

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/30/2022 2:55:46 AM
Morris,

Good question.

That sunken lane at Antietam was literally a death trap.

It’s a maxim of military engineering that entrenchment necessitates traverses or “ crenellations “ to deny an assailant the advantage of enfilade.

I would have thought that principle was thoroughly recognised and fully practiced in warfare long before the American Civil War.

I suppose that the bloody lane position was opportunistic rather than properly prepared, but if memory serves me the position was rendered more perilous because of a tactical blunder that resulted in rebel troops being moved backwards or forwards at a crucial time, allowing tactically quick thinking yankees to exploit the mistake.

For a soldier reputed to be masterful at deploying good defensive arrangements, Longstreet’s behaviour at Fort Sanders in the Knoxville fighting is rather hard to understand.

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
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 3061
Joined: 2010
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/30/2022 5:50:36 AM
Quote:
One of the reflections I have made upon Antietam was this: The center of the Confederate line along the sunken lane was a fairly strong position from which to defend. But when Barlow`s 61st and 64th New York were advanced to a position from which they could enfilade the sunken road on the right of the line, the bodies started to pile up in the lane. Was this the cause, upon evaluation and after-action reports, of Longstreet`s insistence going forward on traverses in his prepared lines. We know that he was once again to use a sunken lane to great advantage at Fredericksburg. We also know that he continued to improve the position he held in the weeks after the battle there. In January,( I believe) Lee was called to Richmond for consultations with Davis. During this time frame, Longstreet invited Jackson to tour and inspect Longstreet`s improvements. Jackson was impressed with the extensive fortifications, a network of entrenchments and traverses....impressed enough to order more work to improve his own lines.
And did this add further confidence, in May, to Lee that 10,000 could hold the positions long enough against Sedgwick that he could move on Hooker at Chancellorsville and gain the time needed to meet that threat?

Respects, Morris


Hi Morris,

If I remember rightly, it was Porter Alexander who developed the fortifications at Fredericksburg that impressed Longstreet, Jackson and Lee.

Trevor
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`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
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/30/2022 8:25:49 AM
Morris,

Your suggestion strikes me as discerning and original.

Do I understand you correctly ?

The experience of the collapse of the rebel defence at the Bloody Lane made Longstreet determined to avoid another such carnage by fortifying subsequently with all the elaborate traverses etc that time and position allowed for ?

And that his ensuing success at Fredericksburg in December 1862 confirmed the wisdom of this, and actually imparted a boldness to confederate battle plans, by virtue of using small numbers to occupy such a position while the rest of the force could be deployed in very daring manoeuvre ?

Hence the inspiration for Chancellorsville….

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
London  UK
Posts: 5772
Joined: 2004
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
9/30/2022 4:34:59 PM
Following the theme here, it’s almost ironic that a brilliant Yankee bayonet charge carried that rebel position at the base of Marye’s Heights on 3 May 1863. A settling of scores for the massacre of Union soldiers that had occurred there several months earlier.

Barksdale’s Mississippi men were overrun and slain in that place, and exacted their own vengeance along the Emmitsburg Road at Gettysburg sixty days later , slaughtering the bluecoats and adding to the retributive folklore of the war.

Antietam was surely a major reference point in that bloody saga of the ebb and flow of the war’s big battles.

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
morris crumley
Dunwoody GA USA
Posts: 3065
Joined: 2007
Antietam : some reflections and comparisons
10/1/2022 9:03:07 AM
I wouldn`t say it is the inspiration for Chancellorsville....but I do think that the extensive improvements made in Dec, Jan. at Fredericksburg made it easier for Lee to leave such a skeletal force fronting the Rapidan....capable of buying time.

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