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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/11/2022 12:12:02 PM
Some incidental references to Port Hudson fighting in the Gettysburg thread has inspired me to look at one of the books on my shelves
THE PORT HUDSON CAMPAIGN by Edward Cunningham.

The river warfare of the Western Theatre is sometimes cited as exemplifying the modernity of the Civil War, but, goodness, the land fighting in this Port Hudson affair is more redolent of the seventeenth century than of the nineteenth, let alone the twentieth !

Old fashioned fortifications, fashioned on the works of Vauban, and really head on attacks against ramparts which resembled Malplaquet more than modernity.

If you seek to find the attributes of the “ Last of the Old Wars” rather than the “ First of the New”, read about the Yankee attacks on 27 May and 14 June, 1863. It actually made me think of the British at New Orleans fifty years earlier, also in Louisiana !

Let me make the point :

New Orleans, 8 January 1815, British casualties : 295 killed, 1,186 wounded and 483 missing.

Port Hudson, 27 May 1863, Union Casualties : 293 killed, 1,545 wounded and 157 missing.

The second big Yankee failure on 14 June entailed very similar casualties.

The rebels at Port Hudson found the old smoothbore muskets, even flintlocks, along with buck and ball, more effective at close quarters than the Yankee Springfield rifles.


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: 6511
Joined: 2004
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/12/2022 4:52:04 AM
Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree here.

Don’t all wars have attributes of the old and the new, even today in Ukraine ?

I suppose what makes the Port Hudson struggle singular was the way that it played to the strengths of seventeenth century military engineering.

There are , I dare say, aspects of war that are immutable, and Vauban gave expression to 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
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8319
Joined: 2006
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/12/2022 9:14:29 PM
Phil,

Didn't Union Iron Clads, have something to do with the eventual Union victory!?

Interesting battle!
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: 6511
Joined: 2004
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/13/2022 4:46:35 AM
Quote:
Phil,

Didn't Union Iron Clads, have something to do with the eventual Union victory!?

Interesting battle!
MD



Yes, you're right there, Dave !

In fact, before the land battle started, the US navy , with Farragut in command, tried to " run" the CSA batteries, with dramatic and frightening results. The rebel gunners got the better of the exchange, and it was up to Banks to redeem the fiasco by pressing home the attacks with his soldiers. There's a whiff of Gallipoli in this story, and , indeed, in the character of the fighting on land.

Regard, 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
Posts: 3271
Joined: 2010
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/13/2022 6:07:01 AM
Quote:
Don’t all wars have attributes of the old and the new, even today in Ukraine ?

I suppose what makes the Port Hudson struggle singular was the way that it played to the strengths of seventeenth century military engineering.


Regards, Phil


A siege is a siege is a siege. The pattern stays the same. One could protract the entire deadlocked WW1 Western Front as "siege warfare". Indeed the failed initial invasion of the Ukraine could be compared with the failed Schlieffen Plan.

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: 6511
Joined: 2004
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/13/2022 8:55:23 AM
Point taken, Trevor.

Here’s another thing that caught my eye from page 60 of Cunningham’s book :

Colonel Cowles of the One Hundred Twenty-eighth New York was bayoneted as he tried to force his way inside the Confederate earthworks, and died in agony half an hour later.

I suspect that in this siege warfare there were more episodes of bayonet fighting than Civil War history has led us to believe.

Another Union Colonel, Harrison Jeffords of the 4th Michigan Infantry, was fatally bayoneted at Gettysburg.

A remarkable thing: a war with so few documented deaths from bayoneting provides two examples of Colonels being victims. One has to wonder how many of the enlisted men perished by the cold steel, without having their fate made conspicuous by exalted rank.

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
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/13/2022 9:38:30 PM
If you don't have time to reload your muzzleloader you revert to being a spearman. Chamberlain's famous bayonet charge on Little Round Top is the classic case I know of.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
Port Hudson : So much for modern warfare !
7/14/2022 4:12:08 AM
Quote:
If you don't have time to reload your muzzleloader you revert to being a spearman. Chamberlain's famous bayonet charge on Little Round Top is the classic case I know of.


Indeed !

And , of course, the fixed bayonet itself proves a hindrance to the reloading of that muzzleloader : why not relinquish that bayonet and just swing that muzzleloader and try and smash your enemy’s head ?

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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