270Question about Irish Brigade Assault
- Aug 5, 2001Group,
As the group has been woefully quiet of late, I am posting the
following question in attempt to get some discussion going:
Steve O'Neill and Joe Bilby, who have compiled the excellent
booklet on the Irish Brigade at Antietam, have several maps
showing the direction and location of the Irish Brigade assault
against the Confederate defense in the Sunken Road as occurring
around the general vicinity of the present day Observation Tower.
While I am inclined to agree with this viewpoint after having
been over the ground a few years ago with Steve and others at one
of the musters of the former Antietam Discussion Group, I
recently read the wonderful book about the wartime letters of
Col. F M Parker of the 30th North Carolina, one of the regiments
of Anderson's division of D H Hill's division. The 30th NC
basically anchored the right flank of George B. Anderson's
brigade in the Sunken Road.
Some maps and accounts differ as to whether the alignment of the
brigade in the Sunken Road was 2nd NC--14th NC--4th NC--30th NC
or 2nd NC--4th NC--14th NC--30th NC. The important point in all
this, however, is that other accounts (notably the Parker book,
Mike Priest's book "Antietam" The Soldier's Battle" and
especially the Cope-Carman maps of the early 1900's) place the
attack of the Irish Brigade as coming frontally on against
Anderson's Brigade in the lane.
Whilst thinking all this over, the recollection came to me that
Frassanito's book on the photographic legacy of Antietam seemed
to show Barlow's regiment breaking into the Sunken Road at
approximately the location of the junction between the 6th
Alabama and the 2nd NC. The Sunken Road makes a major bend and
descent downhill in about the middle of the 6th Alabama position.
My question is: Could this possibly be the location where the
Irish Brigade would have assaulted, as the road would make any
attacker to have to oblique his left and right wings accordingly.
Your humble servant,
Co. B, "Tom Green Rifles",
Fourth Regiment, Texas Volunteer Infantry
"I know of no fitter resting-place for a soldier than the field
on which he has nobly laid down his life." --General Robert
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