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270Question about Irish Brigade Assault

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  • NJ Rebel
    Aug 5, 2001

      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.

      Thoughts, anyone?

      Your humble servant,
      Gerry Mayers
      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
      Edward Lee
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