47308th Connecticut Monument
- May 27, 2008I spent a few hours yesterday hiking the Final Attack Trail with
detail views of the Carmen-Cope maps for 4:20pm and 5:30pm. The
trail itself is excellent, and with the aid of the map, I finally
feel like I have a good grasp of the fighting in the 40 Acre
Cornfield and vicinity.
I also visited the monuments for the 9th NY and 8th CT regiments.
The 8th's marker incription indicated it marks the advanced position
of the unit. The Carmen-Cope maps suggest they advanced a bit
farther, across the head of a draw immediately West of the monuments,
and within about 100 yards of the Harpers Ferry Rd.
Does anyone have any insight on this? Perhaps the regiment advanced
farther, but consolidated its position a bit to the rear to conform
to the position of Fairchild's Brigade? I am fairly confident I
oriented the map and read the contours correctly.
I have always been fascinated with the terrain in this area of the
field and I learned more using the Carmen-Cope maps than I had on
previous hikes. The role of the terrain in shaping the fighting and
in the fracture of Harland's Brigade into separate elements is
clear. The 16th CT and 4th RI deployed in the ravine at the eastern
end of the cornfield, while the 8th CT deployed to the North of the
corn. The advance of Fairchild's brigade was almost certainly
visible to the 8th CT, but not to the other two regiments.
I am continually working out my ideas on the action between AP Hill's
men and the the IX Corps. As Harland's two regiments disintegrated,
and with most of Ewing's Brigade deployed to plug the gap created by
Harland's disjointed advance, it seems the IX Corps advance was
doomed. The 12th OH, which remained in reserve, never advanced past
Otto's Farm Lane, and had they done so, it might not have made any
I think the real difference may lie with McLellan's decision not to
commit the V Corps. As the IX Corps was drawn northward toward
Sharpsburg, it's hard to visualize a scenario where their left would
not have been vulnerable to Hill's slashing attack. Had the V Corps
crossed the Middle Bridge and supported Burnside/Cox more effectively
on the right, perhaps the IX's response to Hill's assault would have
been more effective. With so many factors ifluencing the outcome,
the only thing I am certain of is that I need to study it more.
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