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483[TalkAntietam] Cook's (8th Mass) Btty at South Mt.

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  • Bill or Glenna Jo Christen
    Jan 19, 2002
      ringgold61 wrote:

      > How badly were Cook's boys treated? From Durell's unit history, I
      > thought they had simply been driven from their guns by a scalding
      > fire from close Confederate infantry. The Massachusetts men were
      > able to retire their guns from the field while the Pennsylvanians
      > were serving their pieces.

      Mark,

      Here's is an unfinished excerpt from a project the TR Livesey and I have
      started. It's still in the development stage. We are using a chronological
      ordering of all accounts and TR's excellent mapping skills. We hope to take
      advantage of 3-D maps to help study the fighting at Fox's and Turner's Gaps.
      It's still a year, or so from completion as TR is waiting patiently for me to
      finish my Pauline Cushman book (later this spring). Our approach is
      copyrighted and will eventually include more than the OR accounts. What I
      have included here is just a sample of how we have reordered the account
      presentations in a chronology.

      NOON -- ACROSS FROM THE HOFMAN HOUSE

      [The house is still there with a modern structure across the road where
      Cook's battery went into action. I have pictures of the house and fields from
      the early 1920s.]

      The command [COOK'S BATTERY] proceeded up the road to a point about 400 yards
      from the summit of the mountain, where, at about 12 o'clock [NOON], two
      pieces were brought into battery and commenced firing on a battery of the
      enemy on an elevation about a mile to the right. (12)

      ... [17TH MICHIGAN] proceeded far up the road towards the crest...and moving
      to the support of a section of Cook's battery...sent up the mountain to open
      on the enemy's guns on the right of the gap [TURNER'S]. (1)

      The road at this point was deeply gullied and very narrow, obliging us to
      move by the flank, the banks on either side being steep and six to ten feet
      high. (1)

      I [WILLCOX]...was proceeding to take up a position on his [COX] right, when I
      was ordered by...Reno to take position overlooking the main pike to our
      right. I planted a section of Cook's battery near the turn of the road, and
      opened fire on the enemy's battery across the main pike. After a few good
      shots, the enemy unmasked a battery on his left, over Shriver's Gap, from a
      small field enveloped by woods. He threw canister and shell, and drove Cook's
      cannoneers and drivers down the road with their limbers. (3)

      One section of Cook's battery was placed in position near the turn of the
      road (on the crest), and opened fire on the enemy's batteries across the gap.
      (2)

      Before reaching the summit, I [CHRIST] was ordered to form in line of battle
      on the right of the road, but before this movement was completed the enemy
      opened a battery which command this road. Cook's battery, which was just
      being placed in position at this time, received this fire directly in front,
      and from its great severity they were obliged to retire with their caissons,
      leaving two of their pieces in danger of being taken. (4)

      At this juncture, and while we [17MI] were about to deploy on the right, the
      enemy suddenly opened (at about 200 yards) with a battery which enfiladed the
      road at this point... (1)

      The division [WILLCOX'S] was proceeding to deploy to the right of the road,
      when the enemy suddenly opened (at 150 yards) with a battery which enfiladed
      the road at this point...(?)

      After firing about four rounds one of the pieces became disabled, and was
      withdrawn. While another piece was coming forward to replace it, the enemy
      opened a very heavy fire of canister upon us from a masked battery of
      12-pounders, about 150 yards off, on our flank. (12)

      Arrived at the foot of the mountain, I [WELSH] placed my troops in position
      on the left of Christ's brigade, the right of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania
      resting on the road and the left of the Forty-sixth New York extending toward
      the command of...Cox. (5)

      The regiment [46NY]..formed in line of battle on the left of the 45th
      Pennsylvania Volunteers, under a very heavy fire of shot and shell. The
      regiment covered themselves behind fences and hills till the order was given
      to advance. (14)

      I [WELSH] then caused two companies of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania to be
      moved forward to the top of the hill as skirmishers, who soon discovered the
      enemy's infantry in great force and his artillery completely commanding and
      shelling the woods. Heavy masses of infantry, covered by trees and stone
      fences supported the artillery. (5)

      The column of caissons and the disabled piece were ordered to the rear, when
      the enemy's fire became so heavy, 1 man...killed and 4 wounded in one section
      by the first discharge, the cannoneers were directed to retire to cover.
      (12)

      ...drove off Cook's cannoneers with their limbers, several of our [who's?]
      men being killed by shot and shell of the enemy. The cannoneers with their
      horses and limbers came rushing down the road through our dense ranks... (1)

      ...drove off Cook's cannoners with their limbers, and caused a temporary
      panic, in which the guns were nearly lost. (2)

      Cook gallantly remained with his guns. Cook here lost 1 man killed, 4
      wounded, and 2 horses killed. (3)

      The men [COOK'S BTTY] consequently fell back to shelter in the woods until a
      later hour in the day... (12)

      ...causing a temporary panic among some of the troops... (1)

      But the Seventy-ninth New York and Seventeenth Michigan promptly rallied,
      changed front under a heavy fire, and moved to protect the guns, with which
      Captain Cook had remained. (2)

      ...promptly changed front under a heavy fire of shot and shell, but as we had
      never had a battalion drill we formed our line of battle by countermarching,
      and moved out with the Seventy-ninth New York veterans to protect the
      battery. (1)

      ...the Seventy-ninth New York...was immediately ordered to the front on left
      of the road, and the Seventeenth Michigan...on the right of the road, to
      protect these pieces. (4)

      Order was soon restored, and the division [WILLCOX'S] formed in line on the
      right of Cox, and was kept concealed as much as possible under the shelter of
      the hillside...exposed...to fire of the battery in front, but
      also...batteries on the other side of the turnpike... (2)

      The attack was so sudden, the whole division being under fire (a flank fire),
      that a temporary panic occurred until I [WILLCOX] caused the Seventy-ninth
      New York...and Seventeenth Michigan... on the extreme left to draw across the
      road, facing the enemy, who were so close that we expected a charge to take
      Cook's battery. (3)

      The Seventy-ninth [NY] and Seventeenth [MI] here deserve credit for their
      coolness and firmness in rallying and changing front under a heavy fire. (3)

      Here the regiment [17M] extended across the Old Sharpsburg road and lay in
      line of battle, sheltered...by the sloping ground until nearly 4 p.m. (1)

      I [WILLCOX] now made a new disposition of the division...The rear,
      Seventy-ninth up in front and left of Cook's pieces, and the Seventeenth on
      right and little in rear; Seventy-ninth as skirmishers along whole line,
      supported by Forty-fifth Pennsylvania...connected Welsh's brigade with Cox's
      right, and stretched Christ's brigade from Welsh and across the road, holding
      the On hundredth Pennsylvania...in reserve, and moved up my whole command
      under the cover of the hillside. (3)

      Meantime the enemy's guns continued to play on us, killing and wounding at
      all points, but few in number. We lay silent and kept concealed. Our picket
      officers reported the enemy in heavy force of regiments in rear of their
      skirmishers. (3)

      (1) REPORT OF COLONEL FREDERIC W. SWIFT FROM MICHIGAN IN THE WAR,
      COMPILED BY JOHN ROBERTSON, LANSING, MICHIGAN, 1882 375-376 17MI

      (2) THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A COMPILATION OF THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF
      THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES, VOLUME XIX, US DEPARTMENT OF WAR,
      WASHINGTON DC, 1880-1901 (GENERAL REPORT NO. 2) -- 15 OCTOBER 1862 MAJOR
      GENERAL GEORGE B. McCLELLAN 24-53 AOP

      (3) O.R., VOL. XIX (REPORT NO. 139) -- 21 SEPTEMBER 1862 BRIGADIER
      GENERAL ORLANDO B. WILLCOX 427-429 1/IX

      (4) O.R., VOL. XIX (REPORT NO. 143) -- [no date possibly SEPTEMBER 1862]

      COLONEL B.C. CHRIST 437-438 1/1/IX

      (5) O.R., VOL. XIX (REPORT NO. 144) -- 18 SEPTEMBER 1862 COLONEL THOMAS
      WELSH 439-440 2/1/IX

      (12) O.R., VOL. XIX (REPORT NO. 140) -- 21 SEPTEMBER 1862 CAPTAIN ASA M.
      COOK 433-434 8MA BTTY

      (14) O.R., VOL. XIX (REPORT NO. 145) -- 16 SEPTEMBER 1862 LIEUTENANT
      COLONEL JOSEPH GERHARDT 441-442 46NY

      We have the ORs and a few other accounts almost completed. The project covers
      13-16 September from Middletown to the two Gaps. We will be adding our
      analysis and annotations as well. TR is working on an interactive feature
      that will account for the time of day in regard to sun positions.

      Bill Christen
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