Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: US Civil War Factbook

Expand Messages
  • Curt
    I would suggest: Mill Springs (A/D 1:1) Brice s Cross Roads (A/D 0.4/1.0) If you would like a contemporary European example, there is Sadowa (1866)(A/D
    Message 1 of 30 , Jun 8, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      I would suggest:

      Mill Springs (A/D 1:1)

      Brice's Cross Roads (A/D 0.4/1.0)

      If you would like a contemporary European example, there is Sadowa
      (1866)(A/D 1.0/0.98).

      These were true battles of annihilation, as was Nashville, which I
      assume is your unnamed example (benchmark?).

      As I have attempted to demonstrate elsewhere, in discussion of the
      purported 3-1 rule, there is no real correlation of raw numbers of
      personnel to success in battle.

      Curt Johnson
      McLean, Va.


      James Rose wrote:
      If you can show me a single example of where an army in the
      > Civil War that had a 1.58-1 or less superiority in effectives destroyed
      > the other army I will change my opinion. Until that happens I will
      > maintain that McClellan did a very good job during the Maryland campaign.
      >
      > Jim Rose
      >
    • James Rose
      ... I don t have much information on those two battles, but what I do have does not equate to battles of annihilation . At Mills Springs the forces were US
      Message 2 of 30 , Jun 9, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Curt wrote:

        > I would suggest:
        >
        > Mill Springs (A/D 1:1)
        >
        > Brice's Cross Roads (A/D 0.4/1.0)

        I don't have much information on those two battles, but what I do have
        does not equate to "battles of annihilation".

        At Mills Springs the forces were US 4,000 to CS 4,000. Casualties were
        US 262 to CS 529. Crittenden abandoned most of his equipment in the
        retreat. True it was a resounding victory for the US forces, but it
        stops well short of annihilation. I would like to point out two extra
        things about this battle. One, the scale of operations is significantly
        much smaller than I was thinking about (when I say army I generally
        refer to at least 20,000 men). Scale of operations does make a
        difference. Two, if what I read about many of Crittenden's men having
        weapons that didn't work is correct, then the odds change. A man cannot
        be considered a fighting effective if his weapon doesn't work.

        Brice's Cross Roads is a much better example (although the problem of
        scale is still there). The forces were US 8,100 to CS 3,500
        (interestingly at 2.3:1 this is close to the superiority that many
        people believe McClellan had over Lee). Casualties were US 2,612 to CS
        493. It was a rout, massive one sided victory (question are there any
        victories that were more one sided during the war), and just an all
        round good day for Forrest. However, Sturgis still made it to safety
        with the bulk of his army. I would like to point out one thing about
        this battle. The CS had Forrest. McClellan was many things, but a
        tactical genius was not one of them.

        I was looking up Nashville (yes it was the benchmark), and one
        conclusion jumps out at me. The difference between being routed and
        annihilation has a lot to do with the support structure of the army in
        question. As near as I can tell the only reason why Hood's army was
        "destroyed" was because the South could no longer recover from a massive
        defeat. This was not the situation in 1862.

        > As I have attempted to demonstrate elsewhere, in discussion of the
        > purported 3-1 rule, there is no real correlation of raw numbers of
        > personnel to success in battle.

        If this is true (which in general I agree) then why do people
        automatically assume that McClellan would defeat and destroy Lee? From
        every account I have read and heard Lee is considered a much better
        tactical commander than McClellan. I don't deny that McClellan might
        have been able to destroy the ANV. What I deny is that it is a given
        that had McClellan attacked on the 18th he would have destroyed the
        ANV. If anything Brice's Cross Roads shows that it could have gone the
        other way.

        In the Maryland campaign McClellan had two things going for him: numbers
        (which he was unaware of his advantage), and supply (his supply
        situation was far better than Lee's). He had five things going against
        him: strategic defense (i.e. he was reacting to Lee), tactical offense
        (if 3-1 isn't an official axiom, it is still better to be in a strong
        defensive position when fighting), morale (his army had just been
        routed), combat veterans (13% had never been in combat, and many of
        those who had been in only one major campaign got their experience at
        2nd Manassas), and tactical command ( the Lee/Longstreet/Jackson team is
        considered far better than the McClellan/Burnside/Porter team). The
        situation was reversed for Lee except that it is even worse for
        McClellan in the morale and combat veterans department. For morale the
        ANV had come off of a summer of victories capped with routing the
        federal army. For veterans, everyone in the ANV had been in at least
        one major campaign (the highest percentage being in 3 major battles).

        For the life of me I can't see what people base the assumption that it
        is axiomatic that the AotP would destroy the ANV if McClellan had
        attacked on the 18th. Possible, yes; probable, maybe (I thinks that's
        pushing it); a given, no way.

        Jim Rose
      • Anthony W. Turner
        Jim Rose wrote:
        Message 3 of 30 , Jun 9, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Jim Rose wrote:
          << In the Maryland campaign McClellan had two things going for him:
          numbers (which he was unaware of his advantage), and supply (his supply
          situation was far better than Lee's). He had five things going against
          him: strategic defense (i.e. he was reacting to Lee), tactical offense
          (if 3-1 isn't an official axiom, it is still better to be in a strong
          defensive position when fighting), morale (his army had just been
          routed), combat veterans (13% had never been in combat...) >>

          Your 13% figure differs, Jim, from the "one quarter" (or 25%) D. Scott
          Hartwig uses in his essay, "Who Would Not Be a Soldier?" within Gary
          Gallagher's _The Antietam Campaign_. I'm not the scholar here, and not
          about to dispute either figure, but feel two such disparate numbers
          deserve further discussion.

          Hartwig writes of the AoP: "The field army had an effective strength of
          approximately 60,000 men. On September 6-7, McClellan assigned
          twenty-four new regiments to his field army, distributing them equally
          among his corps, with the Second, Ninth, and Twelfth recieving the
          largest number. Only eighteen regiments, numbering about 15,000-16,000
          men, actually accompanied the army, the others being unable to join
          their assigned brigades before the army moved. In addition, several
          thousand volunteers who had been recruited for veteran regiments joined
          their assigned brigades before the army marched, raising the number of
          recruits in the field to approximately 20,000. This meant nearly
          one-quarter of McClellan's infantry had undergone little or no
          training."

          Comments, Jim and others?

          Tony Turner
        • James Rose
          I don t think that our numbers are really very different. It just takes some explaining. You might call my research the quick and dirty kind. Hartwig was
          Message 4 of 30 , Jun 9, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            I don't think that our numbers are really very different. It just takes
            some explaining. You might call my research the quick and dirty kind.
            Hartwig was talking about the men, while I was simply talking about
            regiments without reference to how many men were present for duty from
            each regiment. It stands to reason that the unblooded regiments will
            have more men present than the veteran units. I would not be surprised
            if a full 25% of the men at Antietam were under one month service. The
            following is how I came up with my numbers.

            I had to do the research on this by myself. Harsh did a good job with
            the ANV, but he has yet to do the AotP. So I did my research using the
            criteria in "Sounding the Shallows" for what constitutes major battles.
            What I did was use the table in "Gleam of Bayonets" for my list of what
            regiments were in the AotP at the time (from what I understand it is not
            a perfect list, but it was the best I had). Then using that list I went
            through Dyer's and created a spreadsheet of the 217 infantry regiments
            (that is what I was concerned with at the time). The tables were:
            branch (all infantry), state, regiment #, muster in date, terms of
            service, corps assign, division assign, brigade assign, previous combat
            (I included skirmishes for this), and major battles (using Harsh's
            definitions). It took a really long time to put all this information
            together, so I wouldn't be surprised if I made any mistakes.

            Of the 217 regiments in the AotP at this time there were 23 absent from
            Antietam (Forth corps and Humphrey's division). Of the 194 remaining,
            17 were mustered in less than one month before (8.8%); 26 had no
            previous combat experience (13.4%); 40 had never fought a major battle
            (20.6%); 35 had fought one major battle (18%); 92 had fought two major
            battles (47.4%); 25 had fought three major battles (12.9%); and 2 had
            fought 4 major battles (1%).

            Note that I did not put numbers of men to each regiment. That was
            beyond the scope of the research I was doing at the time (not to mention
            that would probably take a year, and I only had a few days). I will say
            that the absolute most that the new men could make up would be about 22%
            of the total men in the army in the "effectives" group. It was probably
            fairly close to this percentage.

            Jim Rose

            Anthony W. Turner wrote:

            >
            > Your 13% figure differs, Jim, from the "one quarter" (or 25%) D. Scott
            > Hartwig uses in his essay, "Who Would Not Be a Soldier?" within Gary
            > Gallagher's _The Antietam Campaign_. I'm not the scholar here, and not
            > about to dispute either figure, but feel two such disparate numbers
            > deserve further discussion.
            >
            > Hartwig writes of the AoP: "The field army had an effective strength of
            > approximately 60,000 men. On September 6-7, McClellan assigned
            > twenty-four new regiments to his field army, distributing them equally
            > among his corps, with the Second, Ninth, and Twelfth recieving the
            > largest number. Only eighteen regiments, numbering about 15,000-16,000
            > men, actually accompanied the army, the others being unable to join
            > their assigned brigades before the army moved. In addition, several
            > thousand volunteers who had been recruited for veteran regiments joined
            > their assigned brigades before the army marched, raising the number of
            > recruits in the field to approximately 20,000. This meant nearly
            > one-quarter of McClellan's infantry had undergone little or no
            > training."
            >
            > Comments, Jim and others?
            >
            > Tony Turner
            >
            >
          • Marcus Wendel
            ... Thanks, but I actually have that name on my list. /Marcus http://www.skalman.nu
            Message 5 of 30 , Jun 10, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In TalkAntietam@y..., James Rose <eodrose@e...> wrote:
              > I like the site. However you are missing one name for the Civil
              > War (an important one too). "The War of the Rebellion" which was
              > the official name given by the U.S. War department.

              Thanks, but I actually have that name on my list.

              /Marcus
              http://www.skalman.nu
            • Marcus Wendel
              ... Thanks, I am glad you like it. ... Good point, I will try to rephrase that. /Marcus http://www.skalman.nu
              Message 6 of 30 , Jun 10, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In TalkAntietam@y..., "Brian Downey" <brdowney@m...> wrote:
                > Thanks for the link Marcus. You have a very clean, readable site
                > there - nice introduction to the War between the States.

                Thanks, I am glad you like it.

                > On your 1862 timeline, you noted "17 Sep - Union forces defeat the
                > Confederate forces at Antietam, Maryland."
                > I would suggest the forces met on that date, but the matter of who
                > was victorious is open to debate. Also, in the North, the battle
                > was named for Antietam Creek. The battle actually occurred near
                > the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Those in the South referred to
                > the battle by the name of the town.

                Good point, I will try to rephrase that.

                /Marcus
                http://www.skalman.nu
              • Pa128th@aol.com
                In a message dated 6/9/01 8:54:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time, awturner@midtel.net writes:
                Message 7 of 30 , Jun 10, 2001
                • 0 Attachment
                  In a message dated 6/9/01 8:54:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                  awturner@... writes:

                  << Hartwig writes of the AoP: "The field army had an effective strength of
                  approximately 60,000 men. On September 6-7, McClellan assigned
                  twenty-four new regiments to his field army, distributing them equally
                  among his corps, with the Second, Ninth, and Twelfth recieving the
                  largest number. Only eighteen regiments, numbering about 15,000-16,000
                  men, actually accompanied the army, the others being unable to join
                  their assigned brigades before the army moved. In addition, several
                  thousand volunteers who had been recruited for veteran regiments joined
                  their assigned brigades before the army marched, raising the number of
                  recruits in the field to approximately 20,000. This meant nearly
                  one-quarter of McClellan's infantry had undergone little or no
                  training."
                  >>
                  Just to give you an example, one brigade of Alpheus Williams division in the
                  the X!! corps had 6 regiments, The 124th, the 125th and the 128th Pa were
                  just about full strength but were green troops and never in combat, the XII
                  corps missed South Mt, arriving there the night of the 14th. The other 3
                  regiments, the 10th Ct, 46th Pa and 28th NY were veterans, but had strengths
                  of about company size, if that.

                  Paula
                • John Priest
                  I ascertained that 27 of the Federal regiments at Antietam were green - being in the service less than six weeks. Regiments like the 8th Ohio, had been in
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jun 10, 2001
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I ascertained that 27 of the Federal regiments at Antietam were "green" -
                    being in the service less than six weeks. Regiments like the 8th Ohio, had
                    been in actions of some sort but not on the scale of Antietam. Antietam was
                    the first real battle of a large portion of the A of P. It was a very
                    terrible taste of on the job training.

                    Mike Priest


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: James Rose <eodrose@...>
                    To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
                    Date: Saturday, June 09, 2001 10:29 PM
                    Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: US Civil War Factbook


                    >I don't think that our numbers are really very different. It just takes
                    >some explaining. You might call my research the quick and dirty kind.
                    >Hartwig was talking about the men, while I was simply talking about
                    >regiments without reference to how many men were present for duty from
                    >each regiment. It stands to reason that the unblooded regiments will
                    >have more men present than the veteran units. I would not be surprised
                    >if a full 25% of the men at Antietam were under one month service. The
                    >following is how I came up with my numbers.
                    >
                    >I had to do the research on this by myself. Harsh did a good job with
                    >the ANV, but he has yet to do the AotP. So I did my research using the
                    >criteria in "Sounding the Shallows" for what constitutes major battles.
                    >What I did was use the table in "Gleam of Bayonets" for my list of what
                    >regiments were in the AotP at the time (from what I understand it is not
                    >a perfect list, but it was the best I had). Then using that list I went
                    >through Dyer's and created a spreadsheet of the 217 infantry regiments
                    >(that is what I was concerned with at the time). The tables were:
                    >branch (all infantry), state, regiment #, muster in date, terms of
                    >service, corps assign, division assign, brigade assign, previous combat
                    >(I included skirmishes for this), and major battles (using Harsh's
                    >definitions). It took a really long time to put all this information
                    >together, so I wouldn't be surprised if I made any mistakes.
                    >
                    >Of the 217 regiments in the AotP at this time there were 23 absent from
                    >Antietam (Forth corps and Humphrey's division). Of the 194 remaining,
                    >17 were mustered in less than one month before (8.8%); 26 had no
                    >previous combat experience (13.4%); 40 had never fought a major battle
                    >(20.6%); 35 had fought one major battle (18%); 92 had fought two major
                    >battles (47.4%); 25 had fought three major battles (12.9%); and 2 had
                    >fought 4 major battles (1%).
                    >
                    >Note that I did not put numbers of men to each regiment. That was
                    >beyond the scope of the research I was doing at the time (not to mention
                    >that would probably take a year, and I only had a few days). I will say
                    >that the absolute most that the new men could make up would be about 22%
                    >of the total men in the army in the "effectives" group. It was probably
                    >fairly close to this percentage.
                    >
                    >Jim Rose
                    >
                    >Anthony W. Turner wrote:
                    >
                    >>
                    >> Your 13% figure differs, Jim, from the "one quarter" (or 25%) D. Scott
                    >> Hartwig uses in his essay, "Who Would Not Be a Soldier?" within Gary
                    >> Gallagher's _The Antietam Campaign_. I'm not the scholar here, and not
                    >> about to dispute either figure, but feel two such disparate numbers
                    >> deserve further discussion.
                    >>
                    >> Hartwig writes of the AoP: "The field army had an effective strength of
                    >> approximately 60,000 men. On September 6-7, McClellan assigned
                    >> twenty-four new regiments to his field army, distributing them equally
                    >> among his corps, with the Second, Ninth, and Twelfth recieving the
                    >> largest number. Only eighteen regiments, numbering about 15,000-16,000
                    >> men, actually accompanied the army, the others being unable to join
                    >> their assigned brigades before the army moved. In addition, several
                    >> thousand volunteers who had been recruited for veteran regiments joined
                    >> their assigned brigades before the army marched, raising the number of
                    >> recruits in the field to approximately 20,000. This meant nearly
                    >> one-quarter of McClellan's infantry had undergone little or no
                    >> training."
                    >>
                    >> Comments, Jim and others?
                    >>
                    >> Tony Turner
                    >>
                    >>
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • James Rose
                    ... If you count Humphrey s division and Forth corps the number of Green regiments jumps to 27 on my table. I didn t count them because they were not at
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jun 10, 2001
                    • 0 Attachment
                      John Priest wrote:

                      > I ascertained that 27 of the Federal regiments at Antietam were "green" -
                      > being in the service less than six weeks. Regiments like the 8th Ohio, had
                      > been in actions of some sort but not on the scale of Antietam. Antietam was
                      > the first real battle of a large portion of the A of P. It was a very
                      > terrible taste of on the job training.


                      If you count Humphrey's division and Forth corps the number of "Green"
                      regiments jumps to 27 on my table. I didn't count them because they
                      were not at Antietam on the 17th.

                      Jim Rose
                    • Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine)
                      I don t think everyone believes McClellan would automatically destroy Lee. But with an advantage in manpower, and facing an opponent that had been whacked
                      Message 10 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        I don't think everyone believes McClellan would "automatically" destroy Lee.
                        But with an advantage in manpower, and facing an opponent that had been
                        whacked pretty good the day before (and Mac should know this, since _he_ was
                        whacked pretty thoroughly too), and with his back against a river and
                        nothing but catastrophe awaiting him should the day go against him, was it
                        _at least_ worth a try?

                        I would think even you would have to consider that as a valid choice.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: James Rose [mailto:eodrose@...]
                        Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2001 9:10 AM
                        To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: US Civil War Factbook




                        Curt wrote:

                        > I would suggest:
                        >
                        > Mill Springs (A/D 1:1)
                        >
                        > Brice's Cross Roads (A/D 0.4/1.0)

                        I don't have much information on those two battles, but what I do have
                        does not equate to "battles of annihilation".

                        At Mills Springs the forces were US 4,000 to CS 4,000. Casualties were
                        US 262 to CS 529. Crittenden abandoned most of his equipment in the
                        retreat. True it was a resounding victory for the US forces, but it
                        stops well short of annihilation. I would like to point out two extra
                        things about this battle. One, the scale of operations is significantly
                        much smaller than I was thinking about (when I say army I generally
                        refer to at least 20,000 men). Scale of operations does make a
                        difference. Two, if what I read about many of Crittenden's men having
                        weapons that didn't work is correct, then the odds change. A man cannot
                        be considered a fighting effective if his weapon doesn't work.

                        Brice's Cross Roads is a much better example (although the problem of
                        scale is still there). The forces were US 8,100 to CS 3,500
                        (interestingly at 2.3:1 this is close to the superiority that many
                        people believe McClellan had over Lee). Casualties were US 2,612 to CS
                        493. It was a rout, massive one sided victory (question are there any
                        victories that were more one sided during the war), and just an all
                        round good day for Forrest. However, Sturgis still made it to safety
                        with the bulk of his army. I would like to point out one thing about
                        this battle. The CS had Forrest. McClellan was many things, but a
                        tactical genius was not one of them.

                        I was looking up Nashville (yes it was the benchmark), and one
                        conclusion jumps out at me. The difference between being routed and
                        annihilation has a lot to do with the support structure of the army in
                        question. As near as I can tell the only reason why Hood's army was
                        "destroyed" was because the South could no longer recover from a massive
                        defeat. This was not the situation in 1862.

                        > As I have attempted to demonstrate elsewhere, in discussion of the
                        > purported 3-1 rule, there is no real correlation of raw numbers of
                        > personnel to success in battle.

                        If this is true (which in general I agree) then why do people
                        automatically assume that McClellan would defeat and destroy Lee? From
                        every account I have read and heard Lee is considered a much better
                        tactical commander than McClellan. I don't deny that McClellan might
                        have been able to destroy the ANV. What I deny is that it is a given
                        that had McClellan attacked on the 18th he would have destroyed the
                        ANV. If anything Brice's Cross Roads shows that it could have gone the
                        other way.

                        In the Maryland campaign McClellan had two things going for him: numbers
                        (which he was unaware of his advantage), and supply (his supply
                        situation was far better than Lee's). He had five things going against
                        him: strategic defense (i.e. he was reacting to Lee), tactical offense
                        (if 3-1 isn't an official axiom, it is still better to be in a strong
                        defensive position when fighting), morale (his army had just been
                        routed), combat veterans (13% had never been in combat, and many of
                        those who had been in only one major campaign got their experience at
                        2nd Manassas), and tactical command ( the Lee/Longstreet/Jackson team is
                        considered far better than the McClellan/Burnside/Porter team). The
                        situation was reversed for Lee except that it is even worse for
                        McClellan in the morale and combat veterans department. For morale the
                        ANV had come off of a summer of victories capped with routing the
                        federal army. For veterans, everyone in the ANV had been in at least
                        one major campaign (the highest percentage being in 3 major battles).

                        For the life of me I can't see what people base the assumption that it
                        is axiomatic that the AotP would destroy the ANV if McClellan had
                        attacked on the 18th. Possible, yes; probable, maybe (I thinks that's
                        pushing it); a given, no way.

                        Jim Rose






                        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      • James Rose
                        Perhaps saying everyone was a bit strong, but overall that is my impression of how most people judge McClellan s actions during the Maryland campaign. The
                        Message 11 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Perhaps saying "everyone" was a bit strong, but overall that is my
                          impression of how most people judge McClellan's actions during the
                          Maryland campaign. The seize on their vision of what might have been,
                          and lose sight of what McClellan did accomplish.

                          As to the specifics of your question (which was phrased quite
                          differently than I normally see it), I agree that it would have been
                          worth a try. That is speaking from the position of hindsight, and
                          knowing what I know, attacking on the 18th probably would have been a
                          good idea. While admitting that attacking might have been the best
                          course of action, that does not mean that I believe what McClellan did
                          do was wrong. I think that Harsh goes into the best detail of how the
                          situation looked to McClellan after the battle in TATF (Murfin does
                          little more than try to show that McClellan was little more than a
                          whinny boy, and Sears is not much better).

                          Looking at the situation on the evening of the 17th as it appeared to
                          McClellan his decision is not unreasonable. In the first place
                          McClellan did intend to attack on the 18th, but circumstances delayed it
                          for 24 hours. McClellan was unaware of his advantage in manpower. All
                          of the intelligence reports put the ANV at having a 25% advantage in
                          men, and nothing that happened during the 17th could have changed that
                          opinion downward. The AotP was repulsed at every point with 25-33%
                          losses (it was worse among the green troops). The ANV's line was never
                          broken fully open anywhere. The ANV was "wacked", but so was the AotP.
                          Any attack on the 18th could only be done with the Fifth and Sixth
                          corps'. The other corps' were unable to conduct offensive operations
                          (at least that is what the corps' commanders told McClellan). Of those
                          two corps' around 25% of the men had less than one month in service.
                          Then there is the ammo situation. Small arms ammo was critically short,
                          and the AotP was completely out of Parrot ammo. Because of the
                          destruction of the B&O bridge the AotP would not be resupplied until the
                          evening of the 18th. Finally any attack would again give Lee the
                          advantage of defense. At best I don't see how McClellan could have
                          believed that any attack on the 18th would be more than a toss up as to
                          who would win.

                          So the question becomes: should McClellan have taken that gamble and
                          attacked on the 18th? Considering what McClellan believe his duty to be
                          I would say that he was unjustified in taking the gamble that it
                          appeared to be. McClellan's first duty was the protection of
                          Washington, and the second was to end the invasion of Maryland (down
                          around the end of the list is the destruction of the ANV). By standing
                          fast on the 18th, and preparing to attack on the 19th McClellan served
                          both those duties. Lee had three options. He could attack, stand, or
                          leave. McClellan was ready for any counterattack, he would attack on
                          the 19th if Lee stood, and the only place for Lee to go was back to
                          Virginia. On the other hand if McClellan had attacked and lost, then
                          Lee might have been able to revive his invasion (unlikely in hindsight
                          no matter the outcome of the battle). That would mean a failure of both
                          the primary and secondary missions. Quite simply if McClellan had
                          attacked on the 18th he would have risked everything for the possibility
                          of gaining relatively little.

                          Jim Rose

                          Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine) wrote:

                          > I don't think everyone believes McClellan would "automatically" destroy Lee.
                          > But with an advantage in manpower, and facing an opponent that had been
                          > whacked pretty good the day before (and Mac should know this, since _he_ was
                          > whacked pretty thoroughly too), and with his back against a river and
                          > nothing but catastrophe awaiting him should the day go against him, was it
                          > _at least_ worth a try?
                          >
                          > I would think even you would have to consider that as a valid choice.
                        • Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine)
                          Not to entirely rehash this ever-so-familiar topic, but a couple of points: 1. You carefully explain all the reasons Mac had for not attacking on the 18th, yet
                          Message 12 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Not to entirely rehash this ever-so-familiar topic, but a couple of points:

                            1. You carefully explain all the reasons Mac had for not attacking on the
                            18th, yet state that he intended on attacking anyway. Huh?

                            2. Why did the reasons for not attacking on the 18th not apply to the 17th
                            as well?

                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: James Rose [mailto:eodrose@...]
                            Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 2:19 PM
                            To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: US Civil War Factbook


                            Perhaps saying "everyone" was a bit strong, but overall that is my
                            impression of how most people judge McClellan's actions during the
                            Maryland campaign. The seize on their vision of what might have been,
                            and lose sight of what McClellan did accomplish.

                            As to the specifics of your question (which was phrased quite
                            differently than I normally see it), I agree that it would have been
                            worth a try. That is speaking from the position of hindsight, and
                            knowing what I know, attacking on the 18th probably would have been a
                            good idea. While admitting that attacking might have been the best
                            course of action, that does not mean that I believe what McClellan did
                            do was wrong. I think that Harsh goes into the best detail of how the
                            situation looked to McClellan after the battle in TATF (Murfin does
                            little more than try to show that McClellan was little more than a
                            whinny boy, and Sears is not much better).

                            Looking at the situation on the evening of the 17th as it appeared to
                            McClellan his decision is not unreasonable. In the first place
                            McClellan did intend to attack on the 18th, but circumstances delayed it
                            for 24 hours. McClellan was unaware of his advantage in manpower. All
                            of the intelligence reports put the ANV at having a 25% advantage in
                            men, and nothing that happened during the 17th could have changed that
                            opinion downward. The AotP was repulsed at every point with 25-33%
                            losses (it was worse among the green troops). The ANV's line was never
                            broken fully open anywhere. The ANV was "wacked", but so was the AotP.
                            Any attack on the 18th could only be done with the Fifth and Sixth
                            corps'. The other corps' were unable to conduct offensive operations
                            (at least that is what the corps' commanders told McClellan). Of those
                            two corps' around 25% of the men had less than one month in service.
                            Then there is the ammo situation. Small arms ammo was critically short,
                            and the AotP was completely out of Parrot ammo. Because of the
                            destruction of the B&O bridge the AotP would not be resupplied until the
                            evening of the 18th. Finally any attack would again give Lee the
                            advantage of defense. At best I don't see how McClellan could have
                            believed that any attack on the 18th would be more than a toss up as to
                            who would win.

                            So the question becomes: should McClellan have taken that gamble and
                            attacked on the 18th? Considering what McClellan believe his duty to be
                            I would say that he was unjustified in taking the gamble that it
                            appeared to be. McClellan's first duty was the protection of
                            Washington, and the second was to end the invasion of Maryland (down
                            around the end of the list is the destruction of the ANV). By standing
                            fast on the 18th, and preparing to attack on the 19th McClellan served
                            both those duties. Lee had three options. He could attack, stand, or
                            leave. McClellan was ready for any counterattack, he would attack on
                            the 19th if Lee stood, and the only place for Lee to go was back to
                            Virginia. On the other hand if McClellan had attacked and lost, then
                            Lee might have been able to revive his invasion (unlikely in hindsight
                            no matter the outcome of the battle). That would mean a failure of both
                            the primary and secondary missions. Quite simply if McClellan had
                            attacked on the 18th he would have risked everything for the possibility
                            of gaining relatively little.

                            Jim Rose

                            Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine) wrote:

                            > I don't think everyone believes McClellan would "automatically" destroy
                            Lee.
                            > But with an advantage in manpower, and facing an opponent that had been
                            > whacked pretty good the day before (and Mac should know this, since _he_
                            was
                            > whacked pretty thoroughly too), and with his back against a river and
                            > nothing but catastrophe awaiting him should the day go against him, was it
                            > _at least_ worth a try?
                            >
                            > I would think even you would have to consider that as a valid choice.






                            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          • James Rose
                            ... Is there a problem with there being a disparity between what McClellan wanted to do and what he felt he was capable of doing? During the evening of the
                            Message 13 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine) wrote:

                              > Not to entirely rehash this ever-so-familiar topic, but a couple of points:
                              >
                              > 1. You carefully explain all the reasons Mac had for not attacking on the
                              > 18th, yet state that he intended on attacking anyway. Huh?

                              Is there a problem with there being a disparity between what McClellan
                              wanted to do and what he felt he was capable of doing? During the
                              evening of the 17th McClellan had determined to attack the following
                              day. The decision not to attack was an evolution of thinking that came
                              with the information he had. The situation didn't change, but
                              McClellan's understanding of it did. After thinking it through he
                              determined to postpone the attack until the 19th. Its called "changing
                              your mind", and people do it from time to time.

                              >
                              > 2. Why did the reasons for not attacking on the 18th not apply to the 17th
                              > as well?

                              I would imagine that two important things looked different on the
                              morning of the 18th then they did on the evening of the 17th. First, I
                              don't think that McClellan was aware that the ammunition would be
                              delayed until the morning of the 18th. Second, McClellan probably
                              thought that after marching all night Humphrey's and Couch's men would
                              not be in very good condition to conduct an offensive. Since they
                              constituted close to half of McClellan's available force for the attack,
                              the thought of using them right then may have looked a bit different
                              than in the abstract.

                              Jim Rose
                            • Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine)
                              ... Well, yeah. On the face of it, you give very good reasons for not pursuing offensive actions -- in fact, with the lack of ammo, staying put might not even
                              Message 14 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                              • 0 Attachment
                                >Is there a problem with there being a disparity between what McClellan
                                >wanted to do and what he felt he was capable of doing?

                                Well, yeah. On the face of it, you give very good reasons for not pursuing
                                offensive actions -- in fact, with the lack of ammo, staying put might not
                                even have been such a good idea. With said reasons, he shouldn't even have
                                been considering it under any circumstances. But he was, and it comes
                                closely to sounding like you want to play it both ways: He doesn't fight,
                                but deserves credit for at least thinking about it.

                                >I would imagine that two important things looked different on the
                                >morning of the 18th then they did on the evening of the 17th.

                                I was talking about the morning of the 17th -- if it was a good time to
                                attack then, what changed overnight other than slightly delayed ammo? If
                                there were reasons not to attack on the 18th, I would think they'd apply to
                                the 17th even more.
                              • NJ Rebel
                                Jim-- I cut your most excellent post to shorten the bandwith for this message but, in essence, I am in agreement with you on your statements. However, I
                                Message 15 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Jim--

                                  I cut your most excellent post to shorten the bandwith for this
                                  message but, in essence, I am in agreement with you on your
                                  statements.

                                  However, I believe there is one very valuable thing that Mac did
                                  with respects to Lee that most historians either overlook or
                                  simply did not take the time to consider. Harsh goes over this
                                  from the viewpoint of what Lee could or could not have done on
                                  September 18th in TATF. Essentially, by remaining "in place"
                                  where he was on September 18th, Mac effectively shut the door for
                                  Lee to continue his Maryland campaign. Hence a large part of the
                                  reason for the ANV retreat to Shepherdstown.

                                  I wonder, too, if Carman says anything about Mac not attacking on
                                  September 18th vis Lee and any plans Lee might have had. IIRC,
                                  Lee was all for attacking on September 18th, but his main
                                  subordinate commanders were unanimously against it.

                                  Hope this helps.

                                  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
                                • James Rose
                                  ... McClellan had to stay put. It was absolutely imperative that Lee not be allowed to revive the campaign. As for the ammo situation, if I understand it
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Jun 11, 2001
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine) wrote:

                                    >
                                    > Well, yeah. On the face of it, you give very good reasons for not pursuing
                                    > offensive actions -- in fact, with the lack of ammo, staying put might not
                                    > even have been such a good idea. With said reasons, he shouldn't even have
                                    > been considering it under any circumstances. But he was, and it comes
                                    > closely to sounding like you want to play it both ways: He doesn't fight,
                                    > but deserves credit for at least thinking about it.

                                    McClellan had to stay put. It was absolutely imperative that Lee not be
                                    allowed to revive the campaign. As for the ammo situation, if I
                                    understand it correctly McClellan thought (on the 17th) that he would be
                                    resupplied in time for the attack on the 18th. That didn't happen, and
                                    the shipment was delayed until the evening. If you don't want to give
                                    McClellan credit for intending to attack on the 18th that's fine. It
                                    doesn't actually matter to me. I personally think that McClellan
                                    answered the questions about moral cowardice, timidity, and
                                    unwillingness to fight on the 17th. The fact that McClellan thought
                                    about attacking on the 18th and then changed his mind doesn't mean
                                    anything other than he changed his mind.

                                    >
                                    > I was talking about the morning of the 17th -- if it was a good time to
                                    > attack then, what changed overnight other than slightly delayed ammo? If
                                    > there were reasons not to attack on the 18th, I would think they'd apply to
                                    > the 17th even more.
                                    >
                                    Let me see. What changed during the day of the 17th. Let's start with
                                    10,000 casualties and go from there. On the morning of the 17th the
                                    AotP had 6 intact corps' that were capable of offensive operations. By
                                    evening McClellan was reduced to two corps' capable of offensive
                                    operations. In the morning there was a full load-out of ammo. By
                                    evening there were critical shortages (heavy fighting tends to use up ammo).

                                    There were many reasons not to attack on the 17th. I can think of
                                    several with straining myself. However, not fighting Lee was out of the
                                    question. If McClellan did not bring Lee to battle in Maryland it would
                                    have been as damaging, or even more so, than actually losing the AotP.
                                    McClellan had to fight Lee at some point, and thanks in part to S.O. 191
                                    McClellan thought that the ANV was still separated (at least somewhat).
                                    That means that on the 17th McClellan thought that the odds were
                                    probably as good as they were going to get. Therefore, he attacked.
                                    There were many reasons not to attack, but more overriding ones to
                                    attack on the 17th. By evening those overriding reasons had been muted
                                    by the battle (i.e. a bloodied ANV leaving Maryland is very different
                                    than an unscratched ANV leaving Maryland).

                                    Jim Rose
                                  • Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine)
                                    ... Let me see. I guess all the Yankee bullets missed their marks. Where was this paralyzing lack of ammo in all of our other discussions? Has Dr. Harsh
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Jun 12, 2001
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      >Let me see. What changed during the day of the 17th. Let's start with
                                      >10,000 casualties and go from there.

                                      Let me see. I guess all the Yankee bullets missed their marks.

                                      Where was this paralyzing lack of ammo in all of our other discussions? Has
                                      Dr. Harsh written another book?
                                    • James Rose
                                      ... You do realize that McClellan had no real idea of how badly the Confederates were hurt during the battle. He could make an educated guess, but that is it.
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Jun 12, 2001
                                      • 0 Attachment


                                        Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine) wrote:
                                        Let me see.  What changed during the day of the 17th.  Let's start with
                                        10,000 casualties and go from there.

                                        Let me see. I guess all the Yankee bullets missed their marks.
                                        You do realize that McClellan had no real idea of how badly the Confederates were hurt during the battle.  He could make an educated guess, but that is it.  Basically what you are saying sounds like a paraphrase from a famous politician that goes something like this "Yes your troops are hurt, but so are they.  You are all hurt together."  McClellan understood something that apparently a lot of people miss.  It is easier to defend than it is to attack.  So on the 18th McClellan would only be able to attack with part of his army, but Lee would be able to defend with his entire army.


                                        Where was this paralyzing lack of ammo in all of our other discussions? Has
                                        Dr. Harsh written another book?

                                        Have you read "Taken at the Flood" yet?  As for our other discussions, this is the first time I've been on these groups that I have joined in on a discussion of why McClellan didn't attack on the 18th.  That is why I've never mentioned it.  I've also never said that the ammo situation was "paralyzing".  That word has connotations that do not fit in this instance.  I said that he was critically short of ammo.  Sears acknowledges that lack of Parrot rounds even as he dismisses it as meaningless.  I think that the loss of the 20lb Parrots is far from meaningless.  They represented over 10% of the artillery pieces, and as the largest caliber they probably represented a higher percentage in actual combat power.  Considering that artillery is the one branch that McClellan knows is superior in all respects to the Confederates, such a loss is far from trivial.

                                        Jim Rose


                                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.