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Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign

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  • Brian Downey
    Thanks for the details Dave - I ve been thinking that more important than the control McLaws _actually_ had over the Valley, is what Gen McClellan understood
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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      Thanks for the details Dave -

      I've been thinking that more important than the control
      McLaws _actually_ had over the Valley, is what Gen McClellan
      understood or believed he was up against at the time.

      I don't know that he'd have had time to recognize his couriers weren't
      getting through to HF. Also, going on memory, Col Davis
      hadn't got to McClellan (if at all) til the 17th with his knowledge of
      Confederate positions. I don't know what intel, if any,
      McClellan had about where his enemy was between the 14th and 17th
      aside from the aging SO191. As Eric W mentioned, McClellan doesn't
      seem to have used his Cavalry much for scouting, at least not in
      Pleasant Valley after breaking through Fox's on the 14th.

      Eric had made a hypothetical (or hindsight) suggestion that McClellan
      should have used his Cavalry to delay AP Hill in his arrival from HF
      on the 17th. I'm thinking McClellan couldn't do that, not because he
      didn't know how to use the arm or because he lacked resources - more
      because it wasn't at all a practical option for him, even if he knew
      that AP Hill would be coming and what his impact would be at
      Sharpsburg ...

      Brian



      > Brian,
      >
      > I think we've credited McLaws with too much control over Maryland
      Hgts/Elk Ridge prior to becoming alarmed at what was going on behind
      him in the Pleasant Valley passes, and drawing his attention. My
      impression is that his men held a fairly narrow approach along the
      ridge line and eastern slope, but had not swept over the western slope
      nor established control over the road under the railroad crossing and
      past Salty Dog...the escape route for the Union cavalry's (Grimes
      Davis') night passage.
      >
      > McLaws' approach march to HF appears to me to have been in three
      columns--one (Kershaw-Barksdale) on Elk Ridge toward Md Hgts, one
      (Anderson) along South Mountain toward Sandy Point, and McLaws' main
      body along the floor of Pleasant Valley, the three probably
      coordinating their advance by signal. With the sounds of firing
      behind, McLaws had to divert attention to his rear guard at the
      passes, while at the same time pushing guns forward toward the south
      end of Md Hgts. It's almost as though no thought was given to the
      western slope or the river road below it.
      >
      > Mac had no telegraphic communication with HF, and the small signal
      unit posted on Md Hgts withdrew ("on their own"), effectively denying
      visual signal communication to the east at the very time its was most
      needed. (I've found no indication that signal communication was
      attempted between McLaws and D.H. Hill, Longstreet, or GHQ either.)
      >
      > Maybe I should save this for "Harpers Ferry on the Web"!
      >
      > Dave Gaddy
      >
    • G E Mayers
      Dear Brian, re Mac and AP Hill......Burnside was warned by US Signal Corps that AP Hill would be soon engaging his left...but did nothing about it.......
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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        Dear Brian,

        re Mac and AP Hill......Burnside was warned by US Signal Corps that AP Hill
        would be soon engaging his left...but did nothing about it....... Cavalry
        would have run into Munford, IIRC, who was posted down towards Antietam
        Creek.

        As for Pleasant Valley, Franklin debouched into there from taking Crampton's
        Gap. Fox's Gap was the key to controlling Turner's Gap, but the stiff
        Confederate resistance made the Federal IX Corps not realize they had
        actually taken the Gap....until too late. Turner's Gap was attacked by the
        Federal I Corps and the very very stiff Confederate resistance there pretty
        much held off a Federal breakthrough on that front.

        I believe Mac knew something was up with HF because, again IIRC, he was
        supposed to signal with cannon when he approached close enough to HF to try
        to relieve the Siege there. Again, IIRC, the telegraph lines operating out
        from HF were still open until very late in the Siege.

        Very respectfully,
        G E "Gerry" Mayers

        "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
        and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
        to preserve it, save that of honour."
        --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860
      • Harry Smeltzer
        Three questions, Gerry. How did the US Signal Corps identify the force as Hill s? How did McClellan learn or indicate that what he was attempting to relieve at
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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          Three questions, Gerry.



          How did the US Signal Corps identify the force as Hill's?



          How did McClellan learn or indicate that what he was attempting to relieve
          at HF was a siege?



          To where were the telegraph lines from HF operating?



          Harry



          -----Original Message-----
          From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of G E Mayers
          Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 2:51 PM
          To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign



          Dear Brian,

          re Mac and AP Hill......Burnside was warned by US Signal Corps that AP Hill
          would be soon engaging his left...but did nothing about it....... Cavalry
          would have run into Munford, IIRC, who was posted down towards Antietam
          Creek.

          As for Pleasant Valley, Franklin debouched into there from taking Crampton's

          Gap. Fox's Gap was the key to controlling Turner's Gap, but the stiff
          Confederate resistance made the Federal IX Corps not realize they had
          actually taken the Gap....until too late. Turner's Gap was attacked by the
          Federal I Corps and the very very stiff Confederate resistance there pretty
          much held off a Federal breakthrough on that front.

          I believe Mac knew something was up with HF because, again IIRC, he was
          supposed to signal with cannon when he approached close enough to HF to try
          to relieve the Siege there. Again, IIRC, the telegraph lines operating out
          from HF were still open until very late in the Siege.

          Very respectfully,
          G E "Gerry" Mayers

          "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
          and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
          to preserve it, save that of honour."
          --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860










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        • G E Mayers
          Good questions Harry! 1. IIRC, Hill s force was ID d by the US Signals from their signal station closest to Burnside due to their having very high quality
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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            Good questions Harry!

            1. IIRC, Hill's force was ID'd by the US Signals from their signal station
            closest to Burnside due to their having very high quality optics and also, I
            would imagine they saw the column marching up the HF Ferry Road flying
            Virginia and Confederate flags. (Will have to check sources on that one!)

            2. Will have to check sources on this one, but IIRC, he was so informed by
            Halleck. (Maybe Tom Clemens can help with this one as well as Question 1.)

            3. Let me check sources including Harsh TATF on this. (Another good Tom
            Clemens question!)

            Very respectfully,
            G E "Gerry" Mayers

            "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
            and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
            to preserve it, save that of honour."
            --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@...>
            To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 3:13 PM
            Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign


            > Three questions, Gerry.
            >
            >
            >
            > How did the US Signal Corps identify the force as Hill's?
            >
            >
            >
            > How did McClellan learn or indicate that what he was attempting to relieve
            > at HF was a siege?
            >
            >
            >
            > To where were the telegraph lines from HF operating?
            >
            >
            >
            > Harry
            >
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com]
            > On
            > Behalf Of G E Mayers
            > Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 2:51 PM
            > To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign
            >
            >
            >
            > Dear Brian,
            >
            > re Mac and AP Hill......Burnside was warned by US Signal Corps that AP
            > Hill
            > would be soon engaging his left...but did nothing about it....... Cavalry
            > would have run into Munford, IIRC, who was posted down towards Antietam
            > Creek.
            >
            > As for Pleasant Valley, Franklin debouched into there from taking
            > Crampton's
            >
            > Gap. Fox's Gap was the key to controlling Turner's Gap, but the stiff
            > Confederate resistance made the Federal IX Corps not realize they had
            > actually taken the Gap....until too late. Turner's Gap was attacked by the
            > Federal I Corps and the very very stiff Confederate resistance there
            > pretty
            > much held off a Federal breakthrough on that front.
            >
            > I believe Mac knew something was up with HF because, again IIRC, he was
            > supposed to signal with cannon when he approached close enough to HF to
            > try
            > to relieve the Siege there. Again, IIRC, the telegraph lines operating out
            > from HF were still open until very late in the Siege.
            >
            > Very respectfully,
            > G E "Gerry" Mayers
            >
            > "As an American citizen I prize the Union very highly
            > and know of no personal sacrifice that I would not make
            > to preserve it, save that of honour."
            > --Robt. E. Lee, Letter to Rooney Lee, 3 December 1860
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          • Thomas Clemens
            A dispatch rider from HF got to McClellan and notified him of the situation. I can look up the exact day & time if you need it, it is in Carman. Mac was
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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              A dispatch rider from HF got to McClellan and notified him of the
              situation. I can look up the exact day & time if you need it, it is in
              Carman. Mac was very much trying to break through and relieve the
              siege, and Halleck discussed it with him, adding it to his mission. The
              telegraph line to DC, and everywhere else, were cut by the 13th.

              The signal dispatch warning of Hill's approach is in the OR IIRC, but
              there is no evidence it reached Burnside in time to react to it. I
              don't think it mentions Hill by name, and the Viriginia flags is a myth,
              the only VA units in the light Division were in Field's brigade, and
              they were at the end of the column. Gregg's SC brigade was first, and
              the NC artillery officer who saw the flag with his telescope probably
              confused it for a VA flag.

              Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
              Professor of History
              Hagerstown Community College


              >>> hjs21@... 01/08/06 3:13 PM >>>
            • Teej Smith
              Tom Clemens wrote: Gregg s SC brigade was first, and ... Yeah, well you know how it is, all those Mountain of Conceit flags look pretty much the same to
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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                Tom Clemens wrote:

                <snip>

                Gregg's SC brigade was first, and
                > the NC artillery officer who saw the flag with his telescope probably
                > confused it for a VA flag.

                Yeah, well you know how it is, all those Mountain of Conceit flags look
                pretty much the same to North Carolinians. :-)

                Regards,
                Teej
              • Thomas Clemens
                Yes, many state had blue flags with a state seal or symbol that looked alike from a distance. Even Maryland had one like that, unlike the ugly flag we have
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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                  Yes, many state had blue flags with a state seal or symbol that looked
                  alike from a distance. Even Maryland had one like that, unlike the ugly
                  flag we have now.

                  Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
                  Professor of History
                  Hagerstown Community College


                  >>> teej@... 01/08/06 6:29 PM >>>
                • flagflop
                  Harry, In Ed Fishel s 1996 Secret War for the Union, (p. 234), Fishel wrestled with the basis for Mac s (erroneous) conclusion that Jackson had arrived on
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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                    Harry,
                    In Ed Fishel's 1996 "Secret War for the Union," (p. 234), Fishel
                    wrestled with the basis for Mac's (erroneous) conclusion that
                    Jackson had arrived on the field at Sharpsburg on 15 Sep. He
                    suggested that it may have been due simply to Mac's hearing the
                    cheers at Sharpsburg (over news of the fall of HF), mis-interpreting
                    that as arrival of major reenforcement, asking himself (based on SO
                    191) which force that would likely be, and assuming Jackson...for
                    Jackson was not concerned with HF, but Martinsburg, and thus most
                    likely to have finished his task and rejoined Lee. Fishel describes
                    this as "Of all the erroneous conclusions about enemy movements and
                    positions that McClellan made after acquiring Lee's order, this one
                    was the most damaging." I tend to agree with that: in other words,
                    Mac accepted that (per SO 191) the reduction of HF was the primary
                    task of McLaws' guns on Md Hgts, with a modest assist from Walker to
                    block down-stream exit. He was unaware of Jackson's arrival there to
                    invest the post and the delay in SO 191's time-table.
                    Dave Gaddy


                    --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@c...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Dave,
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > This leads me to ask a question to which I have never received an
                    adequate
                    > response:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Given that SO 191 placed Jackson's command at Martinsburg and
                    under no
                    > circumstance directed him to Harper's Ferry, and given the lack of
                    > communication between HF and McClellan as you have described, what
                    was the
                    > earliest McClellan could have been aware of Jackson's - not
                    McLaws', not
                    > Walker's, but Jackson's - presence at HF, and how did he receive
                    that
                    > information?
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Harry
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                    [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
                    > Behalf Of flagflop
                    > Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 8:51 PM
                    > To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Mac had no telegraphic communication with HF, and the small signal
                    unit
                    > posted on Md Hgts withdrew ("on their own"), effectively denying
                    visual
                    > signal communication to the east at the very time its was most
                    needed. (I've
                    > found no indication that signal communication was attempted
                    between McLaws
                    > and D.H. Hill, Longstreet, or GHQ either.)
                    >
                    > Maybe I should save this for "Harpers Ferry on the Web"!
                    >
                    > Dave Gaddy
                    >
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                  • Harry Smeltzer
                    An erroneous conclusion to be sure, but also understandable given the contents of SO 191. ... From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 8, 2006
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                      An erroneous conclusion to be sure, but also understandable given the
                      contents of SO 191.



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
                      Behalf Of flagflop
                      Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 11:09 PM
                      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign



                      Harry,
                      In Ed Fishel's 1996 "Secret War for the Union," (p. 234), Fishel
                      wrestled with the basis for Mac's (erroneous) conclusion that
                      Jackson had arrived on the field at Sharpsburg on 15 Sep. He
                      suggested that it may have been due simply to Mac's hearing the
                      cheers at Sharpsburg (over news of the fall of HF), mis-interpreting
                      that as arrival of major reenforcement, asking himself (based on SO
                      191) which force that would likely be, and assuming Jackson...for
                      Jackson was not concerned with HF, but Martinsburg, and thus most
                      likely to have finished his task and rejoined Lee. Fishel describes
                      this as "Of all the erroneous conclusions about enemy movements and
                      positions that McClellan made after acquiring Lee's order, this one
                      was the most damaging." I tend to agree with that: in other words,
                      Mac accepted that (per SO 191) the reduction of HF was the primary
                      task of McLaws' guns on Md Hgts, with a modest assist from Walker to
                      block down-stream exit. He was unaware of Jackson's arrival there to
                      invest the post and the delay in SO 191's time-table.
                      Dave Gaddy


                      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@c...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > Dave,
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > This leads me to ask a question to which I have never received an
                      adequate
                      > response:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Given that SO 191 placed Jackson's command at Martinsburg and
                      under no
                      > circumstance directed him to Harper's Ferry, and given the lack of
                      > communication between HF and McClellan as you have described, what
                      was the
                      > earliest McClellan could have been aware of Jackson's - not
                      McLaws', not
                      > Walker's, but Jackson's - presence at HF, and how did he receive
                      that
                      > information?
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Harry
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                      [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
                      > Behalf Of flagflop
                      > Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 8:51 PM
                      > To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Mac had no telegraphic communication with HF, and the small signal
                      unit
                      > posted on Md Hgts withdrew ("on their own"), effectively denying
                      visual
                      > signal communication to the east at the very time its was most
                      needed. (I've
                      > found no indication that signal communication was attempted
                      between McLaws
                      > and D.H. Hill, Longstreet, or GHQ either.)
                      >
                      > Maybe I should save this for "Harpers Ferry on the Web"!
                      >
                      > Dave Gaddy
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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