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Re: [TalkAntietam] Antietam Tour: Burnside's Attack

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  • Teej Smith
    ... ... Whoa Tom, you can t just casually mention something like that and not tell us what the general consensus was. I think I ve asked this question
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 19, 2001
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      rotbaron@... wrote:
      >
      > Report on Antietam Tour #5 : Burnside's Attack
      >
      <Snip>
      >
      > Questions were asked about why the Union batteries were ineffective in
      > driving off the Georgians.

      Whoa Tom, you can't just casually mention something like that and not
      tell us what the general consensus was. I think I've asked this question
      of every guide I've ever toured the field with, not to mention on
      various groups, and have gotten different answers every time. So 'fess
      up why weren't the Union batteries effective against the Georgians?

      Regards,
      Teej
      >
      >
    • rotbaron@aol.com
      In a message dated 09/19/2001 5:15:32 PM EST, teej@pinehurst.net writes:
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 20, 2001
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        In a message dated 09/19/2001 5:15:32 PM EST, teej@... writes:
        << Whoa Tom, you can't just casually mention something like that and not tell
        us what the general consensus was. >>

        Mike (our guide) had no explanation and looked forward to researching this
        question further.
        Perhaps we have other members who can provide some insight as to Union guns'
        ineffectiveness in driving off the Georgians?

        Tom Shay
      • Bill & Glenna Jo Christen
        I would guess that line of sight and an effective range would be two key issues. Before the assault the Ninth Corps was situated in an area that had several
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 20, 2001
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          I would guess that line of sight and an effective range would be two key issues.
          Before the assault the Ninth Corps was situated in an area that had several hills
          between it and the high ground on the west side of the bridge. Unlike modern
          warfare effective use of artillery in 1862 required direct line of sight in this
          particular situation. Positions with direct line of sight were subject to
          Confederate long range artillery fire from positions near Sharpsburg and small
          arms fire. Long range solid shot would hardly be effective at scattering a line
          of men that was spread out already. Before proceeding further I would need a map
          (hint to TR) to make sure of my thesis. Remembering the terrain and the timetable
          of action I believe that either there were no effective positions or those
          positions were not tenable without heavy loss to the gun crews.

          Bill Christen
        • TR Livesey
          Bill & all, This is an interesting question. First, let me digress back to our discussion about concealment. I have always considered woods to be concealing.
          Message 4 of 12 , Sep 20, 2001
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            Bill & all,

            This is an interesting question.

            First, let me digress back to our discussion about
            concealment. I have always considered woods to be
            concealing. If we accept this, then I would say
            immediately that no Union artillery would have
            line of sight (los) with the Confederate Georgians,
            since the Confederates were completely within woods,
            and thereby concealed. Of course, Union artillery
            would not need direct visual contact with Confederate
            soldiers to know where they were located. Therefore,
            let me say that the discussion following assumes that
            the woods in which the Georgians were located did
            not offer concealment.

            To begin, we need to establish the locations of
            Union batteries. I consulted Plate 9 of the
            Carman-Cope maps, the relevant portion reproduced
            here:

            http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/ca000011.gif

            Plate 9 depicts something like 10:30 am. There
            is also Plate 10, which depicts 12:15. The
            artillery positions are basically the same
            between these maps, except that Taft has
            moved down from the Middle Bridge, and
            Simmonds has been brought up.

            I have tried to locate these artillery positions
            on a modern map. The placement is not exact;
            I only eyeballed the approximate positions,
            but I think it is close enough for this
            discussion:

            http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/base.gif

            The Confederate position is marked in red,
            and the Union artillery positions are in
            blue. Contour lines are at 10 feet intervals.
            For placement, I have attempted to combine
            the artillery positions for plates 9 & 10.

            Because contour lines are hard to interpret,
            I have redrawn the map with elevation color
            coded; as always, yellow is the lowest elevation,
            then green, blue, and red being the highest:

            http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/elev.gif

            As can be seen, the Union artillery positions
            dominate the Confederate position.

            To get more analytical results, I considered the
            los between these Unions positions and the Confederate
            position:

            http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/los.gif

            In this image, each point in the Union positions
            is evaluated to determine the percentage of
            points in the Confederate position that have direct
            los with it. The point is then color coded,
            yellow being lowest (basically 0% of
            the Confederate position visible), through
            greens, blues, and reds, for which the
            visibility is highest (100% of the Confederate
            position visible).

            As can be seen, a considerate amount of Union
            artillery has excellent los: nearly all of
            McMullen, Roemer, and Muhlenberg's, and some
            of Cook's and Benjamin's have los at 100%

            On the map above I drew a red line to indicate
            the direction of 1 possible profile. Below,
            I have drawn this profile:

            http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/profile.gif

            As can be seen, there is clear line of sight
            between the Union and Confederate positions,
            at least alone this profile.

            Overall, I conclude that - considering only
            geographic considerations - the Union artillery
            positions had excellent los with the Confederate
            Georgians.

            Why the Lower Bridge defenders were not pounded
            by Union artillery cannot be explained strictly
            by the orientation of hills and terrain features.

            Perhaps the woods in which the Georgians were located
            did offer concealment. Or perhaps there were other factors -
            such as battle smoke, which limited visibility. After
            many guns had been discharged, one would think that a
            considerable layer of smoke could fill the creek bed,
            and create a literal 'fog of war', which could have
            limited the effectiveness of Union artillery. This
            is just speculation on my part.

            It would be nice to do a field trip and visit the
            actual Union artillery positions to see what you
            can see from there. The area is private property,
            so I have never been up there. On the other hand,
            IIRC, the area is pretty much overgrown, so even
            if you could get up there, you probably would
            not be able to see the same view that was
            present in 1862.

            TR Livesey
            westwood@...

            Bill & Glenna Jo Christen wrote:
            >
            > I would guess that line of sight and an effective range would be two key issues.
            > Before the assault the Ninth Corps was situated in an area that had several hills
            > between it and the high ground on the west side of the bridge. Unlike modern
            > warfare effective use of artillery in 1862 required direct line of sight in this
            > particular situation. Positions with direct line of sight were subject to
            > Confederate long range artillery fire from positions near Sharpsburg and small
            > arms fire. Long range solid shot would hardly be effective at scattering a line
            > of men that was spread out already. Before proceeding further I would need a map
            > (hint to TR) to make sure of my thesis. Remembering the terrain and the timetable
            > of action I believe that either there were no effective positions or those
            > positions were not tenable without heavy loss to the gun crews.
            >
            > Bill Christen
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          • Bill & Glenna Jo Christen
            ... TR Thanks for this work. This is an excellent start to this study. It looks like there was more artillery than I imaged with LOS to the CS positions. I
            Message 5 of 12 , Sep 22, 2001
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              TR Livesey wrote:

              > In this image, each point in the Union positions is evaluated to determine the
              > percentage of points in the Confederate position that have direct los with it....As
              > can be seen, a considerate amount of Union artillery has excellent los: nearly all of
              >
              > McMullen, Roemer, and Muhlenberg's, and some of Cook's and Benjamin's have los at
              > 100%

              TR

              Thanks for this work. This is an excellent start to this study. It looks like there was
              more artillery than I imaged with LOS to the CS positions.

              I think the next step it to figure out the location of the batteries from sunrise until
              the bridge was taken around 1 PM. One would suspect that all these batteries were in
              position by sunrise, but that might not be the case. Another step will be to check the
              ORs and other accounts for time relationships to when any batteries were active.

              > On the map above I drew a red line to indicate the direction of 1 possible
              > profile...As can be seen, there is clear line of sight between the Union and
              > Confederate positions, at least alone this profile.
              >
              > Why the Lower Bridge defenders were not pounded by Union artillery cannot be
              > explained strictly by the orientation of hills and terrain features.

              I agree. As this (the lower bridge action) was a "demonstration" per original orders to
              Burnside, perhaps not all batteries were ordered into action. Anticipation of driving
              the CS forces from the bridge without delay and the subsequent movement of batteries to
              positions overlooking Sharpsburg might have caused the batteries to remain limbered.

              > ...Or perhaps there were other factors...

              Firing downward at CS units at the base of the bridge along the creek would be hamper
              by the ability to angle the guns in an effective manner. Also smoke and later the
              presence of US forces along the east bank of the creek would prohibit effect fire.

              > It would be nice to do a field trip and visit the actual Union artillery positions to
              > see what you can see from there.

              I am planning to be at the Harpers Ferry 1860 Election Day event on 13 October
              (Saturday) and would consider a small "scout" in the area early on Friday or Sunday
              mornings. I am also planning to be in the area just on the Gettysburg Remembrance Day
              weekend in November. Let me know if anyone can join me. We need the Pflum boys to help
              us with Ninth Corps artillery details.

              Ninth Corps Artillery...

              Eighth MA (Cook's)
              "...morning east of Antietam Creek...battery fired for an hour or two on two rebel
              batteries on the hills to the right and left of the village of Sharpsburg."

              The left section (two or four guns?) of was detached on went into action AFTER crossing
              the bridge.

              Second US, Btty E (Benjamin's or Carlisle's)
              "morning...opened fire early on a battery which was shelling ...Rodman's
              division...several times during the day we engaged a battery of eight guns to the right
              [north] of Sharpsburg...also fired on batteries left [south of the town] [no tome is
              specified for these actions].

              PA Light, Btty D (Durell's)
              "...morning...the enemy opened a heavy artillery fire, from which their projectiles
              fell thick in our [Sturgis' Brigade] camp, and I [Sturgis] sent Captain Rawole forward
              with Captain Durell's battery, which took position on an eminence and to the left of
              Captain Weed's battery [?], already engaged. Some of the enemy's batteries were soon
              silenced...it became necessary to send Captain Clark's battery up, which soon got into
              position on the left of...Durell's. I now received orders from...Burnside to move still
              farther to the left and front, and cross the Antietam Bridge. The batteries
              were...withdrawn and placed in new positions, so as to aid in clearing the wood on the
              opposite bank...One section was placed on the right of Benjamin's battery, in the rear
              of the cornfield, through which the division moved toward the bridge. Another section
              was placed on the right of the road, about 400 yards from the bridge, but did not open.
              Captain Clark's battery was ordered to a position on the right of the woods, near the
              slope occupied by the division the previous night, and one section held in reserve."

              Fourth US, Btty E (Clark's)
              "...Clark, of Battery E, Fourth Artillery, who did excellent service, and received four
              wounds during the day."
              also see above

              Fifth US, Btty A (Mulenberg's)
              OH Light, First Btty (McMullin's)
              McMullin's battery was in the thick of the action at Fox's Gap on the 14th. I do not
              know what shape it was in on the 17th.

              KY Light (Simmond's Btty)
              Third US, Btty L & M (Edward's)

              At 10 AM Colonel Christ was "...ordered to support some batteries covering our advance
              near the stone bridge."

              What battery was assigned to the Ninth New York?

              > The area is private property, so I have never been up there.

              We could at least get a sighting back toward the US positions while arrangements can be
              made for a spring walk.

              Thanks again TR

              Bill
            • rotbaron@aol.com
              My sincere thanks to Todd for some great maps. I surely will use them (and any others) in my ongoing study of the action during Burnside s assault. They
              Message 6 of 12 , Sep 22, 2001
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                My sincere thanks to Todd for some great maps. I surely will use them (and any others) in my ongoing study of the action during Burnside's assault. They greatly help in my gaining an understanding of this portion of the battle. I'll pass them along to the Rangers.

                You should (seriously!) consider putting together a book featuring your topographical anyalsis of the battle.

                Tom Shay - Cressona, PA
              • Tom Clemens
                Bill, McMullin s has a monumnet on the ridge where the Ninth Corps guns were located. It is right along the Burnside Bridge road, the real road, not the NPS
                Message 7 of 12 , Sep 22, 2001
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                  Bill,
                  McMullin's has a monumnet on the ridge where the Ninth Corps guns were located. It is
                  right along the Burnside Bridge road, the real road, not the NPS road. I'd be happy to
                  show you if I am available.


                  Bill & Glenna Jo Christen wrote:

                  > TR Livesey wrote:
                  >
                  > > In this image, each point in the Union positions is evaluated to determine the
                  > > percentage of points in the Confederate position that have direct los with it....As
                  > > can be seen, a considerate amount of Union artillery has excellent los: nearly all of
                  > >
                  > > McMullen, Roemer, and Muhlenberg's, and some of Cook's and Benjamin's have los at
                  > > 100%
                  >
                  > TR
                  >
                  > Thanks for this work. This is an excellent start to this study. It looks like there was
                  > more artillery than I imaged with LOS to the CS positions.
                  >
                  > I think the next step it to figure out the location of the batteries from sunrise until
                  > the bridge was taken around 1 PM. One would suspect that all these batteries were in
                  > position by sunrise, but that might not be the case. Another step will be to check the
                  > ORs and other accounts for time relationships to when any batteries were active.
                  >
                  > > On the map above I drew a red line to indicate the direction of 1 possible
                  > > profile...As can be seen, there is clear line of sight between the Union and
                  > > Confederate positions, at least alone this profile.
                  > >
                  > > Why the Lower Bridge defenders were not pounded by Union artillery cannot be
                  > > explained strictly by the orientation of hills and terrain features.
                  >
                  > I agree. As this (the lower bridge action) was a "demonstration" per original orders to
                  > Burnside, perhaps not all batteries were ordered into action. Anticipation of driving
                  > the CS forces from the bridge without delay and the subsequent movement of batteries to
                  > positions overlooking Sharpsburg might have caused the batteries to remain limbered.
                  >
                  > > ...Or perhaps there were other factors...
                  >
                  > Firing downward at CS units at the base of the bridge along the creek would be hamper
                  > by the ability to angle the guns in an effective manner. Also smoke and later the
                  > presence of US forces along the east bank of the creek would prohibit effect fire.
                  >
                  > > It would be nice to do a field trip and visit the actual Union artillery positions to
                  > > see what you can see from there.
                  >
                  > I am planning to be at the Harpers Ferry 1860 Election Day event on 13 October
                  > (Saturday) and would consider a small "scout" in the area early on Friday or Sunday
                  > mornings. I am also planning to be in the area just on the Gettysburg Remembrance Day
                  > weekend in November. Let me know if anyone can join me. We need the Pflum boys to help
                  > us with Ninth Corps artillery details.
                  >
                  > Ninth Corps Artillery...
                  >
                  > Eighth MA (Cook's)
                  > "...morning east of Antietam Creek...battery fired for an hour or two on two rebel
                  > batteries on the hills to the right and left of the village of Sharpsburg."
                  >
                  > The left section (two or four guns?) of was detached on went into action AFTER crossing
                  > the bridge.
                  >
                  > Second US, Btty E (Benjamin's or Carlisle's)
                  > "morning...opened fire early on a battery which was shelling ...Rodman's
                  > division...several times during the day we engaged a battery of eight guns to the right
                  > [north] of Sharpsburg...also fired on batteries left [south of the town] [no tome is
                  > specified for these actions].
                  >
                  > PA Light, Btty D (Durell's)
                  > "...morning...the enemy opened a heavy artillery fire, from which their projectiles
                  > fell thick in our [Sturgis' Brigade] camp, and I [Sturgis] sent Captain Rawole forward
                  > with Captain Durell's battery, which took position on an eminence and to the left of
                  > Captain Weed's battery [?], already engaged. Some of the enemy's batteries were soon
                  > silenced...it became necessary to send Captain Clark's battery up, which soon got into
                  > position on the left of...Durell's. I now received orders from...Burnside to move still
                  > farther to the left and front, and cross the Antietam Bridge. The batteries
                  > were...withdrawn and placed in new positions, so as to aid in clearing the wood on the
                  > opposite bank...One section was placed on the right of Benjamin's battery, in the rear
                  > of the cornfield, through which the division moved toward the bridge. Another section
                  > was placed on the right of the road, about 400 yards from the bridge, but did not open.
                  > Captain Clark's battery was ordered to a position on the right of the woods, near the
                  > slope occupied by the division the previous night, and one section held in reserve."
                  >
                  > Fourth US, Btty E (Clark's)
                  > "...Clark, of Battery E, Fourth Artillery, who did excellent service, and received four
                  > wounds during the day."
                  > also see above
                  >
                  > Fifth US, Btty A (Mulenberg's)
                  > OH Light, First Btty (McMullin's)
                  > McMullin's battery was in the thick of the action at Fox's Gap on the 14th. I do not
                  > know what shape it was in on the 17th.
                  >
                  > KY Light (Simmond's Btty)
                  > Third US, Btty L & M (Edward's)
                  >
                  > At 10 AM Colonel Christ was "...ordered to support some batteries covering our advance
                  > near the stone bridge."
                  >
                  > What battery was assigned to the Ninth New York?
                  >
                  > > The area is private property, so I have never been up there.
                  >
                  > We could at least get a sighting back toward the US positions while arrangements can be
                  > made for a spring walk.
                  >
                  > Thanks again TR
                  >
                  > Bill
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                • NJ Rebel
                  Tom; I would second that assessment. Todd really has performed a valuable service and I think a book similar to the format used by Frassanito would be a most
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 23, 2001
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                    Tom;

                    I would second that assessment. Todd really has performed a
                    valuable service and I think a book similar to the format used by
                    Frassanito would be a most welcome addition to an understanding
                    of the battle.

                    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


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: <rotbaron@...>
                    To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2001 12:17 AM
                    Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Antietam Tour: Burnside's Attack


                    > My sincere thanks to Todd for some great maps. I surely will
                    use them (and any others) in my ongoing study of the action
                    during Burnside's assault. They greatly help in my gaining an
                    understanding of this portion of the battle. I'll pass them along
                    to the Rangers.
                    >
                    > You should (seriously!) consider putting together a book
                    featuring your topographical anyalsis of the battle.
                    >
                    > Tom Shay - Cressona, PA
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                    Service.
                    >
                    >
                  • TR Livesey
                    Tom S and Jerry, I m glad you find this kind of analysis interesting; I do, but there doesn t seem to be anyone else doing it. I have attempted from time to
                    Message 9 of 12 , Sep 26, 2001
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                      Tom S and Jerry,

                      I'm glad you find this kind of analysis interesting;
                      I do, but there doesn't seem to be anyone else doing
                      it.

                      I have attempted from time to time to bring together
                      some collection of analyses of the battlefield.
                      I am currently collecting them under

                      http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/topo_study

                      They are currently incomplete, unproofread, and
                      draft; a great deal of material there now is
                      a description of the methods used, which might
                      be somewhat tedious. I hope to be filling it
                      out over time. I will probably add this issue
                      of Union artillery at the Lower Bridge LOS to
                      the collection; it was a pretty interesting
                      question.

                      If anyone else has some burning questions that
                      a look at the topography might help, feel free
                      to make suggestions.

                      TR Livesey
                      westwood@...

                      NJ Rebel wrote:
                      >
                      > Tom;
                      >
                      > I would second that assessment. Todd really has performed a
                      > valuable service and I think a book similar to the format used by
                      > Frassanito would be a most welcome addition to an understanding
                      > of the battle.
                      >
                      > 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
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: <rotbaron@...>
                      > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2001 12:17 AM
                      > Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Antietam Tour: Burnside's Attack
                      >
                      > > My sincere thanks to Todd for some great maps. I surely will
                      > use them (and any others) in my ongoing study of the action
                      > during Burnside's assault. They greatly help in my gaining an
                      > understanding of this portion of the battle. I'll pass them along
                      > to the Rangers.
                      > >
                      > > You should (seriously!) consider putting together a book
                      > featuring your topographical anyalsis of the battle.
                      > >
                      > > Tom Shay - Cressona, PA
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                      > Service.
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    • TR Livesey
                      Tom, Can you actually get up to where the guns were? By my reconing, the guns were up hill a good 80/100 feet over the current road bed. I am assuming the spot
                      Message 10 of 12 , Sep 26, 2001
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                        Tom,

                        Can you actually get up to where the guns were? By my reconing, the
                        guns were up hill a good 80/100 feet over the current road bed.

                        I am assuming the spot of the monument you are referring to is
                        near where the modern road (in white) exits the bottom of this
                        image:

                        http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/base.gif

                        TR Livesey
                        westwood@...

                        Tom Clemens wrote:
                        >
                        > Bill,
                        > McMullin's has a monumnet on the ridge where the Ninth Corps guns were located. It is
                        > right along the Burnside Bridge road, the real road, not the NPS road. I'd be happy to
                        > show you if I am available.
                        >
                      • Tom Clemens
                        TR, With permission, yes. The monument is located at the crest of the hill adjacent to the road, and yes the guns were well uphill from there. As usual, your
                        Message 11 of 12 , Sep 26, 2001
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                          TR,
                          With permission, yes. The monument is located at the crest of the hill adjacent to the road,
                          and yes the guns were well uphill from there. As usual, your maps are excellent.


                          TR Livesey wrote:

                          > Tom,
                          >
                          > Can you actually get up to where the guns were? By my reconing, the
                          > guns were up hill a good 80/100 feet over the current road bed.
                          >
                          > I am assuming the spot of the monument you are referring to is
                          > near where the modern road (in white) exits the bottom of this
                          > image:
                          >
                          > http://www.enteract.com/~westwood/talkantietam/base.gif
                          >
                          > TR Livesey
                          > westwood@...
                          >
                          > Tom Clemens wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Bill,
                          > > McMullin's has a monumnet on the ridge where the Ninth Corps guns were located. It is
                          > > right along the Burnside Bridge road, the real road, not the NPS road. I'd be happy to
                          > > show you if I am available.
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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