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

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  • rotbaron@aol.com
    In a message dated 09/19/2001 5:15:32 PM EST, teej@pinehurst.net writes:
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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