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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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