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

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Sep 20 9:03 PM
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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 2 of 12 , Sep 22 10:13 AM
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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 3 of 12 , Sep 22 9:17 PM
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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 4 of 12 , Sep 22 9:24 PM
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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 5 of 12 , Sep 23 7:47 AM
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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 6 of 12 , Sep 26 7:48 AM
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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 7 of 12 , Sep 26 9:16 AM
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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 8 of 12 , Sep 26 4:43 PM
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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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