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RE: 17th Michigan Numbers

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  • Bill and Glenna Jo Christen
    Dean and Jake, I did some further checking, and based on the fact that there were no casualties at all in Company A on 17 September, I now believe that Company
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 5, 2008
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      Dean and Jake,

      I did some further checking, and based on the fact that there were no casualties at all in Company A on 17 September, I now believe that Company A was still in Frederick or had not reached the regiment on 17 September. I wrote in my last message (with changes in bold red):
      So on the afternoon of 14 September the regiment's size (officer's and men) was about 720 [700-750 is a good range]. The casualties at South Mountain were 132 killed and wounded. Assuming that most of the wounded did not return to the ranks until after the 17th, subtract 130, or 720-130 = 590. [575-600 range] Company A did not return until after 17 September.
      If I adjust the number of men left in Washington, detached, deserters and stragglers by about ten percent more, that reduces the size of the regiment by about another 25, or 590-25 = 565 [550-575 range]. This is somewhat closer to Swift's number. I am just at the point with my daily roster study ( September and October 1862) that perhaps in a week I will have a better estimate. For now I am comfortable with between 525 and 575. I suspect that any difference lies in the number of men who were absent when the regiment left Washington, D.C. in early September.

      Swift, in a speech to the veterans of the Seventeenth Michigan who had gathered in Ypsilanti, Michigan on 17 September 1890 (28th anniversary of the battle), stated that:

      "After Antietam we moved to Pleasant Valley where we had for the first time an opportunity to indulge in a little company and battalion drill. For you know that when we went into the fight at South Mountain, we had never [emphasis added] had a battalion drill." [1]

      It appears they were a "green" unit and may have only had some instruction in the School of the Soldier while in Detroit under Pittman. During the speech, which covered the major incidents in the regiment's history, Swift mentioned in detail losses at many battles, but unfortunately did not talk about the size of the regiment before South Mountain or at Antietam. I think Swift knew his numbers, but where

      [1] Frederic W. Swift papers, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio. Note: Swift's son, Jackson B. Swift, was at one time the mayor of Fremont, Ohio.

      Bill Christen

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Thomas Clemens
      B ill, Did Swift ever visit Antietam and talk with Carman? Carman frequently kept notes of what people told him as they toured the battlefield, and the number
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 5, 2008
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        B ill,
        Did Swift ever visit Antietam and talk with Carman? Carman frequently kept notes of what people told him as they toured the battlefield, and the number may have been mentioned at that time.


        Dr. Thomas G. Clemens
        Professor of History
        Hagerstown Community College



        >>> "Bill and Glenna Jo Christen" <gwjchris@...> 2/5/2008 11:54 AM >>>
        Dean and Jake,

        I did some further checking, and based on the fact that there were no casualties at all in Company A on 17 September, I now believe that Company A was still in Frederick or had not reached the regiment on 17 September. I wrote in my last message (with changes in bold red):
        So on the afternoon of 14 September the regiment's size (officer's and men) was about 720 [700-750 is a good range]. The casualties at South Mountain were 132 killed and wounded. Assuming that most of the wounded did not return to the ranks until after the 17th, subtract 130, or 720-130 = 590. [575-600 range] Company A did not return until after 17 September.
        If I adjust the number of men left in Washington, detached, deserters and stragglers by about ten percent more, that reduces the size of the regiment by about another 25, or 590-25 = 565 [550-575 range]. This is somewhat closer to Swift's number. I am just at the point with my daily roster study ( September and October 1862) that perhaps in a week I will have a better estimate. For now I am comfortable with between 525 and 575. I suspect that any difference lies in the number of men who were absent when the regiment left Washington, D.C. in early September.

        Swift, in a speech to the veterans of the Seventeenth Michigan who had gathered in Ypsilanti, Michigan on 17 September 1890 (28th anniversary of the battle), stated that:

        "After Antietam we moved to Pleasant Valley where we had for the first time an opportunity to indulge in a little company and battalion drill. For you know that when we went into the fight at South Mountain, we had never [emphasis added] had a battalion drill." [1]

        It appears they were a "green" unit and may have only had some instruction in the School of the Soldier while in Detroit under Pittman. During the speech, which covered the major incidents in the regiment's history, Swift mentioned in detail losses at many battles, but unfortunately did not talk about the size of the regiment before South Mountain or at Antietam. I think Swift knew his numbers, but where

        [1] Frederic W. Swift papers, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio. Note: Swift's son, Jackson B. Swift, was at one time the mayor of Fremont, Ohio.

        Bill Christen

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Dean Essig
        Thanks Bill! Looks like you are getting really close now. I m looking forward to the result in a week or two. Did you have any morning roster reports in the
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 5, 2008
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          Thanks Bill! Looks like you are getting really close
          now. I'm looking forward to the result in a week or
          two.

          Did you have any morning roster reports in the midst
          of this period which can help spot check your 10%
          straggling assumption? How 'hard' was their march to
          South Mountain (pace-wise)? Being green, they might
          have dropped a significant number of men along the way
          who were just unable to keep up.

          Dean


          --- Bill and Glenna Jo Christen
          <gwjchris@...> wrote:

          > Dean and Jake,
          >
          > I did some further checking, and based on the fact
          > that there were no casualties at all in Company A on
          > 17 September, I now believe that Company A was still
          > in Frederick or had not reached the regiment on 17
          > September. I wrote in my last message (with changes
          > in bold red):
          > So on the afternoon of 14 September the regiment's
          > size (officer's and men) was about 720 [700-750 is a
          > good range]. The casualties at South Mountain were
          > 132 killed and wounded. Assuming that most of the
          > wounded did not return to the ranks until after the
          > 17th, subtract 130, or 720-130 = 590. [575-600
          > range] Company A did not return until after 17
          > September.
          > If I adjust the number of men left in Washington,
          > detached, deserters and stragglers by about ten
          > percent more, that reduces the size of the regiment
          > by about another 25, or 590-25 = 565 [550-575
          > range]. This is somewhat closer to Swift's number. I
          > am just at the point with my daily roster study (
          > September and October 1862) that perhaps in a week I
          > will have a better estimate. For now I am
          > comfortable with between 525 and 575. I suspect that
          > any difference lies in the number of men who were
          > absent when the regiment left Washington, D.C. in
          > early September.
          >
          > Swift, in a speech to the veterans of the
          > Seventeenth Michigan who had gathered in Ypsilanti,
          > Michigan on 17 September 1890 (28th anniversary of
          > the battle), stated that:
          >
          > "After Antietam we moved to Pleasant Valley where we
          > had for the first time an opportunity to indulge in
          > a little company and battalion drill. For you know
          > that when we went into the fight at South Mountain,
          > we had never [emphasis added] had a battalion
          > drill." [1]
          >
          > It appears they were a "green" unit and may have
          > only had some instruction in the School of the
          > Soldier while in Detroit under Pittman. During the
          > speech, which covered the major incidents in the
          > regiment's history, Swift mentioned in detail losses
          > at many battles, but unfortunately did not talk
          > about the size of the regiment before South Mountain
          > or at Antietam. I think Swift knew his numbers, but
          > where
          >
          > [1] Frederic W. Swift papers, Rutherford B. Hayes
          > Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio. Note: Swift's
          > son, Jackson B. Swift, was at one time the mayor of
          > Fremont, Ohio.
          >
          > Bill Christen
          >


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