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Re: The Orbats at Antietam

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  • Bryn Monnery
    ... 1. The Federal Wings The reorg occurred earlier. The three wings marching out from South Mountain were: Sumners Left Wing: 1st, 2nd and 12th, with the
    Message 1 of 68 , Feb 5, 2009
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      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Dean Essig <d.essig@...> wrote:
      > On Feb 5, 2009, at 4:49 AM, Bryn Monnery wrote:
      > > Any thoughts on Burnside still being a Wing Commander and why the idea
      > > of him stubbornly refusing to yield the position came about? This is
      > > the next thing I intend to research...
      > Burnside had the other corps of his wing (1st) sent to the other end
      > of the field. McClellan made no order stating the wings had ceased to
      > function, Burnside merely assumed he was still the wing commander and
      > that this dispersal was a temporary matter.

      1. The Federal Wings

      The reorg occurred earlier. The three wings marching out from South
      Mountain were:

      Sumners' Left Wing: 1st, 2nd and 12th, with the Cavalry Division - 8
      divisions on the 17th
      Franklin's Centre Wing: 4th (1 Div) and 6th
      Burnside's Right Wing: 5th (initially 1 Div) and 9th (plus the arty
      reserve?) - 6 divisions on the 17th

      Franklin was tasked with relieving Harper's Ferry, and turned in that
      direction, leaving Sumner and Burnside marching on two parallel roads
      towards Antietam Creek. Sumner had the macadamised National Road,
      which may explain the weight being shifted to him, since you can move
      more troops down that road.

      Franklin was ordered to rejoin the other wings on the 16th, leaving a
      division to mask Harper's Ferry. He left the 4th Corps Division and
      marched north with his 2 6th Corps divisions.

      The orders for Hooker to commence the attack are addressed by
      McClellan to Sumner as wing commander, who then relays them to Hooker
      (from Harsh's "Taken at the Flood"). Similarly, the order for 9th
      Corps to attack is addressed to Burnside as WC, who is standing next
      to Cox (9th Corps Commander) when he receives the message and simply
      reads it and hands it over with a delay of about 30 seconds.

      Thus it is certain on the morning of the 17th McClellan is fighting
      his army as two wings (Franklin being absent). It is questionable how
      much he intervenes down to Corps level. I'd be interested in any
      accounts of Sumners' actions in the battle.

      2. DH Hill commanding "2 down"

      McRae, commanding Cobb's Division:

      SEPTEMBER 23, 1862.

      Brig. Gen. H. COBB,
      Commanding Cobb's Brigade,

      SIR: In compliance with your order, I herewith transmit a
      statement of the action of your brigade in the battle of Sharpsburg,
      of the 17th instant:

      General McLaws' division, after marching all the previous
      night, was ordered, about 8 a.m., to take position on the left, your
      brigade, numbering 357 men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Sanders,
      Twenty-fourth Georgia, in front. In about half an hour we arrived in
      from of the enemy and in range of his musketry, when the head of the
      brigade was ordered to file right when the rear had filed. General
      McLaws commanded us to march by the left flank. Colonel Sanders, being
      in front, did not hear the order, but marched on and joined the left
      of General Rodes' command. (I will here state that we were thus
      separated from the division, and did not join it until the next
      morning.) We baited and took position behind a fence, covered from the
      enemy's musketry by a hill in front, but not protecting us from the
      heavy shelling of his several batteries planted on the side of the
      mountain on our right. For an hour we remained here inactive,
      suffering considerably, when we were ordered forward; the men, eager
      to meet the foe upon a more equal footing, gallantly pressed forward
      with a cheer, the top of the hill gained amid a galling and
      destructive shower of balls. There we remained, unfaltering, until
      Colonel Sanders, finding himself unsupported, ordered us to fall back
      behind the fence. The command was executed in admirable order. We
      remained here until the force on our right gave way. To prevent
      flanking, we changed front to the rear on the Fourth Battalion, and
      took position behind a stone fence, our extreme left remaining
      unchanged. We had scarcely executed the movement when General D.H.
      Hill rode up and ordered us forward to check the advance of the enemy.
      Colonel Sanders, though very unwell, had gallantly remained on the
      field, cheering his men by words and example until this moment, when
      he was too much exhausted to remain any longer. Being next in rank,
      the command devolved upon me.

      The brigade, numbering now about 250 men, moved eagerly and
      un-falteringly forward to within about 100 yards, then opened a
      destructive fire upon the enemy, largely outnumbering us. He made a
      short stand, and then fell back behind the hill. Three times did he
      try to advance, and was as often driven back by the galling fire of
      our gallant little band. We held them in check (momentarily expecting
      re.enforcements) until our ammunition was expended. Seeing no sign of
      support, I was constrained to give the command to fall back. We left
      the field with not more than 50 of the 250 men. We fell back about 300
      yards and joined Colonel Cooke, of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina,
      remaining with his shattered regiment until he was relieved about 3 p.m.

      Where all so nobly did their duty I dislike to discriminate,
      yet I feel it my duty at least to call your attention to Major [R. E.]
      McMillan, Twenty-fourth Georgia; Lieut. F. L. Rogers, Company B,
      Fifteenth North Carolina, and Private J. R. Doster, Company B,
      Fifteenth North Carolina, who acted with conspicuous gallantry
      throughout the day. There were numbers of others who deserve the
      highest praises for their behavior.

      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
      WM. MacRAE,
      Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Fifteenth North Carolina Troops.

      What I find notable is the mention of Rodes' Command (since after
      Ripley was hit, Rodes was senior brigadier and thus DC if DH Hill is
      indeed a WC*), and of course DH Hill commanding a brigade outside of
      his division, a breach of the chain of command unless he is still that
      brigades WC (as he certainly was until the receipt of SO191 and may be

      * Somebody has objected that DH Hill is only a DC. This is true, but
      so are both Longstreet and Jackson until their promotion to Lt Gen.
      They are following the old practice of detaching the senior commanders
      from their commands and having them act up, with another officer
      taking their place. The wing sequencing (1st Maj Gen with the Right,
      2nd with the Left and 3rd with the Centre) also fits the traditional
      practices of Europe and, by extension, the American states.
    • DPowell334@AOL.COM
      Jackson has some real problems as a tactical commander, and he keeps making the same mistakes, which suggests that he wasn t very introspective about
      Message 68 of 68 , Feb 12, 2009
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        Jackson has some real problems as a tactical commander, and he keeps making
        the same mistakes, which suggests that he wasn't very introspective about
        developing those skills. None of his battles really display a flair for tactics,
        even Chancellorsville, where his choices of divisions in line instead of
        column greatly complicated his own attack.

        That said, he was quite effective at what we today would call the
        operational art.

        Dave Powell

        In a message dated 2/11/2009 3:21:43 P.M. Central Standard Time,
        gerry1952@... writes:

        Gary Echelbarger is also a great source on the Valley Campaign of
        1862. Mildly said, Jackson got very lucky in the Valley in 1862..
        the only Federal commander to beat him, and do so pretty soundly,
        was James Shields. (Even there, actual field commander was Nathan
        Kimball.) That said, Jackson had, after Shields, mediocre Federal
        commanders to contend with....

        Yr. Obt. Svt.
        G E "Gerry" Mayers

        **************Nothing says I love you like flowers! Find a florist near you
        now. (http://yellowpages.aol.com/search?query=florist&ncid=emlcntusyelp00000001)

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