Re: The Orbats at Antietam
- The Seven Days organisation was based on seniority too. Something I've
in progress is a piece on the Seven Days org:
The Confederate force assembled for the defence of Richmond in 1862
was by far the most impressive army ever fielded by the Confederate
States. On the morning Lee started the Seven Days Battles he had a
field army (including Jackson's force) of 91,535 infantrymen, 4,521
cavalrymen and at least 279 guns (plus the equipment of another five
batteries for which there is no return). Also, fighting so close to
home and with a large civilian infrastructure to draw on, Lee was able
to put an unusually large percentage of his "Present for Duty,
Equipped" into his field formations. Formations often had a musket
strength of around 75% of their PFD. This meant that Lee actually had
the numerical advantage in effective troops. Indeed, some estimates
(including mine) can place this as high as a 2:1 advantage over the
overextended Union Army which was dying of disease in the Swamps to
the East of Richmond and being denied the necessary reinforcements.
Lee initially flattened the command structure to create 8 infantry
divisions with no "commands", but reversed this as he went into
action, grouping Longstreet's and AP Hill's Divisions under
Longstreet; Jones', Mclaws' and Magruder's together under Magruder;
leaving DH Hill's, Holmes' and Huger's Divisions as independent. With
Jackson's arrival (with 3 Divisions, which remained under his command
for the battle), DH Hill was assigned to Jackson.
For modelling the command structure, the rank order of Major Generals is:
1. Longstreet (07 Oct 61)
2. Holmes (07 Oct 61)
3. Jackson (07 Oct 61)
4. Magruder (07 Oct 61)
5. Huger (07 Oct 61)
6. Ewell (24 Jan 62)
7. DH Hill (26 Mar 62)
8. AP Hill (26 Mar 62)
9. McLaws (23 May 62)
The five Major Generals of 7th October 1861 can be considered to be
"senior Major Generals", while the four later promotions to be "junior
Major Generals". GW Smith, who had recently been recalled to Richmond,
was senior to all the Maj Gens present (19 Sep 61) but was now out of
the picture. Thus Lee had five General Officers who he couldn't suborn
to their peers, thus at best Lee could reduce his infantry into five
fractions. This is precisely what he did.
Leaving Holmes and Magruder in command of their divisions, Lee have
the other three Snr Maj Gens a command each, effectively a Corps,
reducing his required command span from 11 to 5 infantry commands.
Things are complicated in this case by Longstreet and AP Hill dividing
their divisions into 2 "demi-divisions" (which were roughly the size
of most divisions). DH Hill's large division could have also benefited
from a demi-division structure (especially since he could not exercise
command and control of 5 infantry brigadiers and often actually left
infantry brigades behind), but there is no evidence he made such an
organisation (incidently, it's DH Hill's lack of C&C that causes Lee
to keep passing him over for command of his 3rd Corps, even to the
extent of disbanding it and distributing the formations between
Longstreet and Jackson instead, leaving him as senior DC).
Making things more complicated, when Longstreet was assigned to a
"Command" (i.e. Corps), his senior Brigadier, RH Anderson (commanding
the right hand, or senior demi-division) took the whole division, and
the demi-division was handed over, probably to George Pickett, the
next senior Brigadier in the demi-division (who incidently will in a
few months be the second to last BG the Confederacy promotes MG).
Incidently, I found the OR's were wrong for the organisation of some
of the CS arty while preparing that.
AP Hill: His 9 batteries appear on the OR to be organised as a single
battalion under Maj RL Walker (who was absent sick during the Seven
Days, Col Lewis Coleman commanded in lieu). However, closer inspection
of the records does reveal that the batteries did maneuver with an
assigned brigade, and hence the DB with an Arty Bn model is
appropriate. Battery assignments are:
1st Maryland (Andrew's): Pender's Brigade
Charleston German (Bachman's): Artillery Battalion
Fredericksburg (Braxton's): Archer's Brigade
Richmond (Crenshaw's): Gregg's Brigade
Letcher (Davidson's): Artillery Battalion
Johnson's: Branch's Brigade
Pee Dee (McIntosh's): JR Anderson's Brigade
Purcell (Pegram's): Field's Brigade
Branch (Latham's): Artillery Battalion
Anyway, OT but I intend to expand this and dig out the seniority of
Gens at Antietam to further my argument, but now I'm going to sleep.
--- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, DPowell334@... wrote:
> Orbat is modern jargon. don't see it used much in ACW terms.
> The thing that strikes me most about the ANV up to this time is that
> a very informal structure, more akin to pre-Napoleonic armies than
> Century forces, where columns were got up as needed or for certain
> etc. Lee used a very informal command structure in the Seven Days,
> with some divisions subordinated to others for certain things, but
only on an
> ad-hoc basis.
> DH Hill led the reinforcing column north from Richmond by dint of
> IIRC, and joined the ANV after 2nd Bull Run. Sometimes the troops
> north with him are referred to as his "wing" (which includes forces
> those under McLaws that were once Magruder's) but even that goes out
> by September 17th.
> I think Lee himself found all this unsatisfactory, as evidenced by his
> decision to promote Jackson and Longstreet in Oct 1862, reorg the
> Dave Powell
> In a message dated 2/5/2009 3:52:20 P.M. Central Standard Time,
> gerry1952@... writes:
> The idea of the ANV at Antietam divided into three wings with
> senior commanders is unfounded and unprovable. No doubt D.H.
> Hill exercised his seniority to issue orders to other commanders,
> but it is a mistake to confuse that with creating "wings."
> McLaws and Anderson arrived just at dawn and were placed and
> ordered into the batle directly by Lee. There is no extant order
> placing D.H. Hill in authority over either of these two
> commanders. Lee's Order of Battle, and I must admit it took me a
> while to figure out that is what you mean by "orbat," was a very
> fluid and loose structure. Attempts to prove otherwise will, I
> fear, prove futile. Also I'd beware of imposing a modern
> conception of tight command structures upon an era of poor
> communication and loose battlefield control. My contention is
> that the structure was deliberately vague, and senior commanders,
> despite any presumed structure, exercised a fair amount of
> control over any troops in their immediate tactical area.
> My two cents worth.
> Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
> Professor of History
> Hagerstown Community College
> **************Who's never won? Biggest Grammy Award surprises of
all time on
> AOL Music.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- 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
In a message dated 2/11/2009 3:21:43 P.M. Central Standard Time,
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
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