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Bombardment vs. Battle

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  • Dale Kidd
    I certainly claim no special status as a scholar of the particular terminology of the era. That said, in any of my reading on the military engagements of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 7, 2008
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      I certainly claim no special status as a scholar of the particular
      terminology of the era. That said, in any of my reading on the military
      engagements of the period, there seems to exist this same
      differentiation between "bombardment" and "battle". It seems to me as
      though any engagement carried out entirely by artillery, and most
      especially those where the engagement in question was essentially one-
      sided,was considered to be a bombardment. The only exception would seem
      to be in naval warfare, where the artillery naturally provided the
      basis for the entire engagement. On land, an engagement does not seem
      to have been considered a battle unless there was a considerable
      infantry (or perhaps cavalry) involvement. Even where there were less
      considerable infantry engagements, these are generally (and quite
      noteably) recorded as "skirmishes" rather than battles.

      I will leave it to those on this list far more learned in the minutae
      of the period than myself to hypothesize on the reasons for this.

      ~Dale
    • mimathews@comcast.net
      What s in a name? I don t have the answer or frankly find it terribly important. I would observe that the poen first published by Francis Scott Key was
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 8, 2008
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        What's in a name? I don't have the answer or frankly find it terribly important.

        I would observe that the poen first published by Francis Scott Key was entitled the "Defense of Fort McHenry."

        A song of the time, "The Patriotic Diggers" celebrates the people of all backgrounds rallying to prepare the defenses of Baltimore. Whether the song emerged before the defense of Fort McHenry or as an afterthought is not known to me. If we knew it might suggest what level of importance they placed on the defense. I find that the words of popular songs of the period often tell us more about what was perceived as important to the participants of the time that what we analyze later. For your possible edification:

        THE PATRIOTIC DIGGERS
        (Samuel Woodward)

        Enemies beware. Keep a proper distance,
        Else we'll make you stare at our firm resistance.
        Let alone the lads who are freedom tasting
        Don't forget, our dads gave you once a basting.
        To protect our rights 'gainst your flints and triggers
        See on yonder heights our patriotic diggers.
        Men of ev'ry age, color, rank profession
        Ardently engage, labor in succession.

        cho: Pickaxe, shovel, spade, crowbar, hoe and barrow
        Better not invade. Yankees have the marrow!

        Scholars leave their schools with patriotic teachers,
        Farmers sieze their tools headed by their preachers.
        How they break the soil! Brewers, butchers, bakers
        Here the doctors toil, there the undertakers.
        Bright Apollo's sons leave their pipe and tabor
        Mid the roar of guns, join the martial labor.
        Round the embattled plain in sweet concord rally
        And in freedom's strain sing the foe's finale.

        Better not invade. Don't forget the spirit
        Which our dads displayed andf their sons inherit.
        If you still advance friendly caution slighting
        You may get by chance a bellyful of fighting!
        Plumbers, founders, dyers, tinmen, turners shavers,
        Sweepers, clerks and criers, jewelers and engravers.
        Clothiers, drapers, players, cartmen, hatters, tailors
        Gaugers, sealers, weighers, carpenters and sailors!

        Michael


        --
        A Truism - For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

        -------------- Original message --------------
        From: "James Yaworsky" <yawors1@...>
        I confess to knowing virtually no details of the British bombardment
        of Fort McHenry, other than the obvious fact everyone knows - the Star
        Spangled Banner tie-in.

        (snip)



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • BritcomHMP@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/8/2008 1:05:36 PM Central Daylight Time, mimathews@comcast.net writes: What s in a name? I don t have the answer or frankly find it
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 8, 2008
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          In a message dated 6/8/2008 1:05:36 PM Central Daylight Time,
          mimathews@... writes:

          What's in a name? I don't have the answer or frankly find it terribly
          important.



          -----------------------

          Well Mike, that depends on weather words actually mean things or not. One
          thing we can say for sure is that it wasn't a battle. One fights a battle
          against an army, one lays siege to, or bombards a town city or fortress. The words
          are important because they tell you what a thing is, at least they did 200
          years ago so I think it is not unreasonable to go with the definitions used
          back then.

          Ah but here comes another wrinkle, which SIDE are you on and what is your
          perception? The British may have decided that it was not to be an attack on
          McHenry but only a diversionary bombardment but the defenders can hardly be
          expected to see it the same way when rockets and shells are landing on them. So
          while it is perfectly accurate for the British to say it was a diversion, it
          also accurate for US accounts to call it a serious assault and take pride in
          their survival.

          Perception is everything after all the Battle of New Orleans was fought
          while the war was still going on and it was NOT the last battle of the war! I
          believe there are even people who think the US won, even though non of their
          stated reasons for declaring war were acceded to and the US flag doesn't fly
          over Canada!

          INCOMING !!!!!!!!!



          **************Get trade secrets for amazing burgers. Watch "Cooking with
          Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.
          (http://food.aol.com/tyler-florence?video=4?&NCID=aolfod00030000000002)


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Colin
          I love the responses!!The reason I posted in the first place!! I just want to add another comment as well .. I personally see the exchange of fire being a
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 8, 2008
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            I love the responses!!The reason I posted in the first place!!

            I just want to add another comment as well

            .. I personally see the exchange of fire being a quailifier for "a
            battle". The Americans fired back, causing ships to draw back. The
            diversion up the Ferry Branch also had Americans firing at an enemy
            tactical move. If the Americans just sat their and took the
            hammering (which the fort did for 90% of the time)I would call that
            a siege or bombardment but they did fire back. Is that then a "re-
            bombardment?"
            Was then the 2nd Battle of St. Leonard's Creek a battle for the men
            who were on shore (as it has been established that artillery fire
            between ships is a battle, but not ships and a fort?)?

            Is "small arms" fire the qualifier?

            Again
            YHOS
            Colin Murphy
            USS CON 1812 MG
            USMCHC


            PS Would this all be a part of "The Battle of Baltimore"
            Kinda like the air bombing on the French coast in the days previous
            to D-Day. Tose airmen could say they fought in that battle even
            though no small arms fire would be exchanged until a day or tow (or
            more) later....or am I just grasping at imaginary straws here?

            --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, BritcomHMP@... wrote:
            >
            >
            > In a message dated 6/8/2008 1:05:36 PM Central Daylight Time,
            > mimathews@... writes:
            >
            > What's in a name? I don't have the answer or frankly find it
            terribly
            > important.
            >
            >
            >
            > -----------------------
            >
            > Well Mike, that depends on weather words actually mean things or
            not. One
            > thing we can say for sure is that it wasn't a battle. One fights a
            battle
            > against an army, one lays siege to, or bombards a town city or
            fortress. The words
            > are important because they tell you what a thing is, at least they
            did 200
            > years ago so I think it is not unreasonable to go with the
            definitions used
            > back then.
            >
            > Ah but here comes another wrinkle, which SIDE are you on and what
            is your
            > perception? The British may have decided that it was not to be an
            attack on
            > McHenry but only a diversionary bombardment but the defenders can
            hardly be
            > expected to see it the same way when rockets and shells are
            landing on them. So
            > while it is perfectly accurate for the British to say it was a
            diversion, it
            > also accurate for US accounts to call it a serious assault and
            take pride in
            > their survival.
            >
            > Perception is everything after all the Battle of New Orleans was
            fought
            > while the war was still going on and it was NOT the last battle of
            the war! I
            > believe there are even people who think the US won, even though
            non of their
            > stated reasons for declaring war were acceded to and the US flag
            doesn't fly
            > over Canada!
            >
            > INCOMING !!!!!!!!!
            >
            >
            >
            > **************Get trade secrets for amazing burgers.
            Watch "Cooking with
            > Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.
            > (http://food.aol.com/tyler-florence?video=4?
            &NCID=aolfod00030000000002)
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • BritcomHMP@aol.com
            In a message dated 6/9/2008 1:57:45 AM Central Daylight Time, usmarine1814@yahoo.com writes: If the Americans just sat their and took the hammering (which the
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 9, 2008
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              In a message dated 6/9/2008 1:57:45 AM Central Daylight Time,
              usmarine1814@... writes:

              If the Americans just sat their and took the
              hammering (which the fort did for 90% of the time)I would call that
              a siege or bombardment but they did fire back. Is that then a "re-
              bombardment?b

              -----------------------------------------------------------------

              Hmmmmm bit of faulty reasoning there Colin, it is fairly well accepted that
              if one is under siege one can fire back and that doesn't change what is going
              on, nor what it is called. Not of course that this was a siege but a
              bombardment, but in like manner it is fairly well accepted that the attacked fort
              can fire back without the afair being transformed into a battle.

              If you think about it if the fort firing back were the deciding factor there
              would be no sieges or bombardments inhistory, I mean if they are not going
              to fire at you why are you firing at them? just walk in an occupy the place!



              Is "small arms" fire the qualifier?


              Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm don't think so. Most battles have artillery pieces
              involved, in the case of New Orleans the largest gun on the field was a US 32
              pounder! And in many sieges of the period the defenders used rampart guns
              which (I think) qualify as small arms.

              Hey, this IS fun.

              Tim



              **************Get trade secrets for amazing burgers. Watch "Cooking with
              Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.
              (http://food.aol.com/tyler-florence?video=4?&NCID=aolfod00030000000002)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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