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11th Corp--- Hard fighters at chancellorsville

Discussion in 'The Eastern Theater' started by jacobdelamater, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. jacobdelamater

    jacobdelamater Cadet

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    The 11th corp kinda of got a bad rap in my opinion from some of the articles I have read.
    Here is some interesting info from New York State history
    museum.

    The first three regiments raised in St. Louis were composed of Germans. In New York City thousands of Germans tendered their services at the firing of the first rebel gun on Fort Sumter. During the war fully 175,000 men of German birth or descent enlisted in the Union Army.

    The Eleventh Corps held the right of the Union line at Chancellorsville, being in position in the woods along the turnpike. Von Gilsa's Brigade held the extreme right . On the afternoon of May 2d, Von Gilsa advanced his pickets, who sent in word that large masses of the enemy were forming on the right flank of the Union Army and were preparing to attack. Von Gilsa transmitted this information promptly to his superiors in command, but unfortunately no attention was paid to it. No reinforcements were sent to the threatened point, and of the troops on that part of the field no disposition was made to meet the impending attack. The Eleventh Corps remained in the position which it had taken, faced to the south, while Stonewall Jackson's troops were marching to attack its flank from the west.
    When the attack came, Von Gilsa and his regiments were not surprised. They knew it was coming and were calmly awaiting it, although they were aware that through the neglect or incompetency of someone they were in a false position. Lieutenants Searles and Boecke of the Forty-first were stationed on either side of the pike with a detachment of sharpshooters, at some distance beyond the termination of the Union line. As Jackson's skirmishers advanced they struck these sharpshooters who, falling back slowly as they exchanged shots, gave the alarm.
    Jackson had seventy regiments of infantry and several batteries of artillery. His force numbered fully 28,000 men. His troops were formed for the attack in three lines, the first line being over one mile long. Opposed to this veteran army was the Eleventh Corps alone, which, owing to the absence of its strongest brigade — Barlow's — did not number 9,000 men,— and was out of position at that. Even had they been in position to meet this attack, Jackson's line, one mile long, would have reached around them on either flank.
    And yet the Eleventh Corps made a sturdy fight. These troops did not fall back until over 1,800 of their number had fallen and 600 had been captured. Retreating slowly through the forest, their muskets flashing defiantly through the gloom of the nightfall, they retarded Jackson's victorious advance so that two hours elapsed before the Confederates reached the Twelfth Corps' position at Fairview.
    The Forty-first New York, on whom the first attack fell, fired three well-directed volleys, and then retreated, stopping from time to time to rally with other regiments at various points and deliver their fire. Some of the men joined in the stampede, usual under such circumstances, but the body of the regiment moved steadily, and in company with the brigade formed again at General Hooker's headquarters where it protected three batteries. General Devens, who commanded the division, speaks highly, in his official report, of Colonel Von Gilsa's resolute exertions in rallying the retreating columns and checking Jackson's advance. The casualties in the regiment aggregated 6l in killed, wounded and missing.


    The Movie Gods and Generals displayed them as sitting around their campfires totally oblivious to the situation.
    I have seen other writings to the same effect.

    I felt they did good at Gettysburg also to help save the northern fishhook along with Buford and the first corp.

    mark :cannon:
     

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  3. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Dear JacobDelamater;

    I agree with your post. I also think Fox agreed and wrote this about the 11th Corps History:

    Regimental Losses In The American Civil War
    1861-1865

    A Treatise On The Extent And Nature Of The Mortuary Losses In The Union Regiments, With Full And Exhaustive Statistics Compiled From The Official Records On File In The State Military Bureaus And At Washington.

    By William F. Fox, Lt. Col., U.S. V.

    President Of The Society Of The Twelfth Army Corps; Late President Of The 10th N.Y. Veteran Volunteers' Association; And Member Of The New York Historical Society.

    Albany, N.Y.
    Albany Publishing Company
    1889

    COPYRIGHT BY WILLIAM F. FOX 1889

    RANDOW PRINTING COMPANY
    ALBANY, N.Y.


    FOX’S REGIMENTAL LOSSES
    CHAPTER VIII.
    11TH CORPS.
    McDowell; Cross Keys; Cedar Mountain; Freeman's Ford; Sulphur Springs; Manassas; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Wauhatchie; Lookout Mountain; Missionary Ridge,
    On June 26, 1862, President Lincoln ordered that "the troops of the Mountain Department, heretofore under command of General Fremont, shall constitute the First Army Corps, under the command of General Fremont." The corps thus formed was, for the most part, the same as the one afterwards known as the Eleventh Corps, and within a short time it was officially designated as such. This order of President Lincoln was included in the one constituting Pope's Army of Virginia, which was formed from the three commands of Fremont, Banks, and McDowell. Fremont's troops had seen considerable service in Western Virginia, having done some hard fighting at McDowell, and at Cross Keys. General Franz Sigel succeeded to Fremont's command on June 29, 1862, and was in cormhand at Manassas, where the corps encountered more hard fighting, losing 295 killed, 1,361 wounded, and 431 missing; total, 2,087. At this time the three divisions were commanded by Generals Schenck, Von Steinwehr, and Schurz; there was, also, an independent brigade attached, under command of General Milroy.
    By General Orders No. 129, September 12, 1862, its designation was changed to that of the Eleventh, a necessary change, as McDowell's command had resumed its original title of the First Army Corps. During General McClellan's Maryland campaign, and during the fall of 1862, the Eleventh Corps remained in Northern Virginia, in front of Washington, occupying various important outposts in the vicinity of Centreville. In December, it marched to Fredericksburg in support of Burnside, but was not present at the battle, after which it went into winter-quarters at Stafford, Va. General Sigel having asked to be relieved, General O. O. Howard was appointed in his place.
    General Howard commanded the corps at Chancellorsville, May 1 - 3, 1863, at which time it numbered 12,169 effectives, and was composed of the divisions of Generals Devens, Von 'Steinwehr, and Schurz. It contained 27 regiments of infantry, of which 13 were German regiments. The men of the Eleventh Corps were good soldiers,-- for the most part tried and veteran troops, and were in no way responsible for the disaster which befell them at Chan-cellorsville. Their commander in that battle allowed himself to be surprised. He was not only surprised, but he had made a very faulty disposition of his troops. The men were not only attacked without a warning shot, but were taken at a terrible disadvantage. Anything beyond a brief resistance was impossible, and they were obliged to abandon their position as any other corps must have done under the same circumstances. Still, some of the brigades changed front under the attack, and made a gallant resistance for over an hour, seriously retarding the enemy's onset, after which they retired slowly and in good order. The loss of the corps at Chancellorsville was 217 killed, 1,218 wounded, and 972 captured or missing; total, 2,407.
    At Gettysburg the corps was still under the command of Howard; the divisions were under Generals Barlow, Steinwehr, and Schurz, and contained 26; regiments of infantry and 5 batteries. It was engaged, in company with the First Corps, in the battle of the first day, and, on the second day, it participated in the gallant defence of Cemetery Hill. On the day before the battle of Gettysburg, the corps reported 10,576 officers and men for duty; its loss in that battle was 368 killed, 1,922 wounded, and 1,511 captured or missing; total, 3,801, out of less than 9,000 engaged.
    It accompanied the Army on the return to Virginia after Gettysburg, and, on August 7th, the First Division (Schimmelfennig's) was permanently detached, having been ordered to Charleston Harbor. On the 24th of September, the Second and Third divisions (Stein-wehr's and Schurz') were ordered to Tennessee, together with the Twelfth Corps. These two corps, numbering over 20,000 men, were transported, within a week, over 1,200 miles, and placed on the banks of the Tennessee River, at Bridgeport, without an accident or detention.
    During the following month, on October 29th, Howard's two divisions were ordered to the support of the Twelfth Corps, in the midnight battle at Wauhatchie, Tenn. Arriving there, Smith's Brigade of Steinwehr's Division charged up a steep hill in the face of the enemy, receiving but not returning the fire, and drove Longstreet's veterans out of their intrenchments, using the bayonet alone. Some of the regiments in this affair suffered a severe loss, but their extraordinary gallantry won extravagant expressions of praise from various generals, high in rank, including General Grant. A part of the Eleventh Corps was also actively engaged at Missionary Ridge, where it cooperated with Sherman's forces on the left After this battle it was ordered to East Tennessee for the relief of Knoxville, a campaign whose hardships and privations exceeded anything within the previous experience of the command.
    In April, 1864, the two divisions of the Eleventh Corps were broken up and transferred to the newly-formed Twentieth Corps. General Howard was transferred to the command of the Fourth Corps, and, subsequently, was honored by a promotion to the command of the Army of the Tennessee.

    That said, I also know that there were suspicions about immigrants and language of the Germans wasn't something that General Howard knew, and with the transfer out of their Germanic General, to whom Howard replaced, well -- there was some upset on both sides.

    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
    APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
    No. 240.--Report of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, U.S. Army, commanding Eleventh Army Corps.
    ADDENDA.
    GENERAL ORDERS No. 9.
    HDQRS. ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
    May 10, 1863..
    As your commanding general, I cannot fail to notice a feeling of depression on the part of a portion of this corps. Some obloquy has been cast upon us on account of the affair of Saturday, May 2. I believe that such a disaster might have happened to any other corps of this army, and do not distrust my command. Every officer who failed to do his duty by not keeping his men together, and not rallying them when broken, is conscious of it, and must profit by the past.
    I confidently believe that every honorable officer and every brave man earnestly desires an opportunity to advance against the enemy, and demonstrate to the army and to the country that we are not wanting in principle or patriotism. Your energy, sustained and directed under the Divine blessing, shall yet place the Eleventh Corps ahead of them all.
    O. O. HOWARD,

    And, the Eleventh Corps would do just as General Howard wrote in his General Order #9.

    Your opinions are further supported by this record:
    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
    APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
    No. 252.--Report of Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz, U.S. Army, commanding Third Division, with correspondence, &c.
    May 18, 1863.
    Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
    SIR: I would respectfully ask for permission to publish my report on the part taken by my division in the action of the 2d of May. My reasons for making this request are the following:
    The conduct of the Eleventh Corps, and especially of my division, has been so outrageously and so persistently misrepresented by the press throughout the country, and officers, as well as men, have had and still have to suffer so much abuse and insult at the hands of the rest of the army, that they would seem to have a right to have a true statement of the circumstances of the case laid before the people, so that they may hope to be judged by their true merits.
    It is a very hard thing for soldiers to be universally stigmatized as cowards, and apt to demoralize them more than a defeat. Without claiming for the officers and men of my command anything that is not due them, I would respectfully represent that in my humble opinion it would be but just, and greatly for the benefit of the morale of the men, that the country should be made to understand the disastrous occurrence of the 2d of May in its true character.
    If the publication of my report should seem inexpedient to you, I would respectfully ask for a court of inquiry, to publicly investigate the circumstances surrounding my command on the 2d of May, and the causes of its defeat.
    I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
    C. SCHURZ,
    Major-General, Comdg. Third Division, Eleventh Army Corps.
    [ Indorsements. ]
    HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
    May 18, 1863.
    Respectfully forwarded.
    O. O. HOWARD,
    Major-General, Commanding.
    -----
    HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
    May 18, 1863.
    Respectfully forwarded. I hope soon to be able to transmit all the reports of the recent battles, and meanwhile I cannot approve of the publication of an isolated report.
    JOSEPH HOOKER,
    Major-General, Commanding.
    -----
    CONTINUED
     
  4. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXV/1 [S# 39]
    APRIL 27-MAY 6, 1863.--The Chancellorsville Campaign.
    No. 252.--Report of Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz, U.S. Army, commanding Third Division, with correspondence, &c.
    HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
    May 21, 1863.
    GENERAL: The arrangement spoken of between yourself and the Secretary of War with regard to my transfer to another army is not acceptable, under present circumstances. You remember that about seven weeks ago I expressed a desire to leave with my troops, for the reason that I anticipated difficulties which would be apt to impair the efficiency of the corps. The disaster which befell us on the 2d of May has brought about a state of things which seems to justify my apprehensions in a much larger measure than I had expected; nevertheless it is now impossible for me and my troops to agree to an arrangement which formerly we would have been happy to accept.
    My reasons are these: I have been most outrageously slandered by the press. Ridiculous as it may seem, my division has been made responsible for the defeat of the corps; my officers and men have been called cowards. If we go now, will it not have the appearance as if we were shaken off by the Army of the Potomac? Would it not to a certainty confirm the slanders circulated about me? Would it not seem as if I voluntarily accepted the responsibility for the disaster of May 2? To such an arrangement, under such circumstances, I can never consent.
    I have asked for one of two things: Either the publication of my official report or a court of inquiry, so that the true facts may come to light and the responsibility for the disaster be fairly apportioned. For this and nothing else have I asked, and I shall urge this with all possible energy. Although under all other circumstances I should be willing to go to some other theater of war, under these circumstances I am satisfied with my command as it is and where it is. I consider it a duty to myself and my men to stand right here until the mist that hangs over the events of the 2d of May is cleared up.
    Besides, I had a conversation with General Hooker, in the course of which this subject was incidentally touched, and he pronounced himself decidedly opposed to my going, either without or with my troops.
    I am, general, most respectfully, yours,
    C. SCHURZ,
    Major-general.
    Maj. Gen. O. O. HOWARD,
    Headquarters Eleventh Corps.

    [Indorsement. ]
    HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
    May 22, 1863.
    General Schurz expressed in a conversation with me on the 19th instant his desire to go with his division to some other army. I wondered at it at the time. I believe that it would militate against him and his command to be transferred at this juncture. I withdraw my request, and will make every effort to reconcile all difficulties arising from the different nationalities in this command.
    Respectfully,
    O. O. HOWARD,
    Major-General.

    CAMP NEAR BROOKE'S STATION, VA.,
    May 30, 1863.
    Hon. E. M. STANTON,
    Secretary of War:
    SIR: To my application for permission to publish my report of the part taken by my division in the battle of Chancellorsville, I received, through the Adjutant-General, the reply that "it is contrary to orders to publish the reports of battles except through the proper official channels." In accordance with this, I would, for the reasons enumerated in my letter of the 18th instant, respectfully request you to publish my report when it reaches the War Department through the proper channel. I would also most respectfully repeat my request that if the publication of my report should seem inexpedient to you, a court of inquiry be granted me for the purpose of publicly investigating the circumstances surrounding my command on the 2d of May, the causes of its defeat, and my conduct on that occasion.
    I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
    C. SCHURZ,
    Major-General, Comdg. Third Div., Eleventh Army Corps.
    [Indorsements. ]
    HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
    May 30, 1863.
    Respectfully forwarded. With reference to the court of inquiry asked for, I recommend that the request be granted. I do not know of any charges against General Schurz from an official quarter, but I do not shrink from a thorough investigation of all the circumstances connected with the disaster of May 2.
    O. O. HOWARD,
    Major-General, Commanding.
    -----
    HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
    June 1, 1863.
    Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant-General of the Army.
    JOSEPH HOOKER,
    Major-General, Commanding.
    -----
    JUNE 4, 1863.
    Publication of partial reports not approved till the general commanding has time to make his report.
    H. W. HALLECK,
    General-in. Chief.

    If there were any major flaws to cover-up, I highly doubt General Howard would seek, via indorsement for a court of inquiry.

    I've never known any major military operation that hasn't had some mistakes and ruffles in the planned smooth operations. Clearly, the press was out to wreck the reputation of the 11th Corps. And, the Union having little success against the CSA, there had to be blame. Even today's news does the same.

    Just some thoughts.

    Respectfully submitted for consideration,
    M. E. Wolf
     
  5. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Am glad to see some defense of the XI Corps. Skim-over history ridicules it, using Chancellorsville and Gettysburg as examples of always getting run over and, by implication, that the Germans did not fight as well as the Irish. Or that Howard, Schenk, Shurz, Von Gilsa, et al. were idiots.
     
  6. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

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    Having an acestor who fought with and was wounded as a member of the 11th Corps, the 153rd PA, I absolutely agree that the 11th Corps got a bad rap, more than once. After considerable research, I strongly believe it was easy for those who were responsible for what happened to the corps at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg at Barlow/Blocher Knoll to blame it on the men in especially the 153rd PA, mainly because of their ethnicity (German) and the stereotype that came with it at the time. There were those who defended the 11th Corps after Gettysburg, but those with the power spoke loudest. My ggggg-uncle died of wounds suffered on July 1, 1863 at Barlow Knoll because of the inepitude and arrogance of men like Barlow, and so I absolutely agree with what you say, Mark.

    Pam
     
  7. Vareb

    Vareb Banned

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    Well, those Boys in Gray had something to do with it. :smile:
     
  8. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA Captain Forum Host

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    Agreed, Vareb!

    Pam
     
  9. bschulte

    bschulte Corporal

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    Since I'm (obviously if you look at the last name!) of German descent, this is topic of much interest to me. I reviewed a book last year around this time which makes a solid case for the XI Corps doing as good a job as was possible given the circumstances. It's called Chancellorsville and the Germans, by Christian Keller, and he argues that the psychological blow dealt to German-Americans by the events of May 2, 1863 delayed German-American assimilation into mainstream America by decades. I think the author overstates his case a bit, but his chapters dealing with the fighting and its aftermath show that the myth of the "cowardly Dutch" at Chancellorsville should be laid to rest for good.
     
  10. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    While the men (as in the soldiers bearing rifles) may have performed as well as could be expected, their officers (Howard in particular) let them down. And so the corps did not perform well.

    I'm not sure that accusing Barlow of arrogance and ineptitude is fair - his record in general is pretty good.

    Still, moving forward to that knoll was not one of his most succesful moves, to put it as politely as possible.

    Personally, I'm not sure that XI Corps was one of the better parts of the AotP even ignoring the tactical blunders - but that's several steps removed from "cowards".
     
  11. bschulte

    bschulte Corporal

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    I think that pretty much sums it up nicely.
     
  12. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    So I suppose the question is - what is responsible?

    For all their pride in saying "I fight mit Sigel", Sigel doesn't seem to have done much to make them the kind of fighting unit that would deserve to be remembered well.

    That seems to be a good part of it - the Iron Brigade and Stonewall Brigade, for instance, are very much the result of their original (or in the former's case, second) commander molding them.

    Somehow, the regiments that made up Eleventh Corps never got that attention.

    That's only a guess, but its the most logical.
     
  13. OpnDownfall

    OpnDownfall Cadet

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    11th Corps---Hard fighters at chancellorsville

    It was claimed that the Army of the Tennessee was "...better than its generals" it could have equally applied to the AoP.
     
  14. jacobdelamater

    jacobdelamater Cadet

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elennsar [​IMG]
    Personally, I'm not sure that XI Corps was one of the better parts of the AotP even ignoring the tactical blunders - but that's several steps removed from "cowards".



    I disagree totally with this elennsar. 90 % of these men were not even us citizens( what did they have to gain, they owned no u.s.property?) In fact most of them were veterans of the Prussian -Dutch war.
    They fought their butts off in this war.! Most of them never even seen a black man .
    THEY DIED FOR A COUNTRY THAT THEY KNEW VERY LITTLE ABOUT.
    These men were voracious fighters that should not be slighted in the least .
    THEIR COURAGE WAS OUTSTANDING!
    THEY WERE THE BETTER PART. M.K. :sabre:
     
  15. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    No one is calling their courage into question.

    Or at least no one on this thread.

    What I am questioning is their performance as fighting units.

    Plain and simple, we have the Iron Brigade (as a four regiment unit) dealing out nasty punishment to two Confederate divisions at Brawner's Farm.

    We have nothing equivalant to that on the record of any of the units in the Eleventh Corps.

    "The most gallant fight possible under the circumstances." is far better than "ran at the first sight of the enemy", but its not a particularly commendable performance when that's the best thing on their record.

    Now, I'm not sure of how many were citizens and how many owned any property, but while I will take my hat off to those who bled and died with courage, I will not praise the 25th Ohio, for instance, for better work than it actually did.

    On a scale of F to A+, where A+ are the top fighting units of the war and F is the Corp's (undeserved) reputation, I cannot in good conscience as a (amateur) historian rate them above a C+.

    Plenty of other units are that too. This is not a slight - Brockenburough's brigade at Gettysburg is more like a D+ if that, so some are even worse.


    In brief, we get that they were brave and loyal and devoted. We agree that they were as brave as anyone else and would no doubt have gotten their faces scorched by enemy fire at Fredericksburg as much as any Irishmen had they been put in the same situation.

    They were not high quality units for some reason or another.

    I can think of perhaps one exception, and that mostly a comment on its commander: http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~lowery/his.htm

    Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery.

    Let's not go from the idea that they were worse than useless to the idea that they were the greatest men alive.
     
  16. jacobdelamater

    jacobdelamater Cadet

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    Lest we never forget this.
    All brave-courageous men are equal in battle!
    What makes the difference in a so called win or loss is the battle plan they are ordered to follow!
     
  17. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    I cannot agree with that.

    Not when rating the military effectiveness of one unit over another.

    Now, if you took two soldiers, one from say the 2nd Wisconsin and one from say the 26th...yes.

    But in terms of the two regiments, if you put them in the same situation, I would expect the 2nd to do better.

    And that bothers me, because there has to be a reason for that other than base courage and devotion.
     
  18. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Just a couple of misconceptions here. There was no naturalization process then. When you stepped of the boat with the intention of staying, you were a citizen. Many of these men had been American for more than ten years; some for more than twenty. And every one of them came because they were told how great it was to be here.
     
  19. Vareb

    Vareb Banned

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    Sounds a lot like cannon fodder.
     
  20. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    With the exception of the prejudice against the "Dutch", they seem to have done quite well by coming here, actually.

    It does sound like something you'd tell cannon fodder, though.

    "Come to our country! Good, cheap land!"

    Was true, sort of, though.

    But that's not here or there - they enlisted willingly and eagerly.

    A pity that their commanders in one way or another did not nurture them into the fine fighting units they could have/should have been.

    Quite a few units did give pretty commendable performances under the bad circumstances of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg - but that's not the same as winning a triumph, which so far as I can tell they never got (in the AotP - I'm not sure how 20th Corps in the West did.)

    Though, that brings up a thought.

    Assuming Cemetary Hill was, indeed, an important terrain feature - keeping them there after the army came up and units could be shuffled around is a sign someone thought they could fight if necessary - you wouldn't assign troops you thought would run at the first sight of the enemy there.
     
  21. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Dear Elennar;

    What you have posted, in #14 and #16, is in my opinion a bunch of 'what ifs.'

    It is difficult to judge a Corps, Division, Regiment, Battalion, Brigade, Company, etc., the same. It is impossible to do an overlay to compare performance of 20 plus organized men and various sizes; as to duplicate performance and or judge them accordingly. Heavens, even if you could it would take days and weather and conditions changes within a day and at times hours. Even excellent armies waffle in their effectiveness/affectiveness for many reasons.

    I personally feel it is folly, to judge the various Military Departments, Military Divisions, Military Army Corps, Battalions, Brigades, Regiments, etc., in a cookie-cutter fashion. Each functioned in different fields, conditions, regions, weather, supply and transportation theaters.

    Even on the same battlefield, each unit has different strengths and or weaknesses.

    Veterans and even re-enactors, to whom expose themselves even briefly, come to realize that it is easy to criticize from the comforts of civilian arm chair leadership but, on the floor of the battlefield's theater--what is made to look simple, is actually most difficult.

    I'll even go so far as to say, my experience with horses and having 13 of them; not one of them was the same in health, fitness, performance, attitude and training. How can men be any different? My troopers were like horses--not one was cookie cutter and like the horses; the total package is what a commanding officer as I had to work with. And, though not a Corps level of totals of men; perhaps my 'snap shot' or 'in camera' view can be considered and know how unfair it is to force any army into a match with one another, in performance, in discipline/training and or deeds. The military is not in competition with one another. Rather, it is doing what is assigned, regardless how minor the task; and or how major the task--as well as those in between--it isn't about me as an officer. It is about the mission and about all of us.

    Shifting to law enforcement; this also applies. Not one officer is identical to another, however; when in a riot--we function as an army, with discipline/training, to be applied tactfully and with the least amount of physical force necessary to complete the mission.

    Just some thoughts of a veteran and officer.

    Respectfully submitted for consideration,
    M. E. Wolf
     

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