Book Recommendations For The Peninsular Campaign 1862

EnigmaVIII

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Other than Sears, who I find tediously biased, is there a definitive study of this campaign anyone can recommend? Something in the vein of Hennessy’s Return to Bull Run or O’Reilly’s Fredericksburg Campaign?

Thanks!
 

Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
Other than Sears, who I find tediously biased, is there a definitive study of this campaign anyone can recommend? Something in the vein of Hennessy’s Return to Bull Run or O’Reilly’s Fredericksburg Campaign?

Thanks!
For the Seven Days Burton's Extraordinary Circumstances is the gold standard right now. As for the campaign to that point Sears is probably the best bet. Oddly, the best study of Seven Pines remains Steven Newton's slim 1992 book from H E Howard. I'm not sure why you find Sears "tediously biased" unless it's a McClellan issue. Beatie's incomplete study of the Army of the Potomac got through Wlliamsburg before his death and is solidly researched but the word "tedious" does come to mind. and as indicated he never got beyond that point.
 

EnigmaVIII

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Hey thanks! I’ll definitely check out those titles.

Yes it’s a McClellan issue for me. I know he is a prolific civil war author but I feel his personal dislike for Mac the man bleeds loudly into his reporting of Mac the general. Not that Mac was great, but its hard to find a fair study of his campaigns imo.
 

Belfoured

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Hey thanks! I’ll definitely check out those titles.

Yes it’s a McClellan issue for me. I know he is a prolific civil war author but I feel his personal dislike for Mac the man bleeds loudly into his reporting of Mac the general. Not that Mac was great, but its hard to find a fair study of his campaigns imo.
I certainly understand that but I also think there's a fair amount of McClellan "revisionism" that goes too far in the other direction. The portions of Rafuse's book McClellan's War that deal with the Peninsula Campaign would probably strike you as balanced without going overboard. And from a tactical viewpoint, Sears has it down pretty well. The campaign really needs more good battle narratives. I wish that somebody would persuade Newton to update and enlarge his on Seven Pines. "Pitiless Rain" about Williamsburg is pretty good. The Hardy book on Hanover Court House is very good, as is Crenshaw's book on Glendale (although somewhat limited by the publisher's page constraints). We have been waiting a long time for Krick, Jr. to finish his study of Gaines's Mill and for Frank O'Reilly to finish his on Malvern Hill. What's been published by McFarland on Seven Pines, Glendale, and Gaines's Mill is pretty weak, in my opinion, and not worth the usual McFarland pricing for soft covers. If you want good succinct/tour guide-style supplements, I recommend Crenshaw's book on the Seven Days in the Emerging Civil War series from SB. He has another due out at some point in that series on the earlier part of the campaign.
 

Bruce Vail

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Clifford Dowdey gets some deserved criticism for being an idolator of Robert E. Lee but I found his book The Seven Days: The Emergence of Lee (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1964) to be informative and quite readable. It tells the same story as Sears, but from a Confederate perspective. Not as detailed as Burton's study, but a good complement to Sears.
 

Belfoured

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Clifford Dowdey gets some deserved criticism for being an idolator of Robert E. Lee but I found his book The Seven Days: The Emergence of Lee (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1964) to be informative and quite readable. It tells the same story as Sears, but from a Confederate perspective. Not as detailed as Burton's study, but a good complement to Sears.
True, but Burton's book is much more up to date and better-researched. As you suggest, Dowdey is a bit of a hagiographer. He also wasn't a historian and he didn't use source notes. Because it was written almost 60 years ago, a lot of good sources weren't available tto him - Alexander's Fighting for the Confederacy is just one of numerous examples. So the books he used - OR and the published primary accounts - have their shortcomings. But the general tenor is pretty accurate overall.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
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Aug 3, 2019
There's a book called The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis by Kevin Dougherty. I thought it was interesting.
That's not a bad addition to the list, but Dougherty relies pretty much on the standard stuff. Not much that are unique insights and pretty broad brush.
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
Nov 10, 2006
as is Crenshaw's book on Glendale
Crenshaw completely rewrites the timeline of Glendale in an attempt to prove it was supposed to be an attack, placing Kemper's attack first rather than Jenkins'. Since Jenkins attacked around 1630-45 and Kemper closer to 1800, it is an issue...
 

Belfoured

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Crenshaw completely rewrites the timeline of Glendale in an attempt to prove it was supposed to be an attack, placing Kemper's attack first rather than Jenkins'. Since Jenkins attacked around 1630-45 and Kemper closer to 1800, it is an issue...
Longstreet and McCall each agreed on a time that the fighting commenced earlier.
 

Jamieva

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I certainly understand that but I also think there's a fair amount of McClellan "revisionism" that goes too far in the other direction. The portions of Rafuse's book McClellan's War that deal with the Peninsula Campaign would probably strike you as balanced without going overboard. And from a tactical viewpoint, Sears has it down pretty well. The campaign really needs more good battle narratives. I wish that somebody would persuade Newton to update and enlarge his on Seven Pines. "Pitiless Rain" about Williamsburg is pretty good. The Hardy book on Hanover Court House is very good, as is Crenshaw's book on Glendale (although somewhat limited by the publisher's page constraints). We have been waiting a long time for Krick, Jr. to finish his study of Gaines's Mill and for Frank O'Reilly to finish his on Malvern Hill. What's been published by McFarland on Seven Pines, Glendale, and Gaines's Mill is pretty weak, in my opinion, and not worth the usual McFarland pricing for soft covers. If you want good succinct/tour guide-style supplements, I recommend Crenshaw's book on the Seven Days in the Emerging Civil War series from SB. He has another due out at some point in that series on the earlier part of the campaign.
Crenshaws book on the pre seven days actions comes put nect spring. Both are emerging civil war books so they are short and dont get as much into the details as most of us like. They are good overviews
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Longstreet and McCall each agreed on a time that the fighting commenced earlier.

It is well established (and in Longstreet's autobiography, amongst other places) that there was no planned attack, and that Jenkins misunderstood his orders to advance the Palmetto Sharpshooters and snipe the Federal gunners, and instead charged:

"Near the battery from which the shots came was R. H.[Pg 135] Anderson’s brigade, in which Colonel Jenkins had a battalion of practised sharp-shooters. I sent orders for Jenkins to silence the battery, under the impression that our wait was understood, and that the sharp-shooters would be pushed forward till they could pick off the gunners, thus ridding us of that annoyance; but the gallant Jenkins, only too anxious for a dash at a battery, charged and captured it, thus precipitating battle. The troops right and left going in, in the same spirit, McCall’s fire and the forest tangle thinned our ranks as the lines neared each other, and the battle staggered both sides, but, after a formidable struggle, the Confederates won the ground, and Randol’s gallant battery. Sedgwick’s division reinforced the front and crowded back the Confederate right, while Kearny’s, reinforced by Slocum, pushed severely against my left, and then part of Hooker’s division came against my right. Thus the aggressive battle became defensive, but we held most of the ground gained from McCall."
- James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox, pgs 134-5.

I constructed the timeline and order of events from general observations, thus:

1430: Meade and Seymour become aware that rather than being in the rear behind Kearny, they are actually the front line. They start placing their commands into battle order.

1500: Meade leads the 1st and 3rd Reserves out to form a skirmish line and encounters the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, advancing ahead of Longstreet. Over the next hour Longstreet's division will come down the road.

1600: Longstreet believes he hears Huger's guns and orders Jenkins forward to suppress the enemy. Jenkins advances to the nearby tree-line pushing back the 1st and 3rd Reserves who were out as skirmishers. He brings up his brigade battery to shell Cooper's Battery (opening fire at 1630), but loses the firefight. Featherstone's and Strange's brigades are only just coming in from the march and are going into camp routine.

1645-1700 (Jenkins' first charge): Jenkins charges his brigade at Cooper's Battery, which is defended by the 1st and 9th Reserves. Cooper's battery was held and Jenkins repulsed in disorder. At 1700 Longstreet tries to recover the situation by sending orders to Kemper, Strange, Pryor and Featherstone to attack. Wilcox received no such order. Kemper's brigade (and probably the others) were in the middle of cooking their dinners, and were not ready to make an attack.

1730-1800 (Kemper charges the German batteries): Longstreet started issuing orders to support Jenkins by attacking at 1700. Kemper went in south of Jenkins at the junction of McCall and Hooker, and charged 2 German 20 pounder batteries (from the arty res) supported by only 6 coys of the 12th Reserves. The Pennsylvanians fell back out of range and McCall sent the 5th, 8th and 13th Reserves down on Kemper's left, and Hooker sent Grover's brigade at Kemper's right. Realising he was now about to be in a Kesselschlacht, Kemper withdrew, taking 414 casualties in the process of whom 165 were captured by the 10th Reserves charging their rear. At 1740 Wilcox saw Strange's brigade advancing, and on his own initiative started getting the troops in order.

1800-1815 (Jenkins' second charge): Jenkins rallied his brigade and, with the 9th and 10th Alabama of Wilcox's brigade, charged again. Cooper's Battery again was held. The two charges cost the Federals 258 casualties, and the Confederates lost 802. By this point, Dana's and Sully's brigades had returned and were behind McCall solidifying a second divisional line behind his.

1800-1830 (Branch and Strange go into the Kessel): Branch was on the right of Kemper, but was delayed. Strange (Pickett's Bde) followed Branch. Strange came up against Hooker's division, which they only engaged the skirmishers of Hooker before retreating. Branch got hammered by the 5th, 8th and 10th Reserves, and pushed them back, gaining 2 abandoned 20 pounders. Sedgwick's men countercharged and repulsed him. Strange came up against Hooker's division, and were repulsed.

1815-1845 (Wilcox's left charges Randol's battery): The left of Wilcox's brigade, the 8th and 11th Alabama, launched a charge at Randoll's battery, left of Cooper's battery and in Meade's front. They charged the 4th and 7th Reserves, and were initially repulsed. This was apparently not a planned attack, but the CO of the 8th Alabama, seeing the 9th and 10th charging with Jenkins, launched of his own accord. Running into 12 guns (as Thompson's battery also engaged) and 2 regts, the 8th Alabama was repulsed by artillery alone, and then the 11th. Parts of the 7th Reserves then countercharged, blocking the artillery's arcs. The Alabamans turn and received the 7th Reserves (capturing large numbers of them), and use the fleeing Pennsylvanians to mask another charge on the battery, which was overrun. However, out in the open the troops on the battery were shot down and forced to retreat for lack of supports.

1845-ca. 2000 (Pryor and Featherston demonstrate against Kearny, joined by Gregg): Pryor moved to within skirmishing range or Kearny's division and thought better of making a charge. Featherstone would form on his left, and later Gregg would move in to support. No assault was made on this front.

1930-ca. 2000 (Field captures Cooper's and Randol's Batteries): Ordered to the front about 1900, Field deployed his column where Jenkins had been. McCall had identified that his line here had been battered to non-existence, and had tried to get Berry to fill it. However, the martinet Kearny had quashed all the initiative in his subordinates and despite seeing the hole, no-one was authorised to move to fill it until Kearny approved. Kearny was eventually found and approved, but it was too late. Heintzelman had seen it, and had Taylor's brigade move there from Slocum. Caldwall's and Meagher's Brigade arrived from White Oak Swamp Bridge, and were placed behind Kearny. Palmer and Howe's brigades, under McClellan's orders, had marched to the crossroads and were behind Hooker. The entire position was solidifying. However, before Taylor could plug the gap, Field charged and overran the guns. He could not advance any further though as McCall's men supported by Sedgwick's right held the woodline. Field fell back to the next woodline, and JR Anderson came up and they solidified their position in the woodline with the abandoned guns between the lines. To the right of Field, Pender had advanced against the German batteries, but found Sedgwick's division defending it. To his right Archer found Hooker's division. It was dark and neither attacked. In the dark McCall blundered into Field's brigade and was captured.
 
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Joshism

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Jupiter, FL
Sears' book came out nearly 30 years ago; Burton's is almost 20 years old.

The Peninsular Campaign and Seven Days could sorely use a new full length treatment, probably in multi-volume format.

Vol 1: Up The Peninsula (through Seven Pines)
Vol 2: Lee Takes The Initiative (Lee takes command through Gaines Mill)
Vol 3: McClellan's Change Of Base (from McClellan ordering withdrawl late on June 27 to the departure of the last of the AOTP from the Peninsula)
 

James N.

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I remember a particularly disappointing one I have called The Peninsula Campaign, 1862 by NPS then-Chief Historian Joseph P. Cullen from around the time of the Centennial; it's notably short - probably less than 200 pp. - and unattractive, the few illustrations and one poor map culled directly from Battles & Leaders. It's merely an overview, designed for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I remember a particularly disappointing one I have called The Peninsula Campaign, 1862 by NPS then-Chief Historian Joseph P. Cullen from around the time of the Centennial; it's notably short - probably less than 200 pp. - and unattractive, the few illustrations and one poor map culled directly from Battles & Leaders. It's merely an overview, designed for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject.
Agree. That one would never make the list.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
It is well established (and in Longstreet's autobiography, amongst other places) that there was no planned attack, and that Jenkins misunderstood his orders to advance the Palmetto Sharpshooters and snipe the Federal gunners, and instead charged:

"Near the battery from which the shots came was R. H.[Pg 135] Anderson’s brigade, in which Colonel Jenkins had a battalion of practised sharp-shooters. I sent orders for Jenkins to silence the battery, under the impression that our wait was understood, and that the sharp-shooters would be pushed forward till they could pick off the gunners, thus ridding us of that annoyance; but the gallant Jenkins, only too anxious for a dash at a battery, charged and captured it, thus precipitating battle. The troops right and left going in, in the same spirit, McCall’s fire and the forest tangle thinned our ranks as the lines neared each other, and the battle staggered both sides, but, after a formidable struggle, the Confederates won the ground, and Randol’s gallant battery. Sedgwick’s division reinforced the front and crowded back the Confederate right, while Kearny’s, reinforced by Slocum, pushed severely against my left, and then part of Hooker’s division came against my right. Thus the aggressive battle became defensive, but we held most of the ground gained from McCall."
- James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox, pgs 134-5.

I constructed the timeline and order of events from general observations, thus:

1430: Meade and Seymour become aware that rather than being in the rear behind Kearny, they are actually the front line. They start placing their commands into battle order.

1500: Meade leads the 1st and 3rd Reserves out to form a skirmish line and encounters the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, advancing ahead of Longstreet. Over the next hour Longstreet's division will come down the road.

1600: Longstreet believes he hears Huger's guns and orders Jenkins forward to suppress the enemy. Jenkins advances to the nearby tree-line pushing back the 1st and 3rd Reserves who were out as skirmishers. He brings up his brigade battery to shell Cooper's Battery (opening fire at 1630), but loses the firefight. Featherstone's and Strange's brigades are only just coming in from the march and are going into camp routine.

1645-1700 (Jenkins' first charge): Jenkins charges his brigade at Cooper's Battery, which is defended by the 1st and 9th Reserves. Cooper's battery was held and Jenkins repulsed in disorder. At 1700 Longstreet tries to recover the situation by sending orders to Kemper, Strange, Pryor and Featherstone to attack. Wilcox received no such order. Kemper's brigade (and probably the others) were in the middle of cooking their dinners, and were not ready to make an attack.

1730-1800 (Kemper charges the German batteries): Longstreet started issuing orders to support Jenkins by attacking at 1700. Kemper went in south of Jenkins at the junction of McCall and Hooker, and charged 2 German 20 pounder batteries (from the arty res) supported by only 6 coys of the 12th Reserves. The Pennsylvanians fell back out of range and McCall sent the 5th, 8th and 13th Reserves down on Kemper's left, and Hooker sent Grover's brigade at Kemper's right. Realising he was now about to be in a Kesselschlacht, Kemper withdrew, taking 414 casualties in the process of whom 165 were captured by the 10th Reserves charging their rear. At 1740 Wilcox saw Strange's brigade advancing, and on his own initiative started getting the troops in order.

1800-1815 (Jenkins' second charge): Jenkins rallied his brigade and, with the 9th and 10th Alabama of Wilcox's brigade, charged again. Cooper's Battery again was held. The two charges cost the Federals 258 casualties, and the Confederates lost 802. By this point, Dana's and Sully's brigades had returned and were behind McCall solidifying a second divisional line behind his.

1800-1830 (Branch and Strange go into the Kessel): Branch was on the right of Kemper, but was delayed. Strange (Pickett's Bde) followed Branch. Strange came up against Hooker's division, which they only engaged the skirmishers of Hooker before retreating. Branch got hammered by the 5th, 8th and 10th Reserves, and pushed them back, gaining 2 abandoned 20 pounders. Sedgwick's men countercharged and repulsed him. Strange came up against Hooker's division, and were repulsed.

1815-1845 (Wilcox's left charges Randol's battery): The left of Wilcox's brigade, the 8th and 11th Alabama, launched a charge at Randoll's battery, left of Cooper's battery and in Meade's front. They charged the 4th and 7th Reserves, and were initially repulsed. This was apparently not a planned attack, but the CO of the 8th Alabama, seeing the 9th and 10th charging with Jenkins, launched of his own accord. Running into 12 guns (as Thompson's battery also engaged) and 2 regts, the 8th Alabama was repulsed by artillery alone, and then the 11th. Parts of the 7th Reserves then countercharged, blocking the artillery's arcs. The Alabamans turn and received the 7th Reserves (capturing large numbers of them), and use the fleeing Pennsylvanians to mask another charge on the battery, which was overrun. However, out in the open the troops on the battery were shot down and forced to retreat for lack of supports.

1845-ca. 2000 (Pryor and Featherston demonstrate against Kearny, joined by Gregg): Pryor moved to within skirmishing range or Kearny's division and thought better of making a charge. Featherstone would form on his left, and later Gregg would move in to support. No assault was made on this front.

1930-ca. 2000 (Field captures Cooper's and Randol's Batteries): Ordered to the front about 1900, Field deployed his column where Jenkins had been. McCall had identified that his line here had been battered to non-existence, and had tried to get Berry to fill it. However, the martinet Kearny had quashed all the initiative in his subordinates and despite seeing the hole, no-one was authorised to move to fill it until Kearny approved. Kearny was eventually found and approved, but it was too late. Heintzelman had seen it, and had Taylor's brigade move there from Slocum. Caldwall's and Meagher's Brigade arrived from White Oak Swamp Bridge, and were placed behind Kearny. Palmer and Howe's brigades, under McClellan's orders, had marched to the crossroads and were behind Hooker. The entire position was solidifying. However, before Taylor could plug the gap, Field charged and overran the guns. He could not advance any further though as McCall's men supported by Sedgwick's right held the woodline. Field fell back to the next woodline, and JR Anderson came up and they solidified their position in the woodline with the abandoned guns between the lines. To the right of Field, Pender had advanced against the German batteries, but found Sedgwick's division defending it. To his right Archer found Hooker's division. It was dark and neither attacked. In the dark McCall blundered into Field's brigade and was captured.
You're disregarding Longstreet's report, which was made within weeks of the battle, not decades. While they differ in particulars, he and McCall both have hostilities commencing at 1500, the time when Longstreet says he thought that "Huger's attack" began and when Longstreet acted on the belief that Huger "would expect early cooperation". Jenkins was ordered forward by Longstreet to "silence" the Federal artillery and found the enemy in such strength "that the engagement was brought on at once (4 o'clock)."
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
You're disregarding Longstreet's report, which was made within weeks of the battle, not decades. While they differ in particulars, he and McCall both have hostilities commencing at 1500, the time when Longstreet says he thought that "Huger's attack" began and when Longstreet acted on the belief that Huger "would expect early cooperation". Jenkins was ordered forward by Longstreet to "silence" the Federal artillery and found the enemy in such strength "that the engagement was brought on at once (4 o'clock)."
No, it was one input. However, there are many observations of the timings.

Lee's own report says that Huger's artillery opened at 1600, and Longstreet opened a battery to indicate his presence to Huger. This battery opening at 1600 triggered a general engagement.

Goode, commanding the cavalry vanguard, simply says that Jenkins' Brigade was the vanguard brigade, and they moved ahead of the column.

Longstreet says he heard Huger's artillery at 1500, and then began to move his artillery forward to bombard the enemy. At 1600 the enemy were found to be close and Jenkins' brigade was ordered to suppress it.

Jenkins' report is in the SOR, and gives no timings. The events generally match. If I may quote a note: "Wilcox had not yet made his charge, and Kemper had either not moved at all, or had diverged so far to the right as not to be engaged... some few from the other regiment [of the brigade, plus the 6th SC which wasn't involved in the first charge] went back into the fight with Wilcox's brigade."

Kemper says he received orders to advance from Longstreet about 1700.

Strange says Pickett's brigade came off the line of march about 1600 and started to form line. Some time after Dearing's battery was advanced and opened fire, and the brigade was ordered to attack at 1700.

Wilcox says he was halted about 1400 and started to form line to the left of the road, but this order was countermanded. They got back into column and advanced another mile down the road and formed line probably 1430-1500 (2-3 hours before 1700). Near 1700 (i.e. a bit before) the artillery duel erupted on his front. Near 1800 (1740) he saw Pickett's brigade advancing and he received an order to form line. Soon after he got into line RH Anderson ordered him forward.

Pryor says about 1600 he was ordered forward towards the field by Longstreet, but took a long time to get there, and didn't get to the field until after Jenkins had been repulsed.

Featherstone says the fighting began at 1600, and he received an order to advance at 1700.

Magruder says he received at order from Longstreet to march to the crossroads at 1630, and later received an order not to wait for his artillery but to move only with infantry.

Huger says his column encountered an enemy battery, and had a short artillery duel before pulling back. No timings were given. Ransom says it was between 1400 and 1500, and he formed line 1.25 miles behind the line. Ransom says he received a request from Magruder to reinforce him at 1700, and several more followed.

There is a consensus that Longstreet pushed Jenkins forward at 1600, and that soon afterwards Chapman's battery (Jenkins' brigade battery) opened fire and received a heavy counterbattery. Jenkins was ordered to advance at silence the guns, and when he broke through into the open found the Federal had breastworks so decided to charge them. The fighting escalated until at 1700 Longstreet ordered a general attack.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
No, it was one input. However, there are many observations of the timings.

Lee's own report says that Huger's artillery opened at 1600, and Longstreet opened a battery to indicate his presence to Huger. This battery opening at 1600 triggered a general engagement.

Goode, commanding the cavalry vanguard, simply says that Jenkins' Brigade was the vanguard brigade, and they moved ahead of the column.

Longstreet says he heard Huger's artillery at 1500, and then began to move his artillery forward to bombard the enemy. At 1600 the enemy were found to be close and Jenkins' brigade was ordered to suppress it.

Jenkins' report is in the SOR, and gives no timings. The events generally match. If I may quote a note: "Wilcox had not yet made his charge, and Kemper had either not moved at all, or had diverged so far to the right as not to be engaged... some few from the other regiment [of the brigade, plus the 6th SC which wasn't involved in the first charge] went back into the fight with Wilcox's brigade."

Kemper says he received orders to advance from Longstreet about 1700.

Strange says Pickett's brigade came off the line of march about 1600 and started to form line. Some time after Dearing's battery was advanced and opened fire, and the brigade was ordered to attack at 1700.

Wilcox says he was halted about 1400 and started to form line to the left of the road, but this order was countermanded. They got back into column and advanced another mile down the road and formed line probably 1430-1500 (2-3 hours before 1700). Near 1700 (i.e. a bit before) the artillery duel erupted on his front. Near 1800 (1740) he saw Pickett's brigade advancing and he received an order to form line. Soon after he got into line RH Anderson ordered him forward.

Pryor says about 1600 he was ordered forward towards the field by Longstreet, but took a long time to get there, and didn't get to the field until after Jenkins had been repulsed.

Featherstone says the fighting began at 1600, and he received an order to advance at 1700.

Magruder says he received at order from Longstreet to march to the crossroads at 1630, and later received an order not to wait for his artillery but to move only with infantry.

Huger says his column encountered an enemy battery, and had a short artillery duel before pulling back. No timings were given. Ransom says it was between 1400 and 1500, and he formed line 1.25 miles behind the line. Ransom says he received a request from Magruder to reinforce him at 1700, and several more followed.

There is a consensus that Longstreet pushed Jenkins forward at 1600, and that soon afterwards Chapman's battery (Jenkins' brigade battery) opened fire and received a heavy counterbattery. Jenkins was ordered to advance at silence the guns, and when he broke through into the open found the Federal had breastworks so decided to charge them. The fighting escalated until at 1700 Longstreet ordered a general attack.
Unfortunately, I can find a number of reports that are at variance. Here is only a small sample: Hooker - the attack on McCall was at 3 o'clock; Heintzelman - an attack on Slocum's left at 3:30 PM and a major assault on McCall at 5 PM, possibly earlier; Sedgwick - "a very fierce and strong attack" on McCall at 3 PM; Sumner - "assault" on McCall at 3 PM. There are more. Not surprisingly, any attempt at definitive precision regarding time during the Civil War is doomed. And - again - both McCall and Longstreet have things commencing sooner than the timeline.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Unfortunately, I can find a number of reports that are at variance. Here is only a small sample: Hooker - the attack on McCall was at 3 o'clock; Heintzelman - an attack on Slocum's left at 3:30 PM and a major assault on McCall at 5 PM, possibly earlier; Sedgwick - "a very fierce and strong attack" on McCall at 3 PM; Sumner - "assault" on McCall at 3 PM. There are more. Not surprisingly, any attempt at definitive precision regarding time during the Civil War is doomed. And - again - both McCall and Longstreet have things commencing sooner than the timeline.
Hooker's report in the OR was a substitute for his original he wrote in October (see the covering note in the OR). As was often the case, he backdated it and if the covering note hadn't also be preserved we wouldn't know. It cannot be relied upon. The original was even more unprofessional than the revised version:

“Meanwhile the enemy’s attack had grown in force and violence and after an ineffectual effort to resist it, the whole of McCall’s division was completely routed, and many of the fugitives rushed down the road on which my right was resting, while officers took to the cleared fields, and broke through my lines, from one end of them to the other, and actually fired on and killed some of my men as they passed. Conduct more disgraceful was never witnessed on a field of battle. At first I was apprehensive that the effect would be disastrous on my command, and was no little relieved when this herd of human beings had passed my lines.”

It is well known that Hooker's report was a steaming pile.

Slocum was not attacked by Longstreet. This is Mahone's brigade of Huger's division having an artillery exchange with Slocum - the "guns" Longstreet apparently heard (but didn't, he was away at a conference with Lee, and was told there had been firing when he returned). As you note, the reliable Heintzelman gives the attack at White Oak Swamp at 1300 (correctly), Mahone's encounter with Slocum at 1530 and the attack on McCall at 1700 or slightly before. One wonders why you used this as a counter-example when it confirms my timeline.

Sedgwick probably did hear musketry around 1500, because that's when the skirmishers of the 3rd Virginia cavalry and the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves met at an outpost some half a mile west of the crossroads. Meade, commanding this line, retired back to the crossroads as Jenkins came up. There are no further timings on the major events, such as Jenkins' assault in Sedgwick's report, but in the subordinate reports there are. Tomkins reports the attack starting at 1700 and his battery opening fire. Kimball of the 15th Massachusetts gives the time they were recalled from White Oak Swamp at 1700. Burns gives the time of the contact start at 1530 (but he also says the attack at White Oak Swamp was at 1100, so his watch was likely fast). Sumner gives the time he received a request for support from Franklin at 1200 (i.e. an hour early), and the attack commencing on McCall at 1500, but again, no breakdown of if this is his pickets under Meade being driven, Dearing's battery opening, Jenkins' first charge etc. Almost certainly Sumner's timing here is a direct extract of Sedgwick's timing.

As you note, there are variances in timings. Hence you have to look for many timings and build a consensus model of what happened when. When we have have more than ten people saying 1700, and a couple a bit earlier but without us being certain this is Jenkins' charge being referred to, just before 1700 is a safe time for Jenkins' charge.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Hooker's report in the OR was a substitute for his original he wrote in October (see the covering note in the OR). As was often the case, he backdated it and if the covering note hadn't also be preserved we wouldn't know. It cannot be relied upon. The original was even more unprofessional than the revised version:

“Meanwhile the enemy’s attack had grown in force and violence and after an ineffectual effort to resist it, the whole of McCall’s division was completely routed, and many of the fugitives rushed down the road on which my right was resting, while officers took to the cleared fields, and broke through my lines, from one end of them to the other, and actually fired on and killed some of my men as they passed. Conduct more disgraceful was never witnessed on a field of battle. At first I was apprehensive that the effect would be disastrous on my command, and was no little relieved when this herd of human beings had passed my lines.”

It is well known that Hooker's report was a steaming pile.

Slocum was not attacked by Longstreet. This is Mahone's brigade of Huger's division having an artillery exchange with Slocum - the "guns" Longstreet apparently heard (but didn't, he was away at a conference with Lee, and was told there had been firing when he returned). As you note, the reliable Heintzelman gives the attack at White Oak Swamp at 1300 (correctly), Mahone's encounter with Slocum at 1530 and the attack on McCall at 1700 or slightly before. One wonders why you used this as a counter-example when it confirms my timeline.

Sedgwick probably did hear musketry around 1500, because that's when the skirmishers of the 3rd Virginia cavalry and the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves met at an outpost some half a mile west of the crossroads. Meade, commanding this line, retired back to the crossroads as Jenkins came up. There are no further timings on the major events, such as Jenkins' assault in Sedgwick's report, but in the subordinate reports there are. Tomkins reports the attack starting at 1700 and his battery opening fire. Kimball of the 15th Massachusetts gives the time they were recalled from White Oak Swamp at 1700. Burns gives the time of the contact start at 1530 (but he also says the attack at White Oak Swamp was at 1100, so his watch was likely fast). Sumner gives the time he received a request for support from Franklin at 1200 (i.e. an hour early), and the attack commencing on McCall at 1500, but again, no breakdown of if this is his pickets under Meade being driven, Dearing's battery opening, Jenkins' first charge etc. Almost certainly Sumner's timing here is a direct extract of Sedgwick's timing.

As you note, there are variances in timings. Hence you have to look for many timings and build a consensus model of what happened when. When we have have more than ten people saying 1700, and a couple a bit earlier but without us being certain this is Jenkins' charge being referred to, just before 1700 is a safe time for Jenkins' charge.
Thanks for the history lessen - but I'm well aware of the history of Hooker's report (and of McCall's supplement to respond to it). As I said, there are more than the ones I cited. And - as you've tried to do - I can 'explain" those that are to the contrary by arbitrary cherry-picking. But this should go to another thread. As usual, you've hijacked it from the original purpose through a meritless attack on an author who is deeply-versed in the subject. It is, however, curious that both McCall and Longstreet in their reports have things commencing at 1500. Both were directly involved and have the same general timeline from opposing sides.
 
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