Continuation of thread from CWH Discussion Forum

Mango Hill

Corporal
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Edited by moderator: This thread is a continuation of a discussion from the thread Common Misconceptions and Myths in the Civil War History Discussion sub-Forum. That thread had gotten extremely long, with discussion of numerous topics, so member @Mango Hill chose to split it off into a new thread for further discussion. Here's a link to the part of the previous thread from which this discussion originated.
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/common-misconceptions-myths.177215/page-14#post-2320999

In reference to posts 271 & 272 from the CWH Discussion Forum

67thTigers writes;

Smith meant the scene of the fighting, not the Pry House. Smith reached Sumner before 1000 and started formingd his division into mass (i.e. columns). Immediately news came that the rebels who had pursued Sedgwick were close to overrunning the artillery, and Smith sent Hancock forward. Notably, Smith placed the charge of the 7th Maine here, whereas ISTR Carman (and those that used his example) moved it to the late afternoon.

No disrespect meant but what Smith actually wrote in his report is being ignored.

"...arrived on the field of battle near the Antietam Creek (meaning Pry House; HQ) about 10 o'clock a. m., and I was at first ordered to mass the troops on the road to Sharpsburg, ready to support the attack on the right or left, as might be required. In a short time I was ordered to form my division to command the ford across the creek, and shortly was ordered to a point across across the creek, and in rear of where it was then supposed our troops were engaged with the enemy".

1602713853306.png


From looking at this map Smith's division has yet to arrive on the battlefield. Richardson's division of Sumner's Corp has yet to arrive on the battlefield.

As to the 9:10 A. M orders there's two. One to Sumner and the other to Burnside. If I understand you correctly the Burnside order of 9:10 A.M is the same as the one issued at 8:00 AM. It's an order (desire) to open the attack. According to Burnside "On the morning of the 17th" the order was to "make my dispositions to to carry the stone bridge over the Antietam nearly opposite our center, but to await further orders before making the attack. I accordingly threw my lines forward.....At 10 o'clock I received an order from the general commanding to make the attack." O. R. XIX I pg 419.

In order to make sense of the two orders the 9:10 A. M. order could not have been the same as the earlier one (Burnside doesn't give a time). McClellan's own report of the battle supports Burnside; "Burnside's corp......was intrusted with the difficult task of carrying the bridge across the Antietam, near the Rohrback's farm, and assaulting the enemy right, the order having been communicated to him at 10 o'clock a. m."
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
In order to make sense of the two orders the 9:10 A. M. order could not have been the same as the earlier one (Burnside doesn't give a time). McClellan's own report of the battle supports Burnside; "Burnside's corp......was intrusted with the difficult task of carrying the bridge across the Antietam, near the Rohrback's farm, and assaulting the enemy right, the order having been communicated to him at 10 o'clock a. m."
I think it's important to realize that before writing his report McClellan sent to his wife that Bunside had been very slow, but that if McClellan criticized him in the way (McClellan said) he deserved then Burnside would become his enemy.


I think the most parlous explanation for McClellan's report agreeing with Burnside's on this (which disagree with all the other reports from Burnside's subordinates, plus from the Confederates!) is that:

McClellan sent a warning order before 7AM
McClellan sent an attack order before 9 AM (~8AM order, describes situation at that time)
Burnside sent out orders and his first regiment to attack did so at 9AM
McClellan sent another order 9:10 (repeat of 8AM order)

Burnside did not take the bridge until around noon

All the subordinates in their report say the attack opened around 9AM

Burnside redacts the time of the attack order to 10AM to excuse when the bridge is taken

McClellan agrees with Burnside's timing because he can't afford to make Burnside an enemy


This alternative requires one person to be lying, Burnside, and for another person to be accepting it (that being McClellan).


The alternative is that everyone who said a time of the attack starting before 10AM is incorrect.
 
Top