Discussion Name the top five battles you like to study and why.

Sgt. Tyree

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Brice’s Crossroads: cavalry as mounted infantry, direct fire artillery in close support, mounted pursuit, and great quotes: “The time to lick the enemy is when you got him a’runnin’.” “Keep the skeer on’em!” Score Confederate.

Tullahoma: Wilder’s brigade moving like lightning and Minty’s brigade giving them some steel. Score Union.

New Mexico: mostly forgotten and under studied. Score Union.

Indian engagements: mostly forgotten that small unit actions against natives continued in the west while big battles raged in the east. Score Union.

Trans-Mississippi patrol/counter-guerrilla actions: Missouri militia, Kansas militia, and 2nd Colorado Cavalry against bushwackers. Score back and forth.
 

Sgt. Tyree

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Little Big Horn is one of the most desolete battlefields I have visited. Would have been a lonely place to die and standing on the ground shows why the Cav troopers were unaware of the placement of the Indian forces. Literally 10-15' away from any spot, a grown man could vanish in the sage.
I’ve walked that battlefield twice and I can see your point up to a point. In the scattered actions around Last Stand Hill it seems the natives were indeed popping up everywhere and swarming small groups of troopers - just too many natives and not enough concentration of force against them. Down at the Reno/Benteen defensive site, things went better. And Reno’s initial valley fight was another case of too little against too many.
 

Sgt. Tyree

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5. Little Big Horn - Obviously not CW strictly speaking but the ultimate battle of another of my perennial favorites, George Custer!
Bonus points:

One soldier under Custer’s command was not scalped or mutilated. Only one. Who?

Custer had two horses on the campaign. Name them.

What was “Gray Horse Troop?”

On your honor now, no googling. Off the top of your head.
 

WScott

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I find this to be very interesting, considering I haven't really considered / ranked my top five civil war battles. I think I would have to choose, without ranking the following.

1) First Manassas - Amateurs
2) Antietam / Sharpsburg - Lee's greatest battle.
3) Gettysburg - The Union learned to fight.
4) Spotsylvania Courthouse - No winners but lots of losers, the true brutality of war.
5) Petersburg (March - April 2nd) - Desperate struggle for survival.

To me these battles reflected the progression in military leadership, advancement in arms, learning new tactics and the shear brutality of the war.
 

DixieRifles

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so sue me if I am Eastern theater biased...(again, just joking...having fun...which we American's are still allowed to do!)
Welcome, “newbie”. A good question to get you started. I have always been more interested in the Western theater.

My favorite battles focus on where my ancestors fought and most are small battles with little history. Here are mine, in no particular order.

1- Fort Pemberton (Greenwood, MS). I grew up 15 miles from this site so I heard a lot about it but there was never enough details to satisfy my curiosity.

2- Lookout Mountain, TN. My ancestor fought in this battle that centered around(literally) a prominent mountain.

3- Collierville, TN. A small battle that took place in the center of my town. Another ancestor was likely at the 2d battle here.

4- Fort Pillow, TN 1864. Another battle an ancestor fought and died. A lot of ink has been printed about this battle but the hard part is sorting out the truth.

5- Vicksburg, MS. I struggle which to select as Im researching specific parts of larger battles where other ancestors served. Vicksburg and Shiloh are close enough to where I live that these battles are always in my mind. Im currently reading all of Tim Smith’s books on the Vicksburg Campaign. This battlefield first captured my imagination as a 10-year old and Im still learning more about this battle.
 

Bill_S

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Bonus points:

One soldier under Custer’s command was not scalped or mutilated. Only one. Who?

Custer had two horses on the campaign. Name them.

What was “Gray Horse Troop?”

On your honor now, no googling. Off the top of your head.
Not mutilated; I believe it was Capt. Myles Keogh. Often mentioned as the reason was that he was wearing some sort of papal medal or something from his days as a mercenary, but no one really knows the reason.

Custer's horses; Vic I believe was one, but do not remember the second.

Grey Horse Troop; was that company E?

Cheers.....and no, I did not search for any of it.... :smile:
 

Sgt. Tyree

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Excellent, Bill_S. Correct.

Custer rode Dandy and Vic (Victory). He was riding Dandy that morning and swapped to Vic before the battle. Dandy stayed with the pack train and survived. Various accounts are given for Vic - killed, captured and taken to Canada,etc.
 

James N.

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Excellent, Bill_S. Correct.

Custer rode Dandy and Vic (Victory). He was riding Dandy that morning and swapped to Vic before the battle. Dandy stayed with the pack train and survived. Various accounts are given for Vic - killed, captured and taken to Canada,etc.
Supposedly the exact location of Dandy's grave has been forgotten, but according to the historical marker below it's somewhere on the Monroe, Mich. farm of brother Nevin Custer to which Dandy had been retired after the battle. As an officer's private property and not government issue, Dandy became the property of widow Elizabeth Custer who returned him to her brother-in-law's farm.

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Also a newbie here and I think this is a fascinating discussion. My list isn't five, per se:
1. 1st Manassas (see below).
2. 2nd Manassas (my grandfather owned a lot of the land around the Van Pelt farm, along Young's Branch in the park before selling it in 1961...I grew up on Manassas and Bull Run stories and artifacts he uncovered farming the land).
3. Gettysburg (its consequences and searing into our collective consciousness & awareness about the war).
4. all battles in Tennessee (ancestor was in 17th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Company H, Captain George O'Neal).
 
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