Research Naming Battlefields

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
My understanding is that Brawner's Farm and Groveton are actually two different engagements, the first (Brawner's) occurring on Aug. 28 as the "run-up" and the second (Groveton) being the "other" Federal name for Second Manassas Aug. 29-30. Brawner's Farm was outside the Federal lines during the main battle and was where Jackson's divisions (including the Stonewall Brigade) had "ambushed" the Federal divisions of King (including the Iron Brigade) and Doubleday. Groveton was a tiny hamlet that wound up on the Federal far left flank behind Porter's Fifth Corps assaulting Jackson's line at the Unfinished Railroad. Although both were on the Warrenton Turnpike they were a distance apart from each other.
Nice catch - Battle of Gainesville was the other name for Brawner's Farm. My mistake.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I've had that habit myself, calling the first one Bull Run and the second Second Manassas. A bit contradictory, but it felt right to me. Didn't realize it was official!

I like this approach as well. The river was pretty integral to the first battle, but not so much for the second. The second battle was fought in the wake of Jackson's raid on Manassas Depot.

This has been done for Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor despite the two battlefields being literally across the street from each other.

Seven Pines which the Confederates referred it to and Fair Oaks that the Union

Of all the split battle names this one may make the most sense. Confederates had some success at Seven Pines, but were repulsed at Fair Oaks. (A crossroads and a railroad station, respectively, IIRC).

I never much liked Murfreesboro as an alternate name for Stones River. The river had an important role in the battle; the town had almost none.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
I like this approach as well. The river was pretty integral to the first battle, but not so much for the second. The second battle was fought in the wake of Jackson's raid on Manassas Depot.

I never much liked Murfreesboro as an alternate name for Stones River. The river had an important role in the battle; the town had almost none.

That is an interesting criterion, one I have never seen expressed before - name the battle after the geographical feature that had the most influence on the battle or was most impacted by it.
 

Grant's Tomb

Corporal
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
My understanding is that Brawner's Farm and Groveton are actually two different engagements, the first (Brawner's) occurring on Aug. 28 as the "run-up" and the second (Groveton) being the "other" Federal name for Second Manassas Aug. 29-30. Brawner's Farm was outside the Federal lines during the main battle and was where Jackson's divisions (including the Stonewall Brigade) had "ambushed" the Federal divisions of King (including the Iron Brigade) and Doubleday. Groveton was a tiny hamlet that wound up on the Federal far left flank behind Porter's Fifth Corps assaulting Jackson's line at the Unfinished Railroad. Although both were on the Warrenton Turnpike they were a distance apart from each other.
And on September 1st there was a brief fight at Chantilly where Phil Kearney was killed
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Maybe I'm a dummy but to me Murfreesboro is Forrest's July 1862 action taking the jail, courthouse and other stuff in the town.
Stones River is Stones River.
I think we'd have to go deeper into dispatches to find an accurate name for said battle. What did the leaders actually refer to the battle as in their day? Was it "Stones River" as which I've always referred to it as, or Murfreesboro or something different?

That said, having moved to Kentucky, I've heard the Battle of Chaplin Hills more times than I care to count regarding Perryville. It's just another one of those points of argument.
 
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Jamieva

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Forum Host
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Feb 7, 2006
Location
Midlothian, VA
I like this approach as well. The river was pretty integral to the first battle, but not so much for the second. The second battle was fought in the wake of Jackson's raid on Manassas Depot.

This has been done for Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor despite the two battlefields being literally across the street from each other.



Of all the split battle names this one may make the most sense. Confederates had some success at Seven Pines, but were repulsed at Fair Oaks. (A crossroads and a railroad station, respectively, IIRC).

I never much liked Murfreesboro as an alternate name for Stones River. The river had an important role in the battle; the town had almost none.

Actually there is overlap with parts of the Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor battlefields.

 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
The Aug 28 fight at Brawner Farm could reasonably be called Groveton as that was the location of the Union right flank. The local is within the national battlefield and just south of Jackson's line on Aug 29-30. Gainesville, VA is a couple miles west, outside the battlefield.

Whatever you call the engagement, it's kind of strange that it's still considered a separate battle from Aug 29-30. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we got a reappraisal that describes Manassas as a three-day battle, as has happened with Chickamauga.

Ox Hill / Chantilly took place 10 miles away, on the far side of Centerville. Part of the campaign, but definitely a separate engagement.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
On numerous occasions we have been drilled into the belief that the south says Manassas and the north says Bull Run. This is a decision made somewhere in the annals of history I was never satisfied with. I finally found out why, and would welcome a documented background of how this decision was made.
I recently looked up Lynchburg Va. on wikipedia. This was my P.O.B., and it had a very bad reputation for the first 50 years and more. Read here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynchburg,_Virginia

Next I went to the Bibliography at the very bottom and found a book 'Annals of the Lynchburg Home Guards' which can be read here:
https://archive.org/details/05697937.3163.emory.edu/page/n1/mode/2up

This book was a consolidated account put together by Charles M. Blackford and published in 1891 to give honor to the men of Lynchburg that responded to the John Brown Raid on October 16th, 1859, by forming a company of home guards in November of that same year. Blackford was born a year after the war, and his introduction has some fitting statements for the purpose of his 'Annals'. Speaking of relics and books and artifacts he points out on page 6:
"All these things link us to the glorious past, and teach the new generation to emulate the virtues of that which is passing away. Such being there use, how priceless do they become, and how imperative the duty to rescue them from the destroying hand of time and change."
A valid point of emulating passions of union and harmony among people believing in a cause, but being an unworthy cause none the less, we can still learn from it. [Spoiler Alert: He is heavily southern biased and not easily digested with his use of it].

When I was in early elementary school on the Virginia Peninsula where I was raised, I learned about 'Bull Run'. That was it, the title of the stream, the title to the battle, and the seed of knowledge that stayed with me to this very day. I found Blackford commenting that the Lynchburg Home Guards were called to the field on April 23rf, 1861, and fought from Bull Run to Appomattox. When this book was published a new generation had already come forth to fill the quota for the Lynchburg Home Guards, not a one of them a battle hero or participant in the great affair of the civil war.

Now being told consistently by historians in the present day that Bull Run is a Union phrase and Manassas is a southern phrase, I am suddenly aware that some juxtaposition has been contrived to claim a usage more familiar and easier to spell, speak and remember. If this forced history is accurate, and Blackford is a case in point where it is not, what are the origins to this claim, and when was the actual 'vote' that it would be qualified this way.
Thanks.
Lubliner.
Where does the Battle of Fredericksburg fit in this formula?
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
I just had an epiphany. Perhaps the answer lies in the difference between the 2 armies. The Confederate army was a tabula rosa. It came into existence from nothing.
On the other hand the Union army was an existing institution. It had a long history. It had an existing way of doing every thing an army does. There was a plethora of rules and regulations. In other words it had a book.
Given that I'd be very interested if anyone knows if the "book" established guidelines for referring to any specific engagement.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
That is an interesting criterion, one I have never seen expressed before - name the battle after the geographical feature that had the most influence on the battle or was most impacted by it.
Which is my understanding of where the different names came from. For example, for the US crossing the creek was the most influential feature of the battle, so it was called Antietam, but for the CS it was the village as their base so it was called Sharpsburg. Similarly why CS called it Shiloh and US called it Pittsburg Landing.
 

Mk VII

Private
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
After WW1 the British formed a Battle Nomenclature Committee, with Empire representatives as well, to determine what the various campaigns, battles and actions within them should be called. Some of their names have stuck, some, like the Battle of Albert, are used by nobody at all.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Reading this interesting thread led me to wonder if a review of some major Southern and Northern newspapers of the day would indicate what the common usage was?
Actually yes, it would be the major influence of what most of the civilian population would call the battles, I think. That would have more of a tendency during the war to specifically identify major battles, until afterward when the soldiers pressed for their own account in newspapers and published G. A. R. and Confederate Veteran papers. The public would certainly choose to agree with any change a soldier saw fit to call a battle.
Lubliner.
 
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