Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg by Busey and Martin.

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Cavalier

Corporal
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Jul 20, 2019
I have the 1986 edition of this book, the second addition I believe. I know there is now a much larger 4th edition. Right now I am primarily interested in the strength and loss numbers for Union regiments.

I get the impression from the ads I have seen for the 4th edition that the new information is concerning numbers for Confederate units mostly, and Union arms.

Does anyone know if I would be ok using figures for Union units, with the old 1986 edition?

I will eventually need the newest edition I am sure but I can't afford it yet. Civil War books can be addicting it seems.

Thank you very much to anyone who cares to comment!

John
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
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Jan 16, 2015
I suppose the difference in numbers from edition to edition do not vary significantly, especially for Union units, because their records are nearly always complete. I have also found that other primary sources closely support the numbers in my 1994 edition, which I use on a daily basis. Very rarely do I select a different number based on reliable primary sources. Quite a number of Confederate units are missing rolls that cover the period of the Gettysburg campaign, but these gaps are often addressed by other primary sources, or else allow for reasonable estimates. For instance, an accurate single company strength and loss report from a first-hand source can be extrapolated to estimate numbers for the regiment, and having two or three such company reports just improves confidence in the final number.

In preparing maps I find allowing a front of 22 inches per enlisted man for a given unit works very well. Yesterday I had the opportunity to compare four regiments placed side-by-side behind a stone wall of known length. Using my rule of thumb of 22 inches for the number of enlisted men present (two ranks), I figured their total combined frontage should be 961 feet. The actual distance I calculated as 980 feet, which is within a two percent margin of error.
 

Rick Richter

Private
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Tom is absolutely correct about Union records and the frequency of missing Confederate records. It must also be remembered that the ANV's wounded tallies excluded "slightly wounded, " so are understated by design.
 
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rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
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May 18, 2011
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Carlisle, PA
I've confused this book with the more recently published, "The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses." Seems like the authors could have avoided such a similar title.
In fairness, J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley's book covers the entire campaign while Busey and Martin's only covers the battle itself. But there are only so many titles one can use when discussing the numbers and casualties of Gettysburg.

Ryan
 
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MRB1863

Major
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Dec 6, 2014
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Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
I've often wondered about these statistics. So many unmarked or poorly marked burials on the battlefield at Gettysburg! How many of them are not marked and either reinterred incorrectly or not reinterred at all?? Are some of the missing counted as losses or casualties? How many of the casualties became deceased? Perhaps we will never have a truly accurate account.
 

Cavalier

Corporal
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
@MRB1863 I would think the regiment would be aware of who didn't answer the next roll. Exactly where they all ended up or what exactly happened to them might be an issue. Missing in action.

What you refer to is illustrated by the bodies two soldiers of the Irish Brigade who were found in the early 1990's I believe, at Antietam Battlefield.

John
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
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I've often wondered about these statistics. So many unmarked or poorly marked burials on the battlefield at Gettysburg! How many of them are not marked and either reinterred incorrectly or not reinterred at all?? Are some of the missing counted as losses or casualties? How many of the casualties became deceased? Perhaps we will never have a truly accurate account.
In my experience with New York's records, many of the missing should really be classified as killed in action. In most of these cases, the men were listed as missing but there are no other records of them; no hospital records, prison records, never returned to the regiment, nothing. In a lot of the cases where I cross-checked against the census, it's clear that they were gone by 1870 and many of their next-of-kin were filing for pensions. Also, and this may be particular to New York's records because I've never run across it anywhere else, there are also a small number of wounded who should also be reclassified as killed. They are recorded as wounded in action with no further records indicating that they never even reached the hospitals.

Using this metric has led me to believe that the Eleventh Corps put up more of a fight than the traditional thinking would indicate.

Ryan
 
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Cavalier

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Jul 20, 2019
@rpkennedy Well that's interesting news. Because I have a special interest in New York regiments in the AOP, Willard's brigade, Irish brigade, and the Excelsior brigade, I appreciate knowing that. Thank you very much.

John
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
In fairness, J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley's book covers the entire campaign while Busey and Martin's only covers the battle itself. But there are only so many titles one can use when discussing the numbers and casualties of Gettysburg.

Ryan
Not only that, but you get a major dose of Stanley's great maps, an unexpected bonus that comes along with the book.
 
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demoderbydrvr

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Jun 1, 2019
Not only that, but you get a major dose of Stanley's great maps, an unexpected bonus that comes along with the book.
I've looked the book over a number of times but just haven't pulled the trigger yet on actually buying it.

Ryan
I found the Petruzzi and Stanley Losses book for a great price on eBay a few weeks ago and it's been an invaluable reference in my studies of the rest of the campaign outside of the battle itself. I love it
 

rpkennedy

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I found the Petruzzi and Stanley Losses book for a great price on eBay a few weeks ago and it's been an invaluable reference in my studies of the rest of the campaign outside of the battle itself. I love it
Nice. I'll buy it at some point when my wife isn't looking and judgmentally asking if I'm buying ANOTHER Gettysburg book.

Ryan
 

Cavalier

Corporal
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
I shout huzzah! My son in law found a copy of the fourth edition Busey and Martin on amazon and it's on the way. Saints be praised! The Petruzzi and Stanley book will be my next crusade.

Inner peace may yet become a reality.

John
 
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