What Lee Thought About the Lost Orders

WScott

Private
Joined
May 6, 2021
Based on information within this post, the Confederate Army started the Maryland Campaign with as many as 85,000 men with an estimated army of 72,000 at Fredrick, Maryland. By the time they get to Antietam Lee has 35,000 to 45,000 soldiers. What happened to the other 40,000 to 50,000 men Lee started with (beyond the Battle for South Mountain).
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Based on information within this post, the Confederate Army started the Maryland Campaign with as many as 85,000 men with an estimated army of 72,000 at Fredrick, Maryland. By the time they get to Antietam Lee has 35,000 to 45,000 soldiers. What happened to the other 40,000 to 50,000 men Lee started with (beyond the Battle for South Mountain).
Lee can report more than 40,000 with him (probably closer to 50,000 account for missing units) just after Antietam. If he had ca. 47,000 after Antietam, he obviously had more before it, due to casualties. In fact, adding back the casualties gets you above 60,000.

At the end of the month, Lee had nearly 63,000 with him, excluding the cavalry (so about 68,000 total).

Ten days later, the first complete return of the ANV shows 78,204 with the army, of whom 64,273 are effectives.

What happened was there was a lot of straggling, but most of this straggling happened after South Mountain. The forces that invested Harper's Ferry straggled horrifically in their forced marches to Sharpsburg.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Based on information within this post, the Confederate Army started the Maryland Campaign with as many as 85,000 men with an estimated army of 72,000 at Fredrick, Maryland. By the time they get to Antietam Lee has 35,000 to 45,000 soldiers. What happened to the other 40,000 to 50,000 men Lee started with (beyond the Battle for South Mountain).
My understanding of what happened is basically:

Lee enters Maryland with ca. 75,000-80,000 PFD, possibly more. This would under normal circumstances convert to 60,000+ Effectives on the battlefield.
The forces march to their positions as of South Mountain, losing not many to straggling.

South Mountain happens, inflicting casualties.

There is then heavy straggling in the forced-marches to Antietam. McClellan apparently sweeps up thousands of captured-unwounded during this period and this is one possible source (stragglers from DH Hill and Longstreet) but the other divisions which march from Harpers Ferry generally have even harder marches.

At Antietam there are 47,000 Effectives (i.e. men with the army who actually fight in line of battle) and several thousand more men who would normally be effectives but which are not. In addition there's a huge number of stragglers who fell out south of the river.

The extent of the straggling is such that Lee would normally be generating about 60,000-65,000 effectives from his army (83%), but instead is generating more like 45,000-50,000 (so more like 63%).
This is in line with reports of the Union straggling as well; 1st Corps had 15,000 PFD and should have generated about 12,000 or so men in line of battle, but (per Meade) it was instead generating about 9,000.

So the basic answer is straggling.#
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Steiner also apparently had 20/5 vision, night goggles, a few sandwiches at hand, and a port-a-potty within a couple of feet. And - to repeat - Howell Cobb must have been literally "blind" drunk. Your witness....
I see you're failing to make any reasonable argument, and are simply trying to wish Steiner away.

Steiner was the chief sanitary inspector of the Army of the Potomac, and on 5th September had taken leave to visit his home in Frederick. He observed the enemy army for days and wrote a report about it.

You are zero'd in on the fact that General Cobb was said by Steiner to have the badge of a major-general on his collar. So please resolve this, how do you tell the difference between rebel Major-General and Brigadier-General insignia:

MG BG same.png
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Steiner also apparently had 20/5 vision, night goggles, a few sandwiches at hand, and a port-a-potty within a couple of feet. And - to repeat - Howell Cobb must have been literally "blind" drunk. Your witness....
There are three possibilities here:


1) Steiner directly observed the movement of Lee's force for some non-trivial amount of time, from his window. This took place for long enough that he could form an estimate of Lee's strength.

Here is an example of how that could have happened.

- Steiner watches Lee's force go past, observing that they are in a column of fours.
- He counts how many times a rank of four men goes past in the space of an interval of time - for example, 15 or 30 minutes.
- He multiplies that by the amount of time he thinks they have been going past. (Note that one newspaper account claimed they were marching from 3AM-9PM inclusive, and he uses 4AM-8PM inclusive.)
- He has thus made a calculation. Since he did not observe for sixteen hours and count the lot then it is a calculation.

- For DH Hill, he observes them directly and the column is short enough he can watch the whole thing, or at least a much larger % of the column.

2) Steiner did not directly observe the movement of Lee's force, but heard about it from eyewitnesses.

In this case, Steiner's report preserves eyewitness information which is not otherwise preserved (DH Hill's column size).

3) Steiner made the whole thing up without speaking to eyewitnesses, and (consequently) the numbers he gave for Lee's force are an outright invention. He was then ballsy enough to publish the claim that same year, and either nobody in Frederick noticed what would in this case be fabrications or nobody in Frederick cared enough to set the record straight - not just about the numerical strength but about the other things you consider unbelievable.

In this case, and this case only, Steiner's numbers have no value. But in this case then it would be necessary to demonstrate he wasn't in Frederick, because Lee's army certainly marched through Frederick and if Steiner had been in Frederick he could have had a conversation about the matter (which would make it (2) ).
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I see you're failing to make any reasonable argument, and are simply trying to wish Steiner away.

Steiner was the chief sanitary inspector of the Army of the Potomac, and on 5th September had taken leave to visit his home in Frederick. He observed the enemy army for days and wrote a report about it.

You are zero'd in on the fact that General Cobb was said by Steiner to have the badge of a major-general on his collar. So please resolve this, how do you tell the difference between rebel Major-General and Brigadier-General insignia:

View attachment 409500
You fail to understand the definition of a "reasonable argument". And the ultimate issue isn't "argument" anyway - it's deciding what is credible or not.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
You fail to understand the definition of a "reasonable argument". And the ultimate issue isn't "argument" anyway - it's deciding what is credible or not.
There are elements of Steiner's account which are "less credible" or "not credible". However, there are also elements of Steiner's account which are credible (such as Jackson's men leading the advance on September 10, or DH Hill marching through Frederick on September 11, or the contact between the cavalry screens passing through Frederick on September 12).

The operative question is about whether Steiner could reasonably have gained some information about the size of the Rebel army. And clearly he could - it's where he lived...
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
There are three possibilities here:


1) Steiner directly observed the movement of Lee's force for some non-trivial amount of time, from his window. This took place for long enough that he could form an estimate of Lee's strength.

Here is an example of how that could have happened.

- Steiner watches Lee's force go past, observing that they are in a column of fours.
- He counts how many times a rank of four men goes past in the space of an interval of time - for example, 15 or 30 minutes.
- He multiplies that by the amount of time he thinks they have been going past. (Note that one newspaper account claimed they were marching from 3AM-9PM inclusive, and he uses 4AM-8PM inclusive.)
- He has thus made a calculation. Since he did not observe for sixteen hours and count the lot then it is a calculation.

- For DH Hill, he observes them directly and the column is short enough he can watch the whole thing, or at least a much larger % of the column.

2) Steiner did not directly observe the movement of Lee's force, but heard about it from eyewitnesses.

In this case, Steiner's report preserves eyewitness information which is not otherwise preserved (DH Hill's column size).

3) Steiner made the whole thing up without speaking to eyewitnesses, and (consequently) the numbers he gave for Lee's force are an outright invention. He was then ballsy enough to publish the claim that same year, and either nobody in Frederick noticed what would in this case be fabrications or nobody in Frederick cared enough to set the record straight - not just about the numerical strength but about the other things you consider unbelievable.

In this case, and this case only, Steiner's numbers have no value. But in this case then it would be necessary to demonstrate he wasn't in Frederick, because Lee's army certainly marched through Frederick and if Steiner had been in Frederick he could have had a conversation about the matter (which would make it (2) ).
You obfuscate the clear and complicate the simple, because you prefer "arguments" above all else. Howell Cobb riding at the head of 3,000 fully-armed black men is facially ridiculous, yet that's what Steiner explicitly reported:

"You can’t keep white and black troops together, and you can’t trust negroes by themselves. .... The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution. If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong but they won’t make soldiers. As a class they are wanting in every qualification of a soldier." 1/8/65
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
You obfuscate the clear and complicate the simple, because you prefer "arguments" above all else. Howell Cobb riding at the head of 3,000 fully-armed black men is facially ridiculous

Luckily, Steiner said nothing of the sort. The 3,000 black men Steiner observed were "mixed up" with the army. You are attempting to construct a strawman argument.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
You fail to understand the definition of a "reasonable argument". And the ultimate issue isn't "argument" anyway - it's deciding what is credible or not.

Did, or did not, Cobb have the insignia of a major-general on his collar?
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
You obfuscate the clear and complicate the simple, because you prefer "arguments" above all else. Howell Cobb riding at the head of 3,000 fully-armed black men is facially ridiculous, yet that's what Steiner explicitly reported:
But that's not what Steiner reported. He reported the existence of 3,000 black men "promiscuously mixed up" with the other 61,000 men he reported in the column, and he reported that "most" of them were carrying weapons from muskets to knives. He didn't say that Cobb was riding at the head of them.

I certainly agree that it is plausible that he overclaimed (or was exaggerating the amount of weapons involved), but my understanding for example is that there were black men in the Army of Northern Virginia (acting as "logistics troops", i.e. wagon drovers/servants/grooms etc) and that this is attested from other sources (e.g. at reunions at Gettysburg there were black men from the Confederates; Mississippi had 1,739 applications for black confederate pensioners as servants)
This seems like the most likely thing that Steiner (or his eyewitness source, if he was not an eyewitness) could have misinterpreted or misreported.

And this has little to no bearing on the fact that the army did march through Frederick, and Steiner provided numbers for them, and he had the means to get these numbers. In fact, if he was in Frederick that day he could hardly have missed seeing the Confederate army:

1627565678595.png


The street here is the National Road. To the right of the picture is the Steiner House.

He'd have to be both indoors and not look out his window all day to miss them...
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Luckily, Steiner said nothing of the sort. The 3,000 black men Steiner observed were "mixed up" with the army. You are attempting to construct a strawman argument.
Stop the usual contrived, rewritten text to suit the argument. According to Steiner, they were "promiscuously" mixed up "with all the Rebel horde". So your argument apparently is that Cobb would have had zero problem participating prominently - as Steiner has it, very prominently, because he saw no need to mention the other brigade commanders - in this parade so long as all those black troops weren't wearing insignia that Eagle Eyes Steiner could id as his brigade. Which leads us to the question how large Howell's brigade was, because that makes it sound as though they weren't all that "promiscuously" mixed up "with all the Rebel horde". Face it - the account as Steiner wrote it is implausible. So many targets, so little space...
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
But that's not what Steiner reported. He reported the existence of 3,000 black men "promiscuously mixed up" with the other 61,000 men he reported in the column, and he reported that "most" of them were carrying weapons from muskets to knives. He didn't say that Cobb was riding at the head of them.

I certainly agree that it is plausible that he overclaimed (or was exaggerating the amount of weapons involved), but my understanding for example is that there were black men in the Army of Northern Virginia (acting as "logistics troops", i.e. wagon drovers/servants/grooms etc) and that this is attested from other sources (e.g. at reunions at Gettysburg there were black men from the Confederates; Mississippi had 1,739 applications for black confederate pensioners as servants)
This seems like the most likely thing that Steiner (or his eyewitness source, if he was not an eyewitness) could have misinterpreted or misreported.

And this has little to no bearing on the fact that the army did march through Frederick, and Steiner provided numbers for them, and he had the means to get these numbers. In fact, if he was in Frederick that day he could hardly have missed seeing the Confederate army:

View attachment 409509

The street here is the National Road. To the right of the picture is the Steiner House.

He'd have to be both indoors and not look out his window all day to miss them...
Seriously - "arms, muskets, rifles, sabres" before we get to "[bowie] knives". A sabre might be useful for opening oat bags - albeit maybe excessive - but those pesky muskets and rifles, not so much. He'd have to be indoors and near his window for 16 hours to cover this accurately - at least according to the time he stated time it began, which we already know is off by at least an hour - at least. In fact. he omits stating how long he did watch, leaving only the 16 hours as the default. Try it. By the way, is that a "witness" tree blocking the view or is it of more "recent" vintage ...
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Incidentally, no, I don't think that McClellan is always right. I think that there has been a pervasive pattern of incorrect criticism of him, including criticism where he took something that was a reasonable approximation of the best practical decision and people criticize him without offering a better alternative.
People do offer alternatives. You just think they are always -- no matter what -- worse than whatever McClellan chose.

My view of McClellan is that he is a technically capable commander who tends to make good decisions. That doesn't mean he aways makes the best decision, but it means that it is rare (i.e. not nearly as common as believed) for him to make a decision which is obviously in error. It is more common for him to make a decision which may not be the best but which is justifiable.
This is part of your self-convincing logic for asserting that McClellan should not be criticized. You confuse "justifiable" with "good".

For example, for the direct pursuit of Lee, here are the options.

- McClellan resumes the battle on the 18th. This would be significantly more aggressive than Meade was, and indeed it's not something Grant tended to do either after heavy fighting.
Not accurate, as I have already told you. Meade's real actions on the 4th are much more aggressive than anything McClellan did on the 18th. McClellan accepted a truce while Meade was willing to fight. Start out by admitting that to yourself before creating red herrings about what McClellan might have done.

On July 4th, Meade launches 8 of his 9 brigades of cavalry against Lee's flanks and LOC. Meade orders a division-sized probe by Warren of Lee's line (cancelled by the downpour that started at Noon, so it was expanded into a Corps-sized probe for the next morning). Meade's cavalry fights a significant battle on the night of the 4th-5th, doing heavy damage to Lee's trains and capturing a significant number of prisoners. Meade's real actions on the 4th are much more aggressive than anything McClellan did on the 18th.

As to Grant, what in the world are you imagining here? Are you really trying to say that George McClellan was more aggressive than Grant? Really? If so, I have no idea what you could possibly be looking at.

- McClellan pursues to the water's edge on the 19th. This actually happened; there's perhaps an argument he could have pushed faster, but that then gets into how fast a viable advance is.
By "to the water's edge", you appear to mean he moved forward from 2-4 miles after the enemy had already retreated to the other side of the river. He met no opposition at all in doing it that I recall. Late in the day, a small force does cross and captures Pendleton's artillery (showing why Pendleton should never ever command in a combat spot), which is then recovered by some Confederate infantry counterattacking.

Meanwhile, Meade's cavalry is striking the retreating Confederates and scooping up large numbers of Confederate POWs. VI Corps is following Lee's retreat, running into Ewell over by Fairfield.
- McClellan pursues over the river in significant force on the 19th. This is a possibility, and if that's the superior alternative then that's what the argument is, but we have to consider what Lee could do that day. Obviously most of Lee's army was close to the crossing since it had only recently crossed and could come back to hit the crossing troops (as happened at Shepherdstown historically).
On the 5th, Meade has 8 brigades of cavalry striking at and damaging Lee. VI Corps is moving directly after Lee's army in a recon-in-force to develop the situation. On the 19th McClellan -- after discovering the enemy is gone -- crosses the Potomac with two regiments of infantry.

You need to take a step back from all this and be more objective about evaluating the McClellan side. He did OK at Antietam. There is no way to describe his actions on the 18th and 19th as particularly aggressive -- and trying to make him look "more aggressive" than Meade is not believable.

- McClellan pursues over the river in force on the 20th. This is what McClellan did, though perhaps not as well as he could have done. The option of pursuing in greater force is worth considering, but it has to deal with the problem of Lee's historical reaction - how much force does McClellan need to pursue in to make it workable?
Meade, meanwhile has 8 brigades of cavalry pursuing and attacking the enemy for the last three days. He has pushed VI Corps after Lee, has them close enough to Lee's infantry that Lee has ordered Ewell to attack them if they come any closer. He is reading the rest of his army to follow -- and he does follow.

McClellan essentially ends the pursuit and the campaign at this point.

Why in the world are you trying to present Meade as timid and McClellan as aggressive?

At the same time there is an intel report late on the 19th that Lee is marching to Williamsport.
So? Do you think Meade might have gotten any intel reports about what Lee was doing? What is the point of this statement?

Now, obviously if Lee's army is in a sufficiently beaten state (such that he can be driven south by direct attacks) then McClellan doesn't need to mount what is basically an opposed river crossing (where he crosses as quickly as possible) but the evidence of the 20th and Lee's quick response with heavy force suggests that Lee's army is not in this sufficiently beaten state. In this light, McClellan tries (and is repulsed), repulses Lee's own attempt to cross the Potomac, then begins shifting south to mount a new campaign.
So, again, you agree with me that McClellan's pursuit ended here. You just object to admitting that you do.

for the nature of that new campaign, obviously Lincoln and Halleck want one thing and McClellan wants another. What McClellan wants though is to cross into the Shenandoah, which is where Lee is.
Perhaps this is the wrong decision! But what it is not is McClellan outlining a plan which isn't aggressive.
So? We get back to what I said many posts back. McClellan's pursuit is over. Everything else you are posting is simply to avoid saying that.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
He'd have to be indoors and near his window for 16 hours to cover this accurately - at least according to the time he stated time it began, which we already know is off by at least an hour - at least. In fact. he omits stating how long he did watch, leaving only the 16 hours as the default. Try it.
No, as I've already outlined.

Note that the intent here is to outline how Steiner could have an estimate without having actually spent sixteen hours looking out his window.


1) Steiner watches some part of the Confederate column go past. Perhaps it's in the morning, after he's breakfasted and so there's good light; he sees that they're in, for example, column of fours (for the infantry) and that there's four men per wagon and 20 men per gun.
He watches for an hour (as measured by a watch) and counts off, say:
920 ranks (3,680 men)
20 wagons (80 men)
12 guns (240 men)
This gives him an estimate of about 4,000 men an hour. (The numbers here do not need to be exact.)

2) Steiner asks various of his neighbours when the march through the street started (and gets answers ranging as early as 4am)* and observes it ending (at 8pm by his clock).

He then takes his men per hour estimate (4,000), and multiplies by the number of hours (up to 16); the result is "the most liberal calculation could not give them more than 64,000 men".


This is one possible avenue.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Not accurate, as I have already told you. Meade's real actions on the 4th are much more aggressive than anything McClellan did on the 18th. McClellan accepted a truce while Meade was willing to fight. Start out by admitting that to yourself before creating red herrings about what McClellan might have done.
When you say that, do you mean McClellan accepted a formal truce (that is, he actively agreed to it)? Or just that no attack took place?

I agree McClellan didn't actually launch an attack, but my understanding is that McClellan wanted to attack if he could put together an attack that actually had a chance; the problem is that he had basically four divisions that were capable of attack (Morell, Couch, and 6th Corps) and Morell was over with Burnside who was complaining about being weak.


As to Grant, what in the world are you imagining here? Are you really trying to say that George McClellan was more aggressive than Grant? Really? If so, I have no idea what you could possibly be looking at.
In which case, what is the date which fits the following conditions:

- Grant launched attacks on day X with a large part of his army, i.e. 75% or more which actually attacked on that day.
- Grant then launched attacks on day X+1 with a significant part of his army.



Note that what I am saying is that IF McClellan had attacked on the 18th then it would have been more aggressive (following a day of heavy attacks) than Grant under the same circumstances. It would not, for example, have been more aggressive than Pope (for whom 2nd Bull Run counts as two consecutive days of heavy attacks).
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Stop the usual contrived, rewritten text to suit the argument.

That would be what Steiner actually wrote?

Face it - the account as Steiner wrote it is implausible. So many targets, so little space...

You find it implausible that Cobb was serving in the Army of Northern Virginia, and that he drew attention to himself?

This is what Steiner wrote:

1627589509308.png


Good luck stuffing your strawman!
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
No, as I've already outlined.

Note that the intent here is to outline how Steiner could have an estimate without having actually spent sixteen hours looking out his window.


1) Steiner watches some part of the Confederate column go past. Perhaps it's in the morning, after he's breakfasted and so there's good light; he sees that they're in, for example, column of fours (for the infantry) and that there's four men per wagon and 20 men per gun.
He watches for an hour (as measured by a watch) and counts off, say:
920 ranks (3,680 men)
20 wagons (80 men)
12 guns (240 men)
This gives him an estimate of about 4,000 men an hour. (The numbers here do not need to be exact.)

2) Steiner asks various of his neighbours when the march through the street started (and gets answers ranging as early as 4am)* and observes it ending (at 8pm by his clock).

He then takes his men per hour estimate (4,000), and multiplies by the number of hours (up to 16); the result is "the most liberal calculation could not give them more than 64,000 men".


This is one possible avenue.
You simply duck the problems for which there is no answer - such as "4 AM", which gets us to "16 hours" with "8 PM". Of course, there's always the "maybe his watch was 90 minutes slow". Seriously, man, you can invent any number of "theories" to "explain" each problem, and then cobble together some house of cards to "fix" it. Maybe he watched for 10 minutes and multiplied the result by 96. Maybe all those black troops with the "muskets and rifles" had no cartridges. I still want to know where all that "US" was on the 150 - I'm surprised he didn't record the founder designation and inspector initials on the muzzle rims. Maybe he went into the street, asked them to stop, and he took that down. This is really becoming an exercise in creative writing.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
That would be what Steiner actually wrote?



You find it implausible that Cobb was serving in the Army of Northern Virginia, and that he drew attention to himself?

This is what Steiner wrote:

View attachment 409530

Good luck stuffing your strawman!
Did you even read the posts?? Let's try again. Steiner wrote that (1) Cobb was riding in a column containing 3,000 black men "promiscuously" mixed up "with all the Rebel horde" (which included Cobb's brigade - unless you have information to the contrary) and that (2) "most" of said blacks carried "arms, muskets, rifles, sabres", etc. Now read the well-known quote I posted from Cobb's letter in January 1865 - when the CSA was in dire straits and some were pushing the theretofore radical solution of enlisting and arming blacks. You'll get there ....
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
You simply duck the problems for which there is no answer - such as "4 AM", which gets us to "16 hours" with "8 PM". Of course, there's always the "maybe his watch was 90 minutes slow". Seriously, man, you can invent any number of "theories" to "explain" each problem, and then cobble together some house of cards to "fix" it. Maybe he watched for 10 minutes and multiplied the result by 96. Maybe all those black troops with the "muskets and rifles" had no cartridges. I still want to know where all that "US" was on the 150 - I'm surprised he didn't record the founder designation and inspector initials on the muzzle rims. Maybe he went into the street, asked them to stop, and he took that down. This is really becoming an exercise in creative writing.
Well, here's the thing about that.

Your specific argument that I was answering (unless I misunderstood it) was that it was implausible for Steiner to have observed 16 hours of men marching past, because he'd have to have been at the window for 16 hours and have amazing vision and night vision and so on.

What I was doing was explaining how it is plausible that Steiner could - equipped with a window - have got the information he required to make an estimate of strength. Because all counts of the number of men in a large army based on observation are estimates, since nobody ever has the time to count up all 40,000 or 60,000 or 100,000 men one at a time, but what they can do is observe a small part of that force fairly precisely and multiply out. (Steiner's house is actually in quite a good place to do this.)

If the inputs are incorrect, such as if Steiner asked around for when the march began and got an incorrect number (e.g. if "Jackson went through the streets first at 4AM" was misinterpreted as "Jackson's men went through the streets first at 4AM) then the output will also be incorrect, naturally, but there's at least one example I can think of where times given by military officers about an event disagree by upwards of an hour. The Baltimore Sun gives the start time of 3AM, so it was at least an hour earlier than Steiner's number; clearly Steiner is not the earliest time given.

This does not mean Steiner's numbers were exactly correct, by any means. I personally think that they're about 20% high if effectives are the measure (and since the trains marched behind the main column, they might be). But they are a point of data.



Now, I have also agreed - more than once - that Steiner clearly supplemented his own personal observations (if that is what they were) with the observations of others. In some places he tells us explicitly in the text ("a clergyman told me"), but in other places he is more implicit about it, such as when he says the "major-general" is "understood to be" Howell Cobb. It is quite possible that in other places he was more implicit still (such as with the inscriptions on the guns, which I agree was likely functionally a rumour being passed on)

While Steiner's observations on numbers are plausible, in that Steiner could have gained them as a single person observing the passing Confederates for an hour or so, that does not automatically mean that they were first hand.

But if Steiner's recorded information on strength was not first hand, then it still came from somewhere. Specifically his estimate of the strength of DH Hill, which is our only estimate of the strength of DH Hill from any eyewitness in Maryland.
 
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