Why was the VI Corps so often separated from the rest of the Army of the Potomac?

Yankeedave

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#21
Simpler version is Meade's division fulfilled its orders by taking, cutting the military that runs along the crest. He requested reenforcements. Reynolds was willing and able but was denied. If there is any time to fulfill ones orders, now is the time for Franklin to do so.
 

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67th Tigers

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#24
Simpler version is Meade's division fulfilled its orders by taking, cutting the military that runs along the crest. He requested reenforcements. Reynolds was willing and able but was denied. If there is any time to fulfill ones orders, now is the time for Franklin to do so.
Franklin apparently thought Meade had been reinforced. I'm working mainly from Snell's Franklin biography (the PhD thesis version) and Marvel's Burnside biography (again, the PhD thesis version).

This is a thread about 6th Corps, and I also have Siciliano's Smith biography. It adds a lot of detail about Burnside's order. Hardie, Franklin's staffer, had ridden to army HQ to try and get a copy of the attack order. Burnside was in his tent, scribbling out the various orders, and quickly wrote the 0555 in pencil, telling Hardie it was a duplicate and the order would also be sent by telegraph.

All three of Reynolds' 1st Corps divisions were engaged; 1st Corps had the second highest casualty total of the six corps, and Meade's and Gibbon's divisions rank 2nd and 3rd, and hence suffered worse than 6 out of the 7 divisions that charges Marye's Heights. Here's the list:

Fredericksburg%2Bcas.png


Franklin had 8 divisions. He had 5 divisions as a line, and 3 divisions stacked behind Meade and Gibbon to support the attack. Meade and Gibbon went forward, Doubleday pulled over left to block a threat by DH Hill's division. Brooks and Howe extended right to cover the right flank of the attack (and suffered a counterattack by Hood's division attempting to turn the flank). The two 3rd Corps divisions who were supposed to be the followup didn't launch. Franklin didn't actually know this back at his HQ. It was difficult to coordinate due to the distances.
 

Yankeedave

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#25
Meade was the first division out. The subsequent involvement of the other two divisions is in response to confederate counterattack. there is a pause between these two events, allowing for time for Reynolds to aide Meade. On the bottom lands there are more than enough Union reenforcements to replace those sent on their proper course. The are historically little more than a body guard.
 

Joshism

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#26
At Gettysburg the 6th Corps was the largest in the AotP, almost twice as large as the smallest corps (11th & 12th). When and how this disparity arise? Could it have influenced how the corps was used?
 

Saphroneth

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#27
At Gettysburg the 6th Corps was the largest in the AotP, almost twice as large as the smallest corps (11th & 12th). When and how this disparity arise? Could it have influenced how the corps was used?
ORs time!

11th joined the Union army around Fredericksburg, but stayed in the reserve. At that time the strengths of the corps were:
(strength from ORs, Dec 10, PFD)
6th Corps - 9 brigades (strength not given, folded into the Grand Division)
11th Corps - 6 brigades (688 + 14874) at about 2,500 per brigade and contained 28 regiments total. (553 per regiment)
12th Corps - 6 brigades (614 + 11584) at about 2,000 per brigade and contained 32 regiments total. (375 per regiment)

The 11th Corps had six brigades and was "fresh", while the 12th Corps had been previously engaged in battle. 6th had not been heavily engaged in the bloodletting at Antietam (one brigade took a hammering) so should be closer to 11th than 12th in per-regiment size.
A good estimate for the strength of the 6th Corps is the strength in prior months as no serious fighting took place in the interval, though straggling would have done.
6th Corps, Oct 10, (1177 + 23879) at about 2,700 per brigade and contained 48 regiments total. (about 500 per regiment)

In January 1863 the 6th Corps was adjusted into ten brigades instead of nine (the Light Division was essentialy a corps-level brigade attachment.)

Essentially it looks like the reason the disparity arose is just that the 6th was huge in terms of regiments, and it got lucky in that it didn't get involved in heavy bloodletting at Antietam. We know that 11th took a pounding at Chancellorsville, and remember also that they weren't seasoned campaigners so would have straggled more than the rest in the Mud March.
Thus the size disparity is mostly explained by the number of regiments involved.
 



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