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Mr. Mercanto

The Civil War: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were too Afraid to Ask!

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On 2/23/2018 at 1:39 AM, Sanny said:

The 1993 Gettysburg isn't perfection but it's a pretty good TV movie (of which is the longest ever made), it deserved a theatrical release because the quality was there. It's probably the closest you will get to the real Civil War experience other than participating in reenactments yourself. Even the 150th Gettysburg reenactment was nothing like the film, and if you look at how they made the film it is incredible. Thousands of extras and all that organisation, make-up and wigs, constant effects, authentic uniforms and weaponry, filming cameras on rails going up and down the real national park. They just don't make movies like this anymore, it's quite possibly the last Historical Epic ever made using thousands of actors and no CGI.

On the other hand the later Gods and Generals is very good but has flaws. But still a worthy Civil War film, I've seen the Directors Cut and it's so much better than the Theatrical release (which everyone saw and condemned the film on). You cannot fault the battle scenes other than excessive use of CGI in some bits. 

Also the soundtracks make both films, some of the best music ever composed for Civil War films.

Hi Sanny,

Over here in the States, Gettysburg did get into the theaters when it was released.

Opening night here in Baltimore, I think my brother said Jeff Daniels and Martin Sheen were big hits amongst the reenactors in the theater lobby, while Tom Berenger stood more off to the side with his body guard.  If Tom had freely mingled, he would have made a HUGE HIT with the reenactors.  Just like on set, Stephen Lang on his horse shouted that he should run for political office as he was mobbed and cheered by many of the reenactors who relished his presence made up as George Pickett.

                       --Gael

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3 hours ago, Gael said:

Hi Sanny,

Over here in the States, Gettysburg did get into the theaters when it was released.

Opening night here in Baltimore, I think my brother said Jeff Daniels and Martin Sheen were big hits amongst the reenactors in the theater lobby, while Tom Berenger stood more off to the side with his body guard.  If Tom had freely mingled, he would have made a HUGE HIT with the reenactors.  Just like on set, Stephen Lang on his horse shouted that he should run for political office as he was mobbed and cheered by many of the reenactors who relished his presence made up as George Pickett.

                       --Gael

Ah that's very interesting to know! Thanks for sharing.

Stephan Lang really is an underrated actor, the transition between George Pickett and then Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson within 10 years is astonishing, like two completely different people, but I suppose that's an actor's job. Even with James Cameron's Avatar, Lang playing the Colonel, absolutely amazing.

 

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On 4/26/2017 at 8:16 AM, Mr. Mercanto said:

Lincoln was 6'5", a frontiersman until 21, and known in Springfield for his talent at wrastling.

... and Vampire Hunting!

Now seriously, as a spaniard and from a foreigner point of view, got some questions: How was the CW in places like California, Texas, etc? Totally non-existent? If you moved there you were save? What about the local enmities between some states (like Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers feuds) as reasons to support the war, aside from slavery/anti-slavery? Do you consider those feuds a firestarter also, which would end fueling a secession?

* Being myself an avid fan of Ride with the Devil and Outlaw Josey Wales...

 

Edited by LAntorcha

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5 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

... and Vampire Hunting!

Now seriously, as a spaniard and from a foreigner point of view, got some questions: How was the CW in places like California, Texas, etc? Totally non-existent? If you moved there you were save? What about the local enmities between some states (like Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers feuds) as reasons to support the war, aside from slavery/anti-slavery? Do you consider those feuds a firestarter also, which would end fueling a secession?

* Being myself an avid fan of Ride with the Devil and Outlaw Josey Wales...

 

The Civil War was very existent in the West. The Confederacy attempted an invasion of Nevada early in the war but it was repulsed at Glorieta Pass and Valverde and the the Union government was worried that local rebels in California would attempt to seize San Francisco. I would argue you'd be less safe out West as the locals tended more towards handling their debates themselves if you know what I mean. Also, the fact that the Federal Government was focusing on a war wasn't lost on the Native Americans and they heated the region back up during the war, even as far North as Minnesota. As for the state enmity question, the "Bleeding Kansas" feuds continued through the war, the only difference being that the two warring parties were now backed by governments. And yes, I consider "Bleeding Kansas" to be the opening skirmishes of the war and a huge arguing point for North and South. 

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On 3/6/2018 at 2:20 PM, LAntorcha said:

... and Vampire Hunting!

Now seriously, as a spaniard and from a foreigner point of view, got some questions: How was the CW in places like California, Texas, etc? Totally non-existent? If you moved there you were save? What about the local enmities between some states (like Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers feuds) as reasons to support the war, aside from slavery/anti-slavery? Do you consider those feuds a firestarter also, which would end fueling a secession?

* Being myself an avid fan of Ride with the Devil and Outlaw Josey Wales...

 

The Civil War covered the entire United States.  With the turmoil there was talks of the "Bear Flag Republic" rising in California.  Trying to take advantage of the issues in the East.  Federal troops effectively stamped out the threat by active movements.  The 1st Dragoons (1st Cavalry) were on the scene quickly (ironically under the command of Lewis Armistead) and snuffed out the early worry.  Many California and Colorado troops patrolled the west as the regular forces were pulled back to fight in the main theaters.  When the war broke out, the US army consisted of but 16,000 troops.  Many of these were spread across the west (all 5 mounted regiments were west of the Mississippi River) from "Bleeding Kansas," to Texas, along the "Oregon Trail," California, Oregon and present day Washington state and every where in between.  Kansas and Nebraska saw many of the opening actual conflicts.  Though what brought on the Civil War could be pointed to the fact that the US government avoided discussing slavery when it had the chance to move to end it when they were putting together the Constitution.  The question was brought up in the 1790's only to be tabled in favor of getting the Constitution ratified and the idea at the time that slavery would die out of its own accord and not flourish.  Had they dealt with it then, there would have been no civil war in regards to slavery when there were so few slave owners who did not have the economic power to fight it.  Kansas's feuds were a part of the puzzle, but not the whole thing.  Had the secretary of war (from 1856-1860) not sent the bulk of the military to the West and stationed weapons in arsenals throughout the south it is interesting to see how things might have played out...

Interesting note about Texas, the 2nd US cavalry regiment and the subsequent infantry commands across the state were surrendered by David Twiggs who gave all weapons and equipment to the state of Texas and then abruptly resigned at the beginning of the war.  Some troops ignored the order and crossed Indian Territory to Kansas and safety.

As was mentioned, the Confederates attempted to seize the Nevada and Colorado mines and were thwarted in 1862.  The dilemma was that the west at that time was not conducive to large armies moving due to the lack of infrastructure for supply (loss of supplies effectively ended the push in 1862).  Also, the safety of the west as mentioned by jekct1212 was not what one might have imagined.  Some native groups took advantage of the conflict and the withdrawal of federal forces.  Some were harshly put down (see 1862 Dakota Uprising) and others were played against each other (Cherokee).

Slavery, while a big part of the war was the key issue told across the globe.  Many southerners were sold on the idea that the federal government had grown too powerful and needed a return to the weakened federal government while strengthened state governments.  Essentially a return of the 1832-1833 Nullification Crisis where the state tried to nullify federal laws within its state as it did not like them.  The southern elites told the majority that the federal government would pass laws without any say from the states and would run over the south.  The elites who owned slaves had to sell it this way to the masses or they would not have had the support to bring about an actual conflict.

Many northerners who signed up initially couldn't have cared less about the slaves.  Many did so to preserve the nation and to fight was was perceived as class warfare.  The north was made up more so of recent immigrants from Europe who toiled under ancient systems of lords and ladies who had power through no actual ability of their own other than they were lucky in their birth.  Many wanted to see the old aristocracy that had come to prevail in the south done away with.  Later, after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the war became officially about restoring the nation AND slavery.  Abraham Lincoln even said if it meant reuniting the nation by allowing slavery he would've done it.

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On 3/7/2018 at 2:38 AM, jekct1212 said:

 I would argue you'd be less safe out West as the locals tended more towards handling their debates themselves if you know what I mean.

:D:D:D

11 hours ago, Buford Protege said:

Many northerners who signed up initially couldn't have cared less about the slaves.  Many did so to preserve the nation and to fight was was perceived as class warfare.  The north was made up more so of recent immigrants from Europe who toiled under ancient systems of lords and ladies who had power through no actual ability of their own other than they were lucky in their birth.  Many wanted to see the old aristocracy that had come to prevail in the south done away with.  Later, after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the war became officially about restoring the nation AND slavery.  Abraham Lincoln even said if it meant reuniting the nation by allowing slavery he would've done it.

 

I think that makes the whole point, a warring of classes much like the Russian Revolution and the White Russians. A war of people tired of supporting a ruling dominant class vs the old gentlemen and their vassals.

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Why did them call Davis', Cobb's and Hampton's_Legion like that?

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobb's_Legion

<<A "legion" consisted of a single integrated command, with individual components from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  The concept of a multiple-branch unit was fine in theory, but never was a practical application for Civil War armies and, early in the war, the individual elements were assigned to other organizations. The Georgia Legion comprised seven infantry companies, four cavalry troops, and a single battery. >>

(For the unfamiliar, Cavalry companies are called Troop. In other way, an Infantry Battalion, a Cavalry Battalion and an Arty Battery)

Is this an equivalent of the later german Kampfgruppe? I like the idea very much. An All-Arms mixed "Brigade", deemed not practical (why not?). Is it better to mix components or concentrate them (historically vs. in game), Pros and Cons, anything to digress about...?

Also... OMG!

Edited by LAntorcha

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17 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

Why did them call Davis', Cobb's and Hampton's_Legion like that?

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobb's_Legion

<<A "legion" consisted of a single integrated command, with individual components from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  The concept of a multiple-branch unit was fine in theory, but never was a practical application for Civil War armies and, early in the war, the individual elements were assigned to other organizations. The Georgia Legion comprised seven infantry companies, four cavalry troops, and a single battery. >>

(For the unfamiliar, Cavalry companies are called Troop. In other way, an Infantry Battalion, a Cavalry Battalion and an Arty Battery)

Is this an equivalent of the later german Kampfgruppe? I like the idea very much. An All-Arms mixed "Brigade", deemed not practical (why not?). Is it better to mix components or concentrate them (historically vs. in game), Pros and Cons, anything to digress about...?

Also... OMG!

The simple fact is most of the “Legions” were split up when they arrived to their assigned theaters. This generally led to 3 smaller commands rather than a complex form of command.

The Confederate army in a much earlier instance took all the cavalry and placed it under centralized commands to make more effective use of it. Both sides took artillery into more centralized commands also. While in theory it was not a bad idea, as you pointed out, it was not practical in the American Civil War.  Eventually the cavalry on both sides became much more like legions with the addition of the “flying batteries” popularized by Captain Ringgold in the Mexican-American War. Then with the better carbines they would become much more of a threat than any small legion.

Usually the largest portion of the Legion, when broken up, would retain the name (I.e Cobb’s Legion) and the smaller units renamed. It was found at the time that it was much better to centralized commands rather than small adhoc commands. 

The best example of why it didn’t work was the Union army early in the war still assigning individual cavalry regiments to infantry divisions and batteries done the same way. This kept you from making a strong force as it was weakening 2 of the 3 forms.  One cavalry regiment can not execute a flanking or rear envelopment of an entire infantry division where a full bridage could. It made a large unwieldy force as to get more artillery or cavalry you had to get clearance from multiple people that rarely worked. In the days of before radio and on immense battlefields it was more of a novelty than a reality.

Not until much later and the ability of all forces to move at relative speeds did the idea of combined forces return. 

Ive found in game that I always have set infantry divisions with artillery support (as was historical). But, also found that cavalry only or artillery only can be a hinderance when in multi-day battles as they can be auto placed in sticky situations (an all cavalry division against Jackson’s assault at Chancellorsville happened on an early play through). Through a lot of micromanaging I was able to slow them down enough to move support...yet not ideal. So instead I pick two divisions per corps to give cavalry to. Or late in game if I feel like making things interesting I make a full cavalry corps...usually just for fun.

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On 3/15/2018 at 5:28 PM, LAntorcha said:

Why did them call Davis', Cobb's and Hampton's_Legion like that?

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobb's_Legion

<<A "legion" consisted of a single integrated command, with individual components from the infantry, cavalry, and artillery.  The concept of a multiple-branch unit was fine in theory, but never was a practical application for Civil War armies and, early in the war, the individual elements were assigned to other organizations. The Georgia Legion comprised seven infantry companies, four cavalry troops, and a single battery. >>

(For the unfamiliar, Cavalry companies are called Troop. In other way, an Infantry Battalion, a Cavalry Battalion and an Arty Battery)

Is this an equivalent of the later german Kampfgruppe? I like the idea very much. An All-Arms mixed "Brigade", deemed not practical (why not?). Is it better to mix components or concentrate them (historically vs. in game), Pros and Cons, anything to digress about...?

Also... OMG!

LAntorcha,

The names came from the gentlemen who recruited, outfitted, and trained the troops for those units.  Instead of waiting for the state they were in to recruit, outfit, organize and train larger units of regiments, it was more expedient for the important and wealthy to just do it themselves.  Wade Hampton's Legion of approximately 600 ended up at Manassas, Virginia, for the first battle (Bull Run or 1st Manassas).  Later they were made part of Hood's Division in Hood's "Texas" Brigade where due to losses, they entered the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg and the Miller Cornfield with ~78 men -- fighting part of what MG McClellan nicknamed his "Iron Brigade" alongside the Georgia Brigade along the Pike's wooden rail fences, while the 1st Texas would continue on into the corner and suffer 82.3% casualties.  BG Law's 2nd and 11th Mississippi regiments were on the right of 1st Texas, and the 6th North Carolina State Troops were holding the East Woods.

General Nathan B Forrest nicknamed his own personal company of about 100 cavalry as his "Critter Company".  (A friend of mine's ancestor was about 15 years of age when he first was included in the "Critter Company".)  Forrest had raised a cavalry regiment, which General Bragg took and assigned to someone else, and ordered Forrest to go back home and raise another such unit.  When Bragg took that unit and gave it to someone else, and ordered Forrest to once again raise another company, Forrest informed Bragg that if he EVER did that again, he would kill him.  Sometimes the senior officers took things a bit personal.  :D

                               --Gael

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By the (green) uniform of William Hazard he's supposed to be in a Elite unit. Col. Hiram Berdan Sharpshooters.

It should be a Lt (blue shoulder straps?). Is this portrayal of the unit accurate?

 

d303cb7b3082f7f2a6c54723e2dcc721.jpg

 

North380ParkerStevensonBillyHazard.jpg

Edit: Ok, I just found by myself... they are the 1st US Sharpshooters.

As i have seen on films before, the XVIII century british red coats did consider that sniping officers was out place, because that left soldiers without men to guide them.

- When did Officer and NCO sniping start? with Napoleon? At the War of Independence?

- Can we say sharpshooting and sniping were equivalent? are the french tirailleurs the same (i thought they were just Light Infantry)?

 

Wouldn't it be nice to make a thread exclusive of Elite Units?

Edited by LAntorcha

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6 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

 

As i have seen on films before, the XVIII century british red coats did consider that sniping officers was out place, because that left soldiers without men to guide them.

- When did Officer and NCO sniping start? with Napoleon? At the War of Independence?

- Can we say sharpshooting and sniping were equivalent? are the french tirailleurs the same (i thought they were just Light Infantry)?

 

Wouldn't it be nice to make a thread exclusive of Elite Units?

While it is true that many British forces felt it unfit to target officers, it was mainly due to the fact that the officer class was of the aristocracy and wanted to stay on top.  During the French & Indian War (pre-American Revolution) it was commonplace for French troops to target officers, especially when in an ambush.  One could say that in an ambush it is imperative to removed officers and thus keep the men in a huddled mass.  Even Alexander the Great chased after Darius at the battle of Gaugamela in ancient times.  Officers were picked off in medieval times to stop attacks.  

Sharpshooters and sniping units were not always the same area.  For instance the 1st Minnesota Infantry had a company regularly detached to serve as sharpshooting skirmishers.  Many "sharpshooters" were used as skirmishers more than anything else in the period of the Civil War in an attempt to maximize the damage done by the skirmishers.  Berdan's sharpshooters were on the left flank of the 3rd Corps at Gettysburg essentially to keep their eyes open for flanking moves to attempt to make up for Sickles' advance.  He did so as the three federal cavalry commands were scattered (1st Division refitting, 2nd Division on the left and 3rd division enroute to the field shadowing Stuart).

Elite units are great to follow...its also fun to see what essentially goes from an unknown volunteer regiment goes to become elite.  Many came from having great leadership to form and train the units.

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