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Alrighty then. :)

Not to take away from the above ...

BUT the question I have is ... Could the South have won the conflict if Thomas Johnathan Jackson had lived?

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40 minutes ago, A. P. Hill said:

Alrighty then. :)

Not to take away from the above ...

BUT the question I have is ... Could the South have won the conflict if Thomas Johnathan Jackson had lived?

No military genious have usually won anything on his own. Wars normally comes down to manpower, resources, morale and politics. 

The third Reich had a lot of very competent commanders but that didn't really affect anything as they where led by a party of maniacs.

Napoleon was master of war but just couldn't grasp the political aspect and lost everything on the floor.

Alexander the Great stands out but actually his success relied on his fathers work and preparation. He died under dubious circumstances btw and may not have paid attention to the political side of things.

The Confederation had some good commanders but lacked the other ingredients for a victory. As the war dragged out it was a matter of time before defeat. They simply wouldn't be able to win in the long term. And if so not on the battlefields alone. 

So no. It wouldn't have mattered much if Jackson would have lived. He was a pawn on a tactical level and had very little outcome on the industrial might of the north.

 

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3 hours ago, 1stvermont said:

Thanks for your response as i thought you would make unsupported claims and reject a debate. I think we both know the above is not the reason you wont debate, you know in a 1v1 debate it can be easily followed with just us posting. Claims such as the above cannot be hidden. You would be forced to support your arguments with original sources [not opinions and vague references to a book you read] and would not be allowed to ignore 99% of my original sources arguments as you have done in the past. I would also like to add on debate forums, debaters are judged on civility, use of original sources, and arguments. If ever you change your mind, I am interested.

Thank you for proving my point about you for me. I invite any curious readers to view our last exchange. 

By the way 1stVermont, did you ever read the original documents I told you to read? Cornerstone speech, for example? Just curious. 

Your obsessed with winning, kid, and the facts themselves are hardly noteworthy in your quest. I don't care about winning, I care about learning. 

Goodbye now.

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2 hours ago, A. P. Hill said:

Alrighty then. :)

Not to take away from the above ...

BUT the question I have is ... Could the South have won the conflict if Thomas Johnathan Jackson had lived?

 

1 hour ago, fox2run said:

No military genious have usually won anything on his own. Wars normally comes down to manpower, resources, morale and politics. 

The third Reich had a lot of very competent commanders but that didn't really affect anything as they where led by a party of maniacs.

Napoleon was master of war but just couldn't grasp the political aspect and lost everything on the floor.

Alexander the Great stands out but actually his success relied on his fathers work and preparation. He died under dubious circumstances btw and may not have paid attention to the political side of things.

The Confederation had some good commanders but lacked the other ingredients for a victory. As the war dragged out it was a matter of time before defeat. They simply wouldn't be able to win in the long term. And if so not on the battlefields alone. 

So no. It wouldn't have mattered much if Jackson would have lived. He was a pawn on a tactical level and had very little outcome on the industrial might of the north.

 

I think fox2run makes a great point here. It easy to overestimate the affect of the great chieftans of war. 

I think the question is kind of impossible to really answer because the variables are staggering. For example, the follow up to the question about Old Jack living is, if he had, he would have surely taken Cemetery Hill, and the Federals would have been defeated at Gettysburg. Even this assumption is fraught with contigency. Let's unpack it as a test case.

Alan Guezlo argues very effectively in "Gettysburg: The Last Invasion" that Lee never really intended to take the hill that night, and while he would permit Ewell to do it, he cared little if the task was done. His plan was to finish the I and XI Corps in the morning before the rest of the AoP arrived, and he would do just that. Hence, he appears to have provided Ewell no direct order to take the hill, and there is no evidence of him being remotely concerned with Ewell's failure to do so. Te night time conference between Ewell and Lee has no contemporary evidence of having actually happened. Tales of it only emerge several years after the war. In "At the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign" Stephen W. Sears argues that Jackson's lethargy at Gaines's Mills, Savage Station, and Glendale, was due to miscommunication between Lee's staff officers and Jackson. They did not adequately communicate that Lee wanted him to move and take the initiative, only that he wanted him at certain positions. While there are several explanations of Jackson's failure during the Seven Days, this one has merit. Let us then suppose that Jackson has demonstrated that he is a man who rigidly awaits specific orders before assuming independent control. On the night of July 1, Lee makes no real effort to clearly state that Cemetery Hill must be taken, and does not make it a priority. Jackson, dutifully awaiting further orders, might like Ewell decide that if Lee does not wish it, he should take no further action." As Jackson said to one of his officers, while the cannons boomed only a few miles away at Glendale, "If General Lee wanted me, he would have called for me." Thus, Jackson might have, based on these modern analyses, done the same as Ewell. 

And this is just one of the thousands of what-if scenarios presented to us. So I guess my answer is....I dunno...having Old Blue Light probably would have helped, though.

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As I mentioned in another post, this question has been argued and debated into oblivion with no clear winner in the 153 years since it happened.  I doubt that a bunch of forum rats like ourselves are going to be able to do the discussion any further justice, because without doubt in those years, every possible argument for either side has been used.  But being an ardent reader of "Lee's Lieutenants" by Douglas Southall Freeman, one can follow the growth of command from the basic beginning.  Despite Mr. Freeman's calling this particular work what he did, it is actually a very detailed and researched history of the command structure of the AoNVA.

In this work practically every officer is given a piece of a page to display their "maturity" during the course of the war.  The thing with Jackson in this work is that Mr. Freeman states that though T.J. Jackson was an ardent and strict militarist, he also displayed a bit of a desire for independent command, which could be tempered as it was with the gaining of respect of a given superior, in this case Lee.

When the late "War of Northern Aggression" started, Jackson was an educator of artillery and Mathematics at Virginia Military Institute.  When answering the call for the State of Virginia, the top leader in his mind at the time was the Governor of the State, and the Governor sent him to Harpers Ferry to protect the approach into Virginia from that point. When Davis took over as President and the War Cabinet was formed, Jackson reluctantly let go that the Governor was his senior and accepted the War Cabinet and President Davis. But he had developed a taste for independent command from that point.   Mr. Freeman's take on this is that Jackson would take some time learning to work in tandem with other leaders. It was a difficult task at first but one he eventually mastered obviously, to the point of being called "Lee's Right Hand Man", by Lee himself.

Part of the issues I see with regard to the Peninsula campaign is (and this is going to sound corny to AGW adherents,) was climatic.  The climate in the mountains of Virginia is way different than the climate in the low lands and tidal swamps of the Peninsula. Couple that with the fact that in nearly 48 hours(?) of rigorous conditions, Jackson rode from Charlottesville VA, to Richmond VA, and back again to the front of his column moving east, with no more than 4 hours sleep.  This fatigue in combination with the heavier and thicker hot humid air of the Peninsula, as well as the fact that Jackson had never been in the area before, had no clue as to the roads or topography of the country, and his chief topographer was still back in the valley making detailed maps of the battles that Jackson had just won so he could advance to the lower plains of the Richmond area, he was without his eyes.

Fault cannot be laid solely at Jackson's feet for his actions in the Seven Days Campaign.  Lee as well can be blamed, if you want to call it that.  A good commanding officer would have sent a knowledgeable guide to the officer that was going to provide the hammer blow of his campaign activities. Yet Jackson was left to his own to try to find locals that would guide him successfully.  And in this he would have problems, as can be recounted from the errant road he was directed to take by his local guide at Gaines Mill/Boatswain Swamp, causing him to have to back track his march by several miles.  Of course maps were pretty much non existent in the era we're speaking of so providing Jackson with maps was out of the question by Lee.  Lee assumed that having sent Branch, of Hill's division north to Half Sink to extend a hand to Jackson's troops was going to be sufficient aide.  Sadly it wasn't.

Anyhow, by the time the Seven Days was over, Jackson had a much better understanding of his commanding officer, as well as the other officers he would eventually be in harness with.  When Lee decided it was time to get out of the Richmond area and take his army to "Northern Virginia" thus fulfilling it's new name, Lee had come to rely on Jackson, despite his faults.  Part of Lee's selection of Jackson to lead off his northern movement was that Jackson was already familiar with the roads and topography in the area the army was headed, it just made sense to send the guy with the most local knowledge.  This is why, after 2nd Manassas, Jackson was appointed by Lee to take Harpers Ferry. He spent a good 9 months or so building his valley army at Harpers Ferry, no one in the Southern army had as much first hand knowledge of Harpers Ferry than Jackson.

Of course over time we get to see Jackson grow from a commander with little trust in his superiors to a man who would follow the commanding general Lee into the very gates of hell with no questions asked. And he proved that at Chancellorsville.

Where if it were not for Jackson's impetuousness, and his desire to crush the enemy before him, Jackson may well have survived.

If that were the case, Jackson was an astute student of topography and how best to use it to his advantage. Lee would not have had to say much to Jackson to get him to understand the importance of Cemetery as well as Culp's Hills.  BUT ... we're dealing with history here.  And one of the things I see left out in this discussion is that Lee was hesitant to even have a major engagement in Pennsylvania, he was there to strip the country side of supplies. 

At this juncture we need to step back and realize that these commanders were all human.  They suffered distresses the same as other humans.

For example, Freeman makes the case that Lee had had a couple accidents with his mount on the way to Gettysburg, and also because of the sad fare as to meals, Lee was as many of his men, suffering from the effects of what he ate.  A. P. Hill, R. E. Lee, and several others are noted to be undergoing dysentery/diarrhea during the campaign. This caused many to be short on specific orders and also had an effect on their vibrancy to conduct this campaign.  Ewell was hesitant, because as was mentioned, Lee was not specific in command of what Lee wanted done, and Ewell was short a division or so of his II Corps and felt a need to wait for them to arrive before advancing.  Jackson on the other hand would have pushed what he had as hard as he could to achieve what needed done, and praise God when the reinforcements arrived "just in the nick of time".   Longstreet for a long time was harboring a defensive tactical approach to campaigning and he thought he could convince Lee of seeing future battles his way, and after a conference on day 1, Longstreet thought he had convinced Lee to fight a defensive campaign.  Lee under the duress of his malady, apparently wasn't as clear to Longstreet about what he wanted done.  Also Longstreet pulled a bit of Ewell's move ... Pickett's division was not near enough to press advantage and another division was closer to the field but not completely up yet, and Longstreet wasn't in agreement with the offensive campaign that Lee had in mind and so he was reluctant to spend his troops in a campaign that he thought should have been fought differently.  Oh and the story about the need for shoes starting G'sburg ... Not True.

Would it have changed things?  I don't know.  But having read and studied as much as I have over the years, the conclusion I come to is that there were many issues that affected the outcome of that battle, as they did in every battle.  I can't say one way or the other.

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2 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

 

I think fox2run makes a great point here. It easy to overestimate the affect of the great chieftans of war. 

I think the question is kind of impossible to really answer because the variables are staggering. For example, the follow up to the question about Old Jack living is, if he had, he would have surely taken Cemetery Hill, and the Federals would have been defeated at Gettysburg. Even this assumption is fraught with contigency. Let's unpack it as a test case.

Alan Guezlo argues very effectively in "Gettysburg: The Last Invasion" that Lee never really intended to take the hill that night, and while he would permit Ewell to do it, he cared little if the task was done. His plan was to finish the I and XI Corps in the morning before the rest of the AoP arrived, and he would do just that. Hence, he appears to have provided Ewell no direct order to take the hill, and there is no evidence of him being remotely concerned with Ewell's failure to do so. Te night time conference between Ewell and Lee has no contemporary evidence of having actually happened. Tales of it only emerge several years after the war. In "At the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign" Stephen W. Sears argues that Jackson's lethargy at Gaines's Mills, Savage Station, and Glendale, was due to miscommunication between Lee's staff officers and Jackson. They did not adequately communicate that Lee wanted him to move and take the initiative, only that he wanted him at certain positions. While there are several explanations of Jackson's failure during the Seven Days, this one has merit. Let us then suppose that Jackson has demonstrated that he is a man who rigidly awaits specific orders before assuming independent control. On the night of July 1, Lee makes no real effort to clearly state that Cemetery Hill must be taken, and does not make it a priority. Jackson, dutifully awaiting further orders, might like Ewell decide that if Lee does not wish it, he should take no further action." As Jackson said to one of his officers, while the cannons boomed only a few miles away at Glendale, "If General Lee wanted me, he would have called for me." Thus, Jackson might have, based on these modern analyses, done the same as Ewell. 

And this is just one of the thousands of what-if scenarios presented to us. So I guess my answer is....I dunno...having Old Blue Light probably would have helped, though.

Hard indeed to think Jackson would have taken CH, not enough men (4000), confusing orders from Lee and a short amount of daylight.

In my opinion the real what if is the second day. Ewell's artillery barrage against Culp's Hill was rather inneficient and one might argue that Jackson (who was an artillery instructor at VMI before the war) might have made better use of his guns at Benner Hill. He also might have been bolder in an infantry assault which would have eventually put the rebs at an advantage (provided  it had happened after Meade redeployed most of Culp's Hill forces to back retarded Sickles).

However what-ifs are in the end quite irrelevant here because without Jackson's death the Army of Northern Virginia would still have two corps (instead of three) and therefore the whole confederate disposition (perhaps the whole campaign) would have been different. So it's litteraly impossible to imagine what would have happened...

Thankfully we have a great game to replay this ourselves :)

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On 19/02/2017 at 3:42 PM, Col_Kelly said:

Hard indeed to think Jackson would have taken CH, not enough men (4000), confusing orders from Lee and a short amount of daylight.

In my opinion the real what if is the second day. Ewell's artillery barrage against Culp's Hill was rather inneficient and one might argue that Jackson (who was an artillery instructor at VMI before the war) might have made better use of his guns at Benner Hill. He also might have been bolder in an infantry assault which would have eventually put the rebs at an advantage (provided  it had happened after Meade redeployed most of Culp's Hill forces to back retarded Sickles).

However what-ifs are in the end quite irrelevant here because without Jackson's death the Army of Northern Virginia would still have two corps (instead of three) and therefore the whole confederate disposition (perhaps the whole campaign) would have been different. So it's litteraly impossible to imagine what would have happened...

Thankfully we have a great game to replay this ourselves :)

I would be doubtful of greater artillery efficacy on the part of Jackson. Civil War artillery was painfully inaccurate, and even the most talented artillerists could only do so much. Perhaps Jackson would have attacked more aggressively, though Ewell's failing was also in part due to his attacking so late. Had Jackson attacked earlier, he would have faced steeper opposition, though this would have held troops on Culp's Hill, which would have aided in the completion of Lee's original goal, the capture of Cemetery Ridge. 

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On 2/25/2017 at 11:15 AM, waldopbarnstormer said:

I would like to ask the question, did either side use conscription during the war?

Thank you

Yes. Both sides used conscription. In the Union a man could either serve or pay $300 commutation fee to stay home. In the South, if you owned 20 negros, or had enough money to pay someone to fight in your stead, you were off the hook.

Rich man's war, poor man's fight. 

The New York City draft riots were not invented to make the Gangs of New York in the Five Points more believable. But they did make a nice backdrop to the grand melee at the end. 

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hi just purchased this game and started campaign..

after wining first battle, my units were quite decimated. Is there any chance to repelnish them (bring back to the full strength) and how?

sorry if this is already answered.

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10 hours ago, Koivu said:

hi just purchased this game and started campaign..

after wining first battle, my units were quite decimated. Is there any chance to repelnish them (bring back to the full strength) and how?

sorry if this is already answered.

Select a brigade, then you will see a window with detailed info on this brigade on the right side of your screen.

Use the slider to increase the number of men (up to the max allowed by you army organization). You have to chose between veterans or recruits reinforcements. Veterans cost you both manpower and money (so they are quite expensive), while recruits only cost you manpower. As men will need weapons, it will also cost you money if you don't have enough weapons in your stock (armory).

In the same window you can select another officer and also change the weapons used by this brigade. Be aware that if you select officers in the academy rather than your barracks (if your barrack are empty due to losses) they cost you money. Same for the weapons, if you don't have enough in stock (armoury) you have to buy them with money. It's good to know that you will be able to buy some better weapons with reputation points and that you will reap some weapons after battles provided you crushed enough enemies.

Enjoy the game !

PS The cost of veterans goes increasing for more experienced brigades 1*, 2*, 3*, so don't waste your most experienced troops. For costly frontal attacks (if unavoidable) send rookies to the sacrifice, unless it's the tipping point of the battle.

Edited by Nicolas I

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With a sweeping generalization... could it be said that Country/rural brigades were (are ;)) better soldiers/fighters than their populous urban counterparts?  Was it not for the rural troops of the North, would most battles have been decided by the 'country' heavy brigades of the south... haven't been in a Civil War book for the better part of ten years, but I always got that distinct impression?  Were Wisconsin/Minnesota/Michigan troops, Vermonters and Mainers the backbone of the Northern army? 

Edited by Kiefer Cain

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8 hours ago, Kiefer Cain said:

With a sweeping generalization... could it be said that Country/rural brigades were (are ;)) better soldiers/fighters than their populous urban counterparts?  Was it not for the rural troops of the North, would most battles have been decided by the 'country' heavy brigades of the south... haven't been in a Civil War book for the better part of ten years, but I always got that distinct impression?  Were Wisconsin/Minnesota/Michigan troops, Vermonters and Mainers the backbone of the Northern army? 

Great question! The answer, in brief, is basically no. The "Yeoman Soldier Theory" holds little water in truth. First, it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of troops on both sides were rural (I think about 90% of all Federals but I can't remember for sure, and nearly all Confederates). So I suppose without rural troops on the US side, the CSA would have won every battle, but only because they would have only faced a fraction of the United States forces. 

The fact is, urban regiments fought just as well as their country counterparts. The 20th Massachusetts, for example, was as Urbane as you could get. That didn't stop them from being one of the war's finest regiments. The 1st Louisiana Special Battalion was recruited largely from the dockyards of New Orleans (blue collar, but not rural), and they fought like hell. 

The truth is, there is little about country life that better prepared these men for combat. Men became good soldiers through drill and combat experience, something gained neither with a ploughshare or a pen. 

Oh, one last tidbit. You mentioned Minnesota. The 1st Minnesota was, in my biased opinion, the finest regiment fielded by either side of the conflict. Having studied them to a small degree (they remain teh subject of my unfinished Master's Thesis), I can tell you that many were not the yeoman you might think. Minnesota was a new state, and many of its citizens had emigrated from the North East. Some of the toughest soldiers of the Veteran 1st spent their youths amongst the urbanity of Boston and New York, rather then the fields of Red Wing. 

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On 25/02/2017 at 0:15 PM, waldopbarnstormer said:

I would like to ask the question, did either side use conscription during the war?

Thank you

Hi! Took me ages to get to this!

Ok, so basically yes...but also no lol. 

The Confederacy introduced universal Conscription in April of 1862, in a desperate measure to maintain their field armies. This Conscription applied to all white citizens aged 18-35. It also extended the terms of service signed by enlisted men from one year to the duration of the conflict. The Conscription Act did allow for the purchasing of substitutes, but this was later abolished. Government officials, armament and metal workers, teachers, apothecaries, militia officers, and one for families owning ten or more slaves were exempt. As the war went on, the minimum age dropped to 16 and the maximum raised to 55. 

The Federals instituted a complex system which is hard to describe briefly. First and foremost, it was a Draft, not conscription. The difference between the two is that conscription calls for universal male compulsory service, while a draft limits this too a few. Basically, each state was given a quota of militia and volunteers to fulfil, with each militia man counting for a fraction of a volunteer. These were induced with Federal, State, and local bounties. If the state failed to meet these numbers, then the draft would be used to make good the difference. The draft was effectively a lottery you did not want to win. Men were selected at random by drawn lots. After selection, a chosen man could be exempt from service if he could demonstrate that he was the sole source of income for dependants or was medically unfit. Alternatively, he could hire a substitute to take his place, or pay $300 to avoid the draft this time, but not necessarily the next. This money would supplement Federal bounties. If the man was accepted into service and did not pay the fee, he would receive full Federal, State, and local bounties, and the mandatory pension (one of the most generous in military history, as it happens). Draftees were generally assigned to rearguard duty, and very few of them were placed into combat (I think the number is around 2000, but I may be remembering that wrong). Unlike the Confederates, the United States did not retroactively extend Federal enlistments. Once men's three years were up, they could leave, though they were offered much (and peer-pressured) to re-enlist.

Essentially, both sides forced men to fight, but one might argue that the Federals did so as humanely as possible. If nothing else, the Federals strove to keep conscripts off of the front-line. For the Confederates, desperately short on men, it was universal. 

These laws contributed to riots on both sides, though the New York Draft Riots are certainly most infamous, I think the Richmond Bread Riots are most notable. However, in all riots, North and South, Conscription and the Draft were one of several contributing factors. 

I hope this answers your question! :D

Mr. Mercanto

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46 minutes ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

Oh, one last tidbit. You mentioned Minnesota. The 1st Minnesota was, in my biased opinion, the finest regiment fielded by either side of the conflict. Having studied them to a small degree (they remain teh subject of my unfinished Master's Thesis), I can tell you that many were not the yeoman you might think. Minnesota was a new state, and many of its citizens had emigrated from the North East. Some of the toughest soldiers of the Veteran 1st spent their youths amongst the urbanity of Boston and New York, rather then the fields of Red Wing. 

1. Why do you say that? Any specific battle they performed well in?

2. What brigade were they part of? Did they move around? West or east?

3. Were they recognized at the time as being elite?

 

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7 minutes ago, Zwerty99 said:

1. Why do you say that? Any specific battle they performed well in?

2. What brigade were they part of? Did they move around? West or east?

3. Were they recognized at the time as being elite?

 

Ok :P, my dog needs me to walk her, so I' going to make this painfully brief lol. I'm always happy to expand later. 


2. They were a part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps, Army of the Potomac. The 1st Minnesota served in the East, though a small number of its compliment ended up fighting the Sioux instead, during the Dakota War (1862-1865) waged in Minnesota during the Civil War. The 1st Minnesota was the only Minnesota infantry regimetn to serve in the Army of the Potomac for the duration of 1861-1864.

1/3. They performed most notably at Bull Run, Savage Station, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station. At Bull Run, they were one of the few regiments to receive mention in the dispatch for the exceptional coolness under fire. At Gettysburg, the regiment was the last reserves available to Hancock as Cadmus Wilcox's Alabama Regiment charged the gaping hole in the II Corps at Cemetery Ride. Faced with the certain annihilation of his Corps, and the Federal Army, Hancock desperately put in the eight of the ten companies of the 1st Minnesota in a  forlorn charge. 268 men charged over 1600, supported by an additional 1300 Floridians Under Brigadier General Lang. So impressive and ferocious was the charge of the Veteran 1st that, obscured by smoke and battle, Wilcox believed he faced not a regiment, but a division. Wilcox withdrew, as did Lang, and in so doing deprived the Army of Northern Virginia one of the greatest opportunities it ever enjoyed to conquer a peace. Hancock had the time he needed to plug the gap. The army, and perhaps the nation, was saved catastrophic defeat, and the eight companies who made the charge were reduced from 268 men, to barely over 40. Two companies, F and G, missed the charge, and could not believe the rumours of the attack until the next day, when they were horrified to learn that their comrades had been decimated saving the Union in its most desperate hour. Hancock would write of the charge that there was, "No more Gallant a deed can be found in history." As if their previous sacrifice had not been great enough, the next day, when Armistead's brigade broke the lines of the 71st Pennsylvania and captured the gallant battery of Alonzo Cushing, it would be the 1st Minnesota and the 69th Pennsylvania who would stop that final Confederate effort at Gettysburg. 


The 1st Minnesota was also historically recognised as the first volunteer regiment to enter Federal Service in the Civil War, as, at the time that Secretary of Defense Simon Cameron drafted the call for troops, Minnesota Governor Ramsey was in Washington, and immediately tendered their service personally. However, as Corporal Thomas Presnall wrote, whether or not they were truly the first (he believed they were not), it was honour enough to have his name "written in the ranks of the men of the 1st Minnesota." 



I'd best walk the dog now,

Mr. Mercanto

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40 minutes ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

Ok :P, my dog needs me to walk her, so I' going to make this painfully brief lol. I'm always happy to expand later. 


2. They were a part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps, Army of the Potomac. The 1st Minnesota served in the East, though a small number of its compliment ended up fighting the Sioux instead, during the Dakota War (1862-1865) waged in Minnesota during the Civil War. The 1st Minnesota was the only Minnesota infantry regimetn to serve in the Army of the Potomac for the duration of 1861-1864.

1/3. They performed most notably at Bull Run, Savage Station, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station. At Bull Run, they were one of the few regiments to receive mention in the dispatch for the exceptional coolness under fire. At Gettysburg, the regiment was the last reserves available to Hancock as Cadmus Wilcox's Alabama Regiment charged the gaping hole in the II Corps at Cemetery Ride. Faced with the certain annihilation of his Corps, and the Federal Army, Hancock desperately put in the eight of the ten companies of the 1st Minnesota in a  forlorn charge. 268 men charged over 1600, supported by an additional 1300 Floridians Under Brigadier General Lang. So impressive and ferocious was the charge of the Veteran 1st that, obscured by smoke and battle, Wilcox believed he faced not a regiment, but a division. Wilcox withdrew, as did Lang, and in so doing deprived the Army of Northern Virginia one of the greatest opportunities it ever enjoyed to conquer a peace. Hancock had the time he needed to plug the gap. The army, and perhaps the nation, was saved catastrophic defeat, and the eight companies who made the charge were reduced from 268 men, to barely over 40. Two companies, F and G, missed the charge, and could not believe the rumours of the attack until the next day, when they were horrified to learn that their comrades had been decimated saving the Union in its most desperate hour. Hancock would write of the charge that there was, "No more Gallant a deed can be found in history." As if their previous sacrifice had not been great enough, the next day, when Armistead's brigade broke the lines of the 71st Pennsylvania and captured the gallant battery of Alonzo Cushing, it would be the 1st Minnesota and the 69th Pennsylvania who would stop that final Confederate effort at Gettysburg. 


The 1st Minnesota was also historically recognised as the first volunteer regiment to enter Federal Service in the Civil War, as, at the time that Secretary of Defense Simon Cameron drafted the call for troops, Minnesota Governor Ramsey was in Washington, and immediately tendered their service personally. However, as Corporal Thomas Presnall wrote, whether or not they were truly the first (he believed they were not), it was honour enough to have his name "written in the ranks of the men of the 1st Minnesota." 



I'd best walk the dog now,

Mr. Mercanto

Thanks for your "short" response xD. Also, convey my sincere apology to the dog...

Was waaaay more than I expected!

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9 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

The truth is, there is little about country life that better prepared these men for combat. Men became good soldiers through drill and combat experience, something gained neither with a ploughshare or a pen. 

If you consider combat only, especially in the musket era that might be true but can you really say it's the case for military life as a whole ? It's not hard to proove that rural men had a much less comfortable life back then, which would make them fit to support long marches, harsh weather, rough camping and military tasks (building earthworks, pickett duty...). The 1st Texas, the NY 69th (mostly composed of country-raised Irishmen) and of course the excessively famous Iron Brigade were all composed of rural troops. As for the 1st Louisiana they were mainly composed of Irish immigrants as well and as we know a huge portion of these immigrants were poor farmers back home. It doesn't matter where they were recruited, the real factor is where they grew up. 

Also I'm not 100% sure about this but, techically, wouldn't a rural man have more occasions to fire a rifle than his urban counterpart before the war ? Meaning better accuracy and reloading ? (btw I totally disregard the argument saying that a soldier's accuracy didn't matter during the ACW, otherwise nobody would have bothered to introduce target practice)

The 20th Masschussets (along with a few other examples maybe) might be an exception but doesn't that confirm the rule ? :)

In the end you pointed the real answer however. A huge majority of Americans were rural back then and I'm sure that a further investigation would prove that barely 2/3% of the overall population spent their whole lives in cities.

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2 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

If you consider combat only, especially in the musket era that might be true but can you really say it's the case for military life as a whole ? It's not hard to proove that rural men had a much less comfortable life back then, which would make them fit to support long marches, harsh weather, rough camping and military tasks (building earthworks, pickett duty...). The 1st Texas, the NY 69th (mostly composed of country-raised Irishmen) and of course the excessively famous Iron Brigade were all composed of rural troops. As for the 1st Louisiana they were mainly composed of Irish immigrants as well and as we know a huge portion of these immigrants were poor farmers back home. It doesn't matter where they were recruited, the real factor is where they grew up. 

Also I'm not 100% sure about this but, techically, wouldn't a rural man have more occasions to fire a rifle than his urban counterpart before the war ? Meaning better accuracy and reloading ? (btw I totally disregard the argument saying that a soldier's accuracy didn't matter during the ACW, otherwise nobody would have bothered to introduce target practice)

The 20th Masschussets (along with a few other examples maybe) might be an exception but doesn't that confirm the rule ? :)

In the end you pointed the real answer however. A huge majority of Americans were rural back then and I'm sure that a further investigation would prove that barely 2/3% of the overall population spent their whole lives in cities.

The 20th is just an example, the fact is there is not enough of a disparity in regimental performance or in population distribution to prove anything. There are simply to few urban soldiers to tell. There is no marked failure to fight on the part of Urban soldiers though, and no historian has ever demonstrated that regiments formed in city sections were any less capable, then their rural counterparts.

Let us look to a different war for a moment. How about the Great War? In World War I, Canadian soldiers enjoyed a reputation as exceptional fighters. The theory amongst the Imperial powers was that Canadians, being farm boys, were naturally hardier men, and thus made better soldiers. There was one tiny problem with that theory. Care to guess? :P 

Less then 10% of the Canadian Corps were yeomen. 9/10 were city boys. So much for yeomen soldiering. So, why were Canadian really so effective in combat? Early success may have been a part of this. More importantly, the Canadians were amongst the few armies to adopt shock tactics. The Europeans, stunned that a backwater colony like Canada could produce such successes, sought a simple, arrogant answer to the mystery, which would not in any way reflect failings on their own part. The result, the belief that Canada was mostly farm country, and that farm boys made better soldiers, despite the minor detail that Canada was overwhelming urban by this point. Its nice to know that Great Britain was so acquainted with us...

The Civil War has a similar mythology. Why were Confederate soldiers better then Federal? Why because farmers make hardier soldiers! The problem is that this myth ignores a staggering amount of contrary evidence, not the least of which is the overwhelming number of Yankee soldiers that were farmers, and the marginal number that were not. 

Perhaps the most popular incarnation of this myth in the Civil War is the cavalry. Historians have haphazardly claimed that the Confederate cavalry was better because, as farm boys, the Southrons rode horses more frequently. First, the major problem here is the industrial-farmer disparity doesn't exist. More problematically, the real cause of the differential in success was organisation. Until 1863, Federal cavalry was spread thinly as separate brigades attached to divisions and corps, while Confederate cavalry was concentrated as one rapid moving Corps. In every engagement during the early was, the Confederate cavalry outnumbered the Federal cavalry by several fold. The Southerners weren't better horsemen because they were farmers, their cavalry were better organised. In 1863, when Fighting Joe Hooker reorganised the army, the Federal cavalry were formed into a Corps, and a immediately began to challenge the Confederate cavalry, often successfully. Historians who use the Yeomen theory ignore this.

As for being better shots...well a few things. First, the popularity of men's shooting clubs had spread to America by this time, so many a city boy had indeed experience with a rifle. Second, there is a world of difference between hunting for game and firing on the field. Finally, as James Wright of the 1st Minnesota noted, government weapons were very different to the men when they were first issued, and took a good deal of getting used to. Its one thing to take careful aim at a buck on warm summer's day with your Pennsylvania rifle, its quite another to rapidly load and fire as men fall left an right, and you can barely see more of your enemy then an outline, a muzzle flash, or their feet. Personally, I have a fair share of experience shooting bottles with a musket, sure as heck no the same thing as battle lol. 

As for being hardier...well yes and no. Ultimately though, nothing prepares you for 30 mile marches. The only real physical difference is that farmers, unexposed to dense populations, were far more susceptible to disease...

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The war was lost twice by the south, at Shiloh and then at Antietam... by the time Gettysburg took place it was too late, The Mississippi was lost and Anaconda was working its magic... Could the south win the war ? Yes of course, a war is never lost when it starts, Alexandre conquered Persia, Shaka Zulu defeated superior foes, etc.. But the south needed all the dices to roll the right way, once they had had enough bad die rolls, all they could do is make the war last longer or lose it faster.

Had Shiloh been a decisive victory with the most ambitious and determined commander the north had in the area decidedly defeated with a good chunk of his army captured or drowned, than who knows what might have happened in the west, maybe in a panic the north is rolled back all the way up to the confluent. and the battlefield becomes Kentucky for a little while.

If at the same time a miraculous southern revival in the east comes to a different result than lost orders and Antietam, but to something more akin to panic in the north, freeing of Baltimore and isolation of DC, etc... who knows again, a southern victory though still not the most probable outcome becomes possible.

Once those 2 battles occur the way they did, it's done....

I always find this fascination with Gettysburg and Stalingrad funny, whereas the battles that really made it are Shiloh/Antietam and Moscow. Anyway, just my 2 cents...

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On 13/2/2017 at 3:25 PM, Col_Kelly said:

That is why the war wasn't triggered by South Carolina's decision to leave the Union but by the attack on Fort Sumter (Beauregard's decision to bombard the place is probably the most stupid move of the whole ACW btw).

Just a quick commend to an old post... It was the CSA government that gave the order. Not Beauregard.

And no that is not why. The simply reason is the idiotic US system where one president stay in power about 3 month after the election of a new president. Buchanan was a coward not willing to try solve the issue... and left the crises develop until Lincoln took office in march.

He did nothing when the south was taking over federal property by force. Mints, postal offices, ships, forts, armories... and finally taking US soldiers as prisoners in Texas... that is why the war did not start until april. Because of a lame duck president with no spine.

Edited by thomas aagaard

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1 hour ago, thomas aagaard said:

Just a quick commend to an old post... It was the CSA government that gave the order. Not Beauregard.

And no that is not why. The simply reason is the idiotic US system where one president stay in power about 3 month after the election of a new president. Buchanan was a coward not willing to try solve the issue... and left the crises develop until Lincoln took office in march.

He did nothing when the south was taking over federal property by force. Mints, postal offices, ships, forts, armories... and finally taking US soldiers as prisoners in Texas... that is why the war did not start until april. Because of a lame duck president with no spine.

Didn't know that my bad. You have to admit the South political strategy in those early month is possibly the worst one that could have been devised. However Fort Sumter was what triggered the call for volunteers right ? Why did Lincoln wait until that event then instead of doing it right when he came into office ? My guess would be that a dramatic event was needed in order for the public opinion to accept this war. Was Secession enough really ?

PS : Beauregard remains an idiot in my book though ;)

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Yep, the attack forced Lincoln to call up the militia. And that made Virginia and the rest join the CSA. (as was expected)

But in my opinion by April 1861 both Lincoln and Davis needed the war... the current situation could not have gone on.

Lincoln would not have been able to call up the volunteers with out an act of war and with out it there was no way to force the south back into the Union... but he did hope that in time Union sentiment and calmer heads would get them to come back.

Davis knew that the CSA needed the rest of the south. (especially Virginia) and they had already made it clear that they would not join atm, but also that they would side with the south in case of a war. 

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15 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

Didn't know that my bad. You have to admit the South political strategy in those early month is possibly the worst one that could have been devised. However Fort Sumter was what triggered the call for volunteers right ? Why did Lincoln wait until that event then instead of doing it right when he came into office ? My guess would be that a dramatic event was needed in order for the public opinion to accept this war. Was Secession enough really ?

PS : Beauregard remains an idiot in my book though ;)

More than one question in that paragraph; so . . . . 

No. Secession was not enough. If they were going to have a shooting war, the only way Lincoln could rally the Union is if the South fired first. So Lincoln mobilized his forces in the most provacative way possible, but gave them strict orders not to fire until fired upon. It is the exact same strategy Roosevelt uses in the Pacific in 1941. We have first hand proof ONI was tracking the Japanese carrier strike force heading toward Pearl Harbor, but they did not dare scare it away before it galvanized the will of the nation. The South fired first, the Japanese fired first; and the guy who fires first wins a few battles but usually loses the war. 

(Case in point: Heydrich dressing up a few concentration camp victims in Polish uniforms, and having them 'attack' a German radio station on the Polish border then claiming Germany was 'attacked'. Germany won the battle, the war not so much.)

Yes. The South put itself in the worst possible position to begin a war. The Fire-Eaters were taunted and baited, and given their nature they leapt long before they looked.  The problem is the Fire Eaters started the war, they aren't the ones who fought it.

The entire Confederate government, oversimplifying things but not by much, was Jefferson Davis on horseback. It's not that he didn't do a good job, as Lee said, no one could have done a better job given his circumstances. It is that the job they were given was impossible. 

What has amazed me as an up close and personal observer is how the South endured for so long with so little and with such elan. 

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On 2/13/2017 at 2:33 AM, Mr. Mercanto said:

No need to start with an easy question, right? :P 

Ok so I'm going to keep this short because its 3 am where I live lol ;). The short answer to your question is, they tried exactly what you are saying they should have tried. 

First off, you are absolutely right that the Northern free labour economy and Southern slave-labour economy were totally co-dependent. Northern free labour growth was promoted by, and at times out right buoyed by the slightly more consistent slave labour economy of the South. Conversely, slave-labour's ennorvative affects on Southern industry were mitigated by the presence of Norther industrial expansion. Slavery was a national problem (or economic strength, if we want to look at things from a very cold, calculated perspective). In the wake of the Panic of 1857, Pro-Slavery polemicist and South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond went so far as to pronounce that the millions of bales of cotton produced by the South had "saved you [the Free Labour North]" and that "Cotton was King."

The recognition that a sudden transformation from chattel slavery to free-labour would be economically devastating was one of the core arguments against abolition. Indeed, even anti-slavery men such as Abraham Lincoln recognised that the sudden transition would cause almost unimaginable political and social upheavel. In his debates with Stephen Douglas, the recognition of this problem led Lincoln to conclude that while it was his personal wish to see all men free, and that though he felt slavery to be a vile evil, he could not condemn the South for having no solution to a problem which he himself could not solve. This argument, that slavery was an evil that could not simply be dispensed with, was not new. indeed, one of America's first anti-slavery political thinkers, Thomas Jefferson, argued that slavery was an economic burden, laden by the British on to the Americans. He lamented that rather then being a hypocrisy to American liberty, that the tyrannical British had cursed the young Republic with a dependence on slavery before the nation was even born. Indeed, slavery's existence was therefore an argument for, rather then against, the legitimacy of a revolution for American liberty. "Slavery," said Jefferson, "is a wolf held by the ears. We don't like it, but we dare not let it go."

Fundamentally, Lincoln and the anti-slavery Republicans understood this problem, and so proposed a gradual solution. His party would enact a strict restriction on slavery's expansion. While he would do no harm to slavery where it existed, no new slave territory or states could be organised. Slowly, this restriction of slavery would reduce the value in slaves. As the slave population grew and plantation territory dwindled, the value of slaves would decline. At this point, the government would begin to offer gradual emancipation packages, which would allow the states to set a timeline for state abolition, in which the government would purchase the slaves at retail value. As states began to accept these packages, the value of slaves would decline percipitatiously. Soon, each state would be economically pressured to end slavery. Thus, with a restriction policy, slavery would "be set on a course of natural extinction" (as Lincoln had said in his famous "House Divided Speech"). 

Lincoln ran on this proposal. Since the time of Jefferson, the fireeaters of the South had moved from slavery apologetics to the radically conservative position that all the territory of the United States should be open to slavery, and that it must be recognised as a "positive good." When the nation took the first steps in actuating Lincoln's gradual emancipation plan by electing him and the Republican party in 1860, the slave holding states (most of them) recognised that this restriction plan would lead to gradual emancipation. South Carolina responded by declaring itself as seceded from the Union. 

Things escalated from there. 

A Abstract to this that is even more interesting about Lincoln is that he can be made to be a saint or satan himself. Everything to his personal life to his factious policies. That is more interesting. He is the only president that is controversial by shroud of mystery. For example of what I am talking about and what has be displayed somewhat, take his reaches of executive power also know as "constitutional war powers" granted to him by the constitution has had numerous backlash effects and many historians debate the fruits of this. Prior to this most presidents were reserved and were not over active in government minus maybe arguably Andrew Jackson.  But back to the point, he set the stage for far reaching executive orders, first income tax, transition from gold based currency, detaining citizens without due process, suspending Habius Corpus, and countless others all are highly controversial today and even more so back then. Not to mention that he held several contradictory views, most importantly, he viewed the South as states in rebellion not another country and were still citizens which make the former even more profound. There is some thought provocation for you, Dr. R

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