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1 hour ago, Buford Protege said:

Well Mr. Mercanto, 

As a Minnesotan who did a good amount of research on all 11 Minnesota Infantry regiments.  I can add a bit to your estimation of "the old thunderbolt" the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.  Governor Ramsey was in Washington D.C. when news reached the city that Fort Sumter had been fired upon.  He went to the White House and offered President Lincoln 1,000 men to help put down the rebellion.  Lincoln then told Cameron to muster them in first.  The youngest state thus became the first to tender Volunteer troops to serve.  They were mustered in with 3-year enlistments.

They served first at 1st Bull Run in William B. Franklin's 1st Brigade of Samuel Heintzelman's 3rd Division.  They the highest percentage of casualties of any Northern Regiment in the battle as they were placed in an exposed position to cover artillery.

In McClellan's reorganization of the army they became part of the 2nd Corps (eventually the "Damned Cloverleafs")

They served through McClellan's drive on Richmond under Edwin Sumner's command.  Missed 2nd Bull Run due to Sumner's corps being one of the last to leave the Peninsula, yet arrived in time to aid in covering the retreat.  Served with distinction at Antietam while the 2nd Corps assaulted the Sunken Lane.  They were on the right of the 2nd Corps and was, with the rest of the brigade caught in enfilade fire in a counterattack by Hood from the Dunker Church area.  They held long enough to allow the Sunken Road to be overwhelmed.  They suffered immensely to hold together that long.

At Fredericksburg their brigade commander was cashiered for not fully committing his brigade in the assault on Mayre's Heights which saved the command from the extreme casualties of Hancock and French's divisions.

At Chancellorsville they were among the rest of Couch's 2nd Corps in advancing rapidly up the Confederate rear only to be recalled and join in the defense around the mansion.  There they aided in holding back Anderson and McLaws' diversionary attacks and like the rest of the 2nd Corps did not break.

Mr. Mercanto gave a nice description of their work at Gettysburg. (There is a cool story of their captured battle flags from the fight here and at Deep Bottom).  The final tally from their suicidal attack was 82% casualties.  Most sources say that after the entire battle of Gettysburg they left with less than 100 effectives.

They then served until the end of the year. Taking part in the Bristoe Campaign (helped inflict devastation on Heth's division in a matter of minutes) and the aborted Mine Run maneuvers.  Then with their enlistments expiring enough of the regiment re-enlisted to form the 1st Battalion 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.  As such the survivors served until the close of the war, in their old position in the 2nd Corps.  A much longer commitment than many regiments who served for the North.

Anything I miss Mr. Mercanto?

Also I recommend reading on the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, they served George Thomas and William T. Sherman rather admirably for the entire conflict.

I can't say I can add much to that :) 

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No need to start with an easy question, right?   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

Lee marched onto Gettysburg and met the Yankees on their own turf.  We all know how that story ends.  And so, 1stVermont slinks back to the USB as Lee did over the Rappahannock River. Though, des

"Hannibalbarca" was banned as spammer (There were multiple reports leading to case that he is our old spammer "1st Vermont").

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1 hour ago, Slaithium said:

Ok the only clause in the entire part of that article that needs to be addressed that would give Lincoln that kind of power to over-rule constitutional rights. " [congress]To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. " But the power lays in congress which is the law making body of government, and the point of what makes all of this controversial is the Lincoln's view " I see the South in rebellion of its native country, and will never recognize them as a sovereign state". I paraphrased, but that is the point. Lincoln holding that view and policy would be reaching beyond his executive powers or at minimal a clear contradiction. Also the, " Special Session on July 4, 1861 " was a speech he made to congress, no formal law or legislation to recall gave him special powers. Hell, Lincoln himself debated with himself that we know of from his writings that he was most-likely over-reaching, but felt it necessary. There lays another issue what you feel is necessary and what is actually necessary are two totally separate things.

As far as Historiography is concerned, you have a minimum standard that must be achieved and then within that you can create further frame-works. Most do not and stick to the bare minimum, but as long as they are excepted and are explained why it was significant to be done this way it is general accepted.  But as said, there are several historical methods that could be applied to whatever era of study. But at the same time, does not take away good history.

Lastly, when doing Q&A different views and histories do not make them wrong if they are well organized and supported reasonably, moreover if it can persuade the audience that is listening or reading. So debate is built into Q&A, if you want to make it a thread where you give all the answers from your own studies and deductions then that fine and on you, but there are more than one supported answers to these questions. And in a public forum, it will invite opposing answers and ultimately view points on any subject in history. That why I wrote you should be-careful how you exert and write. I am simply pointing out things from other corners of the field of study, and if you do decide to go for you doctorate, you will be drilled repeatedly for this if you do not consider and fully understand all arguments surrounding a particular specialty of study in history. In my doctorate for example to what we are talking about, I had to argue for the position that North was going to win the war not matter what essentially, that is not my view but I had to argue that stance so I could understand why historians and people think that and I learned alot about many many many details that changed some of my thinking on doing that. Course, that was a side project that co-worked on to build up resume but still the point remains.

I agree with the several methods of historiographical approach, but in the Civil War Era I am stressing that caution must be used. I'm not sure how posted you are in Civil War historiography. As a professional historian, I'm sure you'll agree that while there are universal elements to the broader study of historiography, individual historical periods also enjoy unique historiographical trends, problems, et cetera.


As for the Special session, Congress did authorise Lincoln's actions, though perhaps I've mis-cited the particular event, though it was in the wake of the Special Session. Damnable in a grad seminar, but to be fair, I'm doing this off the cuff. Regardless, it is my opinion that the retro-active legalisation settled what little legal discrepancy that already existed. The fact remains that the Federal government had the power to suspend these rights in a time of crisis and had done so in the past, (Whiskey Rebellion and Hartford Convention to name a few). If anything, I think Lincoln's blockade of Southern ports is a more legalistically problematic act. 

With respect to Q&A, I recognise that debate is inevitable, I am simply trying to keep it brief and to the point. To allow each party to make a few points, and then allow the readers to decide. Otherwise it becomes a quagmire. I also invite other answers, indeed, if you peruse the thread, you'll find there are instances where I do not participate in answering at all. I only entered the conversation here because you specifically addressed me in your comment. I suggested we let our debate end because, while I take issue with some of your conclusions and suppositions, your arguments have the strong foundation of someone professionally trained in history, thus, I wanted to let readers come to their own conclusions and let the thread move on. I felt we both made effective arguments, and further discussion would move from Q&A to outright debate. The question is, between our perspectives, answered I think. 

And no, I'm sure as hell not going for the PhD, I've suffered enough lol. Thanks though :) I do feel the need to state that I am very familiar with the arguments from the other side, a fact evidenced somewhat by my familiarity with your arguments. I simply do not agree with them.

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17 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

Ok got a nice one for you Professor :) hope it's not too specific.

As a cavalryman did you have better chances of surviving the Civil War than your infantry counterparts ?

Welp, I waited for the Professor, but he doesn't seem to be around so I hope you don't mind if Gilligan slips an answer in here while the Professor is MIA.  ;)

Start with THIS page,and read to THIS page, (you can do that by clicking the "NEXT" arrow at the bottom of the page,) but the returns for this campaign point out that given the role of the cavalry in the ACW, your chances of survival were much better than being in infantry.   This is just the AoNVA.

Since the North was capable of providing replacement mounts, your survival as a Federal Cavalryman was way better than a Southern Cavalryman.   The South ran out of horses towards the end of the war, and if you were cavalry and had your mount killed, and there were no replacements, you had a choice of two other branches of service to finish out your career.  But if you chose the wrong branch, (i.e. the Artillery,) when they started running short on horses too, you were only left with one option, unless you got lucky to commandeer a new mount in which case you could try rejoining the cavalry again.

Edited by A. P. Hill
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17 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

Ok got a nice one for you Professor :) hope it's not too specific.

As a cavalryman did you have better chances of surviving the Civil War than your infantry counterparts ?

I'm not sure if I'm the professor or Slathium is ;P 

9 minutes ago, A. P. Hill said:

Welp, I waited for the Professor, but he doesn't seem to be around so I hope you don't mind if Gilligan slips an answer in here while the Professor is MIA.  ;)

This is just one battle, and probably not the best one but the returns for this campaign point out that given the role of the cavalry in the ACW, your chances of survival were much better than being in infantry.   But then the graphic above is also pointing to a more probable outcome as well.  Since the North was capable of providing replacement mounts, your survival as a Federal Cavalryman was way better than a Southern Cavalryman.   The South ran out of horses towards the end of the war, and if you were cavalry and had your mount killed, and there were no replacements, you had a choice of two other branches of service to finish out your career.  But if you chose the wrong branch, (i.e. the Artillery,) when they started running short on horses too, you were only left with one option, unless you got lucky to commandeer a new mount in which case you could try rejoining the cavalry again.

This is basically a better answer then what I was going to give :P, as I had no direct examples. 

I would like to add some scattered thoughts: 

As far as I know, much of the cavalry on both sides fought dismounted by mid war. So far as I recall, Forrest's men were particularly noted for fighting this way and taking casualties similar to infantry. This suggests that while some cavalry did suffer similarly to infantry, enough did not so as to warrant the grisly plaudit. 

Although, it is important to note that while cavalry generally suffered lower casualties, in instances where cavalry charged infantry unsupported, this was not the case. Needless to say, riding a horse in the era of the rifle head on was ill-advised. So far as I know, lower cavalry combat casualties had more to do with their more reserved deployment on the battlefield, and their preferential assignment to non-linera combat duties, such as attacking enemy lines of communication, defending lines of communication, screening the army, scouting, et cetera

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7 hours ago, A. P. Hill said:

Start with THIS page,and read to THIS page, (you can do that by clicking the "NEXT" arrow at the bottom of the page,) but the returns for this campaign point out that given the role of the cavalry in the ACW, your chances of survival were much better than being in infantry.   This is just the AoNVA.

Thanks for the answer, confirms my impression on the subject. Your links seem corrupted however (Internal error 500).

Being a cavalryman in the ANV must have been advantageous indeed, especially if you add to it the fact that Stuart and his men formed quite a merry band (Jine the Cavalry !)

As Mercanto says it must have been different if you served under Forrest I must admit :P. Apparently there's a legend about one of his boys being literally spanked by him on the field because he was struck with battle fatigue (Patton was quite civil in comparison it seems). Custer's riders suffered heavy casualties as well if I recall but that doesn't change the overall picture. 

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1 hour ago, Col_Kelly said:

 Great intel thanks. 

If you click on the "Search" at the top of the page on either link, you will be taken back to the home search function for the entire Official Records of the Rebellion,  where you can either open every publication in this library, or perform your own custom search.   ;)

 

Enjoy!  I suggest you work all the way back to the first page of that site and save it in your "Favorites".

 

(Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, source of all info!)

Edited by A. P. Hill
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On 3/20/2017 at 8:40 PM, Mr. Mercanto said:

I'm not sure if I'm the professor or Slathium is ;P 

This is basically a better answer then what I was going to give :P, as I had no direct examples. 

I would like to add some scattered thoughts: 

As far as I know, much of the cavalry on both sides fought dismounted by mid war. So far as I recall, Forrest's men were particularly noted for fighting this way and taking casualties similar to infantry. This suggests that while some cavalry did suffer similarly to infantry, enough did not so as to warrant the grisly plaudit. 

Although, it is important to note that while cavalry generally suffered lower casualties, in instances where cavalry charged infantry unsupported, this was not the case. Needless to say, riding a horse in the era of the rifle head on was ill-advised. So far as I know, lower cavalry combat casualties had more to do with their more reserved deployment on the battlefield, and their preferential assignment to non-linera combat duties, such as attacking enemy lines of communication, defending lines of communication, screening the army, scouting, et cetera

Been busy and have not had time the last several days to be on the forum. But that said, yes calv lived much longer than infantry, but it not because they did not see action or were not targeted. They were mainly a recon, skirmish, or run down routing units. Those roles are typical regardless of the combat setting would sustain less causalities.

Also as for  frontal charges of any kind were a poor investment, this era in my view is essentially a pre-lude to world war I, this is more prevalent from 1864 on. Especially if one analyzes the Wilderness Campaign and the only time Grant has ever openly admitted regretting anything.

Anywho what I find interesting is the fact that the north had abled bodied men still doing what they always done, what I mean for example, Havard had the first boat races in the middle of the war, and none of those boys served. Compared to the South they had to scrape the barrel, the North really fought the war with one arm behind there back. The war would of ended sooner given certain things mainly administration of the army and capable commanders willing to lose men, like Grant. Thats why Grant is held in high regard, he did not have the tactical adept like Lee or many of Grants counter-parts, but he was willing to work his soldiers and need be let them die. That was Grant's brilliance so to speak. But all that is just food for thought.

But I am usually not on till mid-week.

Dr. R

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Just out of interest, why were some Brigades so well known and frankly didn't break like tinbits. I mean, didn't they all have similar training (or lack thereof)? I'm thinking about the Iron Brigade and Stonewall Brigade here. Was it really due so much to the personality and ability of the Brigade commander, or were there other factors?

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Well vren55 it is from any multitude of reasons.  A big thing is the leadership of the brigade.  This doesn't only mean the brigade commander but also the regimental commanders.  The training varied wildly from regiment to regiment depending on political appointees, professional soldiers, retired soldiers and so on.  Those who had served in front line units (infantry, cavalry, artillery) generally fared better in building their regiments than did many engineers.  Though not to say some engineer backgrounded officers didn't build great brigades.

Not all regiments utilized the same manuals in training and tactics.  Some looked to ideas over seas and others to American manuals which were usually translated from other languages (predominantly French).  Also those who realized that the most important part was drill and weapons proficiency tended to far better than regiments built to look pretty on parade.  Many times great brigades were put together by happenstance and fortunately given good brigade commanders who could make adjustments.

Creating a great command is much like creating a good team.  Excellent leadership required that is fully invested in the unit, not just focused on their own advancement.

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In the case of the stonewall brigade it is known that before Bull Run they had been heavily drilled in bayonet practice which gave them an obvious edge for their first major engagement. For the Iron Brigade it's not so much the command (3 different commanders up to 1863) but the nature of the men that composed it : hard-fighting frontiersmen with plenty of rifle experience. Eventually those 'elite' units tend to build their own culture and pride which reinforce their cohesion. I'm pretty sure that a coward fighting in such a brigade would simply turn brave because of the sheer weight of social convention. In simpler words, you don't want to disappoint your fighting comrades.

There are also cases of brigades with varying performance however. The Irish Brigade did very poorly at Bull Run, poorly at Antietam but behaved with utmost gallantry at Fredericksburg.

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All Brigades, (or any composition of units,) all behave different at different times.  Any read of a Stonewall Jackson Biography or an A.P. Hill biography will highlight the several times that the "famed" stonewall brigade, (which wasn't officially named such until late 1863 by an act of the confederate congress,) broke and headed to the rear, only to be saved by a brigade from A.P. Hill's Light Division who were part of Jackson's wing of the army at the time.

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1 hour ago, Keepbro said:

I have a question - in a straight up no-holds barred fight between Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln who would have won?

To make it more interesting and honouring American culture lets make it a steel cage match!

Lincoln

By a landslide

The man had unbelievable physical strength. And won at least one famous wrestling match long before 'Wraslin' became a staged production for half-wits to amuse themselves on the weekends. 

 

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9 hours ago, Keepbro said:

I have a question - in a straight up no-holds barred fight between Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln who would have won?

To make it more interesting and honouring American culture lets make it a steel cage match!

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

Davis was blind in one eye, dyspeptic, and crippled with pain by neuralgia. 


Poor Jeff....

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On 06/04/2017 at 7:47 PM, vren55 said:

Just out of interest, why were some Brigades so well known and frankly didn't break like tinbits. I mean, didn't they all have similar training (or lack thereof)? I'm thinking about the Iron Brigade and Stonewall Brigade here. Was it really due so much to the personality and ability of the Brigade commander, or were there other factors?

I'm just going to ramble a quick response to this before I go to bed. Hope it is interesting...or, you know, makes sense... 

In my own studies, I find that a few factors matter. In the broad sense, volunteers appear to have required two things. The first was effective leadership. Officers were not only required to be effective in the field, but to command the respect of their men. In this way, even officers who were appointed "earned" their position. Commanders like Charles Russel Lowel, William Colvill, or Strong Vincent who led by example, cared for their men's needs, and were both conspicuous and competent on the field, often helmed excellent units. 

The other broad need was elan, and this is harder to diagnosis. In my opinion, this appears to have come from units who achieved early success. This success inspired confidence. This confidence turned to pride, which gave cause for the men to push all the harder. The Stonewall Brigade had much cause for such pride, and in turn elan, following their victories at Bull Run and the Shenendoah. Likewise, despite being amongst the defeated, the 1st Minnesota performed with notable courage and fortitude at Bull Run. I can attest that the men were, at the time, aware of and proud of their uniquely calm and poised behaviour, as well as their key role in the attack on the Confederate left. In my opinion, having read a good deal of their diaries, the men of the regiment built upon this early validation of their courage to form the extraordinary elan that allowed them to do the impossible at Gettysburg, and in so doing, save the army itself. 

Finally, it is my (somewaht) studied opinion that volunteer soldiers and militia require a balance between their own "civilian" or "personal" interests, and their military duty. Striking a balance between these seems to have produced excellent volunteer soldiers (notably, for example, in the War of 1812, which I once used as a historical laboratory for said analysis of volunteerist soldiering in the 19th century). In the case of the Civil War, I would argue that Federal soldiers and Confederate soldiers civilian interests largely revolved around returning home to their families, and protecting those families, as fast as possibles. For Federals, this meant returning to them with the Union preserved, so that it may continue to be a guarantor of their future. For Confederates, this meant returning to their families free from the perceived anarchy of slavery's abolition and racial equality. When the men felt that their civilian interests were being met, they performed well with high morale.

An example of this, I would argue, can be found in late war Confederate disillusion. As the Federals marched further into Confederate territory, Rebel soldiers began to fear that their families might be accosted while they, the Rebel soldier, would be in the army, far from home and helpless to intervene. As such, the congruence between the Confederates military and civilian interests was disrupted, and Confederates naturally chose their civilian interests, over military ones, thus absenting themselves in extreme numbers. 

These are just some tardy thoughts on your question, which I really did mean to address earlier, before life got in the way. Hope this was worth the wait lol 
 

Edited by Mr. Mercanto
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On a similar note do you have example of units hitting the 'veterancy threshold' ? By that I mean examples of veteran brigades who eventually lost their elan after a prolonged exposition to fighting (the Overland campaign fx) likely to cause PTSD and homesickness. 

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