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Battle of Chickamauga, 19-20 Sep 1863

Discussion in 'Military History' started by USMCPrice, Sep 5, 2022.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The Battle of Chickamauga was fought two months after Gettysburg, on September 19th and 20th 1863, and was the largest battle fought in the western theater during the American Civil War. In a war known for its bloody battles only Gettysburg surpassed Chickamauga for the number of casualties suffered, 34,624. Post-war it was the first of the Civil War battlefields to be preserved and is the largest, at 9,523.48 acres, of the National Military Parks.

    During discussions here on the forum, it was mentioned that Slipdigit's ancestor, William David Tindal, fought at Chickamauga with K Co., 39th Alabama Infantry. Since, I live quite near the battlefield and visit regularly to hike with my dogs I told him I'd gather information and pictures to show where his relative fought.

    My travelling companions:
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    Max is a 103lb male

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    Abbie is a 90lb female

    I'll post items here to document our travels through the battlefield and let Slipdigit see where his ancestor fought.
     
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  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I stumbled across this video by accident. It takes place in the Dyer field about 50 yards north of where General John Bell Hood was wounded.
    [​IMG]
    General John Bell Hood​
    -The gun is a 3" ordinance rifle, an iron gun.
    -Slipdigits ancestor was in Dea's Brigade (BGen. Zachariah Cantey Deas) of Hindman's Division (MGen. Thomas Carmichael Hindman Jr.); The Brigade consisted of the 19th Alabama, 22nd Alabama, 25th Alabama, 39th Alabama, and 50th Alabama Regiments, 17th Alabama Battalion Sharpshooters and Dent's Alabama Battery.
    -To the upper right of the screen and in the direction the gun is firing is the South Carolina Monument, in the wood line slightly below the monument and to the left is where Lt. Richard Rowland Kirkland was killed. Kirkland (then a Sergeant) was famous for his humanitarian actions at the Battle of Fredericksburg where he became known as "the Angel of Marye's Height". Story here: Richard Rowland Kirkland - Wikipedia
    -The area shown would have been to the right flank of Hindman's Division during the 20th September breakthrough of the Union lines.
    -The video is deceptive as to the height of the ridgeline in the distance and how wide the field actually is, the ridge is much higher and the field much wider. During the battle when the Confederates charged the ridge, they captured more guns (artillery pieces) than in any other single charge in the Civil War.
    -The video takes place just north of the junction of the Dyer-Brotherton Road and Glenn-Kelly Road, the road they're on is the Glenn-Kelly Road.
    -The infantry in the darker uniforms were more typical of ANV (Army of Northern Virginia) troops. Most of Longstreet's Corps had come south from Lee's Army and joined with Bragg's Army of Tennessee for the battle. The lighter colored uniforms were more typical of AoT troops of which Dea's Brigade was a component of, Slip, check out the 4:52 mark for a look at what your ancestor's troops would have looked like in battleline.



    This second video, also filmed at Chickamauga shows a typical battery firing, note how quickly the smoke obscures the line of sight.

     
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  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    In these days of smokeless powder, we fail to realize how difficult it was to see and maintain command and control with all that smoke.

    I have additional relatives that fought with the 22nd & 39th.

    Are you familiar with the trainwreck near Cleveland, TN that killed 17 soldiers of the 33rd on 4 Nov 1862?
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    As a matter of fact, I am. Cleveland is about 30 minutes up the road from Chattanooga and my uncle (Dad's brother) bought a house there after he got out of the Navy. We'd go up there at least one day every weekend and visit. Normally we'd take a trip with them somewhere, the Smokies, Tellico, the Ocoee, the Nantahala, Cherokee, etc.
    There is a marker beside the road and a monument at the Worth St. entrance to the old Fort Hill Cemetery where the soldiers were buried in a mass grave. The cemetery expanded around their burial site.
    Roadside Marker:
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    Article from Chattanooga Daily Rebel, 6 Nov 1862:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Back to the video in Post #2 of the artillery demonstration.


    No need to rewatch if you've seen it above.

    The gun in the video is a 3" Ordinance Rifle. The 3" Ordinance Rifle, model 1861, was an iron (actually wrought iron), rifled artillery piece, that fired a 3" (76mm) round out to 1830yds (1.04 mi/1.7km) at 5 degrees elevation to 4,180yds (2.37 mi/3.8km) at 16 degrees. The seven lands and grooves allowed the piece to retain muzzle velocity and accuracy at longer ranges when compared to smoothbore cannon. It fired a 9.5lb projectile (shell) using a 1lb black powder charge. It was also much more reliable than the other main rifled field gun, the 10lb Parrot (wrought iron, identifiable by the heavy band at the breech end). There is only one recorded incidence of a 3" Ordinance rifle bursting, whereas it was a fairly common problem with Parrott guns.
    The two supporting sections are the limber and caisson. The limber carried the guns ready ammunition, carried one ammunition chest and towed the gun by the lunette on the trail of the gun carriage attaching to a pintle located on the axle of the limber. It was pulled by teams of four or six horses (four in the video). The caisson was pulled by a second limber (1 ammo chest) and carried two ammo chests, a spare wheel and an extra limber pole. It was also pulled by a four to six horse team. In the video the first section of horses/vehicles is the gun/limber and the second section the limber/caisson.

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    Gun with Limber​

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    Caisson with Limber​

    The most common artillery piece used in the American Civil War was the Model 185712lb gun/howitzer "Napoleon". It was a smoothbore, bronze gun, with a 4.62in (117mm) bore, firing a 12.3lb shell with a 2.5lb black powder charge out to 1680yds (.95mi/1.5km) at 5 degrees elevation. While lacking the range and accuracy of rifled guns, when firing shot or shell, it was accurate at all ranges and extremely reliable with no recorded guns worn out or bursting. It had a more lethal cannister and case shot round than the rifled guns and had greater cannister/case shot range.

    Two pictures I took of 12lb Napoleons near the South Carolina Monument. ​
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    [​IMG]
    There's a grey confederate dawg patrolling the battery perimeter in the second photo.

    As stated earlier, these are bronze guns, and the green color is patina. During service they had a highly polished brass/bronze color.

    Cannister and case were rounds made up of many smaller projectiles and produced a very destructive, shot gun, effect out to about 400 yards. The following video is one of the best representations I have seen of the destructiveness of cannister/case/grape.

     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have a relative, my 3xGGG grandfather, that died in that wreck William M. SMYTHE/SMYTH/SMITH, Pvt H Co, 33rd Alabama Infantry 3 Aug 1828 - 4 Nov 1862. He left a widow and 3 children.

    Also a relative by marriage, Edward E. NIX, Pvt & Cpl C Co, 33rd Alabama Infantry 5 Nov 1817 - 4 Nov 1862. I suspect he died of injuries later in the day. I understand his surname was incorrectly spelled on the casualty listing and it took the family nearly 40 years to find out what happened to him. He left a widow and 5 children.

    I am pretty sure both men knew each other before enlisting, as the families lived close to each other and were intermarried.

    NIX is related to my wife through her grandfather.
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Next time I'm up that way I'll get some pictures of the grave for you. I actually suspect the wreck must have happened coming down White Oak Mountain, it's located about 15 miles south of the cemetery. The dead and wounded were most likely transported to Cleveland as the nearest military entity with medical support. Then the dead and those that died from their injuries were interred in the mass grave. The cemetery then grew up around that. I'll go up the back way it parallels the railroad tracks and there may be a roadside marker at the actual site.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2022
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The information on the artillery pieces was intended to be more than an academic exercise, an understanding the ranges and type of rounds used is particularly important in understanding the fighting that took place. Chickamauga was heavily wooded, unlike say Gettysburg that was mostly open terrain. The dense woods made controlling troops in linear formation difficult, decreased the range weapons could effectively engage in and limited where artillery could be employed. There were a number of open fields and pastures scattered through the battlefield cleared by farmers. There was a road network. Primarily the improved Chattanooga-LaFayette Road, running due north and south with unimproved roads branching off it to various farms, fords and bridges. The artillery could only operate off these roads and in fields adjacent to the roads. to move through the woods or along narrow trails would have required pioneers to clear the path with axes, to allow the gun carriages and limbers to pass.

    [​IMG]

    The tall obelisk to the left of top center is the South Carolina Monument, the monument the 3" gun was facing towards in the earlier video. The shorter monument at center top is to a Federal Artillery Battery.

    [​IMG]

    This view is from the South Carolina Monument looking back towards the Glenn-Kelly Road. The infantry and artillery entered the field to the right (as you are viewing) of where my truck is parked. If you look closely, the wood line is sparse there, count three tree trucks right and you'll see a tablet-marker, to the right of it is where the infantry were formed up in battleline in the video. Using the Google Maps distance tool from that tablet (where the infantry line was) to the Federal Artillery Monument is 1839 ft or 613 yds. The accuracy of the 3" Ordinance rifle was impressive, two quotes from Southern Artillerists the Atlanta Campaign, "three-inch rifle was a dead shot at any distance under a mile. They could hit the end of a flour barrel more often than miss, unless the gunner got rattled." and "Confederate gunner in Lumsden's battery reported that one of his guns was placed in a fortification with an embrasure about one foot wide. Within a short time, three shells came through this opening from a 3-inch ordnance rifle without exploding. The first struck the gun between the trunnions and vent, gouging out some metal. The second damaged the left cheek of the gun carriage. The third struck the gun's muzzle, crushing it inward, making the gun impossible to load and putting it out of action." The actual Federal Battery here had 12lb Napoleons

    Infantry marching in line cover about 88 yards per minute, then about half that over the last 50 yards or so in a "final rush". So, it would take about seven minutes for the infantry to cross from the wood line (where they were lined up in the video, real troops not re-enactors) to the battery position. The rate of fire for a Civil War artillery piece is one round per minute. A well drilled, proficient crew could hit two rounds per minute (unless they were rattled as the Confederate Gunner stated).

    So, how would this assault typically play out? The 3" Rifles ride into position and deploy, while the infantry moves at the double quick into the field to the battery's left changes from column to battleline. The Federal guns open on the Confederate guns with solid shot and shell (hollow round projectile filled with powder and exploded using a cut fuse. A fuse cutting chart is actually mounted inside the lid of the limber chest). They want to dismount the guns, kill crews, explode ammunition chests, and kill horses. The first set of rounds likely goes high (firing downhill), and the fuses detonate early/late. The Confederate guns open on the Federal guns with solid shot, the smoke has yet to obscure the target and the Federal horses, limbers and caissons are protected by the hill crest. If the Confederates were using Napoleons, you could aim low and bounce the ball off the ground into the enemy guns or it would hit the ground and roll over the crest. Solid shot retained enormous kinetic energy even when it appeared to be almost stopped. There is an account of a Federal soldier at Chickamauga where he stuck his foot out to stop what appeared to be a barely rolling cannon ball and it ripped his leg completely off. However, they're using a rifled piece and its shot is a conically shaped bolt, more accurate but tends to bury not bounce. The infantry is now formed up and starts moving forward. Two minutes in, the infantry are about 430 yards from the Federal Line. The artillery has fired 3-4 rounds per gun, but accurate fire is getting harder due to the heavy black powder smoke. Both sides have switched to explosive shell or case shot since they've determined the range (for accurate fuse setting) and point accuracy has decreased due to an obscured target. The fragmentation or shrapnel of shell and case is more likely to produce the desired effect. The infantry's rifled musket has an effective range of 500 yards, and can fire three rounds per minute, so the confederate infantry stops and delivers a volley or two to suppress or kill the Federal artillery crews. They load and hold the third round. The supporting Federal infantry, few in number because this was a reserve position and only the troops that officers could rally from the brigades that shattered during the breakthrough at the Lafayette Road have collected here to form some sort of defense. They've lain prone, online in two ranks, to provide some protection from the Confederate artillery, while the southern infantry and artillery was still outside of range. The federal officers order their men to stand and fire by company by file, so a rolling fire of two men at a time from left to right of each company begins. This provides a constant fire to suppress and hopefully slow the Confederate infantry which is now moving forward again. At 400 yards (max range for cannister) the Federal gunners switch to cannister and fire blindly into the smoke, hoping they can cause enough damage to break the assault. The Confederate gunners redouble their efforts against the Federal battery. Both sides have reduced rates of fire due to exploded ammunition chests, damaged pieces and dead crews. At 200 yards the Federals change to volley fire by rank, the front-rank fires as one and reloads, the second-rank fires and reloads, the front-rank fires again. Every ten seconds, as one rank then the other discharges their weapons, a fairly heavy sheet of fire hits the Confederates. At 100 yards the Federal start firing by volley, all soldiers, both ranks deliver their heaviest fire as one. The Confederates are staggered but don't break, while the Federals are reloading, they close the range to 70 yards, halt and fire a volley themselves. They then charge bayonets, give a Rebel yell and rush the defense line.
    One thing many historians miss and more than a few get wrong (particularly in the 70's-90's, those prior to and since then generally understand), when they discuss Civil War combat, and the holdover of linear warfare is how those tactics were necessitated by the limitations imposed by technology.

    -While the effective range of infantry weapons changed from 100yds to 500 yds, actual effectiveness was limited by the inability to hit a point target due to smoke obscuring the target, so massed area fires were still the rule.
    -Most actual effective fire occurred at 100 yards or less, where you could at least make out the outline of a target. At this range the buck and ball round (a .50 cal ball and 3-6 buckshot pellets) of the smoothbore musket was actually more effective.
    -In order to maintain command and control within a regiment/battalion verbal, and visual cues were required. The Regiment was often broken down into two battalions, each with five companies, each company stationed officers in front of and behind the formation to pass on or give orders. For the divisional and brigade commanders to maintain command and control riders/runners/staff officers had to physically transmit between organizations.
    -The limit of three rounds per minute for a well drilled soldier armed with a musket, required that to amass sufficient firepower to effect an opposing formation, troops had to be massed. The introduction of repeating firearms changed this, but they were in limited distribution.
    -Given their technological limitations, I have always been impressed with how tactically nuanced and with what precision, good Civil War officers could actually fight their units.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
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  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Some additional, interesting info on the Battlefield itself.

    -It is the oldest and largest of the United States National Military Parks.
    -Congress authorized the establishment of the battlefield on 19 August, 1890. The preservation efforts were led by a number of Federal, Army of the Cumberland veterans.
    -Originally overseen by the War Department.
    -On 14 April 1898 the War Department established a military camp on the battlefield named Camp George H. Thomas, after the Virginia born, US General that became famous as the "Rock of Chickamauga" for his defense of Snodgrass Hill during the Battle of Chickamauga. Originally the 25th US Infantry was stationed there in preparation for shipping overseas for the Spanish-American War. 72,000 troops, including 45,000 volunteers assembled and trained there before it closed in October 1898.
    -In 1902 the US Army Established Ft. Oglethorpe, across Reed's bridge road from the Chickamauga Battlefield. The 6th US Cavalry was stationed there. German prisoners were housed there during WWI and WWII and the base was a major training base for WAC's during WWII after the 6th Cavalry shipped overseas. Declared surplus and closed in 1947. Many of the buildings are still extant in the City of Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. During WWII, the battlefield was again used for maneuvers.

    Here's the trailer from a 1945 movie starring Lana Turner and Laraine Day, "Keep Your Powder Dry". The movie is about WAC's in WWII. Some of the scenes were filmed at Ft. Oglethorpe, but the initial scene in the trailer shows the WAC's marching past two cannon, the cabin and monuments on Snodgrass Hill.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
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  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Here's a story from a local source about the battle, farms and civilians, for a little more historical flavor.

    Battle of Chickamauga


    Civil War: Catoosa's Bloodiest Days
    The Battle of Chickamauga

    By Randall Franks

    On the fertile fields of Catoosa and Walker counties on Sept. 19-20, 1863, two forces whose iron wills are etched in stone and bronze across 5,200 acres of ground, clashed in combat on the Chickamauga Battlefield.

    The Federal leaders planned to support the troops with the bounty from the land and farms, but local support for Confederate forces and hospitals already left most cupboards bare.

    A wave of war rolled across the South, leaving in its wake shattered lives, ruins of ash and embers where once productive farms, businesses and plantations stood.

    Federal soldiers raided and looted farms and homes for anything edible.

    Several families shared lore about looting in the book “Catoosa County, Georgia Heritage.”

    Some claim that showing Masonic aprons was the only way some area residents, such as Thomas A. Williams of Woodstation, managed to spare belongings meant for Sherman’s torches.

    On the Hunt farm at Chickamauga Battlefield, Betts Berry of Chickamauga shares a story about how Clarissa Hunt tried to stop a soldier from heading upstairs in the Hunt house during one such raid. The soldier started to shoot her, but his commanding officer stopped him. After being marched to Crawfish Springs and detained, Clarissa returned to find two dead Union soldiers at her house. She, her mother and a slave buried them, fearing the Federal troops would think she had killed them.

    According to Jerry Fox of Charlotte, N.C., after the Union troops took all but the last hog from the farm of Minerva Taylor Fox, it escaped from underneath the house, and troops confiscated it. The 19-year-old Minerva went with two brothers to the camp and demanded to see the officer in charge. Complaining about how his troops had ruined the garden, stole the chickens and the badly needed hog, Minerva won over the commander, and he had his men dress and return the hog.

    In Dogwood Valley at the home of John Caldwell, Susie Blaylock McDaniel describes in the “Official History of Catoosa County” how Caldwell’s daughter stood behind the front door as Federal troops marched by on one of their raids. Inside the front door on June 16, 1864, she wrote on the wall: “The Federals have taken all our corn, fodder, chickens and hogs and again are passing through.”

    A Chance Meeting
    [​IMG]
    As the Battle of Chickamauga loomed, Federal and Confederate forces were unsure of each other’s location, and the eventual meeting of forces at West Chickamauga Creek came out of two units meeting each other by chance.

    Despite better-laid plans by generals, this happenstance meeting decided the place where the battle began.

    These initial shots heralded two of the bloodiest days of warfare in history.

    [​IMG]
    In “Reminiscences of the Civil War,” Confederate Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon compared the battle’s three-to-one losses to history’s greatest battles at Waterloo, Wagram, Valmy, Magenta, Soferino, Zurich and Lodi. The battlefield is where an estimated 35,000 of the roughly 120,000 Federal and Confederate troops were killed, wounded or listed as missing.

    “Words, however, cannot convey an adequate picture of such scenes; of the countless costly, daring assaults; of the disciplined or undisciplined but always dauntless courage; of the grim, deadly grapple in hand-to-hand collisions; of the almost unparalleled slaughter and agony,” he wrote.

    [​IMG]
    “As (Gen. Braxton) Bragg prepared to assail the Union left, (Gen. George H.) Thomas, feeling his way through the woods to ascertain what was in his front, unexpectedly struck the Southern right, held by (Gen. Nathan Bedford) Forrest’s cavalry, and thus inaugurated the battle,” Gordon wrote. “Forrest was forced back; but he quickly dismounted his men, sent the horses to the rear, and on foot stubbornly resisted the advance of the Union infantry. Quickly the Confederates moved to Forrest’s support. The roar of small arms on this extreme flank in the early morning admonished both commanders to hurry thither their forces. Bragg was forced to check his proposed assault upon another portion of the Union lines and move to the defense of the Confederate right. Rapidly the forces of the two sides were thrown into this unexpected collision, and rapidly swelled the surging current of battle.”

    [​IMG]
    Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and two of his divisions reinforced Bragg at Chickamauga, arriving by rail at Catoosa Station in the largest troop movement by rail at that time. The presence of Longstreet’s forces helped to turn the tide of the battle.

    Before the Battle of Chickamauga, the ground upon which the armies fought had been endless acres of farms and forests. The center of each farm was the home of a Catoosa or Walker family. These family names, such as Hunt, Kelley, Reed, McAbee, McDonald, Park, Poe and Brotherton, among others, are now permanently entwined, and in a way enshrined, in the history of the United States and Catoosa County.

    Part two follows:
     
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  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    continued...

    From Their Cabin Doors
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    While most of the families gallantly sent male members of their kin to defend the South, it is certain they never imagined that from their cabin doors they would look across their fields strewn with dead and decaying bodies.

    As the battle began, the Reed family history claims that the first cannon fired sat in their yard near Reeds Bridge.

    Jacob and Sallie Reed had five boys who volunteered for service: Jimmy, Tommy, Charlie, Bunk and D.O.

    Four of them took part in the battle, as did house guest John Ingram. Ingram is the only known soldier buried today in the park outside family cemeteries, and was found by the Reed brothers, who buried him and marked his grave.

    As the battle waged on all sides, the Reed house became a hospital, and Sallie Reed tended the wounded on the floor of her home.

    Among the wounded was Gen. Ben Hardin Helm, brother-in-law to Pres. Abraham Lincoln; Major Rice E. Graves, a young boy from the 9th Kentucky; and soldier Fred Joyce.

    Joyce wrote about his time at the Reed house in 1884 for the book “The Southern Bivouac”:

    “The passage and the hall were full of groaning and dying soldiers. Mrs. Reed was passing to and fro, rendering all the assistance in her power, and much distressed over our pitiable condition.

    “The young soldier who shared my mattress was in great pain, and when this dear, good woman would come to our bed, he would take her hand and hold it and caress it and call her mother, telling her that she reminded him so much of his own dear mother, in Kentucky…. She told us she had two boys in the same battle, from whom she had not heard. I heard her repeatedly say, ‘I am doing for you, my son, what I hope some other mother is doing for my boys, if they need it; if God wills they are yet alive.’”

    Sallie Reed’s boys came home safe from that battle, but her son Charlie was later killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tenn.

    Confederate soldier William C. McDonald was the son of John and Bell McDonald, who lived in a two-room log house near the crossing of Lafayette and Reeds Bridge Roads. According to the book “Joel Kelly” by Paul and Alba Smith, he joined the service on the same day as his friend and neighbor, George Washington Kelley.

    Kelley lived with his parents, Elisha and Sarah, who rented a farm from his Uncle Elijah.

    [​IMG]
    Both men fought at Fort Donelson, Tenn., with Kelley receiving a wound to his arm. McDonald was captured, exchanged and returned to fighting. McDonald then served as a teamster at Chickamauga hauling wounded soldiers to area hospitals.

    Kelley left his unit to return home as the fighting drew near, but he surrendered to Union forces before the battle began.

    The Kelley farmhouse was destroyed during the battle.

    In the “History of Walker County, Georgia,” McDonald recalls the Federal army taking his father to serve as a guide for Gen. William S. Rosecrans.

    His father told the story of being with Rosecrans when the Union right was broken.

    Rosecrans tried to rally his troops, but failed, and told his companions, including John McDonald, “If you care to live any longer, get away from here.”

    The Federal troops took the elder McDonald to Chattanooga and held him until after the Battle of Missionary Ridge concluded.

    [​IMG]
    Left: Confederate soldier George Washington Kelley, holding Rufus Clayton Kelley; Amanda L. McDonald Kelley (wife) with Dora D. Kelley (Hancock) at her knee. Gertie May Kelley (Fuller) at Washington’s knee. Around their parents, from left: Alice E. Kelley (Howard), L. Belle Kelley (Fuller), Lee Anderson Kelley, Hettie Elizabeth Kelley, Anna Laura Kelley (Brown), Clemmie C. Kelley (Henderson), Clark Alexander Kelley, and Mary V. Kelley (Howard).


    Farmer Poe's Story
    Catoosa farmer Larkin Poe was serving in Company K, 4th Georgia Cavalry, in Rome, Ga., when the battle began. Poe’s unit moved forward, but the company did not arrive until after the battle was over.

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    He borrowed a horse and rode to his home in search of his wife, Sarah, and his two children. In the 1920s, Poe related his memories about the search in the book “History of Walker County, Georgia”:

    “The moon was far down the west and cast a ghostly light over the woods and fields. The stillness of the night was unbroken except for the sound of my horse’s hooves and the hoot of some solitary owl. I had seen an old house near Jay’s mill filled with wounded and suffering men, and I had hardly started till I began to see dead soldiers yet unburied, lying in and near the road. I rode on, turning my horse first to the right and then to the left to avoid the thick-strewn bodies. In places I saw where great trees had been splintered by shells and riddled by bullets… Just before reaching the Brotherton house I came upon a scene of death and destruction noteworthy even on that terrible field. I saw a piece of artillery, evidently a Federal piece, which had been knocked from the wheels by a direct hit from our guns, and apparently most all of the horses and men belonging to the gun had perished there for their bodies lay in grotesque heaps around their piece.”

    Poe rode closer to the Brotherton house, where his wife’s family lived. Wounded soldiers filled the house, but the nurses could give him no word of his family. He found his father-in-law inside, and the pair traveled to his farm and discovered it in ashes, bodies all over his fields, and his family gone.

    Poe finally discovered that his family had taken refuge with other survivors in a ravine near the Snodgrass house. He found them, along with roughly 60 others, gathered around a log fire.

    This group of women, children and elderly had waited in the ravine without shelter, food or water for eight days.

    Poe and his family never returned to the farm.

    While generals later debated who won the Battle of Chickamauga, history marks it a Confederate victory. In retrospect, the people of Catoosa County did not have much to celebrate. Most returned to their destroyed homes, their belongings gone and fields in ruins, covered with the bodies of those who struggled in mortal combat.

    If a structure did survive, it was a hospital; so most families had to abandon them indefinitely. For some families, the dead lay in their fields for months, while others simply never returned.

    Looming ahead in Catoosa County’s not-too-distant future was the Battle of Ringgold Gap, various skirmishes and Federal occupation.
     
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  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    This one is for Bobby/A-58.
    Me and one of the mules (ani-mules) were headed over to the Brotherton Cabin to get some more information for Slipdigit, we were passing the Park Headquarters, located on the site of the McDonald House which burned during the battle, when I remembered what was up ahead. Slocomb's Louisiana Battery, 5th Company Washington Artillery's 20 September position. I pulled over to get some pictures for Bobby/A-58.

    Slocomb's Battery Tablet

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    Slocomb's Battery was the 5th Company of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans, the other 4 batteries/companies served with Lee's Army of Northern Virginia (ANV). The battery at this point in the war a mixed battery with 4 x 12lb Napoleons and two James Rifles (more on the James Rifle later, performance was similar to the 3" Ordinance Rifle already covered). They expended 562 rounds during this part of the battle, so the fighting was pretty intense.

    Slocomb's Battery looking east across the LaFayette Road, towards their left flank.

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    That's the Florida Monument across the LaFayette Road. Stovall's Florida Brigade (BGen. Marcellus A. Stovall); 1st-3rd Florida Regiments (Consolidated), 4th Florida Regiment, 47th Georgia Regiment, and 60th North Carolina Regiment, was formed on Adam's Brigade's left.


    As stated on the tablet, Slocomb's Battery was part of Adam's Louisiana Brigade (BGen. Daniel W. Adams); 32nd Alabama Regiment, 13th-20th Louisiana Regiments (Consolidated), 16th-25th Louisiana Regiments (Consolidated), 19th Louisiana Regiment (the 19th lost 153 of 350 officers and men (43%) at Chickamauga, captured two Federal guns), and the 14th Louisiana Battalion.

    On Stovall's Brigade's left was Helm's (Orphan) Brigade (BGen. Benjamin Hardin Helm, Helm was Abraham Lincoln's brother-in-law, married to Mary Todd Lincoln's sister. He was killed at Chickamauga); 41st Alabama Regiment, 2nd Kentucky Regiment (lost 52% of 302 engaged), 4th Kentucky Regiment, 6th Kentucky Regiment, and 9th Kentucky Regiment (lost 44% of 230 engaged). During the fighting on 20 September, the 4th and 6th Kentucky struck a portion of the Federal line held by the Federal 15th Kentucky and Bridge's Illinois Battery. They routed the federals and captured two of Bridge's Battery's guns.

    The Division was commanded by John C. Breckinridge, former Congressman, Senator and the youngest Vice-President of the United States. He ran for President as a Democrat in the 1860 Presidential Election.

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    Continued....
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Here is a painting by Rick Reeves of Breckinridge with the Kentuckians of his Orphan Brigade. Titled "Blood of Boone" it depicts the fighting at Chickamauga on 20 September.

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    Slocomb's Battery, looking down the tube at a Federal Battery. They are at like point-blank range (about 170 yards). This is likely the position occupied by the Federal Battery when Slocomb's guns fell back to the ravine. I'll check their tablet next time I'm there.

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    Another view of all four Napoleons.

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    A look back from the battery position towards the location of the MacDonald house (visitor's center), about midway you can see the ravine mentioned on the tablet.

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    The ravine is about 140 yards behind the battery's location.
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Another interesting thing about Slocomb's Battery/5th Company Washington Artillery, is the number of preserved artifacts from the unit. It is probably because it was such an old organization and composed of many prominent and wealthy New Orleans residents.

    The unit still exists as the 141st Field Artillery Regiment (Washington Artillery) United States Army, Louisiana National Guard. The official US Army lineage traces it back to 1838. It has a long and impressive history, it served with Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War. Over sixty actions with both the ANV (Army of Northern Virginia) and AoT (Army of Tennessee) during the Civil War. It has 18 battle streamers on its regimental flag for Civil War battles/campaigns: 1st Manassas, Peninsula 1862 (7 Days Battles), 2d Manassas, Fredericksburg 1862, Sharpsburg (Antietam), Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Appomattox, Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Mississippi River (Vicksburg), Chickamauga, Chattanooga (Missionary Ridge), Atlanta Campaign, Franklin, and Nashville. They served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Mexican border in 1916 and guarded the border during WWI. They have 14 battle streamers from WWII; as in the Civil War the unit was split into the 141st and 935th Field Artillery Battalions with the anti-tank batteries split off to form the 773d Tank Destroyer Battalion in 1941. WWII battle streamers include Algeria/French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Anzio, Naples-Foggia, Rome/Arno, Po Valley, North Apennines, Normandy, Ardennes-Alsace, Northern France 1944, Southern France 1944, Rhineland, Central Europe 1945, and a Presidential Unit Citation for WWII. They also have an MUC, not sure what period it was awarded for. Finally, an Iraq Campaign streamer.

    Some artifacts:

    One of several existing photos of Captain Cuthbert Slocomb.

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    A photo of Captain Slocomb's home, located in New Orleans next to the courthouse. The courthouse has the columns, Slocomb's house is to the right of the photo.

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    A collection of his actual uniforms is here:

    The Uniforms of Captain Cuthbert H. Slocum, CSA | Poulin's Antiques and Auctions, Inc. (poulinauctions.com)

    Two shell jackets, two frock coats, a sack coat, a vest and his slouch hat. The frock coat he's wearing in the above picture looks like the one from the matched set of shell jacket and frock coat.

    Another photograph of Slocomb.

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    Here's one of the other officers mentioned on the tablet, 2d Lieut. A. J. Levrich.

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    There are literally scores of pictures of other officers, NCO's and privates from the Washington Artillery out there, the number is amazing. I have selected just one soldier at random, Pvt. Henry Cotting, 5th Co. Washington Artillery, as an example.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    From my earlier post: "(more on the James Rifle later, performance was similar to the 3" Ordinance Rifle already covered)."

    OK, the James Rifle was both a specific type of new, bronze, rifled piece and a rifling process for modifying existing guns, primarily Model 1841 6lb field guns and the projectile for rifled pieces designed by Charles T. James.

    The purpose-built gun had a rifled bronze tube with a profile similar to the 3" ordinance rifle, with a bore of 3.8" and fired a 14lb shell. The converted guns took a Model 1841 6lb (3.67"), smooth bore gun and bored it out from 3.67 to 3.8 inches and rifling it to take the 14lb James projectile. There are also 3.67in 6lb guns simply rifled and not bored and rated as 12lbers.

    This is a Model 1841 6lb field gun located in the Viniard Field near the south end of the battlefield where some of the most desperate fighting on the 19th of September occurred.
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    This particular gun was manufactured in 1842 and fired 1000 rounds during the two-day battle (and is so marked on the muzzle). That is incredible number of rounds for a single gun to have fired. The ammo load was 50 rounds in the ammunition chest on the limber pulling the gun. 50 rounds in the ammunition chest on the limber pulling the caisson. 50 rounds in each of the two ammunition chests on the caisson for a total of 200 rounds. This gun was part of a six-gun battery, so 1200 rounds was the entire battery ammo load. Back in post #12 I showed Slocomb's, 5th Co. Washington artillery battery, located at the northern part of the battlefield in the McDonald field, its tablet shows 562 rounds expended, for the battery! They were hotly engaged as well so this1,000 round gun gave exceptional service.

    Chickamauga was the first NMP (National Military Park), so they got first dibs on obsolete guns stored in armories and all guns in the NMP are original tubes.

    This is a Model 1841 6lb Field Gun like the one that fired the 1,000 rounds, modified by James' rifling process into a 12lb James Rifle. It retains the same outer appearance/tube profile as the Model 1841 6lb gun, note the raised reinforcing base ring at the breech end, the thicker breech end (called the reinforce) with a step down just forward of the trunnions (the tube from the reinforce to muzzle is called the chase), and the raised astragal just behind the muzzle swell, reinforcing the muzzle end. (Located at a display of gun types at the Park Headquarters).

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    You can compare the tube profile to those of the Napoleons in post #5 and the pictures of Slocomb's battery. They have a smooth, tapered, rounded profile. Once again, the green patina tells you it's a bronze tube.

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    This is the business end of the same gun, showing the rifling. It also has markings on the muzzle, JWD the inspector that accepted the piece and 191 which is the serial number from the manufacturer. Other muzzle markings will sometimes include date of manufacture and tube weight. A US will be stamped on top of the barrel between the trunnions for Federal guns and manufacturer and sometimes date on the trunnion ends.

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    Example of manufacturers mark on trunnion end. This one reads, N. P. Ames. Founder Springfield Mass.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2022
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Since I was up there, I decided to get a shot of the Park Headquarters. It is located at the northern end of the battlefield at the junction of the LaFayette Road and McFarland Ave. The LaFayette Road ran north through Rossville Gap (Named after Chief John Ross whose house was located at the gap) to Chattanooga. McFarland Ave., I'm not sure of its contemporary name, but it leads to McFarland's Gap and Chattanooga. Chattanooga was a vital rail and logistics hub where four railroads came together and was located on the Tennessee River. The topography was such that whoever held it controlled access to the interior of the deep south and supplies from there could flow north to Virginia. No Chattanooga, no access to Atlanta, Columbia, Selma, Athens, Macon, Columbia, etc.

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    The Park Headquarters stands on the site of the McDonald House which burned during the battle.

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    Photo of John Ross House at time of the Battles for Chickamauga and Chattanooga, located on LaFayette Road at Rossville Gap. The house was built in 1797. It was used as a hospital by both sides at various times.

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    Current view at similar angle.

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    Full on front view of John Ross House.
     
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  17. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Active Member

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    Price.....

    The reputation of Braxton Bragg began well enough. But while acknowledging his undoubtedly fine organisation and logistics, his choleric temperament and ailments seem to have contributed much to his relationships with his subordinate commanders, particularly Leonidas Polk, who he accused of failure to follow his orders on more than one occasion. Their mutual loathing seems to have begun at the march to contact towards Shiloh, when Bragg accused Polk of turning a blind eye to looting of food by Polka men.

    Hindman seems to have suffered the same lack of co-operative action when following Bragg's orders, and what happened to Breckenridges men at Stones River could really be blamed on Breckenridge failing to halt the advance of his men on the first days assault, with them running forward into an area swept by artillery. But he blamed Bragg anyway, and I believe was so I sensed that he challenged him to a dual, which Bragg declined. Breckenridge refused to serve any longer under Bragg as a consequence. But these are the better known examples of the continued conflict between Bragg and his commanders, even though they shared none of Bragg's talent for organisation and training, much less were unable to offer any alternatives to Bragg's strategic habits of fighting battles then retreating. At Perryville, and Chattanooga, then finally Chickamauga.

    The other thing I want to mention in regard to this battle is the relatively low deathe rate, but with over 14,000 wounded southern soldiers, it must have been a truly desperate encounter, with Bragg's medical facilities swamped with broken men. But the low death rate is surprising given the intensity of the engagement.

    Any comments generally speaking?
     
  18. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I wouldn't rely too heavily on statistics because each battle was so different and most of the numbers are informed guess'. For instance, at Gettysburg the majority of Confederates listed as captured/missing were actually captured. The Union listed almost 7,000 Confederate prisoners from the battle, some wounded, shipped to Baltimore by rail. So, of the total 4,708 listed as captured and missing, most were likely captured along with a good number of those listed as wounded. The area where the battle occurred was well settled with much cultivated/developed land. Enough people transiting the area post battle to stumble upon most unaccounted for corpses. At Chickamauga the Federals listed 4,757 as missing/captured, but the Confederates listed 8,000 Federals captured, 15,000 muskets, 51 artillery pieces and large quantities of supplies as well. When the Federal right was shattered, they fled the field pell-mell. Sheridan himself didn't stop running for about six miles where he stopped and started rallying men. Because the Confederates held the field, had over-run the Federal field hospitals and the collapse was so sudden, a high percentage of those 8,000 captured were probably wounded in the hospitals and those left on the field. The terrain was/is so heavily wooded and was so sparsely settled that similar to Wilderness and Chancellorsville, many of those listed as captured/missing were actually what we'd call KIA body not recovered. The Confederates also were in possession of the rail line to Atlanta and many casualties that might otherwise have died on wagons in route to hospitals were evacuated a couple hours by rail to Atlanta.
    One of the biggest what ifs of this battle is what would have happened if Longstreet hadn't gone missing during the critical point of the breakthrough. When Hood went down wounded during the pursuit of the shattered Federal units, no one was in overall charge and the assault lost coordination and cohesion. A coordinated assault on Thomas' line while the Federals were trying to rally fleeing troops and piece together a defensive line would have finished the Army of the Cumberland. As it was the Confederates threw uncoordinated piecemeal assaults against the Federal line, nearly breaking it numerous times but always resulting in heavy casualties.
     
  19. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Active Member

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    Indeed...

    Uncordinated and piecemeal assails seem to have been Bragg's trademarks.
    I often wonder how different the Western Theatre would have been had Bragg been kicked upstairs after Shiloh, and if Joe Johnston had not been wounded at Seven Pines.

    And how different would the conduct in the West have been?

    Bragg is often criticized for strategic retreating, but given the general lack of resources and men available in the quantities that were given to Lee and the ANV, would any other general have conducted their affairs differently?

    I also believe that Shiloh could have so easily been the end of Grants tenure as a commander. But Lincoln's support seems to have kept him in place long enough for him to overcome some of the same problems with his subordinate commanders that Bragg seems to have faced.
    All of Grants division commanders including Sherman were LAWYERS who with the exception of Sherman were all trying to muscle Grant out of the command.

    Bolshevik
     
  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Bragg's biggest issue was he lacked the personal charisma and tact to get fractious subordinates to obey his orders and coordinate with one another. A task Lee was particularly adroit at and led to many of his successes. Bragg was a good trainer and organizer; he did not inspire a great deal of personal loyalty. Bragg knew his place and understood he worked for Confederate President Davis, didn't play politics and was subordinate to the Confederate War Department, trait's Lee had as well (but is criticized for). This led to good relations with President Davis. Lee is criticized because he focused on his area of responsibility and not on the greater strategic war. That wasn't his job, he was an Army/Theater commander, not until the final days of the war, when it was too late to affect the outcome, was he placed in overall command. Joe Johnston is a good example of an officer that did not know his place and played politics which led to a dysfunctional, acrimonious, strained relationship with the Confederacy's Commander-in-Chief. Joe Johnston was a good defensive commander at the army level, but lacked the audacity, and aggressiveness to counterpunch, which leaves the enemy with the initiative and the ability to decide when and if to fight. Lee was adept at the theater level, Johnston was not. Appointed to overall command in the Western Theater in November 1862 (a position he did not want), Johnston had the opportunity to fire Bragg, he chose not to. Whether due to the lingering effects of his Seven Pines wound or his natural aversion to offensive action, taking risks and controlling the initiative, Johnston reacted and reacted slowly to Grant's moves on Vicksburg, until it was too late. You could have moved Lee to command in the Western Theater, he would likely have prevented the loss of Vicksburg and probably would have retaken Nashville, but at what cost? Likely, the loss of Richmond, the manufacturing of northern Virginia and the breadbasket of the Shenandoah Valley. Losing Vicksburg hurt, but the war dragged on for two more years. Lose Richmond and the war ends abruptly, in defeat or devolves into a guerilla conflict.
    Jackson was dead, Longstreet struggled with independent command, Hardee didn't want the job, Beauregard might have been a good choice, but he and Davis hated one another, again the result of a general playing politics, so Johnston and Bragg were it. I think this is one of the reasons people speculate on what might have been had Albert Sidny Johnston not been killed at Shiloh. Would he have been the western commander the South needed? As it was Beauregard took over at Shiloh and became the new Western Theater Commander, then he pissed off Davis, so Bragg took over, then Johnston recovered sufficiently that he could be given the job.

    As to Stones River/Murfreesboro, I think you're blaming Breckinridge for actions beyond his immediate control. Overall, Breckinridge was a good general, he actually commanded at the last large Confederate victory of the war at New Market, Virginia. On a scale of S-Superior-A-B-C-D-E-F I'd give him a C+ or B-.

    Breckinridge was deployed to the east of Stones River, the balance of the Confederate Army on the west side. Rosecrans intended to cross the river and turn the Confederate right flank (Breckinridge). In fact, Van Cleve's division of Crittenden's Corps had crossed and were facing Breckinridge. Hardee's troops hit the Union right and these attacks were largely successful, especially Cleburne's. When Polk's Corps moved forward to add their weight to the attack, they did so in an uncoordinated manner. It has been rumored to have been due to Cheatham's being drunk, or it could have been the ferocious defense by the Federals, or it could have been Polk's fault. Anyway, Rosecrans's was pulling any troops he could find to bolster his right and Bragg ordered Breckinridge to send his brigades across the river to support Polk. Here's a good video on how the battle transpired:



    In the video Vaughn, Loomis and Manigault are Polk's troops, but of two different divisions. Loomis (Slipdigit, this is your ancestor's unit, Dea's Brigade commanded at the time by Col. John Q. Loomis of the 25th Alabama) and Manigault were in Wither's Division, Vaugn in Cheatham's, see what you think. Anderson who sent in piecemeal attacks on the slaughter pen was also in Wither's division. Gen. A.P. Stewart, who refused to attack piecemeal was one of Cheatham's units. Also, look at the terrain the Federal's were defending, in the "Slaughter Pen". It was a very good defensive position; it would be hard for any troops to eject them no matter how well led.
    When Breckinridge's troops began to move to the west side of Stone's River, on Bragg's orders, Polk sent Adam's and Jackson in unsupported, they were Breckinridge's troops, under Polk's control, but Polk only did so because Bragg ordered it. So, who was responsible? Breckinridge had argued with Bragg over sending his brigades to the west side because he thought he was still facing Van Cleeve (who he had fought with early in the morning), and a Confederate cavalry brigade commander John Pegram had sent back erroneous information that a large Federal force was moving down the Lebanon Pike on the east side of the river towards Breckinridge. When Palmer and Preston's Brigades of Breckinridge's Division arrived, Adam's and Jackson's Brigades had already been repulsed with heavy loss. Breckinridge blamed Polk, but Polk was obeying Bragg's orders. However, Polk could have opted to delay until all the brigades were up as he did during other occasions when he was slow to follow Bragg's orders. I think he was being petulant.
    What Bragg should have done, IMHO, is rather than have Breckinridge send units to support Polk, to order Breckinridge forward and to wheel left to threaten the Federal left flank and their line of retreat, the Nashville Pike, Rosecrans had pulled everything he could from the left and would have been compelled to retreat, weaken his right which was barely hanging on or be cut off. Lee would have likely taken the chance, depending on the units already engaged and pushing the Federals hard to hold Rosecrans in place. Rosecrans actually re-occupied this area east of the river on January 1st. Instead, Bragg did nothing on the 1st. He ordered an assault on the prepared Federal position on high ground east of the river by Breckinridge on January 2d. The assault was ill-advised (Polk and Hardee agreed), and Breckinridge protested but when Bragg would not relent, he did as ordered and attacked. Breckinridge did temporarily drive the Federals back but concentrated Federal artillery drove him back with a loss of 1,800 men in about an hour.

    BTW, I've been to the Stones River Battlefield several times, it's not far up the road. It's small, broken up and surrounded by development, but what's left is worth the visit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022

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