Book Chat
"Harvard's Civil War:
The History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment"
Richard E. Miller

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 11/02/08 and covered Chapters 7 & 8

11/2/2008 9:01 pm (et) 20thMass: Tonight we will be discussing Chapters 7 and 8 of Richard Miller's book Harvard's Civil War.

11/2/2008 9:03 pm (et) 20thMass: Lee and Revere return to the regiment and the 20th are the first regiment to hoist the US flag on the captured city of Yorktown.

11/2/2008 9:03 pm (et) Widow: The Peninsula and Maryland campaigns. Pretty severe stuff.

11/2/2008 9:04 pm (et) Widow: 20M, their leadership was just what the regiment needed.

11/2/2008 9:06 pm (et) Widow: Again and again, I'm impressed by Col. Lee's competence. I'd never heard of him before reading this book. Wonder why he wasn't as famous as other regimental commanders.

11/2/2008 9:06 pm (et) 20thMass: Lee takes back control of the regiment from Palfrey.

11/2/2008 9:07 pm (et) 20thMass: Unfortunately Bartlett loses a leg and never returns to the regiment.

11/2/2008 9:08 pm (et) shapbruin: What a powerful condemnation of the Yorktown siege to think of a regiment charging and placing its flag on a empty works.

11/2/2008 9:09 pm (et) Susansweet: Mark that was an amazing picture in my mind . No one in the enemy earthworks.

11/2/2008 9:09 pm (et) Widow: Shap, but I think the 20th wanted to prove their stuff. They got there first, which meant a lot to them.

11/2/2008 9:09 pm (et) shapbruin: ugh, how frustrating! How do any officers stay in command after something like that. That's just crazy to me.

11/2/2008 9:10 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, not their fault at all! No one knew the works were empty, just terrible intelligence.

11/2/2008 9:10 pm (et) shapbruin: And Macgruder was pretty slick.

11/2/2008 9:10 pm (et) Widow: Shap, who would replace them? You can't remove somebody unless you have a replacement.

11/2/2008 9:11 pm (et) mobile_96: Didn't they not know the works were empty, until they got up to them?

11/2/2008 9:12 pm (et) shapbruin: mobile: Nope.

11/2/2008 9:12 pm (et) shapbruin: Crazy, huh?

11/2/2008 9:12 pm (et) Widow: I liked the way Miller called him Prince John; also used Sumner's nickname of Bull. That's a more conversational way of talking to us readers.

11/2/2008 9:13 pm (et) Babs: The Bull nickname was a trivia question a while back on CWI.

11/2/2008 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: We are so used to reading about sharpshooters now it was interesting to read what soldiers at this stage of the war thought of them.

11/2/2008 9:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Heard him called Prince John long before I read Millers book.

11/2/2008 9:13 pm (et) shapbruin: The description of the seven days was excellent , until Sears' book, this was a poorly understood and unbelievably grueling campaign.

11/2/2008 9:14 pm (et) Susansweet: I have never heard him called anything but Prince John.

11/2/2008 9:14 pm (et) Widow: Magruder had a flair for staging drama, if not on the stage, then certainly on the battlefield. He was also described as "convivial," meaning a drunk.

11/2/2008 9:15 pm (et) 20thMass: A lot of maneuvering on the Peninsula and in bad weather.

11/2/2008 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Hi fan.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) Babs: I thought convivial meant social.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: 20Mass, of course the Confederates had the same lousy weather and mud.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Bad weather turns that land swampy.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) Widow: Babs, a euphemism, in Magruder's case.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) mobile_96: Must have a very low water table.

11/2/2008 9:16 pm (et) shapbruin: There's little talk in any of the men's diaries or in the book of the incredible physical condition they must have been in to campaign, camp, fight, etc.

11/2/2008 9:17 pm (et) Babs: ok

11/2/2008 9:17 pm (et) 20thMass: True Widow.

11/2/2008 9:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I don't know how they did it, sometimes fighting during the day, marching at night, and wet a lot of the time.

11/2/2008 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: I think it does Mobile .

11/2/2008 9:18 pm (et) Widow: Mobile, yes. Between the York and James Rivers, low ground. A few higher spots, but mostly marshland and boggy swamps.

11/2/2008 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: Wearing the same clothes for long periods of time too.

11/2/2008 9:18 pm (et) 20thMass: From the description of the storm that came through prior to the battle of Fair Oaks it sounded like a tornado.

11/2/2008 9:18 pm (et) mobile_96: Of course, after a while, there were many on the sick roll.

11/2/2008 9:19 pm (et) shapbruin: Hard to believe it wasn't all of them.

11/2/2008 9:19 pm (et) mobile_96: Or Hurricane.

11/2/2008 9:19 pm (et) Widow: 20th Mass, we get thunderbusters like that nearly every afternoon here in NoVa. They're probably worse down on the Peninsula.

11/2/2008 9:19 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I also was surprised at the conditions they were under. I thought the Southern men were the ones with no food or blankets, or tents. It's always been my impression that the North had it easier.

11/2/2008 9:20 pm (et) mobile_96: FL, overall, they did, but there were times they were no better off than the rebs, as we can see here.

11/2/2008 9:20 pm (et) Widow: Lincoln Fan, it usually was a problem to transport the supplies. Mud, mud, mud. One dinky little Richmond and York River RR.

11/2/2008 9:21 pm (et) mobile_96: And, at times, they had to wait for their baggage and supplies to catch up with them.

11/2/2008 9:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: This book is a real eye-opener to everyday army life.

11/2/2008 9:21 pm (et) shapbruin: Heard a great lecture about infectious disease in ACW, speaker made the point that the reason the war went on so long was that typhus never came to U.S., so never had epidemics like during Crimean War.

11/2/2008 9:22 pm (et) Widow: The Confederates didn't have enough draft animals to take their artillery back to Richmond, let alone to deliver supplies to the front lines.

11/2/2008 9:22 pm (et) Susansweet: So this was the first time they had typhus in the US , Mark?

11/2/2008 9:24 pm (et) shapbruin: No, never actually came to U.S. during Civil War, never affected Civil War soldiers (typhus, not to be confused with typhoid or trench foot, all three are different.

11/2/2008 9:24 pm (et) shapbruin: At least, caused by different bacteria.

11/2/2008 9:24 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Was he saying that typhus would have wiped out the troops?

11/2/2008 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Oh okay.

11/2/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks for the information.

11/2/2008 9:25 pm (et) Widow: The dreaded typhus and yellow fever epidemics could have changed history, but luckily there were no outbreaks.

11/2/2008 9:25 pm (et) shapbruin: Typhus certainly could have, yes.

11/2/2008 9:25 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, good point about yellow fever, it was lurking just south of the border.

11/2/2008 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Yellow fever wiped out many people in the south over the years.

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) johnehope: I just logged in, but are we discussing Harvard Regiment?

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) 20thMass: I would like to mention Paul Revere at the battle of Fair Oaks.

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) 20thMass: Yes we are John.

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yes, John, chapters 7 and 8.

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) shapbruin: Coly, there should be 4 separate emails in your inbox, hope you enjoy.

11/2/2008 9:26 pm (et) Widow: 20Mass, so far he's my favorite of all. What a character!

11/2/2008 9:27 pm (et) 20thMass: Thanks.

11/2/2008 9:27 pm (et) johnehope: I have two ancestors in Company C, both Germans from the Baden area.

11/2/2008 9:27 pm (et) johnehope: I am curious to know if there are records of the German Turnvereins in Boston.

11/2/2008 9:27 pm (et) Babs: Wilkomen

11/2/2008 9:28 pm (et) 20thMass: I think the way he handled the 20th Mass soldiers shooting at retreating confederates said a lot about him.

11/2/2008 9:28 pm (et) shapbruin: but Coly, some of these men had been through Ball's Bluff, so hard to blame them.

11/2/2008 9:28 pm (et) 20thMass: I am sure there are records somewhere but not sure where.

11/2/2008 9:29 pm (et) shapbruin: I agree though, Revere's conduct was remarkable, given that he'd been through Ball's Bluff too.

11/2/2008 9:29 pm (et) 20thMass: It is hard to blame them but Revere showed he would not stoop to their level.

11/2/2008 9:29 pm (et) mobile_96: Have to agree Mark.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) Susansweet: Hey Dave welcome.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) Widow: Dana's brigade did a good job covering the "change of base" to the James River. That must be the hardest job, marching backward to shoot the pursuers.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Welcome, Dave.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) Susansweet: I liked the description that Revere became the water boy.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) 20thMass: John, welcome to the discussion. We are discussing the 20th Mass at the Peninsula campaign and later Antietam.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) shapbruin: Wonder if the regiment held a grudge, because Revere was never really embraced by the men.

11/2/2008 9:30 pm (et) Widow: Hi, AHG. We're discussing Major Paul Revere in the Peninsula Campaign.

11/2/2008 9:31 pm (et) Widow: Susan, I saw Revere as a problem solver. Men need water, I'll take it to them. Never mind I'm a major.

11/2/2008 9:32 pm (et) 20thMass: There are hard feelings towards Revere but that is later.

11/2/2008 9:33 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, I think that sort of thinking goes back to Lee's decision about officer assignment, there was less class-based division amongst the men in the 20th than other regiments.

11/2/2008 9:33 pm (et) Susansweet: I was interested in the file closers. Wendell Holmes tell them to shoot those that didn't follow orders.

11/2/2008 9:33 pm (et) johnehope: The other question I have is are the petitions sent by the regiment's soldiers available? I would like to see if my ancestors signed them.

11/2/2008 9:34 pm (et) Widow: Susan, isn't that the file closer's job?

11/2/2008 9:34 pm (et) 20thMass: Are you talking about Sumner Paine?

11/2/2008 9:34 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I had never heard of file closers.

11/2/2008 9:35 pm (et) johnehope: There were several petitions, as I recall.

11/2/2008 9:35 pm (et) Susansweet: I had read about them in one other book I can't remember which one , but was interested that they were charged to keep the men going forward not to skedaddle.

11/2/2008 9:35 pm (et) Widow: LF, file closers march behind a unit, at the back of a file, which means front to back. They kept the men moving along, usually with the flat of their sabers.

11/2/2008 9:36 pm (et) mobile_96: Job is to keep the men in line and push back into line any that falter, or try to head for the rear with no just cause.

11/2/2008 9:36 pm (et) Susansweet: Holmes sure like to swat people with his sword.

11/2/2008 9:36 pm (et) 20thMass: If it is the petition on Sumner Paine he comes later in the discussion. The Boston Public library might have something.

11/2/2008 9:37 pm (et) Widow: Susan, he just wrote home about it more frankly than others, maybe?

11/2/2008 9:37 pm (et) Babs: I know we don't usually entertain "what if's" here, but this chapter had me thinking that way. If only the weather had been different... If only Pinkerton had his numbers straight... If only McClellan had not been such a McClellan.... They were so CLOSE to Richmond. Think of the lives that could have been saved if there had been no Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, etc.

11/2/2008 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I'd like to bring up the file closers again during the next chapter's discussion also.

11/2/2008 9:37 pm (et) shapbruin: Yeah, Paine was still a student at Harvard earning his reputation for hazing.

11/2/2008 9:37 pm (et) 20thMass: I got a chuckle out of the scared soldier who pretended to be stuck in the mud and Abbott swatted him with his sword.

11/2/2008 9:38 pm (et) Susansweet: Yeah that was a giggle.

11/2/2008 9:38 pm (et) shapbruin: John, if that's the petition you're speaking of, all the men of the regiment signed it except Paine's company.

11/2/2008 9:38 pm (et) Widow: 20thMass, he may really have been stuck. That mud is so STICKY! They lost their shoes all the time.

11/2/2008 9:38 pm (et) Babs: Too bad one of them swatted the guy with a chest wound.

11/2/2008 9:39 pm (et) Susansweet: That was a bad thing Babs.

11/2/2008 9:39 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Speaking of McClellan, the bok looks at him from the troops' perspective, and I still don't see why they idolized him so.

11/2/2008 9:39 pm (et) 20thMass: He wasn't to stuck when Abbott got a hold of him.:)

11/2/2008 9:39 pm (et) Widow: Babs, perhaps an honest mistake.

11/2/2008 9:39 pm (et) 20thMass: I do see that a whole bunch of soldiers marching over muddy ground makes it worse.

11/2/2008 9:40 pm (et) Babs: Widow, I think it was a mistake.

11/2/2008 9:40 pm (et) Widow: LFan, because he restored their pride and self-confidence after the disaster of First Manassas. He looked like a soldier. Course, he lived in a mansion in Washington, not a tent in the field.

11/2/2008 9:41 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: He was the first "stick in the mud"

11/2/2008 9:41 pm (et) Babs: They thought he cared about them. They didn't have the big picture.

11/2/2008 9:41 pm (et) Widow: 20thMass, I've seen shoes recovered from 140 years buried in the mud. The sacred soil, you know.

11/2/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: Much as I dislike McClellan, his goal was to win by maneuver, not by battle. If you're a private, you like that.

11/2/2008 9:43 pm (et) shapbruin: from Abbott's diary "Fallen Leaves": "damnable bog I ever went through, clear up to our knees in solid mud. Lots of the men left their shoes. IN fact it was a good chance to get stuck, if a man chose to; only one of my men tried it, but a slight prick of the bayonet from a file closer extricated him speedily

11/2/2008 9:43 pm (et) johnehope: McClellan was extremely good at organization and training. He was just awful at actual battle.

11/2/2008 9:43 pm (et) Widow: Until you eventually see that there won't be any winning at all. And you march back and forth, never accomplishing the goal.

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: If you want a good "what if", what if Grant had been in charge from the beginning.

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: Would have been a whole different story.

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) 20thMass: I agree John

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) Widow: Grant would have gotten stuck in the mud too.

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: He would not have listened to Pinkerton for one thing.

11/2/2008 9:44 pm (et) johnehope: He couldn't have been. His highest rank in the prewar army was captain, I believe.

11/2/2008 9:45 pm (et) 4eyes: If you have the chance to read Wainrights book, he speaks to the fact that the AoP didn't know how to take care of themselves till 1863. he himself contracted dysentery in the Peninsula and was sent home sick after Fair Oaks and weighed in at 105 pounds. Then rebounded to rejoin his battery and survive the war.

11/2/2008 9:45 pm (et) mobile_96: Maybe, even Grant was in a learning curve (going upwards) that early in the war.

11/2/2008 9:46 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: What's the name of the book, 4eyes?

11/2/2008 9:46 pm (et) johnehope: All wars have learning curves. At the beginning, one side may have an advantage or a better tactic. However, if it goes on long enough, both sides know the same thing and then it is just a question of who can bleed longest.

11/2/2008 9:46 pm (et) 4eyes: " A Dairy of Battle" Charles Wainright

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) 4eyes: Probably the best book I've read.

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) Widow: Miller told us the soldiers' reaction to the better roads and soils in Maryland. They preferred good solid ground.

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Simply and wonderfully put, John

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) shapbruin: John, keep in mind that Grant was in command from Feb 1862 of at least one theatre of the war, later two, and cleaved huge pieces off of the Confederacy.

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) 20thMass: One last note before we move to Antietam. Captain James Lowell the cousin of Oliver Wendell Holmes is killed at Glendale.

11/2/2008 9:47 pm (et) shapbruin: Ah, the unsung Western theaters, victims of the Lost Cause mythology, as if the whole war was fought in the East.

11/2/2008 9:48 pm (et) Babs: Was Wainright in the 20th, 4eyes?

11/2/2008 9:48 pm (et) Susansweet: I am guessing he was related to the other Lowells too ?

11/2/2008 9:48 pm (et) shapbruin: Coly, and is lamented in Holmes famous 1886 Memorial Day speech.

11/2/2008 9:48 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: They also preferred cooler temperatures and the availability of food. I've been through the peninsula and I can see where it would be really bad without paved roads.

11/2/2008 9:48 pm (et) shapbruin: Susan, yes he was. His brother was in the Valley Campaign of 1864.

11/2/2008 9:49 pm (et) 20thMass: Terrific 1886 speech. Should put that in my Yahoo group.

11/2/2008 9:49 pm (et) Susansweet: I thought that was his brother who was the brother in law of Shaw.

11/2/2008 9:49 pm (et) 4eyes: No Babs he was a Colonel in the A o P and directed the 1st Corps artillary from after Antietam till Appomattox.

11/2/2008 9:49 pm (et) shapbruin: I handed it out at the end of my lecture, there's a copy of it on the regiment website.

11/2/2008 9:50 pm (et) shapbruin: Susan, sorry, meant to write killed in the Valley Campaign, actually at Cedar Creek.

11/2/2008 9:50 pm (et) Widow: I liked the way Miller emphasized how the soldiers didn't have a clear idea of the battle, or even the ground. They just shot what was in front, followed orders, and sometimes didn't even know where they were.

11/2/2008 9:51 pm (et) Susansweet: Yes Joan Waugh talked to us about him.

11/2/2008 9:51 pm (et) mobile_96: Fallen Leaves was quoted quite a bit also, need to drag my copy and read it, a lot sooner than I expected to do.

11/2/2008 9:52 pm (et) shapbruin: Yeah, she's an expert on the Lowell family, wrote a book about his sister, I believe.

11/2/2008 9:52 pm (et) Widow: Have you ever tried to run across a plowed field? Those furrows can trip you, cause a sprain. It's rough going. Especially when there are dead an wounded all over the places.

11/2/2008 9:52 pm (et) shapbruin: Mobile, you'll love it.

11/2/2008 9:53 pm (et) Widow: The 20th handled themselves pretty well at Sharpsburg, considering the confusing orders.

11/2/2008 9:53 pm (et) mobile_96: From the quotes used, I think I agree Mark, have to move some of my west side stories aside for the book.

11/2/2008 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: I think you are right.

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) Susansweet: Mobile who wrote Fallen Leaves?

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) 20thMass: Lets move on to Chapter 8, The battle of Antietam.

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) shapbruin: Widow, if you mean retreating under fire because the panicked Sumner sent them into a three cornered ambuscade in the middle of a forest, then yes.

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Walked Pickett's charge when the field was plowed (no path at that time) and could hardly make it. Can't imagine what they went through.

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) Babs: That was the same feeling we got when we read Co. Aytch. March and shoot and had no idea what the over all plan was. Miller does the same thing. He focuses just on the parts of the battle that involved the 20th.

11/2/2008 9:54 pm (et) johnehope: Scott

11/2/2008 9:55 pm (et) shapbruin: Susan, it's the collection of Abbott's letters home, edited by Robert Garth Scott.

11/2/2008 9:55 pm (et) Widow: Those anecdotes about the fathers searching for their missing sons after the battle, absolutely dreadful.

11/2/2008 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks I forgot whose letters it was.

11/2/2008 9:56 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: What would have been the reason Sumner wanted the three lines so close as they left the West Woods?

11/2/2008 9:56 pm (et) mobile_96: they were lucky to get anyone out of the West Woods because of the confusion, and attacks on 3 sides

11/2/2008 9:56 pm (et) Susansweet: Lack of knowledge how to line up his men.

11/2/2008 9:57 pm (et) johnehope: Control. You have to remember how difficult it was to control several hundred men, particularly in woods.

11/2/2008 9:57 pm (et) Widow: LFan, that bothered me too. Clearly he didn't know the ground. But he DID know the general principle of spacing between ranks.

11/2/2008 9:57 pm (et) 20thMass: Lets remember that at this battle the 20th had just gotten new recruits who were green.

11/2/2008 9:58 pm (et) Susansweet: Many of these men were brand new never been in battle , no training.

11/2/2008 9:58 pm (et) mobile_96: Especially when your starting to get mixed with with several hundred more of other units.

11/2/2008 9:58 pm (et) Widow: But 20thMass, the green recruits just went where their comrades went.

11/2/2008 9:59 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Would there have been less confusion as they entered the East Woods if they had been further apart, or by that time, would it have made no difference?

11/2/2008 9:59 pm (et) johnehope: The theory was to discourage initiative to maximize cohesion and hence impact. Individual weapons were not as effective as today.

11/2/2008 10:00 pm (et) Widow: LincolnFan, there may have been fewer casualties from enemy artillery, but the level of confusion was still there, for both sides, actually.

11/2/2008 10:00 pm (et) johnehope: If they had been spaced out in the woods, they probably would have wandered in all directions.

11/2/2008 10:00 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I agree, John that weapons weren't as efficient, but they still have to have room to be fired.

11/2/2008 10:01 pm (et) Widow: As for me, I didn't know anything abut the "proper" distance between ranks until I read it in this book.

11/2/2008 10:01 pm (et) 20thMass: That is true but the veterans were know experienced in battle and knew what to expect but the new soldiers didn'tknow what to expect or what they would do.

11/2/2008 10:02 pm (et) johnehope: The main failure was that Sumner failed to send in a skirmish line first to fix the enemy.

11/2/2008 10:02 pm (et) Babs: And they needed to protect their flank.

11/2/2008 10:02 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I didn't either, Widow, but it makes sense and I have absolutely NO training.

11/2/2008 10:02 pm (et) 20thMass: Remember Josiah Murphy when he went to help his brother and was told to get back in line.

11/2/2008 10:02 pm (et) Widow: The men under Gen. Sumner were horrified by his order to keep the distance so close.

11/2/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: No skirmishes was the first major mistake.

11/2/2008 10:03 pm (et) Widow: I mean, the officers were horrified - "What's he thinking!?"

11/2/2008 10:03 pm (et) shapbruin: John, keep in mind the tactics these officers were employing were still based upon the Napoleonic method of warfare: large formations maneuvering in open space. They were poorly adapted to fighting in woods, and the general officers were not up to this type of thinking on the fly.

11/2/2008 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: They would have found information needed for the other soldiers.

11/2/2008 10:03 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, the skirmish line was another thing that bothered me. I thought that was done at the beginning of each battle.

11/2/2008 10:04 pm (et) johnehope: Amen.

11/2/2008 10:04 pm (et) shapbruin: Imagine if future US Army officers didn't learn initiative and creative thinking, like in the hedgerows at Normandy.

11/2/2008 10:05 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Oh, well, it's kind of hard to shoot anyway when you're smoking a cigar.

11/2/2008 10:05 pm (et) Widow: LF, The battle surged all day long. It didn't stay in one place. Skirmishers at 6 AM are of no help in the West Woods at 11 AM.

11/2/2008 10:05 pm (et) Babs: Miller does a better job than many writers of explaining this feint, fight, flank stuff. My eyes didn't glaze over while reading it.

11/2/2008 10:05 pm (et) 4eyes: The enemy was found by the Poffenberger farm buildings these guys were what was left of Jackson's forces from the earlier fighting....Lee brought up McLaws and Walkers Divisions thru a ravine south and west of the woods and were unseen by the approaching Union forces.

11/2/2008 10:06 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: True, widow. I forgot that.

11/2/2008 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: Are you sure they didn't Babs ?

11/2/2008 10:06 pm (et) 4eyes: The time was a little after nine.

11/2/2008 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: But the skirmishers would have gone into the woods at 11 before the troops went in .

11/2/2008 10:07 pm (et) Babs: Susan, well maybe a little :^)

11/2/2008 10:07 pm (et) Susansweet: They didn't stay in one place either .

11/2/2008 10:07 pm (et) Susansweet: lol babs.

11/2/2008 10:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Babs, I also was able to keep track of the battle with a bookmark on the map page. Miller does a really good job although the battles are still slow going for me.

11/2/2008 10:08 pm (et) Susansweet: The maps were not always that good to follow.

11/2/2008 10:08 pm (et) 4eyes: What sucks is that in the 60's the State of Maryland built o by pass right thru this ravine. Now the scene of some of the most furious fighting of the war has a very busy 2 lane road running thru it.

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) johnehope: Napoleon would never have followed such boneheaded tactics. He was always careful to find and fix the enemy and then, and only then, to attack with concentrated force.

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) Widow: Susan, I agree with you about the maps. Place names mentioned in the text weren't shown on the maps. That's not very helpful.

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Which road is that, 4eyes. The battlefield seems pretty clear to me.

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) shapbruin: I can't believe Holmes survived a through and through wound to the NECK! The trachea, spine, esophagus, carotids, jugular veins, thyroid gland, all missed

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree Susan, maps not all that good, leaving off more than a few towns the Regiment passed thru.

11/2/2008 10:09 pm (et) 4eyes: By eleven a.m. the fighting on the northern part of the field was over except for some artillary exchanges

11/2/2008 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: I read that and was amazed , He led a charmed life it seems as he lived such a long life.

11/2/2008 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: Leaving out places he mentioned .

11/2/2008 10:11 pm (et) 4eyes: That would be Rt 65

11/2/2008 10:11 pm (et) shapbruin: John, no one below McClellan was able to compensate for his ridiculous decision-making.

11/2/2008 10:11 pm (et) Susansweet: But that is nothing new, most books I have read for book discussions here and at the Drum the big complain is Maps.

11/2/2008 10:11 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: When the troops marched across the cornfield, they say many "good samaritans" helping wounded to the rear. Where were the "file closers" then?

11/2/2008 10:11 pm (et) Babs: He left out rivers that were crucial.

11/2/2008 10:12 pm (et) Widow: Miller did a good job describing the distances and directions between roads, bridges, farmhouses, etc. It's easier to visualize. But still, I NEED maps!

11/2/2008 10:12 pm (et) Susansweet: Fan , they must have been the ones helping.

11/2/2008 10:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, I noticed he could have at least put in Antietam Creek.

11/2/2008 10:13 pm (et) 20thMass: I believe that part of the fighting was over in the cornfield.

11/2/2008 10:14 pm (et) johnehope: They weren't close to Antietam Creek.

11/2/2008 10:14 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Didn't the fightng begin in the cornfield?

11/2/2008 10:14 pm (et) 4eyes: At the point that Sumner crosses the cornfield there had been mass chaos and bloodshed for close to 3 hours. All of Jackson's men had been engaged and they fought the 1st and 12th Corp of the AoP to a standstill. There were at that point as many as 8000 casualties in the area of the cornfield and pasture south of it.

11/2/2008 10:14 pm (et) Widow: John, true. But as an orientation landmark, it's helpful for us who don't know the terrain very well.

11/2/2008 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: 4eyes you were just there weren't you?

11/2/2008 10:15 pm (et) 20thMass: The Cornfield was fought early but there was an earlier battle there.

11/2/2008 10:16 pm (et) 4eyes: Yes Sue I was there for the anniversary on the 16th and 17th.

11/2/2008 10:16 pm (et) Susansweet: The most moving story at this battle was the story of the Reb who tossed his canteen into the window to the wounded Yanks , then on the way back asked for it back as he was headed the other way.

11/2/2008 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: And they tossed it back.

11/2/2008 10:17 pm (et) 4eyes: That was supposed to have happened at the Miller House.

11/2/2008 10:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: OK, I thought the battle opened just before dawn in the cornfield. At least that's what we were told when we were out there at 5:30 at the 135th.

11/2/2008 10:17 pm (et) Widow: Susan, yes, and they gave it back to him!

11/2/2008 10:18 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I liked that story also.

11/2/2008 10:18 pm (et) Susansweet: 4eyes Miller says the Nicodemus House .

11/2/2008 10:18 pm (et) ole: Correct, Fan. The opening move was through the cornfield.

11/2/2008 10:19 pm (et) Widow: And the greenhorn's observation, "They're shooting at us on purpose!: Delightful.

11/2/2008 10:19 pm (et) 4eyes: Could have been either.

11/2/2008 10:19 pm (et) 4eyes: Or both.

11/2/2008 10:19 pm (et) 20thMass: I loved that part Widow.

11/2/2008 10:19 pm (et) Susansweet: True , doesn't matter which house , just a great story .

11/2/2008 10:20 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I'd like to make a comment on Stuart. It seems he moves his artillery from Nicodemus Heights to Hauser's Ridge in record time (couldn't figure out how long it actually took) but wasn't Stuart cavalry?

11/2/2008 10:20 pm (et) Widow: 4eyes, I figure the wounded soldiers didn't know the name of the house where they were.

11/2/2008 10:20 pm (et) Susansweet: It was Pelham who had horse artillery.

11/2/2008 10:20 pm (et) johnehope: Almost all cavalry units had attached light artillery.

11/2/2008 10:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Attached to Stuart's Cavalry.

11/2/2008 10:21 pm (et) Susansweet: Pelham could move rapidly from place to place.

11/2/2008 10:21 pm (et) 20thMass: They probably gave a description of the location and it was pieced together the rest.

11/2/2008 10:21 pm (et) 4eyes: Probably not Nicodemus as not many Yanks made it to the buildings more probably the Miller house as after Sumner and the 20th were swept north and east from the woods the Rebs chased them all the way to beyond the Miller buildings and were then stopped by rallying Union troops in front of the North Woods.

11/2/2008 10:23 pm (et) 4eyes: Widow it truly is amazing how these guys came to know what the name of the farmers who's land and buildings they ruined.

11/2/2008 10:23 pm (et) Widow: 4eyes, good observation about the Miller place. The Nicodemus farm was behind Confederate. lines, wasn't it?

11/2/2008 10:23 pm (et) 20thMass: We discussed Palfrey quite a bit last week and in this battle he is wounded severely and never returns to the regiment.

11/2/2008 10:24 pm (et) 4eyes: Yes.

11/2/2008 10:24 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: How about Dr Revere staying to finish his surgery and getting killed. A true hero.

11/2/2008 10:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Those Reveres were amazing people ,

11/2/2008 10:25 pm (et) Susansweet: That story made me want to cry.

11/2/2008 10:26 pm (et) 20thMass: Also add on the casualty list was Norwood Hallowell. Norwood and his brother Edward would later be officers in the 54th Massachusetts.

11/2/2008 10:27 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The other moving story is Wendell Holmes' father searching for him. Did it seem fair, though, the the Hallowell's to be taken home when so many were in army hospitals.

11/2/2008 10:28 pm (et) Susansweet: The difference between the elite of Boston and others Fan.

11/2/2008 10:28 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Now, that's really interesting about the Hallowells and the 54th.

11/2/2008 10:28 pm (et) Susansweet: That was a moving story.

11/2/2008 10:28 pm (et) Widow: LFan, I think the army was happy to let as many go home as possible, to reduce the burden of medical care.

11/2/2008 10:29 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Oh, I know the difference, Susan, it just makes me mad.

11/2/2008 10:30 pm (et) Widow: LincolnFan, it wasn't just privilege and connections. A poor Pennsylvania boy could go home to recuperate too. It was a matter of distance and cost, not rank and privilege.

11/2/2008 10:30 pm (et) Babs: If I lived close enough and had the money, I would take my kid home and as many as I could fit.

11/2/2008 10:30 pm (et) 4eyes: What happened to the 20th after Antietam?

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) Susansweet: I think the Hallowell's father just took them home they didn't necessarly have permission to leave.

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) 20thMass: Interesting that Macy and Abbott missed the battle.

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) Babs: 4 eyes. stay tuned next week. same time same station.

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: 4eyes, you'll have to read next week's assignment.

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) 20thMass: You will have to read the book to find out.:)

11/2/2008 10:31 pm (et) 4eyes: ok

11/2/2008 10:32 pm (et) Susansweet: Privilege and connections and being an officer got you many things an enlisted man couldn't get.

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) ole: Still does, Miss Susan.

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) 4eyes: For those of you who haven't been there Antietam/Sharpsburg is a really interesting place. The battlefield is small. The mornings fighting where 10000 guys were hors de combat can be walked around in less than an hour and a half

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) Susansweet: I know Ole

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I really enjoy learning about the 20th part in these battles. I know about some of the battles in general, but looking at one regiment and what happened to it is really great.

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) 20thMass: That is true Susan but when it came to wounds it was easier for an enlisted man to recuperate at home.

11/2/2008 10:33 pm (et) johnehope: It was ever thus. The only real question is were the privileges merited.

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) 4eyes: They shot at each other at distances of less than 100 yards.

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) Susansweet: Not always Johnehope

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) Susansweet: Most times not.

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) johnehope: Safer to recuperate at home too because of a lower danger of infection.

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) Widow: LFan, I agree about this regimental history. I thought it would be dry, but boy was I wrong!

11/2/2008 10:34 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: 4eyes, the whole battle field can be done in a few hours, but the first time it took us 2 days.

11/2/2008 10:35 pm (et) Widow: Folks, I'm saying good night to one and all. This was, again, so much fun!

11/2/2008 10:36 pm (et) 20thMass: To take everything in would take awhile but no where near as long as Gettysburg

11/2/2008 10:36 pm (et) Widow: logs off.

11/2/2008 10:36 pm (et) Susansweet: Don't know if I will be here next week , I am going to a Civil War Conference and don't know what time I will get back on Sunday.

11/2/2008 10:36 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Right 20th. I could go every year and never learn it all.

11/2/2008 10:37 pm (et) 4eyes: It is small, hard to imagine 120,000 guys fighting there. Jube Early wrote that on the 18th he thought they had less than 30000 troops in line and half of them did not have any ammunition.

11/2/2008 10:37 pm (et) Susansweet: I loved visiting Anteitam. need to get back there again.

11/2/2008 10:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Well, hope you can make it, Susan, And I'd love to do Antietam with you guys.

11/2/2008 10:38 pm (et) 20thMass: Love the Observation Tower.

11/2/2008 10:38 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I'd be more interested in the libraries.

11/2/2008 10:38 pm (et) Susansweet: The stone one on Bloody Lane ?

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Fan.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) 4eyes: A cool place to visit is Botelers or Packhorse ford. Below Sharpsburg where the armies crossed and there was a fight there on the 20th.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) ole: Is that still there? Last time I was there, it was unsafe.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) Susansweet: I love the bridge.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) Susansweet: And the photo with quote in the visitors center.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) 20thMass: Yes, right by the Irish Brigade monument.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) 4eyes: They fixed the tower up.

11/2/2008 10:39 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It's funny the book didn't mention that Richardson was killed at bloody lane, or am I mistaken.

11/2/2008 10:40 pm (et) Susansweet: I didn't go up it but walked all around it.

11/2/2008 10:40 pm (et) 20thMass: I believe they were doing work on the tower.

11/2/2008 10:40 pm (et) Susansweet: Oh glad they did that it is a landmark on the field. You can see it from a distance.

11/2/2008 10:41 pm (et) ole: He was fatally wounded there. Died a while later.

11/2/2008 10:41 pm (et) ole: Guess it's about the same difference -- his upturned tube is there.

11/2/2008 10:42 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: That's what I was thinking of, ole. Thanks.

11/2/2008 10:43 pm (et) 4eyes: Richardson was wounded by shrapnel from an exploding case shot fired from the Piper farm. He was trying to get artillary support for another push . he was standing on the ridge east of the Sunken road. he was taken to the Pry House across the creek that was McClelland HQ and died about a month later. Wainright visited Hooker in the house on the 18th and stated that Richardson would surely die as the whole time he visited Hooker Richardson was moaning loudly in an adjoining room.

11/2/2008 10:43 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Do we get a feeling that the men of the 20th are becoming "seasoned"?

11/2/2008 10:44 pm (et) 20thMass: They were experienced by now.

11/2/2008 10:46 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: It seems that no matter what the men go through together, the class difference is always there.

11/2/2008 10:46 pm (et) 20thMass: I think we will end the discussion. This weeks homework is chapters 9 and 10.