Confederate Strength At Antietam?

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Brett S.

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Oct 31, 2005, 10:52:27 PM10/31/05
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I've always been interested in regimental strengths and the overall PFD
strengths of armies and other military units during the war. My recent
studies of Second Manassas and Chantilly led me to wonder how the
Confederate PFD strength of 75,528[1] on September 2, 1862 could possibly
shrink all the way to sources as varied as Priest's 30,646[2] to Cannan's
37,351[3] on September 17, 1862 (Priest says Sept. 16-18, 1862)? Were
significant numbers of men left in Virginia or at Harper's Ferry?

I have a few ideas of my own as far as troop loss goes. First, Jackson's
men especially had been marching and fighting since early August, and they
were simply worn out. I wouldn't be surprised at thousands of men simply
failing to keep up with their comrades on the march north. Second, I've
read many reports of some Confederates stopping at the Potomac River and
refusing to invade the North. How widespread this phenomena was I have no
idea. I'd love to hear from others who might be a lot more knowledgeable in
this area. Third, the macadamized roads of Maryland were brutal on a
Confederate Army which had a large number of men with no shoes. I can see
thousands more dropping out due to this cause.

I'd love to hear the opinions of those of you who know much more than I do
and who have looked at this in some detail. I'd also appreciate it if
anyone can point me to more literature on this particular topic, since I
realize Cannan and Priest probably aren't the best sources for Confederate
strength at Antietam.


[1] John Owen Allen, "The Strength of the Union and Confederate Forces At
Second Manassas" (Masters Thesis, George Mason University, 1993), 209.

[2] John Michael Priest, Antietam: The Soldier's Battle, 1st paperback ed.,
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 332.

[3] John Cannan, The Antietam Campaign: August - September 1862, revised and
expanded ed., (Pennsylvania: Combined Books, 1994), 228-229.


--
Brett S.

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ray o'hara

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Oct 31, 2005, 11:21:57 PM10/31/05
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"Brett S." <br...@NOSPAMbrettschulte.net> wrote in message
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the reasons you gave all apply, but the mojority of losses was due to
desertions of men who wouldn't go north, most rejoined after the battleand
the ANV retreated back south of the potomac.

as many as 20,000 refused to cross into maryland. they fely they had joined
up strictly to defend the confederacy and invading north of the potomac was
a violation of their terms of enlistment.

in 1863 when lee went north to disaster at gettysburg the men all stayed
with the colors, attitudes had changed.


Brett S.

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Nov 1, 2005, 8:20:25 AM11/1/05
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Ray,

Thanks for the input. I've heard different sources claim a number from
almost none to 20,000 as far as troops who refused to cross the
Potomac. I know Harsh apparently favors the "almost none" stance. Do
you happen to have sources for your 20,000 stance above? I'd be
interested in reading as many opinions as possible. I haven't read
Harsh yet either, but I've bought two of his books on the Maryland
Campaign and I plan to go over them soon.

Brett

scribe7716

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Nov 1, 2005, 12:19:19 PM11/1/05
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Brett S. wrote:
> I've always been interested in regimental strengths and the overall PFD
> strengths of armies and other military units during the war. My recent
> studies of Second Manassas and Chantilly led me to wonder how the
> Confederate PFD strength of 75,528[1] on September 2, 1862 could possibly
> shrink all the way to sources as varied as Priest's 30,646[2] to Cannan's
> 37,351[3] on September 17, 1862 (Priest says Sept. 16-18, 1862)?

Perhaps Lee provided the answer -- though not in detail -- in his Aug.
19, 1863, report on the Maryland campaign.

He moved into Maryland, Lee reported, "Although not properly equipped
for invasion, lacking much of the material of war, and feeble in
transportation, the troops poorly provided with clothing, and thousands
of them destitute of shoes...." Under those conditions it speaks well
for the tenacity of the Confederate soldier that Lee got to Antietam
with much more than a corporal's guard.

During the campaign itself (Sept. 13, 1862) Lee reported "One great
embarassment is the reduction of our ranks by straggling, which it
seems impossible to prevent with our present regimental officers. Our
ranks are very much diminished, I fear from a third to a half of our
original numbers...." Other than throwing his regimental officers
under the bus I find nothing from Lee offering any explanation for the
pandemic "straggling."

Brett S.

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Nov 1, 2005, 12:21:59 PM11/1/05
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scribe,

Thanks. Lee's Sept. 13 comments are right on mark with a reduction
from 75,000 to 35,000-40,000. I've picked up Harsh's books on the
Camapign as well. I hear he covers this subject in some detail.

Brett

ray o'hara

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Nov 1, 2005, 1:11:28 PM11/1/05
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"Brett S." <b_sch...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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read freeman, lee's lieutenants, and sears, landscape turned red.


Brett S.

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Nov 1, 2005, 1:22:12 PM11/1/05
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Ray,

Thanks. I've got Landscape Turned Red, but I've never been able to
find the 3-volume version of Lee's Lieutenant's at what I'd consider a
decent price. I really need to just bite the bullet and pick it up.

Brett

ray o'hara

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Nov 1, 2005, 1:52:06 PM11/1/05
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"Brett S." <b_sch...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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most libraries have it


Brett S.

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Nov 1, 2005, 2:03:27 PM11/1/05
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I live out in the middle of nowhere in small-town southern Illinois
though, so it's probably easier for me to just order it. I work in St.
Louis, though, so I might go check out the Public Library system here.

Brett

Bruce Coryell

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Nov 1, 2005, 7:26:07 PM11/1/05
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Barnes & Noble is selling a reprint of Lee's Lieutenants (KOI) for $7.95
- I'm reading it right now, good read.

Gordon

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Nov 1, 2005, 7:52:16 PM11/1/05
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As much as the history books would like to have exact numbers of
personel reported. War reporting of numbers was and is a state of flux.
Even today with our high tech reporting procedures 10% of the us Army"s
exact disposition is unknown. Deception, protection of soldiers
identities who lived near the border, sick casualties, desertions,
gawkers who go along for the fight, asigned slaves etc all impacted the
reported numbers.

As for a good source consider going to a Southern Reenactors meeting
and asking.

Will

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Nov 2, 2005, 1:14:31 PM11/2/05
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Brett S. wrote:
> I've always been interested in regimental strengths and the overall PFD
> strengths of armies and other military units during the war. My recent
> studies of Second Manassas and Chantilly led me to wonder how the
> Confederate PFD strength of 75,528[1] on September 2, 1862 could possibly
> shrink all the way to sources as varied as Priest's 30,646[2] to Cannan's
> 37,351[3] on September 17, 1862 (Priest says Sept. 16-18, 1862)? Were
> significant numbers of men left in Virginia or at Harper's Ferry?

For most of the summer (which can be oppressively hot in virginina)
the army had been pushed hard, moving and fighting. Logistical systems
were strained and organizational systems, like provost martial and
medical corps, were imperfect. As a result, the break down in the army
was dramatic.
While there were some who refused to go into Maryland on principle, I
am of the opinion that this argument (see Ray's post) is exaggerated
since it sounds better than saying that 30,000 stayed behind because
they were worn out. As he headed into Maryland, Lee designated
Winchester as the assembly point for stragglers. Men continued to be
rounded up through October as the army regrouped.

scribe7716

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Nov 2, 2005, 1:47:34 PM11/2/05
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Will wrote:

> For most of the summer (which can be oppressively hot in virginina)
> the army had been pushed hard, moving and fighting. Logistical systems
> were strained and organizational systems, like provost martial and
> medical corps, were imperfect. As a result, the break down in the army
> was dramatic.
> While there were some who refused to go into Maryland on principle, I
> am of the opinion that this argument (see Ray's post) is exaggerated
> since it sounds better than saying that 30,000 stayed behind because
> they were worn out.

John Esten Cooke, a captain in Stuart's cavalry wrote in his 1863
biography of Stonewall Jackson, "All the roads of northern Virginia
were lined with soldiers, comprehensively denominated 'stragglers': but
the great majority of these men [he estimated from 20,000 to 30,000]
had fallen out from the advancing column from physical inability to
keep up with it; thousands were not with General Lee because they had
no shoes, and their bleeding feet would carry them no farther, or that
the heavy march without rations had broken them down."

By the time these men got to the Potomac, Cooke said, "it was only to
find that General Lee had swept on, that General McClellan's was
between him and them, and that they could not rejoin their commands."

Saxon_Person

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Nov 3, 2005, 5:13:54 PM11/3/05
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Brett, it looks as if you have done meticulous research and all your
assumptions probably are correct and defensible.

I would like to add the records available are also suspect. Numbers just get
twisted at the time and over time, they seem to change either up or down.
However, this was to be expected for many of the reasons you noted in your
posting, many times strength figures have to be considered in the light of
the "heat" of the moment and battle.

"Brett S." <br...@NOSPAMbrettschulte.net> wrote in message
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Brad Meyer

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Nov 6, 2005, 12:39:57 AM11/6/05
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On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 21:52:27 -0600, "Brett S."
<br...@NOSPAMbrettschulte.net> wrote:

>I've always been interested in regimental strengths and the overall PFD
>strengths of armies and other military units during the war. My recent
>studies of Second Manassas and Chantilly led me to wonder how the
>Confederate PFD strength of 75,528[1] on September 2, 1862 could possibly
>shrink all the way to sources as varied as Priest's 30,646[2] to Cannan's
>37,351[3] on September 17, 1862 (Priest says Sept. 16-18, 1862)?

Several possibilities. First, the 75,000 could be in error. OTOH,
recent work by Harsh tends to confirm that number through independent
sources. Second the "day of battle figures could be in error. It is
not unknown for the "lost causers" to go for the smallest possible
number in order to prop up their own causes. Still, most sources end
up totalling something between 38 and 41 thousand PFD at dawn on the
17th, with no more then 35,000 infantry. The only command attached to
the army that did not participate in the battle was one brigade of AP
Hill left to handle the surrender at Harper's Ferry, and the losses at
South Mountain were likely not more the 4000, so one must conclude
that nearly half of Lee's army went estray during the first 17 days of
September.

>I have a few ideas of my own as far as troop loss goes. First, Jackson's
>men especially had been marching and fighting since early August, and they
>were simply worn out.

Actually, they had been either fighting or marching pretty much since
Kernstown in March. The only periods during that time they spent in
one camp were from 10 June, after Port Republic, until they moved to
Richmond for the Seven Days, maybe two weeks, and the two or three
weeks between the Seven Days and the movement to Gordonsville.

>I wouldn't be surprised at thousands of men simply
>failing to keep up with their comrades on the march north.

Quite true. Other units could be cited for similar activity,
especially those that participated in Seven Pines. OTOH, one of the
advantages that Lee enjoyed that fall was experience. Counting First
Manassas, the West Virginia campaign in 1861, The Valley Campaign,
Seven Pines, Seven Days, and Second Manassas/Ox Hill as seperate
battles, every CS unit at Sharpsburg had participated in at least two,
most in three, and many in 4 or 5. Conversely, several Union units
were innocent of combat and few had participated in as many as three
of the aforemention battles.

>Second, I've
>read many reports of some Confederates stopping at the Potomac River and
>refusing to invade the North. How widespread this phenomena was I have no
>idea.

Not widespread at all. Much talk about it but no actual documented
cases of untits and few of men.

>Third, the macadamized roads of Maryland were brutal on a
>Confederate Army which had a large number of men with no shoes. I can see
>thousands more dropping out due to this cause.

Exactly

One very strong reason that you have overlooked is the large number of
CS regts and bdes under temporary commanders who were simply unequal
to the task of keeping the men in the ranks.

>
>I'd love to hear the opinions of those of you who know much more than I do
>and who have looked at this in some detail.

It is interesting to note, along this line, that Lee had 77,000 men in
the ranks six weeks after the battle witout receiving any new units.

>I'd also appreciate it if
>anyone can point me to more literature on this particular topic, since I
>realize Cannan and Priest probably aren't the best sources for Confederate
>strength at Antietam.

"Taken at the Flood" and "Sounding the Shallows", both by Joe Harsh.
The first is an operational history of the campaign from the day after
Ox Hill through the 20th of Setember. The latter is a combination
gazateer for the campaign and all the appendicies that didn't fit into
the first book (Just as "Confederate Tide Rising" covers the war in
the east from the beginning until the end of Ox Hill). It has things
like the weather reports from all the Union weather stations in the
area, population figures (including slaveholders and slaves),
production of various crops, sunrise, sunset, moonrise, etc., etc.,
etc. (More then you want to know!) Also a survey of CS units with
strengths and battle experience, changes to the divisional
organization (and there were several during the campaign --
Longstreet, for instance, reorganized his multi-division "command" no
less then three times during the two weeks in MD). IMO really a good
set to read.

Brett S.

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Nov 6, 2005, 4:19:34 PM11/6/05
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Brad,

Thanks very much for the detailed and informed response, and thanks to
everyone else who responded. I posted this question in a few other places
too, and everyone says to read Harsh. I've bought all three and they should
arrive in the next week or so. I'm looking forward to reading these.

--
Brett S.


"Brad Meyer" <brad...@gmail.com> wrote in message
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Brad Meyer

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Nov 12, 2005, 3:32:05 PM11/12/05
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On Sun, 6 Nov 2005 15:19:34 -0600, "Brett S."
<br...@NOSPAMbrettschulte.net> wrote:

>Brad,
>
>Thanks very much for the detailed and informed response, and thanks to
>everyone else who responded. I posted this question in a few other places
>too, and everyone says to read Harsh. I've bought all three and they should
>arrive in the next week or so. I'm looking forward to reading these.

Let us know what you think both as and after you read them.

Brett S.

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Nov 13, 2005, 4:21:24 PM11/13/05
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Brad,

I'll definitely be doing that. If you take a look at my Civil War blog in
my signature below, you'll see one post already mentioning Confederate Tide
Rising. I'll be posting probably on each individual chapter as I read.
I've read the first three chapters and I'm now in the process of going
through, digesting the information again, and taking notes. I hope to have
a blog entry out for Chapter 1 on Monday some time.

--
Brett S.


"Brad Meyer" <brad...@gmail.com> wrote in message

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