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European Armies at Gettysburg ?


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#1 ickysdad

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 2241 PM

Ok Alot of criticism has been made of General Meade at Gettysburg not following up after lee retreated. My question is was Meade smart not to follow up considering he had suffered 23,000 casualties in an army of 85,000??? I posted a link from another forum whereupon another poster states that an European Army certainly could have followed up on it after sustaining such casualties and after fighting under that very hot July sun for 3 days,any opinions?? I also understand the Army of the Potomac had to march for a couple of days under said sun to get to gettysburg in the first place.

Another question said poster more or less states the Union wasn't really expierenced even at the end of the war due to their mustering out and being replaced by new recruits though some of the officers were certasinly expierenced ,how true is this???


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#2 Rich

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0654 AM

Another question said poster more or less states the Union wasn't really expierenced even at the end of the war due to their mustering out and being replaced by new recruits though some of the officers were certasinly expierenced ,how true is this???


Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. :rolleyes:

The bulk of Union Volunteers were three-year regiments that replaced the initial 90-day militia call up in the summer and fall of 1861 so were due to be released in the summer and fall of 1864. A large fraction of those at that time immediately re-enlisted in Veteran Voluteer organizatons that were effectively consolidated regiments. Overall, the loss was probably ten to twenty percent of strength at that time. The nine-month "emergency" regiments raised in 1862 were disbanded at the end of 1862 and early 1863 and most of those men took their nine months of experience home. Many regiments periodically sent recruiting parties home, especially during the summer of 1863. You will find them appearing on orders of battle as notional battalions of two to four companies, usually commanded by a senior captain or major - see the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg, the 49th Penn., do., and so on. [Forgot the who-fraw about conscription, which generated a small amount of manpower directly before the end of the war but a whole lot of hand-wringing by historians regarding desertion and what-not since.]

Repeating rifles? The Dreyse was so badly outdated by 1866 that the Prussian infantry was impotent versus the Austrian's with their Lorenz ML rifles...it was superior Prussian [delete - artillery - I just realized i was thinking of the FP War, the Austrian artillery organizationally outclassed the Prussian and was much better handled, overshadowing the quality of the Prussian pieces] numbers that won their battles. Nor was their any "steel" artillery of importance until 1869-1970 in the Prussian Army and in no other European Army. The British artillery used Armstrong BL rifles, the French Bronze rifles of poor reputation, and so on.

Cheers!

Edited by Rich, 15 March 2011 - 0944 AM.

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#3 RETAC21

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0742 AM

It's pretty obvious that the notional Yurropean armies would have cleared the fields with their mitralleuses and steel artillery, not to speak about the classy uniforms and colorful kilts of the Higlands, plus the shields of the heavy cavalry and the zouaves. Throw some Garibaldini for more color, and the cossacks, of course... Posted Image


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#4 ickysdad

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0836 AM

Just how well did the French do in Mexico??? What were the problems they encountered there???
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#5 T19

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0839 AM

Everything that I have read that compared the European Armies to those of the Civil war have the US coming out on top (North or south) And that was not because the author was American.

#6 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0911 AM

None of the Civil War battles ended in total defeat of the losing side. In every case, the losing army lived to "fight again another day". The only total defeats were places like Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Harper's Ferry where a besieged force capitulated.

Lee's most successful pursuits after 2nd Bull Run ended at Chantilly with the Pope forces withdrawing into the defenses of Washington. The most successful Union pursuit was by Wilson after the Battle of nashville, but there was still an organized remnant of the AoT left to regroup.

Civil War armies were as disorganized by their victory as they were by their defeat. At Gettysburg, Meade did have the V and VI Corps which were relatively untouched, but were scattered out in penny packets to "plug holes".

Communications were the big problem (as they were in WW One). It required a lot of planning and mounted messenger coordination to get a big mass of men moving to make an effective attack. Ad hoc counter attacks done by a corps size force were difficult to coordinate.

For all of the difficulties of moving an army, see the Franco-Prussian War if you think the Yurropeans would have done better (and they were moving across a lot more settled and mapped out countryside with better roads.
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#7 ickysdad

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 0921 AM

None of the Civil War battles ended in total defeat of the losing side. In every case, the losing army lived to "fight again another day". The only total defeats were places like Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Harper's Ferry where a besieged force capitulated.

Lee's most successful pursuits after 2nd Bull Run ended at Chantilly with the Pope forces withdrawing into the defenses of Washington. The most successful Union pursuit was by Wilson after the Battle of nashville, but there was still an organized remnant of the AoT left to regroup.

Civil War armies were as disorganized by their victory as they were by their defeat. At Gettysburg, Meade did have the V and VI Corps which were relatively untouched, but were scattered out in penny packets to "plug holes".

Communications were the big problem (as they were in WW One). It required a lot of planning and mounted messenger coordination to get a big mass of men moving to make an effective attack. Ad hoc counter attacks done by a corps size force were difficult to coordinate.

For all of the difficulties of moving an army, see the Franco-Prussian War if you think the Yurropeans would have done better (and they were moving across a lot more settled and mapped out countryside with better roads.



Well I brought up the issue of communications in the Franco-Prussian War in the other forum . I've been amazed from what I've read about the lack of accurate maps in the Civil War. As I understand it was thing that hurt the Union in their attacks south,i.e. lack of accurate maps of the South. In his campaign through Georgia it was an important fact that Sherman had done surveying work there before the war. I imagine France during the Franco-Prussian War had alot better roads plus probably a far more extensive rail network.
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#8 Doug Kibbey

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 1300 PM

Well I brought up the issue of communications in the Franco-Prussian War in the other forum . I've been amazed from what I've read about the lack of accurate maps in the Civil War. As I understand it was thing that hurt the Union in their attacks south,i.e. lack of accurate maps of the South. In his campaign through Georgia it was an important fact that Sherman had done surveying work there before the war. I imagine France during the Franco-Prussian War had alot better roads plus probably a far more extensive rail network.


Local knowledge of the terrain and "road" network (and a sympathetic population base) was a significant factor in Jackson's campaign in the Shenandoah. So much so that an entire chapter is given over to this topic in Keegan's "Intelligence In War". It's not as if the CSA commanders had terrific maps either, but they had lots of tips from the "indigenous personnel".
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#9 X-Files

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 1314 PM

Everything that I have read that compared the European Armies to those of the Civil war have the US coming out on top (North or south) And that was not because the author was American.

So good, even the Tugars respected them

Damn caches. Fixed.

Edited by X-Files, 19 March 2011 - 1021 AM.

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#10 Doug Kibbey

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 1319 PM

So good, even the Tugars respected them


Are you sure that was the link you had in mind?
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#11 ickysdad

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 1200 PM

Ok a little OT but in comparing economies/industry between say the US, UK, Prussia and France Paul Kennedy in his book "Rise & Fall of the Great Empires" on page 149 shows the shares as 7.2% , 19.9% , 4.9% and 7.9% respectively using mainly Paul Bairoch's figures. However on page 192 of same book Kennedy states that ,as of 1870, it's more like 23%, 31 %, 13% and 10% respectively.Kennedy's footnotes lead back to his book "The Rise & Fall of British Naval Mastery",which I also possess,the footnotes there quote "Industrialisation & Foriegn Trade" (for the figures from 1870) a publication by the UN using census data & such.

Douglas C. North's "The Economic Growth of the United States 1790-1860" also quotes the same publication(Industrilization & Foriegn trade) in his preface.North's book starts out with figures from the 12th US Census (which is using figures from Mulhall's "Industries & Wealth of Nations") showing the US in 4th place in regards to manufaturing at $1,907,000,000.00, Germany at $1,995,000,000.00, France at $2,092,000,000.00 and the UK at $ 2,808,000,000.00 al as of 1860 . On the same page these figures were criticised. There seems to be evidence showing the US had already passed all others execept the UK in regards to industrial output,as per "Industrilization & Foriegn Trade". The figures from there are UK 31.8%, US 23.3% ,Germany 13.2% and France at 10.3%. North says the statistical data used for those figures are far more comprehensive & reliable then what was used in Mulhall's. North further states that it is inconcievable that in the light of slower growth due to the war that the distribution of industrial output could hace changed so radically that Mulhall's relative figures could be correct for the earlier decade.

Any ideas???

Edited by ickysdad, 16 March 2011 - 1202 PM.

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#12 Old Tanker

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 1302 PM

Local knowledge of the terrain and "road" network (and a sympathetic population base) was a significant factor in Jackson's campaign in the Shenandoah. So much so that an entire chapter is given over to this topic in Keegan's "Intelligence In War". It's not as if the CSA commanders had terrific maps either, but they had lots of tips from the "indigenous personnel".


Jackson's map maker , J. Hotchkiss , is a relative of my kids via their mother. He was a Yankee school teacher who settled in Va.

Edited by Old Tanker, 16 March 2011 - 1302 PM.

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#13 T19

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 1543 PM

Are you sure that was the link you had in mind?


Tank God I thought I had it wrong too LOL

#14 Doug Kibbey

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 1704 PM

Jackson's map maker , J. Hotchkiss , is a relative of my kids via their mother. He was a Yankee school teacher who settled in Va.


Jedidiah Hotchkiss is indexed on about nine pages of the referenced work.
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#15 ickysdad

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1049 AM

Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. :rolleyes:

The bulk of Union Volunteers were three-year regiments that replaced the initial 90-day militia call up in the summer and fall of 1861 so were due to be released in the summer and fall of 1864. A large fraction of those at that time immediately re-enlisted in Veteran Voluteer organizatons that were effectively consolidated regiments. Overall, the loss was probably ten to twenty percent of strength at that time. The nine-month "emergency" regiments raised in 1862 were disbanded at the end of 1862 and early 1863 and most of those men took their nine months of experience home. Many regiments periodically sent recruiting parties home, especially during the summer of 1863. You will find them appearing on orders of battle as notional battalions of two to four companies, usually commanded by a senior captain or major - see the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg, the 49th Penn., do., and so on. [Forgot the who-fraw about conscription, which generated a small amount of manpower directly before the end of the war but a whole lot of hand-wringing by historians regarding desertion and what-not since.]

Repeating rifles? The Dreyse was so badly outdated by 1866 that the Prussian infantry was impotent versus the Austrian's with their Lorenz ML rifles...it was superior Prussian [delete - artillery - I just realized i was thinking of the FP War, the Austrian artillery organizationally outclassed the Prussian and was much better handled, overshadowing the quality of the Prussian pieces] numbers that won their battles. Nor was their any "steel" artillery of importance until 1869-1970 in the Prussian Army and in no other European Army. The British artillery used Armstrong BL rifles, the French Bronze rifles of poor reputation, and so on.

Cheers!


Well we're getting 67thTigers expert opinion over there!!!!! LOL !!!!!! He's claiming the British Army was a fine/razor's edge fighting machine ,engaging targets at 900 yards. Also that the British at 100 yards are 10 to 20 times more accurate then the American volunteers. He states the UK has a GDP of 16.1 billion,the Union at 9.5 billion and the CSA has a 4.3 billion GDP ,all figures using 1960 dollars. More Tigger math???
How good was the British calvary at this time??? He states they were first class carrying breech loading carbines and that the army's artillery was breech loading.
http://warships1disc...Clellan?page=-1

Edited by ickysdad, 21 March 2011 - 1112 AM.

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#16 67th Tigers

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1201 PM

Well we're getting 67thTigers expert opinion over there!!!!! LOL !!!!!! He's claiming the British Army was a fine/razor's edge fighting machine ,engaging targets at 900 yards.


Never study the Crimean or Indian Mutiny? Not remembering the 88th smashing a Russian gunline at Inkermann by shooting down the gunners at 800 yards?

Also that the British at 100 yards are 10 to 20 times more accurate then the American volunteers.


Yep. At Inkermann the hit rate was 1 hit per 18 shots fired. If you use some estimates of ammunition expenditure at Gettysburg you might derive a figure of 1 hit per 350 shots fired (conflating artillery hits). Deconflating artillery and musketry casualties is difficult, but it would seem at least half the casualties were caused by artillery, which lowers musketry effectiveness to 1 in 700 hit (in line with some Napoleonic combat). Of course, I'm a dissenter who points to the existing Ordnance Officer reports (ref) suggesting a much lower ammunition expenditure and small arms effectiveness of around 1 in 200 rounds actually hit.


He states the UK has a GDP of 16.1 billion,the Union at 9.5 billion and the CSA has a 4.3 billion GDP ,all figures using 1960 dollars. More Tigger math???


Think, who reports 1960 USD as figures.....

How good was the British calvary at this time??? He states they were first class carrying breech loading carbines and that the army's artillery was breech loading.


That would be a mix of Greene's, Sharp's, Terry's and Westley-Richards' Carbines.

The artillery used the 12 pdr Armstrong RBL 8 cwt, and the 9 pdr Armstrong for horse artillery.
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#17 ickysdad

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1210 PM

Well Tigger we'll get a little more substantial opinion when the likes of Rich chime in . Everybody over here knows your math and eventually everybody on warships1 and elsewhere will too. Needless to say I'll take what you with a grain of salt. read Luvaas's "Military Legacy of the Civil War" on calvary.

Edited by ickysdad, 21 March 2011 - 1217 PM.

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#18 RETAC21

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1221 PM

This grain of salt...

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#19 Rich

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1249 PM

Well Tigger we'll get a little more substantial opinion when the likes of Rich chime in .


Why should I...didn't you read my first post? Or, alternately, search for almost any account of Inkerman that analyzes the terrain, Menshikov's ignorance of it, and the consequences to the Russian infantry and artillery. Oh, and the role of the British 18-pdrs and the French batteries that came up late in the day.

Or, simply ask Tigger for his sources that confirm his assumptions...not counting his own blog.

Cheers!
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#20 67th Tigers

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 1618 PM

Why should I...didn't you read my first post? Or, alternately, search for almost any account of Inkerman that analyzes the terrain, Menshikov's ignorance of it, and the consequences to the Russian infantry and artillery. Oh, and the role of the British 18-pdrs and the French batteries that came up late in the day.


I see, so what would you make of:

"...Colonel Jeffreys at once ordered the men to extend into skirmishing order, to lie down amongst the brushwood, and, sighting their rifles for 800 yards, to keep up an incessant fire upon the Russian field-batteries posted on the opposite hill, aiming wherever they saw puffs of smoke..... Todleben states*, in his account of events at this period of the action, that in consequence of the persistent and accurate firing of the English [sic] riflemen concealed in the thick brushwood at about 800 paces distance, almost every artilleryman in the batteries on Cossacks' [Shell] Hill was either killed or wounded..." - Steevens, N; The Crimean Campaign with the Connaught Rangers, London (1878), pgs 128-130

It is an extremely significant event in the evolution of tactics. It is where the idea that artillery could be mowed down by riflemen appears from. Tests (such as this one) replicated the feet. Riflemen in India again replicated it. Yet at Antietam batteries dropped trail less than 300 yards from enemy positions and were unmolested by effective fire. The men mattered. Without proper training a rifle-musket is just a less effective musket..

As to the 18 pounders, yes, they did some damage, probably a lot, but they did suppress the enemy. The Russians concentrated on them, caused heavy casualties but eventually (ca. 1100 hrs) the 18 pounders simply ran out of ammunition. The Russians remained in action. The 88th then shot them down. Then the 77th, 49th and 1/Rifle Brigade moved forward to 4-500 yards of the Russian gunline and shot the rest down. After a while the 18 pounders were resupplied, but only 2 Russian batteries (curiously those the riflemen didn't have line of sight on) remained on the field.

* Todleben was the Russian Chief Engineer and in his writings on the battle did indeed attribute the bulk of destruction of the Russian gunline to British riflemen (pg 159).

Of course to get to this you need to dig down to primary sources.....

Edited by 67th Tigers, 21 March 2011 - 1618 PM.

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