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  #11  
Old 09-16-2016
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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An unsuccessful effort was made to reform the division in the hollow in front of the batteries. Failing in this, the command was reformed beyond the Bowling Green road and marched to the ground occupied the night before, where it was held in reserve till the night of the 15th, when we recrossed the river.
Accompanying this report is a list giving the names of the killed, wounded, and missing, amounting in the aggregate to 179 killed, 1,082 wounded, and 509 missing. When I report that 4,500 men is a liberal estimate of the strength of the division taken into action, this large loss, being 40 per cent., will fully bear me out in the expression of my satisfaction at the good conduct of both officers and men. While I deeply regret the inability of the division, after having successfully penetrated the enemy's lines, to remain and hold what had been secured, at the same time I deem their withdrawal a matter of necessity. With one brigade commander killed, another wounded, nearly half their number hors du combat, with regiments separated from brigades, and companies from regiments, and all the confusion and disorder incidental to the advance of an extended line through wood and other obstructions, assailed by a heavy fire, not only of infantry but of artillery--not only in front but on both flanks--the best troops would be justified in withdrawing without loss of honor.
The reports of the brigade commanders, herewith submitted, are referred to for details not contained in this report.
My thanks are due Col. William Sinclair, Sixth Regiment, and Col. A. L. Magilton, Fourth Regiment, for the manner in which they handled their commands. To Colonel Sinclair particularly, who had command of the advance during the whole day, and who was severely wounded, I desire to express my obligations for the assistance rendered me.
The members of my personal staff, Capt. E. C. Baird, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. Alexander B. Coxe, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Lieut. A. G. Mason, Fifth Regiment, aides-de-camp, deserve my thanks for the prompt and fearless manner in which they conveyed my orders to all parts of the field.
The loss of Lieut. Arthur Dehon, Twelfth Massachusetts, my aide, is greatly to be deplored, as he was a young officer of high promise, endeared to all who knew him for his manly virtues and amiable character. The public service has also to mourn the loss of Brig. Gen. C. Feger Jackson, an officer of merit and reputation, who owed his position to his gallantry and good conduct in previous actions.
Others have fallen of distinguished merit, and there are many of the living whom it will be my pleasure hereafter to bring to the notice of the Government for their distinguished acts of gallantry. At present I must refer to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. G. MEADE,
Major-General, Commanding Division.
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  #12  
Old 12-24-2016
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caledonia caledonia is offline
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Default merry christmas to all

merry Christmas to moseby; wherever you are.
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  #13  
Old 08-10-2019
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caledonia View Post
for a practical study of the forementioned tactics review the southern horse artillery as used on the right wing of the confederate line at fredericksburg (first battle)... this was a purrely offensive maneuver, from a defensive position, used to break up the federal columns advancing across the bottom lands of the rappahanock (sp.?)
I believe the young officer executing the maneuver was named pelham.



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William Nelson Pendleton

First Rockbridge Artillery

Contributed by Matt Atkinson

The First Rockbridge Artillery was organized on April 29, 1861, in Lexington, Virginia, and served throughout the duration of the American Civil War (18611865), firing its first shot in anger at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, and fighting in most major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia until its surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Initially led by Lexington rector and West Point graduate William N. Pendleton, the battery quickly became renowned for its daring and firmness under fire as part of the Stonewall Brigade. Pendleton, with ecclesiastical panache, named the first four tubes of the battery "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John." MORE...











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Title: General John A. McCausland

General John A. McCausland

The unit's seventy members elected Pendleton to train the battery after its first captain, John A. McCausland, a mathematics professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, was sent to train troops gathering in Charles Town, Virginia. The unit's initial armament consisted of two six-pounder cannon from VMI and two more cannon from Richmond. On May 11, the battery proceeded to Harpers Ferry to join the Virginia brigade of Confederate general Thomas J. Jackson.

On July 18, Confederate forces, including Jackson's brigade and the Rockbridge Artillery, started east to unite with Confederate general P. G. T. Beauregard's forces at Manassas Junction. On July 21, at the First Battle of Manassas, the battery helped defend the critical position at Henry House Hill. The brigade's stand would earn it, and its commander, the sobriquet "Stonewall." During the Union retreat, the battery even received a visit from Confederate president Jefferson Davis, who had traveled to Manassas to witness the fight personally. After the victory, the Rockbridge Artillery acquired a new complement of cannon that the Confederates had captured from the Union troops.

Later in July, Pendleton received a promotion to chief of artillery and Captain William McLaughlin assumed command of the battery. In November, the Rockbridge Artillery returned to the Shenandoah Valley to rejoin Jackson's command. During the winter of 1861 and 1862, the battery participated in Jackson's ill-fated Romney Campaign. At the Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862, it assisted in holding Union forces in check during the Confederate retreat but lost a six-pounder cannon and caisson in the process. In April, Captain William T. Poague assumed command of the battery. On June 9, 1862, at the Battle of Port Republic, Poague and the Rockbridge Artillery helped prevent the capture of Jackson as he fled U.S. soldiers pouring into the town. The unit deployed its guns, drove the Union troops out, and then later assisted in their pursuit.

Later that month, Jackson and the rest of his command joined the Army of Northern Virginia outside Richmond but did not participate in any of the Seven Days' Battles except for Malvern Hill. There, Confederate batteries, including the Rockbridge Artillery, proceeded into the fight piecemeal, allowing the Union batteries to concentrate their fire against the isolated Confederate guns. The Rockbridge Artillery expended all of its ammunition during Malvern Hill, but because it had been emplaced well, it suffered fewer casualties than did other batteries engaged.

On August 29, 1862, at the Second Battle of Manassas, Union general John Pope hurled his troops against Jackson's line. The Rockbridge Artillery fought side by side with the infantry in repulsing the attacks. The next day the battery shifted to the right and assisted in repulsing renewed attacks against Jackson's front. On September 17, at the Battle of Antietam, the Rockbridge Artillery was positioned near the Dunkard Church where it endured such a severe counter-battery cross fire from Union artillery that some Confederate gunners dubbed the battle "artillery hell." Although the battery was not as badly damaged as other units were, the ferocity of the fire prompted Robert E. Lee Jr., a member of the battery, to recall that the unit had been "severely handled" while aiding Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart's artillery fire on the Union flank. Lee also recalled that after the battle, his visage begrimed with powder and sweat, his own father, General Robert E. Lee, failed to recognize him. He remembered that "when he found out who I was, he congratulated me on being well and unhurt. I then said: 'General, are you going to send us in again?' 'Yes, my son,' he replied, with a smile: 'You all must do what you can to help drive these people back.'" Defiantly, the Army of Northern Virginia would remain on the field for another day before prudently retreating.

Licking its wounds after the savagery of Antietam, the Army of Northern Virginia withdrew to Virginia. It faced the Army of the Potomac again at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. The Rockbridge Artillery, split into two sections, deployed its long-range guns on the extreme right flank of the Confederate line to support the guns of Major John Pelham and its other pieces closer to the center of the Confederate right flank at Prospect Hill. The battery sustained losses of six killed, sixteen wounded, and thirty-seven horses killed during the battle.
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Old 08-10-2019
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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1862 Battle of Fredericksburg




FOUR MILES SOUTH of Fredericksburg, at the end of the battlefield tour road, stands a cannon-studded knoll known as Prospect Hill. Today the hill is a quiet, peaceful place, but 139 years ago it was the scene of a fierce duel between artillerists of the Blue and the Gray.

John F. Reynolds, commanding the Union army's 1st Corps, had orders to take the hill, a task he delegated to Gen. George G. Meade's division of Pennsylvania Reserves. As Meade aligned his men for the attack, Maj. John Pelham of the Confederate army brought forward a lone cannon and began shelling Meade's left flank. Union artillery drove away the annoying Confederate, allowing Meade to proceed with his attack.

Pelham's was not the only Confederate cannon on the field, however. Meade knew that the wooded ridge ahead harbored dozens of additional guns. Before ordering his troops to attack the forbidding heights, Meade resolved to knock out with artillery any Confederate guns that might be lurking there.

The bombardment began at 11 a.m. Meade opened with four batteries totaling 18 guns. Union artillery across the Rappahannock River on Stafford Heights added their weight to the attack. For an hour, wrote one witness, "the air was resonant with the savage music of shells and solid shot."

The Union gunners fired at a slow, steady rate. Three months earlier, at the Battle of Antietam, artillery chief Henry J. Hunt had watched in disapproval as gun crews rapidly fired off their ammunition so as to be able to leave the battlefield. He was not going to let that happen again. At Fredericksburg, he ordered his gun crews to fire no more than one round every three minutes. Firing at a more rapid pace, he sternly lectured, would be viewed as evidence of cowardice.

At the height of the bombardment, Hunt had as many as 60 guns in action. The shelling was impressive in terms of the noise and smoke it generated; however it failed to draw out and destroy Confederate artillery on the ridge. Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson had approximately 50 guns on his portion of the line, but he had wisely ordered his men to withhold their fire until the Union army sent forward its infantry. Because Jackson's artillery did not reply to his bombardment, Wainwright could not tell where the Confederate guns were were, much less whether he had damaged any of them.

Jackson's gunners finally tipped their hand about noon. As Meade aligned his division for the attack, he pushed forward the 9th Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment as skirmishers. Capt. David G. McIntosh, commanding a Confederate artillery battery on Prospect Hill, watched breathlessly as the Union line approached.

"What an awful suspense these last moments are," he later recalled. "The gun is charged, lanyard in hand, the gunner at the trail, ammunition heaped in piles nearby, waiting for the order to fire. Minutes seem like hours. One holds his breath and then breathes hard. But at last the moment comes."

Eight hundred yards in front of the Confederate guns stood a lone tree. Southern artillerymen had precisely measured its distance and cut the time fuses on their exploding shells accordingly. When the Union line reached the tree, 14 guns let loose with a roar.

"From then on," McIntosh wrote, "it is load and fire, load and fire, as fast as sponge and rammer and lanyard can do their work, and as fast as muscle and skill and consuming zeal can direct and control"
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Old 08-10-2019
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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By firing on the Union line, the Confederates had exposed the position of their guns to Union view. Wainwright once again ordered his cannon forward to shell the heights. There was now no reason for the Confederates to hold back, and for an hour both sides went at it hammer and tongs. The Union army had superior artillery and ammunition, and the Confederates took a beating. The 14 guns at Prospect Hill were especially hard hit.




In the ranks that day was a young South Carolina soldier named Ben. As he stood by his gun, iron fragments struck all around him. "The trees around our guns were literally torn to pieces and the ground plowed up," he informed his parents. "I have been several times covered with dirt, and had it knocked in my eyes and mouth."

Three men in Ben's battery were killed in the maelstrom; 16 others were wounded. Ben himself survived by only the narrowest of margins:

"A piece of shell went through my coat sleeve; it stung a little. A Minié ball went through the ramrod, and it or a splinter struck me on the head. I was by the gun looking at the Yankees when a great piece of shell, big as my two fists, came along and knocked a spoke out of the wheel, and it or a piece of the spoke, or something else, hit me square in the breastI saw a piece of shell go a-'kiting' by my leg, missing it an inch or two. This is only a few of the narrow escapes I made today."

"It was," he noted, "a time to test a man's courage."
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Old 08-10-2019
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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Few passed the test. One by one, Confederate artillerists began abandoning their guns and fleeing toward the back of the hill, where they hoped to find cover. It was little safer there. Many Union projectiles skimmed over the crest and exploded beyond, killing men and battery horses alike. So many animals were victims of the shelling that for years afterward the place was known as "Dead Horse Hill."

One man who did not seek safety was Capt. Willie Pegram. With his thin, pale face, wavy hair, and thick spectacles, the earnest 21-year-old officer looked more like a graduate student than a warrior, but in his breast beat the heart of a lion. Pegram commanded six of Prospect Hill's 14 guns.

As his men fled their pieces, Pegram shouted at them to return. When they did not respond, Pegram wrapped himself in his battery flag and strode calmly among

Capt. James Hall matched Pegram's coolness under fire. Hall commanded one of the Union batteries that was firing at Prospect Hill. He was chatting with some fellow officers when a solid shot skipped past him and struck an ammunition chest nearby. A deafening explosion followed.

Hall calmly walked over to the nearest cannon, sighted it, and sent a shell screeching toward the enemy lines. His shot was right on the mark, detonating a Confederate ammunition chest. Having exacted his revenge, Hall returned to his conversation.

Shots like Hall's had their effect. One by one, the Confederate guns fell silent. After an hour, Meade determined that the time had come to strike. The 3,800 men of his division rose to their feet and started toward the smoking ridge. As they passed through the line of barking Union guns, a sooty artillerist shouted after them: "Boys, we have done our duty, now go and do yours."

Next week: Mannsfield

DONALD C. PFANZ is staff historian with Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He is author of "Abraham Lincoln at City Point" and "Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier's Life."

Last edited by Theodoric; 08-19-2019 at 03:33 AM.
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