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Author Topic: Some Late Summer History
Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 18, 2018, 07:53
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Lee chose to stand in place on September 18, but then retreated across the Potomac to Virginia. McClellan sent a corps to pursue, which got temporarily lucky because William Nelson Pendleton, commanding the rearguard, showed that he wasn't a good infantry commander. (Fortunately, he only commanded artillery, and after Chancellorsville that was purely a staff position -- in which he did well. As a former Episcopal preacher, he reportedly firing on enemy troops early in the war with the command, "May the Lord have pity on their poor souls -- fire!") A. P. Hill counterattacked and drove them back across the river.

This effectively ended the Maryland campaign, and it was enough of a victory that it provided Lincoln with sufficient excuse to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. All the other Confederate offensives would ultimately end in Union successes, but this was the first.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, on September 19 William S. Rosecrans fought Sterling Price to a near draw at Iuka, with Price eventually withdrawing. The small battle might have been a major Union victory if Edmund O. C. Ord had joined in with his column and surrounded Price. But a phenomenon known as acoustic shadow caused Ord not to hear the guns at Iuka (Buell would encounter the same problem at Perryville a few weeks later).

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 19, 2018, 10:14
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The Battle of Freeman's Farm was fought on September 19, 1777. It was something of a draw, but "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne lost more men than Horatio Gates did, and could afford it less. His eventual surrender may have been inevitable at this point.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 19, 2018, 10:20
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I'm not sure of the exact location on this map where the battle took place, but I always find it interesting to see the actual places.

Here's a map of the disposition and initial movements of the armies in The First Battle of Saratoga (The Baffle of Freeman’s Farm).

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 19, 2018, 11:16
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Considering how important Burgoyne's surrender was to the French decision to aid the Americans, this battle sounds as if it was close to a watershed moment.

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 19, 2018, 20:48
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September 20, 1863 was the last day of the Battle of Chickamauga, which was the last chance Braxton Bragg had to take out the Army of the Cumberland and recover Chattanooga, Knoxville, and some portion of middle Tennessee. The battle began 2 days earlier as Bragg sent some of his troops to seize Alexander's and Reed's bridges to cross over to the Chickamauga and flank the Yankees from the north. The day's delay brought by the Spencer repeating rifles of Wilder's Lightning Brigade (mounted infantry) meant that the battle instead was a slog of frontal attacks.

The only reason the Confederates won a major victory was a series of events on the final day. Rosecrans, a choleric commander nettled by difficulties getting his units to move, dressed down division commander Thomas J. Wood in front of his staff for his "damnable disobedience" in waiting for someone to show up to replace him before making a move. Later a staff officer, passing along the line, got the impression that there were no troops between Wood's division and J. J. Reynold's division further north (in reality, John N. Brannan's division was between them). James Garfield, chief of staff for Rosecrans, kept track of movements and no doubt knew better, but he was momentarily unavailable and a different staff officer wrote an order to Wood to "close up on and support" Reynolds.

Having no desire to be chewed out again for failing to obey orders promptly, Wood pulled his division out of the line to move to Reynolds's support. Within moments, by pure chance, James Longstreet's main column -- 8 brigades led by John Bell Hood, divided into 3 small divisions under Bushrod Johnson, Evander Law, and Joseph Kershaw. They broke through, and led to the collapse of the Union right. Although much additional hard fighting remained, the rout of the divisions of Jefferson C. Davis and Philip H. Sheridan ("Little Phil was rarely at his best when the odds were even") as well as other scattered forces enabled the Confederates to prevail in the end.

Bragg followed Rosecrans to Chattanooga and decided to besiege him there. This came fairly close to success, but in the end it failed and Bragg was left facing greatly superior forces, eventually getting routed.

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 23, 2018, 09:11
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On September 23, 1806, the Corps of Discovery returned to St. Louis.

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 25, 2018, 16:22
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In the summer of 1066, King Harold I of Wessex faced two serious threats to his throne. His main concern was Duke William the Bastard of Normany, but he was also worried about King Harald Hardrada of Norway (more or less the successor of Canute). The latter was able to land first, while adverse Channel winds kept William from sailing. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Harold defeated (and killed) Harald on September 25, 1066, suffering heavy losses (many from a single Viking berserker holding the bridge). As a result, his forces were much weaker when William's force landed at Hastings. Most likely whichever landed first would have lost, and the second would have won.

But it has also been noted that very few European armies could have fought 2 such battles in the span of 3 weeks. Too bad for Harold that he had to. And he made a tough fight of it at Hastings anyway.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 25, 2018, 19:31
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Harold Godwinson, had to fast march his army 200 miles from London to Stamford Bridge and them 270 miles to Hastings. More importantly, many of those who fought with him at Stamford Bridge were not with him at Hastings, either because they were killed or wounded in the battle against Harald or because Harold did not have enough food and equipment to move them south rapidly.

Harold did have his House Carls with him at Hastings, but the Fryd which he had called out were mainly farmer-like militia. They fought well, but did not have enough discipline.

I believe Harold's biggest mistake was his not waiting some weeks to recover before confronting William the Bastard. But as I recall, there was some question about the availability of the Fryd if he waited too long as the harvest had to be brought in.

I have personally visited Hastings, and more interestingly, Battle and its Abbey which is where the actual battle took place. To stand on the same ground where Harold Godwinson fell while defending England against French invaders was somewhat awe inspiring.

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 25, 2018, 19:41
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Lucky you. One problem Harold of Wessex had was that William was really being a bastard, plundering and ravaging the Hastings area. Under the circumstances, this made it very difficult for Harold to wait. Of course, England in 1066 effectively had a choice between a real viking (Harald) and a frenchified viking (William). If they landed close to each other in terms of time (as they did), there was little chance of Harold winning.

One of his problems, and this leads to your point about the Fyrd, is that he was waiting for William all summer, so he had already kept the Fyrd out a long time.

Timothy-
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Post Re: Some Late Summer History
on: September 28, 2018, 13:20
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The Chattanooga Campaign of 1863 was beginning at this point. On September 29, Grant was ordered to go take command there. Braxton Bragg, meanwhile, started his campaign -- against his own subordinates. He cashiered Thomas Hindman and Leonidas Polk on September 29. On October 4, a large number of Army of Tennessee officers sent in a call for Bragg to be removed. Jeff Davis showed up to discuss this, siding with the toadying Bragg. The latter then got rid of two of his corps commanders, D. H. Hill and Simon B. Buckner, though Buckner would be returned as a division commander and then sent to join James Longstreet (another Bragg opponent) at Knoxville to try to take out Ambrose Burnside's garrison and recover the city and the key railroad line through it. (Bragg had a peculiar notion of what to do with reinforcements, especially given all the reinforcements the Army of Cumberland was getting.)

But it can't be said that Bragg totally ignored the other enemy. He sent Joe Wheeler out to raid his supply lines, a useful idea since Rosecrans was virtually besieged in Chattanooga. On October 1, Wheeler destroyed a large wagon train making its painful way over Walden's Ridge to Chattanooga. But he could hardly stayed there, so he headed off to do more damage elsewhere. Not having Nathan Bedford Forrest (who had sworn to serve under Wheeler again) available, he didn't accomplish much more, not enough to make up for his losses.

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