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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  November 22, 2014 2:00pm-3:05pm EST

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that this was a different version which was just really the height of huberis that he would do such a thing but the map itself is really beautiful. i'd love to have it on my wall. >> thank you. i've happy to sign any books you might have. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend. on c-span three. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. >> next on history tv, historian kaplan discusses field
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artillery during the civil war, with a focus on the role played i artillery. editor of as the book that compiles the postwar writings and analysis of noted union artillerist. the civil war sesquicentennial committee hosted this hour-long event. >> today's speaker is dr. lawrence kaplan. he served as the historian for the u.s. army artillery center. the u.s. army center of artillery history, and the cyber command historian. of the bookthor the 2010, and the editor of book came out in 2011. in november of this year, the new book will be coming out. he will be the editor of "purging the 30th division."
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welcome to our speaker, dr. lawrence kaplan. [applause] >> thank you. good afternoon. in discussing civil war artillery today, if it were possible, john tidball, who is widely considered one of the foremost experts on the topic, would be speaking to you today. since tidball died in 1906, that's not possible. [laughter] so i will be discussing the topic based on his writings, which i edited, and were published under the title "the artillery service in the war of the rebellion" by westholme publishing in 2011. the main point that tidball makes is that field artillery was most effective in the civil war when it provided concentration and mass. he argues convincingly that the inability of the army to correctly organize its field artillery prior to the battle of chancellorsville contributed significantly to its defeat in a number of major battles.
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i will illustrate his points by reading excerpts from his book. now, john tidball's writings. first, a word about john tidball. he was a career army officer noted for his long service as an artilleryman. he began his career after graduating from the u.s. military academy at west point in 1848. he served through the civil war in most major campaigns in the eastern theater, and from the first battle of bull run through the siege of petersburg, receiving the rank of major general by the war's end. he served in the regiment as a battery commander when he received an appointment as a colonel volunteer artillery regiment. he was a commandant to the cadets at west point and led the 9th corps artillery in the appomattox campaign.
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after the war, he resumed his position as a captain in the second artillery. he served in the west, wrote the manual of heavy artillery service, which later became a standard army textbook. he was superintendent of artillery instruction in virginia, from 1874 to 1881. and later, he had more than 40 years of service in 1889. the photo shows tidball as a battery commander in 1862, standing by a three-inch ordnance gun. the photo on the right is tidball at the artillery school at the end of his army career. two years after the death of brevet major general henry hunt,
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who died in 1889, the former chief of the army of potomac, the journal of the military service institution, a professional military journal, published a speech general hunt had given, recapping a history of artillery in the army. the article most likely motivated tidball to write a comprehensive series of articles on artillery for the journal or perhaps the editors of the journal approached him. in either event, he wrote a comprehensive series of articles. the articles included the army of the potomac battles of fair oaks, gaines's mill, mechanicsville, malvern, antietam, fredericksburg, chancellorsville and gettysburg, for the army of the tennessee, the battles of stones river and
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chickamauga. and for the army of ohio, the battle of shiloh. later, in 1905, a year before his death, as the army was modernizing its field artillery after the spanish american war, he wrote an unpublished study for the field artillery board at fort riley kansas entitled "remarks upon the organization, command and deployment of field artillery in the war, based on experiences of the civil war." this report included additional insights into the artillery service as well as a general overview of the petersburg campaign. i first became familiar with these writings as a staff historian in oklahoma in the early 1990's. subsequently i determined these writings needed to be brought back into the forefront for students and scholars of the civil war. what i want to emphasize is that
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these writings were never intended to be read by a civilian audience. these writings were originally in a military journal for people in the military, and the 1905 report was strictly for internal army use only. the 1905 report, most of it was a rehash of what he had written in the 1890's. so i took about 10% of that report and incorporated it into this book. so i included also the coverage of the petersburg campaign. it's worth noting that, as i pointed out, that ordinarily if you were a member of the military in the 18 90's, you would know who john tidball was. he was kind of the unofficial de facto expert for the army. the army didn't have official historians this those days.
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so he really was the de facto army expert writing for an army audience about a topic that he believed had been overlooked by many people in the army, notably the use of artillery in the major battles. these are the only writings of a civil war participant that offer a comprehensive overview and analysis as assessed through eye office a skilled artillery commander. i want to emphasize, you can go online and there are over 17,000 books on amazon about the civil war. you type in artillery and maybe you get it down to about 1500 or 1700. this is the only book by somebody who was there, an expert, assessing the major battles. there are no comparable works by anybody that was there with that subject matter expertise. so tidball makes several important points. first, he makes a strong case
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that up to and including the battle of chancellorsville, the poor organization of field artillery where batteries were the highest organization and were assigned to brigades and divisions rather than separate battalions as the confederacy had done contributed significantly to the union army losing a number of its major battles. now, in the civil war, the army used black powder, direct fire field artillery. huge clouds of smoke, as depicted in this post-civil war photo obscured the battlefield. the guns had to be manhandled back into position. you typically would fire between one, maybe two or three shots a minute, depending on how well-trained your gun crew is. and firing ranges extended up to 1700 yards, despite the fact that rifle field artillery could hit targets out to a range of 4,000 yards or so.
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there was no system in place for indirect fire hitting targets out of the line of sight in the civil war. so this is a key point. even though the technology of rifled artillery, which i'll talk about in a minute, was available, the fighting ranges were all going to be direct fire, whether you used smoothbore artillery or rifled artillery. your fighting ranges are in the line of sight. it wasn't until the 1880's, that the militaries of the world developed smokeless powders, and in the 1890's, they developed recoil system, which would make artilleries very effective, hitting targets beyond the line of sight. that happened in the early 20th century. so what this translated to was a need to modify tactical organization and methods to keep pace with the
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times. i'm going to read a number of excerpts from tidball's book. some excerpts are going to be from the words of henry hunt, the former chief of artillery from the army potomac, but most from john tidball. so i quote, the old system of attaching batteries to small aggregations of infantry, belonging to the smoothbores, had outlived its usefullens, the war of the rebellion, following next after the mexican war naturally adopted the message of the latter. but meanwhile, short as the interval was, a mighty change had taken place. the most effecting the use of artillery was that it should have a corresponding freedom of action and ability to take positions where full advantage could be had from its improved arm. and this, it is obvious, could not obtain, so long as batteries continued to be tied down to the narrow limits occupied by comparatively small bodies of
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infantry, so long as they were apportioned out in equal quantities at regular intervals along the line of battle, regardless of all the considerations of the field. at the start of the civil war, infantry divisions had field artillery batteries attached to them. and the commander would force the artillery to go along with the infantry, regardless of where the best position was for fire support. they had a freedom of maneuver to provide fire support where the artillerymen thought it was going to be best. and so this is where the major battles of which i'm going to highlight a few later on -- this is the crux that tidball's -- of his argument, if you will.
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it really has to do with the organization and how organization determined the effectiveness of fire support for the u.s. army. so in 1861, the u.s. army had 48 companies of heavy artillery and eight batteries of field artillery. this is before the war. the field artilleries served with the army in the field. they often served as infantry on the western frontier. heavy artillery was generally preferred service since it was located near cities which had a higher standard of living. after the war began, the states had a large number of independent batteries without any regimental affiliation at all. in the confederate army, it will be a battalion, but not in the u.s. army yet. now, the u.s. army comprised a mix of smoothbore and rifle
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field guns. these are just a few to highlight the types that the army had at the time. the model 1857 napoleon gun seen here represented the end of the line of the smoothbore artillery technology. they never made a better smoothbore artillery piece than this. this is the end of the line of that technology. this was a fine field gun. and it was also a combination, which would give you a curved trajectory. a gun gives you a flat trajectory. this was a combination of both. it's very rare you can have an effective one in both, but in this case, it worked. this was developed in france and named after the emperor, napoleon iii. early in the war, batteries were comprised of four guns, for a
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six-gun battery. by doing away with one of the class of guns, merging it with the gun, you really eased your logistics supply line for ammunition and it makes it easier all the way around for supplying an army. now, the u.s. army had no rifled field guns until 1861. this is brand-new technology, just coming on board, coinciding with the civil war. robert parrott, the superintendent of the west point foundly in new york invented the first parrott rifle and patented it in early 1861. the army used 10-pounder and 20-pounder parrott guns. this was followed by the three-inch ordnance gun
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manufactured in pennsylvania depicted here. while these guns represented state of the art technology, they created confusion and logistics problems in field batteries that now had mixed materiel and different ammunition. so now this is the beginning of a whole new state of the art branch of technology. rifled field artillery. it's coinciding with the start of the civil war. you've got people of experience that have never used these weapons before. the manuals that the army is issuing are all for smoothbore artillery, when the war starts. it's going to take a while for the manuals to catch up and include rifled artillery. on the bottom left, that's a siege gun. the difference between heavy artillery or coast artillery and field artillery is the field artillery goes with the army in the field. the heavier guns are going to be
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pretty much static and since everything is horse-drawn in the army for field operations, you're limited by the weight of what a field battery can be, because of the amount of horses that you need to keep up with the field army on the move. the gun on the left -- excuse me -- the right-hand corner, that's a gun that was used by the confederacy. the confederates brought it from the british. that's a breech-loading field gun. a breech-loading field gun is wonderful if you have a recoil system on the field gun. that's not going to be developed until the 1880's or 90's. it's still going to recoil back and you'll still have to wield it back into what battery position you want to fire from. and so you're not going to really save a lot of time by loading it from the breech or from the muzzle. you're still going to rose that time with the recoil. when you get a recoil system, you want a breech-loading field gun.
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you can protect the cannoneers. now, i'm going to focus my remark on the army of the potomac, pretty much in this discussion, for limitation of time, rather than the army of the ohio or the army of tennessee, and highlighting tidball's main points. following the first battle of bull run in july 1861, at a call for 5,000 volunteers, major general mcclellan became the commander of the army of the potomac. he appointed major william barry to be his chief of artillery, mostly administrative position, who determined the organization of field artillery to be two and a half pieces per thousand troops. there would be three types of rifled field guns. the three-inch ordnance gun and 10-pounder parrott guns and 12-pounder napoleons.
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each battery was to have six guns at a minimum, with 400 rounds of ammunition per gun. the armies of the west did not see these reforms until the end of the war. batteries were to be assigned to divisions, not brigades, in the army of the potomac, consisting of one regular army battery and three volunteer battery. the regular army battery commander, a captain, would act as a division artillery commander. after the battle of chancellorsville, batteries were organized into separate battalions with their own command and staff. if several divisions formed a corps, then one half of the decision artillery would make up an artillery reserve of 100 guns. army corps were formed. and in the spring of 1864, the batteries of each corps were
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united into a brigade with its own separate command of staff. after bull run, there are nine batteries of 39 guns, 650 men and 400 horses in the army of the potomac. okay. that's july of 1861. by march of 1862, there were 92 batteries, 520 guns, 12,500 men and 11,000 horses. a considerable increase in men, materiel and horses. this field artillery included 30 regular batteries and 62 volunteer batteries. and nearly all the regular batteries in the u.s. army were in the army of the potomac. the army of the potomac was organized into 11 infantry divisions of between 9,000 and 10,000 men each. each division had four field artillery batteries. there were no field-grade officers. in other words, a field-grade
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officer is a major, a colonel and above. captain was the highest level of organization at the time. so you've got captains in charge of their batteries, senior artillery captain, a regular army officer would be the de facto chief of division artillery. but he's not taking artillery around and placing it around the battlefield. that's still going to be left to the infantry commander. he's simply going to take care of the administrative pieces about moving the men, materiel and horses, making sure it gets from point a to point b and different battles on time and the like. so there were no field-grade officers, which created problems for those aspiring promotion. okay. you're in the army. there's volunteers coming into the army. do you want to stay a captain through the entire war? probably not. you probably want to get a promotion.
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maybe you want to be a major or a colonel. and the only way you're going to get a promotion is get out of the artillery. but there are no field-grade jobs in the artillery. so the war department initially refused to permit regular army artillery officers to become colonels of volunteer infantry regiments, which is what tidball later did when they lifted that restriction. the reserve comprised 18 batteries of 100 guns. there were 14 regular batteries and four volunteer batteries. they all had six guns and about half were 12-pounder napoleons. a reserve was established in the army of tennessee after the battle of chickamauga in september 1863. and there was no artillery reserve in the army of the ohio. now, tidball notes, the name artillery reserve was a misnomer. it wasn't reality in the artillery division. instead of being in a reserve, it was generally the first in the fight. whenever a corps commander wanted batteries for any emergency, he invariably sent them to the reserve.
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the fact that batteries being assigned to divisions made division commanders -- they gave them up, though but temporarily, only after many objections and often with delays, fatal to the object in view. all who had comprehensive experience with artillery during the war will remember many instances of this within their own observation. colonel henry hunt served as the chief of the artillery reserve. he subsequently succeeded william barry as the chief of artillery at the start of the antietam campaign in september 1862. he was briefly relieved of his responsibilities by major general hooker prior to the battle of chancellorsville in late may 1863 and rein-stated during the battle to help gather the army of the potomac's retreating batteries. as for general barry, tidball notes, william barry was
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assigned to duty in washington as inspector of artillery, a new office, the functions of which comprised supervision over artillery matters pertaining to all armies. up to this time, there had been no one to collect a systemized data upon this branch and make it available for use in the war office. the consequence was that things went a great deal haphazardly, resulting often in grave plunders, as for instance, upon one occasion batteries were required without delay for a certain expedition. the official in the war office, looking over the returns, found some batteries here and there at places in the north apparently available for service at the front. and these were accordingly ordered to join the expedition forthwith. but they had neither guns for equipment ready for the field. only the officers and men. batteries only in name. there was no chief in washington
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to regulate such matters. it was partly because of this deficiency that the temporary office of inspector was created. an artillery of instruction was established in washington, where the newly raised batteries were received, equipped, instructed and prepared for the field. other camps were established for the western armies. now, barry returned to the field as chief of artillery and major general sherman's tennessee's campaign in 1864. but that's all we're going to be hearing about them for the rest of my talk today. during the war, conservativism and tradition of the war department hampered efforts at field artillery reforms to improve combat operations.
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i'm going to read an excerpt from henry hunt. in the civil war -- let me back up a slide and get back to henry hunt. during the war, in the civil war, the artillery commands were composed of masses. a single corps sometimes had more field artillery than served in the mexican war. the disproportion of the artillery of an army corps to a single battery was as great as that of a division of infantry to a regiment. it therefore required higher grades of officers with appropriate staff and more of them than did the other arms. but the war department wholly ignored the artillery and left the commanding generals to their own devices as to its organization. nearly all the surviving officers of the mexican war and many of the field officers of the army, major and above, were
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assigned to other duties. the legal organization of the volunteer rejments provided for field officers and the supply of generals for the large commands was left to the laws providing general officers for the whole army. let us now see what came of this. general barry told me that when at the war department he stated to general mcclellan, asked in the beginning for but two artillery generals. one is chief. the other to command the reserve. leaving the selection of brigadiers to command the corps artillery until field service indicated proper selections. the general, brigade general thomas -- now i need to answer here -- objected that the law always allowed one brigadier for four regiments. 40 companies. and that 60 artillery companies, in his army, would not warrant the appointment of two generals.
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general barry replied that a battery was not the equivalent of a company but a battalion. but the general's opinion, as usual, prevailed. the next year, the general in chief held that a battery was equal to a regiment of infantry, that it was commanded by a captain. therefore, could not use field officers. and it was directed in general orders that artilleries should be taken into service by single batteries, thus rendering the field and staff unnecessary. so both principles were adopted. to the end of the war, the artillery was deprived of general offers because the batteries were companies and the field officers because batteries were regiments. of course, all promotions ceased in the artillery and many accepted it elsewhere.
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henry hunt continued. yet, there was one easy way by which most of the evils could have been avoided. immediately after the battle of fredericksburg, i asked general burnside to see president lincoln and asked him to confer the artillery recommended for the peninsula campaign and to assign the officers to me for duty according to their brevet rank, that this was asked for not for the gratification of these officers but because the good of the public service demanded it, that it would enable me to provide the artillery with its chiefs of competent rank for their duties. now, a brevet rank, you gave a commissioned officer a higher rank as a result of meritorious conduct but without receiving the pay of real rank. so you wear the insignia but you're not getting the pay, and it's temporary. so hunt continued, general burnside informed me on his
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return to the army that he had done so, that the president acquiesced at once, saying that when at antietam he had promised general mcclellan that he would do this and requested that when general burnside saw the secretary of war, he would asked him to have the commissions made out, which mr. edwin and stanton promised to do. but unfortunately, general burnside mentioned the circumstance to general halleck that happened, who said it must not be done and had it stopped. here we have the bureaucracy in washington making sure you're not going to have any officers above the rank of captain in the u.s. army. there will be a few, a few field-grade officers. henry hunt and john tidball and the like, who get their brevet promotions. those are just temporary brevet
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ranks for the war. but regular army officers, no. and the war department was not allowing, with the exception of a few circumstances, really any field-grade officers, because the captain being the battery commander, that's the highest organizational unit the artillery has. i'm now going to look at three battles of the army of the potomac, antietam, fredericksburg and chancellorsville, that illustrate tidball's points about the organizational ineffectiveness of the u.s. army's field artillery and combat operations. okay. antietam. the battle of antietam, also known as sharpsburg, fought on september 17, 1862, near sharpsburg, maryland, and antietam creek, as part of the maryland campaign. it was the bloodiest single day of the war with more than 22,000 casualties of dead, wounded and missing. it was also the bloodiest single day in american military history, not just the war, for the u.s. army.
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after pursuing confederate general lee into maryland, union army major general mcclellan attacked lee's army. at dawn on september 17, major hooker's first corps assaulted lee's left flank. attacks swept across miller's cornfield and fierce fighting took place. union assaults against the sunken road eventually pierced the confederate center. but the federals did not follow up their advantage. mcclellan did not commit all of his troops into the fight when needed. in the afternoon, major general burnside's ninth corps entered the action. at a crucial moment, confederate major general hills arrived and launched a successful counterattack, driving back burnside and ending the battle. although outnumbered two to one, lee committed his entire force, while mcclellan sent in less
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than three quarters of his army, enabling lee to fight the federals to a standstill. lee withdrew his army the following day. now, the conventional wisdom of just about everybody studying this battle is that mcclellan didn't put all his forces into the fight and lee did, and lee fought the union to a standstill. and that was that. the argument that tidball makes is regardless of the fact that lee didn't bring all his forces to bear, had he used his field artillery better, had it been organized more effectively to provide fire support, that even with the forces that were deployed, he believes the union could have turned the tide. tidball makes that point that the battalion organization of the confederacy was more efficient and effective in providing fire support, while mcclellan's army was conversely hamstrung by its inability to use its artillery efficiently or effectively. hires what tidball has to say. lee had all his artillery organized into battalions of
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four to six batteries each. to the command of each battalion was assigned a colonel or a lieutenant colonel, and to each, two batteries and a major. his artillery was always in hand and available for service whenever and wherever most needed, consequently, a smaller amount of it was able to perform an amount of work equal to that performed by the much larger force of his adversary. mcclellan's artillery, with the exception of the artillery reserve, had no higher organization whatever than the individual battery, and these were attached in hooker's corps to brigades, one battery to each brigade, and the other corps to divisions, without any commanders, other than the individual battery commanders. in the entire army, outside of
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the artillery reserve, there was but one field officer of artillery, a major on duty with the artillery. the consequence was that although all the batteries were engaged at some time or other during the battle, they were as a rule employed in such a haphazard matter as greatly to weaken their effect as a whole. in one or two instances where batteries massed so as to give decisive blows. the fact of their being tied down to the narrow limits of small infantry commands rendered their employment, other than a scattered and feeble manner, impracticable. then tidball adds, hooker's ten batteries were attached one to each of his ten brigades. each brigade numbering about 1,000 man actually in line. the ground over which hooker was to advance and did advance was less than half a mile wide and was mostly covered with woods. as he had about 10,000 men in
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line, it is readily seen that he had but little room left for the batteries. some of the batteries, however, managed to get in and did heroic service. but most of them were unable to follow their brigades and were but little real service and action. the same thing obtained with the seven batteries of the 12th corps when the latter advanced under joseph mansfield over the same ground a little while afterwards. most of the batteries of those two corps were unemployed at the most critical period of the battle, and while the infantry to which they were attached was engaged in a life-and-death struggle in their front. on the left of the ground then being fought over, between it and the antietam, were knolls and secondary ridges. and in such positions that batteries occupying them could have taken jackson in flank and disorganized his masses. the advantages of these
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positions did not probably come under hooker's own observation and he had no chief of artillery to point them out to him. it was certainly not the province of his battery commander. in fact, it would have been highly improper for them to have left their own commands to search the battlefield for positions for their batteries. had the batteries been organized into brigades or battalions, the commanders of these could have thrown out to this position a dozen or so batteries to fire from which, on jackson's flank, would have probably enabled hooker not only to hold that from which he first gained but to gain still more. but the system of tying down batteries to the narrow limits of a small infantry command did
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not admit of this freedom. consequently, jackson was unmolested on his flank by hooker's batteries, many of which were in enforced idleness, while his infantry was being beaten and driven back. whoops. sorry. the next major battle was fredericksburg. major general ambrose replaced mcclellan after antietam. burnside's plan was to attack richmond via fredericksburg. the battle of fredericksburg was fought from december 11 to december 15, 1862, in and around fredericksburg, virginia. burnside had replaced mcclellan, who was not seen as aggressive enough in pursuing lee after antietam. burnside's plan was to attack the confederate capital of richmond via fredericksburg. he planned to cross the river at fredericksburg in mid-november and move rapidly on richmond before lee could come to stop him. however, bureaucratic delays
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prevented burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time, and lee moved his army to block the river crossings. when the union army was finally able to deploy its bridges and cross under fire, urban combat resulted on december 11 and 12. union troops prepared to attacked the confederate defensive position south of the city on a strongly fortified ridge west of the city known as mary's heights. union major franklin's grand division pierced the first confederate defensive line of general stonewall jackson to the south but was finally repulsed. burnside ordered the tuitions of sumpter and hooker to launch multiple frontal assaults against longstreet's position on mary's heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses.
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burnside withdrew his army on the 15th, ending another failed union campaign on the eastern theater. everybody knows burnside launched futile frontal assaults against entrenched opponents. it was fruitless. and here again, if you understood how artillery should have been employed by those who were there, you can see an alternative view was possible. i'm going to read some excerpts of what henry hunt had to say, who, in his view, if he had played a greater role in orchestrating the battle, might have been able to orchestrate a victory. at a conference of general burnside with his grand division commanders to determine as to a battle at fredericksburg and how it should be fought, i undertook
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to put the army across the river on certain conditions, one of which was that all the napoleon guns of the divisions should be placed at my disposal for the purpose to rejoin their divisions as they crossed the bridges. this created so much dissatisfaction on the part of division commanders, who did not probably understand that all artillery of an army is to be employed when required for army purposes, under the general of artillery, that burnside at once abandoned an intention he had already formed on their suggestion to break up the artillery reserve as soon as the battle was over and distribute the batteries to the divisions. he now had the proofs before him that a strong artillery reserve, under the immediate command of the chief of artillery, was indispensable, for he could not rely on a prompt or cheerful acquiesceness and calls on the division to its place when needed.
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the necessity was absolute, because the corps reserves were required on a long line of nearly five miles in order to command the whole ground in front of us, including to control the movement of the troops. after the bridges were thrown, the army passed over. although not more than a half dozen could be employed there, the plan of battle was changed without my knowledge, and an attack was ordered on the extreme right of the enemy, with only two divisions, brigade general mead, supported by general john gibbons. the attack was resolute and for a time was successful. but the supports were not sufficient. the enemy rallied and drove back both divisions with heavy loss, given being wounded. had i been informed in advance, i could easily have drawn 100
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idle and useless guns from the town where they were blocked, where they blocked the streets, join them to those on the plain and supported by two of major general hooker's divisions, then on the spot, left both of franklin's corps free for the assault. i have little doubt that franklin would have succeeded. and in so, it would have been a disasterous day for lee's army. following the battle, hooker replaced burnside as commander of the army of the potomac. the next major battle was chancellorsville, fought from april 20 to may 6, 1863. it was in virginia, near the village of chancellorsville. major general hooker's army of the potomac fought general lee's army of virginia, an army less than half its side. lee divided his army in the presence of a much larger enemy
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force and won a significant confederate victory. now, i'm not going to go into detail about the battle. but i'll give you some of tidball's remarks. hooker had dispensed with his services of the chief of artillery, and there was no one on the field to make proper position of the batteries. the senior battery commander was its chief of artillery and exercised nominal control over its batteries but there was no one to take a comprehensive view of the entire field and distribute the batteries where most needed. as a rule, the batteries stuck as closely as possible to their divisions. but in a country so wooded, this necessarily threw many of them into positions where they could be of but little service, often of no service whatsoever. now, hooker's ideas connected with the management of artillery underwent a radical change through his lessons of chancellorsville. in taking a broad view of the case, he could not avoid seeing
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that the sequence of success of the enemy lay in the able of the latter to maneuver his troops on such a field with promptness, thus enabling him to attack first at one point and then another, as the phases of the battle demanded. reasoning still further, hooker became convinced that this certainty of movement arose from the fact that the infantry and artillery of lee's army, although operating for a common end, were kept so distinct in method and management as not to hamper each other in their movements. as lee subsequently marched and fought over the same ground, using his artillery most successfully in a harmonious cooperation, hooker could not see the more business-like path of his adversary.
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hooker, still commanding the army to potomac, now willing to listen to the suggestions and advice of his artillery chief, consented that the artillery should be formed into brigades of batteries, one for each army corps, two for the calvary and four for the artillery reserve. each to be under its own distinct commander who received his orders direct from his corps commander. this was a long stride in advantage. but there were at first few officers on duty with the army who were of suitable rank to command these brigades. well, the u.s. army's next great battle was gettysburg. i'm not going to go into great detail on gettysburg, but i will read you what tidball has to say.
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gettysburg was the first battle of the army of the potomac in which the artillery as a whole was brought to the front, a fact due more to the efficient organization which it had just received. if the same thing had occurred at some of the other battles, it is more than probable history would have had a different story to record. one of the main features of this battle was the grouping of batteries. the two great principles of effective artillery. well, while i have focused on the army of the potomac, as i mentioned earlier, tidball's writings also included the battle of stones river and the battle of chickamauga, september 1863, and the army of the ohio's battle of shiloh, april 1862. stones river highlighted how the federal batteries were
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handicapped at the start by their dispersion of brigades. the brigades concentrated haphazardly by accident, concentrated their firepower to help bring about a victory. at chickamauga, a battle of brigades in a wooded terrain, this highlighted how major general william rose krans recognized the defect of his organization and after the battle made a few moderate reforms by reorganizing his artillery to be more efficient. he took batteries out of brigades and assigned them to divisions and organized a reserve under an officer. the battle of shiloh highlighted how artillery batteries helped save the day, after several batteries broke away from their brigades and were able to form a line and amass and concentrate their fire. so overall, in looking at the role of the u.s. army, it should be apparent that the army
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labored under a number of disadvantages that inhibited its effectiveness and efficiency to amass and concentrate its fire effectively. the army of the potomac was the most progressive in eventually reforming its artillery organization to be more effective. the consistent threat that tidball pulls in examining the u.s. army's major battles in the army of the potomac, up to and including chancellorsville, is that field artillery needed organizational reform to be effective. for example, the confederates, who had adopted a battalion organization for their field artillery, consistently outmaneuvered and outgunned the army of the potomac until hooker finally embraced the reform so long sought after by henry hunt and barry and other artillery
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progressives. so despite this progress in the army of the potomac, there still persisted a problem of finding suitable field-grade officers for higher artillery. remember, they didn't get permission for brevet ranks to be assigned to artillerymen. general halleck stopped that in washington. so along the u.s. army won the war, one can argue that it likely would have been more successful earlier if it had better organized its field artillery. and that's what i want to leave you with today. i also want to make a point that the writings of this book, which i highly recommend to serious students and scholars of the civil war, should probably be on your bookshelf if you aren't familiar with the use of
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artillery in the civil war. what i don't want to do is i don't want to recommend this book to people with just a passing interest in the civil war. this book is on a higher level than that. and it was really intended for military professionals. it's really intended for the serious student, the scholar of the civil war. so i wouldn't recommend it, again, to somebody who just has a passing interest. it has way too much detail and information for just the novice. so please keep that in mind. it's not like a college 101-level course. this is on a level of like an 800 level course, a senior or graduate level course for the civil war. i would certainly strongly recommend this book for people to add to their book shelves or advise to friends or relatives if you know somebody that's really seriously interested in the civil war. it's relatively unknown and obscure. and unfortunately, most of the writings, which were widely known in the 1890's, had been
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pretty much forgotten until i incorporated them back into this book. that's what i want to leave you with. now i'll entertain any questions or comments that you may have. >> can you go to the microphone? >> yes. >> can you tell us the high-level problems they were encountering? i have just a low-level question. how was a battery manned? how many officers, how many men? >> the quick answer is luckily the actual manuals and all that information from the civil war is available online. but having reviewed some of that before i came here, a garden-variety battery would have about 150 men and i don't remember how many horses. so back to garden variety battery.
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there were horse batteries that were developed during the war and they're going to have more horses and maybe some more people to take care of more things. i hope that answered your question. i would encourage you -- you can check a civil war instruction manual. they were online. it will give you all the nuts and bolts about everything you wanted to know about field artillery and the war. >> thank you. i had the good fortune yesterday to go on a tour with ed, and we actually walked the field at malvern mill. what he pointed out was that was basically decided by the artillery. henry hunt, who you alluded to a lot, had massed about 35 napoleons up on the hill and that decimated the confederates. so if you're talking about earlier in the war, this was two and a half months before antietam. the effectiveness of henry hunt. and he describes henry hunt was like in ectasy when he saw the
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field there. >> tidball goes into great detail on malvern hill. again, i had to pick some illustrative battles to illustrate these points. we didn't have the time here today to go into all the great ones. shiloh, malvern hill artillery played a critical role. >> we got to walk the path of the confederates there at malvern hill. the other question i had for you is about the confederates at gettysburg. i had read that one of the reasons their artillery barrage didn't work very well is they had just changed their fuses, and that's why they didn't adjust for the -- is that correct? >> i'm not an artillery expert on every aspect of the war. that could very well be. i don't have the expertise to answer that. but what i will say is this.
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getting back to black powder artillery. in a battle in the 19th century, using black powder weapons, you typically start off with an artillery dome and you try to silence your opponent's artillery. if you silence your opponent's artillery, then your infantry can go down for the attack. but those are basically black powder field artillery tactics. >> they were known at west point, because they taught napoleon tactics. >> the confederates were expending their ammunition where henry hunt decided to husband his ammunition. it may have given a false sense of security to the confederates that they were winning the artillery duel. but that's all covered in tidball's book. >> any other questions or comments?
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>> yes. what lessons from tidball were carried over and used from the spanish american war and world war i and the present day? >> frankly, the army had to relearn the lessons of organizing for artillery. the spanish american war was still -- the battery was still the highest level. and in world war i, the battery was still the highest level as well. so it wasn't until the 1930's that the u.s. army formally adopted battalion organizations for artillery. >> i enjoyed the talk very much. if artillery is not your specialty, i was going to ask what the difference is between a smoothbore and a rifled, thinking about the difference between a smoothbore musket. is that similar?
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>> i'm sorry. i should have explained that. a rifled field artillery or a rifled musket, it's a flat trajectory weapon and it's got kind of a spiral to give a conical projectile accuracy, so it moves straight. a smoothbore is just a smooth tube. once the round projectile leaves the tube, it's inaccurate. it's going to go all over the place. so when the army adopted rifled weapons between the mexican war and the civil war, it wasn't just rifled artillery, it was rifled small arms as well. so a garden variety smoothbore might have an accuracy rating of 30 to 60 yards. you usually have a bunch of people all firing their weapons together at some target. and a percentage of those would hit the target.
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with rifled weapons, that changes. now an individual rifle can actually hit a target it's shooting at, somewhere between 550 and 800 yards, so again, when the manuals were first issued from the civil war, these manuals are all for smoothbore weapons. in a black powder environment, if you remember that photo of all the smoke on the battlefield, which i'm going to go back to now -- hang on a second here. this is from the 1870's. i wouldn't find a real picture. but those are napoleons there. you needed to keep people together because of all the smoke. but what you learned was, is that you can't adopt -- you can't use smoothbore tactics with rifled weapons, so you can't keep your infantrymen all lined up together in brightly colored uniforms now with rifled weapons. they make great targets.
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so a year or two into the war, you'll find artillery and infantry trying to protect themselves better. and when you remove the smoke from the battlefield with smokeless powder in the 1880's, it really makes things dangerous, because now you can actually see the battlefield and actually hit targets at long range with your rifled weapons. i hope that answered your question. >> thank you very much, dr. kaplan. >> any other questions or comments? >> in the civil war and a lot of wars, most casualties are due to disease. of those that are due to battle, how many were come into the extent we know, were from artillery, shrapnel, etc.? t seems like that the amount of artillery when of artillery went up year-to-year, that it was a very small part of
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most battles. >> that is a good observation. >> for the civil war and crimean war and other wars of that period. >> i don't have exact statistics, but what i can to you is this -- artillery came into its own in world war i. that is where it killed more people than infantry. riflesl then, infantry were going to kill more people than artillery. that is just a generalization. you can look those statistics up online. reenactor and i reenact surgeons. withf what certain stilt -- surgeons dealt with were rifle loans, or gunshot wounds. couldason is surgeons only treat what they could treat. artillery either killed you were scared of the hell out of you.
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as far as causing a wound in the a surgeon could treat, excluding those who lost their legs at gettysburg. doctors did not deal very much with artillery wounds. >> because they were so -- >> if you were killed, obviously you don't need a surgeon. what did not kill you more often was the gunshot. >> how was the proportion of artillery in our civil war compared to the napoleonic wars or waterloo or other wars of that period? >> i don't have the statistic in front of me. intuitively, i would like to think that it is at a higher level. i can't tell you right now. online theooked up union had 21 million people in
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the south after slaves only had 5 million. it was a massive, much more than i thought, proportion of population disadvantage for the south. >> i think the key again is what general barry determined. artillery pieces per thousand men. those are standards that the europeans used, and we borrowed some of those standards. >> what were the standards back in that period? earlier, -- hang on one second, if you don't mind waiting -- what did i say? >> [indiscernible] about two to one. >> 2.5 pieces per 1000 troops. that was the standard for the army of potomac, which was the most progressive and advanced. >> was that pretty much net
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during the war most of the time? >> as far as i know. >> there was going to be exceptions. the army of the potomac was the best-equipped. do you know what the standard was for the south? >> not at hand, i'm sorry. any other questions or comments? >> [indiscernible] he was a very fine artillery asked -- artillerist. hedeserved praise for what did in the war. much to his chagrin, he had a retirement as a full colonel. he was never given general rank. as i said, he was not very satisfied with it. i want to thank you all for coming today to hear my talk.
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if you have any questions or comments afterwards, feel free to get in touch with me and talk after we are dumb. thank you again. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] americane watching history tv every weekend on c-span 3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule, upcoming programs, and to keep up with the latest history news. tv, on american history ophthalmologist gary at gillard has researched and written about the medical at evidence of the kennedy assassination for over 20 years. a junk scienced and the death of jfk, he takes a critical look at the work of the warren commission, using medical reports and diagrams of jfk's wounds provided to the commission in 1964, dr. aguilar argues that based on witnesses and


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