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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ought Burnside to Have Turned a Blind Eye at the Crater?

Burnside disregarded Meade's instruction to clear obstructions because it might have alerted the Confederates (who were already alerted) to the possibility of a mine.  All these Crater books I have read recently (going on four) are leading me to the conclusion that Burnside ought to have gone the whole nine yards in disobeying orders.  He ought to have disregarded Meade's (and Grant's) orders to put a white division in the lead.  My authority for this idea is no less than Grant, who conceded later that the mine attack on July 30, 1864 would have succeeded had the black division led.  But Burnside was not von Seydlitz, who disobeyed Frederick the Great and told him (after disobeying three orders in the same action), "My head is at Your Majesty's disposal after the battle, but during the battle please permit me to use it in your service."  Nor was Burnside a Nelson, putting his blind eye  to the telescope at the Battle of Copenhagen when an irresolute superior raised the signal flag to withdraw.