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Friday, April 29, 2016

8th Alabama Infantry, a Great Regiment

Here's a solid statistic from the Alabama Archives.  The 8th Alabama Infantry had lost 297 killed or dead of wounds as of January 1, 1865.  It lost two killed or mortally wounded at Hatcher's Run on February 6, 1865, and one killed or dead of wounds April 7, 1865, for a total of 300. Alabama Department of Archives and History, Confederate Regimental History Files, 8th Alabama Infantry, Folder 4, Part 3, 34-36.  300 exceeds the 295 battle fatalities suffered by the 5th New Hampshire, the Union regiment that Fox calculated lost the most battle fatalities on the Union side.  If you read the capsule histories of the Alabama regiments set forth by the Alabama Archives, the 8th's is the only overall number of killed or mortally wounded that is not qualified by a "nearly," "almost," "around," or the like.  I saw no bases for the estimates of the killed or dead of wounds in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 14th Alabama.  There are no estimates for the Alabama regiments in the Army of Tennessee.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Baker's Brigade, Clayton's Division, Lee's Corps, Army of Tennessee

After I found the source stating that Baker's Brigade departed Atlanta for Mobile on August 25th, 1864, I went back and looked for this in what by now is my well-thumbed copy of Castel's Decision in the West.  Sure enough, a published version of the source is in the bibliography.  And Castel mentions the departure of Baker's Brigade for Mobile on page 499, but without the comment the information demands:  what in heavens were Hood and the Confederate high command thinking?  Had they grown that complacent that they were sending men away from the decisive point?  Didn't they know how important the capture of Atlanta would be for the North?  As Frederick the Great said, "He who defends everything, defends nothing."  The presence of Baker's Brigade at Atlanta probably would not have made much difference, but sending it away a week before Atlanta's (and consequently the war's) loss was sheer madness.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shocking, Confederate Command Dispatching Troops from Atlanta on the Eve of its Fall

My studies have taken me west as I've tried to find comparable regiments to the 12th Virginia Infantry in the Army of Tennessee.  Last night I discovered that on August 25, 1864, the Army of Tennessee sent a brigade of infantry from Atlanta to Mobile, Alabama, arriving a few days later.  This suggests that contrary to the opinion of Castel, the historian of the Atlanta Campaign, General Hood, the commander of the Army of Tennessee, failed entirely to apprehend that Sherman had not abandoned the siege but was headed for Atlanta's last rail link with the rest of the Confederacy.  Atlanta fell September 1, 1864.  No wonder Atlanta fell.  The Confederacy's leadership had lost touch with reality.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Alabama Archives

The Alabama archives appear to have a digital box of documents for every almost regiment that served from the state.  All of the issues of Alabama Historical Quarterly seem to be digitally available.  That makes researching these archives a pleasure.  It's sad though to see great regiments that have left so few documents behind that their enrollment and losses cannot be calculated, and their history cannot be written.  "Full many a gem of purest ray serene/The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear,/Full many many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,/And waste its sweetness on the desert air...."  How it pains me to leave those gems in those caves!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

More Dubious Figures

As I try to put the 12th Virginia Infantry's losses in killed and mortally wounded in perspective, another website I have come across with shaky figures is  Take the 7th North Carolina Infantry of Pender's Division, Army of Northern Virginia, for example.  The 7th lost at least 184 killed, mortally wounded, or missing presumed dead of 1,450 enrolled, and the 7th did not participate in the March and April 1865 battles around Petersburg--it had been detached and surrendered with Johnston's army in North Carolina.  These figures are according to John W. Moore, Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War between the States (5 Vols.) (Raleigh, 1882), 1:237-272.  According to Harris, Seventh Regiment North Carolina Troops, 9, 11, 15, 17, 20, 22-23, 27, 30, 37, 42, 45, 48, 51, 53, 55-57, the 7th lost 179 killed or dead of wounds.  The 7th lost more than 175 killed or dead of wounds according to Clark, Walter, ed., Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-‘65 (5 Vols.) (Raleigh, 1901), 1:361-386.  According to, however, the 7th lost  245 killed or dead of wounds from 1,652 enrolled; I rely on the consistency between the Roster (184 killed or mortally wounded), Clark (175 killed or dead of wounds) and Harris (179 killed or mortally wounded).  thomaslegion does not cite specific pages of records in support of its figures.

This was particularly regrettable regarding the Army of Tennessee.  It's hard to get figures from that army, because most of its muster rolls disappeared for one reason or another.  thomaslegion provided a figure of 42 killed or dead of wounds for an interesting regiment, the 39th North Carolina, as well as a total enrollment of 1,090 (1,015 original and 75 transferred in).  I'd love to have used those figures in the chart.  The 39th captured cannon at both Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, at the latter of which it also incurred a remarkable loss--one in excess of forty percent.  But where thomaslegion's figures came from, heaven knows.

In the end, I got my examples of regimental killed and mortally wounded from histories of the 16th and 20th Tennessee.  They convinced me that I could not rely upon Military Annals of Tennessee's figures, which were substantially lower for the 16th and 20th Tennessee than their regimental histories.