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Friday, September 28, 2018

Disappointing Regimental Histories

Sad when a regimental history does not measure up to its predecessor.  Wilkinson's history of the 57th Massachusetts does not measure up to Anderson's.  Brandt's history of the 87th Pennsylvania does not measure up to Prowell's.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

June 22, 1864 v. August 19, 1864

June 22, 1864 involved a rout of seven brigades of II Corps (about 12,000 men) by three brigades of Mahone's division (around 3,000 men) resulting in approximately 2,500 casualties.

August 19, 1864, involved a rout of five brigades of V Corps by three brigades led by Mahone (about 2,400 men) resulting in around 3,000 casualties.

Though June 22, 1864 is one of the hardest days to understand in the Siege of Petersburg (because of the complex movements involved), it is easier to write about than August 19, 1864.  This is because there are sufficient sources to piece together what happened on June 22, 1864, even though this is like assembling an enormous puzzle, one tiny piece at a time.  Many of the soldiers in the seven routed brigades of II Corps escaped to tell their stories.

The problem with August 19, 1864, is that relatively few of the five brigades of V Corps escaped to tell their stories.  Far too many perished in Andersonville and other Southern prison camps.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Plausible Timeline for June 22, 1864

This may have been the least understood day of the Siege of Petersburg.

Master Time Sheet June 22, 1864.  Criticism welcome.

12:50 a.m.  Barlow ready to advance.

2 a.m. Wheaton’s (Second) division crosses N & P RR.
3 a.m. VI Corps starts arriving near Jones house.

4 a.m. Wheaton’s division halts near Jones house on JPR for rest and breakfast.
4:50 a.m.  VI Corps mistakenly expected to advance but needs rest and food

7:30 a.m.  Barlow ordered to advance, swinging forward left, closing up on Mott who is occupying position pointed out June 21, notifying Wright.

10 a.m.  Barlow directed to advance without reference to Wright.  (Making explicit the difference in tenor between the messages of 4:50 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.)

              “ Wilcox directed to move.

10:30 a.m. Wilcox’s division moves.

11 a.m. VI Corps gets moving to left of II Corps.

              “ Lane’s brigade marches.

              “ Lee observes Federals in front of Mahone.

12:10 p.m. Ricketts on Williams road with Wheaton behind.  Russell’s skirmish line fired upon.

1 p.m.  Alabama, Georgia and Virginia drop out of Dimmock Line.

1:10 p.m. Ricketts has met enemy skirmishers, who drove his men back, but they have recovered.  “The country is reported as very thick.”

2 p.m.  Mahone’s men march.

              “ Wilcox’s men form, advance a mile, fight 30-45 minutes.

              “ Girardey reaches Hill.

2:30 p.m. Skirmishing mainly in front of Ricketts (on VI Corps left).  Russell on VI Corps right preparing to flank enemy. 
              “ Wright sends messenger to warn Birney.

              “ Girardey reaches Wilcox.

3 p.m.  Hill visits Wilcox.

              “ Mahone launches his attack.

              “ Birney saddles up staff to inspect front.

              “ Morgan rides out to see Barlow.

3:15 p.m.  Wright and Birney engaged; Warren and Burnside told to prepare to help.   
Wright driven from railroad.  Wheaton holding left flank.  Warren can supply a brigade each from Ayres and Griffin.  

3:30 p.m.  Blakemore reaches Wilcox, Mills captured by 26th Michigan.

4 p.m. First Brigade, Wheaton’s division ordered to right in reserve to Russell’s (First) division.

“              “  Mahone's fight over.

                Warren told to supply two brigades at double-quick.  Barlow and Gibbon broken but repaired.  Birney at Jones house.

One brigade on way from Warren.

4:30 p.m. messenger from Birney arrives at Wright.

5 p.m.  Wilcox hears first Federal counterattack.

5:25 p.m.  Wright has fallen back and sent a brigade to Russell’s right for Barlow.  

6 p.m. Birney ordered to attack at 7 p.m.

7 p.m.  Second Federal counterattack.

7:05 p.m. Gibbon attacks.  Next will be Barlow, then Mott.  

7:30 p.m., Sunset, Wilcox arrives.

7:45 p.m. Gibbon found enemy too strong but will try again.  Barlow advancing.  Mott engaged.  Wright not yet on right. 

8 p.m. Ricketts has advanced.  

9:03 p.m. Two brigades being returned to Warren.  Birney advance successful.  (?) 

10:00 p.m. Mahone starts withdrawing.