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Gary Gallagher on the Seven Days - Other Eastern Theater - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Aug 9th, 2012 06:34 am
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Hellcat
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Not anymore. Lost one of my online sources. The Civil War Battles Page I used to visit so often is a dead link. I could go over my books and see what is there, but that link was a good one for OBs and casualties on major battles. Not to mention telling which volume of War of the Rebellion they'd gotten their info from so I could then go check out that volume.



 Posted: Fri Aug 10th, 2012 01:30 am
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Mark
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I got about 55,000 by adding up the figures (and making a few educated guesses) on this page listed under the Overland Campaign heading. The NPS is usually pretty reliable. I think it is impossible to get an exact number. Hope that helps.

Mark

http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/bycampgn.htm



 Posted: Fri Aug 10th, 2012 07:37 am
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Hellcat
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Ok gonna try and see what I've got. Just going on the three Pender mentioned, the Wilderness, Spotslvania, and North Anna first. Looking at William Price's Civil War Handbook total casualties (KIA, WIA, MIA for Federal, just total for Confederate as the book doesn't break down Confederate losses) are listed as
  • T
  • he Wilderness - Federal: 37,737 | Confederate: 11,400 | Total: 49,137
  • S
  • potsylvania Court House (includes Fredericksburg Road, Laurel Hill, and Nye River engagements) - Federal: 26,461 | Confederate: 9,000 | Total: 35,461
  • N
  • orth Anna River - Federal: 1,973 | Confederate: 2,000 | Total: 3,973

The total for the three comes out to 88,571. Keep in mind that Price states that on battles where Federal casualties numbered five hundred or more that the Confederate casualties are based on estimates.

I was going to do a note because when my copy was printed the was a blob of ink on the last digit of the Confederate casualties for Spotsylvania and it could be either a 0 or a 9 thanks to that. But Shotgun's
Home of the American Civil War
(http://www.civilwarhome.com/) has the same list coming from Statistical Record Of The Armies Of The United States" By Frederick Phisterer (http://www.civilwarhome.com/battlestats.htm). Phister's book isn't listed in the bibliography of Price's book so Phister may have gotten his list from Price or they both got it from someone else. But checking a few of the battles their the same list.

Looking at the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, edited by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler the casualties look like
  • T
  • he Wilderness - Federal: 18,000 | Confederate: 10,000 | Total: 28,000
  • S
  • potsylvania Court House - Federal: 18,000 | Confederate: 12,000 | Total: 30,000
  • N
  • orth Anna River - Federal: N/L | Confederate: N/L| Total: N/L


North Anna is in the book but there is no casualty listings for the battle so it's N/L (Not Listed)

And then there's The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, edited by Margaret E. Wagner, Gary W. Gallagher, and Paul Finkelman, which lists casualties for these three as:
  • T
  • he Wilderness - Federal: 18,400 | Confederate: 11,400 | Total: 29,800
  • S
  • potsylvania Court House - Federal: 18,000 | Confederate: 12,000 | Total: 30,000
  • N
  • orth Anna River - Federal: N/A | Confederate: N/A | Total: N/A


North Anna isn't even described in the book.

Last edited on Fri Aug 10th, 2012 07:39 am by Hellcat



 Posted: Fri Aug 10th, 2012 08:29 pm
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JG6789
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pender wrote: My bad, just figured out what I done. If you will look at the link I posted and add Cold Harbor and Petersburg to the Wilderness and Spotsylvania you will come up with the number 56,150. My apologies, the number should have been 38,623 for the three battles named above. Was a long day at work.

No big deal.  As I wrote, I think the OP meant killed anyway.



 Posted: Fri Aug 10th, 2012 08:46 pm
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JG6789
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Just going on the three Pender mentioned, the Wilderness, Spotslvania, and North Anna first. Looking at William Price's Civil War Handbook total casualties...are listed as...88,571.

William H. Price’s figures can be dismissed. The 37,737 comes from a post-war article by Cadmus Wilcox via Phisterer’s “Statistical Records of the Armies of the United Sates” (1883). In his “Virginia Campaign” (1883) A. A. Humphries identified Wilcox’s error. As Humphries points out, the source used by Wilcox (the surgeon general’s report) contains two separate casualty estimates in side-by-side columns. Wilcox added them together rather than choosing one or the other.

Your latter two estimates conform with the figures accepted by most modern writers. Most would put total Union casualties for the Overland Campaign at right around 55,000 or maybe a bit more. For Wilderness through North Anna it’s under 40,000.

 

 



 Posted: Sat Aug 11th, 2012 07:34 pm
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MildMan
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Thanks for posting the link- interesting lecture. Gallagher does not assert that the Seven Days was the turning point - just a tuning point. He makes strong points. Lee took command, replacing Johnston, substituting an aggressive general for one that relied on maneuver - and retreat. And before the Seven Days, the confederate armies were being defeated almost everywhere. Confederate civilian morale was at low ebb - but it rebounded through Manassas II and even Antietam. He also argues that the Seven Days lead to a more aggressive war and the confiscation of confederate property leading to the announcement of Emancipation at Antietam. So Seven Days resulted in major shifts in the war - hard to argue that this was not a tuning point. In contrast, he argues that Gettysburg changed little. Lee said that he would have lost as many men if he stayed on the defensive in Virginia. Lincoln in his unsent letter to Meade said that Meades failure to follow up meant that the "war would be prolonged indefinitely". I think that Gettysburg may be the 'high water mark" of the confederacy, but since neither army gained a permanent advantage, it was not a turning point. I think the point in the war where confederate military defeat became inevitable was when Grant and Meade turned south after Wilderness. THAT was not just a turn, but THE final turning point.

Last edited on Sat Aug 11th, 2012 07:42 pm by MildMan



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2012 03:11 pm
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HankC
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okay, i'll bite - what were the points that he used to argue that the seven days was a turning point?

and from what was turned? quick union victory?



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2012 05:08 pm
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Mark
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Hank, yes, he argues that the failure of the AOP to capture Richmond during early-mid 1862 led to the emergence of a "hard war" mentality in the Union. This allowed for the much harsher measures directed toward Southern society which eventually won the war and included the emancipation of Southern slaves. However, he does point out that this was merely one of several important "turning points" in the war. Hope that saves you the hour of listening : )

Mark



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2012 05:29 pm
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MildMan
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I agree, there is nothing really new in his lecture. Perhaps the Seven Days has been overlooked in terms of importance, but I think as the 150th comes up for each battle, it will be identified as a tuning point or at least a key battle. Its nice to be able to listen to the lecture online. I did it on a rainy day, I wouldn't waste a nice one.



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2012 10:14 pm
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CleburneFan
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It is actaully kind of fun to argue over which battle was the "true" turning point of the war and why.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2012 11:10 am
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Mark
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I've been wondering if "turning point" is a misnomer in historical discussions. I am convinced that nothing in history is inevitable and "turning point" implies that after that after a certain point, all events had to lead to one conclusion. Without being too technical, I would submit that chaos theory (or what I understand of it--my wife is a math whiz and has tried to explain it to me) suggests that every action could be a "turning point" in history because every action, no matter how small, causes important results on a much larger scale. If every action is a turning point, can ANY action truly be called what we mean by turning point? I like to see history as countless actions and reactions that interact with each other to produce results that require people to take new actions. Hope I was clear enough. I also hope that if someone can correct or enhance my understanding of chaos I would be most appreciative!

Mark



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2012 11:16 am
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Texas Defender
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Mark-

  Chaos is generally what happens when theory hits reality. It is what happens with your well thought out operations order when someone starts shooting..



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2012 01:10 pm
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CleburneFan
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Then it would seem that no battle in the Civil War or any war was any more or any less of a turning point than any other, because even minor forgotten skirmishes would cause changes that had an impact however imperceptible on the final result of the war.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2012 02:51 pm
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HankC
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There are ‘turning points’ and there are ‘swerves’.

A swerve is a deviation or an acceleration and usually an ‘if only…’ element creeps into it.

Antietam is a swerve – Lincoln already had the EP written up, he was just looking for the right time. Pushing Lee back south was no more definitive than Lee pushing the Army of the Potomac north. If only Lee had won then – what exactly?

Gettysburg is a swerve – it had no more strategic, military effect than Chancellorsville or Stones River. If only Lee had won then – what?

A turning point is a total, irreversible and definitive change: an army is lost, a city is captured, an election is won, etc.

Vicksburg was such – an army was lost (totally) and a river was gained (the Mississippi).

Brown’s Ferry was another: a supply line was opened, an army was saved and a campaign was won.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2012 07:46 pm
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JG6789
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Mark wrote: I've been wondering if "turning point" is a misnomer in historical discussions. I am convinced that nothing in history is inevitable and "turning point" implies that after that after a certain point, all events had to lead to one conclusion. Without being too technical, I would submit that chaos theory (or what I understand of it--my wife is a math whiz and has tried to explain it to me) suggests that every action could be a "turning point" in history because every action, no matter how small, causes important results on a much larger scale. If every action is a turning point, can ANY action truly be called what we mean by turning point? I like to see history as countless actions and reactions that interact with each other to produce results that require people to take new actions. Hope I was clear enough. I also hope that if someone can correct or enhance my understanding of chaos I would be most appreciative!

Mark


Mark-
Interesting analysis.  I tend to come to similar conclusions from a determinist perspective (chaos doesn’t represent the non-existence of deterministic laws, but rather our inability to account for all of them…).  In a real sense, if history could not have gone any other way than how it did, then there are no turning points…if, that is, your understanding of turning points requires that there be contingency.  I tend to see it differently.   Even without contingency we can recognize where events changed significantly in some way, and identify this change (or the causes of such change) as “turning points”.  This is what these debates kind of boil down to, in my opinion. 



 Posted: Sun Nov 24th, 2013 10:46 am
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Old Blu
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I have always thought and said the Battle of Chancellorsville
was the high point for the Confederacy.



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