I was looking at the famous photograph of the confederate dead on the Hagerstown turnpike on the Antietam battlefield, when I noticed the fence was of the post and rail type. It struck me how unfortunate it would be to conduct a charge through one of those fences. It is not easily gotten over or torn down. Much easier to get through the snake fencing. So, now I am wondering how many battles hinged on the type of fencing that the different units had to get over. Were battles lost and won due to fencing? Any thoughts on this?
I think Battlefield Detectives did a program on the Emittsburg Road fence and the failure of Pickett's Charge. They argued that the majority of Confederates making it to that point stayed their and didn't take part in the last 200m of the charge. In my opinion they went way overboard in their conclusion. It's pretty easy to get over, under or through a fence when you are being shot at. However, it would most certainly break up the momentum of a charge and I'll bet those fence rails look mighty inviting when you're under heavy fire.
Mark, I agree!!....I saw that Battlefield Detectives and concluded that I wasted an hour of life watching such shody "detective" work.....IF the fence held them up, then history would have recorded it as a tactical hinderance and contributer to the "failure" of the charge....Just my opinion....
That picture of confederate dead on the side of Hagerstown Pike is of members of the Louisiana Brigade which my ancestor was a member, 9th La. Many of these individuals laying there were killed by cannister which was fired by cannon on the hill further up the pike.
Colonel Timothy O'Meara of the 90th Illinois was mortally wounded at a corral fence that Loomis' Brigade had to cross when charging toward the tunnel and under fire from Cleburne's and Hardee's troops at the north end of Missionary Ridge. The rail fence was staked and ridered on top and a history of the regiment said it was too strong to knock down, thus they had to climb over it. This fence, built to hold in livestock, slowed the charge and several of the troops were wounded and or killed while trying to get over it. Canon fire hitting the fence splintered some of the wood, giving a painful hernia to at least one member of Colonel O'Meara's regiment.
____________________ "While we live we will cherish, protect and defend her."
considering that at least 90% of the rounds shot from rifled muskets of the time overshot their intended target i would really hate to have to climb over a fence and expose myself to that 90% of over shot rounds.
Luckily he survived the war, fought in all the battles which the 9th La fought and surrendered at Appomatox. Question on a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide test one year was what 2 types of fences were at Gettysburg.