Bull Runnings Artillery Tour: Reading List

24 08 2018

Velho_lendo

Well, interest in the upcoming Bull Run Artillery Tour with guides Craig Swain and myself has thus far been very strong. It’s hard to tell from these numbers, but folks “interested” and “going” on the Facebook Event Page exceed 500. I do ask that if you’re sure you’re going or sure you’re not going, and have clicked the “interested” button there, that you update your status. This gives us an idea of how to plan for this thing.

Craig has provided a reading list for the tour. You should at least look at the bare minimum he suggests, that being Dean Thomas’s Cannons: An Introduction to Civil War Artillery. It’s quick, dirty, and cheap.

Advanced studies include:

Hazlett, James C., Edwin Olmstead, and M. Hume Park, Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War; Ripley, Warren.,Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War.

And here are some of Craig’s blog posts that should help:

6-pdr field guns: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/artillery/smoothbore-field-artillery/6-pdr-field-guns/
12-pdr field howitzers: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/artillery/smoothbore-field-artillery/12-pdr-field-howitzers/
Parrott, James, and other rifles: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/artillery/rifled-field-artillery/

These are Craig’s self described “gold nugget” posts on tactics and employment:

The Role of Artillery: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/fa-role/
Horses and ammunition: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/artillery-and-horses/
Barry’s proposal to reorganize artillery in August 1861 (BECAUSE of Manassas): https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/barry-aop-artillery-org-pt1/
In particular the proportion of guns to infantry: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/barry-aop-artillery-org-pt2/

And if you’re a “manuals” type, here are the key titles, all in the public domain, and all available for free online:

Instructions for Field Artillery, 1861 version… though the 1864 version is acceptable, as it basically adds the technical aspects of rifled guns. Part I, Article I is probably sufficient for most in the audience. But browsing through the rest is advised.
The Ordnance Manual for the Use of Officers of the United States Army. This is the “technical manual”. Don’t recommend a deep read, just be familiar with the table of contents.
The Artillerist’s Manual by John Gibbon. This is a “tactics” manual, published in 1860, and consolidating a lot of “conventional wisdom” of artillery in one place. Recommend a browse reading.
The “other one” – Major Frederick Griffins The Artillerist’s Manual and British Soldiers’ Compendium…. Not of direct importance, but an example of the professional reading that was out there as of 1861, and which was used by men like Hunt, Gibbon, Barry as reference material.

OK, now get to work. There will be a test after the tour.





Bull Runnings Fall Tour – October 20, 2018

1 08 2018

 

Well, if you haven’t guessed by Brick Tamblin’s statement above, the topic for the next Bull Runnings Battlefield Tour will be – artillery! If big guns are your bag, you won’t want to miss a day at Manassas National Battlefield Park retracing the steps of the Union and Confederate artillerists during the First Battle of Bull Run with widely regarded expert Craig Swain and your humble host, me. Same game plan – no fees, everything is on your own (food, lodging, transportation). We’ll meet up at 9 AM on October 20, 2018 and head out onto the field. Dress appropriately – tour is rain or shine.

Expect to discuss all aspects of artillery: gun manufacture and capabilities, tactics of the day, and the action. We’ll also discuss some of the personalities involved. Here’s a little info about Craig:

Craig Swain is a graduate of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, with a BA in history. Commissioned in the Army after college, he served in Korea, Kuwait, various overseas postings, and finally outside Savannah, Georgia. After leaving the Army, he continued his studies at Missouri State University. He is author of numerous articles appearing in Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, Artilleryman, and other magazines. His blog, To the Sound of the Guns, covers various aspects of the war, but with focus on artillery and the Charleston theater of war. Craig is presently an information technology consultant, working in Washington, D.C.

I’ve set up this Facebook event page where you can express your interest in attending, or you can leave a comment here, or you can send me an email at the address to the right. Keep an eye out hereand on Facebook for updates, reading lists, handouts, and other fun stuff.





Water and War’s Friction

26 06 2018

Back in September 2017 I ventured down to Virginia to give a presentation to the Brandy Station Foundation. The day before, I climbed aboard Clark “Bud” Hall’s little red pickup that definitely could and did, along with friend Craig Swain, for a tour of the Brandy Station Battlefield and environs. For those who are unaware, Bud is the authority on, and savior of, the battle and battlefield. At one point we stopped on Beverly’s Ford Road at the site where on June 9, 1863, Lt. Henry Cutler of the 8th New York Cavalry became the first man KIA in the Gettysburg Campaign (read about it here). And there Bud snapped this overwhelmingly handsome photo of Craig (R) and me (L):

Before

Well, NoVa, like many other places, has been getting a whole lot of rain this Spring, and this past weekend Mr. Hall sent me this photo of the effects of the rain and waterway flooding at this particular site:

Flood

In this next photo, also provided by Mr. Hall, you can see the residual indication (the “mud-line”) of the extent of the flooding of nearby Ruffin’s Run:

Flood2

Craig commented on this last photo: “Wow! That demonstrates well the difficulties faced just crossing a small stream. Think back to the cavalry raid in conjunction with the Chancellorsville Campaign. I think many historians wave off the impact of heavy rains and focus on the mistakes made (by Stoneman and others). Yet they don’t see the realities that faced Stoneman.”

Pretty much every account I’ve read on Stoneman’s Chancellorsville operations make a note of the heavy rains, and pretty much all of them ultimately discount them. All too often post-mortem analysis of operations (not just this particular operation) revert to what I’ll call theory, despite giving lip service to practical difficulties. I’m reminded of a passage I’ve quoted before (here, precisely), concerning theory and “the friction of war.” This is from the official British military history of the Allied operations at Salerno, Italy, in 1943, as provided in Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle (bold underline mine):

In the land of theory…there is none of war’s friction. The troops are, as in fact they were not, perfect Tactical Men, uncannily skillful, impervious to fear, bewilderment, boredom, hunger, thirst, or tiredness. Commanders know what in fact they did not know…Lorries never collide, there is always a by-pass at the mined road-block, and the bridges are always wider than the flood. Shells fall always where they should fall.

 





Upton and First Bull Run

8 08 2014

Friend Craig Swain recently reminded me that I haven’t written much about Upton and First Bull Run. I don’t know what Upton has to do with First Bull Run, but hey, Craig’s pretty smart, and he knows his big guns, so here’s what I found.

Kate Upton

Oh, he meant Emory Upton? Ah well, back to the drawing board.

 

 





More Good Stuff Coming, and Some Already Here…

13 08 2011

…well, not here, exactly.

I’ll be away from the blog for about a week. When I get back to blogging, I have more good John Hennessy stuff on Hampton’s Legion to post. In addition to the Legion stuff, John has sent a batch of Rhode Island accounts which I’ll also be getting to.

Right now you’ll find some interesting Bull Run news in this post by Craig Swain.





Virtual Tour of Cannons at Bull Run

20 07 2011

Craig Swain has this very cool bit giving a virtual tour of the critical gun positions at Bull Run. Check it out!