By Glen Marston, David T. Schiller
The yank Civil conflict Recreated in color images
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Gen. Maxcy Gregg’s staﬀ chose less volatile language to make essentially the same point: ‘‘Our Army is small, but ﬁghts gloriously. . 17 10:27 Many of Haskell’s ‘‘heroes’’ could imagine a diﬀerent outcome at Sharpsburg had stragglers shouldered their muskets on the ﬁring lines. Sgt. Sanford W. Branch of the 8th Georgia Infantry described the Army of the Potomac as ‘‘too badly crippled to renew the contest’’ on the 18th. ’’ Two soldiers invoked higher authority on this topic. ‘‘General Lee said we would have routed the enemy at Sharpsburg, Maryland, if it had not been that our army straggled so,’’ commented an artillerist.
A private in the 21st Georgia Infantry wasted no words in making the point that the army’s hard work had changed the strategic picture in the Eastern Theater for the better: ‘‘Most all the Yankees is whiped out of Virginia,’’ stated Edward Jones. ’’ Another believer in brevity, James E. Keever of the 34th North Carolina Infantry, summed up action since the Seven Days in six short sentences: ‘‘We have been in ten battles and marched over one thousand miles. The ﬁrst battle was at Cedar Run. The second at Manassas Junction, also three hard ﬁghtings on Bulls Run where the big ﬁght was last year.
This is not to say that everyone in the army cast only rapturous looks toward army headquarters. Testimony about Lee from men who had straggled or deserted is hard to ﬁnd, but by the end of September thousands of soldiers undoubtedly had cursed him for pressing them unmercifully on the march and in battle. The army’s hemorrhaging in Maryland underscored the inability or unwillingness of as many as a third of the army to meet Lee’s high standard of performance. By the end of the quiet period following Sharpsburg, however, most of the troops who had reﬂected on their accomplishments since the previous June looked to Lee as one whose intellect and daring would yield many future triumphs.
American Civil War Recreated in Color Photographs by Glen Marston, David T. Schiller