17
   

Unknown Civil War Officer?????

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 11:04 am
@danon5,
Well, I'm quite sure about the origin of the uniform in that photo.

It's not Dutch - and since they don't have mountains there, their "Bersaglieri" band is a bit different to the Italian original version ...

panzade
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:10 pm
@Setanta,
Set, a belated thanks for a great mini-history lesson
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:12 pm
@Ionus,
Interesting stuff, mate
0 Replies
 
danon5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:07 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter, I think 99.9% of posters to this thread are with you re. the origin of the uniform. The final question is - I'm sure - when was the photo hung upon the wall in the house with no name. And, who owned the house at the time it was hung during or so soon after WWI, or, later? Someone should be looking into the history of an Italian family who lived in that particular house at that approx. time. That would satisfy the original posters question, "Who is this"? If he could find the family - then there is another question, "Why did the family of the person in the photo leave the picture in the house?" The person who actually has the original photo and lives in the house should take it out on the front porch - one fine day - and take a SHARP photo of it ((not in direct sunlight)) and show us all some of the extreme detail that I know is there. Especially the badge on the hat. It was in my opinion overpainted by the photographer (which was normal in those days) but, could possibly give us a little better idea re. the design.

Thanks again Set.

Thanks again Joe.

It's been fun - and, hopefully, there's more !!!!!!



danon5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:16 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter the music is to die for ---- however, they were not "in pedal" with each other !!!!! Damn, that must be a "step" ahead for the Italians !!!!!
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:43 pm
@danon5,
Well, exactly that's where I would start my research: who put the photo when on the wall, and where did this person get the photo from.


That the badge might have been overpainted, I totally agree (I've some dozens of 19th century photographs of military persons which seem to be more a painter's work than a photo Very Happy ).
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:47 pm
@danon5,
Well, they aren't really used to it anymore - it's nowadays only a "traditional" music band since the "Korps Wielrijders" doesn't exist anymore.
danon5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 02:17 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Please excuse the following =
E glaube du bis rechtig.

My "X" of many years was a Wienerin and my German is really f--ked up.

During breakfast, if someone wanted another egg - it would sound like, "Du ah ah Ei?" the answer would sound like, "Ja, E ah ah Ei."

It's funny now, but was frustrating in those days.

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 04:39 pm
@panzade,
Hey . . . no problem. I highly recommend R. E. Lee and Lee's Lieutenants. However, they should be red with a bowl of grainy salt close to hand. For example, compare Chancellorsville, by Theodore Ayrault Dodge (the great American military historian of the late 19th, early 20th century--he was there for the battle; i also recommend his A Bird's Eye View of our Civil War for the best short history).

It's all very interesting. In the 1920's, when he was still just a lowly and unknown journalist, Douglas Southall Freeman wrote a very sharp critique of the military performance of the Confederacy. His two most salient points were condemnation of the area defense policy, and the strategic defensive/operational-tactical offensive policy. The latter policy is thoroughly dissected and condemned by two historians from (i think) the University of Alabama, in a book entitled Attack and Die, published about 1980.

The basic problem was the romantic attitude toward militarism in the South, and the apparent belief that they would win, or at least not lose, because they were militarily superior to the North. Therefore, they remained within their own territory, foolishly attempted to defend all of their territory. For example, a brigade of ab0ut 2500 men from Florida joined the Army of Northern Virginia, and less than a year later, they arrived at Gettysburg with scarcely more than half that number surviving. Meanwhile, 15,000 or more state militia and volunteers defended a state which the Yankees had no interest in. The first shots of the war were fired in Pensacola (January, 1861), and the Federal commander there retired to Fort Pickens in the harbor, after destroying the military supplies on the mainland that he could not remove. The United States Navy showed up, and thereafter, there was no further reason to do anything in Florida. One small expedition tried, half-heartedly, to invade the state, and were turned away. For the rest of the war, the Florida boys sat around slapping each other on the back, and eating up free rations.

Operationally and tactically, though, the boys would attack the Yankees just about everywhere they met them. This was extremely foolish, as the attacker suffers the most casualties, especially with what were then modern weapons. So, for example, in the Seven Days Battle, Lee (who did just about no staff work) attempted to trap Fitz John Porter's "Grand Division" (roughly a third of McClellan's army) north of the Chickahominy River. Because no staff work had been done, and because Lee was loathe to publicly criticize his commanders, Jackson was not lead properly on his approach march, and did not take part in the first day's battle. At the same time, Alvin Powell "Little Powell" Hill attacked at Mechanicsburg, even though he was not to have launched his attack until he had heard Jackson's guns. Lee did not interfere. He once told a foreign observer (it might have been Freemantle, but i'm not sure of that) that he planned the operation, lead the army to the chosen site of the battle, and then let his officers fight it. He told the man that when he had brought his army into contact with the enemy, he believed that he had done the whole of his duty.

Jackson spent most of the second day wandering around, because the guide who had been sent to him took him to New Cold Harbor, and not Old Cold Harbor, as was intended. The man was sent on his mission without written orders, and even got in an argument with Jackson when the latter realized that they were marching away from the sound of the guns.

In the absence of Jackson's intended flank attack, Porter's boys inflicted a horrible slaughter on the Southerners at Beaver Dam Creek. Porter had been begging McClellan to let him pull out ever since rains had swollen the Chicahominy River, which separated him from the rest of the army. He was actually in the process of leaving his position when the Confederates began their week of attacks. Essentially, he fought a series of rear-guard actions. As long as he was north of the river, he was vulnerable, but the near complete lack of coordination in Lee's army meant that he could post a strong rear guard, and hurry the rest of his troops on the retreat. Jackson finally caught up to the rest of the Army, after Porter had inflicted another horrible slaughter on them at Gaines Mill, before the arrival of the Army of the Valley to launch a sundown attack which drove the Federals off--but Porter was keeping his trains in front of his troops, and the Confederates were continually attacking nothing more than a strong rear guard who were punishing them severely for it.

Lee launched Huger, "Prince John" Magruder and Longstreet at the flank of McClellan's support line for Porter at the battle of Savage Station, but the attacks were sent in piecemeal, and Magruder shied from the attack (or so Longstreet claimed--either way, Magruder's career was effectively over), so that another completely useless slaughter took place. Meanwhile, Jackson, now moving with the rest of the army, participated in another slaughter at Glendale. Lee and company continually congratulated themselves on driving the enemy off, but they were suffering higher casualties than the Yankees, which they could ill afford in either the short of the long term.

Porter had two topographical engineers from the Coast and Geodetic Survey with him (the ancestor of today's NOAA), and they found fords for his army which his artillery and trains used to cross White Oak Swamp, without bridging the stream, and carried out in the middle of the night. Jackson arrived the following morning, and wasted the day bridging White Oak Swamp, while Porter's rear guard artillery played hell with them. Lee and his "staff" were entirely ignorant of the fords the two civilian engineers had found for Porter the night before.

By now, Porter had escaped, and all of the casualties which Lee's army had suffered were basically useless. But that was not the end. The Yankees set up more than a hundred artillery pieces on a low hill, Malvern Hill, and put infantry in field fortifications in front of them. Lee had one more go at the Yankees, and as Daniel Harvey Hill remarked, it wasn't a battle, it was just wholesale murder. Confederate artillery batteries would unlimber, open up, and be blown to bits in five or ten minutes. The infantry were mowed down like wheat before the scythe.

But Lee was a hero. He had vigorously and relentlessly attacked the enemy, and he had "driven them off." That's what the people of the South wanted to see, and he gave it to them in spades.

Lincoln constantly said he needed to find a man who understood the numbers. Lincoln didn't care if you won, as long as you attacked the Confederates relentlessly, because they could not support a war of attrition. He may have interfered too often, but when he got Grant--no kind of battlefield commander, but someone who understood the numbers--he let him have a free hand.

Freeman must have seen the light, or been tipped wise by someone that his thesis was not consonant with the great "lost cause" version of the Civil War which was so popular in the South, that many of its basic (and false) tenets have been accepted as the majority view of popular Civil War history. Freeman's R. E. Lee is superb scholarship, and it also completely ignores the basic suicidal nature of Southern operational policy. Those two boys who wrote Attack and Die fudged a lot of the numbers, but even if you correct their errors, the math is plain. The Confederates were killing themselves faster than they were killing Yankees, and they could not afford that.
danon5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:17 pm
@Setanta,
Set, I agree. Those days were some of the most confusing during the campaign. I don't believe that Lee would or did sacrifice his men unknowingly. His personal beliefs and vows were his downfall. However, even today there is confusion in the midst of battle. If you have been there - you should know. Tho less than then - it's the state of the art of war. Only the lucky survive intact and unscathed. I'm a firm believer that the side that puts the most bullets downrange will win the conflict - not the war. In war, I rely upon Napoleon B's remarks, "History is a series of lies that have finally been agreed upon. "

That's what finally goes into the history books.

danon5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:34 pm
@danon5,
Oh, and I totally agree about Lincoln's choice for commander of the Union Army. Grant was the "Patton" of the day - attack and attack and do not slow down - press the enemy and don't let them resupply. That's what killed the South. We did not have reserves to supply us with the staples to continue fighting the conflict. The south was starved into submission. (believe it or not). That's why Grant ordered Sherman to "sack" the south, even though Sherman didn't want to do that. It's something that our "Patton" of WWII learned well in West Point. As long as you have ammo - charge.

"War's Hell." (Sherman)

Ionus
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 03:32 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
Well, exactly that's where I would start my research: who put the photo when on the wall, and where did this person get the photo from.
It is part of the original expalnation behind the question. He also says he has exhausted local reseaerch which is why I wanted to know what state.
Quote:
We purchased an old farm house built in 1805. An oval portrait has graced the wall of our home since we moved in 15 years ago. I have tried in vain to research this Civil war officer but to no avail. The executor of the estate or any of the remaining family members have been unable to shed any light on this portrait other than to say, it's been in the house as long as they can remember. We are the third family to move into this 200 year old farm house. The prior family took up residence in the 60's. So my belief is that this officer may have had some sort of connection with the original founding family of our home.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 04:47 am
@danon5,
In May and June of 1864, from the Rappahannock to the James River, the Federal forces suffered about 100,000 casualties and detachments--killed, wounded, missing and detached for various services. Grant scraped together 105,000 replacements. In the same period of time, Lee's army suffered 25,000 casualties--killed, wounded and missing, and exclusive any detachments, which i don't believe took place. He received 15,000 replacements. From the time Grant joined Meade's Army of the Potomac, it was only a matter of time.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 04:51 am
By the way, Napoleon's dicta about history are interesting, in a pathological sort of way. History was his best subject at Brienne before he went to the École militaire, and shortly before his death, he made a point of telling people that the King of Rome (his son by his Austrian wife) should be made to study history. He made a lot of statements about history, which are simply not true.

Take the one you've quoted to the effect that history is a set of lies agreed upon. That people lie is no assurance that their lies will be believed. Napoleon would issue bulletins after battles, which were for publication in France. The French weren't fooled, though. "Lies like a bulletin" became a prosaic statement about how untrustworthy a source or an individual were.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:45 am
@panzade,
Nice find, panzade..I found it but lost it !! Do you remember the ref because I would like to go back there and branch out again. Sorry to be a nuisance.

Oops. Just read later post.
0 Replies
 
danon5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 03:38 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks Set - that's enlightening info. I noticed the quote in 'Bartlett's' one day and it stuck - reminded me of our foolishness in Vietnam. I still like the little devil's sense of humor and think I'll keep the quote. Thanks again.

Oh, and could you shed some light on something I read a long time ago re. the Napo - at "Waterloo" he was apparently sick and in bed?? That would have created a defeat for him regardless of the situation.

You should write a history book.

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:03 pm
I don't know that he was "sick and in bed." He was not the man he had been 15 years earlier. He had put on weight, and he didn't have the energy he had had 15 years before. But more than anything else, he didn't have the officer corps and the veteran NCOs that had made the "Great Army" great. In 1809, Napoleon fought and won (more or less) the Wagram campaign. This involved an invasion of Austria, and the defeat of the main Austrian army downstream (East) from Vienna. The battle of Wagram itself worked the destruction of the army. Casualties in officers and NCOs were appalling. One light infantry regiment came out of the line in the command of its senior corporal. Many of the field grade officers who would in time have become general officers, and perhaps even Marshals were disabled or killed in the battle. More than two dozen general officers were killed. In the battle of Aspern-Essling, which preceded the battle of Wagram by about five weeks, the French had suffered more than 20,000 casualties, and at the battle of Wagram itself, well over 30,000 more. These were mostly irreplaceable veterans. Marshall Jean Lannes, arguably Napoleon's best battlefield commander (Napoleon himself was not great shakes as a tactical commander--his greatest skills were in recognizing and promoting talent, and organization), was mortally wounded at Asper-Essling, and died about a week later. Napoleon dismissed Bernadotte for his conduct on the battlefield.

The invasion of Russia in 1812 finished the work of destroying the cream of Napoleon's armies. By the time of the Battle of the Nations at Leipsic in 1813, although Napoleon disposed of about a quarter of a million men, they simply weren't the material with which France had overawed and conquered most of Europe, even before Napoleon made himself emperor. The winter-spring campaign of 1814 saw the defection of many of Napoleon's trusted high-ranking officers.

By 1815, the Allies had unwisely reduced the size of the armies they had in the field, and the Russians, of course, were not a factor in a campaign that lasted only three months--there wasn't enough time for the Russians to arrive. But Napoleon himself was not the man he had been. His great chief of staff, Bertier, who had made the grand campaigns of the past possible with his neurotically obsessive control of all the logistical aspects of a campaign was not available. So many officers had been left dead in Italy, Egypt, Austria and Germany. So many more had been lost in Spain, which had bled the empire white while Napoleon was involved elsewhere.

Napoleon could simply not rely on his officers as he had been accustomed to do in the past, nor could he keep all the threads in his own hands as he once had done. The English and the Germans hadn't many troops to call upon, but the Great Army was a shadow of what it once had been, and Napoleon could not coordinate and control it as he once had done, when he could call upon dozens of competent general officers and marshals. And the troops were not trained to the standard which, before Napoleon was even on the horizon, had made the French the best soldiers in the world of their day.

Wellington once said that the presence of Napoleon on the field of battle was worth 40,000 men. At Waterloo, that just wasn't enough. It was not the same Napoleon, and it was not the same Great Army.
danon5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:43 pm
@Setanta,
Interesting, I have been at the battlefield at Wagram. My "X's" family came from Leopoldsdorf - in the area. So I've driven the entire field many times. Good spot for the old style of combat - really flat, open terrain. Austria has had quite a few battles during their history in the same place. In fact the locals still refer to the area as "march field" where armies were moving around.

One day during the '80's we drove to a place close to an old castle ruins near the March River just north of where it meets the Danube and walked to the river. Across the water was Russian guard posts. My good friend Franz (who had fought in the German Army during WWII) led the way and advised us to not show ourselves because the Russians would take shots at us if they saw us. It was a good day.

Napoleon, while in Vienna stayed at the Schonbrunn Palace - so I've also crossed paths with the little guy. Really interesting place.

0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 09:07 pm
Napoleon's army of 1815 was one of the best he put in the field. It had the veterans that were recruited after 1812 and Naploeon had not yet introduced conscripted troops. They had a taste of the return of the King and they didnt like it. He had cavalry that was superior to the allies and yet he couldnt out manouvre them. He had several physical complaints and was being treated with laudanum ( an opium mixture) for pain and to aid sleep. This was not given in accurate doses and he spent the mornings ina stupor, inspecting troops and lazing around. As soon as it wore off by about midday he was energised and seems to have been a completely different man.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 01:03 am
@Ionus,
Ionus wrote:

Napoleon's army of 1815 was one of the best he put in the field. It had the veterans that were recruited after 1812 and Naploeon had not yet introduced conscripted troops.


I'm not sure about the French home country (though the guard national was conscripted), but all troops from German countries/departments serving in the Grande Armee were conscripted - from the very day onwards when they became French territory, at least [that's clearly pre-1811].
 

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