Pinkerton and McClellan: Much More Accurate than Believed

Apr 2012
630
Fiver said:
Yes, McClellan did claim the numbers I have listed were correct Confederate numbers. You can find them in most any source except for those dedicated to proclaiming George McClellan as an unsung genius. My main source, which I have already mentioned is Edwin Fishel's The Secret War For the Union. Fishel's sources included the operational files of the Bureau of Military Intelligence, more of the BMI's reports in Hooker's papers, and 1000 pages of Pinkerton reports in the McClellan papers. Pinkerton pretty consistently overestimated Confederate numbers, while McClellan pretty consistently treated Pinkerton's numbers as underestimates.

If McClellan didn't believe his numbers then he was lying to his superiors and his lies worked against him, because those over-inflated claims of Confederate numbers led directly to the large number of troops Lincoln kept in the Washington defenses instead of sending to McClellan.
You wrote this elsewhere.

Fishel kept making the same mistake. He'd take an estimate in one strength category (aggregate present or sometimes present and absent) and compare to a lower strength category.

In fact, Pinkerton was uncannily accurate until June. For example, in March he counted rebel strength exactly by regiment:



This was accompanied by a strength estimate of 60,000 at Manassas reached by penetrating the commissary and similar estimates elsewhere averaging about 1,000 men per regiment. Obviously these are estimates of effective strength, or PFD, and at best are estimates of aggregate present. The int was dated 25th December 1861 (the agent used Christmas to get details out of a Commissary clerk), and the return for that period shows it it was accurate.

Johnston in his returns was lowballing his strength (as Newton points out) and in February-March huge numbers had been furloughed causing a temporary drop in strength of 20,000 present.

Pinkerton had accurately reported exactly the number of regiments present, and had also reported numbers from Commissary rolls, which were probably grand aggregates, and McClellan could certainly read that.

On the Peninsula McClellan three times gave estimate of enemy strength at Yorktown, and he was pretty much right:



Pinkerton gives a fairly accurate report in early May (see Newton link above). On 26th June the general estimates of Pinkerton are:

150,000 at Richmond
30,000 under Jackson
possibly 20,000 under Beauregard transferred east.

Now, here Pinkerton is counting high by 36 regiments at Richmond. In the strength category he was counting he should have said about 120,000 in Richmond, but the pertinent fact is that Lee really did outnumber McClellan. To be more precise his force at Richmond was of equal strength to McClellan's force, and Jackson was the edge.



The exaggerated reports from the Valley come from Banks, who was estimating Jackson at 30-40,000. The wrong intelligence that Beauregard was Richmond with his army originated from Washington and McClellan started openly he didn't believe. Washington had completely lost track of Beauregard when they moved from Corinth to Chattanooga and read in the rebel papers that Beauregard had been summoned to Richmond, which he was but to explain himself to Jeff Davis, not with his army.

At Antietam the question is simply what are the "46 regiments not counted"? These are a mix of miscounts and GW Smith's division of 4 brigades left at Richmond. Aside from this line the estimate is uncanny.



McClellan in his communications with Halleck etc. said 100,000 and 120,000. Here McClellan is trying to convince Halleck that there is not a whole other rebel army on the Rappahanock. The latter is correct for McClellan's interconversion between PFD and Present, and thus is the same figure viewed in two different columns.

There is good reason to believe McClellan doubted the "46 regiments". However, what we're seeing is what was sent for external consumption.

Fishel can pour as much scorn as he likes, but Pinkerton was much more accurate than credited with. Sadly by accepting fundamental tenants of the Lost Cause he misjudged the estimates badly.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
You wrote this elsewhere.
Yes, I wrote in on a site where you have been banned for the past 5 years.

First, lets look at Edwin C Fishel. Fishel worked for US intelligence services for several decades. Between 1958 and 1996, Fishel was published in American Intelligence Journal, Civil War History, Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, and Studies in Intelligence. Fishel's book, The Secret War for the Union, analyzes intelligence work in the Virginia theatre of the Civil War. using the operational files of the Bureau of military Intelligence, over 1000 pages of Pinkerton's reports fouind in the McClellan papers, BMI reports in the Hooker papers, the Secret Service Accounts, among othr sources.

Fishel kept making the same mistake. He'd take an estimate in one strength category (aggregate present or sometimes present and absent) and compare to a lower strength category.
Feel free to give any evidence that supports your claim.

In fact, Pinkerton was uncannily accurate until June. For example, in March he counted rebel strength exactly by regiment:

I note that your source for these numbers appear to be your own blog. In this you significantly misrepresent what Fishel said about Pinkerton and McClellan.

Fishel acknowledged that "Pinkerton's basic order-of-battle compilation was good enough. For example, at about the time of the Seven Days' Battles (June-July 1862), in which Lee drove the Army of the Potomac from the eastern environs of Richmond, Pinkerton had listed about 220 units of regimental size. This was some 40 too many, but the list included every one of the 178 that the Confederates did have." Pinkerton may have started with a reasonable accurate count on the number of Confederate regiments, but then he did things like assuming the average size of a Confederate regiment was 700 men. Starting with this obviously inflated number, Pinkerton then added "considerable numbers of unknown forces, over and above those covered in his "general estimates."" And Pinkerton's numbers were generally smaller than the numbers McClellan claimed to his superiors.

Fishel can pour as much scorn as he likes, but Pinkerton was much more accurate than credited with. Sadly by accepting fundamental tenants of the Lost Cause he misjudged the estimates badly.
Fishel did not "accept the tenets of the Lost Cause", he analyzed intelligence records, just like he'd done as part of his job for the last several decades.
 
Apr 2012
630
Lets ignore the appeal to authority. Fishel was no historian by training, and it shows. Fishel does not seek to understand the data, but rather exploit the data to further his thesis. Hence he pays scant attention to data that refutes his thesis.

Take, for example, Fishel's treatment of strength in the Maryland campaign. Various estimates (mentioned in Fishel are):

Stanton at the War Dept: 100,000 rebels at Frederick
New York Herald: 150,000
Curtin: 190,000 with Lee at Frederick, 150,000 more with Johnston waiting to cross at Leesburg and another 100,000 on the Rappahanock line
Pleasonton: 100,000
Banks: 150,000 just after Antietam, after receiving 15,000 reinforcements
Pinkerton: 97,445 PFD (rounded to 100,000 by McClellan who also quoted 120,000 which is the standard PFD to present correction he applied)

Wool
6-7 Sept: Jackson's corps has 30,000 and is at Frederick
8 Sept: Rebel army estimated at 75,000 and 30-50,000 seen by a scout sent to Frederick


Yet Fishel says most estimates were "30,000" based off an estimate of DH Hill's division at 30,000. Fishel ignores the fact that McClellan (and Pinkerton) were giving some of the lowest estimates and closest to reality.

Fishel then explicitly accepts the Lost Cause claims that Lee had less than 40,000 at Antietam and invaded with less than 50,000. He asserts (incorrectly) that the 30th September return shows only 53,000 and all the stragglers must have returned, when in fact the stragglers weren't called in from the camps until early October. In this he is using Sears, who in turn used the Lost Cause numberologist William Allen as his guide, and he did this by completely deleting the strength counts of DH Hill's corps that reinforced Lee at 2nd Bull Run.

In fact strengths over this period were:

Newton estimates for 1st June, before Seven Pines casualties deducted = 94,813
Harsh estimates for 26th June =: 101,725 exclusive of Department of Henrico
20th July: 69,732 exclusive of Jackson (5,020 exc/ arty etc. on 14th August morning report) and Ewell's divisions (5,027 on 10th August) and Lawton's brigade (2,041 on 13th August when it officially was assigned to Ewell) = ca. 81,820
Harsh estimates on 2nd September PFD = 75,528
22nd September: 36,418 PFD exclusive of reserve artillery and cavalry (neither of which heavily engaged at Antietam). Est 771 (30th Sept) for arty and 5,761 (10th Oct) for cav = 42,950
30th September: 52,790 PFD exclusive of cavalry (reserve arty reported at 771). Est 5,761 for cav = 58,551
10th October: 64,273 PFD (reserve arty reported at 912, cavalry at 5,761)
20th October: 68,033
10th November: 70,909 exclusive of reserve artillery - add 917 res arty (20th Oct) = 71,826
20th November: 73,778 exclusive of reserve artillery - add 917 res arty = 74,695
31st December: 76,799

The jump is ca. 14,000 men in the first ten days of October is the stragglers camps being emptied.

So, the reality was Lee invaded with about 90-95,000 aggregate present (converted from PFD) and the estimates of Stanton, Pinkerton, Pleasonton and McClellan were roughly right. Those of Banks and Curtin, who Fishel praises, were far too high. Yet scorn is piled on McClellan's correct assessment of enemy strength.

In saying "everyone said 30,000" and adopting Lost Cause numerology. Stating:

"All but a few sources gave conservative estimates of the invaders’ strength— 30,000 was the usual figure, and only a very few times was the true number, 50,000 at that time, exceeded. A few of the reports were wildly off on one or two points, such as a dispatch from General Wool at Baltimore reporting that General Braxton Bragg’s army from the Tennessee-Mississippi theater was approaching through the Shenandoah Valley, 40,000 strong. This drew an immediate challenge from President Lincoln, since Bragg was in fact then invading Kentucky, but the story died uncorrected.

Fishel, Edwin C.. The Secret War for the Union: The Untold Story of Military Intelligence in the Civil War (Kindle Locations 4363-4367). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Who said "30,000", well:

Wool passed on int that Jackson's Corps of 30,000 was at Frederick
Fishel quotes a report by a signaller that DH Hill's division was 30,000 as it crossed the Potomac.

So whence "all bit a few sources"?

Clearly either Fishel was incompetently sloppy with his figures or, disturbingly, was so obsessed in "proving" his thesis that he, perhaps not deliberately, engaged in so very bad practices.

Made large...

Perhaps it's worth noting that whilst Fishel believed Pinkerton and McClellan were engaged in deceiving each other, based entirely off half a sentence in the autumn of 1861, thus:

"Made large...so as to be sure and cover the entire number of the enemy..." In that half sentence we have the explanation of Pinkerton's badly exaggerated estimates that historians have been ridiculing all these years, attributing them to Pinkerton's credulity and general incompetence. Now it develops McClellan was just as aware of the fact as Pinkerton. McClellan's reporting of six figure estimates to his superiors in those early weeks, with little factual basis and before Pinkerton had time to get his feet on the ground, made it necessary for the detective to produce some supporting data. And it was important that the information he provided would ensure against their ever being surprised by enemy numbers they failed to count."

After spending a chapter of the book (fifth) accusing Pinkerton of deceiving McClellan with McClellan's connivance (which he also published as a paper), he then spends appendix 6 completely dismantling his own argument. He renders the point that Pinkerton and McClellan knew exactly what the numbers meant and it was for outside consumption. Fishel declares:

"McClellan’s estimates ... in 1861 and 1862 his figures were not entirely outside the bounds of reason."

He then makes the argument that Pinkerton and McClellan were knowingly passing on intelligence that inflated enemy strength for the purpose of trying to get Lincoln to commit resources to the main offensive. Okay, but he then claims they believed numbers he says they were making up! That is of course nonsense, it is one or the other.

This is not unusual amongst sloppy researchers. Sears spent an entire appendix proving that the tale of a rebel spy at McClellan's HQ on 13th September 1862 was false, but used the tale in his narrative anyway. Fishel did not evaluate evidence well, filtering everything through his own worldview. Hence you get a distorted mindset that can claim McClellan was committing fraud, but then claim he believed the "fraudulent" claims making the entire thing not a fraud. In the space of three pages Fishel claims two contradictory points, because both are harmful to McClellan.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
67th and Fivers...please don't bring issues from another site, to Historum. This seems benign at this stage, but we don't want to see a blow up.

Thanks in advance.
 
Sep 2014
1,233
Queens, NYC
Are there actual Rebel (Confederate) records to which Pinkerton's estimates can be compared?
 
Apr 2012
630
Are there actual Rebel (Confederate) records to which Pinkerton's estimates can be compared?
Some (the majority of rebel records were burnt in 1865), but one needs to know how to read them. It's important to know what strength category is needed. The three main ones being:

Aggregate Present and Absent: The total number of men on the rolls of a unit or formation.
Aggregate Present: The number actually in the camp(s), including non-combatants, sick, under arrest etc.
Present for Duty: In the east this is, for the rebels, the number of combatants with a formation. In the west and in Federal armies the definition included non-combatants.

In the rebel case this always excludes attached African-Americans, who were fed by the army but not on the rolls because they were not enlisted as soldiers. The ratio may have been as high as 1 African-American (off rolls) traveling with the army for every 4 white men, but in the early war appears lower from the samples we have (in the Antietam campaign it appears to be about 1 African-American per 8 whites).

Tracking regiments is dead easy. So we know that in September '61 there were around 165 regiments of all arms in the Virginia theatre. This equates to 165,000 in the top category. However regiments probably only have about 700 men actually with them which gives around 115,500 present, and of those about 1/6th would not be "for duty" leaving around 96,250 combatants.

When estimating in late October Pinkerton estimated 126,600 aggregate present (say 105,500 PFD), which was very close to the true number for the area estimates (which went from West Va down to Richmond, Norfolk and Yorktown).

Now the last estimate Pinkerton filed before embarking to the Peninsula (8th March, although all the field work was done in mid-January) said 115,500 on the Rappahanock line and in the Shenandoah, and lists 95 infantry regiments and some odds and sods. Clearly then he is not estimating PFD or even aggregate present, since the fill is above 1,000 per regiment. Hence this is an estimate of present and absent.

Fishel takes the 28th February return, then selects the lowest category (even excluding a brigade attached from Fredericksburg) and proclaims inaccuracy. Yet the infantry regiment count is exactly correct, and Pinkerton places headline figures (probably present and absent, the highest category) and regiment counts. The astute reader can ascertain that Pinkerton obviously was reporting present and aggregate. We only have this report because McClellan passed it up the chain. All the reports we have, save perhaps the October '61 estimates, were for external consumption. The nearest reports to the field work gives 98,050 plus 17,760 (Army of the NW) = 115,810 P+A vs 115,500 for the estimate.

BTW: I have the Confederate Orbat for 8th March online.
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
Lets ignore the appeal to authority. Fishel was no historian by training, and it shows. Fishel does not seek to understand the data, but rather exploit the data to further his thesis. Hence he pays scant attention to data that refutes his thesis.
Appeal to authority is not a fallacy when discussing areas where the authority is an authority. You yourself use Harsh as an authority, yet I do not accuse you of engaging in a logical fallacy. Fishel was an authority in intelligence, and his subject is military intelligence in the Civil War.

Take, for example, Fishel's treatment of strength in the Maryland campaign. Various estimates (mentioned in Fishel are):

Stanton at the War Dept: 100,000 rebels at Frederick
New York Herald: 150,000
Curtin: 190,000 with Lee at Frederick, 150,000 more with Johnston waiting to cross at Leesburg and another 100,000 on the Rappahanock line
Pleasonton: 100,000
Banks: 150,000 just after Antietam, after receiving 15,000 reinforcements
Pinkerton: 97,445 PFD (rounded to 100,000 by McClellan who also quoted 120,000 which is the standard PFD to present correction he applied)

Wool
6-7 Sept: Jackson's corps has 30,000 and is at Frederick
8 Sept: Rebel army estimated at 75,000 and 30-50,000 seen by a scout sent to Frederick
This would be much easier to analyze if you provided links or at least page numbers for your claims. From what I can tell your claims about Stanton's, the New York Herald's, and Wool's estimates do not appear in Fishel. though he does note that Wool reported Braxton Bragg's army was approaching the Shenandoah Valley.

Yet Fishel says most estimates were "30,000" based off an estimate of DH Hill's division at 30,000.
Fishel said "All but a few sources gave conservative estimates of the invaders' strength - 30,000 was the usual figure, and only a very few times was the true number, 50,000 at that time, exceeded." - Secret War for the Union page 214. From the context, it is clear Fishel is talking about estimates made between September 6-8, none of which are the estimates you mention above. If as you claim, Fishel is using estimates based solely on the size of DH Hill's division instead of the whole Army of Northern Virginia, you need to provide a source that supports your opinion, especially since 30,000 was the size of a whole Army Corps, not a Division.

Fishel ignores the fact that McClellan (and Pinkerton) were giving some of the lowest estimates and closest to reality.
On September 9, McClellan passed on Pleasanton's estimate of 100,000 Confederates. (Fishel p.216) By that evening, MClellan's estimate had risen to 110,000 (Fishel p.216) By September 11, McClellan claimed he faced 120,000 Confederates. (Fishel p.217) Curtin made his claim of 190,000 on September 12. (Fishel p.221) On September 13, Palmer estimated 100,000 (Fishel p. 231) After the battle, Pinkerton claimed there had been 140,000 Confederates. (Fishel p.237). McClellan's report a month after the battle was 97,445 Confederates.(Fishel p.237). Banks estimate of 150,000 came in mid-October, (Fishel p252) which was not "just after" the battle. None of this shows that McClellan's estimates were some of the lowest or closest to reality. All of these occurred after the point in time where Fishel was referring to when he said "All but a few sources gave conservative estimates of the invaders' strength".

Fishel then explicitly accepts the Lost Cause claims that Lee had less than 40,000 at Antietam and invaded with less than 50,000.
You are starting with the assumptions that estimating Lee's forces at Antietam as under 40,000 is both incorrect and a product of the Lost Cause. So far, you have provided no evidence that either of your assumptions is correct. You also incorrectly report Fishel's estimates - on p.217 he estimates Lee's total force at around 40,000; on p.235 around 45,000; on p.237 around 40,000. At no point does Fishel estimate that Lee has less than 40,000.

He asserts (incorrectly) that the 30th September return shows only 53,000 and all the stragglers must have returned, when in fact the stragglers weren't called in from the camps until early October.
The only time Fishel refers to 53,000 troops is not the Antietam campaign and refers to part of the Union Army. Fishel doesn't appear to mention September 30 at all. OTOH, Lee's report of September 30, shows Aggregate Present (less cavalry) of 62,718 with Aggregate Present and Absent (less cavalry) of 139,143. That an Aggregate Absent of 76,425

Harsh estimates on 2nd September PFD = 75,528
22nd September: 36,418 PFD exclusive of reserve artillery and cavalry (neither of which heavily engaged at Antietam). Est 771 (30th Sept) for arty and 5,761 (10th Oct) for cav = 42,950
30th September: 52,790 PFD exclusive of cavalry (reserve arty reported at 771). Est 5,761 for cav = 58,551
None of these numbers seem useful for comparing with Fishel. Does he give estimates for the size of Confederate forces at these times?

10th October: 64,273 PFD (reserve arty reported at 912, cavalry at 5,761)
20th October: 68,033
10th November: 70,909 exclusive of reserve artillery - add 917 res arty (20th Oct) = 71,826
20th November: 73,778 exclusive of reserve artillery - add 917 res arty = 74,695
31st December: 76,799

The jump is ca. 14,000 men in the first ten days of October is the stragglers camps being emptied.
If you are correct on the jump of 14,000 men being stragglers, not reinforcements, how does this contradict anything Fishel said?

So, the reality was Lee invaded with about 90-95,000 aggregate present (converted from PFD) and the estimates of Stanton, Pinkerton, Pleasonton and McClellan were roughly right.
To make this claim you have to add about 20,000 men to Harsh's estimate, plus cherry pick McClellan and Pinkerton's lowest estimates, which are still too high.

Those of Banks and Curtin, who Fishel praises, were far too high. Yet scorn is piled on McClellan's correct assessment of enemy strength.
"On September 12 he [Curtin] devoted two hundred words to the report of a citizen who had been among a small force of Confederate cavalry northeast of Frederick and had come away thoroughly gulled. The enemy, he said had 190,000 in Maryland...." (Fishel p.221)

Last I checked, "thoroughly gulled" is not a term of praise.

"They reported Lee reinforced by 15,000, not an unreasonable estimate, but then gave his total strength as "not less than, and not over, 150,000." Both the high figure and unreasonable precision should have rendered it suspect, but Banks commended the pair's findings..." (Fishel p.251-252)

How is Fishel saying Banks accepted a "suspect" number praising Banks?

In saying "everyone said 30,000" and adopting Lost Cause numerology.
You are claiming something Fishel never said, as can be seen by the portion of Fishel's book that both you and I quote.

"All but a few sources gave conservative estimates of the invaders’ strength— 30,000 was the usual figure, and only a very few times was the true number, 50,000 at that time, exceeded." As noted above the larger estimates came after this time.
 
Apr 2012
630
So, elsewhere you've been making some odd claims, but when I saw you trying to claim the Yorktown lines had only 17,000 at the end of the siege I thought I'd tell you the facts.

1. McClellan estimate of 3rd April and the real number

McClellan said 15,000. So lets not start quoting secondary sources that speculate differently.


So how does the 15,000 compare to the real number? Well Magruder's February return is on file:



However, this number is lower than that of early April. Several reinforcements, most notably Wilcox's Brigade, Colston's Brigade, Pendleton's artillery corps, the cavlary of the Wise and Hampton Legions and a few slack regiments (formed into Pryor's Brigade) have arrived. Taking the units actually present there are 23,168 effectives using the 30th April return of combat effectives. Accounting for sickness (23,452), adding officers (25,217) and then converting to Present For Duty (PFD, 30,283) there are actually about 30,000 officers and men manning the works. McClellan has significantly underestimated, as he was using an estimate from Wool's spies dated 17th March.

2. 7th April estimate and the recce in force of 6th April

Now McClellan not knowing the strength of the enemy line marched two brigades across it to provoke them to fire. He thus estimated correctly that the enemy had 30,000:



When Wool writes this on the 7th in fact Magruder is stronger than this. Early's division arrived during the 6th, but was put into reserve and not seen. In terms of PFD in round numbers there are 38,000 officers and men in the works.

3. The storm and the botched attack

The evening of the 6th a huge storm started which meant McClellan couldn't land Richardson's or Hooker's divisions. It continued to the 11th and the weather shut down operations and even the food supply to McClellan's forces.

During the period 7th-10th 4 more rebel brigades (Kershaw and Griffith on the 9th, Toombs and DR Jones on the 10th) arrive and in PFD terms when the storm ends DH Hill (for he has superceded Magruder, who is appointed to command the right wing) has 52,000 in the works.

McClellan has asked his engineers to find him a weak point to attack. The evening of the 12th they've completed all their recces. They spend the 13th collating all their data and on the 14th recommend an assault at Lee's Mill. McClellan accepts this and orders Casey (still at Newport News with his trainee division), Hooker and Richardson (still disembarking at Ship Point) up for an assault on the 17th or 18th.

McClellan's operations of the 16th were to secure the Line of Departure (the rest of those who've been in the Army know what I mean) under the cover of a normal trench raid to destroy an outwork (of which there were many during the operations) called the one gun battery:



McClellan told Smith to advance sharpshooters to the edge of the river to cover the occupation of Garrow Berm with his divisional artillery (18 guns). He gave further orders that allowed him to advance skirmishers over the river to have a recce of the woods and look for any clearings that could be held. McClellan himself stood next to Smith whilst 4 Vermont companies advanced as skirmishers across the river, but got no further than the one gun battery before being forced back. Job done, McClellan leaves for HQ to order the assaulting divisions to occupy the position behind the Garrow Berm at night for a general assault.

Then, exceeding his orders Smith made an attack on his own initiative with two regiments. It was a complete debacle, and in the process the 6th Vermont collapsed the dam and destroyed the crossing. McClellan calls off the plan for an assault and that night orders ground to be broken for regular approaches.

As for the rebels, by the evening of the 16th Longstreet arrives with 3 brigades and Hood's and Hampton's brigades had arrived in the meantime. The rebel PFD is now ca. 72,000.

4. Letter to Burnside and estimates of the 20th

McClellan writes that over 80,000 are at Yorktown:



Since the 16th SR Anderson's and Whitings Brigades have reached the area, along with Stuart and his cavalry. In PFD terms the enemy strength is ca. 80,000 (ca. 60,000 in the stripped down "effectives" category). Only Pettigrew's brigade, the Washington Artillery haven't yet arrived. Roughly 83,000 officers and men would serve in the Yorktown entrenchments.

Elsewhere, you've made a bizarre claim that the corps of Longstreet, GW Smith and DH Hill didn't exist (or were somewhere else maybe), and that on the 20th only the original 2nd Division, Army of the Peninsula (McLaws and Cobb's Brigades, ca. 9,300 PFD) and the four brigades from North Virginia (Toombs' 3rd Bde, 1st Div, DR Jones' 2nd Bde, 2nd Div, Kershaw's 3rd Bde, 3rd Div and Griffith's independent bde of the Army of Northern Virginia) were present, and hence compared the stripped down 17,302 effectives for those 6 brigades against the 80,000 estimate for the whole force of 22 infantry and 2 cavalry brigades.

Hell, we even have a return for the "right of position" commanded by Magruder, because Magruder commanded only a quarter of the rebel forces:



Magruder reports his section of the line, roughly a quarter of the force (right under Magruder, centre under Longstreet, left under DH Hill and reserve under GW Smith), is manned by 19,087 (the PFD column is very messed up, so please don't try and use the missing entries to push down the strength). If a quarter of the force is ca. 19,000 then an estimate of the whole force is surely ca. 80,000?

You tried to suggest that the 80,000 was "completely divorced from reality." Well, it really wasn't. It was a solid and reliable number and basically completely correct.

5. Appendix: Order of Battle 5th April

FWIW, this is the orbat for the forces at Yorktown on 5th April. On the 6th the brigades of Rodes and Early (then redesignated 4th Division, Army of the Peninsula), along with the battery of Wilcox's brigade also come up into line:

2nd Division (McLaws) occupying Lee's Mill and screening further right (the 10th Ga and Noland's Bn were thrown out to the south of Lee's Mill)

McLaws' Brigade with:
10th Georgia (picketting out beyond Lee's Mill towards Mulberry Island)
5th Louisiana
10th Louisiana
15th Virginia
Noland's Battalion (with 10th Ga)

Cobb's Brigade with:
16th Georgia
24th Georgia
Cobb's Legion
2nd Louisiana
17th Mississippi
15th North Carolina

Divisional Artillery: Batteries of Young, Maj. Roemer, Cosnahan, Sands, Garrett, Read and Nelson

3rd Division (Wilcox) occupying Wynn's Mill and down to the redoubts near Yorktown

Wilcox's Brigade with:
9th Alabama
10th Alabama
11th Alabama
19th Mississippi
(the brigades battery didn't arrive until the next day)

Colston's Brigade with:
3rd Virginia
13th North Carolina
14th North Carolina

Pryor's Brigade with:
8th Alabama
14th Alabama
14th Louisiana

Divisional Artillery: Batteries of Macon, Maurin, part of Hudnel and part of Southall

1st Division (Rains) occupying Yorktown and the Red and White Redoubts

Rains' Brigade with:
13th Alabama
26th Alabama
6th Georgia
23rd Georgia

Ward's "brigade" with:
2nd Florida
2nd Mississippi Battalion

Divisional Artillery: 19 garrison batteries in the fortifications (various Virginia Heavy Arty Bns) and the field batteries of Smith, Armistead, Richardson, Page and the remainder of Hudnel and Southall.

Cavalry with the army:
3rd Virginia Cavalry
Cobb Legion Cavalry
Wise Legion Cavalry
Hampton Legion Cavalry
two other squadrons

Or 25 solid infantry regiments, 2 battalions, 34 batteries (15 field and 19 garrison) and 4 cavalry regiments and 2 squadrons.
 
Last edited:

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,776
So, elsewhere you've been making some odd claims, but when I saw you trying to claim the Yorktown lines had only 17,000 at the end of the siege I thought I'd tell you the facts.
67th appears to be referring to a thread on the Alternate History forum. Like the other thread he quotes in the in the OP, he's not replying there because he's been banned from that site for several years.

Trying to claim? Odd claims? As I noted on the other site, On April 30, 1862 Magruder had 17,302 effectives. That's from The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies by the US War Department.

I'm quite aware of the facts, thank you. I quoted them on the other forum. For Confederate forces at Yorktown, we have some different numbers:

* March 17, 1862 - Union General Wool says the Confederates had 15,000 to 20,000 men near Yorktown. (That's from The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies by the US War Department.)

* March 24, 1862 - Confederate General Magruder says he has 10,000 men. (The War of the Rebellion)

* April 3, 1862 - McClellan says there are 15,000 Confederates at Yorktown
(The War of the Rebellion)

* April 5, 1862 - McClellan reaches Yorktown. The Confederates have only 11,000 men there while McClellan has 58,000 (According to Philippe d'Orléans, the Comte de Paris, an officer on McCellan's staff, in his History of the Civil War in America)

* April 7, 1862- General Wool reports that McClellan says there are 30,000 Confederates at Yorktown (The War of the Rebellion)

* April 7, 1862 - Reinforcements raise Confederate forces at Yorktown to about 22,000 and McClellan's forces to about 100,000 according to McClellan's staff officer Philippe d'Orléans. (History of the Civil War in America)

* April 11, 1862 - Magruder says he has 23,000 men while McClellan has between 100,000 and 200,000. (The War of the Rebellion) (This includes 4000 men under DH Hill and does not include forces Magruder has needed to send to garrison other places.)

* April 20, 1862 - McClellan says there are over 80,000 Confederates at Yorktown (The War of the Rebellion)

* April 22, 1862. Joseph Johnston reports "No one but McClellan could have hesitated to attack. (The War of the Rebellion)

* April 23, 1862. Magruder reports having 19,000 on the right wing. (The War of the Rebellion) (No numbers are given for how many troops DH Hill has on the left wing.)

* April 29, 1862. Johnston reports "I suspect that McClellan is waiting for iron-clad war vessels for James Riier...I cannot account otherwise that by this suppostiion for the long delay here." (The War of the Rebellion)

* April 30, 1862 Magruder had 17,302 effectives (according to The War of the Rebellion) Longstreet had 13,816 in the center, DH Hill had 12,634 on the left, Smith 10,592 in the reserves, Stuart 1289 in the cavalry brigade , for a total of 55,633.

* April 30, 1862 - McClellan had 112,392 effectives (according to The War of the Rebellion)

1. McClellan estimate of 3rd April and the real number

McClellan said 15,000. So lets not start quoting secondary sources that speculate differently.
On both this thread and the thread on the Alternate History Forum I quoted The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies by the US War Department and History of the Civil War in America. Neither is a secondary source.

Of course, you were quite happy to use the secondary source of Harsh for troop estimates in your previous posts on this thread. Nor do you provide any source, primary or secondary, for your claim that the Confederates had 72,000 troops on the 16th.

Elsewhere, you've made a bizarre claim that the corps of Longstreet, GW Smith and DH Hill didn't exist
If I had made the claim that these forces didn't exist it would be bizarre. Of course I never made that claim.

Magruder reports his section of the line, roughly a quarter of the force (right under Magruder, centre under Longstreet, left under DH Hill and reserve under GW Smith), is manned by 19,087 (the PFD column is very messed up, so please don't try and use the missing entries to push down the strength). If a quarter of the force is ca. 19,000 then an estimate of the whole force is surely ca. 80,000?
The only person claiming 19,000 was a quarter of the Confederate forces is you.

* April 30, 1862 Magruder had 17,302 effectives (according to The War of the Rebellion) Longstreet had 13,816 in the center, DH Hill had 12,634 on the left, Smith 10,592 in the reserves, Stuart 1289 in the cavalry brigade , for a total of 55,633.
 
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