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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Keep your ranks, do your duty, and show you are worthy of the state from which you came!" Antietam's Confederate Commanders at First Bull Run

Colonel W. M. Gardner of the 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment shouted this to his regiment as his unit prepared for action at First Bull Run. Gardner would be seriously wounded in the fighting but would eventually recover. The 8th Georgia would find itself 14 months later in George T. Anderson's brigade at Sharpsburg.

This post addresses Antietam’s Confederate commanders who fought at the first Battle of Bull Run. The photo at the left is of the Henry House, taken yesterday at the 150th anniversary celebration. Just as we saw with the case of the Union Army commander at Antietam, Robert E. Lee was not present at Bull Run. General Lee was in Richmond coordinating the campaign in northern Virginia and advising President Jefferson Davis. Lee’s two wing commanders at Antietam however played a prominent role at First Bull Run.

James Longstreet (left) commanded the 4th Brigade in Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac. On the Confederate right, Longstreet’s brigade engaged Israel Richardson’s brigade at the Battle of Blackburn’s ford on July 18th. His brigade did not see significant action on July 21st. Among the promising young officers in Longstreet’s brigade was Colonel Samuel Garland of the 11th Virginia Infantry.

Thomas Jonathan Jackson (left) was destined to earn his immortal nickname at Bull Run. Jackson’s brigade of Virginia troops just arrived from the Shenandoah Valley made the crucial stand early in the battle that blunted the Union initial successes. With Jackson that day were Captain John R. Jones

of the 33rd Virginia Infantry, Regiment and Major Andrew J. Grigsby of the 27th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Jones would briefly command the Stonewall Division at Sharpsburg before heading to the rear after being stunned by an artillery round exploding near him. It is not recorded if Jones had any difficulties staying on the field at Bull Run. Grigsby would fight well at Antietam but would resign shortly after the battle when Jackson refused to give him permanent command of the Stonewall Brigade.

Three other Confederate leaders at Antietam commanded brigades at Antietam. Brigadier General David R. Jones (left) commanded the 3rd Brigade of the Army of the Potomac at Bull Run. This South Carolina officer had been at Beauregard at Charleston in the early days of the Civil War. In Jone’s brigade was the 5th South Carolina Infantry Regiment. Commanding Company K at Bull Run was Captain Joseph Walker. At Sharpsburg, Walker commanded Jenkins Brigade in David Jone’s Division.

Colonel Jubal Early (left) commanded the Sixth Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Early had the largest concentration of Antietam commanders underneath him. William Barksdale commanded the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. James Kemper commanded the 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment, and Harry T. Hays commanded the 7th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

Nathan “Shanks” Evans (left) commanded the 7th Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. It was Evans who at Bull Run spotted the Federals beginning their move on the Confederate left flank. The initiative he took to promptly redeploy his brigade to blunt this attack gave Beauregard and Johnston the time they needed to react to McDowell’s attack on their left.

A total of 11 Antietam brigade commanders fought at Bull Run. We have accounted for eight so far (John R. Jones, Grigsby, Barksdale, Kemper, Hays, Walker, Evans and Garland). The other three commanded regiments in other brigades of Beauregard’s Army. Joseph Kershaw commanded the 2nd South Carolina Infantry Regiment in Milledge Bonham’s First Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Evander Law was Lieutenant Colonel of the 4th Alabama Infantry in Bee’s Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah. Finally, Colonel Robert Rodes commanded the 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment in Richard Ewell’s Second Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Also with the Alabama troops in the 6th Alabama Regiment was Major John Gordon.

Confederate cavalry was well represented at Bull Run as well. J.E.B. Stuart commanded the First Virginia Cavalry. Regiment. Wade Hampton’s Legion was on the scene. Fitzhugh Lee, a First Lieutenant was an Assistant Adjutant General in Milledge Bonham’s 1st Brigade. Thomas Munford was a lieutenant colonel in the 30th Virginia Mounted Infantry, a unit letter reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. Tom Rosser was a first lieutenant in the 2nd Company of the Washington Artillery.

On the artillery side Colonel William Pendleton commanded Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah. First Lieutenant John Pelham served in Wise’s (Virginia) Artillery in Bartow’s Brigade.

Below is a list of other Confederate division and brigade commanders and their whereabouts during the Battle of Bull Run.

Other Confederate Division Commanders (7)

Daniel H. Hill, Colonel, 1st North Carolina Infantry

Ambrose P. Hill, Colonel, 13th Virginia Infantry

Lafayette McLaws, Colonel, 10th Georgia Infantry

Alexander Lawton, Colonel, 1st Georgia Infantry

John B. Hood, Captain, Department of the Peninsula (Yorktown VA)

Richard Anderson, Brig Genl, Department of South Carolina

John Walker, Captain, US Army, Regiment of Mounted Rifles, Ft Union New Mexico. Note that Walker was still on active duty with the United States Army at the time of the Battle of First Bull Run.

Other Confederate Infantry Brigade Commanders (27)

McLaws Division

Paul J. Semmes, Colonel 2nd Georgia Infantry, Brunswick GA

Howell Cobb, Colonel 16th Georgia Infantry

Anderson’s Division

Alfred Cummings Colonel, 10th Georgia Infantry

Carnot Posey, Colonel 16th Mississippi Infantry

Lewis A. Armistead, Major, ACSA Infantry

Roger A. Pryor, Colonel 3rd Virginia Infantry Yorktown

William A. Parham, Lieutenant, Co A, 41st Virginia Infantry Norfolk area

Ambrose R. Wright, Colonel, 3rd Georgia Infantry

David R. Jones’s Division

Robert Toombs, Secretary of State, C.S.A. and Brigadier General CSA

Thomas F. Drayton, Planter and Militia Captain USMA 1828 28/33

Richard B. Garnett, Major ACSA Artillery

George T. Anderson, Colonel, 11th Georgia Infantry arrived just as battle ended

Walker’s Division

Van H. Manning, Captain 3rd Arkansas Infantry, Lynchburg VA

Robert Ransom Captain ACSA Cavalry

Hood’s Division

William T. Wofford, Colonel 18th Georgia Infantry, Camp Brown Georgia

Ewell’s Division

Marcellus Douglas, Lieutenant Colonel, 13th Georgia Infantry Regiment

James A. Walker, Lieutenant Colonel, 13th Virginia Infantry

A.P. Hills Division

Lawrence L. O’Brien Branch, Brigadier General, QM General and Paymaster Gen NC Militia

Maxcy Gregg, Colonel 1st South Carolina Volunteers in Richmond

John M. Brockenbrough, 40th Virginia Infantry

James J. Archer, Captain, CSA Infantry

William D. Pender, Colonel 3rd North Carolina Infantry (13th North Carolina Infantry)

Jackson’s “Stonewall” Division

James W. Jackson (Taliaferro) Physician, Lafayette Alabama Captain “Lafayette Guards”

John E. Penn (John R. Jones) Captain Company H, 47th Virginia Infantry

William E. Starke, Lieutenant Colonel ADC to Robert S. Garnett

D.H. Hills Division

Roswell Ripley, Lieutenant Colonel, C.S.A. South Carolina Regular Artillery

George B. Anderson, Colonel, C.S.A. 4th North Carolina Infantry

Alfred Colquitt, Colonel, 6th Georgia Infantry, Yorktown Virginia

Much of the Confederate leadership at Antietam was already present in the Confederate Army at Bull Run. The experience that they gained there and at other campaigns before the Maryland Campaign would serve them well at Sharpsburg.

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