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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Dave Stotsenburg wrote:
Quote:
Therefore surely there is no benefit to a Union player attempting to do anything beyond treating each new situation as a numbers game?


The Overland campaign was a battle of attrition, that's how Grant fought it. It is what it is.


If he fought it as a battle of attrition, he lost. See my post just this morning looking at modern scholarship which seems to indicate Lee had more men present as a percentage of Grant's army on June 30, 1864 than he did at the start of the Overland Campaign:

Why Bobby Lee Had More Men (and Lost More Men) Than Anyone Knew in 1864

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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Brett,
i still think it was a battle of attrition. Grant hammered away at Lee's army and when the numbers turned against him, he moved. Yes he was looking for open ground to fight Lee. Grants superior numbers would be more effective in open ground. Wasn't the infux into Lee's army militia from the carolina's and denuding the valley of troops?. If it was they were hardly suitable replacements for the veterans Lee had lost.


Jim,
Yes Jena-Austerstadt is a tough battle for the Prussians, sounds like you were playing on the split map. Playing on the full map it's a little easier for the Prussians but still a tough battle.

Last post on this thread for me, don't mean to antagonise anybody or have arguments, Lifes too short.

regards

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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:15 pm 
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Another author, which has not been mentioned in this study, although he is in my bibliography: John M. Priest. He wrote well-known books on South Mountain and Antietam earlier, and then came out with two books on the Wilderness. I used his strength numbers for each regiment as a start point for the Wilderness oob, and then did the math on through Cold Harbor. His starting numbers are 60,500 Confederates and 125,300 Yankees. Using those numbers and reported casualties it has been very difficult to extrapolate through the end of the campaign and come up with what history has told us was the end result. More and more, I felt that something was amiss, but I didn't have the time to spend ten years poring through newspapers. Four years in design has been plenty.
I know firsthand how slippery strength numbers can be. In my army job I was responsible for putting together the monthly strength report for my units. It was called the "morning report" DA Form 1379. I believe it was called the morning report back in the 1860s.
Anyway, my unit reached 100% strength in June 1983. We recruited a guy just in time to go to annual training at full strength. But wait...
Take away AWOLs, Absent with leave, Alternate training such as NCO school, Not MOS qualified, recruits going to basic training, on and on, and I think bottom line we had about 60% boots on the ground.
Who you report also comes into play. The Union and Confederate reporting systems were different. Even "present for duty" did not mean the same thing in both armies. The Confederates reported men (excluding officers) present for duty, equipped, so their numbers were always lower, even before Jubal Early started messing with them.
Yup, Brett==I can't wait for that book.
J D Ferry
2lt 2/20th Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:05 pm 
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Dave Stotsenburg wrote:
Brett,
i still think it was a battle of attrition. Grant hammered away at Lee's army and when the numbers turned against him, he moved. Yes he was looking for open ground to fight Lee. Grants superior numbers would be more effective in open ground. Wasn't the infux into Lee's army militia from the carolina's and denuding the valley of troops?. If it was they were hardly suitable replacements for the veterans Lee had lost.


Dave , fair enough, and I don't want you (or anyone) to think I'm trying to argue in any other than a good-natured way. I don't particularly like confrontation and argument personally, so when disagreeing with anyone I try to do so as nicely as possible, if that even makes sense! :D As someone with a math/computer science degree, I just really enjoy crunching the numbers sometimes, and this particular campaign seems to be one of the most misunderstood with regards to numbers (along with Antietam) in the entire Civil War. The frustrating thing is that the information to count Lee's men with a greater level of reliability has always been out there. Too many people, ESPECIALLY historians, have just accepted Early's (and others) claims with little to no critical analysis using documentable facts. This seems to finally be changing, as it also does with Antietam.

It's interesting that you should mention the quality of Lee's reinforcements in relations to Grant's. As someone who is extremely interested in the Siege of Petersburg (see the sig below), this is something which has always greatly interested me. Based on the admittedly little time I've been able to devote to that topic, the best way to answer that question is to look at the types of reinforcements the two armies were receiving.

Lee's reinforcements typically consisted of full brigades and even divisions which had fought together in at least one or more prior engagements prior to joining the fight in 1864.

Grant's reinforcements came in as individual newly formed regiments composed by 1864 of conscripts, bounty jumpers, draftees, or raw heavy artillerymen, who were then attached to veteran brigades worn down by years of service in the field. It made for somewhat odd unit cohesion, with these new and green regiments sometimes being larger than the brigades they were assigned to.

The Confederates tended to add small groups of men to their already existing regiments, surrounding new recruits with veterans, rather than the Union's preferred method of raising brand new units to appoint highly coveted positions to new Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, and Majors.

Steven Newton, in Lost for the Cause: The Confederate Army in 1864, makes this specific point. Lee's reinforcements tended to be of higher quality than Grant's. The Richmond militia was counted by Newton in both his May 1, 1864 and June 30, 1864 estimates of Confederate strength. None of the 45,000 or so reinforcements Lee received from May 1-June 30 was militia, reserves, or local defense troops.

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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:35 pm 
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I too feel the same way about controversy. Its funny how after I might post something that has a bit of an "edge" to it I almost dread to open the next reply.
That being said, I need to say this about that: :D
Under the long accepted figures, say, 20,000 CS versus 60,000 US casualties, Grant definitely lost the attrition battle. And he certainly lost it if you compare the PFD numbers at the end of June. But I think we have to look at the bigger picture--the population of the two halves of the country, the comparison of the number of men in blue versus gray, the regiments of 40 or 50 ragged men who surrendered at Appomattox--and I think you can conclude that Grant did win the attrition battle. The attrition premise has always been correct if you look at the end result, but in the short term Lee did a great job of keeping it all together.
If I can come up with hard numbers that will increase the number of Rebs, I will be glad to adjust unit ratings accordingly, probably by raising the Union's rather than emasculating my supermen.


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 Post subject: Re: Complete & scientific results of Overland analysis.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:43 pm 
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J. Ferry wrote:
I too feel the same way about controversy. Its funny how after I might post something that has a bit of an "edge" to it I almost dread to open the next reply.
That being said, I need to say this about that: :D
Under the long accepted figures, say, 20,000 CS versus 60,000 US casualties, Grant definitely lost the attrition battle. And he certainly lost it if you compare the PFD numbers at the end of June. But I think we have to look at the bigger picture--the population of the two halves of the country, the comparison of the number of men in blue versus gray, the regiments of 40 or 50 ragged men who surrendered at Appomattox--and I think you can conclude that Grant did win the attrition battle. The attrition premise has always been correct if you look at the end result, but in the short term Lee did a great job of keeping it all together.


John, agreed completely. Grant wasn't winning a war of attrition in June 1864, but eventually it all worked out in his favor. Some people argue for Gettysburg as the turning point, as if Lee had no chance to win afterwards. I would point to a full year later at least, to June 1864, as the point of no return. You could even argue for a fall 1864 date. I've been struck by how many letters, diaries, and newspaper editorials, at least through July 1864, remained very optimistic about the end result. It's amazing how the view changes when you aren't looking at it with the benefit of hindsight.

J. Ferry wrote:
If I can come up with hard numbers that will increase the number of Rebs, I will be glad to adjust unit ratings accordingly, probably by raising the Union's rather than emasculating my supermen.


Good point. There may not be any hard numbers. Newton's Lost for the Cause uses division level PFD for most of the ANV on May 1, 1864. Trying to take that and apportion out the strengths to the various brigades, much less regiments, makes this nearly impossible. Let's see how detailed Alfred Young's numbers are. If a guy who has spent decades researching the ANV man by man can't come up with PFD numbers on a regiment by regiment basis, no one can.

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