Post by ericwittenberg on Aug 9, 2008 20:55:31 GMT -5
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Clair Conzelman, who, along with his adorable 5-year-old daughter Tasha and another friend, met me and three friends at the battlefield at Perryville, Kentucky. I grant that this battle has absolutely nothing to do with GAC or with Custeriana, other than that Sheridan was a division commander there, but Clair didn't have to give his time and knowledge to us, and I wanted to acknowledge that publicly.
Clair only had about two hours to spend with us due to prior commitments and the attention span of a five-year-old, but those two hours were extremely well spent. We got to see some sights on private property, and the set-up was extremely beneficial.
Thanks, Clair. It was great to meet you in person, and we appreciated your time.
For those who have never visited Perryville, I highly recommend it. The field is gorgeous, mostly pristine, and although a state park, extremely well interpreted. So well interpreted, in fact, that it's better than the interpretation at some of the national battlefield parks. It's becoming one of my very favorite battlefields, and I really can't say enough good things about it.
Thanks Eric, it was mine and Tasha's pleasure. <g>
You had a terrific group with you...we could have spent many hours discussing Civil War topics and I would have learned a lot. Next trip...
Thanks to my comrade, Col. Neff Jenkins, U.S. Cavalry, who organized the original staff rides that led to the private owners agreements to allow us to use their land for discussions. To stand on the ground where Gen'l's Sheridan and Bragg must have spent a lot of time on that day is always a good feeling.
I second your kudos on the park...this battle is wonderful for examining the "firefight" level of Civil War tactics, because it is so compartmented. You get a great sense for brigade vs. brigade sized actions, uncluttered by the huge dramas that were firefights at say, Antietam or G'burg.
Eric, from your Perryville, KY battlefield pictures, you show Sheridan's headquarters position on Peters Hill which is in sight of the main battle. The terrain of Peters hill is similar to LSH and the terrain features in general are also similar to the Custer battlefield area absent the river.(rolling hills)
His choice of Peters Hill as an HQ is interesting in light of previous discussions on the boards where there is a difference of opinion as to LSH and even Calhoun Hill and other places were not militarily acceptable as defensive positions due to the terrain. Seems like we can compare many cw battlefields as having similar or even worse terrain features as compared to LSH.
Post by ericwittenberg on Aug 13, 2008 14:23:43 GMT -5
By LSH, I assume you mean Last Stand Hill--remember that I'm not an LBH scholar.
I haven't been to the LBH battlefield, so my understanding of the terrain there is limited to photographs and to reading descriptions by other people.
Peters Hill is an eminently defendable position. It's got great lines of sight, lines of defense can be anchored on Doctor's Creek, so that flanks are not left in the air, and it's a good high position. Having not seen LSH, I can't compare them.
I can say this, and this comes, in part, from what Clair was saying on the battlefield: Perryville was an action that involved attacks against one ridge line after another. There are even places where you have the optical illusion of it appearing that there is only one intervening ridge between batteries when, in fact, there are two. The valleys tend to be narrow but pretty deep, and the ridge lines high and without good military crests.
I don't know if that answered your question, but it's the best I can do.
I have a personal policy of buying the books written by people I like and people who post on these boards. Since I think Eric Wittenberg is a man of guts and character, I am interested in reading whatever he has written. Can anyone tell me where to start?
And Eric, if you are reading this, can you post a complete list of what you wrote? Is there any specific chronology? 1-2-3-4, or 4-2-1-3?