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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 08:29 am
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susansweet
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Great Pictures Johan.  But do you ever get your picture taken without your hat? 

susan



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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 05:01 pm
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susansweet
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I am reading a new word in this discussion, pioneers .  What was the range of their job ?  Can someone explain who they were  and what they did ? 



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 05:55 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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Basically the pioneers did the grunt work of felling trees, corduary the roads, build bridges, clearing the way for the regular troops.



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 06:01 pm
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susansweet
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Walker who would have been the men that make up the pioneers? 



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 08:11 pm
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ole
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The men behind the scenes, Miss Susan. They knew how to wield axes and shovels. They could drop a tree in minutes. They could and did dig large holes in stony ground and throw up breastworks routinely. They were lumberjacks and miners and thoroughly physically fit.

They could and did amazing things. I still haven't figured out how Sherman, upon heading north from Columbia, could do 10 miles per day through the woods and swamps. But it was the Pioneers who made it possible. (JEJ couldn't figure it out either.) A great unsung factor.

Ever watch a roleo? That thingy where lumberjacks compete. Where the competitor axes through a 12-inch log in seconds? This was the Pioneer.

ole



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 09:29 pm
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susansweet
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Thanks Ole and others. I have added new information in my study of the Civil War.  These are the unsung heroes then that supported the fighting man.  I had never read about them or heard the word Pioneer used in this way before.  Soooo much to learn. 

Susan



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 11:02 pm
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Johan Steele
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For Roger, Susan, Jharold  et al:


General Order #3
3 November 1862 HQ 14th Corps Army of the Cumberland

Equipment for 20 men-estimate for Regiment

6 felling axes
6 hatchets
2 Cross cut saws
2 hand saws
4 hand saw files
6 spades
2 shovels
3 picks
6 hammers
2 half inch augers
2 inch augers
2 two inch augers
20 lbs nails, assorted
40 lbs spikes assorted
one coil rope
one wagon w/ 4 horses or mules

It broke down to 2 men per company or 20 per Regiment at it's height the AoC Pioneer Brigade had about 3800 men.

"The duties assigned to them were the repair and construction of roads and bridges, the manoeuvring of the pontoon bridge equipage, the erection of fortifications, and, generally, the duties of sappers and miners.  The distinction between their duties and those of the Michigan Regiment of Mechanics and Engineers of the same army is that the Pioneers move with the advance of the army, all the work that is required devolving upon them, while the latter is cheifly employed on the lines of communication."

"...at present in the ranks of tyhe Pioneers sufficient proportions of the following named trades and specialties, -viz.: military engineers, civil engineers, railroad engineers, surveyors, architects, sailors, draftsmen, printers, bridge builders, carpenters, machinists, millwrights, wheelwrights, coopers, blacksmiths, saddlers, sawyers, woodmen; and there is no description of work that an army in the field can require, in all the multiplied occasions which arise in an enemy's country, that cannot be executed with dispatch by the brigade, which is fully equipped with the proper tools for the purposes."

Fitch, John., Annals of the Army of the Cumberland, Stackpole Books, 2003.
pg 186-191 

Brig. Gen James Morton was the commanding officer of the Pioneer Brigade who was a former professor at West Point

A wee bit more than just grunt work but real minds and common sense present from men who did such work in their civilian lives.  THe Pioneers Brigade accomplished some pretty substantial feats atthe battle of Stones River to include building three bridges.  They were also heavily engaged in support of the Chicago Trade Battery.  However the Brigade was palagued w/ some very severe ammunition issues as the men came to the Brigade w/ their arms as issued which ranged from monstrous .75 cal muskets to .54's.  At the time of Stones River their were present in its ranks:  .54, .577, .58, 69, .70, 71, and even big ole .75's!  A nightmare for any ordnance Sgt.

All things considered the Pioneer Brigade was a smashing sucess.  While Sherman ordered the unit disbanded and the Pioneers distibuted back to their units he did it because he felt it more practical to gice Regimental and Brigade commanders more ready access to pioneers thus more tactical options.



 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2008 11:10 pm
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Johan Steele
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susansweet wrote: Great Pictures Johan.  But do you ever get your picture taken without your hat? 

susan

Not if I can help it... covers up my bald spot.  Bought that hat used and proceeded to give it some presence all its own..  W/in 48 hours it had been rained on & I don't mean a regular rain but a good old baptist downpour, hailed on and a horse gave it a good stomping... never been able to get it back into it's original shape since.  I can't say I've had sunburn since.  All in all it gives my persona something extra.



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 01:50 am
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ole
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Bald spot? We don't have no bald spots! We don't need no stinkin bald spots!



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 03:18 am
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PvtClewell
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Bald spots are low maintenance



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 03:29 am
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Texas Defender
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PvtClewell-

  You can probably fill a considerable cast for a soap opera on here. Call it: "The Bald and the Beautiful."     :cool:



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 03:41 am
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Johan Steele
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Texas Defender... I think I'm going to have to bill you for a new keyboard I just spewed a mouthful of scotch across the keyboard. Bad TD, no donut.



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 03:58 am
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Texas Defender
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Johan-

  I'm sorry that you had such a negative reaction to the suggested title. Perhaps with all of the adult beverages being consumed by the members here, a better title would be: "Daze Of Our Lives."   :shock:



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 04:18 am
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Johan Steele
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Thanks I needed a good grin. I'll raisea glass to you.



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 05:39 am
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Roger
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=+++

 

Ok now I've got over the last half dozen posts thanks for posting the Pioneer info Johan.

Just out of interest my grandfather served in 22nd (Labour) Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment on the Somme during WWI. They were later transferred to the Labour Corps and after the war the Labour Corps was remnamed the Pioneer Corps.

A lot of their work was road building and the building of light railways used for the resupply of ammunition and other stores. I've read part of the 22/W Yorks war diary and besides the hard manual work they were subjected to enemy artillery fire, suffering quite a few casualties.

During WWI the labour battalions were made up of soldiers not fit enough for frontline service as infantrymen!!!



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 05:55 am
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susansweet
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Thanks sooooo much Johan that was so interesting .  I really learned something totally new .  They must have been amazing . 

As to the hat .  I do like that the  hat does give you character.  I am a hat person .  I wear one most of the time when I am outside.  It is such a great hat. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 02:10 pm
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39th Miss. Walker
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Susan, Ole,
When Sherman left Savannah his pioneers were almost entirely made up of black laborers. He literally had hundreds of Pioneers doing the work. Sherman didn't like black soldiers in his units so he made them Pioneers. He also picked up hundreds of contrabands on his march to Savannah. So at least in the Carolina campaign the vast majority were black.

I referred to it as grunt work as it was physical labor, hence the term grunt work, a common phrase.

Once past Rivers Bridge the going was not as bad, the roads were for the most part much higher and dryer. Getting to Rivers Bridge however was a feat. But then again it took them over a month to get from Savannah to there.

What Sherman did was put the Pioneers out in front of the main body, protected by skirmishers and Sherman's Bummers. The regular troops followed closely behind.
Sherman also split his men into two columns and even split the two columns further, to cross some of the rivers. For instance they crossed at Rivers Bridge 17th Corp and Bufords Bridge 15th corp, while his left wing was crossing the Savannah River. After crossing they again consolidated or traveled parallel roads.

In many instances Sherman made almost no progress. The winter rains had come, the swamps and rivers were in some cases impassable, and building bridges were almost impossible. The left wing was holed up at Sisters Ferry trying to cross for weeks. Real progress wasn't made until after the battle of Rivers Bridge.

The Confederates, being out manned, and out gunned had put up a last ditch line of defense along the Salkahatchee/ Combahee River. Even they didn't count on 60,000 men being able to navigate the rivers and swamps with the flooding. They didn't count on the tenacity and hardiness of the Federal forces. Imagine being waist deep in a fast flowing swamp with sleet and freezing rain! Or having to sleep in trees to stay out of the water! The western men were something else.

When it cam time to build fortifications it wasn't only the pioneers but all available men were put to work.
Almost any time an army stopped for more than a night, and even then, they built defensive earthworks. We have found evidence of this all along the route from Savannah to Columbia.

At the same time the main body of troops were heading for Columbia Sherman sent some NY troops and the 54th Mass. towards Charleston, to keep them busy and eventually caused the evacuation of Charleston.
The 54th was to cross the Combahee by a back road and found the going impossible, so they swung around and had to cross the Combahee River at Combahee Ferry. Here they took the Confederate earthworks they found and turned them around and made them defensive for their use. They did not use "Pioneers" but used their own labor as troops, under the direction of an engineer.



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 03:16 pm
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ole
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Now and then, someone drops a steaming pile of bull doodoo on the path of learning. I have to ask where you, Walker, got the idea that Sherman's pioneers were black laborers. You have already pushed me into reading two books, so I guess another two wouldn't be out of line.

The rest of your post was very interesting and informative. Thanks.

ole



 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2008 04:18 pm
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Ole. Do your own damn homework.
Why the hell do you question everything I post? I don't see you questioning anyone else.

That's it folks, I'm done with this forum. I am not going to sit here and try and contribute just to have an old blow hard like Ole and Johan question and contradict every damn thing I post.
Some may say good riddance, that's OK. Stick with your one sided BS. I'm not about to do anyone's homework.

I was under the mistaken impression that this site and forums were for the dissemination of different ideas, new information and to discuss a subject close to all of us.
You guys wonder why so few post here. You don't even have to read between the lines, when I am accused time and again of BS, that's enough.



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