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 Posted: Sat Mar 8th, 2008 03:17 pm
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ole
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Interesting questions, Kernow-Ox. The books are full of "no pickets," or "not enough pickets, or "pickets not placed far enough out," or "pickets placed too far out."

I suppose there must have been a regulation number and where they ought to be. But what ought to have been done and what was done are constantly at odds.

At Shiloh, Sherman did have pickets out. Many of them. But their orders apparently did not include any urgency so they were all but useless. At Chancellorsville, Howard did have pickets out but, as I understand it, they were not out far enough.

So the number of pickets and their placement would seem to depend on the concerns of the commander and whether he places appropriate urgency on the orders. If feels secure, the pickets are likely to be of little concern and their placement will reflect that lack of concern.

And pickets were to never fraternize with the enemy. But they did it anyway. Who's gonna know?

Their entire purpose was to alert the main body if there was a movement on the other side. Fire off some shots; come running back yelling. Whatever serves to put the camp on alert so it isn't surprized -- like at Shiloh and Chancellorsville.

ole

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