View single post by Richard Taylor
 Posted: Wed May 3rd, 2006 08:19 pm
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Richard Taylor
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Let me clarify a bit, although everyone will have their definition of "overrated".  Some units are fabled ones with comparatively extensive coverage. Most units are nearly forgotten. Do the combat records of the famous units match their coverage and supposed fighting prowess? There's no real way to measure that, it's all subjective. So perhaps the question is better phrased as one of proportionality of fame and coverage.

Let's look at the Stonewall brigade. A fine, solid unit. But did it do anything special? Not really, expect it happened to be associated with Thomas Jackson. One can mention the Stonewall brigade at Brawner Farm, but who remembers the actions of Lawton's or Trimble's brigades at the same fight? Not many, although Lawton's and Trimble's men fought just as hard, and in fact, the 21st GA lost the heaviest proportion of any Confederate regiment in the 2nd Manassas campaign. The same comparison could be made of the Black Hat Brigade. Nobody remembers say, the stand of Stone's brigade at Gettysburg. But they suffered similiar loss rates.

See what I mean? Regarding the Iron and Irish brigades, people tend to convienently forget the serious decline in the fighting abilities of those two brigades in 1864. Both are usually dismissed with a toss away comment something along the lines of "well, they were pretty much killed off at Gettysburg." Not really. They were never the same after Gettysburg, it is true, but they were certainly there in at least some form before the individual regiments finally being shuffled off and consolidated. Not many people care to remember the actions of the 63rd, 69th, and 88th NY at 2nd Deep Bottom, for example. Not exactly the stuff the Irish brigade legend is made of.

I guess my ultimate point is that there are many, many units that should be studied (although I suppose me selecting a few overrated units is just as arbitrary and unfair as only mentioning those few famous units.) There were plenty of units that records matched the famous units. Those famous units just weren't really that...special.

Last edited on Wed May 3rd, 2006 08:20 pm by Richard Taylor

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