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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 05:08 am
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csamillerp
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Was Honey Hill the most lopsided battle in the Civil War? 746 Union casualties to the 50 Confederate casualties. Thats almost a 15 to 1 odds. Its is also one of the most overlooked battles... i'm from SC and i didnt even know about it til a couple years ago.



 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 12:22 pm
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Mark
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It would be one of the most lopsided (my sources estimated about 150-200 Confederate casualties). Terrible Union generalship and the fact that the USCT simply refused to withdraw from an impossible situation led to appalling casualties. Strategically the battle didn't matter much. I think the most important part of the battle was that black soldiers continued to prove their valor against incredible odds. Is there anything left of the battlefield?

Mark



 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 03:43 pm
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csamillerp
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i have never been to the battlefield but i would guess it would still be there as it was mostly swamps. the 2 sources i read stated 42 and 50 csa casualties. total casualties were 796.



 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 03:44 pm
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csamillerp
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i'll go on google maps and see what is left of the battlefield



 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 03:51 pm
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csamillerp
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Went on Google Earth, there is no battlefield markers that i can see, but the NEW Rd Babtist church is still there. I guess since it didnt have the casualties or importance as other eastern theater battles it was kinda lost to history.



 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 11:40 pm
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pender
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csamillerp, Honey Hill is an interesting battle. Made Sherman howl to John P. Hatch "why in the hell didn't you flank em. " Here is some road side markers http:http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=15780

Mark, I have never seen the confederate casualties that high for this battle. What csamillerp gave is about what I have seen.

Pender



 Posted: Fri Dec 2nd, 2011 01:21 am
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csamillerp
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Thanks Pender, i remember reading that there was friendly fire that caused some of the casualties... but could there have been that many casuaties as a direct result of friendly fire? This battle has always seemed like the fredericksburg of south carolina.



 Posted: Fri Dec 2nd, 2011 02:33 am
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Mark
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Thanks for the link Pender. I got my numbers from Noah Trudeau, "Like Men of War" but I didn't look up where he got the numbers from. The NPS reports the Confederate casualties at 50-75.

Mark



 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2014 02:31 am
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yankee hoorah
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The battle was not much more than a confronting action between he two sides, where the CS forces were entrenched on the high grounds & the US on the assault. They lost many casualties as said before. This battle was a big morale booster for the Confederate military.

YH, new member



 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2014 06:33 pm
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Hellcat
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What were the numbers engaged? It seems like classifying Honey Hill as the most lopsided battle merely because of the results. The results of the battle certainly are lopsided with the casualties csamillerp posted, but then with Mark's Confederate casualties in his first post the results are nearly 4:1 to 5:1. Look at Wikipedia and you can actually top csamillerp's casualties ratio at nearly 16:1 (they list the casualties for the Confederacy as 47 KIA and WIA combined). But then you look here and you get a ratio of nearly 17:1 (Ms. Dhalle puts Federal casualties at 754 for KIA, WIA, and MIA combined and Confederate casualties at only 44 for KIA and WIA combined). Then you have Gary W. Myers summary of the battle which actually lists three possible ratios. First Mr. Myers backs up what csamillerp said of about a 15:1 ratio with 746 Federal to 50 Confederate casualties. But he then points out that other sources list the Confederate casualties at 100 to 200 (almost identical to what Mark said) which would then put the ratios at nearly 4:1 to 7:1. What a big difference those fifty men makes in Mark's 150 to 200 mark. And then you have this ratio, 20:1 HUGE difference and this is based on what Confederate General Gustavus W. Smith reported as the casualties for both sides (he put Confederate casualties at 50 and Federal at 1,000). This comes from this site. I'm not even going to attempt to make heads or tails of that Federal table they posted.

My point is that not all sources are always going to be the same on the casualties. Nor will they be the same on those engaged. Wikipedia and Mr. Myers do both put the total engaged at 5,000 Federal and 1,400 Confederate, that's a ratio of nearly 4:1 in favor of the Federals. However, Myers doe state that other sources put Confederate forces at nearly 2,000 which would change the ratio to nearly 3:1. That last site I linked to puts the engaged at 5,520 Federal and 1,400 Confederate for a ratio of nearly 4:1. In those engaged the battle wasn't that lopsided, in the results it was.

But was it the most lopsided? I think there might have been a battle where the number engaged was more lopsided and the results, while not as high as some of these for Honey Hill, was still lopsided enough to make that battle more lopsided than Honey Hill when you look at the two combined.



 Posted: Sun Apr 13th, 2014 05:35 am
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Hellcat
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For just results I think I found one that may trump Honey Hill. Mount Zion Church, July 6, 1864. Wikipedia lists Federal casualties at 106 (combined KIA, WIA, and POW) vs. 6 Confederate casualties (combined KIA and WIA). That's a nearly 18:1 ratio, though they list the forces engaged at a 1:1 ratio. However, decided to check the War of the Rebellion on this one. There's a report in Series One, Volume 37 by Colonel Mosby that puts Federal casualties at 137 (combined KIA, WIA, and POW) vs 7 Confederate casualties (combined KIA and WIA). That's nearly a 20:1 ratio. Put's it on par with what General Smith reported for Honey Hill ratio wise. Mosby doesn't report how many men were engaged.

There are three Federal reports from the same volume, one from Colonel Charles Lowell, 2nd Mass Cav and the other from Colonel Henry Lazelle, 16th NY Cav. If I'm piecing Col. Lowell's report together right, of 150 men engaged at least 93 were casualties for the Federal forces engaged (I'm adding 7 killed outright from the 2nd Mass Cav, 5 killed outright from the 13th NY Cav, 27 WIA returned to camp, 10 WIA unable to be returned to camp, and 44 taken POW). He does expect more men to return to camp, some wounded, as well as there to be more POWs taken. He states Mosby's forces were variously estimated at 175 to 250, 250 to 300, and his personal estimate of 200. Of Mosby's casualties he states repots of 3 or 4 KIA and 1 mortally wounded. So from Lowell's report I'm getting an engaged ratio of anywhere from nearly 1:1 upwards of 2:1 in Mosby's favor and the results ratio of nearly 19:1 to nearly 23:1.

Now Colonel Lazelle reports Mosby's forces at 200 to 300 men vs 150 Federal forces. His first report doen't give a clue to the KIA, WIA, or POW suffered by either side, only to the size of Mosby's force which I estimated at 300. His second report estimates Mosby's forces at 200 men. So that gives us an engaged ratio of nearly 1:1 to 2:1. He does in the second report give some idea of Federal casualties. Of 150 men total he says that just 27 men from the 2nd Mass Cav and 7 men from the 13th NY Cav returned to camp. So that's 116 KIA, WIA, and POW Ironically he's the 16th NY Cav and does not appear to himself have taken part. But he was reporting from the Cavalry Brigade HQ so he may have been privy to some information that way. And he does state that Lowell should be able to give a more accurate accounting of the battle. Unfortunately he doesn't list the casualties for Mosby. Going by Mosby and Lowell, the results ratio based on how many men Lazelle said returned to camp would be nearly 19:1 to upwards of 29:1.



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