View Full Version : Rebs in Green,Yanks in Red
12-16-2003, 03:12 AM
Grist for the mill:
Pvt. Welborn J. Andrews, co. K, 23 S.C.V. at Second Manassas:
"About 2 pm Saturday, August 30, 1862, with General Evans commanding our Division and Colonel Stevens our Brigade, Hood's Brigade was sent to skirmsh in our front. They met Yankee zouaves dressed in red. Hood's men wore dark-green uniforms. The red furnished a bright, shining mark at which to shoot, and judging from the number of red-clad bodies left on the ground, their slaughter must have been great. We advanced over the same ground soon after, hence our knowledge of the skirmish."
12-16-2003, 07:40 AM
"The New York Zouaves attacked the 1st Georgia, 2nd and 4th Texas regiments, and the Zouaves were nearly all killed. They charged them through an open field; their uniforms were of red, with knee buckles to their pants, and they bagged down below their knees. Their hats were long red things, might be called a turban, with blue tassels on the crown. The hillside over which they charged was covered with their dead bodies. I saw there where the army wagons or artillery had run over the dead Yankees, crushing them into the ground, which was a horrible sight to behold. It was in human and could have been avoided. No man with a conscience would have done such a thing."
Excerpt from letter from William Judkins (Co. G, 22nd Ga.) to Rome (Ga.) Courier describing scenes from 2nd Manassas.
12-16-2003, 08:17 AM
The primary execution was done by the 5th texas, 18th georgia, and the Hampton Legion, the latter two also being a part of Hood's brigade at this time. The maine direction of the attack was across Chinn Ridge, towards Young's Branch. Initially, the brigade engaged the 10th NY Zouaves, supporting Kern's battery and drove off the Zouaves, then overran and captured the battery. Captain Kerns refused to surrender, loading and firing his last gun alone, mortally wounded. The Texans helped him to the shade of a large oak tree, where he died the following day. He refused to be taken to a hospital, saying that he had promised to fight his guns or die under them.
The 5th NY Zouaves (Duryea's) were in reserve at this location. As the Brigade came over the ridge, the 5th calmly stood at shoulder arms. It then went to the ready, as if on parade, and then fired a battalion volley which, owing to the hight differences of the two lines, mainly went over the heads of the Texans. Hood's men returned fire and the slaughter was terrible. Most of the 5th were killed or wounded in that short sharp engagement, many falling as they tried to cross the stream behind them in escape, weighed down by the water soaking into their loose wool moorish trousers.
Afterwards, several of the Texans remarked that from a distance, the field looked as though covered with poppies.....
Several eyewitness accounts may be found in Harold Simpson's book "Hood's Texas Brigade, Lee's Grenadier Guards". Also reccomnded is "Hood's Texas Brigade", by J.B.Polley. of the 4th Texas.
For what it's worth, I have never heard of any green uniforms being issued to the Texans, or any of the battalions that early on served with them. This is the first contemporary account I have ever read of such a thing.
The engagement at 2nd Manassas was, for the Texans, a relatively easy affair. They would be sorely used and nearly destroyed in a few short weeks in the fields by the Dunker Church at Sharpsburg.
12-16-2003, 08:18 AM
Ah, the glorious history of the 5th NY. Even when Col. Warren order the retreat, the men of the 5th refused to turn and run. The 5th lost over 297 men in roughly 10 minutes that day.
A Confederate soldier remarked to Charles F. Ballou of the 44th NY Vol:
"There was one Yankee regiment that would stand a bayonet charge; he knew because he fought against them at Gaines Mill; and they wouldn't budge." Ballou asked him what regiment it was; he replied,
"Them Zouaves" (a. davenport)
A union officer of high standing expressed himself in regards to the Battle of 2nd Manassas:
"The 5th Army Corps, were treated on that day, BY WHOEVER WAS RESPONSIBLE, in a way that should be an everlasting disgrace, for they were made to assault twice their numbers in a good position, under the false idea that they were in retreat, and while they went up to be butchered, the rest of the army at a safe distance were mere spectator."
12-16-2003, 09:57 AM
Could the green uniforms be gray jackets faded to green with wear?
12-16-2003, 10:12 AM
South Carolinians early in the war had green trimmed uniforms. There are various references to SC uniforms being nearly black which certainly could appear dark green depending on the dye strength - but that's a guess! The Bomar currently has a green cast to it but it appears much more gray in the inside seams.
12-16-2003, 03:59 PM
Pages 103 through 105 of the Mayorality Documents, 1862-63, of George Opdyke (Mayor of the City of New York during that period), published by Hurd and Houghton in 1866, contain a reprint of a letter written to the Mayor’s Office from the Tenth New York requesting a replacement for their flag lost during that engagement at Second Bull Run. The letter, as follows, presents an interesting account of the disaster that befell Warren’s tiny brigade that day:
Headquarters Tenth Regiment, N.Y.V.
Camp at Harper’s Ferry, Va., September 28, 1862
Hon. Sir, - I have the unpleasant duty imposed on me of informing you that the flag presented to our regiment by the Common Council of the city of New York, was lost on the field of battle, in the disastrous action of Bull Run, on the 30th of August last, under the following circumstances:
Our brigade, composed of the Fifth and Tenth New York, under the command of Colonel G. K. Warren, of the Fifth, Acting Brigadier-General, and numbering scarce nine hundred men, was placed in position on the edge of a wood, nearly half a mile from any support, on ground that had been fought over before, and from which the enemy had been driven on the previous day. At the time, it was not deemed position of much danger, and regiments needed there later in the day were dispatched to other and apparently more important positions. Six of our companies were deployed through the woods as skirmishers, and for about an hour carried on a lively exchange of shots with skirmishers representing the Rebel interests, on that historical battle-ground. It seems, however, as we have since learned from prisoners, that the enemy had observed our approach, and the withdrawal of the other troops; the consequence was that, when they commenced their grand movement against the left wing of our army, a whole division, numbering seven thousand men, from the command of Longstreet, was precipitated upon us. Our skirmishers were driven in upon the brigade, firing and loading as rapidly as possible, and they actually succeeded in giving the enemy the benefit of three rounds of ammunition a man, while passing over a distance of scarcely three hundred yards, with their pursuers almost literally treading on their heels.
We had nothing to rally our skirmishers on but the four remaining companies of our regiment, and the Fifth New York, which was drawn up in line of battle to support us. The men rapidly formed up in line upon the colors, with as little confusion as possible, but thousands of bullets were whistling about their ears, and they broke. In that moment of confusion, an act of individual heroism caused us to re-form. Sergeant William Duff, of Company I., previously promoted for gallantry at Gaines Mill, and who carried the colors the city gave us, stepped out and planted it in the ground. Instantly the men rallied and again gave the encircling foe a volley, but seven thousand bullets were tearing through their ranks, and they were compelled to fall back on the Fifth. The Rebel musketry fire was fearful, and with their vast numbers they succeeded in flanking us, and a destructive cross-fire mowed down our ranks. It was beyond the power of man to stand longer, and we were ordered to retire. Both our color bearers had been struck; Duff, who had carried our city flag, lay pierced through both legs, and five different men, in turn, seized that flag and were in turn shot down. Amid the confusion, smoke, dust, whistling bullets, and excitement of a lost battle-field, the enemy captured that flag, after destroying the lives of six heroes who, one after another, carried it into the van.
There is not a man among us who does not regret its loss, and who would not risk his life’s blood to regain it. It is under these circumstances that I address you, and ask, in the name of the regiment, the city to present us another color. We left one hundred men on the bloody field of Bull Run before we left the color you gave us there. Give us another, and we will return it to you at the end of our enlistment, covered, we hope, with no disgrace.
I have the honor to remain,
Your obedient servant,
John W. Marshall, Lt.-Col. Com. Reg.
To his Honor George Opdyke,
Mayor of New York
12-16-2003, 04:06 PM
It would seem that Andrew is suggesting that "Hood's men", the Texas brigade was all decked out in dark green. Would it have been possible for a the Texas quartermaster to have supplied the Lone Star boys a dark green uniform? Somehow I don't think Andrew or any other Easterner would have referred to themselves as "Hood's men," even if they were attached to his brigade.
I would bet that he is referring to the Texans. If the Carolinians were wearing dark green from our state that would have been a strange coincidence as well. Again, the answer begs more questions.
12-16-2003, 05:45 PM
The problem here is that the three Texas regiments left the state clothed in Grey uniforms. They seemed to have been initially issued with dress coats, vice shell jackets. The great distance between Texas and Richmond, and the difficulty in procuring reliable shipping resulted in the Texans becoming a sort of "ward of the state", as it were, dependant upon the Richmond government, as well as the generosity of private citizens to clothe them.
In all of the references I have read to these fine soldiers, and there have been many, I have never heard of this claim of green uniforms before.
As to the non-Texas units in Hood's brigade, it was originally composed of the 1st, 4th, and 5th Texas, along with the 18th Georgia and the Infantry companies of the Hampton Legion. Throughout their association, the latter two units reffered to themselves as belonging to "Hood's Brigade", as did the 3rd Arkansas when it was attached, replacing the Hampton legion and 18th Georgia. Interestingly, even when Hood was promoted out of the brigade to Division commander and then transferred west, and other officers placed in command, the Texans still claimed to be "Hood's Brigade", or Hood's Texas Brigade" in their letters and diaries.
12-16-2003, 09:15 PM
Quote from one Texas soldier commenting on the bright multi-colored bodies covering the site of Duryea's lonely stand. 123 KIA in less than 15 minutes (and another 175 wounded), many with multiple wounds from several directions. Imagine standing in ranks and seeing birds and deer and other wildlife fleeing the woods, then a rebel yell, than balls start knocking over comrades from thousands of enemy rifles. They never had a chance, as even an immediate withdrawal would not have worked.
Davenport is a kick - a private soldier with a chip on his shoulder who wrote the regimental history of some fearless American soldiers. Read the book - a good one.
12-17-2003, 02:43 AM
What would explain the dark-green uniforms?
1. The grey dye oxidized to green (possible)
2. The unit observed was an Irish unit like the 8th Alabama (who wore
dark green) or a "rifleman" unit that was trying to copy the European
3. Andrew was color blind to blue/green or he exaggerated.
4. Someone actually issued a lot of dark-green uniforms before the
battle. Otherwise why did he even bother to comment?
I know it's rather weird to discuss the color of their uniforms while hundreds of brave men died on the field. The Zouaves were brave and I would like to solve this one small mystery about the Confederate uniforms. It would make a great painting if it were true.
12-17-2003, 08:55 AM
The big problem here is when any such issue could have been made to the Brigade. They were either engaged or on the march from the penninsula campaign through the Maryland campaign. They simply didn't have the opportunity for a new issue until after they returned to Virginia.
The 3 Texas regiments left the state in grey clothing, trimmed in either blue or black. That's a given. What transpired after that, though, is certainly a question to be debated.
12-17-2003, 09:18 AM
Just a Thought- not knowing where the original cite came from- could we be looking at a post-war transcription error of a handwritten document?-Dark Green substituted for Dark Grey?
12-18-2003, 02:30 PM
Just a Thought- not knowing where the original cite came from- could we be looking at a post-war transcription error of a handwritten document?-Dark Green substituted for Dark Grey?
I derived the quote from "Wandering To Glory" by Dewitt Boyd Stone, I will check the primary quote from the footnotes, maybe even write the author. This would solve the mystery. Tim is right that no troops left Texas in dark green. I am currently transcribing the Augusta Arsenal records so I know first hand that words like "grey and green" can look similar! This is the problem with relying on secondary sources, occasionally someone will make a hideous mistake that will mislead historians around the world.
I still think we should rely on secondary source books, but this has taught me a lesson that the some facts should be checked. Especially for facts that have a profond change everything we know about a certain subject.
If the original text says "grey" (I hope so) we are in luck because it matches all of the other information and we know that it's a "dark grey."
If it still quotes "green", another big headache.
12-18-2003, 03:43 PM
I couldn't track down Mr. Stone, but I did track the source:
Andrews, William H. Footprints of a Regiment: A Recollection of the First Georgia Regulars, 1861-65. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1991. This regiment was assigned to Anderson's Brigade, a companion to Evan's Brigade for much of the war. Andrews wrote this book in 1890's basing it upon his war journals.
The book is for sale at Amazon.com, they have 23 used copies starting at $7.50. I ordered one for the heck of it.
Sounds like there was plenty of room for mistakes, but he did recall the Zouaves with precision!
Hopefully somebody already owns this.
12-26-2003, 12:41 AM
So the Pvt. Andrew wasn't the same one. There are two Andrew's in "Wandering To Glory" . The one that made the reference (supposedly) to Hood's men wearing dark-green was Pvt. Welburn Andrews "Sketch of Co. K, 23rd South Carolina Volunteers, in the Civil War, from 1862-1865." Richmond, VA.; Whittet and Shepperson Printers, no date. Now I have to track this article down.
Interestingly, the "Footprints of a Regiment" by W.H. Andrews, 1st Sergeant, Company M, is full of details, that I have rarley seen elsewhere. Check out this detail on page 11 (July 17th, 1861) in Savannah, Georgia:
"On arriving at Savannah we marched through the city and pitched our tents on the commons, where we drew new uniforms, shoes, caps and overcoats. All having previously had their measures taken by a tailor. Our uniforms were of Confederate gray, single-breasted frock coats with Georgia buttons, black cords down the outer seams of he pants. Caps were gray. Overcoats extending to the knees, with large capes. Altogether we were nicely fitted up. Besides we had a fatigue uniform consisting of jacket and pants. The Regulars were armed with muskets, and drilled in Hardee's tactics for heavy infantry."
Good detail of an early war uniform, I 'd say!
02-06-2004, 04:15 PM
On the old site version 1.5 or 1.9. before the great data loss of 2003. I had made a post concerning a eyewitness report from Pvt. J. W. Andrew of Co. K 23rd South Carolina Volunteers concerning Hood's men at the battle of Second Manassas.
I went to the South Carolinana Room Library at USC and laid eyes directly on the original publication. Nine survivors of the company gathered at the Sumter, SC Courthouse on May 18, 1909 to recollect and record their war experiences.
Here again is the statement from Page 12, "Sketch of Company K., 23rd South Carolina Volunteers in the Civil War from 1862-1865." South Carolinana Library # 975.70744J23 An2s.
"At 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30, 1862, General Evans, commanding our division an Colonel Stevens our Brigade. Hood's Brigade was sent to skirmish in our front. They met Yankee Zouaves dressed in red. Hood's men wore dark-green uniforms. The red furnished a bright, shining mark at which to shoot, and judging from the number of red-clad bodies left on the ground, their slaughter must have been great. We advanced over the same ground soon after, hence our knowledge of the skirmish."
I copied this from the original text by Ward and Ward Offset Printing of Sumter, SC, circa. 1909. It doesn't appear to be a gross typo.
I interpret the purpose of the paragraph was to show the contrast between the colors of the uniforms. If Hood's men had dark-grey uniforms on (like many CSA troops) then why mention it? Why not just a plain comment on the Zouave uniforms? I also propose that another reason they were making a comment on the green uniforms; they were illustrating about how harder it was to see and shoot at versus the red Zouaves.
On the old database, someone had identified the Zouave unit in question, did they leave any reocord of what happened? Would they have made note of the Texan's in dark-green?
Also someone mentioned that the uniforms that Hood's men had received while in Texas could have oxidized to the dark-green color.
Not that I advocate a great drive to outfit every Texan in a dark green jacket, it just corresponds to what happened to the "nicotine green" Bomar frock coat at the South Carolina Relic Room, it was originaly gray.
02-06-2004, 09:27 PM
The Zouave unit in question is the 5th NY Duryee Zouaves. Along with the 10th NY they were hung out to dry by the rest of the army on that fateful day in 1862. There is a well written account of the battle in the 5th's Regimental History by Alfred Davenport. His is a first hand account as well as accounts he recorded from his other comerades who survived. Of the 500 5th NYers on that hill, 330 were put out of action in just under ten minutes, 120 were killed. This battle represents the most casualties taken by a single regiment in a single engagement at anytime during the war. They did manage to defend Hazlett's battery long enough for the guns to retreat to the rear.
I hope I didn't go on to long.
Just my two cents.
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