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"Mounted ACW officers" Topic

18 Posts

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C M DODSON18 Sep 2019 3:17 a.m. PST

I am researching for my Antietam re fight.

I have lots of unit pictures showing regulation positions of officers in their units most of the senior members being mounted.

However, in 1862 were regimental commanders mounted in action?

I am of the opinion that most would leave their mounts behind when in action as otherwise they would be a fine target.

Brigade commanders upwards would need mobility to function in command but am I correct?

All help gratefully received as I would like to get this right.

Thank you in advance.


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 4:07 a.m. PST

I believe you are correct – while for the photos regimental officers would be mounted in action by 1862 most sensible regimental officers had realized that being on foot was the best place to be

As you note, different issue for brigade/divisional officers

I don't have any of my ACW regimental command stands mounted (well, except for the cavalry!)

companycmd18 Sep 2019 6:03 a.m. PST

This level of detail is ridiculous. Show the figures mounted because we want to see them mounted. Unless youre doing a diorama for a history museum at the Smithsonian or at the battlefield itself e.g. these are not for war gaming that is.
Stop over-thinking.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 6:59 a.m. PST

He is not overthinking anything; he asked a very reasonable question.

C M DODSON18 Sep 2019 7:24 a.m. PST

Interesting responses so far but thank you anyway!

I want to get this right as my re fight will be following the same format as previous ones



As the most bloodiest day in US history it deserves a little effort I feel.

Best wishes,


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 8:06 a.m. PST

All of my regimental command are on foot.

Trajanus18 Sep 2019 9:13 a.m. PST

Given the casualty rates among Regimental officers, including the Commanders, I cannot imagine how many of them would have been left at the end of a battle if they had of been mounted.

Particularly so if the numbers of Brigade and Divisional commanders who were hit is anything to judge by and there were a lot less of those to get shot in the first place!

d effinger18 Sep 2019 9:18 a.m. PST

Agreed. Regimental officers would dismount. Not because they are afraid but they didn't want their horses to be wounded. THEY had to supply their own horses.

It _IS_ a very reasonable question. A gamer wants real info and not 'gamer' non-historical BS. It's the silly tradition of putting drummer boys in with the ACW Color Guard. It was never done. I applaud you Chris. :)


JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 11:52 a.m. PST

Please explain about drummer boy locations, for the inexperienced.

Trajanus18 Sep 2019 1:43 p.m. PST

First up they were not all boys.

That said, when in line of battle, the drummers were formed up in the centre of the Regiment, behind the two rank firing line and the supernumeraries (Officers and NCOs who closed up gaps in the line and replaced fallen counter parts).

The were supposed to be positioned in front of the Regimental Band if there was one and in close proximity to the Colonel.

FWIW Mine are in the front rank, even though it's wrong but not in the Color Guard/Command Stand.

Old habits die hard.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 3:43 p.m. PST

Thanks for that, I'll bear it in mind.

d effinger18 Sep 2019 6:38 p.m. PST

If you look at the link below, you will see what a regiment in 28mm looks like and the positions of everyone by the book. Drummers included.




C M DODSON18 Sep 2019 10:45 p.m. PST

Thank you.

Good stuff indeed.

Best wishes,


Trajanus19 Sep 2019 1:58 a.m. PST

Nice link Don, picture worth a thousand words and such!

Bill N19 Sep 2019 2:37 a.m. PST

Given that a number of Confederate regiments at Antietam, and in at least one case a Confederate brigade, were lead by captains, I am guessing a number of regimental COs didn't even have horses.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Sep 2019 3:44 a.m. PST

The regimental field officers (colonel, lt. colonel, and major) generally dismounted in combat, but not always. At Gettysburg on July 2nd, the officers of the 124th New York, fighting at the Triangular Field, remained mounted. When one of the junior officers protested that they would make too good a target, Major James Cromwell replied: "The men must see us today." I believe they were all killed or wounded.

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2019 6:05 a.m. PST

In my games, brigade commanders are mounted single figures; corps, division, or army commanders are mounted with several figures. This is done to reflect levels of command. I am sure that it would be more accurate for most officers to be on foot, but our units are just representations anyway. So, I go for the look of the period. If a 20-figure unit as a drummer, do I really think that drummers represented 5% of the unit? Nope. I put him out there because it can be a teaching moment the drummers were part of units, and I want them reflected somewhere. I guess I go for the visual aspect of such things.

Trajanus19 Sep 2019 7:45 a.m. PST


Maj Cromwell was certainly killed, as was the Regimental Commander Col Van Horn Ellis, there appears to be some uncertainty as to whether Lt Col Francis Cummings was wounded or killed.

One things for sure, given the close quarter fighting in their part of the field, all three men's bravery bordered on the suicidal!

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