GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

keith mackenzie bluzdad at
Wed Jan 11 09:24:07 CST 2012

I believe that it's accepted generally that they were not. I suppose we could assume they might have been moved during the looting process, but not by much. To recap, if they are from the day one field, they would have been under confederate control for several days, I suppose the same can be said for the Rose Farm location. If they are from the 5th New Jersey skirmish line, wouldn't they have been in a "no mans land" (West of the Emmitsburg Road)? and thus less likely to have been trifled with?
"Hello! I'm The Doctor."
(Dr. Who)

From: Charles T. Joyce <CTJoyce at>
To: GDG <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
But in this case, it doesn't appear that the bodies WERE moved in any systematic fashion (e.g., the Rose Farm corpses).

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 11, 2012, at 9:56 AM, "CWMHTours at" <CWMHTours at> wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> I would not make permanent conclusions on battle line vs.  skirmish lines 
> based on body locations.  Wounded men crawl around or are  carried.  Corpses 
> get moved around also for a variety of reasons, including  preparation for 
> burial.  Sometimes their bodies are looted.
> Then the photographers move the bodies such as the  Sharpshoooter in Devils 
> Den.
> I don't see how you can accurately presume a battle line or  skirmish by 
> body locations in this case.  They could have been moved many  times.
> Unless they are arrayed in a specific  way, such  as the Yanks at Brawners 
> Farm,m you really can't make assumptions based on body  arrangements.
> Your  Most Obedient Servant,
> Peter  
> In a message dated 1/11/2012 9:38:08 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
> bluzdad at writes:
> Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> OK, I understood the principle, a little dim on the  mechanics but both 
> explanations cannot fail to help achieve a greater  understanding. Now, In 
> (both)you're considered opinion, are the bodies in the  "Harvest of Death" (HoD, 
> for future ref) more likely indicative of a line of  battle, or a skirmish 
> line? the spacing between the bodies may not prove  anything, but does it 
> disprove anything?
> Thanks for jumping in.  Don't jump out now, I sense a  breakthrough.
> K.
> "Hello! I'm The Doctor."
> (Dr.  Who)
> ________________________________
> From:  "CWMHTours at" <CWMHTours at>
> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
> Gary-
> In your excellent description you do omit the  principle of the  two....
> There are two different  purposes.
> In a line of battle the intention is to heavily engage  and  assault the 
> enemy with all the forces you can bring to  bear.  You are  committing all 
> the 
> forces that you can bring to  bear with a face-to-face  confrontation at 
> close 
> quarters. in order  to achieve victory.
> Whereas.... a skirmish line is meant for the  skirmishers to  not 
> excessively risk themselves when possible but to  perhaps take advantage  
> of defensive 
> advantages to protect themselves  while engaging the enemy.  The 
> skirmishers' goal is not to overwhelm  the enemy forces but to harrass,  
> slow down, or 
> even stop the  progress of the enemy.  A skirmisher,  even when spaced some 
> 10  ft apart from the others can take advantage of such  things as trees 
> and  
> rocks.
> A line of battle is simply out there to assault and  accept  loses as part 
> of the cost.
> That is the big difference  and it hasn't been mentioned much  in the GDG.
> It's about time I  fixed this problem.
> ;-)  !!!
> Your  Most Obedient  Servant,
> Peter
> In a message dated 1/10/2012 11:31:15 P.M.  Eastern Standard Time,  
> durangoks at  writes:
> Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> In a skrimish  line the soldiers are 10 feet to  10 yards apart.  In a line 
> of  battle soldiers are lined up almost  shoulder to shoulder.  That  said, 
> not every soldier in a line is killed.  so just because there  is spacing 
> between the men does not prove anything.  
> Gary  McGinnis                  
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