GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Wed Jan 11 14:19:25 CST 2012

Feb 12th.  W, DC?
Hope you can make it.
I don't want to be the one to tell John you can't make  it.   ;-)
Your  Most Obedient Servant,

In a message dated 1/11/2012 3:14:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
pipecreek1430 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
One of the few times  a line of KIA's was  found, is associated with the 
attack by Iverson's brigade on July 1.
The  next day, a Confederate artilleryman counted 79 NC soldiers dead, 
lined up as  in a line of battle.
They were killed on the first volley.  That is  why after the war, some 
survivors wrote an epitaph for
Iverson's Brigade at  Gettysburg, " Unwarned, and  unlead,  Iverson's 
brigade moved forth  to their doom.
Many NC widows and orphans were left to rue the rashness of  that hour."

Nancy  Householder

From: Tom  Barrett <tbarrett21 at>
To: 'GDG' <gettysburg at>  
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: GDG- skirmish  line vs line of battle

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Likely the  only chance you would see of a line of KIA's like that is if a
line of  battle received a "well delivered volley" (or maybe a canister
round, but  more likely the former...).  Otherwise, it could be the result  
ground fought over a number of times.  As you know, most casualties  were
wounded, not killed outright.  That many killed outright, in a  line, would
not be a common occurrence.



-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at  [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]
On Behalf Of keith  mackenzie
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 9:38 AM
Subject:  Re: GDG- skirmish line vs line of battle

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.


"Hello! I'm  The Doctor."
(Dr.  Who)

From:  "CWMHTours at" <CWMHTours at>
Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:

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
forces that you can bring  to bear with a face-to-face  confrontation at
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
advantages to protect  themselves while engaging the enemy.  The 
skirmishers' goal is not to  overwhelm the enemy forces but to harrass,  
down, or 
even  stop the progress of the enemy.  A skirmisher,  even when spaced  
10 ft apart from the others can take advantage of such  things  as trees 

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,

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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