Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aftermath in the East Woods

I've had an enduring passion for the American Civil War since a boy really and just about every Analogue Hobbies  challenge I try and include at least one ACW piece somewhere and while I was reading up on Antietam again the idea came to me for the "East" bonus theme round here.

Just to set the mood I thought I would include the soundtrack "Ashokan Farewell" in the youtube clip below assembled by Curt Franz made famous by Ken Burns monumental American Civil war series. Enjoy the photo's in the clip and listen to the song while you read the post if you wish. Personally I find the song just seeps into your bones and pulls you right into 1860's America.

Antietam or Sharpsburg as known by the confederates occurred on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest single day of combat in the American Civil War resulting in a staggering 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing. This was the South's first invasion of the North and resulted in the confederates achieving a remarkable tactical draw when one considers the enemy commander had your plans and had considerably superior numbers of 87,000 men to your 38,000! That said, it was a strategic victory for the union as the confederates were forced to withdraw the following morning having not the men or materials to press the invasion.

So how does the East Woods fit into all this some may ask? The East Woods is where the first infantry engagements took place during the battle starting with the evening exchanges between pickets prior to the battle and moving on into a full on infantry slugfest in the morning between parts of Hooker's Corps and Jackson's division. This went on for about 3 hours with each side changing control of the woods until reinforcements of the union 12th Corps finally pushed the confederates out, but at high loss of men including their commander Gen. Joseph K.F. Mansfield.

"The shells crashing through the trees and fluttering overhead as well as the musketry… all contributed to mark the time, and place, fixed in one's memory forever."
Diary of Sergeant Charles Broomhall, 124th Pennsylvania Infantry

Ambulance Corps.

Other then disease and direct combat soldiers often died simply by waiting for medical attention while wounded on the battlefield. Wagons were employed to gather the wounded to cut down on losses, but the problem was that often these early wagons had issues with corruption of the drivers who required payment to carry wounded, stole from their passengers and some were just flat out to lazy to gather the wounded. Also it didn't help that often the wagons were so lightly constructed that riding them was very uncomfortable due to damage to the roads from weather and shells not to mention some even turning over causing further harm to the wounded.

The situation dramatically improved with Dr. Jonathan Letterman's system which increased the weight of the wagon, number of horses and increased passenger load. Additions were given to the wagon like compartments to store medical supplies, stretchers, water, and removable benches and seats that adjusted with the number of passengers. Also units started to train ambulance crews and have routine inspections. Letterman's system became so effective that all wounded were gathered within 1 day at Antietam and inspired the formation of the ambulance corps after the battle. The confederates adopted a similar system, but was not as effective mainly due to shortages of men, supplies and wagons.

The uniforms of medical officer/surgeon was dark blue frock coat or whatever coat he liked with emerald green epaulettes with "MS" inserted, emerald green sash and an 1840's medical staff sword. His stewards(NCO's) usually wore frock coats with inverted half chevrons of emerald green with yellow edging and a red sash. Privates typically wore normal union infantry uniform with perhaps a green trim on the kepi if at all.

The model itself is from Perry miniatures and has been on my to do list for some time. A bit tricky to construct and clean, but works nicely in the end.

I painted the piece using mostly Foundry colors with some Vallejo and MIG pigments for the stones. I decided to have some fun with the horse and went for a "painted pattern Appaloosa". Appaloosa horses are something quite American so I included one to round out the piece.

Thought I would include an old fashioned looking sepia picture to further add to the atmosphere.While this piece can enhance the look of a game it can serve a purpose like an objective marker or represent the high casualty marker for Regimental Fire and Fury.

I do really enjoy painting battlefield extras and look forward to the chance to do some more.

Thanks for viewing!:-)
Miniature Company- Perry Miniatures