Question of the Week: 6/18-6/24/18

In your opinion, what are the top three Civil War battles where artillery made significant difference in the outcome?

17 Responses to Question of the Week: 6/18-6/24/18

  1. Antietam: Confederate artillery held the center of their line after the collapse of the sunken road position.
    Stones River: Federal artillery smashed Withers and Clenurne’s attacks ast in the first day, as well as the one Confederate attack of the third day.
    Pea Ridge: The second day saw Federal artillery so disrupting the Confederate line that the Federal advance was barely resisted before retreating.
    Yes…Gettysburg as well; looking for some less well known examples.

  2. Malven Hill, Antietam, and Gettysburg. But I think Stones River belongs there too.

  3. From the standpoint of massing artillery for best effect, those are the obvious candidates. There is a tendency to forget that each side was able to do it at Shiloh, Day 1.

  4. Good ones mentioned so far. I’ll add Shiloh, where effective use of artillery stabilized the Union position late on the first day and set up the conditions for the counterattack on the second.

    1. Shiloh is a good choice. Not only army artillery but also huge cannons aboard two Navy gunboats decimated Rebel soldiers in their last desperate charge in the early evening of the first day. Without those guns, Union troops probably would have been pushed into the Tennessee River and Grant’s military career would have been over.

    1. Agree…without effective arty Herron could not have withstood the initial rebel counterattack & Blunt would have arrived late & been defeated in detail

  5. Malvern Hill by all means
    Shiloh, 2nd Day
    Battle of Monterey Pass, July 4-5th where a single Confederate gunner held back Custer and his regiment which could have wrecked Lee’s retreat.

  6. Some excellent postings so far. I would add S.D. Lee’s work at Second Manassas, where he enfiladed Porter’s assault; Chancellorsville; where the Hazel Grove batteries enabled Stuart’s assault to succeed; and the May 18th failed Union assault at Spottsylvania, which was almost entirely disrupted by artillery. And has anyone thought about Admiral Farragut and his watery batteries?? It just popped into my empty head!

    1. Good choice. Lee’s action at 2 BR is one of the less well-known incidents where one side or the other was able to concentrate artillery effectively.

  7. I’ll add Drewry’s Bluff where Rebel guns, manned partially by refugee sailors from the destroyed CSS Virginia, turned back the Union squadron, including USS Monitor, trying to get at Richmond and (further) discouraged McClellan on the Peninsula. Commodore Rodgers claimed that, had McClellan taken the fort from the rear, they would have reached the Confederate capital. Of course, we should remember Farragut blasting his way into New Orleans and Mobile Bay, and Porter providing critical heavy artillery support at Vicksburg.

  8. Vicksburg, Malvern Hill, and a toss up between Maryes Heights and the fateful Union attack at Cold Harbor.

  9. Chancellorsville. Confederate guns on Hazel Grove had a major impact on the fighting on May 3 and outcome of the battle.
    Gettysburg. Union batteries were on point throughout the battle, especially during Pickett’s Charge.
    Spotsylvania: the attack on May 18 was blunted by entrenched Confederate gunners before they got into musket range.

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