Many regular readers will recall the name Nigel Lambert. Nigel, a biochemist by day, and has grown increasingly fascinated by the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865, at the Siege of Petersburg. He created a fascinating five part series here at the Siege of Petersburg Online last year which looked at exactly which Confederate units were involved in the battle:
Nigel Lambert’s Hatcher’s Run Series:
- Rebel Units and their Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run: February 5-7, 1865
- Rebel Units and Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run: Confederate Second Corps
- Rebel Units and Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run: Confederate Third Corps
- Rebel Units and Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run: Confederate Cavalry
- Rebel Units and Commanders at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run: Epilogue and Order of Battle
The best part? He hasn’t stopped there. I’d like to point readers to the latest issue of North & South Magazine (Series II, Volume 2, No. 5). Nigel has written a new article covering the Battle of Hatcher’s Run from conception to battle to results. The last article I can recall of this nature was written by the late, great Art Bergeron quite some time ago. The Battle of Hatcher’s Run is mostly understood from the Federal perspective, because almost all of the existing official documents come from that side. To get at the Confederate perspective is much more difficult. The battle contains a lot of first person accounts with conflicting narratives of what happened on the Confederate side, and Nigel covers many of these in the actual article. Dr. Lambert’s in depth and thorough research has allowed a more accurate outline of exactly what happened at the battle to emerge. Even more importantly, it is a concise recounting of events, of the what, how, and why things happened the way they did over three days of battle.
I spoke with Nigel about the key points of his article, and he wanted to share the following:
1) Highlights conflicts and contradictions in modern accounts of the battle and attempts to address them.
2) Highlights the mystery surrounding the actions of the Rebel Cavalry
3) Highlights the problems surrounding the movements of Pegram and his brigade on the 2nd day and proposes a solution.
4) A revised Order of Battle
5) 5 new colorful maps to illustrate the action
The article appears on pp. 35-46.
Nigel has a thread up at Civil War Talk Civil War forums. Go get the issue, read the article, and give him your feedback! Or leave a question in the comments below and I’ll make sure Nigel sees it.
Thanks for this. I’m waiting to see a good map at the regimental level of the battle. I don’t recall ever seeing one.
You’re welcome! Agreed. I don’t think there is enough information publicly available right now to even do a brigade map correctly, much less a regimental level map. Nigel is working on trying to better understand exactly what happened in the battle, and for now has focused on the brigade level in terms of troop movements. His article shows what he thinks happened, and he backs it up with primary sources. It is an interesting topic for sure.
Hi Todd. One of the many assets of this site is the ability to update articles and comments. Hence my 5 articles on the Rebel Order of Battle periodically get updated as new information comes to light. Magazine articles and books run the danger of becoming monoliths with any errors / typos present for posterity. I am currently in the process of writing a slightly expanded version of the magazine article. Although I stand by most of the thesis presented in the article there are a few typos and errors that I would like to highlight:
p35 There is one O.R. from a Rebel on-field officer (Col Peck) and two letters from R.E Lee and John Gordon
p37 A more finely grained analysis at the regimental level suggests that Union losses east of Rocky Branch were 87 and west of the stream were 24. With more words to play with, my next article will give greater detail on these Rebel attacks on Feb 5th.
p37 Lt-Col John Blair (2nd Miss commander) was NOT captured at the battle as I and many others report. With a colleague and friend of this site we have managed to establish that he was captured at Hatcher’s Run but in April 1865.
p37 There are in fact a couple of very brief references to the battle in Henry Thomas’ seminal book on the Doles-Cook Brigade. However, there role at the battle is still uncertain.
p37 I got in a tangle regarding Union officers ranks – always a confusion over brevet ranks and having a tight word-count, it’s tricky. however, both Ramsey and McAllister were Brevet Brig-Gens and this is how they are referred to in the O.R at the time. Although they were only Colonels in the regular army
p38 of course it should be IX Corps and not XI Corps! A tragic typo, probably a vision issue as we have the VI Corps
p38 Col West was also a Brevet Brig-Gen.
p39 Map 2. In my current article I’m ditching the Pierce Brigade icon as his regiments got sent all over as required. The Olmstead brigade needs to be more at an angle and the Rebel attacks need to be more targeted on Murphy and McAllister and the gap between them.
p41 Henry Davies was a Brig-Gen and not a Colonel.
For some of the engagements in the battle, a regimental-level analysis could be made, particularly from the Union side. It would be a struggle from the Rebel perspective, as there isn’t the data. Even my on-going article has a limited word-count that sadly prevents such an analysis. If anyone asked me to write a book on the battle, I would be able to fully employ my regimental database.
Dr. Lambert, I am seeking info. on the First Battle of Hatcher’s Run (Boydton Plank road) Oct.27th and 28th 1864. Specifically, 16th PA. Cavalry Co. G Sgt. Benjamin F. Harris, who was wounded fighting dismounted, and initially listed as MIA. Any and all leads to research that you could sight as to being relevant would be greatly appreciated.