Full Glossary for The Killer Angels
advance guards detachments of troops sent ahead to inspect and protect the line of march.
another Sharpsburg (also known as Antietam) in September 1862, Lee attempted his first invasion of the North, crossing the Potomac into Maryland. However, the Union Army intercepted his plans and passed them on to General McClellan. McClellan's troops fought their way through mountain passes and attacked Lee's forces near Sharpsburg. Though the attack was uncoordinated and piecemeal, the Union won because it had overwhelming superior in numbers. This reference in the chapter comes up when Lee is wondering whether Ewell's men, who are beginning an attack on the Union right, will end up victorious, or encounter large numbers of the enemy, as at Sharpsburg, and be defeated. Also, after this, Lee keeps his orders verbal to avoid interception. However, verbal orders only increased confusion in this complex battle.
the Barton Key Affair Barton Key, son of Frances Scott Key who wrote The National Anthem , was having an affair with Sickles' wife. Sickles killed him and then pleaded temporary insanity, the first time that defense was used, and was found not guilty.
Battle of Fredericksburg took place Dec. 12, 1862. Fredericksburg was a fiasco for the Union, which had to attack uphill. The Union soldiers spent the night pinned down under fire, incurring heavy losses.
Black Hats of the Iron Brigade refers to men of a Union brigade famed even among the Confederates for their courage as well as for the hats they wore — black slouch hats instead of the flat, visored kepis. The name Iron Brigade supposedly came from their performance during the battle at South Mountain where they stood and fought without wavering.
The Black Hats, Simon Cutler's Iron Brigade this reference is incorrect. The Black Hats or Iron Brigade was the First Brigade of I Corps' First Division. It was actually commanded by Brigadier General Solomon Meredith. Simon Cutler was most likely Lysander Cutler, who commanded that division's 2nd Brigade.
Black Watch 42nd or Royal Highland Regiment of the British Army, made up of Scottish infantry that wore its traditional dark-colored garb including kilts, which is where it got its name. It distinguished itself in the French and Indian War and the Napoleonic War, and apparently fought the United States during the War of 1812.
Bloody George George III, King of England during the American Revolution.
bowling balls bowling had been brought to this country by European settlers some time before the war, though at that time it was more an outdoor lawn game.
British/hollow square method of fighting off an attacking group by having the infantrymen form a square facing out on all sides with the officers in the center.
brogans a heavy work shoe, fitting high on the ankle.
the Bully Boy nickname for Sickles given by other Union officers suggestive of his temperament.
Butterfield's Lullaby the bugle call written by General Dan Butterfield and meant for his unit. This tune later become known as "Taps."
canister an artillery shell that when fired from a cannon releases hundreds of small metal balls that murderously cut through an advancing enemy line.
Casey's Manual of Infantry Tactics an 800-page book of infantry tactics written by Union General Silas Casey and accepted as the official Union Army manual in 1862.
C'est le sanglant appel de Mars a reference to the bloody, screaming call of battle, referring to Mars, the god of war in Roman mythology.
Chancellorsville the battle took place on May 1 to 3, 1863. Lee's army, outnumbered 2 to 1, won a major victory over General Hooker and the Union Army. Lee, again, displayed his courage by flaunting military rules and splitting his army, not once, but twice as he manuevered around Hooker to defeat him.
Chapultepec fortress on a rocky hill near Mexico City: captured (Sept., 1847) in an American assault led by General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War.
Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean war in 1854, the British 13th Light Dragoons were ordered to charge the well-defended Russian artillery. In spite of the hopelessness of the situation, the brigade charged over a mile under heavy fire and was destroyed. Their courage and honor was immortalized in Tennyson's poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade."
the colors the flag for a particular fighting unit, such as a regimental flag.
corn dodger a small cake of cornmeal, baked or fried hard
dragoon pistols pistols in use in the 1700-1800s that were single-shot flintlock technology, thus very slow to operate.
Dred Scott a black slave who sued for freedom because his owner had taken him to a territory where slavery was expressly forbidden. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, who in 1857, ruled against him.
en echelon an arrangement of units in a step-like manner to the right or left of the rear unit. When attacking, the first unit starts with the others coming in one by one in sequence, like a wave moving forward from one side to the other.
Enfields and Springfields the two most common muzzle-loading muskets used in the Civil War.
enfilade fire fire directed at the entire length of an enemy line, such as when an attacker fires from the side of that line right into them.
Ewell's people will demonstrate Ewell's forces will create a diversion on the left to keep the Union from reinforcing the line where Longstreet will be attacking.
flank/flanking to pass around the side of an enemy unit so as to attack behind the enemy's front line.
flankers soldiers detailed to protect the sides of a marching column.
guidons small flags or pennants carried by cavalry guides. A guidon aided in identifying units and keeping control of the situation. It also was an emotional emblem inspiring the unit to defend it bravely, and the opponent to capture it.
Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards regiment that Fremantle serves in. They are the personal guards to the sovereign of the British realm.
the high Rocky Hill the name the Confederates were using for Little Round Top, as they did not know its name at the time.
hollow square battle formation used at that time where several ranks of soldiers are lined up on each side of a square formation, and the officers and unit colors are in the center.
Huguenots Protestants in France in the 1500s and 1600s who were persecuted and massacred for their faith, by the Catholics.
impressed seamen American seamen taken by the British from American ships on the high seas and pressed into service of the British Navy. The British claimed they were deserters. This practice led to the War of 1812.
Indian Wars from the time this country was first colonized by Europeans in the 1600s until the late 1890s, there were intermittent wars waged against various Indian tribes. The goals were either to eliminate them from an area the settlers wanted to colonize or, later on, to relocate them further west. Buford most likely grew up during the wars against tribes in Florida and the Southeast during the 1830s. As an adult, he saw action in some of the later Indian wars out West, before the Civil War.
Lee's Miserables/Les Miserables Lee's Miserables is the joking name Armistead gives to their Confederate group. It is a pun on the name of the fiction classic, Les Miserables (The Miserable Ones), written by French writer Victor Hugo and published in 1862. The book chronicled the life of Jean Valjean, a victim of society who managed to perform heroic deeds in spite of the many unfair things done to him.
Lothario nickname given to Lewis Armistead and meant as a joke. A "lothario" is someone whose chief interest is in seducing women. Armistead is a quiet widower, a gentleman, and about as far from a lothario as one can get.
map error an error on the map shows the units on Little Round Top. The map shows the 118th PA on the top right. It was actually in the Wheat Field. The 16th Michigan was the unit next to the 44th NY on Little Round Top.
Maryland people refers to men under Confederate Major Harry Gilmore of Ewell's Corps (in this case, a group led by James D. Watters), who were from Maryland, knew the area, and were renowned for their raiding abilities in the area.
mick slang term for an Irishman.
Murat charge Joachim Murat was one of Napoleon's military commanders who was described as having little intelligence and no sense of strategy. His only ability to distinguish himself in battle was by leading dashing cavalry charges, but even there, his mistakes would sometimes almost cost Napoleon victory.
Napoleons and Parrots types of cannons.
old Richard and the rest a reference to Richard I of England, also called Richard the Lionhearted, and his soldiers in their unsuccessful Third Crusade.
Old Soldier's Disease intestinal distress and diarrhea caused by eating too much fresh fruit along the march; in this case it's fresh cherries. There's a reference to having to shoot from a squatting position.
pont au feu bridge of fire/ feu d'enfer: fire(s) of hell: Lee's way of describing the intense artillery pounding he will order on the center of the Union line to pave the way for Longstreet's attack there.
Provost Guards a group of soldiers similar in function to Military Police.
red battle flags flags used for Confederate units.
refuse the line to form a new line at an angle to the existing one so as to cover any flanking move.
repeating carbines this is not entirely accurate. Buford's men were armed with breechloading rifles, which were an improvement over muskets. Breechloaders were loaded behind the barrel instead of down the muzzle as muskets were. While they were single-shot rifles, they were faster to fire and thus gave Buford's men the ability to hold off superior numbers of infantry. Buford did not, however, have repeaters, which could fire several shells before reloading was necessary.
right wheel forward like a swinging door, the line of men moves forward as if swinging from a hinge point in the main line, sweeping across the front of the battlefield.
road guards advance troops sent ahead of a military unit to detect enemy forces and protect the main force as it moves ahead.
Scheiber a Prussian observer; the spelling of the name may be incorrect though, as most records indicate a Major Justus Scheibert as the Prussian observer.
Second Manassas all over again (also known as Second Bull Run) refers to the second Confederate victory in the Manassas area. On Aug. 29, 1862, Union General Pope attacked Lee's forces led by Stonewall Jackson. Pope was not aware Lee had split his forces and was surprised when he was attacked on his flank by Longstreet, who was leading the other half of Lee's forces. Pope was defeated. Lee had gone against standard military strategy when he split his forces in the presence of an enemy, but the bold move paid off.
shelter halves tarp halves used to make tents and shelters when setting up camp.
s'il vous plait French expression meaning: if you please, if it pleases you.
6th Wisconsin regiment that was part of the Iron Brigade and commanded by Major Rufus Dawes.
skirmishers scouts who provided information on enemy strength and location, geography of the land ahead, and also screened the movements of the main force from enemy detection.
Solferino in 1859, during the Italian battle for independence from Austria, a major battle took place outside the town of Solferino between the Austrians and the allied French and Italian forces. The battle was fierce and involved a number of brave and daring charges by the allied forces. These resulted in heavy casualties but a victory for the allied forces.
solid shot a solid artillery shell that explodes when it lands.
sound the General most of the actions of a military unit, from getting up in the morning, to going to sleep at night, were communicated by bugle calls. The General was most likely the call used by Chamberlain's regiment to notify the men to assemble and start their march.
South Mountain in September of 1862, General McClellan's troops fought their way through three mountain passes on their way to a victory against Lee at Sharpsburg.
sutler's store a sutler was a camp follower or merchant who was allowed by the army to sell provisions to the soldiers from his wagon, which was his store.
theories of Jomini Swiss writer Antoine-Henri Jomini who was one of the three major war theorists that emerged after the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
vedettes mounted guards placed ahead of pickets, well ahead of an advancing force, to watch the enemy movements and notify commanders.
Vicksburg Early settler city in west Mississippi that was besieged by General Grant in the Civil War, just before the battle of Gettysburg. Jefferson Davis suggested that Lee secure Vicksburg first before heading north. Lee convinced him otherwise. Vicksburg surrendered to Union forces on July 4th, the day after the Confederate loss at Gettysburg. It resulted in the loss of the Mississippi River and divided the South in half.
Whitworth a type of English cannon.