About The 1865 OOB Project

Hi! My name is Owen Edwards.

I'm an amateur (very amateur) American Civil War buff from England, and have been for nearly 20 of my 27 years. I've long enjoyed reading books about the conflict, playing tabletop and computer wargames based on it, and conducting my own research. Though I've been disabused of my former Lost Cause leanings, I still hold a romantic attachment to the very best of Dixie, whilst having a little more room for in my heart for the Federals. I am particularly fascinated by the 1865 campaigns and situation - the Confederacy still had capable if small armies in the field, led by arguably the best army-command line-up they possessed throughout the war (Lee, Johnston, Taylor, Kirby Smith). The Federals, meanwhile, possessed overwhelming numbers and resources, determined commanders (Grant, Sherman, Canby), and, for the first time, relative political security at home.

This blog will show the results of a specific area of research I've undertaken into the 1865 campaigns: the orders of battles, beginning with the Southern armies. Confederate numbers and orders of battle for this period are, for obvious reasons, fairly complicated. Living in England and not being a man of infinite resources, my ability to research is hampered in two ways - an inability to visit key sites and a limited ability to purchase resources.

However, I have found it possible, with easy online access to the Official Records, considerable Google-fu (genealogy, re-enacting, and homespun history websites are a veritable goldmine of surprisingly accurate information), the various free classic books on Kindle, and a few key physical book purchases, to collate the most accurate and detailed 1865 OOBs I yet know of - though perhaps some wiser soul has a better version, hopefully the free access to my work online will be of some use. A related project is a thorough record of the location in the spring of 1865 of every numerically ordered regiment in Confederate States service, the research into which, if nothing else, solves such mysteries as the war record of the 33rd Georgia, alleged unit of one Amos Rucker, used to evidence the existence of tens of thousands of black soldiers in the Confederate ranks (solution - it never completed organization and that myth is plainly propaganda).

Two observations. The first is that if I ever have more time to put into this project, I'd intend to buy more scholarly books, fully footnote and reference the OOBs themselves, and generally make them useful for more serious researchers. The second is a practical methodological point. Strengths referred to will nearly always be (where the distinction exists in the records) "present" rather than "effective", given the various reasons for scepticism about how effective counts were reached.

I should note that my particular interest in these OOBs is in making them useful for wargamers, and some of the stuff I publish will relate to that. I think a wonderful game could be made for the period - there are many "scenarios" and operational-scale campaigns suitable for a computer game like the Campaign series by John Tiller, or for granular tabletop wargames.

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