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Thursday, March 08, 2012


Not only was McClellan being prodded into action by Abraham Lincoln's pitchfork, better known as "War Order No. 1," which had called for the Army of the Potomac to get off its collective duff and launch an offensive against the Rebels on Washington's birthday, "War Order No. 2, issued on March 8th, essentially told "Georgie," as his men affectionately called him, leadership in Washington knew more about organizing an army than he did.

Through mandated adoption of a Corps system, the 18th Massachusetts now found itself assigned to the First Brigade, of the First Division, of the Third Corps. The chain of command now began with Col. James Barnes, West Point class of 1829, who was under command of Brigadier General John H. Martindale, West Point class of 1835, who was subordinate to Brig. Gen. Fitz-John Porter, West Point class of 1845, who, in turn, reported to Samuel P. Heintzelman, who had graduated from the Academy in 1826.

The rest of the First Brigade was rounded out by 2nd Maine, the 13th and 25th New York, and U.S. Senator "Henry Wilson's Regiment," the 22nd Massachusetts. The 2nd Maine and 13th New York were already combat tested, both regiments having "performed admirably" at Bull Run the previous July.

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