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How Did Brigadier General Meagher's Role In The Battle Of Antietam?

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How Did Brigadier General Meagher's Role In The Battle Of Antietam?
Battlefield leaders often fall under scrutiny for their decisions under fire because of the access to more information post battle. The Civil War allows for a unique opportunity to examine and scrutinize both sides of the battle because they were both US forces. Brigadier General Meagher’s impact on the Battle of Antietam is not exempt from this scrutiny, he encounters additional distain due to the opinion he was presumed to be drunk during the battle, though never proven. The Battle of Antietam was the single bloodiest day in American history and Meagher’s Brigade, the Irish Brigade, fought in some of the most intense portions of the battle. This was due to the apprehensiveness of getting decisively engaged with the Confederates from high …show more content…
Leading up to and during the Battle of Antietam, Meagher ensured his troops were ready for the ensuing fight. He was extremely confident in his leadership abilities. During this battle he made sound tactical decisions that often changed the original orders from higher, but more importantly it was his confidence in those decisions and his presence on the battlefield reinforcing those decisions which led to his combat success. Antietam is a perfect example for this attribute. During some of the most intense combat of the day he was ordered to have his brigade charge forward after firing two volleys. He in stride changed this to 6 volleys and his units didn’t think twice, they executed because he was there with them every step of the way . He did this because the fire from the enemy side was still too intense and knew he would lose more troops if he stayed with the original plan. Meagher demonstrated composure and outward calm through exemplary control of his emotions. This allowed his subordinate leaders to trust in his decisions. Another example of how his presence was tested came once the Irish Brigade had fired all of their ammo during the initial attack from the Sunken Road, they replaced their ammo and returned immediately back to the most intense portion of the fight, without question. Every setback they had, his brigade overcame quickly. ADRP 6-22 defines resiliency as showing a tendency to …show more content…
Presence alone cannot win battles, one must be able to effectively lead soldiers. This is how one can turn the tides of a battle in their favor. Meagher fully embraced this idea, he courageously led from the front lines throughout the entire battle. One of the key traits necessary from leaders on the battlefield according to ADPR 6-22 is the ability to provide a purpose, motivation, and inspiration for those under your command. During the battle, Meagher was able to inspire his troops toward the common goal of gaining ground and holding the line against the confederate troops. During the battle, Meagher and his fellow officers in the brigade were inspirational to their troops by wielding their swords and displaying extreme courage. Doing this as leaders kept their soldiers in high spirits. This reinforced the idea they were not alone on the battlefield despite their peers dying all around them. They had so much esprit de corps in their Irish Brigade, 16 men in total were killed keeping their Irish colors flying during the battle. The Regimental Commander in Meagher’s Brigade, LTC Henry Fowler stated after the battle that, “[s]oldiers fought, bled, and died protecting their own loved banner and their countries flag, until the Brigade was relieved.” However not all of this leadership was done on the battlefield. He was able to have rapport with his soldiers by enforcing standards and balancing the mission and the

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