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 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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vpatrick
MA MA USA
Posts: 2114
Joined: 2020
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/17/2021 6:54:26 PM
I have recently renewed my interest in the Gettysburg battle and Ill be honest its mostly Youtube videos (which are great by the way) made by the the "American Battlefield Trust" and the "National Park Service" I have not been re- reading Coddigton nor am I an expert but one thing I ask myself is that most attacks on the fish hook were unsupported and really had no chance of flanking the union army. The one chance the Confederates had in my opinion was in the Devils Den and Little Round top area but the attack by exhausted Alabama and Texas Regiments attacked with far to few troops to roll up the Union line. Even if the Alabama Regiments were able to take the side of the hill where Chamberlin was and then eventually take Little round top I cant see a support unit coming. So my main question is if the Confederates took Little round Top was there a plan to bring artillery up there to shower the Union flank and support that artillery? I think a frontal attack on Little Round top was suicide hence the "Valley of Death". So I wonder why more effort was not more put on flanking one side of the Hill especially on the Chamberlin side because a frontal assault on the Little round top is hard to walk up never mind attack, possibly fog of war and communication problems of the time and then I also wonder a disrespect of Union troops fighting capability where a Confederate regiment or two was thought by LEE could roll up the whole Union army?

I realize the Chamberlin side of little round top talk is over done but it does seem that side of the Hill could of actually been taken maybe by fresher troops and more of them, I have walked it myself. I also wonder why Pickets charge went out in one wave and not units behind to support any penetration of the union line maybe a conversation for another day.


vpatrick
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nuts
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/18/2021 3:06:57 AM
Really good questions Vince, and I’m delighted to see that your interest in the battle has been reawakening.

I feel convinced that getting troops to coordinate and act in concert is immensely difficult and doesn’t happen often, especially in a battle like Gettysburg which started off as an encounter engagement and developed beyond the design and desire of the opposing commanders.

There was a wing and a prayer aspect to it all, with delays and disputes compounding difficulties. Trying to get troops to where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there, proved too much.

The imprudent deployment of Sickles resulted in disproportionate loss to the Union Army, and the disjointed confederate attack failed to exploit that to full advantage.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6741
Joined: 2006
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/18/2021 11:43:48 AM
Hi Vince, & Phil,

I feel that some of the lack of follow up support on attacks was do inpart from Southern subordinate officers being out preformed by their Northern counterparts, except Dan Sickles! Also Vince I too, have enjoyed watching videos, from the American Battlefield Trust, they seem to have them on most major battles, & do a great job with on the spot enthusiastic & informative, reports! Feel free to specifically point out good ones, you run across!? Of course fatique & unfamiliarity with the area also hurt them, "the Rebel officers success on follow ups"!?

What say ya'll??
Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 124
Joined: 2020
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/18/2021 3:39:03 PM
Vince, Phil, MD, all,

The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks

Yes as a very general matter Confed attacks were uncoordinated and unsupported.
Reason was very poor performance from lee on down. I generally regard Lee very highly but in this case his discretionary orders helped undo the effort. With Longstreet’s insubordinate foot-dragging pouting. Clear opportunities were lost. 1st day, second day, third day. Even so it was a pretty near run thing. Union definitely lost 1st two days and won 3rd day largely by passive defense – little command contribution. Confeds lost the battle, Union hung on to win by not losing. Microcosm of how confeds lost the whole war. Spend more time petty bickering than trying to win. They had more concern for who would get the credit than actually finding a way to win. Coddington great place to start. (no blow by blow here) Outcome not inevitable but many cant see any thing but. IMHO
Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/18/2021 5:36:06 PM
Wasn't this failure to co-ordinate attacks a recurrent theme in that war ?

Shiloh and Murfreesboro in the West, Antietam and Gettysburg in the East, and there were several others, too.

Now and then there was a successful juggernaut : finally, after much wasted blood, at Gaines's Mill ; very spectacularly at Second Manassas when Longstreet got it together.

Where was the Blenheim, or the Waterloo ?

Did this reflect a difference in the armies : the citizen volunteers of the Civil War being less amenable to the robotic discipline that allowed, for example, the French army at Solferino to break the Austrian centre ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Tom Barrett
Turbotville PA USA
Posts: 91
Joined: 2005
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/19/2021 5:55:59 PM
Vince,
I appreciate this thread you've started and the thoughtfulness you brought to it. Many years ago I first discovered MHO and really liked it, especially the Gettysburg portion. It was a treasure trove of information and expertise. Unfortunately some of the experts became contentious with one another and a great deal of rancor resulted. I learned a lot but chose not to participate. Then I had about a 1% grasp of the battle. Now I can proudly say I'm up to 5%! Some years back when things were a bit contentious I mentioned it to someone at Gettysburg whose posts, opinion and demeanor I respected. He told me that, due to the rancor, he decided to no longer participate. This goes years back: I clearly remember Michigan Dave asking a question or making a statement that a neophyte (such as I was then and am now) might make. One of the "experts" climbed down his throat in an ill-mannered display. That person is long gone from MHO and I'm pleased to see Dave is still here. I enjoy his posts and appreciate his knowledge/input to a broad variety of subjects. That said I miss the questions, opinions and information exchange of years back but not the contentiousness.

So, adding my 5% I'll jump in. The internet-available battle walks you mentioned are delightful. I learn a lot from them. Too, here in PA the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) does a series of ranger and LBG Gettysburg walks and talks which are rebroadcast throughout July and I OD on them. Between the broadcast walks, internet walks, my books and frequent visits to Gettysburg my knowledge continues to grow....slowly and my appreciation continues to grow exponentially.

Unsupported and/or poorly coordinated attacks: An interesting consideration and what a logistical nightmare it must have been to try to work out the command details of support and coordination especially when a dangerous, ill-intentioned opponent was devoted to thwarting the plan. As noted before here on MHO Pickett said concerning the failure of the frontal assault on day three (and I paraphrase), "I believe the Yankees had something to do with it." Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." During those three days Lee and Meade both got punched in the mouth and had plans thwarted.

I read (and don't remember who) that a Union officer told Meade concerning the day one rout and fallback to the fishhook position that they'd been hammered into a position from which they could not easily be dislodged; a position suited to what Mike (from California) suggested; day three was won largely due to passive defense. Tactics, as I understand, leaned heavily toward flanking the enemy. The topography of the fishhook position (Culp's Hill and the Round Tops on the ends) and interior lines enabling relatively quick troop movement to where needed favored defense but as Mike observed it was a pretty near run thing.

We've all, at one time or other, organized/coordinated something; a party, picnic, wedding or function. The function is intended to be enjoyable, celebratory, fun, relatively "contained" to a few score people at most. The logistics are mostly "doable," cooperative help available, no one is trying to thwart us. Yet, coordinating such functions is a headache. Consider: Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and Beaver Stadium at Penn State each hold slightly more than 100,000. On rare occasion I come into a couple Penn State home tickets. I'll gaze about the 100,000 crowd, multiply by about 1.6, add in thousands and thousands of horses and mules, hundreds of cannon, thousands of wagons and try to place them upon a battlefield (the terrain of which I am quite familiar and walk often) surrounding a town of then 2,500, subject to/dependent on mid-1800's technology/logistics. And, they're not there for any sort of fun or entertainment but to kill, maim, destroy. Responsibility for coordinating even one small portion of the effort, let alone its entirety boggles the mind.

Best Regards,
Tom

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"To a pilot , the most important thing in the world is flight. To share it is without price." Richard Bach
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6741
Joined: 2006
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/19/2021 6:08:06 PM
Thanks Tom,

For your kind remarks, hope to see more frequent posts from you!

Cheers,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
vpatrick
MA MA USA
Posts: 2114
Joined: 2020
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/19/2021 7:24:09 PM
Hi Tom,

Thanks for you kind comments and I too have been here long enough to remember the rancour on the Gettysburg boards, I read the posts but rarely contributed because of my neophyte understanding of the battle and was afraid to expose my ignorance with such a hostile crowd (now I dont care im over 50 and dont care what people think but im glad the hostile crowd is gone), I figured id just do that on the LFF boards then. I really could not understand why someone would get so testy about history its more understandable about politics and I have such great trips to Gettysburg everyone there from guides to fellow travelers were so open and so interested to talk about the battle, I never sensed arrogance with anyone when I was touring the battlefield from anyone.

I remember in about 2000 after reading the "Killer Angels" for the second time I made my way down to Gettysburg after a bad break up with a girlfriend and finished the day by going to the visiting center and purchased Frassinto's book "Gettysburg Then and Now". Afterwards me and a couple of friends I was able to wrestle down there with me decided to go to the bar next door to our Hotel. The bar looked like the entrance to a mine shaft had the best Yuengling I have ever tasted, it gets skunky up here in Boston. In any case I was reading the book at the bar and looked up over the top shelf booze and noticed they had a copy. I mentioned to the bartender (Bobby a woman and was one my favorite bartenders of my youth ) that I had the same book she said great because two stools over sits the author! She went over talked to him and a minute later Frassinto asked me over to have a chat.

Frassinto who is a well renown author and photographer of the battlefield asked me what I liked about the book and what I didnt. I said the only thing I was wondering about was why no pics in the Picket's charge area he appreciated my comments and we had a nice chat (I believe he told me that area of Pickets Charge was picked up quickly because it was farm land or something it just was not photographed). My Gettysburg knowledge then was based on the Killer Angels, High School and maybe a few books but Frassinito was never arrogant never dismissive and he was sincerely interested in what I thought even though he wrote the book close to the year I was born. It was a memorable experience and truly one of the best vacations I have ever had (I toured civil war battlefields of the Eastern theater for a week that year spent three days in Gettysburg) what was also memorable was the interest that was sparked in my two friends who were just going with me to drink beers but eventually they themselves were buying maps books and our conversations at the bars went from 20 something nonsense talk to talks about about Howard, Lee, Meade, Barlow, Sickles, troop movements, terrain etc. many cocktail napkin arguments.

I guess I am telling this story because I am not sure why anyone would think they have the battle locked down and figured out or why they would take themselves so seriously as to not be patient with opinions or questions by folks just starting out, but I think it says more about folks that are locked in their opinions and want no real discourse or dont find pleasure in thinking about the nuances of the battle even if a nuance is presented by a newbie or someone with different perspective. Especially if Frassinto a guy who is an Icon concerning the battle of Gettysburg wanted feedback from me on a book he wrote 30 years before.

But I can understand Tom why you want to give a wide berth to Knuckleheads its to bad Knuckleheads ruin it for everyone else in almost every imaginable situation.

Merry Christmas Tom


vpatrick


by the way; some great comments made by folks here concerning the battle going to think more on them
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 3:35:27 AM
Well said, Vince .

What is it about Gettysburg that makes it so compelling to read and think and talk about ?

Am I sounding like a madman here, or might it be that there’s something therapeutic about it ?

When I feel a bit down, or agitated, I seek refuge in contemplating it.

On the face of it, it was a horrific event.......and yet, something about it has a redemptive feel.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1373
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 12:37:45 PM
Here's my take on Gettysburg and why Lee and south lost. From the beginning of the campaign there was a huge Souther contempt for the Northern army and people. What they didn't take into consideration was they were beating the Northern generals, not the Northern foot soldiers. Coming North the ANV seemed to think all they had to was show up, kick some yankee ass and chalk up another huge victory. Lee would have benefited so much by a Corps commanders meeting the night of July-2 and issued clear, direct, no nonsense orders to his commanders. Even better, on the night of July-1 do the same. So many more topics I could go on about Lee's command performance July-1-3. Glad to see some interest again.

Best regards, Larry
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1373
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 12:42:11 PM
Quote:
I have recently renewed my interest in the Gettysburg battle and Ill be honest its mostly Youtube videos (which are great by the way) made by the the "American Battlefield Trust" and the "National Park Service" I have not been re- reading Coddigton nor am I an expert but one thing I ask myself is that most attacks on the fish hook were unsupported and really had no chance of flanking the union army. The one chance the Confederates had in my opinion was in the Devils Den and Little Round top area but the attack by exhausted Alabama and Texas Regiments attacked with far to few troops to roll up the Union line. Even if the Alabama Regiments were able to take the side of the hill where Chamberlin was and then eventually take Little round top I cant see a support unit coming. So my main question is if the Confederates took Little round Top was there a plan to bring artillery up there to shower the Union flank and support that artillery? I think a frontal attack on Little Round top was suicide hence the "Valley of Death". So I wonder why more effort was not more put on flanking one side of the Hill especially on the Chamberlin side because a frontal assault on the Little round top is hard to walk up never mind attack, possibly fog of war and communication problems of the time and then I also wonder a disrespect of Union troops fighting capability where a Confederate regiment or two was thought by LEE could roll up the whole Union army?

I realize the Chamberlin side of little round top talk is over done but it does seem that side of the Hill could of actually been taken maybe by fresher troops and more of them, I have walked it myself. I also wonder why Pickets charge went out in one wave and not units behind to support any penetration of the union line maybe a conversation for another day.


vpatrick


Really glad you posting again and look forward to your thoughts and input. If you ever head South to Gettysburg let me know as I'm long retired and need little reason for a battlefield visit.

Larry.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 2:18:34 PM
Quote:
Here's my take on Gettysburg and why Lee and south lost. From the beginning of the campaign there was a huge Souther contempt for the Northern army and people. What they didn't take into consideration was they were beating the Northern generals, not the Northern foot soldiers. Coming North the ANV seemed to think all they had to was show up, kick some yankee ass and chalk up another huge victory. Lee would have benefited so much by a Corps commanders meeting the night of July-2 and issued clear, direct, no nonsense orders to his commanders. Even better, on the night of July-1 do the same. So many more topics I could go on about Lee's command performance July-1-3. Glad to see some interest again.

Best regards, Larry


Larry,

Lee's men had shed oceans of their own blood fighting the yankees between the Seven Days and Chancellorsville.

You would have thought that this might have imparted to them a profound respect for the mettle of their foe .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 124
Joined: 2020
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 3:33:37 PM
Larry Phil,

I largely agree. Southerners did themselves no favor by attitude of over confidence verging on arrogance at the task they set out on, lower ranks on up. And added in the endless petty bickering.
They had a very small margin of error if they would succeed. They mostly frittered it away.
Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/20/2021 6:15:06 PM
Quote:
Larry Phil,

I largely agree. Southerners did themselves no favor by attitude of over confidence verging on arrogance at the task they set out on, lower ranks on up. And added in the endless petty bickering.
They had a very small margin of error if they would succeed. They mostly frittered it away.
Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps


Mike,

You frequently mention the bickering between southern officers. It was bad in the Union army, too. It even resulted in a fatal duel which cost " Bull" Nelson his life at the hands of a fellow Federal officer.

If memory serves me, didn't that British Guards officer ( Freemantle?), who accompanied Lee's army as an observer, allude to the very excess of confidence that we've been discussing ?

Lee himself subsequently admitted that he thought his men were invincible.

One thing strikes me as very pertinent to the question that Vince pitches : Lee was unaware of how badly his men had been chewed up on Day One, and was visibly shocked when he saw so many of them bandaged up as they deployed for the big attack on the Third Day. These were the men of Scales's command, in Pender's Division. Too little reporting from the staff of AP Hill's corps had left Lee in a degree of ignorance which was to have dire consequences. I wonder if it was the problem of a commander without sufficient staff support that might be cited as a main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg. Lee had a devoted staff officer, but that didn't compensate for the shortcomings of others.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Dick Evick
Waco TX USA
Posts: 380
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/21/2021 2:27:04 PM
Hello All,

It's nice to see a friendly discussion again on Gettysburg.

Seems it would be very difficult and time consuming to get artillery up on LRT had the Confederate attack succeeded. Also there were plenty of Union forces available to counter attack as the attack on Culps Hill had ended earlier. No confederate infantry support in sight. If only Pickett had been up...…….

IMHO the best opportunity for the LRT attack would have been in conjunction with the attack on Culps Hill but as we know that didn't happen.

Dick.
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 800
Joined: 2005
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/21/2021 4:05:03 PM
What a great discussion. Following with eager interest.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1373
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/21/2021 7:18:51 PM
Quote:
Hello All,

It's nice to see a friendly discussion again on Gettysburg.

Seems it would be very difficult and time consuming to get artillery up on LRT had the Confederate attack succeeded. Also there were plenty of Union forces available to counter attack as the attack on Culps Hill had ended earlier. No confederate infantry support in sight. If only Pickett had been up...…….

IMHO the best opportunity for the LRT attack would have been in conjunction with the attack on Culps Hill but as we know that didn't happen.

Dick.


Had Oate's and the Texans managed to take LRT on July-2 there were to my knowledge zero confederate infantry or artillery units to exploit this victory. Just to the East behind LRT is the arrived AOP 6th Corps some 15,000 strong. Sure the 6th is footsore and tired from their long march but I have no doubt they would have been thrown in as soon as possible to retake LRT. Seizing real estate isn't going to win the battle unless Meade panics and I don't see that happening.

Larry
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Tom Barrett
Turbotville PA USA
Posts: 91
Joined: 2005
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/21/2021 10:33:42 PM
Can anyone here clear up something up for me? My understanding was that the purpose of Longstreet's action the afternoon of Day 2 was to roll up the Union line (from left to right)? Did Little Round Top purposely figure into that plan or did the Texans and Alabamians trying to wrest LRT find themselves (and their enemy) there by surprise? Somehow I had the impression they got veered that direction by circumstance rather than design. The reason I ask is because for a time I believed the story that LRT was key to the Union position and had it been taken calamity to the Federals would ensue. Further study and trips to the field changed my thinking..a lot. I appreciate what Dick and Larry have posted here about LRT; Dick, that it would have been difficult for the AoNV to get artillery up there and Larry, that Meade had enough manpower available (notably the 6th Corps) to throw at LRT if necessary.

No original thinking on my part at all but further visitation to Culp's Hill, in books and in person, has led me to appreciate the importance of Culp's Hill to the outcome of the battle and brought my attention,for now anyway, to that portion of the field.

Best Regards,
Tom
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"To a pilot , the most important thing in the world is flight. To share it is without price." Richard Bach
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/22/2021 6:17:43 AM
Tom,

In Lee’s battle plan, Little Round Top was not supposed to be attacked at all.

When did a plan ever survive contact with the enemy ?

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Dick Evick
Waco TX USA
Posts: 380
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/22/2021 1:51:09 PM
LRT was hastily occupied by the AOP after General Gouveneur K. Warren observed a build up by the ANV.

I speculate this changed the plan as the left flank of the AOP had been extended.

Dick.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
Joined: 2004
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/22/2021 6:02:51 PM
It would not be much of an exaggeration to claim that roughly nine out of every ten men who shed their blood in the second day of battle at Gettysburg were casualties of the huge struggle that raged for the Union left and left centre. To a degree - IMHO- this accounts for the distortion in the folklore that attributes so much more to the Round Tops than to Culp’s Hill. So disproportionate was the Union loss in the struggle to shore up Sickles that LRT stands as a kind of redemptive feature in a story of quite a serious fiasco.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
vpatrick
MA MA USA
Posts: 2114
Joined: 2020
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/24/2021 1:17:41 PM
Quote:
Quote:
I have recently renewed my interest in the Gettysburg battle and Ill be honest its mostly Youtube videos (which are great by the way) made by the the "American Battlefield Trust" and the "National Park Service" I have not been re- reading Coddigton nor am I an expert but one thing I ask myself is that most attacks on the fish hook were unsupported and really had no chance of flanking the union army. The one chance the Confederates had in my opinion was in the Devils Den and Little Round top area but the attack by exhausted Alabama and Texas Regiments attacked with far to few troops to roll up the Union line. Even if the Alabama Regiments were able to take the side of the hill where Chamberlin was and then eventually take Little round top I cant see a support unit coming. So my main question is if the Confederates took Little round Top was there a plan to bring artillery up there to shower the Union flank and support that artillery? I think a frontal attack on Little Round top was suicide hence the "Valley of Death". So I wonder why more effort was not more put on flanking one side of the Hill especially on the Chamberlin side because a frontal assault on the Little round top is hard to walk up never mind attack, possibly fog of war and communication problems of the time and then I also wonder a disrespect of Union troops fighting capability where a Confederate regiment or two was thought by LEE could roll up the whole Union army?

I realize the Chamberlin side of little round top talk is over done but it does seem that side of the Hill could of actually been taken maybe by fresher troops and more of them, I have walked it myself. I also wonder why Pickets charge went out in one wave and not units behind to support any penetration of the union line maybe a conversation for another day.


vpatrick


Really glad you posting again and look forward to your thoughts and input. If you ever head South to Gettysburg let me know as I'm long retired and need little reason for a battlefield visit.

Larry.



Thanks Larry and Merry Christmas I almost pulled the trigger and went down to Gettysburg this year but decided my new puppy would have no patience with me (not sure the wife would either but maybe next year).


Anyway I have been thinking about all the posting here and have been reading (dug my Coddington book out of the cellar) and it would seem that Longstreet was supposed to roll up the union line using a rolling echelon attack up the Emmitsburg road from Devils Den towards Cemetery hill but as Phil has indicated things never go as planned especially in a 19th century battle. Im not sure I want to touch Sickles movement out of the union lines towards the Emmitsburg road but it seemed to put chaos into Longstreet's echelon attack plans and turned the attack into a left hook and right hook punch attack on points in the union line instead of a roll up flanking attack, the park ranger explains better than I could in the video I posted. The video is well done and explains alot of the Confederate intentions on day two in the Devils Den LRT area. [Read More]

One thing I have been wondering about and looking for more explanation is if it was supposed to be an echelon attack why did Oates go up and over Big Round with his regiment and attack LRT and not be involved with the echelon attack going down the Emmitsburg road with the other regiments if that was the plan, since Lees scout told him there was no union presence on LRT? I was under the impression that Oates did not know the Union would be on LRT in force and possibly the reason why that attack on LRT from that sector was unsupported and done with far to few troops to actually take the hill from that flank. Seems like Oates was on some kind of probing mission and was not part of Lees plan to roll up the Union line? Possibly a diversionary attack to draw troops away from the main attack down the Emmitsburg road. I dunno I think I did at one point but probably just goes to the pitfalls of the fog of war. I may be looking at this to hard and its just the simple "Fog of War" explanation of a 19th century battle.

I wonder if a brigade or even 3 regiments went up and over Big Round Top and attacked the extreme left of the union line at Little Round it would have carried the hill along with a right hook punch with the other brigade into Devils Den area coming from across the Emmitsburg road? The rest of Longstreet 's corps going north towards the wheatfield and the peach orchard? Might have caused chaos in the union lines. It also seems Longstreet was being a poopy pants and did not have his heart in the attack and was following Lees orders to the letter and not making the necessary adjustments. Possibly not alot of adjustment that could be made once the attack was started but Longstreet seemed disinterested in active reconsiance. Lot there sorry and might be doing the "what ifs"thing the Gettysburg novices do more than looking at the reality of the situation and what actually happened. If anything might be good stimuli for further discussion. Its fun to think about in any case.


Thanks for all your comments and Merry Christmas!


vpatrick


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nuts
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 155
Joined: 2008
The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/26/2021 7:42:47 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Larry Phil,

I largely agree. Southerners did themselves no favor by attitude of over confidence verging on arrogance at the task they set out on, lower ranks on up. And added in the endless petty bickering.
They had a very small margin of error if they would succeed. They mostly frittered it away.
Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps


Mike,

You frequently mention the bickering between southern officers. It was bad in the Union army, too. It even resulted in a fatal duel which cost " Bull" Nelson his life at the hands of a fellow Federal officer.


Regards, Phil


General Nelson wasn't killed in a duel. He was shot and killed by a fellow Union general ironically named Jefferson Davis in what at best could be called manslaughter, at worst murder.

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2018/12/20/the-murder-of-bull-nelson/
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
12/27/2021 5:47:24 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Larry Phil,

I largely agree. Southerners did themselves no favor by attitude of over confidence verging on arrogance at the task they set out on, lower ranks on up. And added in the endless petty bickering.
They had a very small margin of error if they would succeed. They mostly frittered it away.
Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps


Mike,

You frequently mention the bickering between southern officers. It was bad in the Union army, too. It even resulted in a fatal duel which cost " Bull" Nelson his life at the hands of a fellow Federal officer.


Regards, Phil


General Nelson wasn't killed in a duel. He was shot and killed by a fellow Union general ironically named Jefferson Davis in what at best could be called manslaughter, at worst murder.

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2018/12/20/the-murder-of-bull-nelson/


Thanks for putting me straight here. It was even worse than I'd thought, then ..... at least the rebel general Van Dorn had the consolation of being shot by a cuckolded husband !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
vpatrick
MA MA USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/1/2022 8:12:52 PM
After looking at this more closely there were some federal US Government sharp shooters in green uniforms shooting into Hoods side with sharps rifles that caused Oates to chase them up and over Big Round Top and into the 20th Maine on LRT .


vpatrick
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/2/2022 3:44:13 AM
Vince,

These sharp shooters were Hiram Berdan’s men, weren’t they ?

From what I understand, these deployed as skirmishers in a reconnaissance role, backed up by infantrymen from the 3rd Maine, and in the earlier part of the second day, they made contact with the Alabamians of Wilcox’s Brigade of Anderson’s Division.

Editing here : the sharp shooters I allude to were the 1st regiment ; I see from my Busey survey of confederate casualties in the battle that the Alabamians of Oates’s 15th regiment ( Law’s Brigade)were also harassed by the yankee sharp shooters, which certainly bears out your suggestion, Vince. In this case, though, it was the 2nd regiment of the US sharp shooters that did the damage. According to the accounts of the Alabamians, these yankee sharp shooters were deployed “ behind a stone fence” south west of John Slyder’s Farm during the advance on the Federal left flank. The impact of Berdan’s command on the development of the battle makes an interesting story, and offers great scope for discussion .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/3/2022 4:18:57 AM
Vince and all,

Here’s a “ must read “ :

SHARPSHOOTERS MADE A GRAND RECORD THIS DAY

Combat on the Skirmish Line at Gettysburg on 3 July


By Timothy J. Orr

A superb essay, with quite startling conclusions.

Please google it.


It’s in the npshistory.com/series

Editing : If you look at footnote number 98 at the end of the article, you’ll see a citation of statistics regarding the numbers killed and wounded on Day Three of the battle. This estimate , believe it or not, was provided by me when I wrote an online essay ten years or so ago, which I directed at no one in particular , with no other aim than to try and consolidate my amateur research and reach some tentative conclusions. I’m absolutely thrilled, and rather astonished, to see it turn up at the end of such an informative and interesting piece of research. Thank goodness that someone has found my efforts useful !


Regards, Phil




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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/6/2022 6:13:26 AM
Another thing that was a major contributory factor to Confederate failure at Gettysburg was defective artillery ammunition, stemming largely from flawed fuses that hindered detonation by dint of time and place. This arose because a munitions factory in Virginia was destroyed in a catastrophic accident, and the AoNV sought supplies elsewhere and the fuses weren’t up to the job.
This was to have serious impact on the all important cannonade prior to the PPT advance.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/6/2022 8:37:19 AM
Gentlemen

Many units in Hill's 3rd Corps were chewed up on July 1. Not only poor staff work in reporting the losses higher up but many commanders had underplayed their losses in reporting them. Lee never pushed or asked many questions of Hill or others in the 3rd Corps regarding the losses occurred on July 1. There seems almost a feeling of embarrassment to report heavy losses in what was a 1st Day victory and a battle that unplanned for. This not the first time or last time for the AoNV. Units after Gaines Mills, and Antietam and at Falling Waters were sadly under strength.
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6741
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/6/2022 1:13:45 PM
Quote:
Another thing that was a major contributory factor to Confederate failure at Gettysburg was defective artillery ammunition, stemming largely from flawed fuses that hindered detonation by dint of time and place. This arose because a munitions factory in Virginia was destroyed in a catastrophic accident, and the AoNV sought supplies elsewhere and the fuses weren’t up to the job.
This was to have serious impact on the all important cannonade prior to the PPT advance.

Regards, Phil



So true Phil,

Also when we speculate that if Confederate attacks, if supported would have carried the day. We are looking only at the Reb point of view! The Union was on their home truff, they had more troops, good subordinate officers, & still held the high ground! It's very possible they still would have won at Gettysburg!

Lets look at both sides!
Regards,
MD
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/6/2022 3:27:59 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Another thing that was a major contributory factor to Confederate failure at Gettysburg was defective artillery ammunition, stemming largely from flawed fuses that hindered detonation by dint of time and place. This arose because a munitions factory in Virginia was destroyed in a catastrophic accident, and the AoNV sought supplies elsewhere and the fuses weren’t up to the job.
This was to have serious impact on the all important cannonade prior to the PPT advance.

Regards, Phil



So true Phil,

Also when we speculate that if Confederate attacks, if supported would have carried the day. We are looking only at the Reb point of view! The Union was on their home truff, they had more troops, good subordinate officers, & still held the high ground! It's very possible they still would have won at Gettysburg!

Lets look at both sides!
Regards,
MD


Of course, Dave, how right you are !

Let's never forget Pickett's immortal words about the reasons for rebel defeat : The yankees had something to do with it.

It was a helluva scrap, and it could have gone either way. Lee was wrong, I think, to try conclusions there by attacking on Day Two : but, good grief, his " unwisdom " was" cancelled out" by the huge loss his boys inflicted on the enemy.


Regards, Phil


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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2921
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/7/2022 2:38:47 PM
Quote:
Another thing that was a major contributory factor to Confederate failure at Gettysburg was defective artillery ammunition, stemming largely from flawed fuses that hindered detonation by dint of time and place. This arose because a munitions factory in Virginia was destroyed in a catastrophic accident, and the AoNV sought supplies elsewhere and the fuses weren’t up to the job.
This was to have serious impact on the all important cannonade prior to the PPT advance.

Regards, Phil



Didnt they overshoot as well ?

Trevor
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5267
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/7/2022 5:07:41 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Another thing that was a major contributory factor to Confederate failure at Gettysburg was defective artillery ammunition, stemming largely from flawed fuses that hindered detonation by dint of time and place. This arose because a munitions factory in Virginia was destroyed in a catastrophic accident, and the AoNV sought supplies elsewhere and the fuses weren’t up to the job.
This was to have serious impact on the all important cannonade prior to the PPT advance.

Regards, Phil



Didnt they overshoot as well ?

Trevor



Yes, the overshooting is also part of the battle’s narrative : there’s controversy here, too, because it’s been suggested by one or two historians of the battle that the overshooting was deliberate , amounting to a contrived “ box barrage” that would effectively isolate the defending troops from being reinforced.

Editing : Trevor, to a degree, the overshooting and the defective fuses might be conflated. The fuses burnt too long and when the shells exploded, they had gone too far. The more I read about the battle, the more credence and respect I give to the account of Porter Alexander, who was something of a maestro when it came to artillery. He had intended to lend close support to the infantry advance by deploying eight guns far forward at a crucial moment, but Lee's artillery chief, Pendleton, had ordered those eight guns to be sent to the rear and the vital support was not forthcoming. Pendleton was a rather old and amiable fellow, but something of a duffer..... " Tim, nice but Dim" syndrome ! Alexander, on the other hand, was a genuinely brilliant young man, who was too in awe of the army's hierarchy to protest and assert his views. I feel that he ever after regretted his failure to speak out, and I believe that, had those eight guns - under the command of Major Richardson - been deployed in the manner Alexander advocated, that the whole action was bound to have stood a much more decent chance of success. I think that this anecdote speaks volumes about the nature of Lee and his army : a superb force under a first rate commander, hampered by the very reverence that he inspired. Did Lee have a penchant for a clique of " Tim, Nice but Dim" Virginian officers, who compromised the effectiveness of his soldiers' prowess ?



Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
vpatrick
MA MA USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 12:07:25 PM
Hi Guys,

I was under the impression the massive cannonade that preceded Pickets charge was hampered by flawed fuses as Phil indicated and where the adjustment of them was made difficult because of the amount of black powder smoke created and the lack of forward artillery observers that would have been able to adjust fire. Not sure where artillery observers would go since the confederates held no high ground or if forward artillery observers were even a thing in 1863?

Vpatrick
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nuts
vpatrick
MA MA USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 4:06:26 PM
Quote:
Can anyone here clear up something up for me? My understanding was that the purpose of Longstreet's action the afternoon of Day 2 was to roll up the Union line (from left to right)? Did Little Round Top purposely figure into that plan or did the Texans and Alabamians trying to wrest LRT find themselves (and their enemy) there by surprise? Somehow I had the impression they got veered that direction by circumstance rather than design. The reason I ask is because for a time I believed the story that LRT was key to the Union position and had it been taken calamity to the Federals would ensue. Further study and trips to the field changed my thinking..a lot. I appreciate what Dick and Larry have posted here about LRT; Dick, that it would have been difficult for the AoNV to get artillery up there and Larry, that Meade had enough manpower available (notably the 6th Corps) to throw at LRT if necessary.

No original thinking on my part at all but further visitation to Culp's Hill, in books and in person, has led me to appreciate the importance of Culp's Hill to the outcome of the battle and brought my attention,for now anyway, to that portion of the field.

Best Regards,
Tom


Hi Tom and all

Scrolling back it looks like your point about Culps Hill is a great one and got me thinking about Stuart. I think the misconception that Stuart was doing a glory ride around of the Union army is much more nuanced than that. Stuart takes blame for not using his calvary more effectively and this may have led to many blind attacks into unknown terrain and guesswork about union strength at certain positions around the Gettysburg battlefield especially at Culps hill which had at one point only about 1200 troops on it and was ripe for the taking, as Meade kept pulling troops off to support other parts of the battlefield especially LRT. I think Lees vague orders to Stuart and the unexpected Union advances North had Lee prematurally scrambling to concentrate his army in the Cashtown, Gettysburg area before his army became defeated piecemeal by a concentrated union army and may have been why Stuart was late. Stuart may have been expecting a concentration of the Rebel army at a later date and why he was concerned with capturing union wagon trains instead screening and connecting with the main body of the army that was about to commit to a major battle unexpectedly. This video explains aot of this and if you scroll forward it gets to the Stuart part and is not to long. [Read More]

Lee did have 2 brigades of Stuart calvary but he did not trust them because of their inexperience, Stuart left his two most experienced brigades covering supply lines south of Gettysburg for interpersonal conflicts amongst him and his brigade commanders as the video indicated. I guess what im trying to get at is the unsupported attacks all have one thing incommon it would seem they are going into battle with alot of missing information such as happened at Culps hill and LRT and for some reason I cant help but thinking the way Lee positioned his army around and attacked the Union fish hook had an element of reconnaissance to it (and why many attacks were unsupported?). Using strong attacks to test the union lines and resolve where calvary may been able to help with some of this. I wonder why Lee did not use his inexperienced calvary as well when it was all he had and in the words of Donald Rumsfeld (sorry) when talking about unarmored Humvees in the Iraq war "you go to war with army you have" those cavalry units must have been able to provide some valuable information instead of using infantry attacks all over the fish hook to gather strength and terrain info all the while bleeding his army of valuable experienced infantry units and commanders. After all this Lee decides on day three that its the middle that needs to be attacked which was still a terrible idea but possibly with proper calvary scouting Lee may have been convinced after day 1 that the Union positions were to strong and not to attack at all and he amy have listened to Longstreet. I dunno

It would seem to me if Gettysburg was properly reconnoitered Culps hill would have been the key position to take on day one and Lees army was in position on that day to take it. Lees vague orders to Ewell and the lack of calvary seems to be why among other reasons why this did not happen. My assertions may seem simplistic and amateurish but I wonder if Ewell had some strong intelligence from a properly used Calvary unit concerning Culps hill he would have put his back into a stronger expedited supported attack on Culps hill.

Lee does seem arrogant to attack without calvary and being so unprepared on Northern territory and I get Daves assertion that union army had something to do with Lees defeat and finally after defeats at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville the union army finally had good ground to fight on and likely pissed off about those defeats. The blame game we all play can be distributed to all of Lees commanders but Lee seems to hurried impatient, arrogant, overconfident and too willing to smash his army on high ground that was defended by an army that was larger than his with shorter interior lines... it just seems inexplicable to the novice.

Im all all over the place but Gettysburg is interesting and confounding because Lee seems to drop the ball after so many impressive wins its like watching a football team go 12-0 and then get defeated by over confidence and disrespect of their foe.

vpatrick

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Phil Andrade
London  UK
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 5:29:14 PM
Quote:
Hi Guys,

I was under the impression the massive cannonade that preceded Pickets charge was hampered by flawed fuses as Phil indicated and where the adjustment of them was made difficult because of the amount of black powder smoke created and the lack of forward artillery observers that would have been able to adjust fire. Not sure where artillery observers would go since the confederates held no high ground or if forward artillery observers were even a thing in 1863?

Vpatrick


In those black powder, muzzle loading days the artillery observation was conducted by the artillery officers themselves : Alexander himself had to do this as he watched the yankee gunners withdrawing from the Angle, and he had to urge Pickett to advance while he still had enough ammo to support the attack. It was so old fashioned , at point blank range, without the battlefield radios and aircraft spotting that the Forward Observation Officers of WWI were to have at their disposal, as the guns of 1914-18 were deployed miles behind the infantry. In that sense, the F.O.O was not a feature of Gettysburg. That said, the signalling from the Round Tops did show that observation was still crucial , as Warren realised in the nick of time.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 5:41:37 PM
Lee was anxious about the prospect of taking on the yankees in that formidable position. He actually used the words that this could only be achieved with “ a great sacrifice of life “ as he surveyed the enemy deployment at the end of Day One.

The remarkable thing about the fighting of the subsequent day is that, although the men of Lee’s army did indeed suffer that loss of life and shed a great amount of blood, the Union loss was much heavier. This was undoubtedly attributable to the collapse of Sickles’s Corps and the desperate patchwork defence that Mead had to deploy to hold things together : it was also due to the tactical skills of rebel soldiers who were able to advance while loading and firing at the same time......something that I find hard to imagine, although Scott Harwig assures us that this was the case .

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
vpatrick
MA MA USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 5:50:20 PM
Thanks Phil,

It seemed nonsensical to me after an hour of a cannonade that preceded Picket's charge that there was nobody that could give info to the artillery officers that their shells of their intended targets were blowing over their heads especially since how the effect of the artillery at the union center was so hinged on the effectiveness of the attack. Someone out of the smoke that could ride a horse to the artillery commander and say shorten the fuses! I do remember reading somewhere that while Porter Alexander was in charge of the artillery barrage the individual battery's along the Rebel line were controlled by many independent artillery commanders of different units and possibly impossible to relay that much information to every battery by horse or signal flag in one hour even if attempted. And with 1 or 2 mile range of the cannons a forward artillery observer may have been in rifle range unless behind a structure. I do wonder why nobody said "we didnt hit shit" and cancel the attack but the attack was initiated anyway after the smoke cleared. Again I think Im looking at the battle through my modern day lens.

vpatrick
----------------------------------
nuts
vpatrick
MA MA USA
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 6:12:37 PM
Quote:
Lee was anxious about the prospect of taking on the yankees in that formidable position. He actually used the words that this could only be achieved with “ a great sacrifice of life “ as he surveyed the enemy deployment at the end of Day One.

The remarkable thing about the fighting of the subsequent day is that, although the men of Lee’s army did indeed suffer that loss of life and shed a great amount of blood, the Union loss was much heavier. This was undoubtedly attributable to the collapse of Sickles’s Corps and the desperate patchwork defence that Mead had to deploy to hold things together : it was also due to the tactical skills of rebel soldiers who were able to advance while loading and firing at the same time......something that I find hard to imagine, although Scott Harwig assures us that this was the case .

Regards, Phil


Hi Phil,

Your comments reminds me why I think Lee was hurried and should have been a little more patient (or maybe listened to Longstreet a little), a great loss of life Lee could not sustain and after defeating the Union at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville he did not achieve real victory as the union was easily able to resupply and add troops. Lee's loss of troops would never be replaced effectively ever again and Ill just add to Lee's faults those days of July1,2,3, 1863, he had a gambling problem. I do think Lee was under pressure for a fast decisive win with the political situation in the north where the will was waning and he must have known Vicksburg was not going to hold and a Union victory at Vicksburg would give Lincoln the political power to escape a negotiated settlement or armistice. So he was all in at Gettysburg it would seem though he had a very bad hand.

I cant imagine loading and firing while advancing with shells exploding and rifle fire directed at you all the while closing ranks if true a reason why Lee had so much confidence in his troops?

By the way Im trying to plan a trip with some friends to go to Gettysburg in March hope it materializes hope covid dies down then.

vpatrick
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nuts
Tom Barrett
Turbotville PA USA
Posts: 91
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The main cause of Confederate failure at Gettysburg Unsupported attacks
1/8/2022 10:55:03 PM
Just a few random thoughts, probably more random than thoughtful. Phil, I share your regard for E.P. Alexander. To consider that he was only 28 at the time of the battle amazes me but it seems there were many there bearing youthful responsibility; Custer was 23, Latimer 19. Col. Henry K. Burgwyn at 21 commanded the 26th North Carolina. Longstreet's thinking/motive when he seemed to be looking to Alexander to initiate the infantry advance after the day three cannonade is an interesting psychological study isn't it?

In the 1993 film the young fellow who portrayed Alexander was John Patrick Stuart, son of Chad Stuart who was one-half of a British duo "Chad&Jeremy" who charted a couple pop tunes in the 1960s including "Summer Song" which I liked. Pettigrew in the film was played by George Lazenby who played James Bond in only one Bond film. Stephen Lang who portrayed Pickett happens to have been born the same month, day and year as I.

Longstreet's widow died in 1962 when I was ten. That fascinates me. He was 76, she was 34 when they married. In turn Alexander married his second wife when he was 66 and she was 40. Shame on me but I'm sure the same bawdy, ribald thoughts I've had about the consummation (whether or not) of those unions were no doubt shared by their contemporaries (human nature being what it is).

Overshooting the mark during the cannonade/black powder smoke: Forty years ago I got into black powder for a spell. I made several Pennsylvania/Kentucky long rifles from scratch, starting with a barrel, lock, trigger etc and a blank of nice wood. Anyway, what a smoke they made! And that was only one rifle, not thousands; not to mention smoke poured from scores and scores of cannon during the cannonade, probably clinging and lingering in the sultry July heat. The noise, flash and inhalation of all that burned nitrates smoke must have caused some pounding headaches.

Vince, you mentioned artillery spotters would have been useful. Indeed, and it's interesting to consider whether Alexander et al could have achieved that given the exigency of the situation. With the heavy smoke and federals having command of the high ground; getting around either union flank, spotting and getting the result conveyed back to the cannoneers might have been daunting/nigh impossible. Alexander, earlier in the war, was among the first to make use of signal flags and signalmen and I think, if it were possible at Gettysburg, he'd have employed spotters.

Best Regards,
Tom
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