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 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5832
Joined: 2004
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
2/18/2022 7:04:26 AM
How far is this the “ Cinderella “ of the Battle of Gettysburg ?

Overshadowed by the much bigger fight for the Union left and left centre on Day Two, and, of course, by the drama of the PPT action on Day Three, it’s too easy to forget just how crucial this sector of the battlefield was for the integrity of the Union defence.

The fighting itself is generally caricatured as a series of rebel attacks that were repulsed by a competent and very potent yankee defensive deployment, with all the advantages of terrain and firepower bestowing a huge advantage on the entrenched bluecoats.

The anecdotal reports of union officers imply a very one sided slaughter here, with an alleged 1,200 dead Confederates being counted and interred by federal burial details , and an assumed total of at least least six thousand southern casualties, a more than five to one disparity in favour of the defence.

The statistical research now available does not bear this out. The confederate losses were indeed severe, but nowhere near as bad as these hyperbolic reports suggest. According to the surveys of the battlefield burials that were conducted after the battle and during post war exhumation of southern dead, there were 394 rebels interred in the Culp’s Hill burial pits. No doubt there were others who died further away from the immediate vicinity, but the best research reveals just under two thousand casualties in Johnson’s division ( with 254 killed in action and another 196 mortally wounded) and roughly 800 more killed , wounded and captured in the supporting brigades of Rodes’s division.

The yankees did not have it all their own way, and the losses suffered by the 137th New York were severe, as were those of a couple of regiments that launched an imprudent counter attack. There were also some friendly fire casualties.

I’m sure I read a post battle report by Junius Daniel, who states that his North Carolina soldiers broke into the Yankee lines and were able to inflict an awful slaughter on the bluecoats who were caught in a terrible predicament , almost trapped in their own works as they were attempting to escape a storm of confederate fire.

Not as easy and one sided as we’ve been led to believe, and a really stubborn and sometimes closely fought engagement, with high stakes for the North.

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: 2342
Joined: 2020
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
2/19/2022 2:17:45 PM
Hi Phil,

I too have been looking at Culp Hill more, recently. I wish I spent more time on Culps Hill when I visited the battlefield unfortunately like many I had recently read "The Killer Angels" when I visited over twenty years ago and was affected by the same malady as many others do that spend to much time on LRT and the Pickets charge area. The Culps Hill battle is confusing to the layman and I think it takes significant more time than other parts of the battlefield to truly understand, I still am confused about the "Traverse" area and cant figure out why the Confederates were not able to outflank it but I think it may take more investigation and more time walking the battlefield. I did also recently read about the 137th New York and what I understood its many casualties were do to their 20th Maine like bayonet charge into a Confederate attack that possibly saved the position. As this was the extreme right of the Union position the 20th secured the extreme left. It was said this charge was equally important as the 20th Maine's but did not receive the accolades because it commander (Colonel Ireland?) was killed and was unable to promote his unit as effectively as Chamberlain was able to during and after the war. I have found that videos on Youtube especially by "The American Battlefield Trust" enhance reading about the battle especially when a question arises that I cant grasp. Its not the same as being there yourself but second best. [Read More]

Have a Great weekend Phil,

vpatrick

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nuts
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 7305
Joined: 2006
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
2/23/2022 9:04:44 PM
Hi Phil,

Ive been meaning to get to your thread on Culps Hill, but delayed because of my travels & I'm not an expert on this topic! Just some points to consider below!!

1) Gen. Ewell's failure to take high ground on Cemetery Hill on day one? Couldn't he have taken Culps Hill then unopposed?? Stonewalled would have!?

2) If they could have taken Culps Hill they would control the Baltimore Pike, the supply route of the Union! Slightly important!? Game set match, Confederacy!?

3) Really its 2 hills & A saddle in between, tough place to take? Maybe more so than Lil Round Top!??

4) Gen. George Green, defending for the Union, maybe more of a hero than Chamberlain on Little Round top!? What say you??

5) Brutal Canon fire on Culps Hill! It was important to this battle!?

6) the conflict for the hill went back & forth, hotly contested! The Confederates came very close to taking it, & holding it??

7.)I missed Culps Hill the last couple times at the Gettysburg NBF, I think it's not as visited as other spots!??

Just a few points to consider?? It is a fascinating battle!?

C'mon guys let's help Phil out on Culps Hill topic!!!!

Cheers,
MD

BTW Vince, citing the Civil.War Battlefield Trust is always a good idea! I love their videos!!Well done!
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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."
NYGiant
home  USA
Posts: 715
Joined: 2021
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
8/6/2022 1:20:49 PM
1. Ewell counted 40 cannon on Cemetery Hill, and his orders were to attack if practicable. Union forces occupied Culp's Hill first...the 7th Indiana already occupied the crest.

2. If the Rebels had occupied Culp's HIll, they would be on the flank of the AoP and force them to retreat.

3. The saddle is the weak point on Culp's Hill. That is why Greene placed get traverse there.

4. They were both heroes.

5. Cannon fire from East cemetery Hill blasted Rebel artillery off of Benner's Hill.

6. Best chance they had was on July 2nd. If they had the Stonewall Brigade attacking instead of doing the work Stuart's cavalry should have been doing.

7. When I tour there, rarely do you see any student of the battle, and few guides spend much time there on a 2 hour tour.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 181
Joined: 2020
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
8/7/2022 1:39:10 PM


Culps hill Gettysburg 070822
Group
Like Lees entire command team, here I am late to the field again.
And acknowledge that all here are more expert than me.
And also haven’t read researched reviewed but from my impressions . . .
The whole battle was large display of confusion and delay poor coordination by confeds, and attacking require better while defense a little less so, as noted on other tread. Again whole war strategy /tactics rebs faced significant disadvantages; and very much narrower margin of error; so needed very effective leadership/ command to have much chance – rarely came close.
Culps hill:
I let alone first and third days since only chance for useful effort vs Culps by Rebs 2nd day. Third day was strongly occupied by 12th corps so little chance IMHO.
Impression that terrain wise , high ground, Culps far better defensive position than Cemetery hill/ridge, so mostly useful as a secondary action to keep union troops occupied from main front, union left center.
2nd day 12 th corps held strong position til shifted to left after 6pm but took Ewell/Johnson two hours to get going. And after two hours tough fight vs Greenes brigade finally uncovered south summit about 8p. Greens losses about 20% and Rebs about 30% so was tough fighting action. Greenes force density about 1400 for about 500 yd front vs Johnson 3 bdgs about 5000 700 yds front. Vs steep wooded hill and breastworks so likely pretty even match tactically. Final overlap on greenes right allowed uncover south summit but late. Some fighting continued to about 10 pm. Balance 12th corps return & in position by morning 3rd.
Had? Johnson and two rodes bgds been in position already by 5p and made heavy attack likely would have been taken; but of course 12th corps then would not have been moved IMHO. But was a narrow chance to take Culps on 2nd but again command/coordination failed. Narrow margin of error lost by delay confusion again. To counter interior lines needed excellent coordination and timing – Gettysburg not.
Lee and all missed too many chances.

actually some of this also could be said for other thread PFANZ 2ND DAY too, maybe.
Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5832
Joined: 2004
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
8/7/2022 4:25:36 PM
Mike,

You credit the rebels with five thousand engaged in the evening of the second day, and attribute casualties of thirty percent, which equates to 1,500 .

Johnson’s division took just under two thousand casualties in the whole battle: weren’t these sustained principally in the heavier fighting of the morning of Day Three ?

The entire rebel loss at Culp’s Hill came to roughly 2,800, of which 75% occurred on the morning of the third day.

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
NYGiant
home  USA
Posts: 715
Joined: 2021
Please discuss Culp’s Hill
8/7/2022 7:51:53 PM
Recall Ewell's orders on Day 2. He was to make an artillery demonstration and then an infantry demonstration and was to convert those into an attack if the opportunity arose. Th plan of attack was to attack the flanks of the AoP and that only started at 4PM or about.

The attack on Day 3 was supposed to be the same plan...attack the flanks of the AoP. But Longstreet was not prepared to attack.

It was the Union which initiated the attacks on Day 3 with an artillery barrage at 4AM to dislodge the Confederates. Overall, on Day 3 at Culp's Hill there was 7 hours of continuous fighting, the longest period of continuous fighting at Gettysburg. The XII Corps was re-inforced by the VI Corps which permitted the AoP to thwart all Confederate attacks.

Rodes brigades were added to the Day 3 attack. Rodes on Day 2 was supposed to attack Cemetery Hill.


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