Anniversary of Gettysburg 1-3 July 1863\.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Today would be Brig Gen John Buford’s finest day in the US Army. His two Brigade Cavalry Division was the advance element of the Army of Potomac, which had just marched North from Virginia in the last few weeks.
    Lee’s very strong and confident of victory Army of Virginia was in Pennsylvania,  wreaking havoc. But it was divided, as Lee was unaware how close Meade was and he had many objectives. Meade was new to the Army’s command, but had done a fine job of retreating North. He had to stop Lee.

    Buford’s 2800 cavalry, backed by Lt Calef’s 6 Rifled guns, moved onto the eminently defensible ground West of the town of Gettysburg.
    That is when the first Southern mistake of the battle occured. Major General Harry Heth seeing Federals in the town sent in his first two Brigades, without any reconnaissance, as he presumed he was facing Militia. (He had no Cavalry with his column, so went in blind.)
    The Brigades of Davis( 3 Mississippi Regiments and the  55NC under the nephew to the President) and Archer(mixed Tennessee and Alabama) were quickly repulsed by the fast shooting Cavalrymen and their reinforcements.  When it looked like the Cavalry would have to pull out, the famous Union I Corps arrived. The first two Brigades of which were enough to rout the two Southern Brigades.

    Heth had to rethink. He called on fellow Division commander Dorsey Pender, a North Carolinian and very good former Brigade commander.  He was on the road behind him with his 4 Brigade Division and could help him out . Heth had lost a Brigade commander Captured(Archer) and two of his Brigades were hors combat, having suffered heavily once the experienced I Corps Infantry fortuitously arrived in time to save the hard pressed Buford, but he thought they had to keep the pressure on the Northern army to their front.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Unknown to Heth, the Army of Northern Virginia’s II corps was North of Gettysburg and would soon be marching on the Union position from the right and rear.
    The Northern army also had reinforcements on the way. The XI Corps was behind Reynolds’s Corps. It arrived in town before the Southerners’ next move. Unfortunately, this small 6 Brigade Corps had a bad reputation, having been routed at Chancellorsville 2 months ago.
    It would be a race to see which side would get there first and make the important difference, but the rest of the Northern army was still a way off.

    On the Northern side, Major General Reynolds, of Pennsylvania and a professional soldier well thought of by both sides, was killed around 10am.
    He was replaced by one of his Division commanders, Major General Doubleday.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    The first of Ewell’s II corps Divisions to reach Gettysburg was the 5 Brigade one commanded by the man who led Jackson’ s flank march, which routed the same XI Corps they would face today: an Alabama, VMI graduate, Robert E Rodes. He thought he had to attack soon as possible as he saw an opportunity to get in between the two Northern Corps. His Division would suffer for his impetuosity( a trait which traditionally had won the ANV many an encounter). So wrecked would 3 of its Brigades become that it would take no further part in this monumental battle. Some of his NC Regiments suffered 80% casualties.

    What would save the day for Lee’s army this day and turn Day 1 into a victory would be the arrival of a 2nd Division under the uber aggressive Jubal Early, a Virginia ex Lawyer, who had done sterling service on every field. He used 3 of his 4 Brigades to march on the hard pressed XI Corps. One Brigade, that of the Georgian John B Gordon, reported only a handful of casualties in routing the forces to his front.
    With the pressure from North and West, the Northern Brigades had no choice but to retire to the next line of defence: Cemetery Ridge. Howard commanding XI Corps had left one Brigade and one Battery on these ground and it would prove sufficient as a rallying point .

    It was obvious the South had won a victory today, but the Northern commanders had chosen their ground well and when he arrived, Lee would decide he had no option but to continue the struggle here in Pennsylvania.
    It would prove a mistake.

    Lee did not like to fight without adequate knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions; he had no choice as his famous Cavalry commander had not returned to the army, thus giving him the necessary information.But he wanted to fight the enemy and they were to his front. Sure in the knowledge that his Infantry could better them, he made plans for tomorrow’s assault. Many would fall. And his famed Infantry, though fighting as tenaciously as ever, could not give him that elusive war winning victory that he was searching for by coming North.



  • @wittmann:

    The first of Ewell’s II corps Divisions to reach Gettysburg was the 5 Brigade one commanded by the man who led Jackson’ s flank march, which routed the same XI Corps they would face today: an Alabama, VMI graduate, Robert E Rodes. He thought he had to attack soon as possible as he saw an opportunity to get in between the two Northern Corps. His Division would suffer for his impetuosity( a trait which traditionally had won the ANV many an encounter). So wrecked would 3 of its Brigades become that it would take no further part in this monumental battle. Some of his NC Regiments suffered 80% casualties.

    What would save the day for Lee’s army this day and turn Day 1 into a victory would be the arrival of a 2nd Division under the uber aggressive Jubal Early, a Virginia ex Lawyer, who had done sterling service on every field. He used 3 of his 4 Brigades to march on the hard pressed XI Corps. One Brigade, that of the Georgian John B Gordon, reported only a handful of casualties in routing the forces to his front.
    With the pressure from North and West, the Northern Brigades had no choice but to retire to the next line of defence: Cemetery Ridge. Howard commanding XI Corps had left one Brigade and one Battery on these ground and it would prove sufficient as a rallying point .

    It was obvious the South had won a victory today, but the Northern commanders had chosen their ground well and when he arrived, Lee would decide he had no option but to continue the struggle here in Pennsylvania.
    It would prove a mistake.

    Lee did not like to fight without adequate knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions; he had no choice as his famous Cavalry commander had not returned to the army, thus giving him the necessary information.But he wanted to fight the enemy and they were to his front. Sure in the knowledge that his Infantry could better them, he made plans for tomorrow’s assault. Many would fall. And his famed Infantry, though fighting as tenaciously as ever, could not give him that elusive war winning victory that he was searching for by coming North.

    well written


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Thank you Worsham.
    I hope to post today and tomorrow. I am sorry Cromwell no longer visits this site. Wonder if he went.

    I even looked up Gettysburg reenactments. It seems they are this weekend! I wonder how many will attend.
    There were only 5000 at Bovington on Sunday. It was a 3 hour drive each way; found it hard after a busy and late Saturday night’s work.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    July 2nd saw the fiercest fighting and was the best chance for a Southern victory.
    Lee had 34 of his 37 Brigades of Infantry for the day’s assault.  Meade was still waiting for his 13000 man VI corps to arrive; numbers were fairly even, therefore. Lee started planning the day’s attack before the last of the Infantry were in position.
    The attack would be led by his oldest serving Corps commander, Georgian West Point Lt General James Longstreet. He had two Divisions of 8 Brigades and was given operational command of a third. The 8 Brigades of his I Corps were(except the 3rd Arkansas) all Deep South men and they were ably led at Regiment and Brigade.
    Lee’ plan was for the 3 Divisions to attack parallel to the Emittsberg Road in echelon from right to left. The point being Meade would have to pull men from other parts of the field as each crashed successfully into the defenders to their front. Eventually  a gap would appear and the enemy would collapse. It was a very  difficult assault to coordinate, but the dividends were absolute.
    Of course, things went wrong from the start. Getting into position took forever. The assault opened at 4pm and lasted 3 hours.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Unknown to both army commanders, the Union Corps on Meade’s flank and the one in the firing line was out of position. The III Corps commander, Dan Sickles, a political appointee thought he knew better than the professionals. He moved his two Divisions of 6 Brigades 3/4 mile forward to what he considered better ground.
    When the Southern Division commander saw the enemy was not where they were expected, he asked to attack differently. He was refused. The man was John Bell Hood of Kentucky, but a West Point trained and former US Cavalry 1st Lt. He wanted(like his Corps commander Longstreet) to flank the force to his front. Unfortunately, Hood went down early with an arm wound and his successor, a lawyer from Alabama, Evandor Law, did not know the Division’s plan. Things started to go awry. Instead of hitting parallel to the road as Lee had ordered, two Brigades went right and tried to assail the newly positioned Union V Corps.
    Hood’ Division though fighting valiantly stalled.

    Next up was another West Point graduate and Georgian. His 4 Brigades smashed the Union forces to their front and reinforcements were indeed called from elsewhere to plug the gaps.
    One Brigade of 4 Mississippi Regiments probably did the war’s best assault, smashing 4  enemy Brigades, driving off or breaking 15 Regiments, inflicting 1800 casualties. Eight Batteries of guns had to move or be captured too. The Brigade’s casualties were 600, or 40%. Its commander was a former Congressman, William Barksdale. He kept his men moving, when his Colonels wanted to stop and regroup. He was wounded and died later this night.

    Now all that was needed was the 3rd Division under a South Carolinian West Point professional, Richard Herron Anderson, to finish the job and rupture the Union centre. This Division belonged to another Corps, but Longstreet, nominally in charge,  should have done a better job coordinating its part in the day’s assault. A few months  ago he had commanded these men anyway.
    The first 3 Brigades went in, then the plan unravelled. The last 2 Brigades in the Division had not understood their part in Lee’s Grand Assault, one sent in half its strength, the other did not move off. Opportunity lost.
    Meade’s army had survived another day.
    Lee was furious. He knew how close he had come, only to be let down by his immediate subordinates. The men had done all that was humanly possible.
    Tomorrow he would try again.



  • When told he was the only union corp commander without a monument on the battlefield, Sickles replied, “The whole battlefield is a monument to Dan Sickles.” Sickles was an idiot who jeopardized the entire Union position.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I agree. He lived to nearly 100 too.
    Not my kind of hero, instead a vain, bloody minded politician:
    worse kind of citizen soldier. I don’t care how brave he was.



  • America always seemed to have a huge problem with politicians turned solder screwing things up  :-P. Anyway, glory to the Union for fighting like bears and a nod of respect to the rebs for fighting like lions.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    There had also been fighting on the Union Right on the 2nd. Two Southern Brigades from their II Corps had made an  initial breakthrough, but without support had fallen back when counterattacked by the fine II Corps Brigade of Sam Carroll.
    Lee planned for better coordination on the 3rd.

    Lee decided he had to attack the Union Centre today. This time it was to be preceded by a massive artillery barrage, using 135 guns from all 3 Corps. Lee chose a small clump of trees as the Infantry assault’s objective and placed the superb James Longstreet in overall command. Yesterday had undoubtedly been his finest day.

    He would command fewer than 15000 men, of which only 5000 were fresh. These 5000 were Virginians to a man. Fifteen regiments in 3 Brigades. Their commander. George Pickett, who  finished last at West Point,  had every confidence his men would not fail General Lee.

    The other 6 Brigades who went in that afternoon were a sorry looking lot. Two were under a Brigadier, because their fine Division commander was mortally wounded yesterday. His leadership would be missed. His name was Dorsey Pender; he was a North Carolinian and he had been slated as the next Stonewall Jackson. His four brigades had assisted Heth on July 1st, helping rout the Union forces that day. Today only two would attack, under a 61 year old Virginia born Marylander. Despite his age, he was a good replacement and the kind of aggressive commander Lee loved.

    The other 4 Brigades slated to assault the centre were also from III Corps, though not engaged yesterday, they had been badly battered on July 1st. They were  not full strength and as their Division commander, Heth, was also wounded, they were placed under their senior Brigadier. He was Johnston Pettigrew and was a North Carolinian and intellectual.
    These 6 Brigades were going in under new commanders at all levels, therefore, and that was never an easy thing.
    The rest of Lee’s army was under orders to demonstrate, so as to tie down Union troops so the assault on the centre succeeded.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @DarthShizNit:

    America always seemed to have a huge problem with politicians turned solder screwing things upÂ

    U.S. Grant went in the opposite direction (a soldier turned politician) and his Presidency was similarly a problematic one.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    It was Meade, not Lee, who opened the attack on July 3rd. Meade wanted to stabilise the situation on his right, where Ewell had missed an opportunity to get his II Corps on his flank. It was an intelligent move and did not tie up many  of his reserves, but took the Confederate II Corps right out of the battle and Lee’s grand plan. It ran from dawn until midday and involved as many as 20000 men. For the first time in the battle, the South suffered more casualties than the North: 1900 reported(probably more) to 1000.

    The afternoon artillery barrage was not as long as planned, as the Southern commanders began to run low on ammo.  It was decided as Ewell had not made a lodgement on the Union right, not to risk Hood’s  and McClaws’  Divisions against the left. This was a sound decision as they would have been repulsed more easily than the attack on the centre was about to be.

    The 5000 men of Pickett’s Division moved out in perfect alignment, Kemper(politician) and Garnett(professional) in the first line and Armistead(professional) behind them.
    To their left advanced Pettigrew commanding Heth’s Division. Behind them as a second wave was Trimble with two Brigades. These six Brigades counted 7700 amongst them.
    Two of Anderson’s Brigades, counting 1900 men, were to advance on heir left, but were ordered not to when it looked like the attack had failed.

    Of the nine Brigades that did advance, the furthest left, a small Virginia one was turned back by heavy skirmishing. This freed  Union units to turn on the far left of the assaulting Brigade. Soon Union Regiments were doing the same on the right.
    Both the left and right wing got to the Union barricades, but few made it over. Casualties were high as cannon after cannon blaster canister at the bravest of the brave. It was over in twenty minutes and the survivors streamed back to their starting positions. All ranks were affected, but the cost in Regimental and Brigade commanders was devastating.
    Pickett’s Division would not be called upon again  to attack for a year. But it was almost as bad for the six Brigades of the left wing.

    The Confederates braced for a counterattack that never came.



  • @CWO:

    @DarthShizNit:

    America always seemed to have a huge problem with politicians turned solder screwing things up�

    U.S. Grant went in the opposite direction (a soldier turned politician) and his Presidency was similarly a problematic one.

    Historically speaking it actually turned out alright, modern historians think Grant’s presidency to be one of the more misunderstood ones. Not that it was a great success of course.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @DarthShizNit:

    @CWO:

    @DarthShizNit:

    America always seemed to have a huge problem with politicians turned solder screwing things up�Â

    U.S. Grant went in the opposite direction (a soldier turned politician) and his Presidency was similarly a problematic one.  Â

    Historically speaking it actually turned out alright, modern historians think Grant’s presidency to be one of the more misunderstood ones. Not that it was a great success of course.

    I don’t know much about the subject, but it was my impression that there was a fair bit of corruption amongst the people in his administration.



  • @CWO:

    @DarthShizNit:

    @CWO:

    @DarthShizNit:

    America always seemed to have a huge problem with politicians turned solder screwing things up��

    U.S. Grant went in the opposite direction (a soldier turned politician) and his Presidency was similarly a problematic one.�  �

    Historically speaking it actually turned out alright, modern historians think Grant’s presidency to be one of the more misunderstood ones. Not that it was a great success of course.

    I don’t know much about the subject, but it was my impression that there was a fair bit of corruption amongst the people in his administration.

    There certainly was, but not really more so in other administrations, these ones just almost all became public. Grant gets particularly high water marks for his foreign policy though, he avoided several wars and internal conflicts, including one with Spain. And the man himself stood in the end blameless. Certainly not a presidency worth remembering for it’s greatness, but certainly not one worth remembering for being terrible.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @Cromwell_Dude:

    I could camp out all day here. Thanks for posting, Wittmann.

    Aye, perhaps ye could.

    But could you hold the line against the union attack?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    @Cromwell_Dude:

    Wittmann, I greatly enjoyed reading about the 3rd Day. Spot on. It’s the most misunderstood day of battle in all of American History. I just walked those grounds last week. Flying a Confederate flag every where. You’ve got to walk those grounds one day. I’d love to walk with you.

    That would be my hope too.
    Would love to see Worsham here too or at Mansfield, Chickamauga or, dare I say, Vicksburg!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    @Cromwell_Dude:

    North Carolina and Virginia continue to clash and debate over who got the farthest at Gettysburg. It’s an interesting discussion, but I am more currently concerned about North Carolina freeing itself of foreign troops than who got the farthest at Gettysburg. Since I am a native North Carolinian, I do take a little pride in the subject.

    The Gettysburg movie portrayed what is known as the Virginian school. The North Carolina story was largely left out, though that State lost the most troops at Gettysburg. Almost half and some say maybe more than half of Longstreet’s Assault on the 3rd day at Gettysburg were North Carolinians.

    There are two “farthest to the front” monuments on Cemetery Ridge. One for the Virginians and one for the North Carolinians. The North Carolina Monument is located to the upper left of Armistead’s monument. Who got the farthest? Why does it matter? I leave those questions for the audience to discuss.

    Those who know me on the internet world know I don’t post dissertations. I post brief thoughts and allow others to discover roads of truth. I’m not on here to be any one’s professor. Consider this post just a surface inquiry upon the subject. Feel free to investigate more on the subject. I am attaching a pic of the North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg that honors NC’s claim as the State farthest to the front on the 3rd day. The men who reached this point were led by CSA General Isaac Trimble.

    Again, thank you Cromwell.


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