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  - - (1863) Battle of Gettysburg - 101    
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littlepowell
SC, USA
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E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 1:09:52 PM
Well back to the subject of Picketts Charge, wasn't it also up to Meade to make the final call during the council of war to stay and fight? It's another time he could have lost his nerve and pulled the Army out..
---------------
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/ - Historical tactical combat games for PC.

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 1:50:14 PM

Quote:
Jim-I am not responsible for this thread going awry. So what did Sickles do/not do; and if I may politely ask- what did Sickles move prove/ not prove ????

Regards

jim
--anemone


It hasn't gone awry. It has simply moved in different directions. As is common.
If Sickles' move proved anything, it was the danger of a subordinate commander taking things into his own hands. Meade was forced to dismantle much of his defensive position in order to compensate. The resulting damage to the AOP was extreme. A properly established and manned line should have been able to deal with the Confederate attack better and with fewer casualties than an over-extended line shored up on the fly.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6041
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 2:01:51 PM
I didn't say "away" but "awry"-- however my thanks for your leaned assessment of Sickles's insubordinate action.

Regards

Jim

---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 2:27:38 PM

Quote:


Since we’re on the topic of Meade not panicking:
CPT Stephen Weld was on Reynolds’ staff.
In the morning of 1 July Weld carried a message from Reynolds at Gettysburg to Meade at Taneytown.

According to Weld:

”I delivered the message to General Meade at 11.20,
having been an hour and twenty minutes on my way.
He seemed quite anxious about the matter, and said,
"Good God! if the enemy get Gettysburg, I am lost."

(Weld, War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld, 1861-1865, pp 230)

I am not familiar with the medical definition of ‘panic’ but the above sounds like it could qualify.


--Rick Schaus


If indeed Meade actually said that. It seems a bit incongruous, given that the Pipe Creek Circular was probably only issued at about that time very much an option.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 2:29:21 PM

Quote:
I didn't say "away" but "awry"-- however my thanks for your leaned assessment of Sickles's insubordinate action.

Regards

Jim


--anemone


Typo on my part. I meant to say awry. I have gone back and corrected it.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2549

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/29/2017 5:46:27 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Jim-I am not responsible for this thread going awry. So what did Sickles do/not do; and if I may politely ask- what did Sickles move prove/ not prove ????

Regards

jim
--anemone



If Sickles' move proved anything, it was the danger of a subordinate commander taking things into his own hands. Meade was forced to dismantle much of his defensive position in order to compensate. The resulting damage to the AOP was extreme. A properly established and manned line should have been able to deal with the Confederate attack better and with fewer casualties than an over-extended line shored up on the fly.
--Jim Cameron


In a war in which firepower conferred the advantage onto the defensive, it was a grotesque twist that the attacking Confederates in that sector of the field were able to inflict thirty to fifty per cent more casualties than they themselves sustained. This must surely be attributed to the disruption to the union defense caused by Sickles moving forward in the manner that he did.

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

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/30/2017 11:47:53 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Since we’re on the topic of Meade not panicking:
CPT Stephen Weld was on Reynolds’ staff.
In the morning of 1 July Weld carried a message from Reynolds at Gettysburg to Meade at Taneytown.
According to Weld:
”I delivered the message to General Meade at 11.20,
having been an hour and twenty minutes on my way.
He seemed quite anxious about the matter, and said,
"Good God! if the enemy get Gettysburg, I am lost."

(Weld, War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld, 1861-1865, pp 230)
I am not familiar with the medical definition of ‘panic’ but the above sounds like it could qualify.
--Rick Schaus

If indeed Meade actually said that. It seems a bit incongruous, given that the Pipe Creek Circular was probably only issued at about that time very much an option.
--Jim Cameron

That is your opinion.
Do you have a primary source which contradicts Weld’s account of his message or Meade’s response?

Weld is a primary source.
He was with Meade.
It is a direct quote.
It is the type of exclamation that would have been hard for Weld to forget or misquote.
It is from his diary entry for 1 July, so it was pretty fresh in his memory.

Weld’s account is commonly used as a source.

And, we have this is from Meade’s Gettysburg report:
”General Buford having reported from Gettysburg the appearance of the enemy on the Cash-town road in some force, General Reynolds was directed to occupy Gettysburg.”

From his JCCW testimony:
“On the 1st of July, my headquarters being at Taneytown, and having directed the advance of two corps the previous day to Gettysburg, with the intention of occupying that place,”

Meade orders Reynolds (commanding a three corps ‘wing’) to “occupy” Gettysburg.
Reynolds reports, via Weld, that he might lose the town.
Meade reacts to Reynolds’ news.

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/30/2017 2:27:10 PM
Yes, Weld was all that, and is widely quoted, and Reynolds was ordered to Gettysburg. But Meade's exclamation still seems a bit odd in view of the other, "non-Gettysburg" options available if the just-issued PCC were to be executed. After all, if the withdrawal to the Pipe Creek position was under way, the enemy was going to "get Gettysburg", by default. Why, in that case, would Meade be "lost?"
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/30/2017 4:49:25 PM

Quote:
Yes, Weld was all that, and is widely quoted, and Reynolds was ordered to Gettysburg. But Meade's exclamation still seems a bit odd in view of the other, "non-Gettysburg" options available if the just-issued PCC were to be executed. After all, if the withdrawal to the Pipe Creek position was under way, the enemy was going to "get Gettysburg", by default. Why, in that case, would Meade be "lost?"
--Jim Cameron

Do you have an explanation for Weld’s presumed mistake, which seems to be what you’re implying?
The reasons I cited earlier, none of which you disagreed with, support Weld’s accuracy.

According to Meade Reynolds was ordered to “occupy” Gettysburg, not simply that: ”Reynolds was ordered to Gettysburg.”
To occupy is significantly different than to simply go there, as in a point to halt for the night.
And, that Reynolds was directed to occupy Gettysburg with the knowledge that the enemy, “in some force” was close at hand.
”General Buford having reported from Gettysburg the appearance of the enemy on the Cash-town road in some force, General Reynolds was directed to occupy Gettysburg.”

You have argued in past threads that the Circular was merely contingency plan, and that Reynolds had the discretion to fight there, as he did, and, presumably, to withdraw if and when he chose to (which is not IAW the Circular).

Weld’s message from Reynolds clearly stated that Reynolds had no withdrawal planned, and would fight to hold the town, something which was not directed in the Circular.
You also have stated in past threads that Reynolds did not receive the Circular, and, according to your belief of the timing of its issue (which is at odds with Meade’s), Meade would have known that Reynolds could have had it at the time he sent Weld.


Quote:
”After all, if the withdrawal to the Pipe Creek position was under way,…”

Are you saying that the implementation of the Circular had begun?
Reynolds couldn’t begin to implement instructions he hadn’t received.


There are many who argue that Reynolds had the authority from Meade to take whatever action he thought appropriate, and that Meade would support him.

The alternative for the discrepancies is that Meade perjured himself in both his report and his JCCW testimony.
However, that doesn’t explain Weld’s account.


What is your explanation?

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 6/30/2017 7:05:35 PM
Rick, do us both a favor and go back over what I wrote. I made no comment concerning Weld's accuracy. All I said was that given the fact the PCC had been issued at about the same time, and considering the potential course of action it set forth, Meade's comment to the effect that if the enemy got Gettysburg he was lost seemed incongruous.

Yes, I know what occupy means.

No, I was not saying that implementation of the PCC was in progress, aside perhaps from some very preliminary moves, only that if and when it was put into effect Gettysburg was going to be given up. And if that was a natural consequence of the withdrawal to Pipe Creek, why would Meade consider himself "lost" if that took place?

The PCC was indeed a contingency plan, in that the commander actually in contact with the enemy would be the one to decide if circumstances dictated a withdrawal. Not, army Headquarters. "Whenever such circumstances arise as would seem to indicate the necessity for falling back and assuming this general line indicated, notice of such movement will be at once communicated to these headquarters and to all adjoining corps commanders."
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2549

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 5:39:45 AM
Rick,

Please give us a summary of your opinions about Meade's performance at Gettysburg, both good and bad aspects.

My head's spinning, and I seek clarification.

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

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 1:13:38 PM

Quote:
Rick, do us both a favor and go back over what I wrote. I made no comment concerning Weld's accuracy. All I said was that given the fact the PCC had been issued at about the same time, and considering the potential course of action it set forth, Meade's comment to the effect that if the enemy got Gettysburg he was lost seemed incongruous.

Jim,
I have read what you wrote, and that’s the problem.
You were the one who pointed out the difference between Weld’s account of a Meade lost if Gettysburg falls, and the Meade who issued the 1 July Circular which would, enacted, would abandon the town.
You can’t argue both sides of this issue. And it is considerably more than ”a bit odd”, or ” seemed incongruous”..
It’s not possible.

Let’s face it, Jim, unless Meade suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder he could not, as we understand it, have made the statement Weld related that Meade would be ‘lost’ if the enemy captured Gettysburg), and at the same time be unconcerned (Circular) about holding Gettysburg, or supporting Reynolds there.
It’s either one or the other. The contradictions cannot be ignored.

Which do you believe to be true, and why?

BTW, it is not even close to a “fact” that the Circular went out at 1130.
You obviously have a primary source(s) that supports your assumption please share it/them.

Quote:
Yes, I know what occupy means.

I have no doubt that you know what occupy means. I never said you didn’t.

The problem is threefold:
One, that Meade stated twice that he directed Reynolds to ‘occupy’ Gettysburg, which you did not acknowledge. (Is there a problem?).
Two, that If Meade, at that time, did not care or even know about Gettysburg (as he indicated to Reynolds on 1 July, and in his JCCW testimony), then why would he direct Reynolds to occupy, and thus hold the town?
Three: The message from Reynolds made it very clear that he intended to hold Gettysburg at virtually all cost, which corroborates Meade.

Quote:
No, I was not saying that implementation of the PCC was in progress, aside perhaps from some very preliminary moves, only that if and when it was put into effect Gettysburg was going to be given up. And if that was a natural consequence of the withdrawal to Pipe Creek, why would Meade consider himself "lost" if that took place?

The PCC was indeed a contingency plan, in that the commander actually in contact with the enemy would be the one to decide if circumstances dictated a withdrawal. Not, army Headquarters. "Whenever such circumstances arise as would seem to indicate the necessity for falling back and assuming this general line indicated, notice of such movement will be at once communicated to these headquarters and to all adjoining corps commanders."
--Jim Cameron

”very preliminary moves” by whom?
If it didn’t go out until 1130 then who had it to make any preliminary moves?


The Circular was an order which was to be obeyed.
”By command of Major-General Meade:”
(OR, Pt 3, pp 459)

The only action a subordinate commander was authorized was:
”If the enemy assume the offensive, and attack, it is his intention, after holding them in check sufficiently long, to withdraw the trains and other impedimenta;”
(OR, Pt 3, pp 458)
He was not to hold until he determined that the pressure was too great.
Meade did not want a subordinate to get into a situation that he could not disengage from, which explains why instructions for that situation were not contained in the circular.

Reynolds, via Weld, stated that the enemy ”who were advancing in strong force…”
Reynolds’ analysis corroborated Buford’s 1010 message.

However, as I said, that is a moot point if Reynolds hadn’t received the Circular.
It would also be moot if Reynolds chose to ignore it.

Regardless of when the Circular went out, there is still the sentence in the Circular, which you have referenced in past threads, where, according to you, Meade could have cancelled the Circular, and, for example, directed the rest of the AoP to Gettysburg:
”Developments may cause the commanding general to assume the offensive from his present positions.”
However, supporting Reynolds at Gettysburg was not assuming the offensive, since Reynolds had been ordered there previously, so it wouldn't apply to that situation..

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 1:19:07 PM

Quote:
Rick,
Please give us a summary of your opinions about Meade's performance at Gettysburg, both good and bad aspects.
My head's spinning, and I seek clarification.
Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade

Phil,

My point here is that I keep reading what a good, masterful, great, and other vague salutatory generalities, job Meade did at Gettysburg.

I have asked, in past threads, and again this one, for specific examples that support those generalities, and so far the best I’ve gotten is that Meade was “capable” and ‘workmanlike’ at Gettysburg.

What I have been and am still looking for specifics that challenges my perspective of Meade’s performance.

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6041
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 1:48:22 PM
I found this on the web Rick -you may or may not have seen it :-


Quote:
With the generous assistance of the staff at Gettysburg National Military Park, nearly 150 years after the July 2nd Council of War, a group of Gettysburg enthusiasts gathered in the Leister House in an effort to recapture the scene of the Union high command. Gathering fourteen people into the small room proved a logistical challenge in its own right.

As the “generals” took their place, individuals quibbled over the posture, posing, and positioning of their commander. While our photographer, Will Dupuis, captured the scene, individually and collectively we reflected on the momentous events that occurred in that exact space in 1863. The damp March air contrasted starkly with the humid, sultry July evening. James Hessler, representing Daniel Butterfield, remarked on the practical difficulties in communicating with so many subordinates.

This command structure was soon simplified; following the Gettysburg Campaign the Army of the Potomac was reorganized. As it had 152 years earlier, conversation and debate swirled around Meade’s leadership. Some applauded Meade’s initiative to gather his subordinates and exchange information in a controlled environment, something that General Lee chose not to do.

In putting Meade’s leadership to a vote, our “council” found the general’s conduct at Gettysburg capable, if not admirable. Others, however, have not been so kind. In the latest study of the Gettysburg Campaign, historian Allen Guelzo offers a critical interpretation of Meade’s generalship. Relative to the Council of War on July 2nd, Guelzo promotes the theory that Meade did not want to fight at Gettysburg, but the unanimous decision of his subordinates to say and fight “stripped away” Meade’s excuse to withdraw.

Through the duration of the war, and ultimately his life, Meade shouldered the criticism of his conduct at Gettysburg. Writing to his wife shortly after Christmas 1863, he quipped of the accusations aimed toward his leadership, “before long it will be clearly proved that my presence on the field was rather an injury than otherwise.”


Dr. Jennifer Murray
Assistant Professor of History
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 2:56:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Rick, do us both a favor and go back over what I wrote. I made no comment concerning Weld's accuracy. All I said was that given the fact the PCC had been issued at about the same time, and considering the potential course of action it set forth, Meade's comment to the effect that if the enemy got Gettysburg he was lost seemed incongruous.

Jim,
I have read what you wrote, and that’s the problem.
You were the one who pointed out the difference between Weld’s account of a Meade lost if Gettysburg falls, and the Meade who issued the 1 July Circular which would, enacted, would abandon the town.
You can’t argue both sides of this issue. And it is considerably more than ”a bit odd”, or ” seemed incongruous”..
It’s not possible.

Let’s face it, Jim, unless Meade suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder he could not, as we understand it, have made the statement Weld related that Meade would be ‘lost’ if the enemy captured Gettysburg), and at the same time be unconcerned (Circular) about holding Gettysburg, or supporting Reynolds there.
It’s either one or the other. The contradictions cannot be ignored.

Which do you believe to be true, and why?

BTW, it is not even close to a “fact” that the Circular went out at 1130.
You obviously have a primary source(s) that supports your assumption please share it/them.

Quote:
Yes, I know what occupy means.

I have no doubt that you know what occupy means. I never said you didn’t.

The problem is threefold:
One, that Meade stated twice that he directed Reynolds to ‘occupy’ Gettysburg, which you did not acknowledge. (Is there a problem?).
Two, that If Meade, at that time, did not care or even know about Gettysburg (as he indicated to Reynolds on 1 July, and in his JCCW testimony), then why would he direct Reynolds to occupy, and thus hold the town?
Three: The message from Reynolds made it very clear that he intended to hold Gettysburg at virtually all cost, which corroborates Meade.

Quote:
No, I was not saying that implementation of the PCC was in progress, aside perhaps from some very preliminary moves, only that if and when it was put into effect Gettysburg was going to be given up. And if that was a natural consequence of the withdrawal to Pipe Creek, why would Meade consider himself "lost" if that took place?

The PCC was indeed a contingency plan, in that the commander actually in contact with the enemy would be the one to decide if circumstances dictated a withdrawal. Not, army Headquarters. "Whenever such circumstances arise as would seem to indicate the necessity for falling back and assuming this general line indicated, notice of such movement will be at once communicated to these headquarters and to all adjoining corps commanders."
--Jim Cameron

”very preliminary moves” by whom?
If it didn’t go out until 1130 then who had it to make any preliminary moves?


The Circular was an order which was to be obeyed.
”By command of Major-General Meade:”
(OR, Pt 3, pp 459)

The only action a subordinate commander was authorized was:
”If the enemy assume the offensive, and attack, it is his intention, after holding them in check sufficiently long, to withdraw the trains and other impedimenta;”
(OR, Pt 3, pp 458)
He was not to hold until he determined that the pressure was too great.
Meade did not want a subordinate to get into a situation that he could not disengage from, which explains why instructions for that situation were not contained in the circular.

Reynolds, via Weld, stated that the enemy ”who were advancing in strong force…”
Reynolds’ analysis corroborated Buford’s 1010 message.

However, as I said, that is a moot point if Reynolds hadn’t received the Circular.
It would also be moot if Reynolds chose to ignore it.

Regardless of when the Circular went out, there is still the sentence in the Circular, which you have referenced in past threads, where, according to you, Meade could have cancelled the Circular, and, for example, directed the rest of the AoP to Gettysburg:
”Developments may cause the commanding general to assume the offensive from his present positions.”
However, supporting Reynolds at Gettysburg was not assuming the offensive, since Reynolds had been ordered there previously, so it wouldn't apply to that situation..


--Rick Schaus


Well, that's what makes Meade's remark odd.
The best analysis of the timing of the Circular is in the late Bob Himmer's article, in a recent issue of Gettysburg Magazine.
Why would you say that Meade didn't know or care about Gettysburg? Or suggest that that's what I was saying. Talk about a straw man argument!
As to preliminary moves, some movement of the supply trains had been ordered.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 3:04:38 PM

Quote:
I found this on the web Rick -you may or may not have seen it :-

Quote:
With the generous assistance of the staff at Gettysburg National Military Park, nearly 150 years after the July 2nd Council of War, a group of Gettysburg enthusiasts gathered in the Leister House in an effort to recapture the scene of the Union high command. Gathering fourteen people into the small room proved a logistical challenge in its own right.
As the “generals” took their place, individuals quibbled over the posture, posing, and positioning of their commander. While our photographer, Will Dupuis, captured the scene, individually and collectively we reflected on the momentous events that occurred in that exact space in 1863. The damp March air contrasted starkly with the humid, sultry July evening. James Hessler, representing Daniel Butterfield, remarked on the practical difficulties in communicating with so many subordinates.
This command structure was soon simplified; following the Gettysburg Campaign the Army of the Potomac was reorganized. As it had 152 years earlier, conversation and debate swirled around Meade’s leadership. Some applauded Meade’s initiative to gather his subordinates and exchange information in a controlled environment, something that General Lee chose not to do.
In putting Meade’s leadership to a vote, our “council” found the general’s conduct at Gettysburg capable, if not admirable. Others, however, have not been so kind. In the latest study of the Gettysburg Campaign, historian Allen Guelzo offers a critical interpretation of Meade’s generalship. Relative to the Council of War on July 2nd, Guelzo promotes the theory that Meade did not want to fight at Gettysburg, but the unanimous decision of his subordinates to say and fight “stripped away” Meade’s excuse to withdraw.
Through the duration of the war, and ultimately his life, Meade shouldered the criticism of his conduct at Gettysburg. Writing to his wife shortly after Christmas 1863, he quipped of the accusations aimed toward his leadership, “before long it will be clearly proved that my presence on the field was rather an injury than otherwise.”

Dr. Jennifer Murray
Assistant Professor of History
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
Regards
Jim
--anemone

Thanks, Jim, I had not seen that.

The “council” was held some time prior to the 150th which was in 2013.

Jim Hessler is the author of a fine book on Sickles.

”capable, if not admirable.”, interesting phraseology.

Guelzo has received a lot of flak regarding his views of Meade, including in this site.

The following lines preceded the quote at the end of the article you posted.
”I understand there is a bitter article in Wilkes's Spirit of the Times, asserting that Hooker planned the campaign of Gettysburg, and that Butterfield wrote all the orders for the movements, in accordance with Hooker's plans.1 I furthermore hear that General Sickles asserts that Hancock selected the position, and that he (Sickles), with his corps, did all the fighting at Gettysburg. So, I presume, before long it will be clearly proved that my presence on the field was rather an injury than otherwise.”

The letter was written on 28 December 1863,

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 682

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 3:14:12 PM
Rick, you continue to overlook a key point of the Circular.

"Whenever such circumstances arise as would seem to indicate the necessity for falling back and assuming this general line indicated, notice of such movement will be at once communicated to these headquarters and to all adjoining corps commanders."

This could only be decided by the commander at the point of contact.

Look at it this way. Suppose Heth breaks off the action after Archer and Davis are repulsed and pulls back to Cashtown. Rodes heads there too, instead of to Gettysburg. Why then would there have been any necessity to fall back? And if not, there's no notice of such movement to communicate to Army headquarters.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6041
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 3:30:30 PM
Rick--As a tyro in ACW history- I am most grateful for your interest and comment-setting the record straight as it were. It is quite difficult for me to make a judgement of a man "newly promoted" to GOC AOTP-however IMHO the "war council" that Meade held does make good sense; but in some way odd; and for him to "listen to the opinions" of those officers already in position, and having listened-he said "So be it" I am aware that certainly not Lee, and I very much doubt that Grant neither- would have deigned to ask for counsel- in the circumstances that prevailed for Meade.

My respects

jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2549

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 4:15:19 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Rick,
Please give us a summary of your opinions about Meade's performance at Gettysburg, both good and bad aspects.
My head's spinning, and I seek clarification.
Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade

Phil,

My point here is that I keep reading what a good, masterful, great, and other vague salutatory generalities, job Meade did at Gettysburg.

I have asked, in past threads, and again this one, for specific examples that support those generalities, and so far the best I’ve gotten is that Meade was “capable” and ‘workmanlike’ at Gettysburg.

What I have been and am still looking for specifics that challenges my perspective of Meade’s performance.


--Rick Schaus


But, Rick, you haven't told us what your perspective of Meade's performance actually is .

The implications are that you do not hold him in high regard.

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

Rick Schaus
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 5:43:00 PM

Quote:
Rick--As a tyro in ACW history- I am most grateful for your interest and comment-setting the record straight as it were. It is quite difficult for me to make a judgement of a man "newly promoted" to GOC AOTP-however IMHO the "war council" that Meade held does make good sense; but in some way odd; and for him to "listen to the opinions" of those officers already in position, and having listened-he said "So be it" I am aware that certainly not Lee, and I very much doubt that Grant neither- would have deigned to ask for counsel- in the circumstances that prevailed for Meade.
My respects
jim
--anemone

Jim,

Meade had been in the AoP a long time and had critiqued the performances of his predecessors.

It is one thing to call your subordinate commanders together to obtain information.
However the validity of their opinions is another matter.
And it is quite another issue to have them vote on the course of action the army will take.

Also, keep in mind that a number of those officers had been considered, and rejected for CG, others were brand new to corps command, and two were division commanders.

Newton: one day in corps command
Hancock: new corps commander, 22 May 1863
Gibbon: division commander (was temporarily in corps command at times)
Birney: Corps commander due to Sickles’ wounding earlier that day. Had temporary corps command experience, but no combat experience as corps commander.
Sykes: new corps commander as of 28 June.
Sedgwick: corps commander rejected for CG
Howard: corps commander (because of the perception that his 11th Corps had performed poorly at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Howard’s opinion was largely ignored).
Slocum: corps commander rejected for CG.
Williams, A.: division commander.

They made the decision for Meade.


What Meade said after the vote was:
“Have it your way, gentlemen, but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle.”,
or:
"Have it your own way, gentlemen, but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle in,"

Not quite an inspiring confirmation that the correct decision had been made.

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Rick Schaus
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 5:56:18 PM

Quote:

But, Rick, you haven't told us what your perspective of Meade's performance actually is .
The implications are that you do not hold him in high regard.
Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade

Phil,

I, personally, neither like nor dislike Meade.

I believe that his lack of self-confidence and his temper were determinants to his ability to successfully command the AoP.

I do not hold his performance at Gettysburg in high regard.

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

anemone
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/1/2017 7:14:06 PM

Quote:
Meade had been in the AoP a long time and had critiqued the performances of his predecessors.


Thank you Rick-the above quote as "a generality"- I should have known; but criticism of his predecessors-thus being no "whited sepulchre"-I was quite unaware of-this must "astigmatise" his character to a degree- because he "acted dumb" after taking command of the AoP; and those officers- now under him- would instinctively have known that.

Therefore I have to revise my previous assessment of Meade; and now I see him-IMHO- for what he was worth-an unashamed "rider on other people's backs"-overly cautious,ass covering and willing to place blame others where he "thought" it would stick.It is well for the Union- that Grant was ultimately placed in overall command of the Union armies.

Respects

Jim
---------------
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Rick Schaus
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/2/2017 8:15:38 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Meade had been in the AoP a long time and had critiqued the performances of his predecessors.

Thank you Rick-the above quote as "a generality"- I should have known; but criticism of his predecessors-thus being no "whited sepulchre"-I was quite unaware of-this must "astigmatise" his character to a degree- because he "acted dumb" after taking command of the AoP; and those officers- now under him- would instinctively have known that.
Therefore I have to revise my previous assessment of Meade; and now I see him-IMHO- for what he was worth-an unashamed "rider on other people's backs"-overly cautious,ass covering and willing to place blame others where he "thought" it would stick.It is well for the Union- that Grant was ultimately placed in overall command of the Union armies.
Respects
Jim
--anemone

Jim,
Phil, you might be interested in this.

I think you’re being a bit hard on Meade.

He was basically a good soldier who tried to do his duty to the best of his ability.
Unfortunately, he was simply not the right man for the job.
But, he wasn’t the only one.

He was in over his head, and I think he realized it.

He was a capable division commander.
The jury was still out on his ability as a corps commander, since in his only battle in corps command, Chancellorsville, his corps had only been lightly engaged.

He discovered the hard way that critiquing his predecessors from the outside, was much easier than actually being in army command.
The myriad of responsibilities he had must have seemed almost overwhelming.
Now he was supposed to make the hard decisions, instead of receive them.
Despite his pre-command bravado, he became cautious to the point of being overcautious, and incapable of conducting offensive operations.
And, he was afraid of Robert E. Lee.

Secretary of the Navy, Welles, penned the following comments about Meade in his diary prior to Gettysburg:
28 June 1863:
”Of Meade I know very little. He is not great. His brother officers speak well of him, but he is considered rather a "smooth bore" than a rifle.”

29 June 1863:
”Meade has not so much character as such a command requires. He is, however, kindly favored; will be well supported, have the best wishes of all, but does not inspire immediate confidence. A little time may improve this, and give him name and fame.”

And after the Gettysburg Campaign:
14 August 1863:
”General Meade called at the Executive Mansion whilst the Cabinet was in session. Most of the members, like myself, had never met him. Blair and he were classmates at West Point, but they have never met since they graduated until to-day. He has a sharp visage and a narrow head. Would do better as second in command than as General-in-Chief. Is doubtless a good officer, but not a great and capable commander. He gave some details of the battle of Gettysburg clearly and fluently. Shows intelligence and activity, and on the whole I was as well or better pleased with him than I expected I should be, for I have had unfavorable impressions, prejudiced, perhaps, since the escape of Lee. This interview confirms previous impressions of the calibre and capacity of the man.”


Assistant Secretary of War Charles Dana provided this May 1864 description of Meade:
”In command of the army was Major-General George C. Meade. He was a tall, thin man, rather dyspeptic, I should suppose from the fits of nervous irritation to which he was subject. He was totally lacking in cordiality toward those with whom he had business, and in consequence was generally disliked by his subordinates. With General Grant Meade got along always perfectly, because he had the first virtue of a soldier—that is, obedience to orders. He was an intellectual man., and agreeable to talk with when his mind was free, but silent and indifferent to everybody when he was occupied with that which interested him.
As a commander, Meade seemed to me to lack the boldness that was necessary to bring the war to a close. He lacked self-confidence and tenacity of purpose, and he had not the moral authority that Grant had attained from his grand successes in other fields. As soon as Meade had a commander over him he was all right, but when he himself was the commander he began to hesitate.”


And, BTW, Meade critiqued Grant.

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
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Phil andrade
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 2:28:57 AM
Thanks, Rick.

That is a superb rendition, and very reassuring.....I was getting to the point where I thought attempting to draw out your opinion was like extracting teeth !

Now you've given us this, and I am utterly convinced .

A man out of his depth ; in common with so many others.

Regards, Phil

---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 3:39:46 AM
Rick-My grateful thanks for your kind forebearence and patience during our discussions; and I can now see a fairer picture of George Meade; and his rise in confidence following the promotion of Ulysses S Grant as C in C Union Forces-indeed he was was with Meade throughout the rest of the war-as demonstrated below

"Meade received harsh criticism from President Abraham Lincoln for not finishing off the Army of Northern Virginia in its weakened state. Meade offered his resignation, but it was denied, and he was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army on July 7, 1863.

Meade continued to command his army during the Bristoe Station and Mine Run campaigns, but both proved to be indecisive. In the spring of 1864, Ulysses S. Grant, the newly appointed lieutenant general and general-in-chief of Union forces, made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac.

Although Meade was nominally in charge of the Army of the Potomac, Grant made all command decisions in regards to the movement of this army. Meade commanded the army through the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and finally outside of Petersburg. After his successes during these battles, Grant asked for Meade to be promoted to major general, and it was permitted.

Although he had served well under Grant for the last year of the war, he was not present at the surrender of Lee’s army in Appomattox, and was largely overshadowed by Grant."Biography

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 4:06:06 AM
Rick says of Meade ..... he was afraid of Robert E. Lee..

Small wonder.

I would have fouled my breeches had I been put in such a situation as Meade was in at the start of July 1863.

But, of course, I have never been a soldier. Meade was a soldier, and a professional one at that, with long experience and, presumably, ambition to match.

I wonder, though, who had more to fear in this battle : Lee or Meade ?

Things can't have been hunky dory for Marse Robert, either. Moving into hostile territory ; logistically vulnerable ; deprived of his eyes and ears by dint of Stuart's conduct ; an allegedly surly - perhaps recalcitrant - Longstreet ; above all, deprived of Jackson....and feeling none too well himself.

His staff was shockingly insufficient for the task of conducting such a battle....a battle which developed beyond his design or desire ; and which effectively tore the guts out of three of his divisions on the opening day, leaving him deprived of proper reports as to the extent of the damage sustained.

Meade, we understand, was out of his depth.

But...I have to ask : who wasn't ?

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

anemone
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 4:39:33 AM

Quote:
Meade, we understand, was out of his depth.

But...I have to ask : who wasn't ?



Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886) was a U.S. Army officer and politician who served as a Union general during the Civil War (1861-65).

Widely recognised as one of the war’s most brilliant commanders, Hancock served at the Battles of Williamsburg, Antietam and Chancellorsville before assuming command of the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps in May 1863.

His finest moment came in July 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg, when he commanded the Union centre and repulsed the Confederate assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

PS-Would You agree Rick ???

Regards

Jim
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Rick Schaus
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 7:17:37 AM
Phil,

Meade, like most, if not all of his contemporaries, prior to the ACW, had no experience commanding large bodies of troops.

Out of West Point (1835) he was commissioned a Bvt 2LT in the 3rd Artillery.

In 1836 he resigned his commission, became an engineer, and later reentered the Army as an engineer.
In the Mexican War he was a staff officer.

When the war began Meade was an engineer captain, stationed in Detroit, conducting surveys of the Great Lakes.

This is a link to a recent article on Meade’s early military career. I think you will find it helps your perspective:

[Read More]

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Phil andrade
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 11:08:47 AM
Thanks, Rick : that was a lovely article !

I really enjoyed reading it, because it threw light on a personality that, by and large, has had too little light thrown on it....despite Meade's penchant for building lighthouses !

I've always been keen to emphasise how Meade's divisional performance at Fredericksburg was one of - or perhaps the only - successful Union actions of that battle.

Why wasn't Reynolds offered command ?

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

anemone
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 11:35:43 AM
I too read the article Rick-thank you- and was astonished by Meade's response that he was to be given command of the AotP :-



Quote:
"At first Meade protested, claiming that he was not prepared or capable of leading the Union’s largest army. He said he would telegraph the War Department immediately asking that his orders be rescinded and the position given to some other officer. Hardie reminded Meade that he had no choice. He could not turn down the offer: He was the best person available to deal with Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania.

Meade reluctantly agreed. “I’ve been tried and condemned without a hearing, and I suppose I shall have to go to the execution.” In a letter home to his wife, Meade wrote: “You know how reluctant we both have been to see me placed in this position, and as it appears to be God’s will for some good purpose. At any rate as a soldier I had nothing to do but accept… I am moving at once against Lee.”

Five days later, on July 3, in a little-known town called Gettysburg, George Meade, who had never wanted to be a soldier, led his army to victory. On July 8, he wrote to his wife: “I think I have lived as much in this time as in the last thirty years."


I doubt that I have ever come across such a Reluctant Hero or read such fawning phraseology

Regards

Jim

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Phil andrade
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 11:50:15 AM
It's good to see the humanity of these generals coming across in anecdotes.

Sometimes, I feel that the flaws in their characters render them more - rather than less - heroic. Meade was no " marble model ", as was Lee.

I note that Meade - like Lee - had a childhood and an adolescence that was tainted by the scandal attributed to his father.

Correspondence with his wife, Margaretta , would be a treasure house for Civil War research.

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
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 3:32:27 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Meade had been in the AoP a long time and had critiqued the performances of his predecessors.


Thank you Rick-the above quote as "a generality"- I should have known; but criticism of his predecessors-thus being no "whited sepulchre"-I was quite unaware of-this must "astigmatise" his character to a degree- because he "acted dumb" after taking command of the AoP; and those officers- now under him- would instinctively have known that.

Therefore I have to revise my previous assessment of Meade; and now I see him-IMHO- for what he was worth-an unashamed "rider on other people's backs"-overly cautious,ass covering and willing to place blame others where he "thought" it would stick.It is well for the Union- that Grant was ultimately placed in overall command of the Union armies.

Respects

Jim

--anemone



Jim,

Here is a little vignette that I hope you enjoy contemplating as much as I do....it certainly brings to the fore those anecdotes of humanity that flesh out the narrative history of the Civil War, and serve to remind us that the epic status of Grant and the overshadowed role of Meade might be reconsidered.

The Battle of the Wilderness, 5-6 May 1864, was Grant's first taste of battle against Lee. I realise that it's a silly excercise trying to rate which battle was the " worst " of that war....but if I had to select one, I could think of nothing more horrific than this.

As the first day's fighting was winding up, Grant and his entourage were sitting in a tent and trying to assess what had happened, and what should be done.

A divisional commander of the Union V corps, General Griffin, burst into the tent, in a high state of agitation and profanity, protesting that his division had been let down and badly cut up, and demanding that the high command should be held to account.

Grant was clearly mortified at this breach of protocol, and, in an attempt to keep his composure , stood and fiddled with his coat buttons, misplacing the sequence and leaving his appearance even more dishevelled than usual, while remonstrating :

Who is the General Gregg ? He ought to be court martialled ! .

Whereupon Meade, several years Grant's senior, standing over him and a good deal taller, and acting in an avuncular fashion, quietly said to Grant :

His name is Griffin, and that's just his way of talking... , while gently sorting out his buttons and making sure that they were properly aligned.

A trivial episode, but something that speaks volumes about the interplay of personalities in situations of almost unimaginable stress.

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

Rick Schaus
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 5:39:31 PM

Quote:
Thanks, Rick : that was a lovely article !
I really enjoyed reading it, because it threw light on a personality that, by and large, has had too little light thrown on it....despite Meade's penchant for building lighthouses !
I've always been keen to emphasise how Meade's divisional performance at Fredericksburg was one of - or perhaps the only - successful Union actions of that battle.

Why wasn't Reynolds offered command ?

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade

Was Reynolds offered command of the AoP?

According to Meade in a 13 June 1863 letter to his wife:
”Reynolds moved up yesterday, and stopped to see me as he passed. He told me that being informed by a friend in Washington, that he was talked of for the command of this army, he immediately went to the President and told him he did not want the command and would not take it. He spoke, he says, very freely to the President about Hooker, but the President said he was not disposed to throw away a gun because it missed fire once; that he would pick the lock and try it again.”
(Meade, L&L 1, pp 385)

Reynolds’ sister, Eleanor, in a 1913 letter to JFR's nephew stated that on the evening of 2 June 1863 while in Baltimore, MG Reynolds told her that he had been offered the command by President Lincoln.
Reynolds told Lincoln that he would accept it only if he would not be interfered with from Washington.
Lincoln said he could not promise him that so Reynolds turned the offer down.
(Reynolds’ biography, Toward Gettysburg, by Edward J. Nichols, Appendix “Reynolds and the Army of the Potomac Command”, pp 220)

There is nothing I am aware of from Lincoln, or any other senior Washington officials which mention any offer of command to Reynolds.

There are significant differences between Meade’s and Eleanor’s versions, and hers was written many years later.

My personal opinion is that Reynolds was probably not offered command.
---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Rick Schaus
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/3/2017 6:08:14 PM

Quote:

Jim,
Here is a little vignette that I hope you enjoy contemplating as much as I do....it certainly brings to the fore those anecdotes of humanity that flesh out the narrative history of the Civil War, and serve to remind us that the epic status of Grant and the overshadowed role of Meade might be reconsidered.
The Battle of the Wilderness, 5-6 May 1864, was Grant's first taste of battle against Lee. I realise that it's a silly excercise trying to rate which battle was the " worst " of that war....but if I had to select one, I could think of nothing more horrific than this.
As the first day's fighting was winding up, Grant and his entourage were sitting in a tent and trying to assess what had happened, and what should be done.
A divisional commander of the Union V corps, General Griffin, burst into the tent, in a high state of agitation and profanity, protesting that his division had been let down and badly cut up, and demanding that the high command should be held to account.
Grant was clearly mortified at this breach of protocol, and, in an attempt to keep his composure , stood and fiddled with his coat buttons, misplacing the sequence and leaving his appearance even more dishevelled than usual, while remonstrating :
Who is the General Gregg ? He ought to be court martialled ! .
Whereupon Meade, several years Grant's senior, standing over him and a good deal taller, and acting in an avuncular fashion, quietly said to Grant :
His name is Griffin, and that's just his way of talking... , while gently sorting out his buttons and making sure that they were properly aligned.
A trivial episode, but something that speaks volumes about the interplay of personalities in situations of almost unimaginable stress.
Regards , Phil
--Phil andrade

I offer as a postscript:
Late in the war Grant relieved Warren of command of the 5th Corps and appointed Griffin in his place.


I made the remark earlier that Meade was afraid of Lee.
I don’t think Meade was, by any means, alone with that feeling.

That fear of Lee made an appearance at Grant’s HQ on the second night of the Wilderness:

”Reinforcements were hurried to the point attacked, and preparations made for Sedgwick's corps to take up a new line, with the front and right thrown back. General Grant soon walked over to his own camp, seated himself on a stool in front of his tent, lighted a fresh cigar, and there continued to receive further advices from the right.
A general officer came in from his command at this juncture, and said to the general-in-chief, speaking rapidly and laboring under considerable excitement: "General Grant, this is a crisis that cannot be looked upon too seriously. I know Lee's methods well by past experience; he will throw his whole army between us and the Rapidan, and cut us off completely from our communications." The general rose to his feet, took his cigar out of his mouth, turned to the officer, and replied, with a degree of animation which he seldom manifested: "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do." The officer retired rather crestfallen, and without saying a word in reply.”

(Porter, Campaigning with Grant, pp 69)

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 4:05:36 AM
How " toxic" was the command structure of the AoP at the point that Meade took command ?
By this, I allude to factionalism and, perhaps, conspiracy ?
The reviled Bragg certainly had to deal with this : not that I see him as blameless - far from it - but I would temper judgement of his generalship in the light of the dismal rivalries that proliferated.
Lee's greatest achievement might have been his ability to cope with this problem....and we might think of Lincoln, too, in this light.

General....are you not too far forward ? asked a shocked Meade.

Would you prefer me to withdraw, sir ? retorted Sickles.

It's too late for that, I fear, the enemy will not let you. I'll do my best to support you ! , was Meade's response.

I see this as his supreme moment of equanimity and commitment, at a time when other commanders might have fallen apart.

Regards, Phil


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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 4:28:48 AM
Rick/Phil

I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating and most interesting- and dare I say -"complex" discussion about George Meade along with two of the most erudite members of this Forum-there are many more I am sure.

Between you-you have just about unravelled the Meade Saga with a "touch" of Grant thrown in; and let a lot of light in on what started as a sort of as a "witch hunt" for me-I have learned a lot in the time.Thank you and God bless.

Regards

Jim
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Jim Cameron
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 7:52:08 AM
I personally doubt that Reynolds was actually offered command of the AOP. The potential for him being given the command may have been discussed, on a "should it come to pass" basis, but my guess is that Reynolds let it be known that he would only accept under conditions the administration would have found unacceptable. What this amounted to - probably unspoken, but understood - was that if ordered to take command, Reynolds would resign. This would have been embarrassing to the Lincoln administration, and not to mention, lost the services of a talented officer. The end result was that Reynolds was dropped from consideration.
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 8:15:13 AM
Jim-Thank you for the report on Reynolds

An Untimely End

General Reynolds was directing troops into the fighting near Herbst Woods, when he was shot in the neck or head. Falling from his horse, he was killed instantly.

As the fighting raged, Reynolds' body was taken from the field, first to Taneytown, MD and then back to Lancaster where he was buried on the 4th of July.

A blow to the Army o the Potomac, Reynolds' death cost Meade one of the army's best commanders.

Regards

Jim
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Rick Schaus
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 10:53:13 AM
If Reynolds was as good a soldier as he is said to have been, would he actually have resigned his commission if ordered to take command of the AoP?

Like every other officer, Reynolds had taken an oath to defend the country and obey the orders of his superiors.

He knew that the President would never consent to giving him free reign.
For one thing, it would have been unlawful.

I don’t recall any other GO being asked if he would accept command of the AoP.
Has anyone else?

Considered, sure, but offered command?
When would they (Lincoln, Stanton, and Halleck) stop offering command before they ordered it?
Go with the second, third or fourth string, and say it was the best they could do.

They didn’t know whether or not Meade, or anyone else for that matter, would resign his commission of ordered to assume command.
Hancock wrote that he had, I believe, been considered.

If Reynolds was determined to be the best GO for the command he would have been ordered to assume command just as Meade was.

If that version is true, Reynolds’ stock should have plummeted well past the point of being placed in command.

It does make a good story but it sounds a bit off to me.
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VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 11:16:12 AM

Quote:
If Reynolds was determined to be the best GO for the command- he would have been ordered to assume command just as Meade was.


Absolutely Rick-this issue has me baffled too-other than interference from Lincoln and Co.He should have "bit the bullet" and "did it his way" and "damn the frocks"-- given that he was as good a GO as he was cracked up to be. Yes -a good story- but a bit off.

Regards

jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

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