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  - - (1863) Battle of Gettysburg - 101    
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Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 3:59:01 PM
Concerning Reynolds and command of the AoP:

According to a number of sources Reynolds was angry and frustrated at Hooker, and, then, I would expect Meade, for allowing the ANV to march freely into his home state, Pennsylvania, and plunder the cities and countryside without interference from the AoP.

Yet, we are to believe that the aggressive Reynolds would turn down the opportunity to go after Lee on his terms?

I doubt that Lincoln would have disagreed with that idea, considering that the destruction of the ANV was the primary standing order for the CG of the AoP.

Again, something seems off to me.
---------------
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: 6042
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/4/2017 6:57:14 PM
As in the past, Reynolds joined his compatriots in calling for a new commander who could operate decisively and free from political constraints.

Well-respected by Lincoln, who referred to him as “our gallant and brave friend," Reynolds met with the President on June 2. During their conversation, it is believed that Reynolds was offered command of the Army of the Potomac.

Insisting however- that he be free to lead independent of political influence, Reynolds declined when Lincoln could not make such an assurance. With Lee again moving north, Lincoln instead turned to Meade who accepted command and replaced Hooker on June 28.

Riding north with his men, Reynolds was given operational control of I, III, and XI Corps as well as Brigadier General John Buford's cavalry division.

What I do not understand s why Lincoln wanted to remain in operational control-I am aware that he was general of the armies; but why did he wish to "nanny" his generals,?????

Regards

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

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 12:30:30 PM
Rick,


Quote:
Meade had no reason to panic.
He was not certain that Reynolds had been killed.
Even if Reynolds was out of action he still had three two stars at or near Gettysburg.

And, he passed the buck to Hancock.
If anyone had the right to panic it was Hancock who was given the responsibility to select the ground on which to concentrate the army.


I am no expert on Meade, but nothing that I have read about the man suggests that he was ever prone to "panic". Mind you, given some of the corps commanders that Meade was saddled with....he would have been more than justified in having a panic attack. That's a joke....

IMO, it made sense to send Hancock and to trust his judgment. A lot of sense....

If I am not mistaken, Reynolds headed up the left wing and I believe that Meade knew that he had either been killed or seriously wounded...the other corps commanders in this wing were Sickles (whom Meade most certainly did not trust) and "throw Doubleday under the bus" Howard (an officer that no one should have trusted....). So, IMO, it was very understandable that Meade would want to send Hancock.

s.c.



Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 12:35:45 PM

Quote:
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."


Call me at least somewhat skeptical that Meade ever said anything remotely close to this. As in I simply do not believe that this conversation ever took place....

1) It would have been totally (IMO) out of character for Meade.

2) Why on earth would Meade/the AoP be "lost" if the ANV held Gettysburg? It wasn't as if the AoP had to escape thru Gettysburg etc. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about how all the roads in the world ended up at Gettysburg....but "losing" one more small town in southwest Pa. was hardly going to be a disaster.



Quote:
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.


During the CW, everyone and their grandmother seemed to have perfect recollection of conversations that almost certainly never took place. All kinds of relatively obscure officers seemed intent on placing themselves in the centre of history....with perfect recall of conversations that act to make the Weld's of this world seem more important than they really were.

Frankly, it is the type of explanation that is also quite easy to manufacture....again, in my less than humble opinion.

s.c.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 12:49:12 PM

Quote:
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.


Capable and workmanlike are characteristics that were arguably not ever demonstrated, by any other AoP commander.

Frankly, including the Meade/Grant combo during Overland and during the initial attacks on Petersburg (although Baldy Smith bears more blame for the latter than either Meade or Grant).

For the AoP senior management, I would argue that Gettysburg was as good as it ever got....

My one criticism of Meade is that, on the 2nd, he should have kept Sickles on a much shorter rope. In retrospect, Meade did seem to be a little too focused on his right wing.

And although I think that Sickles made a huge mistake moving his corps forward on the 2nd, the ground that he was supposed to occupy, at least as the ridge line approached the Round Tops, was pretty crappy. So IMO Meade should have payed more attention to his left than what he did...

As for counter-attacking after the PPT attack was over....the various brigades of the VI corps were, if I am not mistaken, spread all over "hell's half acre" (as my grandmother used to say). And I guess that one could criticize Meade for doing that....but his first priority - on the 3rd - was and should have been "defense".

s.c.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 12:55:14 PM
Rick,


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


This comment does surprise me somewhat....in fact, one of the reasons that Meade appears to have been chosen to lead the AoP was that he was not part of any of the various cliques. Yes, he was hardly an abolitionist, and was from the "little Mac" side of the army (as were most of the other senior officers), but except for some criticism of Hooker (and essentially no one, except Butterfield and Sickles, were pro-Hooker, post the Chancellorsville blame game), Meade avoided getting involved in the kind of crap that got Franklin and Baldy Smith 'in trouble'.

s.c.

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


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 2:07:18 PM

Quote:
Rick,

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

This comment does surprise me somewhat....in fact, one of the reasons that Meade appears to have been chosen to lead the AoP was that he was not part of any of the various cliques. Yes, he was hardly an abolitionist, and was from the "little Mac" side of the army (as were most of the other senior officers), but except for some criticism of Hooker (and essentially no one, except Butterfield and Sickles, were pro-Hooker, post the Chancellorsville blame game), Meade avoided getting involved in the kind of crap that got Franklin and Baldy Smith 'in trouble'.
s.c.
--Steve Clements

Steve,

Read Meade’s letters in Life and Letters… 1 & 2 from 1862 on.
They will clarify for you that Meade critiqued each one of his predecessors, primarily to his wife.

He identified significant faults in their performances.
The obvious conclusion from them is that Meade knew he would not have committed them if he had been in command.

In one case, however, due, to some extent, to his political naivety, he told Gov. Curtin his feelings regarding Hooker at Chancellorsville and Curtin passed them on, much to Meade’s dismay.
He had to do some fast talking to explain it to Hooker.

---------------
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

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 4:00:07 PM
Rick,

I have not read his letters....probably a good idea to do so at some point soon.

I personally would tend to not hold "bitchin' to my wife" commentary against Meade....assuming that the phrase "original gorilla" didn't leak into any of his letters. I am sure that we have all gossiped about our work colleagues/bosses etc., to our spouses. And said things to blew off steam, that we would never utter in a public forum. And never want repeated.

Pretty sure that Little Mac must have rolled over in his grave, when a number of the letters to his wife ended up in "My Own Story".

I was thinking more of the "behind your back" commentary, that was carried on by a number of the AoP's senior people, prior to Meade being given command. I suspect that you have read Sears' "Revolt of the Generals" essay....which details the misbehaviour's of a number of the AoP's senior officers.

Frankly, given the "performance" of little Mac, Pope, Burnside & Hooker....how could Meade not "complain" to his wife.

s.c.

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


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/5/2017 6:34:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:
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.

Capable and workmanlike are characteristics that were arguably not ever demonstrated, by any other AoP commander.

We are discussing Meade, not his predecessors.

I have yet to hear any examples of Meade’s “capable” and “workmanlike” actions at Gettysburg.

Quote:
Frankly, including the Meade/Grant combo during Overland and during the initial attacks on Petersburg (although Baldy Smith bears more blame for the latter than either Meade or Grant).

I don’t follow, but again, this is about Meade at Gettysburg.

Quote:
For the AoP senior management, I would argue that Gettysburg was as good as it ever got....

The AoP did not have senior management.
It had senior commanders.
It had senior leadership.

How, specifically, did Meade who was the commanding general, contribute to your “as good as it ever got…”?

Quote:
My one criticism of Meade is that, on the 2nd, he should have kept Sickles on a much shorter rope. In retrospect, Meade did seem to be a little too focused on his right wing.

And although I think that Sickles made a huge mistake moving his corps forward on the 2nd, the ground that he was supposed to occupy, at least as the ridge line approached the Round Tops, was pretty crappy. So IMO Meade should have payed more attention to his left than what he did...

That is a significant and specific criticism, and was primarily responsible for the events on the Federal side, on the second day.

Quote:
As for counter-attacking after the PPT attack was over....the various brigades of the VI corps were, if I am not mistaken, spread all over "hell's half acre" (as my grandmother used to say). And I guess that one could criticize Meade for doing that....but his first priority - on the 3rd - was and should have been "defense".
s.c.
--Steve Clements

That is accurate, which leads to the question of why Meade informed Hancock of his plan to counterattack with the 5th & 6th Corps, and why would he expect the counterattack as he described it in his JCCW testimony to succeed?
---------------
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: 7/7/2017 4:51:08 PM

Quote:
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
--phil andrade

My apologies Phil, but I find myself compelled to respond to your above post.

Quote:
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.

”It's too late for that, I fear, the enemy will not let you.
That line is well known, but if you stop and think about it, it’s one of the most ridiculous statements uttered at Gettysburg.

What exactly did Meade see that convinced him that the enemy would not let the 3rd Corps’ withdraw?
And how did Meade think that the Confederates could accomplish that feat, considering the fact that he had just ridden there without hindrance?
Sickles didn’t see it.

Certainly Longstreet, and especially McLaws and Hood would have been more than happy to watch the 3rd Corps withdraw without a fight.

Meade stated that the 3rd Corps was moving forward as he rode out that way.
The 3rd Corps was a veteran outfit which had successfully conducted a difficult withdrawal from Hazel grove at Chancellorsville two months earlier.
They could have been about faced without much difficulty.
And Meade would shortly order Humphreys to move his division to the left.
If he would move to the left he could move to the rear.

Only a day earlier Meade had expected that any one of his corps commanders, if attacked, would be able to successfully withdraw, under pressure, for miles to the line at Pipe Creek.
Yet, a day later the 3rd Corps (or elements of it), not yet under attack, couldn’t withdraw a few hundred yards.

The 3rd Corps was not under infantry attack, and most, if not all of the artillery fire at that time, was from Federal guns.

The 3rd Corps’ position was too exposed but Meade wanted to put more men in harm’s way?
And he assumed that the Confederates would not let the 3rd Corps withdraw, but they would let it be supported?


To make matters worse, Meade would not directly support Sickles as promised in the above version.
Meade could not have been referring to 5th Corps since he had previously directed Sykes to take position on the left of the 3rd Corps.
That also removed previous promise of support of a 5th Corps division.

Caldwell’s 2nd Corps’ division was ordered to report to Sykes to Support the 3rd Corps, not directly to Sickles who was Sykes’ superior, and whose corps was under attack.
According to Hancock one of Sykes’ staff assigned Caldwell his position
That removed that 2nd Corps division previously promised as support for the 3rd Corps.

The only support the 3rd Corps received that afternoon/evening was two regiments sent by Hancock to Humphreys too little and too late to do any good.

---------------
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

jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 173

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/26/2017 11:41:35 AM
Rick,

There are a few assertions/questions in your last post, regarding the potential for withdrawal of Sickles' corps, with which I will take issue.

1)And how did Meade think that the Confederates could accomplish that feat, considering the fact that he had just ridden there without hindrance?

There is a big difference between a small group galloping up on horseback, and a corps moving on on foot. The former is a much more difficult target than the latter, due to the size of the group and the speed & agility of movement.

2) The 3rd Corps was a veteran outfit which had successfully conducted a difficult withdrawal from Hazel Grove at Chancellorsville two months earlier.
They could have been about faced without much difficulty.


No, they could not. The withdrawal from Hazel Grove, which you admit was difficult, was less complex of a maneuver than reversing an advance, with a portion of the force already deployed or in the process of deploying. The circumstances at Hazel Grove were more dire, no question, but I am addressing the difficulty of the movement. It is much more difficult than you seem to believe.

Add to that the consideration of why Sickles was moving his corps there in the first place: it was higher ground than much of the position where Meade wanted him to be. Reversal in mid-movement would now have the them in open ground, lower ground, with their backs to the enemy, and in column. In other words, a juicy target at what was supposed to be the end of the federal line.

Finally, the distance involved in Sickles' advance was much more than a few hundred yards. He was moving his corps to position 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile ahead of his designated post. That would be, roughly, 900 to 1,300 yards.

3) What exactly did Meade see that convinced him that the enemy would not let the 3rd Corps’ withdraw?

Probably an enemy that could at least get horse drawn artillery in place with an opportunity to pound the snot out of a corps sized column that had left the end of the federal line exposed. An enemy close enough to, with a bit of quick thinking, take advantage of the situation to flank the Union line. Definitely that, at this stage of the game, as he scrambled to fill the hole Sickles had created, leaving 3rd Corps out there, facing the enemy, thereby either threatening the rebel flank or slowing any assault on the federal left, was preferable to an attempt at reversal/withdrawal.

4)Sickles didn’t see it.

Sickles hadn't seen the predicament he had created, either.

5) Caldwell’s 2nd Corps’ division was ordered to report to Sykes to Support the 3rd Corps, not directly to Sickles who was Sykes’ superior, and whose corps was under attack.

Yes, report to the competent commander who was now in command of, and charged with restoring integrity to, the federal left (priority #1), and not to the general who, without orders, had jeopardized it by placing his entire corps in an isolated and untenable position.

I'll conclude by noting that you seem to take Sickles' question, "Would you prefer me to withdraw, sir?", as an honest, sincere one. I suggest that it could well have been, and I perceive it to be, a sarcastic one (or at least, disingenuous). It is my opinion that, since Sickles had unilaterally decided to "improve" his position without notifying, much less requesting permission from, his newly minted commanding officer, and since the enemy was close enough to threaten any return to his original position (see above), that he was being snotty.

Yours,

JohnT

littlepowell
SC, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/26/2017 12:30:42 PM
Another unrelated topic that has gone full-Sickles.

But interesting discussion nonetheless. So what is your opinion on Sickles? Hero or Villain of Gettysburg? His unauthorized movement certainly slowed down/broke up the grey tidal wave of Longstreet's assault..

(probably should be it's own thread)
---------------
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/ - Historical tactical combat games for PC.

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 1254

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/26/2017 1:21:56 PM
Souldn`t the army commander, no matter how busy he may be, take the time to find out exactly what a subordinate has in mind when requesting whether he has discretion to alter the position of his Corps?

As to the result of Sickles foolish gambit,(he destroyed his Corps)...but he also turned out to have created a version of Hougoumont or Haye Sainte to Meade`s Wellington. A forward position, in advance of the main line of defense that had to be dealt with, and at great cost of time and men, by the enemy. That surely was not Sickles intention,( he just didn`t want higher ground to his front taken by the Rebels), but it gave a similar result.

Respects, Morris

---------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

Larry Purtell
USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 495

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/26/2017 1:36:11 PM
Looking back thru hindsight it would seem Meade should have kept a closer eye on Sickles. Not being a West Point graduate and having less than a reputable personal reputation should have been reason to doubt his willingness to obey orders. How well Meade knew Sickles and his strengths and weakness's I'm not sure.

Larry
---------------
"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.

jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 173

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/26/2017 3:40:56 PM

Quote:
Another unrelated topic that has gone full-Sickles.


I thought of that when debating whether to respond. In the end, I couldn't resist the pull.


Quote:
But interesting discussion nonetheless. So what is your opinion on Sickles? Hero or Villain of Gettysburg? His unauthorized movement certainly slowed down/broke up the grey tidal wave of Longstreet's assault..

(probably should be it's own thread)
--littlepowell


Yes, it probably should be its own thread, and probably has been, several times over. Yet, here we are.

I see Dan Sickles, along with Francis Barlow, as proof that logic is a relative concept. They each committed the military sin of detaching themselves from the end of the line to advance to an isolated and untenable position. Each maintained that the move made perfect sense, at least to them. The difference was that there was a sufficient reserve to compensate for Sickles blunder. Had the change of 3rd Corps' position gone undetected or unreported for a bit longer, the rebels might well have rolled up the federal line. If any good came out of the situation, it was no fault of Dan Sickles.

Yours,

JohnT

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2889

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/27/2017 8:11:35 AM
I agree JT,& LP,

Sickles may have accidentally thrown a monkey wrench into the Confederate advance but it could have been catastrophic for the Union!?

MD

It's hard to give credit to a political officer who disobeyed orders!?
What say you?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Dick Evick
Waco , TX, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 154

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/27/2017 10:07:17 AM
It seems Ole Dan would have learned from Chancellorsville about an advanced position w/o immediate support.

Dick.

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


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/29/2017 1:00:02 PM

Quote:
Souldn`t the army commander, no matter how busy he may be, take the time to find out exactly what a subordinate has in mind when requesting whether he has discretion to alter the position of his Corps?
As to the result of Sickles foolish gambit,(he destroyed his Corps)...but he also turned out to have created a version of Hougoumont or Haye Sainte to Meade`s Wellington. A forward position, in advance of the main line of defense that had to be dealt with, and at great cost of time and men, by the enemy. That surely was not Sickles intention,( he just didn`t want higher ground to his front taken by the Rebels), but it gave a similar result.
Respects, Morris
--morris crumley

Morris,

The entire Federal line was Meade’s responsibility.
It was also his responsibility to ensure that his instructions to his subordinates were clear and understood.
It would help if his staff was also aware of his instructions.
No 2 July instruction or maps are in the OR.
Slocum made some adjustments to his sector that morning.

If Sickles was deemed a weak link, more reason to pay close attention to him.
Why put him on a flank in the first place?

That did not happen, especially in the case of the 3rd Corps on 2 July.
Meade was not certain of the location that Geary’s two brigades had occupied on the night of 1-2 July (the position he directed the 3rd Corps to occupy early 2 July).

In fact, Geary, in his report stated that he had been relieved by the 3rd Corps, so Dickles had obeyed Meade’s instructions.

Sickles made it clear to both Meades that he did not understand his instructions, yet Meade made no effort clarify his instructions (his comments to Sickles and then his instructions to Hunt only mucked up the issue) or to personally inspect his left, and after 1100, when he decided against any attack from his right, and after Sickles visit and concern, that would have been a wise action.
Not until 1600, after receiving the report that a Confederate force was off his left did make any effort to actually visit his left.

Had Meade not ordered Buford to leave events would have probably been different.
The 3rd Corps was directed to and did relieve Buford, and Meade still wanted the ER covered.
The best way to accomplish that is with artillery at the ER in the PO.
And artillery has to be protected by infantry.


Interestingly enough, the Confederates believed that the main Federal line ran along the ground in the rear, and that the 3rd Corps’ line was an advanced line intended to contest an attack on the PO where, according to Longstreet, Lee wanted artillery placed.

Matter of fact, Caldwell was in Humphreys’ rear, and they could not get a good look at the terrain in the rear of the PO.

That the 3rd Corps position disrupted Longstreet’s attack is irrefutable.
Longstreet later wrote that had he waited until Sickles was withdrawn to the line Meade would eventually occupy; his attack would have been successful.

---------------
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: 7/29/2017 1:17:08 PM

Quote:
It seems Ole Dan would have learned from Chancellorsville about an advanced position w/o immediate support.
Dick.
--Dick Evick
Dick,

These were two very different situations.

This is from a NPS website about Hazel Grove:
”Battle of Chancellorsville History: Hazel Grove, Fairview, and the Second Battle of Fredericksburg
Despite his misfortune on May 2, Hooker still held the advantage at Chancellorsville. He received reinforcements during the night and the Third Corps moved back from Catharine Furnace to reoccupy Hazel Grove. Sickles' troops thus divided the Confederates into separate wings controlled by Stuart and Lee. Hooker, if he chose, could defeat each fraction of his out manned enemy in detail.

The Confederate commanders understood the need to connect their divisions, and Stuart prepared an all-out assault against Hazel Grove at dawn. Hooker made it easy for him. As the Southerners approached the far crest of Hazel Grove they witnessed Sickles' men retiring in an orderly fashion. "Fighting Joe" had directed that his troops surrender the key ground and fall back to Fairview, an elevated clearing closer to Chancellorsville.

Stuart immediately exploited the opportunity by placing 31 cannon on Hazel Grove. Combined with artillery located west along the Turnpike, the gunners at Hazel Grove pounded Fairview with a spectacular bombardment. The Federals responded with 34 pieces of their own and soon the Wilderness trembled with a discordant symphony of iron. “



At Gettysburg Sickles moved his corps forward in order to obey his instructions regarding the ER, and to control and utilize the higher ground, and thus prevent Confederate use of it.


While Hooker, at Chancellorsville, had ordered the 3rd Corps to evacuate Hazel Grove, Meade, at Gettysburg, had not been aware of the 3rd Corps’ position, and made the decision to fight on the 3rd Corps’ line while withdrawal was possible, and at a lower cost than it would be later.
---------------
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

littlepowell
SC, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/31/2017 8:31:13 AM

Quote:

Longstreet later wrote that had he waited until Sickles was withdrawn to the line Meade would eventually occupy; his attack would have been successful.


--Rick Schaus


There we have it.. And I would have to agree with Old Pete. Instead he had to attack essentially two lines--Sickles advanced position and the elements that were called to re-enforce Little Round Top, Houck's Ridge, etc.

All great battles are won with a little luck.. And one could go as far as to say that it was lucky that Sickles' foolish move quite possibly won the battle for the Union..
---------------
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/ - Historical tactical combat games for PC.

Dick Evick
Waco , TX, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 154

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 7/31/2017 10:13:01 AM
Rick, Thanks for the clarification.

Dick.

jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 173

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/9/2017 11:36:54 AM

Quote:
Meade, at Gettysburg, had not been aware of the 3rd Corps’ position, and made the decision to fight on the 3rd Corps’ line while withdrawal was possible, and at a lower cost than it would be later.

--Rick Schaus




Quote:
Longstreet later wrote that had he waited until Sickles was withdrawn to the line Meade would eventually occupy; his attack would have been successful.


--Rick Schaus


It seems to me that these two statements contradict each other. How could a withdrawal of Sickles' corps be "at lower cost" than a successful attack by Longstreet? It seems to me that a successful attack would have rolled up the federal left and done at least as much damage, if not more, to 3rd Corps and the rest of the AoP in that vicinity.

Yours,

JohnT



littlepowell
SC, USA
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Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 12:53:16 PM
I'll have to go back and simulate this action. In Scourge Of War: Gettysburg, there is a scenario where Sickles is posted in his advanced position. Things will pretty much play out as they did historically. There is also a "what if" scenario where Sickles stays in his original line. If I recall correctly the last time I played it, the Confederate player can completely wrap up the Union left and send them retreating to Cemetery Hill and beyond.
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Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 1:34:55 PM
littlepowell

I have a little trouble with the attack "wrapping" around the Union left....since it is my understanding the the point of the attack was Cemetary Hill, and not the Union left. Wherever it might have been -:)

s.c.

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
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Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 1:40:54 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Meade, at Gettysburg, had not been aware of the 3rd Corps’ position, and made the decision to fight on the 3rd Corps’ line while withdrawal was possible, and at a lower cost than it would be later.
--Rick Schaus


Quote:
Longstreet later wrote that had he waited until Sickles was withdrawn to the line Meade would eventually occupy; his attack would have been successful.
--Rick Schaus

It seems to me that these two statements contradict each other. How could a withdrawal of Sickles' corps be "at lower cost" than a successful attack by Longstreet? It seems to me that a successful attack would have rolled up the federal left and done at least as much damage, if not more, to 3rd Corps and the rest of the AoP in that vicinity.
Yours,
JohnT
--jthlmnn

Same scenario, two different points of view.

One, from Meade and his supporters, that, had Sickles been in his fictional line in the rear at the time of Longstreet’s attack, the attack would have failed at great cost to Longstreet (Lee), and lower cost to Meade.

Two, from Longstreet, that had Sickles, on orders from Meade, withdrawn to some designated (by Meade) line in the rear, prior to the attack, Longstreet’s attack would have forced Meade to withdraw to his Pipe Creek line.

The problem with Longstreet’s version is; with little or no Federal presence at PO/DD (i.e. the advanced 3rd Corps’ line) would the attack still have been directed at the PO/DD (LRT) as Longstreet stated, or up the ER (at CH) as directed by Lee?

---------------
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

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 1:48:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Longstreet later wrote that had he waited until Sickles was withdrawn to the line Meade would eventually occupy; his attack would have been successful.


--Rick Schaus


There we have it.. And I would have to agree with Old Pete. Instead he had to attack essentially two lines--Sickles advanced position and the elements that were called to re-enforce Little Round Top, Houck's Ridge, etc.

All great battles are won with a little luck.. And one could go as far as to say that it was lucky that Sickles' foolish move quite possibly won the battle for the Union..
--littlepowell


Someone once wrote (and I will paraphrase): "If Longstreet said it was so, then it is almost certainly not true."

IMO, Longstreet's attack WAS successful.

At the beginning of Longstreet's attack, the AoP had four intact infantry corps, plus the remnants of the I and the XI corps...plus the VI corps coming up fast. Longstreet crushed the III corps, and the failure and collapse of the III sucked in much or most of the II and the V corps. Plus (although they really were not needed) five out of the six XII brigades were pulled from Culp's Hill (leaving only Greene's brigade to hold Culp's Hill).

Effectively, Longstreet's two division (plus the portion of Hill's corps that "joined in") attack "occupied" all four of the intact Federal infantry corps....leaving the way open for Hill's remaining brigades to attack Cemetery Hill from the front and for Ewell to attack Cemetery Hill from the rear (so to speak).

That Hill did not properly coordinate his attack with Longstreet, and that Ewell waited until after dark to attack Cemetery Hill (and Culp's Hill) from the rear ain't Longstreet's fault.

As a result of Sickle's forward move, the AoP did most of their fighting on the 2nd "piece meal". Brigades being thrown into the fray one or two at a time etc. NOT (IMO) the way to fight a battle...


s.c.

littlepowell
SC, USA
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Posts: 399
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Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 3:44:55 PM

Quote:
littlepowell

I have a little trouble with the attack "wrapping" around the Union left....since it is my understanding the the point of the attack was Cemetary Hill, and not the Union left. Wherever it might have been -:)

s.c.
--Steve Clements


Well either way, massive carnage can be had on Sickles if he had stayed put (if planned properly.)
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Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 415

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/10/2017 3:55:23 PM

Quote:

Quote:
littlepowell

I have a little trouble with the attack "wrapping" around the Union left....since it is my understanding the the point of the attack was Cemetary Hill, and not the Union left. Wherever it might have been -:)

s.c.
--Steve Clements


Well either way, massive carnage can be had on Sickles if he had stayed put (if planned properly.)

--littlepowell


Not sure I agree.

By moving forward, Sickles created a salient that was vulnerable from multiple sides. Plus, he did not have nearly enough men to defend the position that he took.

My bias is that his infantry would have been in a position to have offered up much stiffer resistance, had Sickles kept the III corps on the line that Meade wanted. And the help that would have been sent to him was already at hand (the V corps), plus his right would have been linked up with the II corps.

In fact, given that Longstreet's target was Cemetary Hill, Longstreet's right flank would have been vulnerable to Sickles' properly placed infantry. Which is why Longstreet argued that he should have been allowed to try and go around Meade's right....But (IMO) Sickles played right into Longstreet's hands...and offered up his left flank to Hood's attack.

s.c.

littlepowell
SC, USA
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E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/11/2017 2:35:40 PM
Massive carnage, as in the simulated game version.

When the player attacks the advanced line--Peach Orchard, Wheat field, Devils Den, he is all used up by the time he makes it to the Round Tops. And by this time, Union forces are sending reinforcements, 5th Corps troops etc.

The historic line, the player can organize a concentrated attack on one line instead of two and send the enemy running..
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http://www.scourgeofwar.com/ - Historical tactical combat games for PC.

GregT
Three Rivers, MA, USA
top 50
E-4 Specialist
Posts: 66

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/13/2017 3:41:04 PM
If Sickle's had remained on CR connected to the 2nd Corp and Longstreet attacked up the ER as planned, just who and how would he have "rolled up".

They would have been passing in the 2nd and 3rd Corps front. The original plan did not include LRT or DD.

I can't picture how they could "roll up" anyone. The 2 Union Corp would have been on their right flank the whole way to CH.

Not to mention 5th and 6th Corp assistance.

littlepowell
SC, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 399
http://www.scourgeofwar.com/
Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/14/2017 10:30:16 AM
Steve/Greg - You're probably both right.. But it's still fun to speculate. I'm just going by what I can accomplish in a simulated, game environment. Scourge Of War is realistic.. But nothing can truly match the real thing.
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jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
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E-4 Corporal


Posts: 173

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/14/2017 9:44:34 PM

Quote:
If Sickle's had remained on CR connected to the 2nd Corp and Longstreet attacked up the ER as planned, just who and how would he have "rolled up".

They would have been passing in the 2nd and 3rd Corps front. The original plan did not include LRT or DD.

I can't picture how they could "roll up" anyone. The 2 Union Corp would have been on their right flank the whole way to CH.

Not to mention 5th and 6th Corp assistance.
--GregT


Greg,

You might be taking "up the Emmitsburg Road" a bit too literally. The ER is a reference line. The original plan had Longstreet attacking the federal left in a roughly south-north direction with the ER as a guide, so to speak.

Yours,
JohnT

GregT
Three Rivers, MA, USA
top 50
E-4 Specialist
Posts: 66

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/15/2017 5:06:09 PM
Hi John

To my understanding LRT and the DD were never in the original path of the planned attack.

To hit the Union flank they would have to go through both.

jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 173

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/16/2017 4:49:25 PM

Quote:
Hi John

To my understanding LRT and the DD were never in the original path of the planned attack.

To hit the Union flank they would have to go through both.
--GregT



Lee and Longstreet featured the federal line to be much shorter, as in not even as far as the northern base of LRT. Rather than describe the original plan in words, I will ask you to look at a map on this page. [Read More] The map at the top shows what actually happened. There is one below, labeled Lee's Plan for July 2, which I think will be helpful.

Yours,

JohnT

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


Posts: 548

Re: Picketts Charge
Posted on: 8/17/2017 11:28:11 AM
I would exercise caution when considering any source which relates in detail Lee’s initial plan for Longstreet’s attack on 2 July.

Harry Pfanz, who knows something about that phase of the battle, wrote:
”This plan was not drawn up on paper by Lee or his staff, nor was it promulgated in any written orders that have survived. Rather it comes to us in fragments from reports and accounts of the battle prepared by officers who could write with assurance of only those portions of the plan that applied to their commands.”

And, a bit farther on:
”He (Lee) explained how he wanted McLaws to attack the Peach Orchard, but we do not know what was prescribed for Hood.”
Pfanz,
(Gettysburg The Second Day, sc ed, pp 113)

That last quote is significant because Hood’s division comprised half of Longstreet’s attacking force.
---------------
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

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