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The current time is: 4/26/2017 9:23:48 PM
 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg    
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 12:29:08 AM

McLaws Division went in in two lines with Kershaw and Barksdale in the first line to be followed and supported by Semmes and Wofford. My question is what happened to Wofford who was supposed to be supporting Barksdale?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


gettysburgerrn
massapequa, NY, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 91

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 5:01:53 AM
I believe he was directed down the wheatfield road to crush the remaining resistance in the Wheatfield......

Ken
---------------
"You will find a great many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view...." Obi Wan Kenobi

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 12:31:17 PM
Good question.

According to McLaws and Longstreet, Longstreet rode with Wofford’s brigade as they attacked, so it is possible that Longstreet directed Wofford to the right of Barksdale, who was having no problem breaking the Federal line in his front.

My SWAG is that either Wofford (probably) or Longstreet saw a threat to Barksdale’s right and advanced to protect it thus leaving Barksdale’s rear, and immediate support.

Wofford did drive the Federals from his front to LRT, but, obviously, was not able to support Barksdale’s advance as it finally faltered as it became disorganized, and ran into increasing Federal resistance.

Barksdale’s 21st MS advanced to the right of the rest of the brigade, towards the east to meet the threat to the brigade’s right, which may have contributed to Wofford’s direction.
---------------
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

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 1:56:55 PM
The only information that I have ever seen is that the 3rd Georgia Battalion Sharpshooters formed the advanced skirmish line for Wofford and centered upon what is now the Wheat-field road. This would indicate to me that the brigade was given the direction of march by Longstreet...as they prepared to advance. I am convinced that Longstreet recognized the action in the vicinity of the wheat field was not decided..and that Wofford must be committed there to support Barksdale`s flank and rear. And to solidify that sector by conjunction with Kershaw, once Barksdale had relieved the artillery pressure on Kershaw`s force by his rapid advance.
What is so hard is that Wofford does not seem to have been very fond of detailed after action reports...or many of them are missing, one or the other. Wofford seemed more interested in fightin` than writin` about fightin`.

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

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 4:04:28 PM
This is what Kershaw had to say about Wofford’s attack:

”When Barksdale passed to the left, the regiments of my left wing moved up into the wood on the left of the stony hill, and maintained that position against heavy odds, until the advance of Wofford's brigade.
When the enemy fell back from the stony hill on General Wofford's advance, the loth South Carolina and a portion of Semmes's brigade followed them and joined Wofford in his attack upon the retreating column. I rallied the remainder of my brigade and Semmes's at Rose's, with the assistance of Colonel Sorrel of Longstreet's staff, and advanced with them to the support of Wofford, taking position at the stone wall overlooking the forest to the right of Rose's house, some two hundred yards in front. Finding that Wofford's men were coming out, I retained them at that point to check any attempt of the enemy to follow.”


(Kershaw: Kershaw’s Brigade at Gettysburg, B&L 3, pp 337)
---------------
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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1801

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/24/2017 8:57:33 PM
From memory I recall that Wofford's brigade was held back in reserve, behind Barksdale's brigade as Barksdale, Kershaw and Semmes went forward. As Barksdale drifted left ( north) Longstreet ordered Wofford through the gap between Barksdale's and Kershaw's brigade and charging down the Whatfield Road slammed into the flank of Zook's brigade which caused the Union line to collapse. They then engaged the right flank of Burbank's brigade as it atempted to relieve Sweitzer's brigade and then overran Walcott's battery.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Scott Brown
MA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 157

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/25/2017 1:17:03 PM
But the thing is, with the exception of the 21st MS, the rest of Barksdale's brigade was swinging left in effect up the Emmitsburg Road, which some folks think was the original intention of the attack.


Scott Brown
MA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 157

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/25/2017 1:17:48 PM
It sure would have been helpful to have the reports of McLaws and Wofford.

Regards,
Scott B.

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/25/2017 2:16:18 PM
Amen to that Scott. It is frustrating to have so little information to go on.

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

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/25/2017 4:17:33 PM
In an 1873 letter to McLaws Longstreet stated:

”The attack went farther than I intended that it should, and resulted in the loss of your gallant Brigadier Barksdale. It was my intention not to pursue the attack, if [it] was likely to prove the enemy’s position too strong for my two divisions. I suppose Barksdale was probably under the impression that the entire Corps was up.”

I suppose it is possible that Longstreet directed Wofford’s attack to prevent him from going too far as Barksdale was doing.
Wofford would attack in support of troops not over extended.

I am not aware of any account which stated that Longstreet, either on his own, or through McLaws, attempted to recall Barksdale.
---------------
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

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 3:25:59 AM
Rick,

I don't know if we can trust that quote from Longstreet. The two divisions sat there for a couple of hours while Alexander did his artillery prep and then the echelon makes Barksdale and Wofford the last two brigades of the two divisions to go in. Plus they sat near Lee's Hdq waiting for Law's Brigade most of the morning before marching to the flank. Also I've been reading a lot of quotes from Humphries and other members of the brigade that lead me to the conclusion that breaking the line and driving on Cemetery Ridge was the objective. Some of them last diary entries from men killed in the attack.

Maybe we can get Phil in this and get the casualty numbers for Wofford? First glance of field grade officers tells me that there was only 1 major while the field grade officers in the others of the Division got chewed up.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2011

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 12:31:21 PM
Wofford's casualties were fewer than half Barksdale's and lower than those of any other brigade in Longstreet's Corps.

His official return posted 334 casualties ( 30 KIA ; 192 WIA and 112 MIA ).

This was an understatement.

The research conducted by John Busey and son provides a total of 38 killed and 237 wounded. Of those wounded, 26 died from their wounds. In addition, 111 were unwounded POWs : total casualties of 389, including 3 men missing who somehow went off the radar. This equated to 22.43 % of the brigade's strength as of 30 June 1863.

For comparison, the percentage casualty rates for the other brigades in Longstreet's corps were :

Law : 25.59

Robertson : 33.01

Benning : 37.36

Anderson : 39.63

Kershaw : 28.4

Barksdale : 46.34

Semmes : 29.62

Armistead : 59.52

Kemper : 41.43

Garnett : 58.46

These figures are all from Busey & Busey.

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: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 1:40:22 PM
John,

I don’t particularly trust anything Longstreet wrote, mainly because he contradicted himself so much in his numerous accounts.


I have no doubt that Longstreet, Hood, and McLaws knew the attack was supposed to be made up the Emmitsburg Road.
However, of the eight brigades in Longstreet’s two divisions, only three of Barksdale’s regiments actually advanced (after breaking the Federal line) in what could be considered “up the Emmitsburg Road”, and that was after he attacked to the east, and then turned.

Longstreet’s attack, as executed, was not up the ER.


McLaws related that he was ordered to attack, and then ordered to wait for Hood.
He also related Barksdale’s impatience, and that Longstreet delayed Barksdale’s attack.

He stated:
”Coming on at a double quick the whole line as it advanced became heavily engaged, Kershaw and Semmes acting together on the right. These brigades gave mutual assistance, contending against odds which would have enveloped them, but Wofford's brilliant advance struck the attacking force in their flank and the enemy gave way, pursued by the whole line.”

McLaws, who certainly knew the planned direction of the attack, did not relate that his brigade advance up the ER, but stated:
”My whole line, or nearly all, reached the stone wall at the foot of the Little Round Top, and established itself temporarily there. A portion of Wofford's brigade occupied a position really in rear of the enemy's line on the left.”


Longstreet in FMTA related Wofford’s mission:

”If we could drive in the sharp-shooters and strike Ayres's flank to advantage, we could dislodge his and Barnes's divisions, occupy the gorge behind Sykes's brigades on Round Top, force them to retreat, and lift our desperate fighters to the summit. I had one brigade —Wofford's—that had not been engaged in the hottest battle. To urge the troops to their reserve power in the precious moments, I rode with Wofford.”
---------------
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

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 4:24:25 PM
Phil, thanks for the casualty figures of Wofford`s brigade. They were involved in very fierce fighting in the wheat field and down into plum run valley. But casualty figures do not necessarily convey the situation. Wofford was able to strike the enemy forces deployed in the wheat field in the flank and rear and turn them without too very many losses. I do think, if I recall properly, that Wofford`s men, in particular the Phillips Legion, were engaged in hand to hand fighting over three regimental colors. I think two were captured, one by Cobb`s Legion, one by men in Phillip`s Legion..and the third were recovered by the gallant sacrifice of Col. Jeffords in defending his 4th Michigan colors.

Rick, it is rather interesting that Barksdale`s command was the only force that actually carried out the attack "up the Emmitsburg Road"... but the fact that Longstreet personally advanced with Wofford shows me that Longstreet was the one who was directing Wofford`s line of advance.

Wofford was a tough man to stop or reign in when his blood got up, as he proved at Gettysburg, and a few weeks earlier at Chancellorsville where he was supposed to demonstrate and hold the Federals in place...but wound up making a full out attack..and taking many Federal prisoners before McLaws could pull him back. It`s always interesting to me that Wofford was furious at being ordered to withdraw his men from plum run and demanded to know who was responsible. Yet, the next morning, with some rational thinking during the night, told Lee that the enemy was too strongly re-enforced for another attack along that sector. Something that Longstreet realized the previous evening.

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

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 7:59:41 PM

Quote:
Rick, it is rather interesting that Barksdale`s command was the only force that actually carried out the attack "up the Emmitsburg Road"... but the fact that Longstreet personally advanced with Wofford shows me that Longstreet was the one who was directing Wofford`s line of advance.
Respects, Morris
--morris crumley

Morris,

I think it’s possible that Barksdale’s three regiments simply followed the retreating Federals, as opposed to turning in order to advance up the ER IAW instructions.


You certainly could be correct that Longstreet directed Wofford’s attack.

I hesitate to agree or disagree because Longstreet did not specifically state that he directed Wofford’s attack.

Wofford himself could have made the decision, and informed Longstreet when Longstreet joined him, and Longstreet agreed with his decision.

McLaws did not indicate that he directed Wofford’s attack, but it’s possible.

Although it is very likely that Wofford was supposed to directly follow Barksdale, it is not set in stone.
Wofford may well have had the option to support Barksdale as he saw fit which would include protecting his flank.

Of course, if there was a report from Wofford in the OR, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion.

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

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 11:04:13 PM
Roger that Rick.

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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1801

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/26/2017 11:20:14 PM
After the war, General Goode Bryan who was colonel of the 16th Georgia in Wofford`s brigade at Gettysburg and after the battle took command of Semmes`s brigade, said Longstreet accompanied and directed Wofford`s brigade and as Longstreet called the attack off he raced up to him and asked him why. Goode claimed he simply answered "I order you to stop.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 1:53:51 AM
Rick,

I think it more that the last regiment of the PA Brigade directly in the path of the attack was still undefeated and the Excelsior Brigade was beyond them while Wilcox's Alabama Brigade hadn't attacked yet. Barksdale has to turn up the Emmitsburg Road or offer his flank and rear to those troops.

I've got to get the quotes from a staff officer of McLaws and a couple more from two Union staff officers about the possibilities they saw when Barksdale's attack basically kicked open the door. If Longstreet did go in with Wofford then I'm losing a lot of respect for Longstreet and I can't believe we are talking the same man that broke the line at Chickamauga and destroyed the flank in the Wilderness.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2011

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 3:34:06 AM
E.P. Alexander's account :

...Barksdale's brigade made its advance, and was soon followed by Wofford's, which Longstreet also accompanied in person. ......Wofford's inclined somewhat to the right and went to the assistance of Kershaw and Semmes, striking the flank of the Federals opposing them. .

Longstreet is an excruciatingly difficult man to pin down in the historiography : just when I've made up my mind that he was first rate, something crops up to suggest that he should go from hero to zero. And vice versa.

But if I had to make up my mind and stick to it,I would give him the thumbs up.

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

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 2:19:45 PM
Phil,

I've got accounts from multiple members of the Miss Brigade that Longstreet gave the order to advance to McLaws who then sent a staff officer to Barksdale. I then have quotes from that staff officer and at least 2 Union officers that Humphry's attack relieves the majority of pressure on Kershaw and Semmes by taking out the batteries facing them and uncovering the troops flank and rear.

If Longstreet goes in with Wofford why doesn't he see the tactical possibilities that Barksdale kicking open the door gives? Isn't the whole point of a echelon attack to draw reinforcement to the starting point of the attack and then breakthrough when no quick reinforcement is available because they have all already gone in? Longstreet holds Barksdale and Wofford in place to create the situation but then doesn't take advantage of the situation he's trying to create by holding them back?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2011

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 2:59:39 PM
John,

Are there mitigating circumstances that might account for Longstreet's failure to exploit the advantage ?

Fog of war ; recalcitrant subordinates ; the whole operation thrown out of kilter by Sickles moving forward to the ER ; or just a bad day at the office ?

Bob Krick and Jubal Early would have something to say about this.

IIRC, Kershaw's boys got raked by fearful Yankee artillery. When did this happen in relation to Wofford's advance ?

Forgive my sketchy knowledge...there are a lot of dots in the story of this sector of the battle that I haven't managed to join up.

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: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 6:55:45 PM

Quote:
After the war, General Goode Bryan who was colonel of the 16th Georgia in Wofford`s brigade at Gettysburg and after the battle took command of Semmes`s brigade, said Longstreet accompanied and directed Wofford`s brigade and as Longstreet called the attack off he raced up to him and asked him why. Goode claimed he simply answered "I order you to stop.
Trevor
--scoucer

Thanks for that, Trevor.

Is Bryan’s account (letter?) online?

Do you know exactly how Bryan stated that Longstreet gave Wofford his instructions?

I ask that because I remembered (finally) the Gettysburg #22 article Wofford Sweeps the Wheatfield, by Jay Jorgensen, and read it.
Jorgensen stated:
”Wofford decided to push to the right of Mississippians. He guided his brigade on Wheatfield Road heading east towards the Wheatfield.”
(pp 37)

I assume, maybe wrongly, that Jorgensen was aware of Bryan’s account, and would have acknowledged Longstreet as the source of Wofford’s instructions.


If Bryan was accurate, then Longstreet with his orders to Wofford (although riding with Wofford would in itself indicate Longstreet’s approval), sealed the fate of his attack up the ER, not to mention Barksdale and his three isolated regiments.

The numerous accounts that locate Longstreet with Wofford, confirm Longstreet’s FMTA account (which I posted earlier) that Longstreet’s revised objective was LRT, ”and lift our desperate fighters to the summit.”

Unfortunately, Longstreet failed to notify Anderson of that fact and Anderson’s brigades, Wilcox’s, Lang’s, Wright’s and part of Posey’s advanced in support of Barksdale and his three regiments who were moving farther than Longstreet had planned, and not Longstreet’s two divisions as planned.

The heavy casualties suffered by Anderson’s brigades were for no purpose.

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

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1801

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 7:28:46 PM
Rick,

I read it in Gottfried, Bradley M. Brigades of Gettysburg. New York: Da Capo Press.

but I can´t remember what source Gottfried used.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 7:58:34 PM
Rick,

But at a certain point Barksdale stops his attack up the ER(Klinger House knoll?) and turns toward Cemetery Ridge. I really think Barksdale attacking up the ER is more a tactical necessity than his plan. That last regiment is holding and firing into the 18th Miss flank and has to be dealt with and when that is dealt with there is another brigade with it's flank inviting attack. It becomes like a snowball rolling downhill


---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 2/28/2017 11:44:37 PM
Phil,

I may be mistaken but I believe that Humphrey with the 21st Miss alone takes out or forces to displace most of the batteries facing Kershaw/Semmes. Wofford's advance would follow Humphrey and should be hitting unprotected flanks and rears of the troops facing Kershaw/Semmes. My problem is that if Humphrey's is attacking along the Wheatfield road with raising Holy Hell with the Third Corps Artillery with a single regiment to the foot of Cemetery Ridge why can't Longstreet going in with Wofford see the possibilities?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/1/2017 11:00:04 AM

Quote:
Rick,

I think it more that the last regiment of the PA Brigade directly in the path of the attack was still undefeated and the Excelsior Brigade was beyond them while Wilcox's Alabama Brigade hadn't attacked yet. Barksdale has to turn up the Emmitsburg Road or offer his flank and rear to those troops.

I've got to get the quotes from a staff officer of McLaws and a couple more from two Union staff officers about the possibilities they saw when Barksdale's attack basically kicked open the door. If Longstreet did go in with Wofford then I'm losing a lot of respect for Longstreet and I can't believe we are talking the same man that broke the line at Chickamauga and destroyed the flank in the Wilderness.
--John R. Price

John,

You are probably correct.

What I was thinking is that in a charge like Barksdale’s was there is a tendency for the attackers to continue on after the retreating troops, who seem to retreat towards the nearest friendly troops they see.

The retreating troops would cause disorganization as they retreated through the next line.
Additionally, the next line can’t immediately fire on the attackers for fear of hitting the retreating friendly troops.

In this case, though, it appears that despite the expected disorganization, Barksdale was able to direct his three regiments against Brewster’s brigade holding Humphrey’s left which headed them ‘up the ER’.

From Brewster’s (CO, 2nd BDE, 2nd DIV, 3rd AC) report:
”Up to this time we had not been engaged at all, but now the troops on our left being obliged to fall back, the enemy advanced upon us in great force, pouring into us a most terrific fire of artillery and musketry, both upon our front and left flank. Our men returned it with great effect, and for some time held the enemy in check, but the troops on our left being, for want of support, forced still farther back, left us exposed to an enfilading fire, before which we were obliged to fall back, which was done in good order, but with terrible loss of both officers and men.”

Having said that, whether Barksdale’s motive was to attack up the ER, or to attack Humphreys’ right, I don’t know, although Humphreys intact would pose a threat to his left and rear if he continued east.


After Humphreys’ withdrawal Barksdale would turn east to confront McGilvery’s gun line and Willard’s brigade.

---------------
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: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/1/2017 11:01:50 AM

Quote:
Rick,
But at a certain point Barksdale stops his attack up the ER(Klinger House knoll?) and turns toward Cemetery Ridge. I really think Barksdale attacking up the ER is more a tactical necessity than his plan. That last regiment is holding and firing into the 18th Miss flank and has to be dealt with and when that is dealt with there is another brigade with it's flank inviting attack. It becomes like a snowball rolling downhill
--John R. Price

I agree.
---------------
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: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/1/2017 11:17:16 AM

Quote:
Rick,
I read it in Gottfried, Bradley M. Brigades of Gettysburg. New York: Da Capo Press.
but I can´t remember what source Gottfried used.
Trevor
--scoucer

Thanks Trevor,

This is from Wofford’s brigade section of Gottfried’s Brigades…:

”As the victorious Mississippians of Barksdale’s Brigade swung left (north) to take on Humphreys’ Division on Cemetery Ridge, Wofford ordered his men to continue moving straight ahead, which caused their line of battle to stretch across Wheatfield Road and move parallel with it.”
(pp 420)


According to that the orders were Wofford’s, not Longstreet's.

---------------
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
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2011

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/1/2017 11:19:22 AM

Quote:
Phil,

I may be mistaken but I believe that Humphrey with the 21st Miss alone takes out or forces to displace most of the batteries facing Kershaw/Semmes. Wofford's advance would follow Humphrey and should be hitting unprotected flanks and rears of the troops facing Kershaw/Semmes. My problem is that if Humphrey's is attacking along the Wheatfield road with raising Holy Hell with the Third Corps Artillery with a single regiment to the foot of Cemetery Ridge why can't Longstreet going in with Wofford see the possibilities?

--John R. Price


Perhaps Humphrey was just a transcendent unit commander - albeit ony at regimental level - and saw the big picture and exploited the advantage ; while Longstreet, despite superior rank, was unable to do so.

This doesn't mean that Longstreet was a bad commander. Some officers can react reflexively , and adapt by thinking on their feet ; others need all the ducks lined up and act rather more rigidly.

Like you, John, I would have expected Longstreet - the guy who put in that superb counter attack in the Wilderness and who swept the field at Second Mannassas - to have turned Wofford's advance to better account.

But wasn't this all a hell of a pell mell fight, with regimental commanders determining the outcome : the archetypal soldiers' battle ?

There are times when a corps commander's life doesn't count said Hancock the next day. I wonder whether the commander of the Confederate First Corps counted at all on Day two at Gettysburg .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

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

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/1/2017 11:16:27 PM
From General Kershaw`s report dated 1, October 1863: ...."He [Barksdale] pushed his men quickly towards the Peach Orchard.....He then turned them to the north-east, and began sweeping away the Union Brigades of Graham and Humphrey`s division who were posted along the Emmitsburg Road. Supporting Barksdale`s advance was General William Tatum Wofford`s brigade of Georgians. Accompanying the Georgians was none other than General Longstreet himself, who it seems diverted General Wofford`s brigade to support General Anderson`s men near the Stony Hill, instead of having him follow Barksdale."

One can assume this was merely a supposition made by Kershaw as to who made the decision...or it could just as well be from what was told him by Wofford or Longstreet.

Respects, Morris


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

gettysburgerrn
massapequa, NY, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 91

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/2/2017 5:10:50 AM
I wonder would it have accomplished anything to split Wofford's men into two wings with one portion driving down the Wheatfield Rd while the other portion supported Barksdale's Brigade....just a thought.....now back to lurking (and enjoying this thread immensely)

KEn
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"You will find a great many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view...." Obi Wan Kenobi

morris crumley
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 912

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/2/2017 9:13:45 AM
To me, in my opinion it comes down to this; The purpose of an en-echelon assault is to press portions of the enemy line until he weakens other portions of the line by stripping it for re-enforcement elsewhere. The Federals were doing just so, but because they held a short interior line, they were pouring in re-enforcement in order to anchor and support Sickle`s folly without seriously weakening the main line of defense. The key area of forward support by the Federals was in the wheatfield-Stony Hill sector in an attempt to fully anchor Sickle`s salient back to it`s MLD.
All the Federals had to do was stop the momentum of the Confederate attack, (Kershaw-Anderson,Semmes), and advance to a position from which they threaten the flank of any attempt by a force such as Barksdale to attack the tip of the salient. It is my opinion that Longstreet was a man who had "the ear" for what was taking place on a battlefield as well as anyone. He knew that the situation in the wheatfield sector was in danger of creating the inverse of en-echelon...the possibility of Federal forces counter-attacking a weak spot in the Confederate assault. To me, he had no choice but to try to finish the dispute in that area to allow Barksdale to continue to press his assault until he could tie in with Anderson`s division as it passed to Hill`s men. Barksdale cannot advance in any other manner but how he does without withering fire into his left flank. He throws out one regiment to his right as flank protection and pivots left...but that is not nearly enough. The only course open to Longstreet is to send Wofford in to secure Barksdale`s right flank and rear....while those Mississippi boys hammer Sickle`s big thumb.

And then things passed to a sector of little, if any, leadership.

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

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/3/2017 11:33:22 AM

Quote:
I wonder would it have accomplished anything to split Wofford's men into two wings with one portion driving down the Wheatfield Rd while the other portion supported Barksdale's Brigade....just a thought.....now back to lurking (and enjoying this thread immensely)
KEn
--gettysburgerrn

Considering that Longstreet’s two divisions, supported by Anderson’s were supposed to attack up the ER, two or three of Wofford’s regiments following Barksdale’s three would only have added to the casualty count.
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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

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


Posts: 501

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/3/2017 1:14:29 PM

Quote:
From General Kershaw`s report dated 1, October 1863: ...."He [Barksdale] pushed his men quickly towards the Peach Orchard.....He then turned them to the north-east, and began sweeping away the Union Brigades of Graham and Humphrey`s division who were posted along the Emmitsburg Road. Supporting Barksdale`s advance was General William Tatum Wofford`s brigade of Georgians. Accompanying the Georgians was none other than General Longstreet himself, who it seems diverted General Wofford`s brigade to support General Anderson`s men near the Stony Hill, instead of having him follow Barksdale."

One can assume this was merely a supposition made by Kershaw as to who made the decision...or it could just as well be from what was told him by Wofford or Longstreet.
Respects, Morris
--morris crumley

Thanks for that input, Morris.

Kershaw, at the time he wrote his report, knew Wofford’s orders were to support Barksdale.
That didn’t happen and since Longstreet was with Wofford, he logically assumed that Longstreet had diverted Wofford to support Andersen.

In his article Kershaw’s Brigade at Gettysburg, written after the war, he stated that Wofford was supposed to support Barksdale:
”… with Wofford's in Barksdale's rear supporting him.”

And:
”…and Wofford follow Barksdale.”

However, he did not mention Longstreet either redirecting Wofford, or riding with him:
”On emerging from the wood as I followed the retreat, I saw Wofford riding at the head of his fine brigade, then coming in, his left being in the Peach Orchard, which was then clear of the enemy. His movement was such as to strike the stony hill on the left, and thus turn the flank of the troops that had driven us from that position.”

We can conclude that either Kershaw was then aware that Wofford had directed his brigade, which I think is the case, or that he had forgotten that Longstreet had ridden with Wofford and may have redirected Wofford’s advance.
---------------
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

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant
Posts: 238

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/4/2017 12:37:20 AM
Rick,

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this but isn't Kershaw in effect attacking a upside down "L" shaped line? The 2nd, 8th and 3rd Bat SC hitting what is the flank of the Peach Orchard starting at the junction of the Emmitsburg and Wheatfield Road and running east toward Cemetery Ridge defended by the 68th PA, 2nd NH, 3rd ME, 7th NJ supporting 3rd Corps and Reserve Artillery batteries.(Watson, Phillips, Bigelow, Hart and Clark) Then you have the 3rd, 15th and 7th SC Hitting the "angle" defended by Zook and Kelly. Basically the attack is fragmented and disjointed and then through a misunderstanding the 2nd, 8th and 3ed Bat shift formation and offer their flank to the batteries. At that point Barksdale attacks with the 21st Miss hitting the 68th PA and driving it back. The 21st continues on down the Wheatfield Road and captures, destroys or displaces each of the 5 batteries and drives back all of their support. Once those 4 regiments and 5 batteries are delt with you are in the flank and rear of Zook and the flank of Kelly and Tildon doesn't come up for an hour. So again I'm trying to figure out if Wofford follows the 21st Miss down the Wheatfield Road and Kershaw/Semmes/Anderson ate keeping pressure on the front how does the line stand the pressure?

Edit Also I guess I shouldn't have lead this whole discussion asking why Wofford didn't "support" Barksdale. My real question is why didn't Wofford drive through the door Barksdale opened and accomplish something more?
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


gettysburgerrn
massapequa, NY, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 91

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/4/2017 5:51:56 AM
Just trying to follow....Hasn't Tilton fallen back to Trostle woods (or just north of the Wheatfield - I think its called Trostles woods)by the time Barksdale attacks? - and I believe he withdraws further as Wofford approaches..That brigade's ( Tilton's)conduct has always perplexed me.....

Ken


---------------
"You will find a great many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view...." Obi Wan Kenobi

Wayne Wachsmuth
Shippensburg, PA, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant


Posts: 218

Re: Wofford's Brigade
Posted on: 3/4/2017 9:51:04 AM
Ken,

Tilton was in the western side of Trostle's woods but since Bigelow complained of Tilton giving no support and withdrawing even farther while Bigelow was contending with the advance of the 21st MS it would seem that that part of the action is slightly before Wofford's advance down Wheatfield Road.
Wofford's advance made it to Plum Run and was halted by the blue avalanche coming over Munshower's Hill and since Wofford was probably close to his line it would have been difficult for him to see the number of Federal regiments on Munshower's hill but Longstreet would have been farther to Wofford's rear and at a higher elevation than Wofford and he should have been able to see the Federal,advance and call everybody back. I have seen an account of Wofford, pistol in hand swearing a blue streak at being withdrawn for what it's worth.

Wayne

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