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The current time is: 8/21/2017 11:37:39 PM
 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg    
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general jackson
Mt. Gilead, NC, USA
New User
E-2 Private


Posts: 7

Question on Longstreet's counter-march
Posted on: 4/30/2017 12:14:37 PM
I have been reading an article on Gettysburg by General McLaws in the SHSP Vol. 7, p. 69

“I then reconnoitred myself for my own information, and was soon convinced that by crossing the ridge where I then was, my command could reach the point indicated by General Lee, in a half hour, without being seen. [1] At length - my recollection is that it was about 1 P. M. - Major Johnston, of General Lee's staff, came to me and said he was ordered to conduct me on the march. My command was at once put in motion - Major Johnston and myself riding some distance ahead.
Suddenly, as we rose a hill on the road we were taking, the Round Top was plainly visible, with the flags of the signal men in rapid motion. [2] I sent back and halted my division and rode with Major Johnston rapidly around the neighborhood to see if there was any road by which we could go into position without being seen. Not finding any [3] I joined my command and met General Longstreet there.”
Source: Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 7, p. 69


Now my question(s) are…….

A. If McLaws had found a route by crossing the ridge where he was then, and could reach the point in a half hour without being seen [1]……..then why not, once it was found that they could not go by the route Johnston was using without being seen [2], go back and cross the ridge that McLaws, by his own reconnaissance, they could reach the point indicated by Lee, in a half hour, without being seen?

B. When searching around the area for a road to get to the position indicated by Lee without being seen but could not find one [3]………….why did not McLaws point out to Longstreet the ridge where McLaws said they could cross without being seen and reach the point in a half-hour?


Respectfully,
William

---------------
" Slavery is the overwhelming cause that led to secession.....Cause of the war - Disunion....Cause of disunion - Slavery "

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


Posts: 94

Re: Question on Longstreet's counter-march
Posted on: 5/1/2017 5:48:09 AM
Good questions....and while I have no answer..lol ...I just want to expand on the thought by asking why couldn't they just follow the path of Alexanders guns which were there before and most definitely would have left some sort of path....... Also why did Longstreet allow McClaws to turn around and countermarch, a long and time consuming task as opposed to turning around and leading with Hood's men - which would seem to be a quicker solution...

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: 547

Re: Question on Longstreet's counter-march
Posted on: 5/1/2017 6:29:47 AM
The answer to both of your questions is the same.

McLaws was not in command.
Longstreet was in command.

McLaws and Johnston, after discovering that if they continued on the road the column could be observed by the SS on LRT, rode around the immediate vicinity to see if there was an alternate route nearby.

Finding no route nearby, McLaws related that he rode back to his command and found Longstreet there.
From that point on, the decisions were Longstreet’s to make.

McLaws related that he did inform Longstreet of the route he had taken earlier, but that they would have to countermarch to get to it.
---------------
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

general jackson
Mt. Gilead, NC, USA
New User
E-2 Private


Posts: 7

Re: Question on Longstreet's counter-march
Posted on: 5/1/2017 11:08:27 AM

Quote:


McLaws related that he did inform Longstreet of the route he had taken earlier, but that they would have to countermarch to get to it.

--Rick Schaus





Thanks Rick,

Is that the route they finally took?


Respectfully,
William
---------------
" Slavery is the overwhelming cause that led to secession.....Cause of the war - Disunion....Cause of disunion - Slavery "

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


Posts: 547

Re: Question on Longstreet's counter-march
Posted on: 5/16/2017 11:05:34 AM

Quote:

Quote:

McLaws related that he did inform Longstreet of the route he had taken earlier, but that they would have to countermarch to get to it.
--Rick Schaus

Thanks Rick,
Is that the route they finally took?
Respectfully,
William
--general jackson

William,

I don’t think so.

McLaws related about the countermarch: ”After very considerable difficulty, owing to the rough character of the country in places and the fences and ditches we had to cross, the countermarch was effected,…”.
That indicates a difficult route that would take more time that the half an hour route that McLaws related he had taken earlier.

Various accounts describe the countermarch.

Kershaw, in B&L 3, related that ”We moved back to the place where we had rested during the morning, and thence by a country road to Willoughby Run, then dry, and down that to the school-house beyond Pitzer's. There we turned to the left through the lane, moving directly toward Little Round Top.”

Longstreet, in the same volume. Stated:
”To avoid that point the direction of the troops was changed. Again I found there was some delay, and ordering Hood's division, then in the rear, to move on and double with the division in front, so as to save as much time as possible, I went forward again to see the cause of the delay. It seemed there was doubt again about the men being concealed, when I stated that I could see the signal station, and there was no reason why they could not see us. It seemed to me useless, therefore, to delay the troops any longer with the idea of concealing the movement, and the two divisions advanced.”

In another account Longstreet related:
”I became very impatient at this delay, and determined to take upon myself the responsibility of hurrying the troops forward. I did not order General McLaws forward, because, as the head of the column, he had direct orders from General Lee to follow the conduct of Colonel Johnston. Therefore, I sent orders to Hood, who was in the rear and not encumbered by these instructions, to push his division forward by the most direct route, so as to take position on my right. He did so, and thus broke up the delay. The troops were rapidly thrown into position, and preparations were made for the attack.”
(Longstreet, Lee in Pennsylvania)

The two Longstreet accounts give me the impression that he thought that the countermarch distance and time were minimal.
Longstreet also indicated that staying unseen by the SS on LRT was not for long the primary reason for the countermarch, but ending the delay caused by the turnaround became the primary reason for Longstreet’s decision.

The countermarch was observed from the LRT SS.

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

 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg    
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