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 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/6/2022 11:18:09 AM
Have largely ignored Gettysburg for the last six or seven years...but reading Larry's posts sent me back to my bookshelf, and I re-read my copy of Pfanz's "Second Day" And am now picking my way thru his "Culp's Hill & Cemetery Hill".

What I cannot get over - and would be interested in generating a discussion about - is the extent to which Lee's attacks were so badly coordinated.

Longstreet attacks. Crushes the III corps, and pulls the V corps and much of the II corps into the fray. Eventually, every corps except the XI sends support to the attack on Cemetery Ridge/Hill.

What does Anderson do? Well, three brigades go in (and Wright gets close to the High Water Mark), but the fourth (Posey) never crosses the Emmitsburg Road, and the fifth, Mahone DOES NOTHING! Where was Anderson?? Where was Lee, for that matter. And even if Mahone and Posey 'go in', there is zero fallow through from the balance of Hill's corps. Was that correct???

As for Early's attack on Cemetery Hill. He is supposed to attack as soon as he hears that Longstreet's attack has commenced. Does he? No friggin' way. Early (Ewell) waits until dark to attack, (actually after Johnson has already begun his nighttime attack on Culp's Hill .... where five brigades have already left for the Union left (well, Geary took two brigades off to nowhere...but that is a separate issue).

So....basically Early chooses to wait until 7:00 or later (Longstreet attacked around 4:00/4:30), and even then, only attacks with two brigades, never sends in Gordon's brigade....mind you, those two brigades did a lot of damage. And what about Rodes??? He does NOTHING??? I mean, WTF??

If Posey and Mahone go in, and Ewell attacks Cemetery Hill with maybe seven or eight brigades from Early and Rodes' divisions (ignoring Johnson's useless attack on Culp's Hill....which was a complete waste of manpower...) and crushes Cemetery Hill, we might well have seen a completely different battle result....one that would not have required what I regard as a complete waste of good infantry during the PPT frontal assault on Day Three.

Hope to post more as I work my way thru "Culp's Hill & Cemetery Hill"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/6/2022 3:55:55 PM
All those tropes about Gettysburg, I suppose, Steve : lack of concerted action attributable to the exterior lines making communication more difficult, execution of orders even more so. Lack of Stonewall Jackson, a different command structure with two of the three corps commanders a tad out of their depth. Lee wasn’t well, he was agitated about the whereabouts of JEB Stuart. Of paramount importance, IMHO, was the lack of a sufficiently large staff to help Lee fight the battle that he might have done.

I don’t know how far these disadvantages impinged on the Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill sector in particular.

There are two aspects that I suggest might be pertinent to Confederate failure here : the casualties suffered by Rodes’s division on Day One were very heavy, not sufficiently recognised in some narratives.
Every bit as bad as the bloodshed endured by Heth’s division that day, and rivalling that suffered by Longstreet’s two divisions on Day Two. Did this degrade the necessary zeal for battle at a crucial time on Day Two ?

Then there was the destruction of the rebel artillery on Benner’s Hill, which I suspect did much to undermine southern prospects.

Last and not least, some first rate fighting by the yankees of Pap Greene’s command.

More to come,

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
GregT
Three Rivers MA USA
Posts: 139
Joined: 2013
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/6/2022 4:32:17 PM
IIRC Posey got bogged down dealing with skirmishers around the Bliss farm buildings and Mahone claimed to have gotten orders not to advance.

As far as Anderson and especially Hill, they seem to have been sort of MIA on July 2.
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/6/2022 6:40:03 PM
Quote:
There are two aspects that I suggest might be pertinent to Confederate failure here : the casualties suffered by Rodes’s division on Day One were very heavy, not sufficiently recognised in some narratives.
Every bit as bad as the bloodshed endured by Heth’s division that day, and rivalling that suffered by Longstreet’s two divisions on Day Two. Did this degrade the necessary zeal for battle at a crucial time on Day Two ?


I wonder about that....three of Rodes' brigades took fairly heavy casualties on Day One.

Beginnings of Pfanz's chapter 14 on "Culps' Hill....". States that Ewell/Early was supposed to attack at 4:00. But didn't do so 'til 7:30. But no explanation. And this is a failure that demands an explanation!!

Was it Early's fault (he tended to dominate Ewell) for the late start? Was he gun shy about sending two brigades into the teeth of infantry and artillery, on what would be essentially a frontal assault? And guessed that the cover of darkness would reduce casualties??

But ultimately the blame has to lie with Ewell, it was his corps. Everyone whines about how late Longstreet's attack started i..e 4:00 or 4:30...but that only two out of the eight brigades in Early's and Rodes' divisions managed to attack at all is (IMO) beyond forgivable. I frankly think that the mismanagement of the Early/Rodes's attack on Cemetery Hill is the single largest Confederate 'faux pas' of the battle. What was Ewell thinking? Why didn't Lee ride herd on this corps??? I mean, its not like they were half an hour late, they were three and a half hours late, for God's sake!!!! Why wasn't someone hung up to dry for this??? I mean, Rodes had virtually ALL FRIGGIN' day to plan his divisions' attack....and did next to nothing. Not that Rodes' performance on Day One was any roaring hell either.

Given back to back screw ups, why was he still commanding a division AFTER Gettysburg?

s.c.
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/6/2022 6:42:32 PM
Quote:
IIRC Posey got bogged down dealing with skirmishers around the Bliss farm buildings and Mahone claimed to have gotten orders not to advance.

As far as Anderson and especially Hill, they seem to have been sort of MIA on July 2.


I understand what happened to Mahone and Posey....the question is why this was allowed to happen. What the heck were Anderson, Hill and Lee doing?

s.c.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 2:48:14 AM
Steve,

Your sense of outrage comes over loud and clear.

It certainly makes me want to investigate the story of this fighting that has assumed a Cinderella like aspect in the history of the battle.

I’ll venture a suggestion : the failure of the AoNV to act in concert at Gettysburg might be attributable to Lee’s genteel manner of command, which flourished when he had Jackson on hand to deliver rebuke and instill a necessary sense of urgency. That’s hardly a novel suggestion, but it might be especially pertinent in this sector of the battlefield.

Lee didn’t like administering bollockings, especially to fellow Virginian officers.

How many of the high ranking officers in the fighting for Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill were Virginians ?

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
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 9:50:24 AM

Quote:
I’ll venture a suggestion : the failure of the AoNV to act in concert at Gettysburg might be attributable to Lee’s genteel manner of command, which flourished when he had Jackson on hand to deliver rebuke and instill a necessary sense of urgency. That’s hardly a novel suggestion, but it might be especially pertinent in this sector of the battlefield.


Strongly agree.

But what I am most frustrated with is much of the scholarship of the CW. Pfanz's two volume set dealing with Day Two is a prime example. Not enough maps and too much minutia-:) Pfanz does his best to describe, in great detail, what every regiment did and where they went etc. Great. We now know that the 66th Ohio sent two companies into town to get takeout from Burger King, and that the Burger King was out of Whoppers-:)

But his maps are very general, and few and far between (which is a common criticism that I would make of many CW battle books...) And unless you have spent a LOT of time on, say, Culp's Hill/Cemetery Hill, or have a photographic memory, it can be next to impossible to follow the troop movements - in your head - that he describes. And if you have never been on the battlefield, well....good luck.

But while Pfanz gives us great detail about individual regimental movements, he says next to nothing about the big issues. Yeah, he does note where Anderson's HQ was (too far from the front), but there is nothing at all about where Ewell and Early were....and no attempt to deal with the big issues, i.e. Early and Rodes were supposed to attack at 4:00...Early does not go into battle until dusk (at best), and of course, Rodes does NOTHING!!! These are the issues that I want Pfanz to deal with .... in as much detail as possible. Yes, he does (briefly) explain the difficulties that Rodes' division will have getting out of the town, and in a position to actually attack. But that is frankly obvious. What is NOT obvious, is why Rodes did not prepare in advance to do what needed to be done. Why was Rodes not court martialled for what amounts to dereliction of duty???

One of my favourite CW books is Hugh Bicheno's "Gettysburg". Have you read it (not sure that it is available in the US...)? No detail at all...but lots of paragraphs dealing with the major issues of the battle, of which there are plenty to talk about.

The two Gettysburg issues that are often dealt with are IMO largely a waste of time Specifically, why Longstreet was so slow on Day Two (he wanted to give Sickles time to completely fuck up the Union infantry dispositions...and yes I am being a little sarcastic here) and whether or not Ewell wasted an opportunity to take Culp's Hill on the evening of Day One (which to me is a non starter...but that is a subject for another day_)

s.c.
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1479
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 10:34:07 AM
Just picked up on this excellent thread. My knowledge of what happened and didn't happen with Mahone , Rode's and Early on July 2nd is that all three needed clear firm orders and too be watched to make sure they did what told to do. Rode's I will cut a little slack because his division was so smashed up on July-1. Lee need to have had a corps commanders conference the night of July-1 and give clear, direct no nonsense orders of what he wanted from each commander. After the debacle he got from his people on July-2 Lee absolutely needed to call his commanders together and tell them flat out to get their shit together. As for Anderson and A.P. Hill maybe it's better they were all but invisible. It doesn't seem they much interest in being at Gettysburg.

Larry.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 10:49:28 AM
Steve,

You stole my thunder regarding Hugh Bicheno’s book.

I was just going to post about it !

He’s actually quite explicit on the possibility of Rodes’s men being understandably reluctant to press home a big attack : forgive me if I opine that your description of his casualties on Day One being “ fairly heavy “ is an understatement.

I think that Bicheno’s book gives more bang for your buck than any other book of that size if you seek a concise and balanced account that looks at the big picture of the battle and retains an entertaining and sometimes controversial edge.

The maps are simple yet singularly effective .

Bicheno seems to have an awareness of the nature of soldiers in combat.

He also provides a good historiographical slant, especially regarding Jubal Early and his Lost Cause narrative. He credits Early with good combat skills, but clearly thinks that the narrative has been distorted by Old June’s toxic influence on the story of the battle.

Bicheno’s account of the fighting for the Union Right makes the outcome more understandable.

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
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 11:44:30 AM
Phil,

Quote:
Bicheno seems to have an awareness of the nature of soldiers in combat.


Agreed! He does come across as someone that has been shot at. His observations about Barlow (he suggested that Barlow might have been fragged) were particularly "interesting'....


Quote:
Lee didn’t like administering bollockings, especially to fellow Virginian officer


Had to look up the word 'bollockings' -:)

In the back of my mind, I am humming the tune to "God Save the Queen and her Fascist Regime" (from the album, "Never mind the bollocks, we're the Sex Pistols").

s.c.
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 845
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/7/2022 12:02:50 PM
Quote:
... is that all three needed clear firm orders and too be watched to make sure they did what told to do. Rode's I will cut a little slack because his division was so smashed up on July-1. Lee need to have had a corps commanders conference the night of July-1 and give clear, direct no nonsense orders of what he wanted from each commander.


Larry,

My understanding is that the orders were pretty clear. When they could hear evidence of Longstreet attacking, Early and Rodes are to attack.

Now, if Longstreet attacks at 4:00....and 30 or 40 minutes later, there is still no sign that Rodes and Early are attacking, shouldn't Lee 'do something'? Like send multiple couriers over to Ewell's/Early's HQ? Did Lee do anything over the course of three and a half hours to spur on the attacks by Ewell's divisions?

By the way .... I may not comment on your Gettysburg newspaper postings, but I do enjoy them.

s.c.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/8/2022 5:21:29 AM
Steve,

Larry posted an article from North Carolina which was dated July 30 1863, which cites the report of the commander of the 3rd N.C regiment.

My response shows that I might well have underestimated the severity of the loss suffered by the rebels who attacked late in the second day at Culp’s Hill.

I hope Mike sees this…. I quibbled with his assessment, and I’m anxious to emphasise my own doubts.

It had been my impression that the attack delivered that evening was too tentative and that it failed to press home with sufficient scale and vigour.

Hence the much greater loss suffered the following morning, when the intense fighting played to the strengths of the yankees in position, having consolidated after the scare of the night before which the rebels failed to exploit.

I’m convinced that the men of Rodes’s division were reluctant to get stuck in after their traumatic experience of the first day.

I’ve checked my sources, and can confirm that Rodes’s division lost even more men killed than those of either Hood or McClaws, and that’s saying something.

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
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/8/2022 7:34:12 AM
Judging by some statistics I’ve seen, it appears that the fighting at Culp’s Hill entailed a stupefying amount of lead flying around. This was a feature of all Civil War battles, but I wonder if it reached a unique level on the morning of 3 July. If we were to assess the number of rounds expended against the numbers of men hit, the fight must’ve been a contender for the greatest weight of lead per hit.

The amount of Yankee ordnance assembled to protect the Union Right was staggering. No wonder poor “Boy Latymer” and his men were smashed up on Benner’s Hill !

The failure of the rebels to establish an artillery platform in that sector was an important factor in the outcome of the battle.

There were some skilful and resolute Louisiana soldiers who exploited the terrain and managed to penetrate the Yankee gun line in the Cemetery Hill fighting. They sustained losses that were remarkably modest given the boldness of the attack. This begs the question: does boldness and resolve in attack sometimes reduce casualties ? Bicheno’s book alludes to this.

I reckon that the ratio of casualties inflicted by sharpshooters was unusually high in the Cemetery Hill front.

Gordon’s Brigade, for example : few men killed on the triumphant first day , but a significant number perished by the end of the battle. I wonder if the relentless sharp shooting accounted for this


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
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 150
Joined: 2020
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/8/2022 12:20:10 PM

08082022
Phil,
Your totally right I didn’t try to prorate losses culps hill between 2nd and 3rd. I agree something like 2/3 – ¾ losses on the 3rd vs 2nd. Both days roughly two hours main combat. Phil, do you have numbers losses for both days by the day??. 3rd day again Rebs didn’t put in all troops at once but oneals daniels stuarts and walkers brigades made separate attacks. Jones and Nichols brigades supported with musketry only. So something of forlorn hope on 3rd.

With respect to other threads – Panz, 2nd day, high ground & Lee’s leadership style. Yes at Gettysburg the weakness of his approach was glaring.
But (Phil help me if you can) couple points/lessons from Gen Patton (yes another world)
1) Mistake for commanders to try to command too low down. Meaning Army commanders should command corps, corps divisions, divisions regiments etc.
2) General should give object and state the time, place and force to attack, but the division commander/ regiments should figure out the How, based on terrain, enemy dispositions & forces etc.
Orders like: 2nd corps attack enemy on High Hill tomorrow at 5am take hill and move to the right etc. (my example). Clearly didn’t work at Gettysburg.
But something of an explanation for Lee. He could not command three corps or nine divisions he had to rely on subordinates.

And I had to look up “bullocksing.”
But again as explanation not defense; Lees didn’t go in for dressing down; AP Hill after Bristoe Sta, Stuart at Gettysburg, Longstreet, even Jackson after seven days. He saw his generals as professional responsible for sound performance of duty and little value in drawn-out disputations. The task was tough enough without spending energy on personalities and bickering.
Clearly this didn’t always work out well. Particularly with the set of his “Cavalier” gentry officers who were always ready to take offense at any slight, real or perceived.

thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5528
Joined: 2004
Pfanz and the Second Day
8/8/2022 2:50:20 PM
Mike,

The confederate casualties for the entire battle are now available by the best research : something that had, until recently, been considered impossible.

The trouble is , the figures are not available day by day, although we can make some well informed guesses backed up by anecdotal evidence.

The Culp’s Hill fight cost the South more blood than the First Battle of Mannassas. Johnson’s division suffered two thousand casualties, and I would reckon that two thirds of these were sustained in the morning of July 3. There were perhaps eight hundred additional casualties suffered by other Second Corps units, and we can legitimately assume that virtually all these can be assigned to the third day.

That implies several hundred rebel casualties in the evening of the Second Day, and at least a couple of thousand in the morning of the Third.

This is suggested with diffidence, but I can flesh out the estimate if required.

Four thousand casualties were suffered at Culp’s Hill by the two armies, seventy per cent of them confederate.

The Yankee loss was inflated unnecessarily by a forlorn counter attack, and it should be noted that the loss of the 137th New York was very heavy.

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

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