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Meade at Gettysburg: A Study in Command
9/21/2022 11:42:25 AM
I just finished reading the latest book by Kent Masterson Brown, Meade at Gettysburg. This is a good read and a welcome addition to our knowledge of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The strength of the book is the discussion of the logistics and movements of the Army of the Potomac as they advanced towards Gettysburg. I also thought that Brown develops the rail-road system as it pertains to logistics and supplying the AoP.

Brown presents the concept, that the advance by I Corps and XI Corps was an Advance Guard that was to be used to lure the ANV towards the Pipe Creek Line.

A few points to ponder.
“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity,” George Patton said. “If mountain ranges and oceans can be overcome, anything made by man can be overcome.”. I don't know if Lee would have attacked the Pipe Creek line as intended by Meade. 2 months earlier, at Chancellorsville, Hooker and the Army of the Potomac were on the flank of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Hooker thought that this action would force Lee to retreat. It didn't.

It is unknown what was exactly discussed by Reynolds and Buford at Gettysburg, on the morning of July 1st, 1863. We do have the oral message that Reynolds sent to Meade, which gives us some in-sight into Reynolds' thinking: “The enemy are advancing in strong force. I fear they will get to the heights beyond the own before I can. I will fight them inch by inch, and if driven into the town, I will barricade the streets and hold them back as long as possible.”

Evidently, the high ground of Cemetery Hill must have impressed Reynolds and Buford. They might have thought that if the Confederates had occupied Cemetery Hill, the Army of the Potomac would have sustained tremendous casualties in attacking.

The Army of the Potomac would have attacked Cemetery Hill if it had been occupied by the Confederates. The ANV was a foreign army on American soil. Even McClellan attacked a foreign army on American soil, at Sharpsburg Maryland.

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Meade at Gettysburg: A Study in Command
9/21/2022 5:34:40 PM
I'll have to try to fit this into my reading.

One thought on whether Lee would have attacked at Pipe Creek. Several Civil War historians, including Bonekemper, argue that Lee's temperament and inclination was to attack the army in front of him. This is one strong argument for why he ordered Longstreet / Pickett to charge on day 3.

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Meade at Gettysburg: A Study in Command
9/21/2022 6:28:40 PM
Having toured the Pipe Creek Line, I can say that it was a formidable defensive position. If Lee had attacked in a frontal assault, it would have been another Fredericksburg, but this time for the Confederates.

We know from Chancellorsville, that Lee did not do what the Union commanders intended him to do.

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