j harold 587
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|General Lee basically followed conventional military wisdom of the time when assaulting a triangle defense. The fish hook is a turn of the century term. As taught at West Point on a traingle you strike both legs (flanks) to pull reserves to there thereby weakening the center by pulling the reserves away from the center. Even with the heavy commitment to the Picket, Pettigrew, Trimble charge ther were enough CSA troops to exploit a breakthrough in the center to keep the flanks from closing in on the break threw. It would have been difficult to redirect the artillery toward the break threw and not fire on friendly forces due to the legs of the triangle. CSA artillery just had to maintain their presure if they had adequate ammunition to support a break threw.
US forces were not taken by suprise by the assault on the center. Sears in his book relates that units with smooth bore muskets near the highwater mark were putting double loads ( two charges of buck and ball on one powder charge) togeather on the evening of the second day as their commanders were anticipating being hit hard on the next day.