|View single post by pamc153PA|
|Posted: Fri Jul 31st, 2009 06:49 pm||
|I've always thought Doubleday got the bum's rush at Gettysburg, but I think there were a few things that led to Meade's decision to do that, right or wrong, as we look back in hindsight.
Meade, coming onto the field late on the first day, July 1, didn't have the luxury of rumination about who he was going to choose to replace Reynolds. I'm sure Howard put his two cents' worth in about who it should be. Really, Meade had only four generals to realistically choose from: Doubleday, David Birney, Carl Schurz (too much the political appointee for Meade's liking), and John Newton.
Doubleday had done a terrific job at taking over command of the First Corps after Reynolds had been killed, which I'm sure Meade could admit, but unfortunately Doubleday also had a reputation for command indecision otherwise that was just, well, okay-- hence the nickname "Forty-Eight Hours." Meade knew that, too, and had little confidence in him. Maj. General John Newton had no experience leading a corps, and he wasn't considered particularly brilliant, but of the two, Meade preferred Newton.
Doubleday, of course, considered this a snub (which it was), and when his formal request to receive command of the I Corps several days later (after he was wounded in the neck on Day 2 of the battle, and received a brevet to colonel in the regular army for his service) was rebuffed, it only added insult to injury--literally. He left for Washington on July 7, where he assumed administrative duties. The men of the First Corps also felt this was an insult--they had seen Doubleday's command on the field July 1--and they felt Newton was not a "First Corps man."
Newton retained command of the First Corps until the Army of the Potomac was reorganized in 1864 for the Overland Campaign, and then he was sent to the Army of the Cumberland.