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"Haste"--Longstreet's One Boot Off-- - Battle of Gettysburg - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Mar 20th, 2009 09:21 pm
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5fish
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I think few have ever thought this may be one of the reasons of how Lee got himself into a fix at Gettysburg. I will lead in with remarks form Gen. Longstreet to Gen. Hood: "The General(Lee) is a little nervous this yearning he wishes me to attack; I do not wish to do so without Pickett, I never like to go into battle with one boot off."

"Haste" is what Longstreet is referring to in this comment and he implies similar thoughts at other times during the Gettysburg battle. Lee was hasty to continue a battle he had not plan for causing him to plan on the fly.  He was hasty in bring a battle without thoroughly investigating the area and learn the complete situation he was facing. He was hasty to go into battle without completely consolidating his army for battle in an unknown area.

Why such haste? Lee's blood lust was the cause for this hast. Longstreet has mention this aspect of Lee's blood lust once a battle was on. At 2nd Bull Run Lee want Longstreet to attack way sooner then Longstreet was ready to do but Lee deferred the decision to Longstreet. By Lee waiting for Longstreet to 2nd Bull Run was a huge route for Lee.

Why could not Lee wait just a day before engaging the Union force before him. He would have lost nothing and gained Pickett and Stuart and have all of his pieces of his army for the battle. He would have had time to recon the union position and form a better battle, instead on planning on the go.

Think if Pickett Div. had been next to Hood's Div., "Little Round Top" would have fallen easily to Pickett's 8000plus men. He would have been at Meade's back door. Battle Over!!

"Haste" was the big enemy of Lee's at Gettysburg. He was to impatient with Blood lust for battle causing him to be hasty in his decision making and reasoning, just look at Pickett Charge. 

Longstreet knew this but was powerless to stop the General(Lee) form self destructing... 

"Haste" make waste and the Gen. Lee wasted his Army of Northern Virginia in those few days in July of 1863....

 

Some thoughts to ponder....

Last edited on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 11:55 am by 5fish



 Posted: Sat Mar 21st, 2009 05:42 pm
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Old Blu
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And what books did you get this out of?



 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 12:53 am
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barrydancer
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Can of worms? :)

First let me say that I love Longstreet, but I think he was a bit unfair in characterizing Lee in such a way. Longstreet wrote in his memoirs, From Manassas to Appomattox, "That [Lee] was excited and off his balance was evident on the afternoon of the 1st and he labored under that oppression until enough blood was shed to appease him." By the time of this writing, 1896, Longstreet had become a bitter old man and such unfair criticism mar what is otherwise a very wonderful, detailed memoir of his war service.

I don't think it was necessarily haste that Longstreet was upset with at Gettysburg, so much as it was fighting there at all.

"Why could not Lee wait just a day before engaging the Union force before him. He would have lost nothing and gained Pickett and Stuart and have all of his pieces of his army for the battle. He would have had time to recon the union position and form a better battle, instead on planning on the go.

Think if Pickett Div. had been next to Hood's Div., "Little Round Top" would have fallen easily to Pickett's 8000 plus men. He would have been at Meade's back door. Battle Over!!"

Do you mean waited after the 1st? I suppose he could have then waited until July 3 before attacking, after all the army had come up, but would Meade and the Army of the Potomac have remained idle an entire day with the enemy before them?



 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 10:52 am
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PvtClewell
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If Lee waits a day or two for his entire army to assemble, doesn't that also give Meade a day or two to assemble his army — which, in some ways, is more dispersed than Lee's at the outset?

If Meade elects to be on the defensive (as putting himself between Lee and Washington DC would require), that extra time also allows him to entrench more thoroughly. I expect you'd see a different kind of battle (if not a different outcome) at Gettysburg if there were a day or two delay for both armies to concentrate.

Gettysburg is an accidental meeting engagement, not an objective. I usually have this image in my head of Gettysburg as a big meat grinder where units were thrown in, both piecemeal and at big slabs at a time, as they arrived. Turns out, the Union had more meat.



 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 03:18 pm
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5fish
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barrydancer wrote: Can of worms? :)

First let me say that I love Longstreet, but I think he was a bit unfair in characterizing Lee in such a way. Longstreet wrote in his memoirs, From Manassas to Appomattox, "That [Lee] was excited and off his balance was evident on the afternoon of the 1st and he labored under that oppression until enough blood was shed to appease him." By the time of this writing, 1896, Longstreet had become a bitter old man and such unfair criticism mar what is otherwise a very wonderful, detailed memoir of his war service.

I don't think it was necessarily haste that Longstreet was upset with at Gettysburg, so much as it was fighting there at all.

"Why could not Lee wait just a day before engaging the Union force before him. He would have lost nothing and gained Pickett and Stuart and have all of his pieces of his army for the battle. He would have had time to recon the union position and form a better battle, instead on planning on the go.

Think if Pickett Div. had been next to Hood's Div., "Little Round Top" would have fallen easily to Pickett's 8000 plus men. He would have been at Meade's back door. Battle Over!!"

Do you mean waited after the 1st? I suppose he could have then waited until July 3 before attacking, after all the army had come up, but would Meade and the Army of the Potomac have remained idle an entire day with the enemy before them?


First, I have found no book that bring up the point that Lee may have been hasty choosing to continue the fight on July 2nd..When Lee woke up on July 2nd the union had a stronger position then he...The routed union army of July 1st was dug in on Cemetery Hill, dug in on Culp's Hill, and had grown and extended down along Cemetery Ridge...

Lee is consumed with the idea of attacking the union on July 2nd without learning getting a complete grasp of the union force before him. He seems to ignore this fact that union position had improve from July 1. He ignores the fact union force is in a stronger position then he. He forgets the fact he is noting fighting in the place of his choosing.  He is ignoring some simple keys to his own success by continuing the fight on July 2nd.

WHY is Lee ignoring the facts before him? His blood lust was raging as Longstreet has noted at different points during the war and at Gettysburg. Blood lust is an Adrenalin rush and Lee was high on his own Adrenalin buzz. Longstreet was able to control Lee's blood lust(Adrenalin buzz) at 2nd Bull Run. You should read about Lee behavior at 2nd Bull Run and you could see he was trying the get his Adrenalin fix. Lee was an Adrenalin junkie...

Look at Lee's record during the Mexican American war, you will see a man taking some big risk....He was the main recon man for Gen. Scott and he the senior engineer on Scott's staff. No one has ever question why a more junior officer was not doing what Lee was doing for Gen. Scott...Because Lee was good at it but he needed his adrenalin fixes....

I mention if Lee had waited to renew the attack on July 3rd with Pickett next to Hood think of the difference Little Round top would have turned out...the Union would not have sent anymore force round top then what was there on July 2nd. Lets be honest the union rarely ever protected its flanks well...

Meade and the Army of the Potomac would have stayed idle on July 2nd because they too were consolidating their army too and Meade and his generals were in a defense mind set after July 1st. Giving Lee time to learn more of the situation before him and what the best choice for his army to pursue...

Last note Lee may have taken the blame for Gettysburg because he knew his blood lust had clouded his decisions to made over those three days. If you read through his OR's he also trys to justify why he stayed and fought....all are poor..

Lee the adrenalin junkie....

Some thoughts to ponder... no can of worms :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 03:37 pm
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Old Blu
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What books did you use to draw your conclusions?  The ones I have read don't agree with your views.



 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 02:16 pm
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Maybe this question of Lee should be turned around. Why not haste? Lee spent precious time urging his generals to attack, to no avail. He thought time and time again, that delays and urgency cost them advantages in many of the battles fought.

The first day of Gettysburg is a good example, as Ewell failed to follow up the advantage after taking the town, not wishing to continue the fight and push the Union off the Heights as Lee had wished. The delays the second morning allowed Union forces to reinforce their positions even more.

Shelby Foote filled three books with the disappointments of presidents, commanders, and generals of both sides in relation to the lack of a sense of urgency to quickly react to advantageous situations or press the attack.

 



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 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 02:40 pm
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5fish
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Old Blu wrote: What books did you use to draw your conclusions?  The ones I have read don't agree with your views.


I did not use one book but looked at what Longstreet was saying about Lee when his AoNV was engaged in combat. Longstreet uses the word "blood lust" but that not a good description and it seems negitive in tone. He was basically saying Lee got an Adrenalin rush out of combat when the army was engaged with its opponent.

I see historians seem to blow off Longstreet remarks about Lee and his "Blood Lust". I believe they think he is trying to tranish lee's image but in fact trying to tell us Lee was an Adrenalin Junkie....but back in Longstreet's day adrenalin was not known about so he is used the term "blood lust".

Think about it..It is not usual for a person to feel an adrenalin rush when in combat but like anything else some get more off the rush then others do. It is known today that most thrill seekers are adrenalin junkies and I bet Lee got a bigger buzz form adrenalin then the average person did. I would even bet it would cloud his thinking at times...Look at 2nd Bull Run and his interchanges between Lee and Longstreet..You have one wanted to go now while the other his reasoning and holding back the other desire to fight..

I can not prove it unless I go through everything on or about general Lee to find hints of him having these adrenalin rushes at other times in his life. I am not a historian but a won't be one at best and have no access to the information one would need to say he was a Adrenalin junkie or not...

I argue we should take Longstreet at his word...re look at everything to see if there are any dots that can be connected to find a conclusion about what Longstreet call "Lee's Blood lust", instead of ignoring it...

I bring this up because everyone wants to know 'Why Lee did what he did at Gettysburg?" because he challenge knows military doctrine Like:

1. Fighting a battle in a place not of his choosing...Lee openly notes he wanted to pick the place and when to engage the AoP on his campaign..

2. Attack an opponent who position was superior to his ..the union had the high ground.

3. Engage a larger opponent before he consolidated his smaller army...

Over the last 145 years all kind of reasons for Lee's behavior at Gettysburg's, I am adding another item to the known list...

Longstreet's behavior is questioned and criticized at Gettysburg. Think if you are Longstreet and Lee is acting out of character and you have seen it before. You referred to it as "Blood lust" of correctly Adrenalin rush what would you do.

Would you not procrastinate hoping Lee would come to his senses?

Would you try at first to reason with him at first even questioning him?

Would not your behavior be consider insubordinate by other looking on?

In the end you carry out these wrongful orders because its your duty but you would not be happy even reluctant...

Maybe Longstreet was in a no win situation at Gettysburg trying to reason with a man on a Buzz...

All I am asking is of everyone to rethink what may have been....

Some thoughts...

 

 

   

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 07:43 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Assuming for a minute the validity of the "adrenaline junkie" theory, on what other occassions during the Civil War do we see Lee's judgement clouded by his "lust"?

My opinion is that if his "blood lust" caused such blunders, then certainly it would have manifested itself on as equal a grand scale on sevral other occassions that were otherwise successful. In other words, his successes out-weigh his failures, thus precluding a disposition to have cloudy judgement.

Cerainly, Lee made mistakes at Gettysburg and other places. But were the mistakes at those other places equally costly?

Who knows? Maybe he did have "blood lust"? Did he have a heart condition at Gettysburg that altered his judgement? Was he so tired of war that he thought Gettysburg would be the end, win or loose?

An interesting theory!!



 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 10:17 pm
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5fish wrote: Old Blu wrote: What books did you use to draw your conclusions?  The ones I have read don't agree with your views.


I did not use one book but looked at what Longstreet was saying about Lee when his AoNV was engaged in combat. Longstreet uses the word "blood lust" but that not a good description and it seems negitive in tone. He was basically saying Lee got an Adrenalin rush out of combat when the army was engaged with its opponent.

I see historians seem to blow off Longstreet remarks about Lee and his "Blood Lust". I believe they think he is trying to tranish lee's image but in fact trying to tell us Lee was an Adrenalin Junkie....but back in Longstreet's day adrenalin was not known about so he is used the term "blood lust".

Think about it..It is not usual for a person to feel an adrenalin rush when in combat but like anything else some get more off the rush then others do. It is known today that most thrill seekers are adrenalin junkies and I bet Lee got a bigger buzz form adrenalin then the average person did. I would even bet it would cloud his thinking at times...Look at 2nd Bull Run and his interchanges between Lee and Longstreet..You have one wanted to go now while the other his reasoning and holding back the other desire to fight..

I can not prove it unless I go through everything on or about general Lee to find hints of him having these adrenalin rushes at other times in his life. I am not a historian but a won't be one at best and have no access to the information one would need to say he was a Adrenalin junkie or not...

I argue we should take Longstreet at his word...re look at everything to see if there are any dots that can be connected to find a conclusion about what Longstreet call "Lee's Blood lust", instead of ignoring it...

I bring this up because everyone wants to know 'Why Lee did what he did at Gettysburg?" because he challenge knows military doctrine Like:

1. Fighting a battle in a place not of his choosing...Lee openly notes he wanted to pick the place and when to engage the AoP on his campaign..

2. Attack an opponent who position was superior to his ..the union had the high ground.

3. Engage a larger opponent before he consolidated his smaller army...

Over the last 145 years all kind of reasons for Lee's behavior at Gettysburg's, I am adding another item to the known list...

Longstreet's behavior is questioned and criticized at Gettysburg. Think if you are Longstreet and Lee is acting out of character and you have seen it before. You referred to it as "Blood lust" of correctly Adrenalin rush what would you do.

Would you not procrastinate hoping Lee would come to his senses?

Would you try at first to reason with him at first even questioning him?

Would not your behavior be consider insubordinate by other looking on?

In the end you carry out these wrongful orders because its your duty but you would not be happy even reluctant...

Maybe Longstreet was in a no win situation at Gettysburg trying to reason with a man on a Buzz...

All I am asking is of everyone to rethink what may have been....

Some thoughts...




Well then, thanks for your opinion.
 

 

   

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 10:52 pm
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One can do all the "what if'ing he wants" but irregardless of how successful Lee was on July 2 or 3, Mead still had an ace in the hole - the entire bohemeth 6th Corp and part of the 5th Corp to trump whatever success Lee had. Needless to say imho, Gettysburg was a brainfart for Lee and many of his subordinates and the finest hour for Meade and some of his underlings.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 12:06 am
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Doc C wrote: One can do all the "what if'ing he wants" but irregardless of how successful Lee was on July 2 or 3, Mead still had an ace in the hole - the entire bohemeth 6th Corp and part of the 5th Corp to trump whatever success Lee had. Needless to say imho, Gettysburg was a brainfart for Lee and many of his subordinates and the finest hour for Meade and some of his underlings.

Doc C


It wasn't a brain fart for Lee but it was for some of his subordinates



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 12:49 am
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I don't usually get involved with these "pro-Lee", "anti-Lee" arguments, but this comment puzzles me:

"It wasn't a brain fart for Lee but it was for some of his subordinates"

I can't count the number of times I've seen Lee get credit for the actions of his subordinates (Jackson's flanking maneuver at Chancellorsville for example) when they work. So if a commander is responsible for the actions of his subordinates, why does it seem that Lee gets the credit when those below him perform well, but he gets no blame when they don't?

Stuart arrives late - not Lee's fault. Orders to Ewell concerning Culp's Hill are misunderstood - not Lee's fault. Longstreet hesitates when ordered to attack - not Lee's fault. A futile charge - not Lee's fault. Does the buck ever stop at Lee? Or only when things turn out favorably? 



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 01:07 am
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Mr B

You could get takers on that statement. True, Lee's subordinates did a poor job for the most part. However, Lee knew that Ewell's attack on his left flank was over. Indeed Longstreet was lacking on the 3rd day. Also, Hill was nonexistent during those 3 days (? possibly his case of the "love bug" was bothering him). Irregardless, one of Lee's biggest mistakes was overestimating, if he ever did comtemplate this, his troop strength which he had from Hill's corps for the assault on Cemetery Hill 3 July. One wonders, again "what iffing", what he would have done if he had realized how decimated and weary Pettigrew's and Trimble's divisions were prior to the assault. I'm always amazed that he never utilized Mahone's and Thomas's fresh brigades (as if that would have made any difference).

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 01:08 am
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Doc J

Beat me to my post.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 12:18 pm
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Lee did take the responsibility for the tremendous loss at Gettysburg.  But was the loss his fault?  BIG NO?

And all of y'all know that.

Last edited on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 12:19 pm by Old Blu



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 02:12 pm
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This discussion has a similar ring to the Longstreet, Early, lost cause debates in the 19th century.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 04:17 pm
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Old Blu
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Any view contrary to what I posted is from the likes of socialist leaning authors and the work they do at creating biased books with the intent to make money from the north.
Screw the South and the truth.



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 04:41 pm
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Whose truth?

This is another discussion where there can be no satisfactory resolution.

Two people can fairly look at the same facts in two completely different ways and draw completely different conclusions. An individual's perception of truth is subjective to himself. It is, in the end, what makes us what we are.

Individuals.



 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 04:45 pm
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Any view contrary to what I posted is from the likes of socialist leaning authors and the work they do at creating biased books with the intent to make money from the north.

In other words no views may deviate or disagree with yours and if they do then they do so due to the influence of "socialist authors"? If there is no room for discussion, why are you even on a discussion board? If you aren't open to different opinions, and express disdain to those who have them, I would invite you to join a board where there is only one mindset. Otherwise, show more tolerance and common courtesy to other members here.



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