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 Posted: Sat Jul 21st, 2007 03:40 am
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JoanieReb
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:);)....:cool:



 Posted: Sat Jul 21st, 2007 11:47 pm
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JoanieReb
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I wasn't satisfied with the books that I picked up earlier this week, so went back to The MSU library, and picked up some more.

Right now, for this topic (and in general) I am very taken with The Stand of The U.S. Army at Gettysburg by Jeffery C. Hall.

Chapter 2 is entitled, "July 1:  The Union Suffers a Setback but Gains a Great Position".   Close to 50% of this 37-page analysis is made up of 29 high-quality maps, going over the day's movements in detail.  There are also weather details.  And some very thought-provoking "facts", which seem to be well backed-up. 

I have, somewhat superficially and quickly, correlated these facts with the descriptions in Shelby Foote's volume II, and things seem in order.  (I always like to go "back to the Basics", like to Foote or McPherson, to see how accounts stand in comparison: if an author is from the South, I compare to McPherson; if from the North, I compare to Foote, just helps me try to be un-biased.)  I will have to look things over more carefully tomorrow.

But I recommend picking up this book at the local library or whatever, for those interested in this thread. 

I think that, combining this book and Shelby Fooote's Voume II, I can draw a conclusion that is in line with General Clewell and his author (of Ewell's biograpy, Phanz, if I recall correctly).

Until tomorrow evening,

Joanie.

 



 Posted: Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 10:55 pm
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PvtClewell
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Joanie wrote: "I think that, combining this book and Shelby Foote's Voume II, I can draw a conclusion that is in line with General Clewell and his author (of Ewell's biograpy, Pfanz, if I recall correctly)."

What??? You mean that crap I made up is actually true? :D



 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2007 07:36 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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It takes time to deploy a full division into the field, correct me if I'm wrong in this, but didn't Heth complicate things by feeding his division in more or less piece by piece even after acertaining that it was a substantial enemy force to his front? Or am I mistaken and it was simply bringing men down the road, and moving from a marching column to lines of battle and Heth could not hurry things along? Conventional wisdom would seem to hold that a "heavy" division like Heth's ,fully deployed and attacking in unison, would negate the advantage of the Sharpes carbine-his command would simply overlap Buford on both flanks and force them to retire or be crushed.

I have to say I have not commited the amount of time and reverence to the battle of Gettysburg as other civil war nuts have. To my mind, Antietam was the more signifigant battle. So perhaps someone who has studied the battle to a greater extent than I have can answer this question for me?



 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2007 12:37 pm
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PvtClewell
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KO,

According the Stephen Sears' book 'Gettysburg', Sears writes that Heth departed Cashtown at 5 a.m. on July 1, and ran into the videttes of Buford's cavalry at 7 a.m. (this would be Knoxlyn Ridge, just before Herr's Ridge). Buford, of course, has planned a defense in depth to buy enough time for Reynolds and the 1st Corps to approach.

Here's what Sears writes:
"It was about 9 o'clock when Confederates in full battle array started forward against Herr's Ridge. James J. Archer's Alabamians and Tennesseans were on the right, south of the Chambersburg Pike. Joe Davis's Mississippians and North Carolinians were on the left, north of the pike. Their line of battle, some 2,900 strong, was almost a mile wide. The line of Yankee troopers, essentially a reinforced picket line (of 550 men), had done its job well and gained General Buford a good two hours and more, but now it was time to go. Slowly, turning back to fire, the troopers drifted down the slope of Herr's Ridge, splashed across Willoughby Run, and joined the cavalry's main line on McPherson's Ridge."

Buford had 2,950 troppers under brigade commanders Tom Devlin and William Gamble on McPherson's Ridge, with every fourth trooper holding the reins of horses. They held on until Reynolds' 1st Corp arrived, sometime around noon, I think. I'm also guessing that with Archer and Davis already deployed and engaged, there's no time for Heth to deploy Pettigrew and Brockenbrough at this juncture.

Sears adds:
"From the crest of Herr's Ridge, Harry Heth now surveyed the scene before him and came to a momentous decision. He phrased the moment in his report: 'it became evident that there were infantry, cavalry and artillery in and around the town.' This was what he had been sent to Gettysburg that morning by corps commander Hill to find out — what enemy lay in front of them"

Heth was under orders not to bring on a general engagement. Sears points out that if Heth withdraws to Cashtown at this point, he's following orders — he does not bring on an engagement and he knows there's more than just militia in front of him. Instead, Heth orders Archer and Davis to 'march forward and occupy the town.'

"This is a reckless act," writes Sears. Heth knew what was in front of him. "...as a mere division commander on a reconnoitering mission he was bound to report his findings to a superior before he charged headlong into battle. In so doing, Harry Heth committed to half his share of responsibility for bringing on the Battle of Gettysburg."

OK, so here's Heth, yet another guy who's not following orders in this battle. Is this any way to run a war? Heth disobeys Lee, Sickles disobey's Meade, Hood disobeys Lee and Longstreet on July 2 by trying to go behind the Round Tops instead of Emmittsburg Road. Sheesh. Ewell actually obeys Lee, tries to folllow orders not to bring on a general engagement, and gets ripped for it when he doesn't take THAT HILL.

By the time Pender's division arrives and is deployed, the Union 1st Corps is already on the field. Eventually, the Union 1st Corps and 11th Corps are flanked and forced to retreat by overwhelming numbers. The first day of Gettysburg is actually a resounding victory for Lee, destroying two Union Corps and running them off the field. I think the first day turns out to be a battle of geography and timing.



 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2007 02:55 pm
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ole
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Well done, Rabbit. Hip Hip ..................... Best account I've read of the opening moves.

ole



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 12:34 am
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PvtClewell
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Thanks Ole, but Sears did all the work.

I guess what I don't get is why Hill orders the heavy reconnaisance despite Pettigrew giving him reports the day before of seeing Union cavalry in town. Heth, Hill, et al, didn't believe the reports. Maybe that's what prompts the move toward Gettysburg. But I have to fiigure if there's cavarly around, it's a good bet it's not militia. And if it is cavalry, it's probably the AofP.

I read somewhere (don't ask me where. I'm really overextended on my sources right now) that Lee was really surprised by reports (earlier from Henry Thomas Harrison, the spy, and later, Pettigrew) that the AofP was across the Potomac. I know Stuart's off on a glory ride, but Lee still has cavalry with Grumble Jones, Albert Jenkins, John Imboden and Beverly Robertson. Why they aren't used properly in Stuart's absence is beyond me.

I also read that when Meade took over command of the AofP on June 28, he put wheels on a historically slow-moving army, which is one reason Lee was surprised by the Union's presence. A good case in point is Sedgewick's 6th Corps, which moved 35 miles in 19 hours to reach the field by the evening of July 2. Wow. That's Jackson-like and truly a feat of arms. The 6th Corps, according to Sears, was huge and represented one-fifth of Meade's total available infantry, so it's arrival on the field when it did was critical.



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 05:24 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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The roads that the 6 corps traveled by must have been excellent as well for that number of miles to be covered. 35 miles is a an extreme distance to travel for an army corps...



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 11:32 am
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PvtClewell
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KO,

I'm guessing that in 19th century rural America, roads is roads.

Sedgewick was in Manchester, near the right flank of what would have been the Pipe Creek line, on July 1. Under Meade's orders, he began marching the 6th Corps at 10 p.m., so a lot of the marching was done by night, and most of the 19 hours was continuous marching.

Here's what Sears writes:
"...after he (Meade) learned the dimensions of the fighting on the 1st, he had Sedgewick change his route to the more direct Baltimore Pike. This required a certain amount of backtracking in the darkness which, as the historian of the 5th Maine put it, 'caused much strong language.' Men remembered the night march as a strange and eerie experience...James L. Bowen, 37th Massachusetts, wrote that 'the step which has been light becomes heavy and mechanical, and the soldiers are transformed into mere machines, to plod on steadily as possible all the interminable night...the men as they walk are like those moving in a dream."

I hate to keep quoting Sears, but his book was published in 2003 and is probably the most current popular scholarship on Gettysburg out there right now. He's very readable and I highly recommend it.

Edwin Coddington's 'Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command' was published in 1963 and to this day, I believe, is still the basis for the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide exams. Coddington was a professor at Lafayette University in Easton and was a heavy smoker. He died of lung cancer about the time his book was published, I believe. He, too, is highly readable and I recommend his work as well.

Last edited on Mon Jul 30th, 2007 12:01 pm by PvtClewell



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 01:52 pm
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ole
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Will mostly agree with the Orphan. The main roads had to be good -- we're in a well-settled area with roads long established and well-travelled. (This ain't the western hinterlands.) Even so, 35 miles in 19 hours, much of it at night, is quite remarkable and well beyond normal. I have to assume that the night was at least starlit if not moonlit.

Don't know much about Sedgewick, but Meade must have impressed him with a need for speed, and Sedgewick appears to have done a heckuva job in passing on that urgency (and following through).

ole



 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2007 11:06 pm
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PvtClewell
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Ole, KO,

I agree. My image of the roads of that era center around a famous picture of the Chambersburg Pike going into Gettysburg, taken shortly after the battle. The guy standing in the road, I think, is Mathew Brady.

There was a full moon on June 30. Check this web site:

http://www.strategypage.com/articles/gettysburg/meteorology.asp


Here's other corps marches:
Sykes' 5th Corps took two days to go 23 miles to reach Union Mills by June 30. On Juy 1, it marched 12 miles to Hanover, and after a brief respite, did another 8 miles when word of fighting in Gettysburg arrived. They halted at midnight, but by 4 a.m. on July 2, did 4 more miles to the battlefield.

Samuel Crawford's Pennsylvania Reserves marched 25 miles on July 1, then 10 more on July 2.

I detect a sense of urgency by Meade in all of this.

Hey, I walk four miles every morning and sometimes an additional 4 miles in the evening, and I'm whipped.

Last edited on Tue Jul 31st, 2007 12:08 am by PvtClewell



 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 01:34 am
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ole
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Hey, I walk four miles every morning and sometimes an additional 4 miles in the evening, and I'm whipped.

Well, it's true that you aren't carrying your household on your back and a heavy rifle. But it's even more true that you ain't 20 no more.

ole:?



 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 03:01 am
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PvtClewell
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Ole,

Don't I know it.



 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 06:29 am
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The boys in the 6th must have been well disciplined and the officers must have done a superb job as well. My last post may have seemed to indicate I was belittleing their accomplishment which was not my intent.

 



 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 07:21 am
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ole
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Kentucky:

Don't believe either I or Rabbit took it that way. It was a goodly march and the roads must have been good.

ole



 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 12:40 pm
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PvtClewell
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KO

That thought never occurred to me.

The 6th Corps was a very good corps under Gen. John Sedgwick. His men loved him, called him 'Uncle John.' Don't think anybody called Howard, for example, 'Uncle Oh-Oh." Sedgwick was considered by some to be as good a corps commander as Reynolds or Hancock.

I'd forgotten that the 6th Corps marched 35 miles in 19 hours, always thought it was about 20 some miles in about 24 hours. As it was, they marched nearly two miles per hour for 19 straight hours, an awesome military feat.

The march brought about 13,000 men to the field on July 2 (it was the largest corps in the AofP) and was used primarily as Meade's reserve at Gettysburg. The entire corps lost only about 240 men in the battle since the corps was never fully committed at any point. Meade would take 6th Corps brigades as needed to fill gaps or extend lines. This frustrated Sedgwick, who at one point said, "I might as well go home."



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 07:09 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Of course in any instance 35 miles is an awesome march far an entire corps of soldiers to complete in that amount of time. However, there are instances where marches of substantially shorter distances are just as impressive when one takes into account the quality of roads traveled, condition of the men, time of day, etc.

Ole, PVTClewell, I am glad that neither you took it that way,  but I felt it best to make certain with that last post that none would be left with that impression.


These last few posts have reawakened my inclination to make a more in depth study as to which was superior-the Federal corps system (smaller), or the Confederate corps system (larger) and its impact not only in battle effectiveness but on marches, supply etc. 
 



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 07:34 am
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PVTClewell writes: The 6th Corps was a very good corps under Gen. John Sedgwick. His men loved him, called him 'Uncle John.' Don't think anybody called Howard, for example, 'Uncle Oh-Oh." Sedgwick was considered by some to be as good a corps commander as Reynolds or Hancock.

Yes, it is a sad truth that in elevating many men to their extreme heights (though perhaps deserving of much admiration, yet put into a place in which their qualties do not merely overshadow but extinguish in many eyes their faults) others are ignored outright.

 


 



 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 03:08 pm
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ole
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These last few posts have reawakened my inclination to make a more in depth study as to which was superior-the Federal corps system (smaller), or the Confederate corps system (larger) and its impact not only in battle effectiveness but on marches, supply etc.

I once read an essay on this very subject. This was in the context of Johnston's replacement Atlanta. The historian wasn't so much concerned with the difficulties of moving or supplying larger numbers as he was with the reduced opportunities to develop upper level officers--larger brigades meant fewer brigadiers from which to choose division commanders; larger divisions meant fewer major generals from which to choose corps commanders, and so on.

ole



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 12:09 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Ole: I once read an essay on this very subject.

I don't suppose you remember the author? I admit the conclusions I would want to come to would run a bit deeper than that of the authors, but it would be an interesting consequence directly related to corps sizes that would help determine the answer of which was more effective. I can't really pinpoint when this question occurred to me, but it has been nagging me for some time that I could not find any theory on the matter. Maybe that is a good thing though, and I can come away with more by examining the subject myself in greater depth.

They are interesting conclusions  the author comes to though Ole. However, I'm sure it occurred to you the logic that one could use to argue exactly the opposite conclusion? Though the opportunity to develop  high level officers is less, wouldn't that mean you would not spread so thin your officer corps, in effect streamlining it and making it more effective?



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