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Custer V Stuart @ Gettysburg: Importance?

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Baggage Handler #2, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Baggage Handler #2

    Baggage Handler #2 2nd Lieutenant

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    "Sherman, set the Wayback to July 3, 1863."
    "Right away Dr Peabody."

    Three miles to the east of the Union lines, and shortly before Pickett's lurch toward immortality, we find the humbled JEB Stuart in a potentially very powerful position. One from which he might distract Union reserves, scatter the supply wagons in the Union rear, or quite possibly come up the rear of Cemetery Ridge in force as Pickett's soldiers assault the front.

    It might have been any of these, or even something else. But something happened. Buford happened. Specifically, one of Buford's subordinates, a man who would till his own half acre of legend several years later happened: Custer happened.

    Twice that day Custer charged into the middle of Stuart's troopers; twice that day Custer had a horse shot out from under him.
    Whatever might later be said about his methods, this day it worked. Stuart was stopped cold and was unable to work any magic in the Union backfield.

    My question: Was the Stuart/Custer encounter instrumental in the failure of Pickett's charge, or was it merely a sideshow to the big show (apologies to S. Watkins)?
     

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  3. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    And all this time I had thought that it was Wade Hampton that Custer waded into.

    Was it Kunstler or Troiani who painted that?

    Whatever.

    And, ummmm. Custer didn't report to Buford.

    But the question remains: Did the Cavalry division of which Custer's brigade was part of, screw up Lee's plans for the PPL offensive?

    I think (he says in a small, weak voice) it did. Lee had bigger plans on that third day. He didn't send a charge against a strong line without having something going on in the background. Stuart was to have been that background.

    But that's a theory that's already been discussed interminably on other threads like "Lee's real plan." Or was that a book? I forget.

    Ole
     
  4. Baggage Handler #2

    Baggage Handler #2 2nd Lieutenant

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    OK, I'm oh for two on details. But it beats arguing politics.
     
  5. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    Since Custer had whipped Stuart (Hampton was there as he was JEB's subordinate) before Longstreet's July 3rd assault failed, Stuart would have been unable to turn the hoped for Federal retreat into a rout, as is the traditional cavalry role.

    Custer reported to Kilpatrick, not Buford, although he had unofficially attached himself to Gregg as there was a "smell" of imminent fighting.

    Sideshow or waste of time and lives, take your pick.
     
    JerseyBart likes this.
  6. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    It was Gregg vs. Stuart, not Custer vs. Stuart. Poor Gregg, he's so forgotten. There's a movement to put up a statue of him at ECF.

    I'll go for sideshow-to-the-big-show, due to how it turned out. Stuart was supposed to get through in order to follow up on Pickett's victory. Neither thing happened, so it wound up being a non sequitur. Certainly still important, particularly to the men who fought there, but since Pickett did not break through, the stirring events at ECF turned out not to have an outcome on the Charge itself. (I do not believe Stuart was supposed to get all the way to Cemetery Ridge.)
     
  7. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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  8. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    The Battle at Rummel Farm
    (Gettysburg)

    Other Names: East Cavalry Field, (Gettysburg)

    Location: Gettysburg, Penn.
    Date: July 3, 1863

    Principal Commanders:
    Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart [CS]
    Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton [CS]
    Brig. Gen. David McMurtie Gregg [US]
    Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer [US]

    Forces Engaged: Cavalry Brigades
    Estimated Casualties: 480 total (CS 230 - US 250)

    Result: Inconclusive

    [​IMG]




    http://www.wadehamptoncamp.org/hist-rf.html
     
  9. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    That's not the one I remember seeing, Glorybound, but a good look nevertheless.

    We get too involved in movies and such. When a cavalry regiment charges another cavalry regiment with drawn sabers, there is something to beat drums for. Lordy! That must have been something to be really scared of.
     
  10. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    There is a description on some NPS signage about horses cartwheeling during the charge. Scarey is hardly the word.
     
  11. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Monitor likes this.
  12. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    I have been there about ten times and three other cars or buses are about the max. The owner of the farmhouse that was in the middle of the battlefield died about a year ago. Wonder what will become. The field needs an interpetative center and that place would be perfect.
     
  13. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    You actually saw a bus? Dude. I didn't think tours even went there.
    And his name was...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ha, I just discovered I have more ECF pics!
     
  14. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    That, Ms. Hale is a Yucca. Not exactly a native PA plant.
     
  15. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    Three of my trips were with Ed Bearss on a bus and we were the only bus.

    When mr Hoffman was healthy he would come out and invite visitors for a look-see.

    The big Michigan monument has been vandalized several times in recent years.
     
  16. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Maybe they were originally from Arizona.
     
  17. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    How lucky... and it seems like I'm the only one who hasn't been on an Ed Bearss tour. How do you hook on with one?
    You mean the one they recently tied a red cloth on? Have people been doing other things to it?
     
  18. prroh

    prroh Captain

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  19. Lefty

    Lefty Corporal

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    K Hale,
    Do you recall where you heard that? That's a capital idea, worthy of a donation!

    As far as I know, unless something very unfortunate occurred quite recently, Mr. Hoffman is still very much alive. He had a stroke a few years back but has since been on the road to recovery.
     
  20. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    I thought I had read it somewhere on civilwarcavalry.com, but I just Googled it, and it turns out it has been in the works for... uh, quite awhile.

    http://www.gdg.org/Research/Authored Items/BCRReports/1917.html

    Specifically:
    I don't think this is where I heard it originally, though, so maybe it has taken on new life.
     
  21. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    I am happy to hear that. I was on a tour there about 1 1/2 years ago and we stopped by their drive,hoping to see him come out, but the placed looked deserted. Someone on the bus said that he heard that he had died from his illness.

    Does he still live in the house or a nursing home?
     

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