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What was JEB Stuart's duty on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg?

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by historicus, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. historicus

    historicus Private

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    In my thread titled "If Pickett's Charge succeeded, what did Lee intend to do next", the topic digressed from Lee's plan after the planned success of Pickett's Charge to Lee's instructions to JEB Stuart during Pickett's Charge. Some people mentioned that JEB Stuart's role during Pickett's Charge was to protect the Confederate flank, and I don't think that anyone disputes that protecting the Confederate flank was at least one of JEB Stuart's duties during the PPT Charge. I and historian Stephen Sears also claimed that JEB Stuart's role during Pickett's Charge was to exploit the retreat.

    JEB Stuart's cavalry was intercepted by Union General Gregg's cavalry at East Cavalry Field 3 miles east of Cemetary Ridge. Some members here claimed that if the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble (PPT) troops caused the Union Second Corps on Cemetary Ridge to retreat during the PPT Charge, that would place JEB Stuart's cavalry 3 miles to the east at a perfect position to exploit the retreat. It seems like to me that that would depend on which direction the Union SEcond Corps retreated to, but I could be wrong.

    I read a great deal about the Battle of Gettysburg decades ago, but now the details are somewhat hazy to me. I remember a lot of facts about the Battle of Gettysburg, but I don't remember which source I got which facts from. When I read about this decades ago, there were no message boards about the Civil War. I didn't bother to note sources for the purposes of providing the information to the other people to prove an argument.

    I remember various books about the Battle of Gettysburg also saying that JEB Stuart was sent out to guard the Confederate flank. Civilwartalk.com member rpkennedy said that JEB Stuart was sent out to guard the Confederate flank, but rpkennedy did not say which flank that JEB Stuart was sent out to guard. My first hunch was that JEB Stuart was sent out to guard the PPT Flank. Maybe I just at first assumed that JEB Stuart's role was to guard the flank of the PPT Troops because I was discussing the PPT Charge. However, if JEB Stuart's role was to guard the flank of the PPT Troops, it does not make any sense that JEB Stuart's cavalry would be intercepted 3 miles east of Cemetary RIdge.

    Another fact that made me think that JEB Stuart's role was to guard the flank of the PPT troops is that I originally thought (perhaps erroneously) that it would not make any sense for JEB Stuart's cavalry to be intercepted east of Cemetary RIdge since cash's primary source says that JEB Stuart mentioned how he would have exploited the retreat if the Union 2nd Corps retreated. But after thinking about this, I think that JEB Stuart's cavalry being 3 miles east of Cemetary RIdge might have been a good position to exploit the retreat. WHy? Because JEB Stuart's cavalry was on horses. IF Union cavalry did not intercept JEB Stuart's cavalry, JEB Stuart's cavalry could cover 2 or 3 miles in only about 10 or 15 minutes since horses travel so much faster than people on foot.


    Was JEB Stuart's role during the PPT Charge on day at Gettysburg to guard the flank of the PPT troops specifically, or was JEB Stuart's role to guard the flank of the entire Army of Northern Virginia around Culp's Hill?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017

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  3. historicus

    historicus Private

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    If JEB Stuart's role was to guard the flank of the entire ANV (which would put JEB Stuart's cavalry in the vicinity of Culps Hill), it would reconcile the apparent contradictions that I see.

    If JEB Stuart's role was only to guard the flank of the PPT Troops, then there are a lot of strange and apparent contradictions in what I perceive as facts about the Battle of Gettysburg.

    By Occam's razor, it appears to me that JEB Stuart's role was probably to protect the flank of the entire ANV as opposed to just the flank of the PPT Troops.

    I still would like confirmation and enlightenment from other members here though.
     
  4. captaxe

    captaxe Private

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    Eric Wittenberg has written extensively (and persuasively) about this subject. In short, in light of all of the available evidence, Stuart's primary mission was to secure Lee's left (Ewell--not PPT troops) and ensure that Union cavalry under David Gregg would not get in behind his lines.
     
    historicus and Bee like this.
  5. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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  6. historicus

    historicus Private

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    Bee, as i recollect from when i read this link almost 2 weeks ago, Eric Wittenberg just refuted Tom Carhart's thesis that JEB Stuart's role was to cause the Union 2nd corps to retreat (as opposed to exploiting the retreat). Neither Wittenberg's essay nor the video of the speech Wittenberg made about this provided info on whether it was jeb stuart's role to guard the flank of the PPT Troops as opposed to guarding the flank of the entire ANV.

    captaxe cleared this up for me, not Wittenberg.
     

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