Discussion A seven pines question

atlantis

Sergeant Major
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Nov 12, 2016
Based on what we know today. If Longstreet had not messed up the attack would it have been successful in destroying that wing of the union army.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
I don't know. Longstreet got held up by Huger if I remember right the little I knew. The uncoordinated attack followed with Huger too far off on the right of Longstreet, and with thick woods separating them. Is that what you are mentioning?
Lubliner.
 

jackt62

Captain
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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Doesn't Fair Oaks and Seven Lines refer to the same battle? Another question is did Longstreet blame Huger for his own mistake?

John
Same battle. (Fair Oaks is a railroad station slightly to the north of Seven Pines crossroads.) Longstreet was apparently at fault for changing his marching orders; he advanced on the Williamsburg Road, rather than on the Nine Mile Road as planned by Joe Johnston. Changing the route delayed Huger's Division from its assigned role, thereby diminishing the Confederate assault on General Keyes' IV Corps at Seven Pines. Longstreet was technically overseeing the Right Wing, which included D.H. Hill and Benjamin Huger's Divisions. So Longstreet was in a superior position to cast blame elsewhere for the coordination screw-up.
 

rpkennedy

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Based on a scenario that I gamed out earlier this year, the delay made a huge difference. In my game, the Confederates were able to attack early in the morning and crushed the Fourth Corps before reinforcements could even start moving. For all practical purposes, the Fourth Corps was destroyed before noon with the CSA in total command of the field (although a number of commands were in pretty rough shape).

Ryan
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Same battle. (Fair Oaks is a railroad station slightly to the north of Seven Pines crossroads.) Longstreet was apparently at fault for changing his marching orders; he advanced on the Williamsburg Road, rather than on the Nine Mile Road as planned by Joe Johnston. Changing the route delayed Huger's Division from its assigned role, thereby diminishing the Confederate assault on General Keyes' IV Corps at Seven Pines. Longstreet was technically overseeing the Right Wing, which included D.H. Hill and Benjamin Huger's Divisions. So Longstreet was in a superior position to cast blame elsewhere for the coordination screw-up.
One thing I don't like about these counter factuals is that they raise all sorts of issues about what variables you include or ignore. For example - as it was the attack pretty much did "destroy" the IV Corps but the two divisions of the III Corps were back from the point of attack and from Couch , so who knows how that would have played out. And what "command of the field" would have meant is an ambiguous proposition. FWIW, in his report Johnston stated only "Had Major-General Huger’s division been in position and ready for action when those of Smith, Longstreet and Hill moved, I am satisfied that Keyes’ corps would have been destroyed.” It's also worth keeping in mind that the Federal left was a "defense in depth" in the sense of having successive division lines
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
One thing I don't like about these counter factuals is that they raise all sorts of issues about what variables you include or ignore. For example - as it was the attack pretty much did "destroy" the IV Corps but the two divisions of the III Corps were back from the point of attack and from Couch , so who knows how that would have played out. And what "command of the field" would have meant is an ambiguous proposition. FWIW, in his report Johnston stated only "Had Major-General Huger’s division been in position and ready for action when those of Smith, Longstreet and Hill moved, I am satisfied that Keyes’ corps would have been destroyed.” It's also worth keeping in mind that the Federal left was a "defense in depth" in the sense of having successive division lines
Good point about the defense in depth. I do think Huger was unfairly blamed and that if he had been able to attack as planned there was a small chance for success.
 

jackt62

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Jul 28, 2015
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New York City
Longstreet may have tried to disregard his own responsibility, but Seven Pines/Fair Oaks once again shows that the ability of CW armies to properly execute battle plans, to effectively coordinate brigades and divisions, and to communicate orders and instructions promptly and faithfully was beyond the capacity of many commanders, particularly that early in the war. (Not that things improved all that well later on either.)
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
About that time (early 1862) Huger wasn't exactly "General Competent", Roanoake Island, Yorktown, Norfolk,now Seven Pines then Seven Days. Alot of people were blaming him for the loss of the CSS Virginia and he was probably already "looked down upon" by some. Lee was a pretty fair judge of character and soon weeded him out for poor performance.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Longstreet may have tried to disregard his own responsibility, but Seven Pines/Fair Oaks once again shows that the ability of CW armies to properly execute battle plans, to effectively coordinate brigades and divisions, and to communicate orders and instructions promptly and faithfully was beyond the capacity of many commanders, particularly that early in the war. (Not that things improved all that well later on either.)
Good points, exacerbated by Johnston giving verbal orders to Longstreet and ambiguous written orders to others. His plan was already complex by definition and his sloppy approach to issuing orders pretty much ensured confusion.
 
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