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Battle of Little Round Top/Col. Chamberlain

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by wescul, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. wescul

    wescul Private

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    True story. A friend asked me do I still study the Battle of Gettysburg/Little Round Top....I said I sure do, he said, "I heard that the Civil War was won when a guy ordered a bayonet charge....I said ok, now tell me the one about when the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny all went into the bar......" True story.
     
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  3. cwbuff

    cwbuff Private

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    Last year while visiting the area, three of us were looking at and discussing "Oates Rock," in the rear the 20th Maine monument. Another tourist heard us and approached to tell us essentially the same story. Our response was: "At least that is what the movie tries to say." He walked away.
     
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  4. wescul

    wescul Private

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    Cwbuff, I bet that was a priceless moment!!!!!!!!! Was Oates Rock easy to find? Oates wanted his monument to the 15th placed there but Chamberlain strenuously objected saying the 15th never got that far. What are your thoughts?
     
  5. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    I've explored the area many times and I have no idea which rock it is.
     
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  6. StephenColbert27

    StephenColbert27 First Sergeant

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    Too bad George Greene didn't get a movie. His efforts in holding Culp's Hill was far more important than Chamberlain's, all due respect to the same.
     
  7. Andy Cardinal

    Andy Cardinal Corporal

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    Based on what I've read (Glen Lafantasie), I believe the Oates rock is a large bolder well behind the center of the 20th Maine's lines. That is why Chamberlain was opposed to Oates's monument being placed there. The Rock was identified by Oates many years after the event. Chamberlain and Oates did not agree on the details on the fighting on Little Round Top.
     
  8. wescul

    wescul Private

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    That's an understatement. I've read several of Oates and Chamberlain's accounts and truthfully I just tend to believe Oates. Some of Chamberlain's letter, particularly a few days after the fight to his wife, contains none of the references and accounts of his later writings of the battle... I think Captain Spear and Melcher even says, "hold up big fellow, I was there and it didn't quite go down like that..." Lol
     
  9. Andy Cardinal

    Andy Cardinal Corporal

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    It just goes to show that everything "we know" might not be completely accurate.
     
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  10. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    When you are dealing with people's memories, there is little that we know for sure.
     
  11. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    The power (for good or bad) of Hollywood....
     
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  12. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    Greene is, indeed, a great but unsung hero of the battle.
     
  13. MATTHÆVS VEXILLVM ・ LXXVI

    MATTHÆVS VEXILLVM ・ LXXVI Private

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    Why didn't you just tell him what you knew? Seems like he was looking for your feedback. Or I might have asked him "which guy? Which bayonet charge?" lol...

    Oates and his men were definitely powerful enough to actually smash through that flank, and vastly outnumbered Chamberlain. But Oates didn't know that. For his part, Chamberlain's success in stopping an important flanking move by a very tough opponent was a seemingly unlikely victory. He obviously didn't win the entire war,(wow! not even close!)or even the entire battle. But let's be clear: that flank was definitely going to collapse, and if you don't think the 15th Alabama would have exploited that in concert with the 47th AL, and the 4th and 5th TX, you probably don't respect the prowess with which they fought. Especially Oates and the 15th Alabama. His reputation was well earned IMO, but I think the 14 men of Berdan's 2nd US Sharpshooters who harrassed Oates ever since the Slyder farm continued to have an impact on their perception of the size of the force they were dealing with.

    (Edit: And I think based upon recognition of impending collapse, and upon taking the initiative, Chamberlain's reputation was well deserved and had a very large impact on the outcome of a battle that is thought to have "turned the tide" for the Union. I respect him greatly for it, personally)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  14. Jimbo_Poke

    Jimbo_Poke Private

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    This is not directed at any one particular poster. What I have been seeing lately is more overreaction poo-pooing the fighting done by the 20th Maine in responce to the attention they get because of a movie. I see people say the whole Sixth Corps was nearby, well if they are tasked to retake Round Top that makes them unavailable for action elsewhere. That unavailability is going to affect Meade's thinking. In the end that is a what if. We don't know what would have happened had those Alabama and Texas regiments roled up Vincent's Brigade. Is Weed's brigade cut up as they are fed in piecemeal? We don't know. What we do know is that the 20th Maine fought well and helped to prevent that from happening. For that they deserve credit.

    I get people thinking they get more attention and wanting to expand people's knowledge of other regiments and their actions in the battle and war. I just wish we could do that without poo-pooing the actions of Chamberlain and the 20th Maine.
     
  15. StephenColbert27

    StephenColbert27 First Sergeant

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    I mean no disrespect to the abilities or performance of Chamberlain or Oates, but when Culp's and LRT are compared, Culp's is by far the more important position. In addition, it is doubtful that more than a single division of VI Corps would have been needed to retake LRT, due to the fatigue, heavy losses, and lack of support for the men who would have taken it. I would also argue that Greene faced longer odds, fighting an entire division as he did.
     
  16. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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  17. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    gettysburg-018-jpg.16557.jpg

    Here's a photo of it taken back during the 135th Anniversary reenactment in July, 1998. I traveled to Gettysburg from Dallas, Texas, in a chartered bus full of reenactors and the day before the event "officially" began we hired a guide who tailored a tour for a bunch of Texans. We got to hike up the face of Little Round Top to the Union positions including that of the 20th Maine. Oates' Rock was decorated with a small memorial and as I remember it isn't very far from the 20th Maine's monument below.

    gettysburg-017-jpg.16556.jpg
     
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  18. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    At least Greene has a more impressive monument, even if few people visit it!

    dsc04501-jpg.146760.jpg
     
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  19. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

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    I don't really have a dog in this argument, my ancestors were at Vicksburg. That said, from what I've studied of Gettysburg and that is quite a bit, trying to argue who was bravest or most important or who saved the Union is silly. With that battle any man who stood and fought, either side, was brave and a hero.
     
  20. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    Indeed. Now if we can just get Hollywood to....
     
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  21. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    Agreed. Like all 'best of' polls, it is all a matter of the participants' knowledge of the candidates. I won't fall into the trap of choosing one soldier as more important in the Gettysburg victory (or defeat) as being more important to the outcome than another. But Greene's contribution seems to have been largely overlooked.
     
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