Chris Mackowski - Jackson at Gettysburg Presentation

bdtex

Major General
★★ Sr. Moderator
Silver Patron
Annual Winner
Regtl. Quartermaster Chickamauga 2018 Vicksburg 2019
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Location
Texas
What are your thoughts and comments?
 

JerryD

Private
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Basically he answers the question in the last 5 minutes of his presentation, but I think his reasoning is sound. I also like that he emphasizes the fallacy that you can swap Jackson into place at Gettysburg, and assume that everything else remains the same. Who knows how the march into Pennsylvania would have occurred if Jackson was still with the army, or where his corps would have been on the field. My favorite answer to the question, though, is that if Jackson was at Gettysburg he would be in an advanced state of decomposition.

But I do agree with him that Ewell has been made one of the many scapegoats for the battle in order to take the heat off of Lee, and to a lesser extent, Early. He was given very vague orders by Lee, and if we believe Lee's report literally, was told to drive off the AOP but not to bring on a general engagement. How exactly he was supposed to pull that off, I dont understand.

But ultimately, I think he is right that Meade committed the AOP to Gettysburg based on the strength of the position. If Early had occupied Culp's Hill then the postion is untenable and Meade likely would have avoided Gettysburg and positioned the army behind Pipe's Creek. Gettysburg goes down in history as a minor battle along the lines of South Mountain, and what happens at Pipe's Creek is anyone's guess.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Haven't got to watch video yet, but will when I get a chance. I don't know if I would of called it a minor battle. If the Confederates take Culp's hill on day 1, they claim victory and would of mauled two Union Corps in the process. politically that wouldn't of been great. Completely agree that Meade falls back to pipe creek.

Some things to consider from Day 1:

Lee ordered Pendleton to bring his reserve batteries of Garnett and Pogue to "enfilade the valley between the confederate position and the town and the enemy's batteries next to the town"
- Pendleton decided that "unless as part of a combined assault, I at once saw it would be worse then useless to open fire there (Cemetery Hill)" basically disobeying Lee's orders to open fire on Cemetery Hill.

Lee discussed with Hill about the possibility of continuing the assault past Seminary Ridge, Hill responded "My own two divisions (were) exhausted by some six hours' hard fighting and prudence led me to be content with what had been gained, and not to push forward exhausted and necessarily disordered, probably to encounter fresh troops of the enemy."
- except Hill had Anderson's fresh division (nearly 7,000 men) in reserve from which to move at the enemy, as well as the fresh Thomas and Lane's fresh brigades (3,000 men). All of whom could have moved forward at 5:00 PM
- 10,000 men suported by more than 75 guns would have been a tough slog for the Union to hold back.
- Hill probably couldn't have delivered this assault much before 6:30, but if he had cooperated with Ewell, instead of immediately saying his men were done. Day 1 would have been much different.

Col. Wainwright for the Union said "There was not a doubt in my mind but that I should go to Richmond as a POW" "There was nothing to stop the advancing Rebel line" referring to Hill's troops.

Lee accepted Hill's claim, and this is where Lee can share blame, he was looking for the aggressive spirit in his corps commanders instead of demanding it.

It is after this that Lee sends his "if practicable" order. Considering Avery and Hays almost take the position on Day 2, I still would have been interested to see what would have happened had he tried. Having said that I don't think it was the only thing that cost the Confederates on day 1, and the cooperation between Lee, Hill, and Ewell was severely lacking that day. I think Lee was leery without Stuart, as he wasn't sure where the rest of the Federals were. I still think he thought Ewell would at least attempt the maneuver when he gave the order.

I'm sure this has also been discussed but what if Hays, Avery, and Gordon had moved at 5:00 PM to occupy Culp's hill which only had Culter and Meredith's shattered brigades on it.
 

JerryD

Private
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Haven't got to watch video yet, but will when I get a chance. I don't know if I would of called it a minor battle. If the Confederates take Culp's hill on day 1, they claim victory and would of mauled two Union Corps in the process. politically that wouldn't of been great. Completely agree that Meade falls back to pipe creek.

Some things to consider from Day 1:

Lee ordered Pendleton to bring his reserve batteries of Garnett and Pogue to "enfilade the valley between the confederate position and the town and the enemy's batteries next to the town"
- Pendleton decided that "unless as part of a combined assault, I at once saw it would be worse then useless to open fire there (Cemetery Hill)" basically disobeying Lee's orders to open fire on Cemetery Hill.

Lee discussed with Hill about the possibility of continuing the assault past Seminary Ridge, Hill responded "My own two divisions (were) exhausted by some six hours' hard fighting and prudence led me to be content with what had been gained, and not to push forward exhausted and necessarily disordered, probably to encounter fresh troops of the enemy."
- except Hill had Anderson's fresh division (nearly 7,000 men) in reserve from which to move at the enemy, as well as the fresh Thomas and Lane's fresh brigades (3,000 men). All of whom could have moved forward at 5:00 PM
- 10,000 men suported by more than 75 guns would have been a tough slog for the Union to hold back.
- Hill probably couldn't have delivered this assault much before 6:30, but if he had cooperated with Ewell, instead of immediately saying his men were done. Day 1 would have been much different.

Col. Wainwright for the Union said "There was not a doubt in my mind but that I should go to Richmond as a POW" "There was nothing to stop the advancing Rebel line" referring to Hill's troops.

Lee accepted Hill's claim, and this is where Lee can share blame, he was looking for the aggressive spirit in his corps commanders instead of demanding it.

It is after this that Lee sends his "if practicable" order. Considering Avery and Hays almost take the position on Day 2, I still would have been interested to see what would have happened had he tried. Having said that I don't think it was the only thing that cost the Confederates on day 1, and the cooperation between Lee, Hill, and Ewell was severely lacking that day. I think Lee was leery without Stuart, as he wasn't sure where the rest of the Federals were. I still think he thought Ewell would at least attempt the maneuver when he gave the order.

I'm sure this has also been discussed but what if Hays, Avery, and Gordon had moved at 5:00 PM to occupy Culp's hill which only had Culter and Meredith's shattered brigades on it.
Well, minor in the sense that only about half the ANV was engaged and only about a fourth of the AOP. It would have been a significant battle, especially since it was on northern soil, but depending on what happens at Pipe's Creek, it would be seen as a prelude to a major battle.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Haven't got to watch video yet, but will when I get a chance. I don't know if I would of called it a minor battle. If the Confederates take Culp's hill on day 1, they claim victory and would of mauled two Union Corps in the process. politically that wouldn't of been great. Completely agree that Meade falls back to pipe creek.

Some things to consider from Day 1:

Lee ordered Pendleton to bring his reserve batteries of Garnett and Pogue to "enfilade the valley between the confederate position and the town and the enemy's batteries next to the town"
- Pendleton decided that "unless as part of a combined assault, I at once saw it would be worse then useless to open fire there (Cemetery Hill)" basically disobeying Lee's orders to open fire on Cemetery Hill.

Lee discussed with Hill about the possibility of continuing the assault past Seminary Ridge, Hill responded "My own two divisions (were) exhausted by some six hours' hard fighting and prudence led me to be content with what had been gained, and not to push forward exhausted and necessarily disordered, probably to encounter fresh troops of the enemy."
- except Hill had Anderson's fresh division (nearly 7,000 men) in reserve from which to move at the enemy, as well as the fresh Thomas and Lane's fresh brigades (3,000 men). All of whom could have moved forward at 5:00 PM
- 10,000 men suported by more than 75 guns would have been a tough slog for the Union to hold back.
- Hill probably couldn't have delivered this assault much before 6:30, but if he had cooperated with Ewell, instead of immediately saying his men were done. Day 1 would have been much different.

Col. Wainwright for the Union said "There was not a doubt in my mind but that I should go to Richmond as a POW" "There was nothing to stop the advancing Rebel line" referring to Hill's troops.

Lee accepted Hill's claim, and this is where Lee can share blame, he was looking for the aggressive spirit in his corps commanders instead of demanding it.

It is after this that Lee sends his "if practicable" order. Considering Avery and Hays almost take the position on Day 2, I still would have been interested to see what would have happened had he tried. Having said that I don't think it was the only thing that cost the Confederates on day 1, and the cooperation between Lee, Hill, and Ewell was severely lacking that day. I think Lee was leery without Stuart, as he wasn't sure where the rest of the Federals were. I still think he thought Ewell would at least attempt the maneuver when he gave the order.

I'm sure this has also been discussed but what if Hays, Avery, and Gordon had moved at 5:00 PM to occupy Culp's hill which only had Culter and Meredith's shattered brigades on it.
I think Lee's orders to Ewell were almost hopelessly contradictory. He was like the pitching coach who goes to the mound and says "throw strikes but don't give them anything to hit".
 

cwbuff

Corporal
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Location
Virginia
Lee's order late in the afternoon not to bring on a general engagement begs the question of what then was the battle on July 1st? I think he is correct about Early - he appears to be the only one who was in a position to attack. If he had taken Culp's Hill, could he have held it? Defending it from attack from the south and west is much different than defending it from the north and east.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Lee's order late in the afternoon not to bring on a general engagement begs the question of what then was the battle on July 1st? I think he is correct about Early - he appears to be the only one who was in a position to attack. If he had taken Culp's Hill, could he have held it? Defending it from attack from the south and west is much different than defending it from the north and east.
Agree. And that's why I think his orders were ambiguous and even contradictory. If all that had taken place up to 4 PM on July 1, with sizable additional forces approaching Gettysburg, was not a "general engagement", I have no idea what would be. So Lee put Ewell in a "lose lose" situation. His refusal to provide any elements of Hill's corps only added to the confusion.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Agree. And that's why I think his orders were ambiguous and even contradictory. If all that had taken place up to 4 PM on July 1, with sizable additional forces approaching Gettysburg, was not a "general engagement", I have no idea what would be. So Lee put Ewell in a "lose lose" situation. His refusal to provide any elements of Hill's corps only added to the confusion.
I don't think the order was as ambiguous as some make it out to be, but it was discretionary (which was Lee's nature) when you look at the situation at hand. I also don't blame Ewell as much as some do either. Lee couldn't be everywhere at once. He also had no experienced cavalry with him on the battlefield. So he often gave discretionary orders. But his intent for the day was clear. He had directed Pendleton and Hill to have their batteries begin firing on Cemetery Hill as well as on the Union forces retreating back to Cemetery Hill. He sends Walter Taylor to "press those people if practicable."

The second part included not bringing on a general engagement. I want to actually talk about that first. Lee had been worried about that all day that the Union would bring up forces. But I think we confuse what that meant. When Lee ordered the 4 divisions (Heth, Pender, Early, and Rodes) to attack in the early afternoon, he was bringing on an engagement with the I and XI Corps. I think he understood that all that was there was I and XI Corps at the time, and he felt he had a chance to destroy them. What he didn't know was what was coming up behind them and when. Obviously there is no way to know for sure, but when Lee is giving the don't bring on a general engagement he's telling Ewell, if you attack and you find men from other corps (besides I and XI) don't push it cause the South doesn't have all of THEIR divisions up yet.

Now back to the first part of the order. The infamous "if practicable" part of the order. I personally look at it the same way as if I tell my son get the mowing done if you can. If he gives me excuses why he couldn't I'm going to be upset, but if he gets 75% of it done I know he tried. Lee also used that phrase all the time. I see it as Lee expected him to try and take it. Lee gave his Corps commanders wide discretion and didn't interfere much in how they completed their objectives. I think Lee wanted Ewell to press them, but Lee also wasn't there, and wasn't going to force Ewell to do it. Whether it would of succeeded or not I'm not sure. Ewell after the battle in his report said that "I had received a message from the commanding to attack this hill, if I could do so to advantage." He doesn't even mention the general engagement part of the message as why he didn't attack. I'm of the opinion Ewell couldn't attempt to know whether he had advantage unless he tried. At the least he could have begun moving much earlier against Culp's Hill.

While Ewell could of been more aggressive, the same charge can be leveled against Hill. If Hill brings up Anderson's fresh division and keeps it closer to the action, that is a power strike force from which to launch against Cemetry Hill. While people like to blast Ewell, the fact that Hill refuses to support him is just as egregious IMO. Lastly, while it wasn't in Lee's nature at the time (he adapted as the overland campaign developed) he needed to take a firmer hand with his Corps Commanders. All three share in the failures on Day 1. Lastly, something must be said of the lack of cavalry. I don't think Lee felt confident about issuing direct orders across the battlefield to situations he had no true understanding of. This isn't a full indicment of Stuart, as we could go on about that situation as well, and it's much more nuanced then many know, but I feel full confident in the fact that Stuart should of either a.) left Hampton in charge of Robertson and took Jones or b.) left the "irregular" forces in the rear and directed Robertson and Jones to go with Ewell and Longstreet. Either situation would have left a talented Cavalry man (Hampton or Jones) with Lee and I'm fairly certain that would have changed much on Day 1.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I don't think the order was as ambiguous as some make it out to be, but it was discretionary (which was Lee's nature) when you look at the situation at hand. I also don't blame Ewell as much as some do either. Lee couldn't be everywhere at once. He also had no experienced cavalry with him on the battlefield. So he often gave discretionary orders. But his intent for the day was clear. He had directed Pendleton and Hill to have their batteries begin firing on Cemetery Hill as well as on the Union forces retreating back to Cemetery Hill. He sends Walter Taylor to "press those people if practicable."

The second part included not bringing on a general engagement. I want to actually talk about that first. Lee had been worried about that all day that the Union would bring up forces. But I think we confuse what that meant. When Lee ordered the 4 divisions (Heth, Pender, Early, and Rodes) to attack in the early afternoon, he was bringing on an engagement with the I and XI Corps. I think he understood that all that was there was I and XI Corps at the time, and he felt he had a chance to destroy them. What he didn't know was what was coming up behind them and when. Obviously there is no way to know for sure, but when Lee is giving the don't bring on a general engagement he's telling Ewell, if you attack and you find men from other corps (besides I and XI) don't push it cause the South doesn't have all of THEIR divisions up yet.

Now back to the first part of the order. The infamous "if practicable" part of the order. I personally look at it the same way as if I tell my son get the mowing done if you can. If he gives me excuses why he couldn't I'm going to be upset, but if he gets 75% of it done I know he tried. Lee also used that phrase all the time. I see it as Lee expected him to try and take it. Lee gave his Corps commanders wide discretion and didn't interfere much in how they completed their objectives. I think Lee wanted Ewell to press them, but Lee also wasn't there, and wasn't going to force Ewell to do it. Whether it would of succeeded or not I'm not sure. Ewell after the battle in his report said that "I had received a message from the commanding to attack this hill, if I could do so to advantage." He doesn't even mention the general engagement part of the message as why he didn't attack. I'm of the opinion Ewell couldn't attempt to know whether he had advantage unless he tried. At the least he could have begun moving much earlier against Culp's Hill.

While Ewell could of been more aggressive, the same charge can be leveled against Hill. If Hill brings up Anderson's fresh division and keeps it closer to the action, that is a power strike force from which to launch against Cemetry Hill. While people like to blast Ewell, the fact that Hill refuses to support him is just as egregious IMO. Lastly, while it wasn't in Lee's nature at the time (he adapted as the overland campaign developed) he needed to take a firmer hand with his Corps Commanders. All three share in the failures on Day 1. Lastly, something must be said of the lack of cavalry. I don't think Lee felt confident about issuing direct orders across the battlefield to situations he had no true understanding of. This isn't a full indicment of Stuart, as we could go on about that situation as well, and it's much more nuanced then many know, but I feel full confident in the fact that Stuart should of either a.) left Hampton in charge of Robertson and took Jones or b.) left the "irregular" forces in the rear and directed Robertson and Jones to go with Ewell and Longstreet. Either situation would have left a talented Cavalry man (Hampton or Jones) with Lee and I'm fairly certain that would have changed much on Day 1.
Respectfully, I think you're trying too hard here. We know that Ewell was given the "if practicable" qualifier and was also given the direction not to bring on a "general engagement". Ewell was a corps commander in the midst of an unfolding battle, not a guy sitting at a classroom desk at West Point breaking this down for nuances. He got what was not even in the remotest sense a paradigm of clear instruction. Hill did not, by the way, have the prerogative to simply "refuse" to assist Ewell if Lee had ordered him to do so.Lee failed to do that. Lee's orders to Ewell were flawed. Reverting to a discussion in another thread, this is where Lee's poor understanding of the proper use of a staff came home to roost. A properly-used staff would have meant that somebody - here, Taylor - would have had and exercised the authority to advise Ewell how the vague and ambiguous orders actually applied to the situation confronting him. Instead, he was left with what the record shows.

None of this, by the way, says that Cemetery Hill could have been taken at that point. But that's another extended discussion.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
One last thing on this subject. The definition of practicable is "capable of being done or put into practice" NOT if you want to or if you think it can be successful, but can it be done. Obviously Lee isn't on that part of the battlefield. So the heart of the matter was could Ewell organize a attack on the hill. To argue that Ewell couldn't attack at all I think is is the heart of the matter. Practicable and practical are two different words. Practical means likely to succeed. We often times think those two words are the same. When you consider that definition the order becomes much more clear to me any ways. Having said all that. I respect your opinion immensely and enjoy our conversations. This board has given me a outlet for my Civil war discussion, and I enjoy it very much.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
One last thing on this subject. The definition of practicable is "capable of being done or put into practice" NOT if you want to or if you think it can be successful, but can it be done. Obviously Lee isn't on that part of the battlefield. So the heart of the matter was could Ewell organize a attack on the hill. To argue that Ewell couldn't attack at all I think is is the heart of the matter. Practicable and practical are two different words. Practical means likely to succeed. We often times think those two words are the same. When you consider that definition the order becomes much more clear to me any ways. Having said all that. I respect your opinion immensely and enjoy our conversations. This board has given me a outlet for my Civil war discussion, and I enjoy it very much.
Agree - I have little doubt that we could keep this going until we bury it. I'll leave it at this: "if practicable" in the ordinary sense means not just organizing an attack but successfully taking the hill, and includes such things as Rodes's division and Early's divisions being available and fit for the task (both for one reason or another may have fallen outside "available" and Rodes's was probably not "fit"). As for Lee's directive to not bring on a general engagement. I've never figured out what that means - putting myself in Ewell's position. Additional forces were approaching Gettysburg (Ewell was receiving reports that Union troops were coming from his left flank) and Cemetery Hill itself was being increasingly strengthened. I still don;t know what it means. It's effectively "double talk". In fact, I don't think Lee knew what it meant in reality, especially since what had already happened meets any common sense definition of "general engagement".
 

cwbuff

Corporal
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Location
Virginia
In the video below, starting about 50:00, David G Martin talks about if Stonewall was at Gettysburg. He talks about how it was a mistake for Lee to allow understrength Archer's brigade and the political appointee Davis' brigade to lead. He says that if Jackson had been there, Hill's Light division would have never had been broken up and they would have been on Cemetery Hill by noon. This is a Jackson "what if" that I do not recall, even though I read his book.
"Gettysburg, July 1"- with Author David G Martin
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
In the video below, starting about 50:00, David G Martin talks about if Stonewall was at Gettysburg. He talks about how it was a mistake for Lee to allow understrength Archer's brigade and the political appointee Davis' brigade to lead. He says that if Jackson had been there, Hill's Light division would have never had been broken up and they would have been on Cemetery Hill by noon. This is a Jackson "what if" that I do not recall, even though I read his book.
"Gettysburg, July 1"- with Author David G Martin
I can come up with many things Lee could have done better: Firmer hand with Hill, Ewell, and Stuart being the first, as well as decisions on day 3, but I'm not sure Lee had much hand in the decision of which brigades Heth chose to lead off with. Please correct me if i'm wrong?? Thanks
 

dgfred

Corporal
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
I don't think the problem was with what units were leading the D1 attacks... it was what they were running into. aka BUFORD
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
In the video below, starting about 50:00, David G Martin talks about if Stonewall was at Gettysburg. He talks about how it was a mistake for Lee to allow understrength Archer's brigade and the political appointee Davis' brigade to lead. He says that if Jackson had been there, Hill's Light division would have never had been broken up and they would have been on Cemetery Hill by noon. This is a Jackson "what if" that I do not recall, even though I read his book.
"Gettysburg, July 1"- with Author David G Martin
Ugh. Nothing like more "if only Stonewall had been there" delusion. I really wish the folks who still chase this "counterfactual" in any form would at least use the real Jackson (see: First Kernstown, McDowell, Port Republic, Seven Days, Cedar Mountain, Brawner's Farm, Second Bull Run Day 2, Chantilly) instead of the Marvel Comics version with the Cape. (Not directed at you but at Martin, FWIW)
 

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
Basically he answers the question in the last 5 minutes of his presentation, but I think his reasoning is sound.
I thought that it was odd that for the first 3/4 of the presentation, he simply gave a description of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Was that really necessary? I thought it strange that only in the last few minutes he addressed the title of the presentation.
 
Top