1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!
Dismiss Notice
--- Please Take Note! ---
All discussions about the removal of Confederate Monuments must be restricted to the following two threads. Any other new threads about monument removal will be deleted without warning.
- New Orleans Monuments
- St. Louis Monument
Thanks for your understanding on this issue!

Colonial George Sharpe Intelligence Net?

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by 5fish, May 10, 2008.

  1. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,743
    Location:
    Central Florida
    How important was Colonel George Sharpe's intelligence gathering operation proceeding and preceding the Battle of Gettysburg?

    Your call Members of this Board....
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. whitworth

    whitworth 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,518
    Some folks don't want to learn

    that Gettysburg was not an accidental meeting place for the Army of the Potomac.

    The War Between the Spies: A History of Espionage During the American Civil War by Alan Axelrod (Hardcover - Sep 1992)

    The Secret War for the Union: The Untold Story of Military Intelligence in the Civil War by Edwin C. Fishel (Paperback - Jun 22, 1998)

    In fact, some folks might suffer from the illusion and delusion of their previous research, by reading any of the Civil War intelligence books.
     
  4. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,743
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Over Looked!

    I am learning that I and other have over looked the Intelligences part of the war.

    Col. Sharpe had created a flow chart of Lee's army so once they knew what regiments of brigades where in a area they new what Corp. was in that area.

    Col. Sharpe used Balloons to watch Lee's army in camp and develop a system to gather information from various sources and them compile it.

    Col. Sharpe tracked Lee's army march into PA. He knew where Ewell was, Longstreet was and Hill cope was located along most of thier march into Pa. even thou Lee tried to use the Mountains as a screen..

    During this time of Lee's marching into the north Gen. Hooker would ridicule Col. Sharpe on the job he was doing, strange.
     
  5. Epaphroditus

    Epaphroditus Cadet

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Mt. Laurel, NJ
    Pickett's Division

    Meade consulted with George Sharpe before calling his generals together on the evening of July 2nd. Sharpe told Meade that he and his men had interviewed prisoners taken from every division and brigade except Pickett's. Sharpe told Meade that Pickett's Division was close by in bivouac and ready to go into action. Hearing this, Hancock was elated: "General, we have got them nicked!"

    This was critical intelligence indeed. The AOP had already been attacked at every point and held, and Meade still had Slocum's XII Corps in reserve, which was more than enough to offset the threat of Pickett's Division being thrown into the mix. Meade had the advantage of better position and better intelligence, so he had every reason to feel confident when looking ahead to the next day's battle.
     
    Tom Elmore likes this.
  6. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,743
    Location:
    Central Florida
    More!

    When Meade took command of the AoP, he was briefed by Col. Sharpe. Col. Sharpe was able to prove that all of Lee's infantry was in PA. So when rumors came in about Lee's army in other places Meade just ignored it for he went with Col. Sharpe information about Lee's army.

    A note: Col Sharpe knew the whole time where Gen. Stuart was and I bet if Meade had wanted to he could have corner Gen. Stuart. Meade was more worried about Lee then Gen. Stuart.
     
    Andy Cardinal likes this.
  7. whitworth

    whitworth 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,518
    Kilpatrick's Cavalry

    did attack Stuart's cavalry at Hanover, east of Gettysburg, keeping him east of an unknown meeting up with Lee.

    Stuart kept going north looking for Ewell's Corps near Carlisle, as that was the original plan of R.E. Lee. Ewell was pulled back by Lee, and Stuart, through his separation, was never informed by a dispatch, that the plans were changed.
     
  8. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,743
    Location:
    Central Florida
    July 2

    A tidbit, on July 2, 1863 Colonial Sharpe using his information gathering system and team had figure out that Lee had committed his entire army to the battle except Pickett' men. He inform Meade and his senior generals that Lee had committed his entire army to this battle except Pickett.

    With this information some senior generals where confident they had beaten Lee while others were more confident that he could be beaten the following day.

    If only Lee had the same intelligences gathering ability he may have realized the union army was still in tack with reserves at the ready. He might have rethought his Pickett charge idea...

    Wondering thoughts....
     
  9. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,391
    Location:
    Virginia
    Dear 5Fish;

    I suspect Colonel Sharpe was more 'informed' than most as well as; well practiced and proved himself accurate; I am glad that General Meade paid attention to him.

    As far as Hooker besmirching Sharpe's character--anybody who is 'smarting' from Washington's micro-managing Halleck; would lash out at anybody who is more popular and or efficient--or just 'there. '

    Just some thoughts.

    Respectfully submitted for consideration,
    M. E. Wolf
     
  10. whitworth

    whitworth 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,518
    Intelligence on General R.E. Lee

    HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,
    Gettysburg, June 30, 1863.

    ...Colonel Gamble has just sent me word
    that Lee signed a pass for a citizen this morning at Chambersburg.

    JNO. BUFORD,
    Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
     
  11. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    915
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Lee was out of Virginia, on unfamiliar ground, with unsympathetic natives, and unlike the Northern armies, he could not rely on a friendly racial minority. He could not stay there very long.
    Sharpe was critically important and Granville Dodge was doing the same thing in Tennessee and Mississippi.
    The US was getting organized for war, just as Sam Houston had anticipated.
     
  12. 67th Tigers

    67th Tigers Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,825
    Of course, Sharpe massively overreported enemy strength, far worse than Pinkerton did. His estimate was:

    92,000 infantry
    6-8,000 cavalry (they had not detected Imboden etc., and upped this to 12,000 when they did)
    270 guns (say 5,400 gunners)
    = ca. 105,000-110,000 combatants

    vs ca. 72,000 for his actual strength. These numbers were explicitly PFD, rather than aggregate present (which many of Pinkerton's estimates were, and indeed some of his raw int is aggregate present and absent). This is actually worse than Pinkerton ever did.

    Sharpe's BMI was so bad that Meade almost disbanded it, declaring they brought in no information that the cavalry hadn't already supplied.
     
  13. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    915
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    True, but Meade had the benefit of both. Which was worth the trouble.
     
    Tom Elmore likes this.
  14. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,334
    Meade appointed Sharpe as Deputy Provost Marshal General on June 30 (Meade Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia). The Provost Marshal General was Brig. Gen. M. R. Patrick. One of their responsibilities was the handling of prisoners.
     
  15. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    4,743
    Location:
    Central Florida
    If remember right Sharp interrogated the prisoners and that is how he learned that Lee had committed most of his army to the battle, except for Pickett. It seems back then soldiers were not trained to give only their name and serial numbers.
     
    Tom Elmore likes this.

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Loading...

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)