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Golden Thread Copse of Trees or Ziegler Grove

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Gettysburg Greg, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Sergeant

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    Despite the fact that several photographic teams were in Gettysburg in the days and weeks after the battle, the significance of the Angle and Copse of Trees was apparently not understood at the time since no images were recorded of this area until years after the battle. However, thanks to the super hi resoulution digital versions now available for downloading, it is possible to see the Copse of Trees in a Brady image taken from Little Round Top on July 15th, 1863. The small umbrella shaped copse is clearly seen in the detail below which contrasts significantly with the much larger Ziegler Grove. You may be aware that there are many who believe that Ziegler Grove was the true target of Pickett's Charge. Viewed from the Confederate position on Seminary Ridge, the Copse is dwarfed by the large grove as seen in the photo. I will include a photo that I took to demonstrate the modern view. Remember that Ziegler Grove was larger in 1863.
    jpeg.jpg

    copse1.jpg
     
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  3. Scott F

    Scott F Private

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    As always, great work Greg.
     
  4. MRB1863

    MRB1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Very interesting observation!
     
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  5. Garyjd

    Garyjd Private

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    Just last weekend Gettysburg Park Ranger/Historian Troy Harman conducted a "battle walk" about this very subject.
     
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  6. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

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    Major Samuel Roberts of the 72nd Pennsylvania, described the copse in a September 1, 1887 article in the National Tribune: "A clump of saplings, not over 30 paces in depth, stood out in relief from the ridge and afforded a most excellent target for the concentrated fire of the enemy's artillery."
     
  7. Garyjd

    Garyjd Private

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    They may have stood out on a clear day but on that day I doubt they stood out for long if at all. We're used to seeing fully grown/mature trees when we visit the field. At the time of the battle they were far from as prominent as those in Zigler's Grove.
     
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  8. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Sergeant

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    from lrt jpeg.jpg

    Until 1876, there were no photographs taken that included the Copse of Trees. However, thanks to Mathew Brady's panorama taken from the summit of Little Round Top, and the high resolution version we now have, we actually get a pretty good view of the Copse of Trees and Ziegler's Grove as they looked during the battle. The purpose of this thread is not necessarily to bring up the discussion of copse vs. grove as the actual "aiming point" of Longstreet's Assault-Pickett's Charge. However, the photo leaves no doubt about the comparative size of the Copse and Ziegler's Grove. Just an observation. :D I labeled the Brian house that is located between the two tall trees even though not really visible in the photo.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2017
  9. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    Very interesting, Greg. I'm trying to imagine this view from LRT as it would look, today. I'll have to work a bit to understand it.
     
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  10. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Sergeant

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    This may help you "see" it as it is today, @infomanpa . This is a blow up from a pic I took last year from Little Round Top.
    lrt2.JPG
     
  11. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    Hmmm....I have always been told it was the copse...BUT....the grove is a much more visible point of reference. But then it could have just been a series of left obliques that put it in that direction??? No way to truly know I guess. Thanks @Gettysburg Greg :smile:
     
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  12. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

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    Seems like you are making an "oblique reference" here.:tongue:
     
  13. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    A number of researchers have shown that the "Copse of trees" was not- and could not have been- the objective of Longstreet's Assault.
    It was never mentioned until 1876, long after the battle. At the time of the battle, the "copse of trees' was a group of saplings at best, not visible from the Confederate lines or along their advance.
    Though Mr. Bachelder performed a great service in preserving so much of the battlefield, he also initiated and perpetrated a number of myths, most notably the "Copse of Trees".
    Incidentally, a great source for anyone interested in Lee's real intentions for July 3, 1863 is Tom Carhart, Lost triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg- and why it Failed. (New York: G. P. Putnam 's sons, 2005)
     
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  14. WJC

    WJC 2nd Lieutenant

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    Thanks for sharing these views.
    Perhaps the reason that no one recorded images of the "Copse of Trees" for years after the battle was that it was not significant. After all, at the time of the battle it was little more than a bunch of saplings....
     
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  15. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    "Copse of shrubbery"
     
  16. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    Thanks @WJC I will check out that book. I'm always interested in reading anything that has anything to do with the events of July 3.
     
  17. FZ11

    FZ11 Sergeant Major

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    Tom Carhart? Thanks,but,no thanks.
     
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  18. reading48

    reading48 Captain

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    We know from history it was supposed to be the Copse of trees...After the first shot ....Battle plans go into the circular file.... does any one know for sure it was Zieglers Grove or the now famous Copse of trees that was their focal point........(just my opinion)
     
  19. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Do not read Carhart's book. It's not worth the paper it's printed on. Check out Earl Hess' Pickett's Charge: The Last Attack at Gettysburg. Except for the disappointing title, it is a good book. Or check out George Stewart's older book Pickett's Charge.

    Ryan
     
  20. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    In all my research, I've never found a contemporary source that points at any one location as THE target of the attack. Other than whatever point they happened to converge on which, owing to variables and terrain, ended up being at the Angle. Virtually every source that indicates a target was written after the fact.

    Ryan
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
  21. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    Your opinion. I've read it twice now and it does bring up some interesting questions.
     

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