Map from Cory Pfarr's presentation at the Gettysburg Heritage Center on CSPAN
I sent back and halted my division and rode with Major Johnson rapidly around the neighborhood to see if there was any road by which we could go into position without being seen. Not finding any, I joined my command and met General Longstreet there, who asked, "What is the matter?" I replied, "Ride with me and I will show you that we can't go on this route, according to the instructions, without being seen by the enemy."
The September CWT Video Discussion scheduled for September 9, 2019 at 9pm ET features Cory Pfarr's June 2019 presentation before the Gettysburg Heritage Center in Pennsylvania. In the presentation, Mr. Pfarr discusses a few key topics from his new book Longstreet at Gettysburg: A Critical Reassessment (McFarland, 2019.) < Book Video Discussion Page >
It seems that Mr. Pfarr is among a small group of modern historians who lend credence to the prolific post-war writings of former Confederate Major General Lafayette McLaws. I am researching a regiment that served in McLaws' division, with the intent of one day publishing a regimental history. Most of my research has been confined to primary source material - including memoirs. As a result, I have probably read more McLaws than the average student of the Civil War and I've always admired his tact and diplomacy. It is possible that his memoirs provide the most unbiased Confederate eye-witness accounts available. They certainly deserve to be considered.
In the past, I've posted excerpts from McLaws' 1878 paper, presented before the Georgia Historical Society. In his presentation, Mr. Pfarr covers in detail some of the discrepancies related to the counter-march. In anticipation of the discussion tomorrow, this excerpt seems relevant and timely. <NOTE: Rank, spelling, and punctuation errors retained directly from the original 1878 paper by Lafayette McLaws; ie Major Johnston /Johnson.>
At length, my recollection is that it was about 1 pm, Major Johnston, of General Lee's staff, came to me and said he was ordered to conduct me on the march. My command was at once put in motion, Major Johnson and myself riding some distance ahead. Suddenly, as we rose a hill on the road we were taking, the Round Top was plainly visible, with the flags of the signal men in rapid motion.
I sent back and halted my division and rode with Major Johnson rapidly around the neighborhood to see if there was any road by which we could go into position without being seen. Not finding any, I joined my command and met General Longstreet there, who asked, "What is the matter?" I replied, "Ride with me and I will show you that we can't go on this route, according to the instructions, without being seen by the enemy." We rode to the top of the hill and he at once said, "Why this won't do. Is there no way to avoid it?" I then told him of my reconnaissance in the morning, and he said: "How can we get there?" I replied: "Only by going back - by counter-marching." He said: "Then countermarch," and the movement commenced.
But as General Hood, in his eagerness for the fray (and he bears the character of always being so), had pressed on his division, behind mine so that it lapped considerably, creating confusion in the coutermarch, General Longstreet rode to me and said: "General there is so much confusion, owing to Hood's division being mixed up with yours, suppose you let him countermarch first and lead in the attack." I replied: "General, as I started in the lead, let me continue so;" and he replied, "Then go on," and rode off.
Excerpt from: [Lafayette McLaws, "The Battle of Gettysburg," a paper presented before the Georgia Historical Society, January 7, 1878.] The next excerpt, in sequence, is DAY 2 McLaws on Failed Reconnaissance
Previously Posted Excerpts:
DAY 2 McLaws on Failed Reconnaissance
DAY 2 McLaws Arrives on the Field
DAY 2 Hood & McLaws Prepare for the July 2 Assault
DAY 3 McLaws' View of Pickett's Charge