Day 2-Longstreet's Attack up the Emmittsburg Road

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Crazy Delawares

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Folks, I can never seem to figure out what is going on with Lee's plans for Longstreet's assault "up the Emmittsburg Road" on Day 2. IF Sickles had kept his corps in the position that Meade wanted him to occupy, wouldn't that have opened Longstreet's Corps up to enfilade fire?
And yet, the Rebs were still surprised to find the III Corps (Sickles') around the Peach Orchard and on Emmittsburg Road. Can someone explain to me just what Lee meant by "up the Emmittsburg Road?" I have read the latest two books out on the Peach Orchard and the second day at Gettysburg. I'm still confused by what happened.
1) If they didn't expect the enemy to be out on the Emmittsburg Rioad, then why attack "up the road?"
1-a) If the enemy wasn't there at the road, wouldn't that have opened the Longstreet's flank up to enfilade fire?
2) If they did expect the enemy to be there, why were the Rebs surprised to find them on the road?
As I said, I'm totally confused. Anyone help clear the "mud" from my head? THANKS!
 

Mr King

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Someone on here can better answer you than I. All I can say is that JEB Stuart and his cavalry; the eyes and ears of the Confederate Army were AWOL, so Lee fought the yankees being blind not knowing for sure the Federal strengths and positions. Lee wanted Longstreet to attack in the morning but Longstreet kept arguing against it and with poor guides didn't make the attack until the late afternoon and at that time the Federals had been reinforced with more men prepared to fight against Longstreet's two divisions; Hood and McLaws while Pickett's division was at the rear and wouldn't arrive until night time on the 2nd day.
 
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Rebforever

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Folks, I can never seem to figure out what is going on with Lee's plans for Longstreet's assault "up the Emmittsburg Road" on Day 2. IF Sickles had kept his corps in the position that Meade wanted him to occupy, wouldn't that have opened Longstreet's Corps up to enfilade fire?
And yet, the Rebs were still surprised to find the III Corps (Sickles') around the Peach Orchard and on Emmittsburg Road. Can someone explain to me just what Lee meant by "up the Emmittsburg Road?" I have read the latest two books out on the Peach Orchard and the second day at Gettysburg. I'm still confused by what happened.
1) If they didn't expect the enemy to be out on the Emmittsburg Rioad, then why attack "up the road?"
1-a) If the enemy wasn't there at the road, wouldn't that have opened the Longstreet's flank up to enfilade fire?
2) If they did expect the enemy to be there, why were the Rebs surprised to find them on the road?
As I said, I'm totally confused. Anyone help clear the "mud" from my head? THANKS!
Longstreet changed Lee’s order. Probably for the best. :frown:
 
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thomas aagaard

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Folks, I can never seem to figure out what is going on with Lee's plans for Longstreet's assault "up the Emmittsburg Road" on Day 2. IF Sickles had kept his corps in the position that Meade wanted him to occupy, wouldn't that have opened Longstreet's Corps up to enfilade fire?
And yet, the Rebs were still surprised to find the III Corps (Sickles') around the Peach Orchard and on Emmittsburg Road. Can someone explain to me just what Lee meant by "up the Emmittsburg Road?" I have read the latest two books out on the Peach Orchard and the second day at Gettysburg. I'm still confused by what happened.
1) If they didn't expect the enemy to be out on the Emmittsburg Rioad, then why attack "up the road?"
1-a) If the enemy wasn't there at the road, wouldn't that have opened the Longstreet's flank up to enfilade fire?
2) If they did expect the enemy to be there, why were the Rebs surprised to find them on the road?
As I said, I'm totally confused. Anyone help clear the "mud" from my head? THANKS!
As I understand it.
They expected the federals to be deployed along the road.
So an attack op the road (where the left flank of the attack would guide on the road) would be hitting the federal flank and coming in behind it.

But they did not expect them so fare south and III Corp did do one thing right, their left flank was refused, so the attack did hit the front of the southern part of the III corp.
Instead of the flank and rear.
 
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Cavalier

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I believe that the early morning recon by Johnson lead to the order to "attack up the Emmitsburg Rd". We now know, as the rebs found out, that the information Johnson conveyed as a result of that scout was incorrect, or at least no longer correct, by the time the attack commenced.

If I am not mistaken Johnson reports the area occupied by the 3rd corp, (left of the 2nd corps to the little round top), vacant of any troops.

By the way there's an interesting article in the latest issue of Gettysburg Magazine that discusses Johnson's scout.
 
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jackt62

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It is always hard for me to get a good answer to the planning for Day 2. However, as far as I understand the situation, the original plan was based on faulty southern intelligence which had the southern end of the Union line more or less posted close to the Emmitsburg Road, with its southern portion somewhere well to the north of the Round Tops. This of course, was never the case, but if it were, then Lee would have believed that Longstreet's corps could have advanced up that road, and flanked and rolled up the Union line. Longstreet was flummoxed when he realized the Union line was well to the east of the Emmitsburg Road, notwithstanding the sudden westward movement of Sickles' III Corps, which created a salient in the Union line.

Absolutely correct me if my understanding is flawed!
 

Andy Cardinal

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Captain Johnson's information was accurate for the time his reconnaissance was conducted, just not at 3 p.m.

The Army of the Potomac had not completely reached the field by the time Johnson was scouting. Full concentration (minus the 6th Corps) did not happen until mid-morning.

Based on Johnson's information, the Union left ended somewhere north of the Peach Orchard -- which was fairly true at 7 a.m. In that context, Lee's orders make a bit more sense. It should also be remembered that prior to 8:00, Meade had a fairly strong force east of Rock Creek in the Wolf Hill area. Meade actually considered making an attack of his own that morning, and might have done so had Sedgwick's corps been closer. Pertaining to this thread, there were a lot more Union troops on the right than on the left before those Union divisions east of Rock Creek were moved west of the creek that morning.

Two factors played into the breakdown of Lee's plan:

1. The 9 hours it took between the time Captain Johnson completed his reconaissance and when Longstreet launched his attack. The situation changed significantly during that time.

2. I believe Lee did not expect the Army of the Potomac to complete its concentration as quickly as it did.
 
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Crazy Delawares

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WOW! Thanks to EVERYONE! It is starting to jell in my own mind now. I guess the only thing now is to try and figure out why Lee or Longstreet did not adjust a little better than they did. The lack of Stuart? Longstreet's supposed petulance?
I'll have to check out that book, Last Chance For Victory and the Gettysburg article referred to by you all.
Thanks so much again!!!
 
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jackt62

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The lack of Stuart? Longstreet's supposed petulance?
Of these two, the more significant problem was Stuart's absence. Simply put, Stuart's main mission was to scout and learn the whereabouts of the AOTP, and report this information to Lee on a timely basis. Stuart's decision to go on another "ride around" the federal army meant that Lee could not be certain about the movements of the AOTP. Notwithstanding any possible confusion over Lee's orders to Stuarts, and knowing that Lee understood that the AOTP was not sitting idly by while the ANV advanced into Pennsylvania, and that Stuart had left behind his two weakest brigades for screening purposes, these facts do not overcome the disadvantage caused by Stuart's actions.
 

cdcederman

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I would likewise have to agree, though there were many other factors to consider, the biggest difficulty here was Stuart's absence. In a time when information gathering was key, and when you received that information, in minutes or even seconds, compared to your opponent was often tantamount to your success, completely losing your eyes and ears like this was a tremendous loss. No matter how excellent his own spot and viewing and his reports from each individual officer, none of it would have been as helpful as what Stuart would have been able to gather.
 

jackt62

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From R.E. Lee's report on the Gettysburg Campaign to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General
Official Records, Vol. XXVII, PT II, P. 321

"The movements of the army preceding the battle of Gettysburg had been much embarrassed by the absence of the cavalry. As soon as it was known that the enemy had crossed into Maryland, orders were sent to the brigades of Robertson and Jones, which had been left to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge, to rejoin the army without delay, and it was expected that General Stuart, with the remainder of his command, would soon arrive. In the exercise of the discretion given him when Longstreet and Hill marched into Maryland, General Stuart determined to pass around the rear of the Federal Army with three brigades and cross the Potomac between it and Washington, believing that he would be able, by that route, to place himself on our right flank in time to keep us properly advised of the enemy's movements. He marched from Salem on the night of June 24, intending to pass west of Centreville, but found the enemy's forces so distributed as to render that route impracticable."
 
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Irishtom29

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Thanks, Cavalier and Andy, for your recommendations. Much appreciated. Regarding Irishtom29's request, please know that is not practical to take a 270,000 word manuscript and rewrite a short version on a discussion board.
Discussing opinions of what Lee's intentions were and the possible Federal responses doesn't seem difficult; after all, that's what we do here.
 
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