First two of four chapters -- YouTube videos covering the 1st morning of the battle

johncla

Private
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
These are based on my animated map "Heth v Reynolds". Chapters 1 and 2 of four total are posted on YouTube. I give 50% odds Chapters 3 and 4 are also posted on or before Christmas day. They'll certainly be up by mid-January.

Chapter 1: Heth Takes Herr Ridge (8:54)
Chapter 2: Davis Flanks Cutler (10:23)

I'd appreciate it if you on the forum provide a technical review. Did I get any dates wrong? God forbid. Mis-placed a regiment? Please let me know!

One problem I recognize looking at the completed product is that it's Union-slanted. Not in the sense of cheerleading, but there are more details about Union officers and units; I guess because more information about the battle comes from the Union side. In the future I'll be aware of this and work harder to bring forward information about the Confederate side.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Very nicely done. Just one spelling error noted at the beginning of Chapter 1: McLaws not McClaws.

Everyone who has studied the battle has a slightly different interpretation of the sources. My only disagreement on the substance side would be the notion that Davis, particularly 55 NC, was waiting farther forward as shown and thus observed Cutler's two right regiments deploy. My sense is that Cutler's 56 PA and 76 NY were in position before Davis' 55 NC had advanced up a rise in the ground, at which time the 55 NC came into view of the 56 PA, which then fired the first infantry volley of the battle. However, no doubt the Confederate skirmishers of Davis' brigade were the first to observe the arrival of Cutler's brigade.
 

johncla

Private
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
Very nicely done. Just one spelling error noted at the beginning of Chapter 1: McLaws not McClaws.

Everyone who has studied the battle has a slightly different interpretation of the sources. My only disagreement on the substance side would be the notion that Davis, particularly 55 NC, was waiting farther forward as shown and thus observed Cutler's two right regiments deploy. My sense is that Cutler's 56 PA and 76 NY were in position before Davis' 55 NC had advanced up a rise in the ground, at which time the 55 NC came into view of the 56 PA, which then fired the first infantry volley of the battle. However, no doubt the Confederate skirmishers of Davis' brigade were the first to observe the arrival of Cutler's brigade.
Thanks for taking a look. I expect you're probably correct about the timing of 55NC vs 56PA. Yes, my sources say the initial volley was from 56PA, was ineffective, and that the response from 55NC was very effective. I had a couple thoughts after reading that description of the exchange:
  • that's interesting, WHY was 55NC's volley more effective? Better marksmanship? Good luck?
  • the range seems extreme for volleys to be effective. I've had the sense that 100 yards was about effective range for civil war infantry muskets. (We do call them muskets, right? Muzzle loaders.) I checked the range at one point and I've forgotten the number, but it's a ways.
 

scotth

Private
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
That is awesome work! Very good visual to see the action. Thank you! (It reminds me of one of the things that started my love of Gettysburg 45 or so years ago, when I first visited the Electric Map. That was very helpful for a kid like me to help understand the action, this is great)
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
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Jan 16, 2015
Thanks for taking a look. I expect you're probably correct about the timing of 55NC vs 56PA. Yes, my sources say the initial volley was from 56PA, was ineffective, and that the response from 55NC was very effective. I had a couple thoughts after reading that description of the exchange:
  • that's interesting, WHY was 55NC's volley more effective? Better marksmanship? Good luck?
  • the range seems extreme for volleys to be effective. I've had the sense that 100 yards was about effective range for civil war infantry muskets. (We do call them muskets, right? Muzzle loaders.) I checked the range at one point and I've forgotten the number, but it's a ways.
Great question. Don't know, but it does seem that on other parts of this field (like the Peach Orchard) a Confederate volley always seemed to be very effective. If nothing else, maybe it's the disparity in numbers? All things being equal, a smaller regiment firing at a much larger regiment will always be less effective than the converse. The 55th NC was nearly as large as the 56th PA and 76th NY combined.

By the way, I recently was informed of an account attributed to Major A. H. Belo of the 55th North Carolina, although apparently written by Lieutenant Charles M. Cook: "The Fifty-fifth was on the left of the brigade, and owing to the character of the ground was the first one to come in view of the enemy, and received the first fire in the battle. It was a volley fired by the Fifty-Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment ... two men in the color guard were wounded in this volley. The regiment immediately returned fire and inflicted considerable loss upon the [56th] regiment." (Galveston Daily News, September 14, 1895, quoted in, Lone Star Valor: Texans of the Blue & Gray at Gettysburg, by Joe Owen, 2019)
 

danny

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Hattiesburg
I have but one comment; and that is regarding the statement that Reynolds ordered Buford to hold his line at all hazards on Sunday June 28.

That seems to be a very early date for them to have recognized the importance of holding specific ground at Gettysburg.
 

johncla

Private
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
I have but one comment; and that is regarding the statement that Reynolds ordered Buford to hold his line at all hazards on Sunday June 28.

That seems to be a very early date for them to have recognized the importance of holding specific ground at Gettysburg.
I agree that it seems early, which is what makes it remarkable. My source is Wittenberg's book "The Devil's to Pay", page 36. He describes Hooker ordering a recon "in the direction of Gettysburg and Emmitsburg" on June 28, and Gen Pleasonton passing on orders to his three cavalry divisions - Gregg on the right, Kilpatrick in the center, and Buford on the left. Buford was assigned to go to Gettysburg.
On the next page Wittenberg describes Buford beginning his movement from Middletown about 9am on the 29th.
 

limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Brilliant work!

With regard to your dilemma re Hall's battery, I believe you could speed it up somewhat to meet your goal. In an emergency a battery can move rapidly. The cannoneers either mount the vehicles (fastest) or they can run along beside or behind, slower but still faster than infantry can double-quick as the cannoneers are not burdened by packs or weapons. At least double the infantrymen's rate for a couple of miles with cannoneers mounted would not be unrealistic. Also, from personal experience it only takes seconds to mount or dismount a vehicle so crewmen on the lead vehicle could readily throw down fences if not already done by outriders or prior troops. Meanwhile the teams would get a brief rest before dashing on to the next obstruction. Infantry are also slowed by fences.
 

johncla

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Joined
Jun 15, 2015
Brilliant work!

With regard to your dilemma re Hall's battery, I believe you could speed it up somewhat to meet your goal. In an emergency a battery can move rapidly. The cannoneers either mount the vehicles (fastest) or they can run along beside or behind, slower but still faster than infantry can double-quick as the cannoneers are not burdened by packs or weapons. At least double the infantrymen's rate for a couple of miles with cannoneers mounted would not be unrealistic. Also, from personal experience it only takes seconds to mount or dismount a vehicle so crewmen on the lead vehicle could readily throw down fences if not already done by outriders or prior troops. Meanwhile the teams would get a brief rest before dashing on to the next obstruction. Infantry are also slowed by fences.
Yes, Hall’s battery is a dilemma. He starts out on Emmitsburg Rd behind Cutler, but over a fairly short stretch, while Cutler supposedly is moving at the double quick, has to get far enough ahead to allow him to deploy and then be available to cover Cutler’s deployment.

Can you give me a number? How fast could an artillery battery move over that route? Fences and farm fields.
 

johncla

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Joined
Jun 15, 2015
I will, and thanks to you, and danny, and Tom Elmore for the comments posted above. With luck I will have the last two chapters up on YouTube by Friday (yes, Christmas) and I hope you all will give them a hard look as well, and provide feedback again.

The readers on this forum have posted a huge role in providing encouragement and answering questions. Thank you all, and have a Merry Christmas!
 

Andy Cardinal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
I will, and thanks to you, and danny, and Tom Elmore for the comments posted above. With luck I will have the last two chapters up on YouTube by Friday (yes, Christmas) and I hope you all will give them a hard look as well, and provide feedback again.

The readers on this forum have posted a huge role in providing encouragement and answering questions. Thank you all, and have a Merry Christmas!
Great job! These are excellent and I am looking forward to seeing the others.

Merry Christmas to you too!
 

limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
John, I happened to run across this post today from several years ago by a good friend who also spent time with a reenactment battery that had horses. Note that his comments concern a "flying" or horse artillery battery in which the cannoneers are mounted on horses rather than on the carriages. A regular field or mounted battery would be a little slower because of the crewmen mounted on the carriages.


"I had the honor to serve
occasionally in A/1st Kentucky Horse Artillery. This battery appeared in the movie Gettyburg. It's 1841 12-pdr Howitzer was pulled by a six-horse team. I was a mounted horseholder who held three of the gunners' horses when they dismounted to serve the piece. This gun could move safely limbered as fast as my horse could canter, and unsafely as fast as my horse could gallop. It could be unlimbered in less than a minute, and could be loaded and fire its first shot in about another minute." (emphasis added)

While IIRC Hall was a mounted battery rather than horse artillery, the above provides further support for Hall moving at least twice as fast as the double-quicking infantry in the emergency.

Did that increase work for your animated map?
 

johncla

Private
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
Did that increase work for your animated map?

Limberbox, that was valuable information and helpful in clearing up my confusion about Hall's timing relative to Cutler's brigade. But I'm still not sure about how from being BEHIND Cutler at the Codori ranch, Hall's battery was then able to get far enough AHEAD of Cutler to get in position and deploy in time to provide cover while Cutler's infantry deployed on McPherson ridge. It seems there's a huge speed differential between the infantry and the artillery to allow the arty to get around and ahead. And the infantry was double-quicking? 3.7 mph for infantry double quick? Versus maybe 5mph for the artillery battery?

The only solution I see is that first, Hall's battery went at top speed in whatever configuration ('flying' or regular); but also, Cutler must have stopped at some point, maybe near McPherson farm; while Reynolds, Wadsworth, and Cutler conferred about the plan.
 

limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Speed of a cantering horse wikipedia says is 10-17 mpg (gallop is 30). I was being conservative in suggesting twice double-time. It would be faster. Battery would pull out of the infantry column and speed on its way. The battery could also have been met by one or more aides providing information as to where to deploy or even leading it to the desired location, so it would not necessarily need to stop. Going into battery can take less than a minute.

Given the distance Cutler had to march I don't see any problem with Hall leaving the column and arriving at its desired location, going into battery and firing to cover Cutler's deployment, as the accounts suggest.
 
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