Grading the Confederate Corps and Division Commanders

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OldReliable1862

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I was curious to see what the posters who know more about Gettysburg thought of the performance of the Army of Northern Virginia's corps and division commanders at the battle. The grade is from 1 to 5, 5 being the best. A brief assesment of the commander's performance at Gettysburg is encouraged, though not required. Grading replacement commanders is suggested, though not required.

The Confederate commanders are as follows:
AoNV - GEN Robert E. Lee*

First Corps - LTG James Longstreet
1st Div - MG Lafayette McLaws
2nd Div - MG George E. Pickett
3rd Div - MG John Bell Hood (w), BG Evander M. Law

Second Corps - LTG Richard S. Ewell
1st Div - MG Jubal A. Early
2nd Div - MG Edward Johnson
3rd Div - MG Robert E. Rodes

Third Corps - LTG A. P. Hill
1st Div - MG Richard H. Anderson
2nd Div - MG Henry Heth (w), BG James J. Pettigrew
3rd Div - BG William Dorsey Pender (mw), MG Isaac R. Trimble (w&c), BG James H. Lane

*As the army commander, I think his perfomance is worth discussing here as well
 

rpkennedy

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I was curious to see what the posters who know more about Gettysburg thought of the performance of the Army of Northern Virginia's corps and division commanders at the battle. The grade is from 1 to 5, 5 being the best. A brief assesment of the commander's performance at Gettysburg is encouraged, though not required. Grading replacement commanders is suggested, though not required.

The Confederate commanders are as follows:
AoNV - GEN Robert E. Lee*

First Corps - LTG James Longstreet
1st Div - MG Lafayette McLaws
2nd Div - MG George E. Pickett
3rd Div - MG John Bell Hood (w), BG Evander M. Law

Second Corps - LTG Richard S. Ewell
1st Div - MG Jubal A. Early
2nd Div - MG Edward Johnson
3rd Div - MG Robert E. Rodes

Third Corps - LTG A. P. Hill
1st Div - MG Richard H. Anderson
2nd Div - MG Henry Heth (w), BG James J. Pettigrew
3rd Div - BG William Dorsey Pender (mw), MG Isaac R. Trimble (w&c), BG James H. Lane

*As the army commander, I think his perfomance is worth discussing here as well
Lee: B. Lee was Lee for much of the battle, taking the initiative and making aggressive moves. The lack of intelligence on the whereabouts of the Union army both before and during the battle tied his hands somewhat, leading to some hedging on July 1. Lee was a gambler at heart and at Gettysburg, he rolled snake-eyes.

Longstreet: B-. He followed orders but was a little huffy for parts of the battle. That said, he launched one of the most devastating assaults of the war (his M.O.) but just came up short. His role during the attack on July 3 could have been far more active.

McLaws: B. He capably led his division. Competent but not brilliant.

Hood: Incomplete. He understandably did not want to march into the Devil's Den but followed his orders after he made it known that he wasn't happy with it. If he had lasted more than 10 minutes into the advance, he might have been able to more capably direct his men in their attacks against LRT, DD, and Rose Woods.

Law: F. Division command was over his head. He could not keep the division together and directed at the same goal.

(Edit: I forgot about Pickett) Pickett: C+. He pushed his men forward but only watched as his men tried to drive the attack home (not that there was much he could do; he had already called back to Wilcox to support his right and Longstreet for non-existent reinforcements).

Ewell: B. He made the right call on the evening of July 1 based on what he knew at the time. He capably led his corps although he did allow Early to influence him too much.

Early: B-. Crushed the Eleventh Corps on July 1 but ordered Gordon's whole brigade to the far left when he received an unreliable report that General Smith had seen Union troops off to the east. Tended to bully his corps commander with his opinions.

Johnson: C+. Competent. His men did their best in attacking Culp's Hill but were hampered by having 1 brigade guard the flank on July 2.

Rodes: C-. His artillery alerted the Union troops that they had arrived. Sent his troops into the fight piecemeal. His actions on July 2 and 3 were rather unenthusiastic. Was ill during the battle which probably played a role in his actions.

Hill: D-. Was essentially an empty suit due to his illness. Played no real active role.

Anderson: D. A normally excellent officer but had a very bad 2 days. Sent his troops forward and played very little active role. 1 brigade was barely engaged and another was basically wasted in a tit-for-tat skirmish fight at the Bliss Farm.

Heth: C. Bit off more than he could chew on July 1 before being shot in the head.

Pettigrew: B. For someone with limited battle experience, he took control of a much reduced division and capably led it on July 3 although he could have handled Brockenbrough much more firmly.

Pender: C+. He launched the attack that broke the First Corps on Seminary Ridge although it succeeded mostly because of Abner Perrin. He didn't maintain a firm grip on one brigade (Lane) which lagged behind. He also ordered Perrin to break off his pursuit, allowing much of the First Corps to make it to Cemetery Hill. One has to wonder what he would have done if he hadn't been hit on July 2.

Trimble: C. He did ok leading 2 of Pender's brigades on July 3.

Lane: Incomplete. As a division commander, he didn't do much at Gettysburg. As a brigade commander, a D+. He was slow to attack on July 1 and didn't show any real aggression after the Seminary Ridge line broke.

Ryan
 
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infomanpa

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Lee: B. Lee was Lee for much of the battle, taking the initiative and making aggressive moves. The lack of intelligence on the whereabouts of the Union army both before and during the battle tied his hands somewhat, leading to some hedging on July 1. Lee was a gambler at heart and at Gettysburg, he rolled snake-eyes.

Longstreet: B-. He followed orders but was a little huffy for parts of the battle. That said, he launched one of the most devastating assaults of the war (his M.O.) but just came up short. His role during the attack on July 3 could have been far more active.

McLaws: B. He capably led his division. Competent but not brilliant.

Hood: Incomplete. He understandably did not want to march into the Devil's Den but followed his orders after he made it known that he wasn't happy with it. If he had lasted more than 10 minutes into the advance, he might have been able to more capably direct his men in their attacks against LRT, DD, and Rose Woods.

Law: F. Division command was over his head. He could not keep the division together and directed at the same goal.

(Edit: I forgot about Pickett) Pickett: C+. He pushed his men forward but only watched as his men tried to drive the attack home (not that there was much he could do; he had already called back to Wilcox to support his right and Longstreet for non-existent reinforcements).

Ewell: B. He made the right call on the evening of July 1 based on what he knew at the time. He capably led his corps although he did allow Early to influence him too much.

Early: B-. Crushed the Eleventh Corps on July 1 but ordered Gordon's whole brigade to the far left when he received an unreliable report that General Smith had seen Union troops off to the east. Tended to bully his corps commander with his opinions.

Johnson: C+. Competent. His men did their best in attacking Culp's Hill but were hampered by having 1 brigade guard the flank on July 2.

Rodes: C-. His artillery alerted the Union troops that they had arrived. Sent his troops into the fight piecemeal. His actions on July 2 and 3 were rather unenthusiastic. Was ill during the battle which probably played a role in his actions.

Hill: D-. Was essentially an empty suit due to his illness. Played no real active role.

Anderson: D. A normally excellent officer but had a very bad 2 days. Sent his troops forward and played very little active role. 1 brigade was barely engaged and another was basically wasted in a tit-for-tat skirmish fight at the Bliss Farm.

Heth: C. Bit off more than he could chew on July 1 before being shot in the head.

Pettigrew: B. For someone with limited battle experience, he took control of a much reduced division and capably led it on July 3 although he could have handled Brockenbrough much more firmly.

Pender: C+. He launched the attack that broke the First Corps on Seminary Ridge although it succeeded mostly because of Abner Perrin. He didn't maintain a firm grip on one brigade (Lane) which lagged behind. He also ordered Perrin to break off his pursuit, allowing much of the First Corps to make it to Cemetery Hill. One has to wonder what he would have done if he hadn't been hit on July 2.

Trimble: C. He did ok leading 2 of Pender's brigades on July 3.

Lane: Incomplete. As a division commander, he didn't do much at Gettysburg. As a brigade commander, a D+. He was slow to attack on July 1 and didn't show any real aggression after the Seminary Ridge line broke.

Ryan
Not even an A or A- for anyone? You're a tough grader! :tongue: And why use letter grades at all? Didn't the OP ask you to rate them on a scale of 1-5?:wink:
 
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Tom Elmore

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I think Ryan's assessments are accurate, by and large. I rank Pettigrew's performance the highest among the group, but I think Early would have surpassed him were it not for Smith. Lane really does not belong in this group, but his regiments performed well on July 3 to raise his overall grade as a brigade commander, in my opinion. I place R. H. Anderson at the very bottom.
 

OldReliable1862

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I think Ryan's assessments are accurate, by and large. I rank Pettigrew's performance the highest among the group, bl)lLane really does not belong in this group, but his regiments performed well on July 3 to raise his overall grade as a brigade commander, in my opinion. I place R. H. Anderson at the very bottom.
I included Lane for completion sake, as he was divison commender temporarily between Heth's wounding and Trimble's arrival, and again after Trimble was wounded himself and captured.
 

rpkennedy

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I think Ryan's assessments are accurate, by and large. I rank Pettigrew's performance the highest among the group, but I think Early would have surpassed him were it not for Smith. Lane really does not belong in this group, but his regiments performed well on July 3 to raise his overall grade as a brigade commander, in my opinion. I place R. H. Anderson at the very bottom.
And the fact that Pettigrew was probably the best at Gettysburg says a lot about the high command of the AoNV there.

Ryan
 
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ErnieMac

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While it should not impact the performance evaluations an observer should take note of the experience level of the commanders. Ewell and Hill were in their first battle as corps commanders. Law, Johnson, Heth, Pender, Trimble, Pettigrew and Lane had never commanded a division before Gettysburg. Rodes was in his second battle as a division commander (his first as a Major General) as was George Pickett. Lee's only commanders with significant experience in their command positions were Longstreet, McLaws, Hood and Anderson.
 

Kyle Kalasnik

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Great posts from everyone, very informative and interesting.

And the brief reasons and descriptions were excellent. Pretty much spot on for the Corps Commanders, although I am not as knowledgeable about the Division Commanders (Stuart excluded), but I have been doing a lot of research on them.

How about doing the Brigade Commanders, and the Army of the Potomac? Man that seems like a lot of work.

Respectfully,
Kyle Kalasnik
 
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