JEB Stuart And The Battle Of Gettysburg - Was He Responsible For Lee's Defeat

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Eric Wittenberg

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I believe that this student's conclusion is correct, but I find it absolutely astounding that she does not cite Plenty of Blame to Go Around or any of the other published treatments of the ride. Frankly, I think that there may have been some plagiarism here, but I cannot prove it.

Despite that, her analysis is right on the money.
 
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KeyserSoze

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I believe that this student's conclusion is correct, but I find it absolutely astounding that she does not cite Plenty of Blame to Go Around or any of the other published treatments of the ride. Frankly, I think that there may have been some plagiarism here, but I cannot prove it.

Despite that, her analysis is right on the money.
I disagree with her statement that Lee's reputation has declined among historians in recent years. I think that what has happened is that a lot of the myth that she spoke of surrounding Lee has been stripped away and the true picture of him as an outstanding, but not infallible, field commander is being presented.
 

OpnCoronet

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Obviously, I am not inclined to disagree that the Author;s Conclusions. IMO they are was more or less correct, but, I do have a big quibble concerning the author's conclusion that Lee asked the ANV to perform beyond its capabilities(is she saying the ANV was foredoomed to failure?)
 
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cash

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I believe that this student's conclusion is correct, but I find it absolutely astounding that she does not cite Plenty of Blame to Go Around or any of the other published treatments of the ride. Frankly, I think that there may have been some plagiarism here, but I cannot prove it.

Despite that, her analysis is right on the money.
I think she's right about Stuart, but I think she's wrong about Lee.

I think the persons to blame for the ANV's loss at Gettysburg are primarily the men who wore the blue that day. I think Lee overall did a creditable job. His decisions were reasonable given what he knew at the time he made those decisions. He was overconfident to an extent, but he had reason to be very confident in what his men could do. He underestimated what the Army of the Potomac could do, but he had reason to do so.

She writes that Lee planned to strike the center of the Union line on the night of July 2, when clearly his plan was to attack in the same manner as had been done on July 2, along the Emmitsburg Road, and that plan had to be abandoned on the morning of July 3, as Pickett's Division wasn't in place. I don't think she gets the meeting between Lee and Stuart correct.

I think she's right not to fall into the Carhart trap of believing Stuart was to be part of the attack on the Union center on July 3. She's right that he was to protect the left flank. That's the explanation that makes his firing the cannon make sense. He wanted to see if any Federals were around that area.

I think she's not critical enough of Robertson, and I think Stuart bears some responsibility for leaving Robertson in charge and not placing a more competent officer in charge of that mission.

But overall, in the case of Gettysburg, I believe the Federals won that battle more than the confederates lost it. Officers like George S. Greene, Winfield Scott Hancock, Gouverner Warren, Strong Vincent, O. O. Howard, Patrick O'Rorke, and that professor from Maine made crucial decisions at the right time, and the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, who were always good soldiers and always fought bravely and gallantly, did the rest.

In the words of Scott Hartwig, the Army of the Potomac was an army of lions that had been led by jackasses, and at Gettysburg there were a lot fewer jackasses.
 

Carronade

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I wouldn't say Lee asked the ANV to perform beyond its capabilities either; "pushed the ANV to its limits" might be a better phrase. I don't think Lee asked his army to do anything it literally couldn't, but clearly it required a 110% effort. And as Pickett and many since have remarked, the Yankees did have something to do with it.....
 
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Brooklyn Ed

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hi, i think that gettysburg is totally on lee. now i know most of you have done more research and know a lot more facts than i but why did he not listen to his generals those first few days of july? i think history was cheated when general lee did not write his memoirs. sorry if this opinion irritates some of you but why did he go up the middle? lack of information from stuart can not be blamed.
 
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leftyhunter

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I can't download the file because it would harm my computer or so my computer tells me. I am of the school of thought that Lee was arguably the best general there was at least Gen. Winfield Scott thought so in recommending him to Lincoln to head Union forces. Has we have discussed before Lee could not just wait in Va for another Union offensive plus having his divisions sent to the west to get ground up. Lee knew he needed more men to invade Pa but Snowden refused him troops that were stationed near New Berne Nc to block Union forces on the Nc coast. Lee did the best he could with what he had. Not all his generals listened to him and yes has Lee stated Meade did not make mistakes. Lee had to gamble but not all gambles work.
Leftyhunter
 

cash

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I've posted this before...if he gets credit and deified by some for his wins, he takes the blame for his losses. The buck stops with the guy in charge.
The problem with that, though, is it means the Army of the Potomac is nothing but a prop for Lee. If he does good, he'll win; if he does bad, he'll lose. There's no agency with the AoP to allow them to seize a victory. What happens when Lee does good and the AoP does good? Why can't the AoP win then?

The Army of the Potomac, at Gettysburg, finally got the performance from its leadership, for the most part, that it deserved.
 
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Pat Answer

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The problem with that, though, is it means the Army of the Potomac is nothing but a prop for Lee. If he does good, he'll win; if he does bad, he'll lose. There's no agency with the AoP to allow them to seize a victory. What happens when Lee does good and the AoP does good? Why can't the AoP win then?

The Army of the Potomac, at Gettysburg, finally got the performance from its leadership, for the most part, that it deserved.
I agree. Don't get me wrong: leadership matters, especially the "tone" a commander sets for his organization that can maximize or minimize effectiveness overall (Lee's AoNV vs Bragg's AoT, for example). But there is really only so much any general can do on a battlefield. A closer look often reveals that the praise/blame approach itself is too simple.
 

whitworth

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After reading a long academic dissertation, I read The immortal words of an obscure artillery officer at Gettysburg, Freeman McGilvery

[Pickett's Charge]
"These three lines of battle presented an oblique front to the guns under my command, and by training the whole line of guns obliquely to the right, we had a raking fire through all three of these lines. The exe-cution of the fire must have been terrible, as it was over a level plain, and the effect was plain to be seen. In a few minutes, instead of a well-ordered line of battle, there were broken and confused masses, and fugitives fleeing in every direction. This ended the operations of the batteries under my command at the battle of Gettysburg."
 
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