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

johan_steele

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Putting the blame for the loss of Gettysburg is just plain foolish. People act as though Stuart had all the cav of the ANV w/ him... he did not. IIRC Lee had something like 2 Brigades w/ him. If you cannot use two brigades of cav to good effect to screen an army you have no business commanding one. Stuart was given orders that as far as I can tell he carried out to the best of his ability.

IMO Stuart was a bit of a showboat who maybe took to believing his own press a bit too much. That said he was still a superb Cav commander who gave his all and in the end gave his life for a cause he believed in. The man had the courage of his convictions. The oft seen charge that he lost Lee Gettysburg seems over hyped with little bassis in reality. A clear attempt to shield the marble man from any failure of any kind.

Lee was a general of his times, he made mistakes, he put on his trousers one leg at a time; in short the man was human with a host of folies in his life. He was no Wellington or Napoleon.
 

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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.
Cash, I am not disagreeing with you on this or your post that included this part. I do have questions though.

If it is as you say and I agree, then why attack ? His horses are wore out, his men are tired. I don't understand why he would feel he had to attack to defend the flank, again I agree with you on this.

If he had to attack to defend the flank, what happens if his attack is a disaster and his force is defeated ? Does that not now open the flank for a Union attack ? Would not Stuart defending the flank on defense being the best way to defend the flank ?

Respectfully,

William
 
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Cash, I am not disagreeing with you on this or your post that included this part. I do have questions though.

If it is as you say and I agree, then why attack ? His horses are wore out, his men are tired. I don't understand why he would feel he had to attack to defend the flank, again I agree with you on this.

If he had to attack to defend the flank, what happens if his attack is a disaster and his force is defeated ? Does that not now open the flank for a Union attack ? Would not Stuart defending the flank on defense being the best way to defend the flank ?

Respectfully,

William
His aggressiveness was to feel out the strength and positions of the Union troops. Once he had that information, he pulled his troopers away from the battle but kept a close eye on the Union cavalry.

R
 
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His aggressiveness was to feel out the strength and positions of the Union troops. Once he had that information, he pulled his troopers away from the battle but kept a close eye on the Union cavalry.

R
That is logical, as knowing the strength and location of the enemy is a most. Had he defeated and drove the enemy from his front, does he then stop and hold there, does he fall back and hold, or does he move forward ?

Respectfully,

William
 

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That is logical, as knowing the strength and location of the enemy is a most. Had he defeated and drove the enemy from his front, does he then stop and hold there, does he fall back and hold, or does he move forward ?

Respectfully,

William
Chickamauga is a good example to see what might have happened with a large breech in the line, even if by accident. I don't picture Meade scurrying from the field like Roseceans, however.
 
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That is logical, as knowing the strength and location of the enemy is a most. Had he defeated and drove the enemy from his front, does he then stop and hold there, does he fall back and hold, or does he move forward ?

Respectfully,

William
Considering the condition of his men and horses, I don't see him following up a major defeat of the Union cavalry.

R
 
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Considering the condition of his men and horses, I don't see him following up a major defeat of the Union cavalry.

R
I would agree as well on that, I am amazed he even went over to offense due to their condition, but as you explained later it was an aggressive defense type action. Locate the enemy, determine his strength.

Respectfully,

William
 
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Although late to the game, am enjoying reading the entire threads... and will likely buy some of Eric W.'s books! That said, to summarize the key point in her paper (which I agree with), is that Stuart chose the fastest path north -- but then had the AotP between his cavalry and "half of the job Lee hoped he was doing". That said, let's assume that instead of Buford finding the AoNV and slowing their advance, Stuart informs Lee -- who gets to Gettysburg early and fortifies all of the key heights. Question then being, would Meade have been smart enough to essentially surround the positions and let the AofNV starve in place? or would he have forced an offensive action and lost a bigger chunk of the AotP. I would like to think that with Hancock and Reynolds as key tactical commanders in tandem and Meade as an effective strategist, the men in blue would still have come up with a well-engineered strategy to trap Lee's forces into action at a place of their choosing. That said, Buford found the ground for them and determine the battlefield.
 
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Putting the blame for the loss of Gettysburg is just plain foolish. People act as though Stuart had all the cav of the ANV w/ him... he did not. IIRC Lee had something like 2 Brigades w/ him. If you cannot use two brigades of cav to good effect to screen an army you have no business commanding one. Stuart was given orders that as far as I can tell he carried out to the best of his ability.

IMO Stuart was a bit of a showboat who maybe took to believing his own press a bit too much. That said he was still a superb Cav commander who gave his all and in the end gave his life for a cause he believed in. The man had the courage of his convictions. The oft seen charge that he lost Lee Gettysburg seems over hyped with little bassis in reality. A clear attempt to shield the marble man from any failure of any kind.

Lee was a general of his times, he made mistakes, he put on his trousers one leg at a time; in short the man was human with a host of folies in his life. He was no Wellington or Napoleon.
According to a lecture given at the United States Army War College Stuart left his 2 of his most experienced brigades in the Valley. The reason behind that? The two brigade commanders and Stuart didn't get along matter of fact Stuart and one courted the same girl who married Stuart. Lee was very loyal and trusting that being said the two brigades attached to him at Gettysburg were green and he didn't trust either brigade commander enough to use them. So in my opinion Stuart needs to shoulder some blame he let his personal feelings cloud his judgement. Probably would have been a sound military move to leave the green brigades in the Valley to pull security duties and have the two more experienced brigades to Lee.
 
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Putting the blame for the loss of Gettysburg is just plain foolish. People act as though Stuart had all the cav of the ANV w/ him... he did not. IIRC Lee had something like 2 Brigades w/ him. If you cannot use two brigades of cav to good effect to screen an army you have no business commanding one. Stuart was given orders that as far as I can tell he carried out to the best of his ability.

IMO Stuart was a bit of a showboat who maybe took to believing his own press a bit too much. That said he was still a superb Cav commander who gave his all and in the end gave his life for a cause he believed in. The man had the courage of his convictions. The oft seen charge that he lost Lee Gettysburg seems over hyped with little bassis in reality. A clear attempt to shield the marble man from any failure of any kind.

Lee was a general of his times, he made mistakes, he put on his trousers one leg at a time; in short the man was human with a host of folies in his life. He was no Wellington or Napoleon.
I gave a like but your last paragraph is strange as Wellington and Napoleon both routinely wore trousers and probably put them on the same as Lee.
 



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