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JEB Stuart commands Infantry Corps at Gettysburg?

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by W. Richardson, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. W. Richardson

    W. Richardson Captain

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    Upon the death of General Stonewall Jackson in May of 1863, Robert E; Lee reorganized the Army of Northern Virginia from 2 Corps to 3 and promoted Richard S. Ewell and A.P. Hill to Corps commanders.

    Jeb Stuart was wanting command of Jackson’s Corp fulltime, but did not receive it.

    What potential difference to the out come of the battle of Gettysburg could it have contributed had Lee not reorganized his army, placed Stuart in command of Jackson’s Corp, and promoted Wade Hampton in command of the AoNV’s Cavalry Corp?

    With Stuart’s daring, plus his possible eagerness to prove he was capable of commanding an Infantry Corps, would Stuart have attacked that “**** hill” on July 1st, 1863?

    Stuart’s Gettysburg Campaign ride would now be known as Hampton’s ride. How would Hampton conduct the ride? Would Hampton have done better, could Hampton have done better?


    Respectfully,
    William
    Jeb Stuart - 2.jpg
     

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  3. James N.

    James N. Major Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    I've read conflicting opinions on Stuart's suitability and how well - or poor! - his performance may have been at Chancellorsville. Early worshipers like John W. Thomason in his romanticized biography Jeb Stuart seem to have shrugged off his lack of a permanent promotion to the position as being due to some kind of prejudice or oversight on the part of Lee and/or Davis. As I remember Ernest R. Furgurson's Chancellorsville - Souls of the Brave cast doubts on the impetuous way that Stuart threw his new command at the Union breastworks on May 3 as evidence of his unsuitability as a commander of infantry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  4. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    If "had Lee not reorganized his army" means retaining the two-corps organization, thereby putting Stuart in command of half the army, that might be a bit much for a man who had a couple days of experience commanding an infantry corps.

    Even if we give Stuart credit for stepping in at Chancellorsville, which as James N. said is uncertain, the situation there was fairly straightforward (no pun intended) and may not have been a great test or proof of command ability.

    With the three-corps reorganization, two new commanders needed to be found, and a case might be made that Stuart could have done as well as say Ewell.
     
  5. chucksr

    chucksr Sergeant

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    Hard to imagine that he would have done a worse job than A.P. Hill or Ewell during the battle.
     
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  6. dlofting

    dlofting First Sergeant

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    Lee was looking at a 3 corps organization before Chancellorsville and the loss of Jackson...so it would have been Stuart plus someone else regardless. I think Lee was very reluctant to lose Stuart as his cavalry commander, and Hampton's performance in the job is hindsight....so it's probably still Ewell and Hill given what Lee knew at the time.
     
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  7. Carronade

    Carronade 1st Lieutenant

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    Most of the ANV cavalry was from Virginia, which made sense for an arm which depended on a supply of replacement horses - might there be a preference for a Virginia commander? (granted, Wade Hampton of South Carolina did eventually command the cavalry corps).
     
  8. James N.

    James N. Major Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    Most of Stuart's subordinates seem to have also been Virginians: W. H. F. "Rooney" Lee; his cousin Fitzhugh Lee; Col. John S. Mosby; William "Grumble" Jones; and I think John Imboden - I'm not sure about Albert G. Jenkins, Robertson, or Chambliss though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  9. FZ11

    FZ11 Sergeant Major

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    In defense of Hill and Ewell. Hill was sick, Ewell performed well and would have attacked CH had Lee brought up troops to support Ewell's right. With no support on the right Ewell probably made a correct decision not to attack CH.
     
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  10. chucksr

    chucksr Sergeant

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    Actually Ewell did attack Cemetery Hill late on the 2nd day--without success but I will accede to your defense of both corps commanders simply because one of the great mysteries of Gettysburg is Lee's strategy during the battle. I think it is fair to say that none of the three corps commanders had a clear idea of what was expected of them after the first day.
     
  11. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Jenkins and Chambliss were both Virginians.

    Robertson was from North Carolina, IIRC.

    Ryan
     
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  12. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Lee was never going to allow Stuart to keep infantry command. He relied too much on Stuart personally as his eyes and ears. Lee simply did not trust anyone else like he did Stuart.

    Ryan
     
  13. Billy Yank

    Billy Yank First Sergeant

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    Stuart lacked the proper amount of caution necessary for commanding a corps., and Lee knew it.
     
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  14. jackt62

    jackt62 Sergeant Major

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    Stuart was criticized for not properly screening and locating the AOTP during the Gettysburg campaign. Would Hampton have done the same had he been cavalry chief instead of Stuart? No way to say for sure, but my guess is probably not.
     
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  15. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Stuart located the Army of the Potomac; he just couldn't get that information to Lee despite several attempts.

    Ryan
     
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  16. FZ11

    FZ11 Sergeant Major

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    I think you are right. Lee seems not to have had any strategy. Day 1 Lee was fortunate with the disposition and arrivals of Ewell's troops at Gettysburg. Day 2 Lee launches an attack against the left of a numerically greater opponent in a superior position and fails. Day 3 he launches a smaller attack against the Center of the still numerically superior opponent in the still superior position. Where's the strategy in that?
     
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  17. ErnieMac

    ErnieMac Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    I give Stuart's handling of the situation at Chancellorsville more credit than some. Jackson had three divisions under his immediate command (the fourth, Early's was detached) led by A. P. Hill, Robert Rodes and Raleigh Colston. After Jackson and Hill were wounded Rodes, still a brigadier general in his first battle as a division commander, was the senior officer. The decision was made to send for Stuart.

    Stuart took command at a moments notice. While Jackson's attack had successfully routed the Federal Eleventh Corps, three other corps lay between Stuart and the remainder of Lee's army with two other Federal corps close at hand. I don't see that Stuart had any option available to him but frontal attack if he was to reunite the Confederate army.
     
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  18. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    I tend to agree. Stuart did well as a corps commander but I personally don't see Lee leaving him in that position. Lee had come to rely on Stuart personally as his cavalry commander and there was simply no one else that Lee trusted in that position. Wade Hampton turned out to be an excellent cavalry commander after Stuart died but in 1863, Lee didn't know the man and wasn't ready to make that move.

    Ryan
     
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  19. ErnieMac

    ErnieMac Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    I think you are correct. Stuart was Lee's eyes and ears. Neither Fitz Lee nor Wade Hampton had demonstrated anything more than being capable subordinates at this time. In addition the eventual corps commanders, Ewell and Hill were both senior in rank to Stuart and both both performed well under Jackson.
     
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  20. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze Captain

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    Lee's plan to reorganize the Army of Northern Virginia predated Jackson's death. Stuart wouldn't have gotten it regardless.
     
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  21. ErnieMac

    ErnieMac Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    It's interesting to speculate what would have happened had Jackson lived. As @KeyserSoze indicates Lee had thought in necessary for a while, but had not implemented a plan. My guess is that Ewell would have gotten the nod with Jackson's blessing and A. P. Hill would have been a real handful for Jackson or for Ewell depending where his reduced division ended up.
     

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