Longstreet on Pickett's Charge: "thirty thousand men was the minimum of force necessary for the work"

Belfoured

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He couldn’t. I would think those guys fighting by throwing rocks would explain it.
Not really. That was earlier in the day and it only lasted 10-15 minutes before resupply arrived. Nothing prevented Stonewall from aggressively supporting Longstreet's attack c. 5 PM or so. John Hennessy has studied this fight for about 35 years or so. I'll go with his judgment.
 

Pete Longstreet

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Good point. I would note that your "light" emphasis is appropriate. For example, on August 30, 1862 Longstreet's crushing assault on Chinn Ridge - devastating as it was - might have been even more so had Jackson properly followed up. As John Hennessy, among others, has noted, he didn't.
Interesting you mention Chinn Ridge... I recently purchased this book a few days ago:

Screenshot_20210620-163254_Amazon Shopping.jpg
 

Rebforever

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Not really. That was earlier in the day and it only lasted 10-15 minutes before resupply arrived. Nothing prevented Stonewall from aggressively supporting Longstreet's attack c. 5 PM or so. John Hennessy has studied this fight for about 35 years or so. I'll go with his judgment.
I’ve read his book too. Plus I have walked the battlefield many times.
My GGrand fought there. I stand by what I said.
 

rpkennedy

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I actually think of Jackson as solid in operational maneuver but a mediocre tactician regardless of offense/defense. He consistently used inefficient or poor tactics, with very few exceptions. Longstreet was, in my opinion, a superior tactician on a consistent basis. Where Jackson was superior was in independent operations. That was not Pete's strong suit.l
I generally agree. The way that I would put it is that Jackson had a higher ceiling but had some pretty drastic highs and lows. Longstreet was never going to have those high highs but he wouldn't have those low lows either. He was far more consistent with his battlefield performances.

I think that Longstreet did ok in independent command when given half a chance to succeed. I would argue that he did well at Suffolk but never really had a chance at Knoxville.

Ryan
 

rpkennedy

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Good point. I would note that your "light" emphasis is appropriate. For example, on August 30, 1862 Longstreet's crushing assault on Chinn Ridge - devastating as it was - might have been even more so had Jackson properly followed up. As John Hennessy, among others, has noted, he didn't.
The Manassas Campaign demonstrates Jackson's highs and lows. Getting his men into position was an outstanding feat and he did fairly well against the poorly managed frontal assaults. But the fight at Groveton was botched up (he had several divisions nearby that might have bagged King's division but managed to only get a couple of brigades into the fight before dark) and the follow-up to Longstreet's devastating attack was almost non-existant.

Ryan
 

Stone in the wall

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Good point. I would note that your "light" emphasis is appropriate. For example, on August 30, 1862 Longstreet's crushing assault on Chinn Ridge - devastating as it was - might have been even more so had Jackson properly followed up. As John Hennessy, among others, has noted, he didn't.
Darkness saved Popes Army. Had Longstreet attacked earlier in the day (as Lee had suggested) Pope would not have been able to so easily escape.
 

rpkennedy

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Darkness saved Popes Army. Had Longstreet attacked earlier in the day (as Lee had suggested) Pope would not have been able to so easily escape.
That assumes two things:

1) That if Longstreet attacks earlier, when there are many more Union troops in his front, that the results would be the same.
2) That Jackson would have been more active if it was earlier in the day than he historically was later in the day.

I don't see that the results would be the same with much of the Fifth Corps positioned to his front and there is no evidence that Jackson would have done more than he did.

When given time to prepare, Longstreet might have been one of the best offensive generals that the war produced. During the war, there are countless examples of attacks being launched and running out of steam due to inadequate planning but that can't be said of Longstreet.

Ryan
 

Belfoured

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Darkness saved Popes Army. Had Longstreet attacked earlier in the day (as Lee had suggested) Pope would not have been able to so easily escape.
Pope was in dire straits following Longstreet's attack. He wasn't saved by "darkness". Sunset in that area on August 30 is 7:45 PM. Look at the timing of Longstreet's attack and the desperate Union defense in the area of Henry Hill. Plenty of time for Stonewall to have weighed in. Plenty.
 

Rebforever

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Pope was in dire straits following Longstreet's attack. He wasn't saved by "darkness". Sunset in that area on August 30 is 7:45 PM. Look at the timing of Longstreet's attack and the desperate Union defense in the area of Henry Hill. Plenty of time for Stonewall to have weighed in. Plenty.
If there was a thunderstorm brewing it would be dark.
 

Stone in the wall

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Pope was in dire straits following Longstreet's attack. He wasn't saved by "darkness". Sunset in that area on August 30 is 7:45 PM. Look at the timing of Longstreet's attack and the desperate Union defense in the area of Henry Hill. Plenty of time for Stonewall to have weighed in. Plenty.
Jackson had fought Pope's army alone since Aug 28th. Many units had been moved in his line to where they were needed to hold his line. Easy to see why had to reorganize and couldn't launch an attack till 6pm. Before that it would have been just a massed mob.
From NPS:
"Jackson's Divisions did not begin their portion of the Confederate counter attack until 6pm. But when they did assault they came on like demons emerging from the earth."
 

Belfoured

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Jackson had fought Pope's army alone since Aug 28th. Many units had been moved in his line to where they were needed to hold his line. Easy to see why had to reorganize and couldn't launch an attack till 6pm. Before that it would have been just a massed mob.
From NPS:
"Jackson's Divisions did not begin their portion of the Confederate counter attack until 6pm. But when they did assault they came on like demons emerging from the earth."
Do you have a link? That quote isn't in the NPS description of the battle at its main site. Of course, Hennessy has been with the NPS pretty much as a "lifer" and is its expert on the battle, having done the map study, etc in addition to his 1992 book. In the years since he wrote the book, he has reiterated his view that Stonewall was too slow on Day 2. By 6 PM, the opportunity to inflict a routing defeat on Pope was gone. Instead, he was able to stage an orderly retreat. This wasn't the first time Jackson had the "tactical slows". It had happened two days earlier at Brawner's Farm and on August 9 at Cedar Mountain.
 

Stone in the wall

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Do you have a link? That quote isn't in the NPS description of the battle at its main site. Of course, Hennessy has been with the NPS pretty much as a "lifer" and is its expert on the battle, having done the map study, etc in addition to his 1992 book. In the years since he wrote the book, he has reiterated his view that Stonewall was too slow on Day 2. By 6 PM, the opportunity to inflict a routing defeat on Pope was gone. Instead, he was able to stage an orderly retreat. This wasn't the first time Jackson had the "tactical slows". It had happened two days earlier at Brawner's Farm and on August 9 at Cedar Mountain.
Can't copy paste and post. Next time I have someone here that can I will send it to you.
 

shooter too

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From NPS:
"Jackson's Divisions did not begin their portion of the Confederate counter attack until 6pm. But when they did assault they came on like demons emerging from the earth."

Can't copy paste and post. Next time I have someone here that can I will send it to you.

I believe this is the one.

But Anderson declined to exploit the opening. For reasons that remain unclear, the Confederates held fast on the southern end of Henry Hill. Perhaps the growing darkness intimidated Anderson or the lack of direct guidance from Longstreet and Lee left him hesitant to act. Whatever the cause, Anderson's timidity squandered the opportunity earned by three hours of the most intense fighting of the battle.

North of the turnpike, Stonewall Jackson also failed to apply timely pressure against Pope's reeling legions, but his inactivity is easier to explain. Greatly worn by their three days of incessant fighting and facing, at least initially, the bulk of the Federal army, Jackson's divisions did not begin their portion of the counterattack until 6:00 P.M. But when they did assault, "they came on like demons emerging from the earth." Jackson overran a substantial number of Union artillery and infantry units, but his advance coincided with Pope's orchestrated withdrawal, contributing to the ease with which Jackson achieved his captures. Despite mounting losses, by 7:00 P.M. Pope managed to establish an unbroken line north of the turnpike aligning with the Federal position on Henry Hill. Thus Jackson, like Longstreet, had no choice but to remain content with a substantial tactical victory and the attendant spoils of war while a defeated but intact Union army prepared to leave the field.


Pope issued orders to retreat at 8:00 P.M. as the sounds of battle ebbed away in the darkness. Thanks to its successful defense of Henry Hill, most of the army could use the turnpike and its stone bridge across Bull Run to effect its withdrawal. The gloom of the night and his men's sheer exhaustion extinguished any notion Lee may have nurtured to pursue or harass the Federal flight. By 11:00 P.M. Pope's troops had left the field "with perfect coolness and in good order" and begun to enter the relative safety of the Centreville defenses. Here Franklin's pristine brigades cruelly taunted Pope's veterans as they trudged toward waiting bivoaucs and a well-deserved night's rest.

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/18/sec7.htm#2

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/18/sec7.htm
 

Stone in the wall

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I believe this is the one.

But Anderson declined to exploit the opening. For reasons that remain unclear, the Confederates held fast on the southern end of Henry Hill. Perhaps the growing darkness intimidated Anderson or the lack of direct guidance from Longstreet and Lee left him hesitant to act. Whatever the cause, Anderson's timidity squandered the opportunity earned by three hours of the most intense fighting of the battle.

North of the turnpike, Stonewall Jackson also failed to apply timely pressure against Pope's reeling legions, but his inactivity is easier to explain. Greatly worn by their three days of incessant fighting and facing, at least initially, the bulk of the Federal army, Jackson's divisions did not begin their portion of the counterattack until 6:00 P.M. But when they did assault, "they came on like demons emerging from the earth." Jackson overran a substantial number of Union artillery and infantry units, but his advance coincided with Pope's orchestrated withdrawal, contributing to the ease with which Jackson achieved his captures. Despite mounting losses, by 7:00 P.M. Pope managed to establish an unbroken line north of the turnpike aligning with the Federal position on Henry Hill. Thus Jackson, like Longstreet, had no choice but to remain content with a substantial tactical victory and the attendant spoils of war while a defeated but intact Union army prepared to leave the field.


Pope issued orders to retreat at 8:00 P.M. as the sounds of battle ebbed away in the darkness. Thanks to its successful defense of Henry Hill, most of the army could use the turnpike and its stone bridge across Bull Run to effect its withdrawal. The gloom of the night and his men's sheer exhaustion extinguished any notion Lee may have nurtured to pursue or harass the Federal flight. By 11:00 P.M. Pope's troops had left the field "with perfect coolness and in good order" and begun to enter the relative safety of the Centreville defenses. Here Franklin's pristine brigades cruelly taunted Pope's veterans as they trudged toward waiting bivoaucs and a well-deserved night's rest.

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/18/sec7.htm#2

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/civil_war_series/18/sec7.htm
Indeed that's it. Much Thanks my friend.
 

Belfoured

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Indeed that's it. Much Thanks my friend.
I'd definitely look at Hennessy's take - in his 1992 book but also in his excellent map study - regarding Stonewall between 3:30 or so and 6 PM. In addition, Scott Patchan in his excellent book on Longstreet's attack actually addresses your argument about the state of Jackson's troops but, as he points out, even if that were true it didn't prevent Jackson from mounting some sort of effective diversion. He did nothing until the issue was decided. Stonewall's official report, by the way, contains a few obvious fictions.
 

Stone in the wall

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I'd definitely look at Hennessy's take - in his 1992 book but also in his excellent map study - regarding Stonewall between 3:30 or so and 6 PM. In addition, Scott Patchan in his excellent book on Longstreet's attack actually addresses your argument about the state of Jackson's troops but, as he points out, even if that were true it didn't prevent Jackson from mounting some sort of effective diversion. He did nothing until the issue was decided. Stonewall's official report, by the way, contains a few obvious fictions.
The maps will also show you at least 6 front line battery's were pointed right at Lawton, and many more to their rear and slightly south. Jackson set the trap Longstreet waited too long to spring it.
 
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