Over the Wall on July 3

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
2.png

photo by James N. from https://civilwartalk.com/threads/monument-monday-july-15-2019.159953/#post-2090819

Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb states in his official report that “General Armistead passed over the fence [stone wall] with probably over 100 of his command” on the afternoon of July 3. Webb was in the best position to know the number in front of his brigade, although he may have overlooked a few who crossed south of the copse. The circumstantial evidence seems to support his estimate. From extant sources I have identified 30 of these men, representing the brigades of Archer, Garnett, Kemper and Armistead:

Archer
Captain Jacob B. Turney, K/1 TN
2nd Lieutenant John H. Moore, B/7 TN
Captain Walter J. Taylor, C/13 AL

Garnett
1st Sergeant Alexander H. Compton, C/8 VA
Captain Robert McCulloch, B/18 VA
2nd Lieutenant John A. I. Lee, C/28 VA
1st Lieutenant Thomas C. Holland, G/28 VA
Private Calvin P. Dearing, G/28 VA
Private Audubon C. Smith, C/56 VA
Private Charles R. Steger, D/56 VA
4th Corporal (color bearer) Alexander L.P. Williams, I/56 VA
1st Lieutenant George W. Finley, K/56 VA

Kemper
1st Lieutenant Thomas D. Houston, K/11 VA

Armistead
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead
Private Milton Harding, G/9 VA
5th Sergeant Drewry B. Easley, H/14 VA
Private Erasmus Williams, H/14 VA
Lieutenant Colonel Rawley White Martin, 53 VA
Major John C. Timberlake, 53 VA
1st Lieutenant William Harvie Bray E/53 VA
2nd Lieutenant James Irving Sale, H/53 VA
1st Lieutenant Hutchings L. Carter, I/53 VA
1st Sergeant Zebedee P. “Zeb” Walker, I/53 VA
3rd Sergeant Thomas Booker Tredway, I/53 VA
Private James C. “Chip” Coleman, I/53 VA
Private George W. White, I/53 VA
Colonel John B. Magruder, 57 VA
1st Sergeant Wyatt S. Meador, A/57 VA
2nd Corporal Stephen A. Duncan, A/57 VA
Private Thomas N. Mustain, D/57 VA

Unidentified: A young officer, followed by a number of enlisted men, crossed over in a separate group opposite the southern border of the clump of trees and advanced toward the right gun of Cowan’s New York battery, perhaps 25 yards away. (It seems they went over some rails with loose earth that bridged a gap in the stone wall at that point - the same gap had been traversed by Lt. Brown’s Battery B, 1st Rhode Island on July 2.) The officer waved his sword in the air and shouted, “Take the gun.” Cowan’s guns at that point were loaded with canister and waiting for this moment. When they discharged, all the Confederates went down. The young officer’s sword became the possession of Captain Cowan. The scabbard was made of brass and bore the number “425” and the name of the maker, “Horstman.” The sword itself appeared to be older. The blade was of very fine steel, and the hilt was mother-of-pearl, surmounted by a figure of the goddess of liberty. The guard represented a Palmetto tree and bore the date “1776.” (The Philadelphia Press, July 3, 1887, p. 2; Brake Collection, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA).

Notes:

Archer: Capt. Turney recalled, “One triumphant shout was given as the Federals in our immediate front yielded and fled in confusion to a point just back of the crest of the hill, abandoning their artillery.” He is apparently referring to the two companies of the 71st Pennsylvania posted at the apex of the angle. Turney went forward with men from various companies including his own and mentions being joined by Lt. Moore and Capt. Taylor, and a few from the 5th Alabama Battalion, although he does not identify anyone by name from the latter unit. Probably under pressure from the 72nd Pennsylvania, they fell back to the wall, but advanced again when Armistead came up and pushed forward. (Confederate Veteran, vol. 8, pp. 536-537). Moore separately claimed that the 1st and half of the 7th Tennessee passed over the works; he was one of the few who crossed and still made it back to Seminary Ridge. (J. H. Moore, Longstreet’s Assault, The Times, Philadelphia, November 4, 1882)

Garnett: Several from the 8th Virginia reached the wall, but only Compton is identified as having crossed it (Confederate Veteran, vol. 24, 1916, p. 511). McCulloch of the 18th was left for dead beside one of the captured gun carriages (Cushing’s) (Confederate Military History, Extended Addition (CMHEA), vol. XII, Missouri). No names are known from the 19th Virginia, but Major Charles S. Peyton said many climbed the wall (Official Report); Lt. William N. Wood from Company A said he stopped at the fence (Reminiscences of Big I). Lt. Holland of the 28th was shot through the head “about 20 steps in advance” and a little to the left of Armistead and said “quite a few of us crossed the wall at the same time,” including Lee. (Confederate Veteran, vol. 31, 1923, p. 423; and vol. 29, 1921, p. 62). Dearing wrote, “Just as I started to get over the fence, a shell or large ball shattered my gun” (Greg Coco, On the Bloodstained Field, p. 31.) Steger of the 56th was sitting astride a cannon when he was “grabbed by the collar and jerked down.” Duncan of the 57th Virginia was near him (Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. 30, p. 159, quoting Richmond Dispatch, June 23, 1902). Williams took his colors inside the wall, and Smith was there too (William A. and Patricia C. Young, Virginia Regimental Histories Series, 56th Virginia). Finley was just to the right of Archer’s men. He then followed Armistead across the wall, “but seeing that most of the men remained at the stone fence,” he returned to it (Finley, With Pickett at Cemetery Ridge).

Kemper: Much of Kemper’s brigade was held back to deal with the flank attack of Stannard. Others made to the wall but did not cross. Edward Howard Compton of the 7th Virginia wrote, “We did not have men enough left to go over the stone wall.” Captain John Holmes Smith of the 11th Virginia, who also did not cross, remembered that the works consisted of a “hasty trench and embankment, not a stone wall,” which indicates that he was south of the copse. Houston of the 11th went some yards “beyond the Federal artillery and the rock wall,” when he was “disabled by a minie ball coming obliquely from the right” (CMHEA, vol. III, West Virginia, p. 219; and Houston, Storming Cemetery Hill).

Armistead: (As supported by the numbers, I suspect that Armistead’s brigade had the most men cross over the wall, since they missed much of the Federal infantry fire directed against Garnett’s brigade in front.) Harding was just a few feet to the left of Armistead when he fell, recalling that, “as he slapped his left hand on the gun he sank to his knees, and then fell full length to his right.” Harding fell back to the wall, where he was captured (Confederate Veteran, vol. 19, p. 371). Private Thomas J. Dashiell of the 9th recalled that he was one of five of his company (K) who reached the stone wall uninjured (but no mention of having crossed) (CMHEA, vol. IV, VA, p. 830). Easley of the 14th said he left his company to follow Armistead, who mounted the wall to his left, a brass cannon between them (one that had been run down to the wall by Cushing) (Confederate Veteran, vol. 20, p. 379; and vol. 36, p. 292). Williams crossed and heard Armistead order the men to turn around the Union cannon to use them against their former owners. Color bearer Shiflett of the 14th was shot as he was trying to cross, so I did not count him (Edward R. Crews, 14th Virginia Infantry, The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, pp. 40-41). The 53rd Virginia, in particular Company I, has the most recorded cases. Whether it is merely an anomaly resulting from a good memory by surviving participants cannot be known. Lt. Col. Martin was disabled by Armistead’s side (War Recollections of the Confederate Veterans of Pittsylvania County, Virginia 1861-1865, p. 41). Maj. Timberlake was following close behind and mentions that the guns were indeed being turned when a volley brought Armistead down, then he ordered his men back to the wall; he also mentions Capt. Bray (Supplement to Official Records, Bryan Grimes Papers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Lt. Sale was only a few feet behind Armistead when he fell (The Philadelphia Press, July 4, 1887). Lt. Carter took the colors to where Armistead and Martin stood, and Coleman, Tredway, White and Walker were likewise cited as being there (War Recollections of the Confederate Veterans of Pittsylvania County, Virginia 1861-1865, pp. 45, 48). White’s obituary confirms it (The Danville Register, March 11, 1910, p. 2). Col. Magruder of the 57th was hit by two musket balls in his left chest while crossing (Coco, Wasted Valor). Meador’s crossing is reported by a descendant (History Sites, online), while Mustain is mentioned by a fellow soldier (David E. Johnston, The Story of a Confederate Boy in the Civil War, p. 216). See Duncan, above.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
My view is that those men from Garnett who made it to the wall, took cover behind it and attempted to fight from there while supports were on the way. While this is understandable, it killed any kind of momentum that they had while Armistead's men didn't stop and so were able to pass briefly over the wall.

Ryan
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Have a question, if it isn't off thread please? With so many definitive accounts by veterans, like snapshots placed in sequence 150 years later, is there any conclusion on poor Garnett? It was such a bloody, horrific shambles in front of that wall, you can see where his body may not have been easy to discover, but to never have been able to ascertain what happened to him seems so crazy.

If he was never identified, he'd have been buried with so many others from the assault, has anyone felt he would have been included in the men finally sent ' home ', The Gettysburg Dead?
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
Have a question, if it isn't off thread please? With so many definitive accounts by veterans, like snapshots placed in sequence 150 years later, is there any conclusion on poor Garnett? It was such a bloody, horrific shambles in front of that wall, you can see where his body may not have been easy to discover, but to never have been able to ascertain what happened to him seems so crazy.

If he was never identified, he'd have been buried with so many others from the assault, has anyone felt he would have been included in the men finally sent ' home ', The Gettysburg Dead?

His aide Robert Irvine, whose horse was killed about 50 yards from the wall later wrote that Garnett was shot in the head and killed about 25-30 yards from the wall. Lt. George Finley, who had made it to the wall, said that when a Federal line fired a volley (possibly the 72nd Pennsylvania on the crest of the ridge), he turned to look back and saw Garnett fall from his horse. In addition, in his report, Colonel Hall wrote that Garnett's body had been recovered after the attack but why it apparently was not set aside is unknown. There is no record of an individual burial for Garnett like one would expect for a general or field officer.

It's tough to reach any conclusion but my guess is that he was probably buried with his men in the trenches and so was reinterred along with those bodies to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

Ryan
 
Last edited:

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
Have a question, if it isn't off thread please? With so many definitive accounts by veterans, like snapshots placed in sequence 150 years later, is there any conclusion on poor Garnett? It was such a bloody, horrific shambles in front of that wall, you can see where his body may not have been easy to discover, but to never have been able to ascertain what happened to him seems so crazy.

If he was never identified, he'd have been buried with so many others from the assault, has anyone felt he would have been included in the men finally sent ' home ', The Gettysburg Dead?

Yes, quite a mystery. My theory is that someone stole his general's coat and therefore, his body was not identified.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
Yes, quite a mystery. My theory is that someone stole his general's coat and therefore, his body was not identified.

That's my guess as well. There is an account from a soldier from Minnesota (IIRC) in which he claims to have cut the insignia from Garnett's collar when the fighting died down. While I don't fully trust this account, even if he did not do it, considering how many men wandered the field looking for souvenirs, something like this very easily could have happened. In addition, we know that his sword was taken from his body since it appeared in a pawn shop in Baltimore in the 1890s (again, IIRC). Without his sword and rank insignia, Garnett became just another officer who fell with his men. And we're not even discussing what the wound may have done to his head.

Ryan
 
Last edited:

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Thank you! It's all so awful to think about, but once again it's these snapshots by vets recreating events you tend to be able to rely on. Read a report ( bet one of you know which regiment, I'm lost ) where guards were posted to search even civilians who came July 4th- ghouls could have gotten themselves killed, souvenir hunting. Thinking of what it took to wander around among such tragedy, claiming items from dead men while wounded called for help makes you ill.

It's something, thinking after all the mystery Garnett may have been taken ' home '. Had not occurred to me until this thread that was a possibility, thanks again.
 

NH Civil War Gal

Captain
* OFFICIAL *
CWT PRESENTER
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Reading this and guessing his coat might have been stolen led me to this thought. I read, in a diary of a survivor, that he lay wounded and his group (Union) were getting ready to retreat. His friend moved him, as best he could, into some sort of shade and cover. Then he went and got an officer's heavy (great?) coat and wrapped him up in it. This wasn't at Gettysburg, btw. This was a Union soldier with a Union officer's coat around him. He said that his friend's care and wrapping him up in that heavy coat is what saved his life when he was found alive a couple of days later by a group searching for wounded.

I'm sure this wasn't a unique occurrence.
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Location
Maryland
Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb states in his official report that “General Armistead passed over the fence [stone wall] with probably over 100 of his command” on the afternoon of July 3. Webb was in the best position to know the number in front of his brigade, although he may have overlooked a few who crossed south of the copse. The circumstantial evidence seems to support his estimate. From extant sources I have identified 30 of these men, representing the brigades of Archer, Garnett, Kemper and Armistead:

Archer
Captain Jacob B. Turney, K/1 TN
2nd Lieutenant John H. Moore, B/7 TN
Captain Walter J. Taylor, C/13 AL

Garnett
1st Sergeant Alexander H. Compton, C/8 VA
Captain Robert McCulloch, B/18 VA
2nd Lieutenant John A. I. Lee, C/28 VA
1st Lieutenant Thomas C. Holland, G/28 VA
Private Calvin P. Dearing, G/28 VA
Private Audubon C. Smith, C/56 VA
Private Charles R. Steger, D/56 VA
4th Corporal (color bearer) Alexander L.P. Williams, I/56 VA
1st Lieutenant George W. Finley, K/56 VA

Kemper
1st Lieutenant Thomas D. Houston, K/11 VA

Armistead
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead
Private Milton Harding, G/9 VA
5th Sergeant Drewry B. Easley, H/14 VA
Private Erasmus Williams, H/14 VA
Lieutenant Colonel Rawley White Martin, 53 VA
Major John C. Timberlake, 53 VA
1st Lieutenant William Harvie Bray E/53 VA
2nd Lieutenant James Irving Sale, H/53 VA
1st Lieutenant Hutchings L. Carter, I/53 VA
1st Sergeant Zebedee P. “Zeb” Walker, I/53 VA
3rd Sergeant Thomas Booker Tredway, I/53 VA
Private James C. “Chip” Coleman, I/53 VA
Private George W. White, I/53 VA
Colonel John B. Magruder, 57 VA
1st Sergeant Wyatt S. Meador, A/57 VA
2nd Corporal Stephen A. Duncan, A/57 VA
Private Thomas N. Mustain, D/57 VA

Unidentified: A young officer, followed by a number of enlisted men, crossed over in a separate group opposite the southern border of the clump of trees and advanced toward the right gun of Cowan’s New York battery, perhaps 25 yards away. (It seems they went over some rails with loose earth that bridged a gap in the stone wall at that point - the same gap had been traversed by Lt. Brown’s Battery B, 1st Rhode Island on July 2.) The officer waved his sword in the air and shouted, “Take the gun.” Cowan’s guns at that point were loaded with canister and waiting for this moment. When they discharged, all the Confederates went down. The young officer’s sword became the possession of Captain Cowan. The scabbard was made of brass and bore the number “425” and the name of the maker, “Horstman.” The sword itself appeared to be older. The blade was of very fine steel, and the hilt was mother-of-pearl, surmounted by a figure of the goddess of liberty. The guard represented a Palmetto tree and bore the date “1776.” (The Philadelphia Press, July 3, 1887, p. 2; Brake Collection, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA).

Notes:

Archer: Capt. Turney recalled, “One triumphant shout was given as the Federals in our immediate front yielded and fled in confusion to a point just back of the crest of the hill, abandoning their artillery.” He is apparently referring to the two companies of the 71st Pennsylvania posted at the apex of the angle. Turney went forward with men from various companies including his own and mentions being joined by Lt. Moore and Capt. Taylor, and a few from the 5th Alabama Battalion, although he does not identify anyone by name from the latter unit. Probably under pressure from the 72nd Pennsylvania, they fell back to the wall, but advanced again when Armistead came up and pushed forward. (Confederate Veteran, vol. 8, pp. 536-537). Moore separately claimed that the 1st and half of the 7th Tennessee passed over the works; he was one of the few who crossed and still made it back to Seminary Ridge. (J. H. Moore, Longstreet’s Assault, The Times, Philadelphia, November 4, 1882)

Garnett: Several from the 8th Virginia reached the wall, but only Compton is identified as having crossed it (Confederate Veteran, vol. 24, 1916, p. 511). McCulloch of the 18th was left for dead beside one of the captured gun carriages (Cushing’s) (Confederate Military History, Extended Addition (CMHEA), vol. XII, Missouri). No names are known from the 19th Virginia, but Major Charles S. Peyton said many climbed the wall (Official Report); Lt. William N. Wood from Company A said he stopped at the fence (Reminiscences of Big I). Lt. Holland of the 28th was shot through the head “about 20 steps in advance” and a little to the left of Armistead and said “quite a few of us crossed the wall at the same time,” including Lee. (Confederate Veteran, vol. 31, 1923, p. 423; and vol. 29, 1921, p. 62). Dearing wrote, “Just as I started to get over the fence, a shell or large ball shattered my gun” (Greg Coco, On the Bloodstained Field, p. 31.) Steger of the 56th was sitting astride a cannon when he was “grabbed by the collar and jerked down.” Duncan of the 57th Virginia was near him (Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. 30, p. 159, quoting Richmond Dispatch, June 23, 1902). Williams took his colors inside the wall, and Smith was there too (William A. and Patricia C. Young, Virginia Regimental Histories Series, 56th Virginia). Finley was just to the right of Archer’s men. He then followed Armistead across the wall, “but seeing that most of the men remained at the stone fence,” he returned to it (Finley, With Pickett at Cemetery Ridge).

Kemper: Much of Kemper’s brigade was held back to deal with the flank attack of Stannard. Others made to the wall but did not cross. Edward Howard Compton of the 7th Virginia wrote, “We did not have men enough left to go over the stone wall.” Captain John Holmes Smith of the 11th Virginia, who also did not cross, remembered that the works consisted of a “hasty trench and embankment, not a stone wall,” which indicates that he was south of the copse. Houston of the 11th went some yards “beyond the Federal artillery and the rock wall,” when he was “disabled by a minie ball coming obliquely from the right” (CMHEA, vol. III, West Virginia, p. 219; and Houston, Storming Cemetery Hill).

Armistead: (As supported by the numbers, I suspect that Armistead’s brigade had the most men cross over the wall, since they missed much of the Federal infantry fire directed against Garnett’s brigade in front.) Harding was just a few feet to the left of Armistead when he fell, recalling that, “as he slapped his left hand on the gun he sank to his knees, and then fell full length to his right.” Harding fell back to the wall, where he was captured (Confederate Veteran, vol. 19, p. 371). Private Thomas J. Dashiell of the 9th recalled that he was one of five of his company (K) who reached the stone wall uninjured (but no mention of having crossed) (CMHEA, vol. IV, VA, p. 830). Easley of the 14th said he left his company to follow Armistead, who mounted the wall to his left, a brass cannon between them (one that had been run down to the wall by Cushing) (Confederate Veteran, vol. 20, p. 379; and vol. 36, p. 292). Williams crossed and heard Armistead order the men to turn around the Union cannon to use them against their former owners. Color bearer Shiflett of the 14th was shot as he was trying to cross, so I did not count him (Edward R. Crews, 14th Virginia Infantry, The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, pp. 40-41). The 53rd Virginia, in particular Company I, has the most recorded cases. Whether it is merely an anomaly resulting from a good memory by surviving participants cannot be known. Lt. Col. Martin was disabled by Armistead’s side (War Recollections of the Confederate Veterans of Pittsylvania County, Virginia 1861-1865, p. 41). Maj. Timberlake was following close behind and mentions that the guns were indeed being turned when a volley brought Armistead down, then he ordered his men back to the wall; he also mentions Capt. Bray (Supplement to Official Records, Bryan Grimes Papers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Lt. Sale was only a few feet behind Armistead when he fell (The Philadelphia Press, July 4, 1887). Lt. Carter took the colors to where Armistead and Martin stood, and Coleman, Tredway, White and Walker were likewise cited as being there (War Recollections of the Confederate Veterans of Pittsylvania County, Virginia 1861-1865, pp. 45, 48). White’s obituary confirms it (The Danville Register, March 11, 1910, p. 2). Col. Magruder of the 57th was hit by two musket balls in his left chest while crossing (Coco, Wasted Valor). Meador’s crossing is reported by a descendant (History Sites, online), while Mustain is mentioned by a fellow soldier (David E. Johnston, The Story of a Confederate Boy in the Civil War, p. 216). See Duncan, above.
I know it's 3 years since you posted this, so I hope you're still participating. Thank you for this incredibly detailed account.
 

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Because this old post was resurrected, I will take the opportunity to make one addition:

Unidentified: A Confederate Captain was in the lead carrying their colors. As he reached the gun he placed the flag upon it, saying: “These guns are ours.” Sergeant Darveigh … answered: “Not by a d--- sight” … and with one mighty blow he brought [the trail handspike] down on the head of the Confederate Captain. (E. Corbin, Pettit’s Battery at Gettysburg, Battery B, 1st New York, The National Tribune, February 3, 1910)

[Comment: Battery B was located about 45 feet east of the presumed fence that extended the stone wall southward. Given the battery's position, I think it most likely the aforementioned officer belonged to Kemper's brigade.]
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
My view is that those men from Garnett who made it to the wall, took cover behind it and attempted to fight from there while supports were on the way. While this is understandable, it killed any kind of momentum that they had while Armistead's men didn't stop and so were able to pass briefly over the wall.

Ryan
As to the statement, that "fight there while supports were on the way". There is a story that once they broke through , they turned to see if any other troops where behind them. Where there any reinforcements marching their way? Did Lee have any troops to spare for this ? What strategy did Lee have once Pickett had achieved this break through ? Where the flanks once they had achieved their objective, were they to encircle and render Pickett/Armistead the needed reinforcements. I have not read of what Lee's objective was and what they were once this Union line had be taken. I do not think that Lee was aware of the army that he was facing nor the Command of this force. This was not the AP that he had fought in Va. or Maryland. Thanks to him this was a battle harden force with a Command who had not read nor influenced by newspapers or what the Department feared about Lee.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Because this old post was resurrected, I will take the opportunity to make one addition:

Unidentified: A Confederate Captain was in the lead carrying their colors. As he reached the gun he placed the flag upon it, saying: “These guns are ours.” Sergeant Darveigh … answered: “Not by a d--- sight” … and with one mighty blow he brought [the trail handspike] down on the head of the Confederate Captain. (E. Corbin, Pettit’s Battery at Gettysburg, Battery B, 1st New York, The National Tribune, February 3, 1910)

[Comment: Battery B was located about 45 feet east of the presumed fence that extended the stone wall southward. Given the battery's position, I think it most likely the aforementioned officer belonged to Kemper's brigade.]
I missed this thread so happily it was bumped up. I was curious if you might have found a list of the prisoners taken during that charge, and the number of dead east of the wall? Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
As to the statement, that "fight there while supports were on the way". There is a story that once they broke through , they turned to see if any other troops where behind them. Where there any reinforcements marching their way? Did Lee have any troops to spare for this ? What strategy did Lee have once Pickett had achieved this break through ? Where the flanks once they had achieved their objective, were they to encircle and render Pickett/Armistead the needed reinforcements. I have not read of what Lee's objective was and what they were once this Union line had be taken. I do not think that Lee was aware of the army that he was facing nor the Command of this force. This was not the AP that he had fought in Va. or Maryland. Thanks to him this was a battle harden force with a Command who had not read nor influenced by newspapers or what the Department feared about Lee.
Part of the problem was how lackadaisical some of the planning for the attack was. With the exception of Anderson and maybe Rodes, there really was no specific plan for a follow-up in the case of a breakthrough. Anderson was told to support Pickett (particularly his right flank) which Wilcox and Lang attempted to do and Wright was moving into position when the advance was called off. In addition, Rodes was informed to watch for success and launch his own attack but was not informed what success would look like and how much of his division to use (two brigades were in the area of Culp's Hill). This lack of planning up and down the chain of command, including Lee and Longstreet, indicates to me that this was a desperate, hail mary attempt to win the battle.

Ryan
 

dgfred

Private
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
The only thing I could guess is he thought a breakthrough in the middle would cause the collapse of the entire position... with the enemy 'heading for the hills' in full retreat. Still, he was in no position to follow up if that did happen. No specific plan is a perfect description rp.
 

dgfred

Private
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
OUCH... 'a trail handspike' on the head.

Not by a d''' site reminds me of this weekend playing golf. My one buddy said he would out-drive the other buddy... the other buddy said: 'Not today'. Haha
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
The only thing I could guess is he thought a breakthrough in the middle would cause the collapse of the entire position... with the enemy 'heading for the hills' in full retreat. Still, he was in no position to follow up if that did happen. No specific plan is a perfect description rp.

That would be my guess as well. That said, an assault that potentially involves elements of 5 divisions is not something that can be dismissed as insufficient. Unfortunately, the staff work at multiple levels failed as the pre-assault preparations were inadequate and Lee was not aware of the condition of 2 of these divisions until they were being moved into position (referring to his comment about Trimble's Division that they were in no condition to take part in the attack). The staff work in the AoNV was not great to begin with and they did particularly poorly at Gettysburg.

Ryan
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Part of the problem was how lackadaisical some of the planning for the attack was. With the exception of Anderson and maybe Rodes, there really was no specific plan for a follow-up in the case of a breakthrough. Anderson was told to support Pickett (particularly his right flank) which Wilcox and Lang attempted to do and Wright was moving into position when the advance was called off. In addition, Rodes was informed to watch for success and launch his own attack but was not informed what success would look like and how much of his division to use (two brigades were in the area of Culp's Hill). This lack of planning up and down the chain of command, including Lee and Longstreet, indicates to me that this was a desperate, hail mary attempt to win the battle.

Ryan
Two inquiry questions; have defeated every Union general that was sent against his army would that give Lee and the army a dose of overconfidence ,along with lack of knowledge of the general he was now in command and that Lee's army which had fought so successfully on their home theft and now was on Northern ground and with soldiers who were from that state just as the ANV had fought for the ground of Va. There there was the factor that this ARMY of POTOMAC much more experience and had suffered defeat by this ANV and now with the battle in their home ground . and having suffered defeats by Lee's army and now with the hardening by the experience of defeat and with a command that was not going to leave this ground ,could these factor affected the outcome of this battle. Then could Lee have had thoughts of his anvil, Jackson.? Was this the first major battle that TJ was not with Lee .I know ,Antiem , I consider that a draw and Maryland a Southern state ,with loyalty towards the Confedercery .Same old theories !
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Two inquiry questions; have defeated every Union general that was sent against his army would that give Lee and the army a dose of overconfidence ,along with lack of knowledge of the general he was now in command and that Lee's army which had fought so successfully on their home theft and now was on Northern ground and with soldiers who were from that state just as the ANV had fought for the ground of Va. There there was the factor that this ARMY of POTOMAC much more experience and had suffered defeat by this ANV and now with the battle in their home ground . and having suffered defeats by Lee's army and now with the hardening by the experience of defeat and with a command that was not going to leave this ground ,could these factor affected the outcome of this battle. Then could Lee have had thoughts of his anvil, Jackson.? Was this the first major battle that TJ was not with Lee .I know ,Antiem , I consider that a draw and Maryland a Southern state ,with loyalty towards the Confedercery .Same old theories !
I believe the AOP was less willing to give up ground in the north; it would of been too demoralizing. Meanwhile Lee had cloudy judgement with his final push and was lucky to escape with most of his army, the ANV. Hard to say exactly what would have been if Jackson led a Corps. Would he have been able to operate successfully away from his own turf, no one can say for sure.
Lubliner.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
Two inquiry questions; have defeated every Union general that was sent against his army would that give Lee and the army a dose of overconfidence ,along with lack of knowledge of the general he was now in command and that Lee's army which had fought so successfully on their home theft and now was on Northern ground and with soldiers who were from that state just as the ANV had fought for the ground of Va. There there was the factor that this ARMY of POTOMAC much more experience and had suffered defeat by this ANV and now with the battle in their home ground . and having suffered defeats by Lee's army and now with the hardening by the experience of defeat and with a command that was not going to leave this ground ,could these factor affected the outcome of this battle. Then could Lee have had thoughts of his anvil, Jackson.? Was this the first major battle that TJ was not with Lee .I know ,Antiem , I consider that a draw and Maryland a Southern state ,with loyalty towards the Confedercery .Same old theories !
Do I think that Lee was overconfident? That's a good question. I think that there is some level of this belief from Lee since he said that he had asked too much of them. What it really boils down to is that just enough went wrong for the Confederates and just enough went right for the Federals for the battle to end in a Union victory. Normally reliable officers had down days (Anderson), were sick (Hill and Rodes), or fell at inopportune times (Heth and Pender) while the Army of the Potomac officer corps generally fought the battle of their careers.

Ryan
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Do I think that Lee was overconfident? That's a good question. I think that there is some level of this belief from Lee since he said that he had asked too much of them. What it really boils down to is that just enough went wrong for the Confederates and just enough went right for the Federals for the battle to end in a Union victory. Normally reliable officers had down days (Anderson), were sick (Hill and Rodes), or fell at inopportune times (Heth and Pender) while the Army of the Potomac officer corps generally fought the battle of their careers.

Ryan
Very Interesting !
 

Similar threads

Top