Pickett Pickett’s charge, Lee should have used cold reasoning.

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Stuart was defending the army's left flank and reconnoitering what the Federal cavalry was up to. He referred to his actions in a defensive manner rather than an offensive attempt against the Union position.

Edit: Ninja-ed by @thomas aagaard.

Ryan
Sorry, but I am unfamiliar with this part of Lee's strategy.Did he ever report of Lee of Union movements on that flank,did he report of Union troop movements prior to Pickets charge?Stuart and his cav, did perform well in the retreat from Gettysburg but I have yet to find a book that mentions him in any service on that third day,,If he had managed to move around and go behind the rear then could he have taken a part in aiding in Pickett's fight and possible opened that part up forcing Meade to move forces from the flanks.Did Meade have a reserve force to patch this hole if this was to happen.If Lee had the reserves would he had thrown them into this charge .How large was Stuart's force he took on that flank,enough to have made a difference in the outcome?THANK YOU for your assistance>Have a documentary to watch on NETFLIX/ DEATH AND THE CIVIL WAR,please watch and inform me what you gain from this.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Stuart was defending the army's left flank and reconnoitering what the Federal cavalry was up to. He referred to his actions in a defensive manner rather than an offensive attempt against the Union position.

Edit: Ninja-ed by @thomas aagaard.

Ryan
What did he ACCOMPLISH by doing this ?Could he have made it around to the rear of the Union line? I know his duty was basically one of gathering information but Stuart had been known to go farther than his orders.He would have been the ideal aid to the Charge if he had moved to the rear and attacked as Pickett and Armstead hit the Union line.From what I have read Pickett thought that there was to be reinforcements,could those reinforcement been cavalry ? Is that why he developed a hostile attitude towards Lee,someone whispered to him {Pickett}that there would be reinforcements at the break in the Union line?Just being NOVEL I shall render him credit for his and the cav, performance during the retreat,
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
What did he ACCOMPLISH by doing this ?Could he have made it around to the rear of the Union line? I know his duty was basically one of gathering information but Stuart had been known to go farther than his orders.He would have been the ideal aid to the Charge if he had moved to the rear and attacked as Pickett and Armstead hit the Union line.From what I have read Pickett thought that there was to be reinforcements,could those reinforcement been cavalry ? Is that why he developed a hostile attitude towards Lee,someone whispered to him {Pickett}that there would be reinforcements at the break in the Union line?Just being NOVEL I shall render him credit for his and the cav, performance during the retreat,
If you simply watched the c-span presentation I linked to It will also tell you exactly Stuart was up to and why the idea that he was to attack the rear of the federal army make no sense at all.
It take 50 minutes and is free.

Stuarts job was to cover the left flank and make sure federal cavalry did not get into Lee's rear. A job he accomplished.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Then if he was not to do that ,then what was his assignment ?Was he to do the same movement that he did in the Peninsular campaign against McClellan?Did he git loss while doing this?Did Custer halt this or was there any other reason for his not completing this?Did Armistade or Pickett have any information as to Stuart's mission ,or did Longstreet not even know of this mission? Pickett or Armstead looks to the rear after the break in the line and no Stuart ,no calvary!That day would have been a good day to have had a balloon in the air or just someone high in a tree,

No, the hill were Christ was crucified would not have been behind the line. There wouldn't have been CAVALRY, either. That was not Stuart's mission.

Custer? David Gregg was who "halted" Stuart.

Think Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is the best one.

As for the rest, @thomasaagard is precisely correct.
 
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rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
I always argued that Lee had no choice but to invade Pennsylvania. As mentioned by June of 1863 the situation at Vicksburg was not looking good. General Rosecrans most definitely will mount a major offensive it's just a matter of where and when. Also while Lee certainly achieved a major victory at Chancellorsville the AnV had suffered heavy loss's and what if next time General Hooker's subordinates actually become more competent I.e. ignore Jackson's attack on XXI Corps even though General Howard had plenty of warning.
If Lee just twiddles his thumps in Northern Virginia eventually many of his men will be sent West to assist General Bragg and the AoT. Eventually the AoP will mount another offensive. MN Lee knows he needed more men and per Steven Sears book on Gettysburg requested troops that were garrisoned outside New Berne , North Carolina. However President Davis rightly concluded if he weakened the Confederate Army near New Berne the General Burnside could attack the vital rail junction at Goldsboro and work his way north and cut off Richmond from vital food stuffs from North Carolina.
Leftyhunter

Wasn't burnside in North Carolina a year earlier?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Why was Lee in Pennsylvania? In his letters to Davis Lee laid out his plan for an offensive that would end in the capture of Washington. Davis was supposed to order troops guarding coastal Carolina & concentrate approximately 100,000 men under Beauregard at Culpepper VA. The dual threat of Lee coming from the west & Beauregard's threat from the south would force Hooker into pulling back to defend Washington. It was not until June 29th that Cooper wrote to Lee telling him that Davis had not ordered the movement of the regiments on the Carolina coast.

Lee had written to Davis expressing his anxiety that the dwindling numbers in the Confederate Army was well on its way to making a military victory impossible. He went so far as to advise political moves that would divide the Union electorate & create a peace party. Lee was under no illusion, he was never going to have another opportunity to go on the offensive. With Rosecrans poised to move on Chattanooga, Grant about to take Vicksburg, the sand was running out on the Confederacy. Lee had to do something big & do it now.

Lee's plan broke down right from the start. Due to the lack of reinforcements, Lee was forced to cut off his communication with Virginia. He had no illusions as to the risks inherent in an advance into enemy territory without a secure supply line or avenue of retreat. At no time in the planning for the advance into Pennsylvania did Lee plan to fight a battle to the death with the AoP. That battle was supposed to occur on the outskirts of Washington in concert with Beauregard's force. He would have had enough men to overwhelm the AoP & take Washington. There were those who thought that would end the war. Instead of fighting the war winning battle he had planned, Harry Heath blundered into Buford's cavalry in a place nobody had ever heard of & triggered a meeting engagement.

For good reason, generals avoid meeting engagements whenever possible. Units blunder into each other, arrive at random times or not at all, & the commanding general has no idea of what he is facing. A meeting engagement is a list of bad, worse & disastrous possibilities. The Battle of Gettysburg is a sterling example that proves the rule.

Lee found himself fighting a battle in a place he did not know & without the local people flocking to his HQ with intel that he enjoyed in Virginia. He literally did not know what was going on behind the hills where the AoP was deployed. Meade could shift his forces or hide reinforcements without Lee being able to see them. Because Meade had the high ground, Lee ordered Porter Alexander to be careful to maneuver the artillery to avoid the U.S. Signal Corps stations of observation that could observe the entire area. Longstreet ran full tilt into that problem on the second day of the battle.

Stuart was not with the army because his orders had been issued with the understanding that the Washington battle plan was still in action. Like everybody else, he had no reason to believe that a full blown battle with the AoP was ever going to happen. Without the threat from Beauregard at Culpepper, Hooker/Meade was free to pursue Lee into Pennsylvania. He was like one of those knights that get stuck on the wrong side of the board when an attack is stymied. I know exactly how Lee must have felt about that.

For a variety of reasons, none of them good, Lee was having a very hard time getting his commanders to do what he wanted done. Under the stress of a meeting engagement & the lack of intel, the mulish commanders must have irritated the fire out of Lee.

On top of everything else, it was hot & muggy. Anyone who has gone camping during the heat of summer knows how hard it is to sleep even when you are exhausted. Lee had to have been sleep deprived. The combination of Davis not supporting his movement as he had planned, the anxiety brought on by lack of intel, his inability to impose his will on his subordinates & lack of sleep was compounded by another unanticipated factor.

The Army of the Potomac was fighting better than Lee had any reason to anticipate. After the first day, McClellan would have retreated, no telling what kind of blunder Burnside would have committed, Hooker could be relied upon to loose his nerve, but this time the AoP was not turning tail after the first setback. When the AoP did not pull out during the night of the second day, Lee was out of options. That must have been maddening. Nothing, absolutely nothing was working the way Lee intended it to go.

Dwight Eisenhower & Montgomery toured Gettysburg. The two of them were completely baffled by Lee's decision to attack the center of the Union line. Eisenhower said that Lee must have just been mad as hell & wanted to smash Meade no matter what. That is the same thing that Longstreet said, as well. No wonder Lee, who had a fierce temper that he had spent a lifetime learning to control, opted for the hammer & left the rest of his tools in the bag. One last smashing blow was the only thing that could salvage the situation.

The stress of his situation, the limited resources he had on hand, his belief in the superiority of Virginia soldiers, his burning anger & his belief in the inferiority of his opponent left him with no option. He went all in & drove his only fresh troops right at the center of Meade's line. If he had not, he wouldn't have been Robert E. Lee.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
If you simply watched the c-span presentation I linked to It will also tell you exactly Stuart was up to and why the idea that he was to attack the rear of the federal army make no sense at all.
It take 50 minutes and is free.

Stuarts job was to cover the left flank and make sure federal cavalry did not get into Lee's rear. A job he accomplished.
Sorry, I think that its mine Forrest germ ,
 

Ethan S.

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
"In the center they will break"... I remember that quote from the movie, Gettysburg. In my mind, I kept screaming DON'T DO IT! DON'T DO IT! IT WILL FAIL! I never understood his decision, and it's something that eats at me almost everyday.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
"In the center they will break"... I remember that quote from the movie, Gettysburg. In my mind, I kept screaming DON'T DO IT! DON'T DO IT! IT WILL FAIL! I never understood his decision, and it's something that eats at me almost everyday.

Longstreet said--for real, not just that stupid movie--"No 15,000 men alive can take that hill." He was right.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Why was Lee in Pennsylvania? In his letters to Davis Lee laid out his plan for an offensive that would end in the capture of Washington. Davis was supposed to order troops guarding coastal Carolina & concentrate approximately 100,000 men under Beauregard at Culpepper VA. The dual threat of Lee coming from the west & Beauregard's threat from the south would force Hooker into pulling back to defend Washington. It was not until June 29th that Cooper wrote to Lee telling him that Davis had not ordered the movement of the regiments on the Carolina coast.

Lee had written to Davis expressing his anxiety that the dwindling numbers in the Confederate Army was well on its way to making a military victory impossible. He went so far as to advise political moves that would divide the Union electorate & create a peace party. Lee was under no illusion, he was never going to have another opportunity to go on the offensive. With Rosecrans poised to move on Chattanooga, Grant about to take Vicksburg, the sand was running out on the Confederacy. Lee had to do something big & do it now.

Lee's plan broke down right from the start. Due to the lack of reinforcements, Lee was forced to cut off his communication with Virginia. He had no illusions as to the risks inherent in an advance into enemy territory without a secure supply line or avenue of retreat. At no time in the planning for the advance into Pennsylvania did Lee plan to fight a battle to the death with the AoP. That battle was supposed to occur on the outskirts of Washington in concert with Beauregard's force. He would have had enough men to overwhelm the AoP & take Washington. There were those who thought that would end the war. Instead of fighting the war winning battle he had planned, Harry Heath blundered into Buford's cavalry in a place nobody had ever heard of & triggered a meeting engagement.

For good reason, generals avoid meeting engagements whenever possible. Units blunder into each other, arrive at random times or not at all, & the commanding general has no idea of what he is facing. A meeting engagement is a list of bad, worse & disastrous possibilities. The Battle of Gettysburg is a sterling example that proves the rule.

Lee found himself fighting a battle in a place he did not know & without the local people flocking to his HQ with intel that he enjoyed in Virginia. He literally did not know what was going on behind the hills where the AoP was deployed. Meade could shift his forces or hide reinforcements without Lee being able to see them. Because Meade had the high ground, Lee ordered Porter Alexander to be careful to maneuver the artillery to avoid the U.S. Signal Corps stations of observation that could observe the entire area. Longstreet ran full tilt into that problem on the second day of the battle.

Stuart was not with the army because his orders had been issued with the understanding that the Washington battle plan was still in action. Like everybody else, he had no reason to believe that a full blown battle with the AoP was ever going to happen. Without the threat from Beauregard at Culpepper, Hooker/Meade was free to pursue Lee into Pennsylvania. He was like one of those knights that get stuck on the wrong side of the board when an attack is stymied. I know exactly how Lee must have felt about that.

For a variety of reasons, none of them good, Lee was having a very hard time getting his commanders to do what he wanted done. Under the stress of a meeting engagement & the lack of intel, the mulish commanders must have irritated the fire out of Lee.

On top of everything else, it was hot & muggy. Anyone who has gone camping during the heat of summer knows how hard it is to sleep even when you are exhausted. Lee had to have been sleep deprived. The combination of Davis not supporting his movement as he had planned, the anxiety brought on by lack of intel, his inability to impose his will on his subordinates & lack of sleep was compounded by another unanticipated factor.

The Army of the Potomac was fighting better than Lee had any reason to anticipate. After the first day, McClellan would have retreated, no telling what kind of blunder Burnside would have committed, Hooker could be relied upon to loose his nerve, but this time the AoP was not turning tail after the first setback. When the AoP did not pull out during the night of the second day, Lee was out of options. That must have been maddening. Nothing, absolutely nothing was working the way Lee intended it to go.

Dwight Eisenhower & Montgomery toured Gettysburg. The two of them were completely baffled by Lee's decision to attack the center of the Union line. Eisenhower said that Lee must have just been mad as hell & wanted to smash Meade no matter what. That is the same thing that Longstreet said, as well. No wonder Lee, who had a fierce temper that he had spent a lifetime learning to control, opted for the hammer & left the rest of his tools in the bag. One last smashing blow was the only thing that could salvage the situation.

The stress of his situation, the limited resources he had on hand, his belief in the superiority of Virginia soldiers, his burning anger & his belief in the inferiority of his opponent left him with no option. He went all in & drove his only fresh troops right at the center of Meade's line. If he had not, he wouldn't have been Robert E. Lee.
This is the most simple explanation to Lee's strategy for the battle,this after reading about five books on the battle each with a different interpretation of LEE.There is one thing you may answer = Was Lee ill that day ,did he have angina and had to ride in a coach,? Then the most unanswered one ,after Fredericksburg ,did he not see the advantage of high ground and what not having it had coast Burnside? Did Longstreet advise that the army should move to the flank and avoid this position {he did remember }?There was one battle that I remember where a force attacked an intrinched force on a high ground and take the foe's position,and that was in Tn,But there was a difference=placement of artillery in the wrong area-and soldiers who took advantage of a situation .As to that smashing blow that should have occurred on the first day by not taking the TOPS,The trouble is that on the third day not every movement of Lee's plan went as drawn out and if it had then maybe there would have been a repeat of the FIRE of 1812/
It was not that the Charge failed it was that the whole plan failed to consider that FATE/FORTUNE does determine an outcome.Lee threw a HAIL MARY and Mead and Hancock knocked it down,
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
As to that smashing blow that should have occurred on the first day by not taking the TOPS,The trouble is that on the third day not every movement of Lee's plan went as drawn out and if it had then maybe there would have been a repeat of the FIRE of 1812/

Say what?

The Army of Northern Virginia was nowhere near the Round Tops on day one and was not in a position to take them. You're confusing them for Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill. Lee gave Ewell discretionary orders to take Culp's Hill "if practicable," and Ewell determined that it was not practicable for his fought-out soldiers. That was his discretion. Again, that's Lee's responsibility for giving discretionary rather than mandatory orders.

And your "analysis"--if we can call it that--is based on a false assumption, which is that Meade would have stood and fought at Gettysburg if the ANV had taken those two pieces of high ground on July 1. Had it done so, Meade would have retreated to the Pipe Creek Line in Maryland, the big battle would have been at Taneytown, Maryland--the only low spot on the Pipe Creek Line, which made Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg look like a speed bump in a parking lot--if at all, and the Battle of Gettysburg would have been a skirmish between two corps of the AoP and a corps and a half of the ANV.
 

John S. Carter

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
Longstreet said--for real, not just that stupid movie--"No 15,000 men alive can take that hill." He was right.
IF{,magus IF} Jackson would have made such a suggestion =you do not tell a commander+would he had listen and changed his plans as to either leaving {could not do}or to take the position of taking forces from the center and with Longstreet on the Right and Jackson on the Left then watch for the result..attempt to come around the flank\aka Chancellorsville ,have breakfast with Meade.WOULD HE HAD LIST >Then there is the question no one as asked if Buford and his Cav, had not shown up with their repeaters could Hill had marched over and taken the high ground before any of the Union troops had arrived? ,Did he send any message to Lee to inform him of his situation on that first day? Question WAS the CHARGE necessary or did Lee have a mental slip and think that he was in the 18th century and was one of Napoleon's generals .be victorious and Glory would be yours and with all previous victories you will be ?
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Then there is the question no one as asked if Buford and his Cav, had not shown up with their repeaters could Hill had marched over and taken the high ground before any of the Union troops had arrived?

What repeaters? For a guy who likes to hold himself as an expert, your lack of knowledge is really staggering.

92% of Buford's companies reported their ordnance on June 30, 1863. Among those 92%, there was not a single Spencer or Henry. Not one. Roughly 60% carried Sharps. The others carried other single shot breech loading carbines such as the Gallagher, Merrill, Smith or Burnside. Buford himself probably had a Henry rifle--the only one in the entire command. I have held John Buford's personal Henry rifle, so I know that it exists.

The only Spencers in the entire Army of the Potomac were carried by all of the 5th Michigan Cavalry and four companies of the 6th Michigan Cavalry of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. Those were Spencer rifles--the Spencer carbine didn't go into mass production until September 1863. And on July 1, the MCB was nowhere near Gettysburg--it was at least 40 miles away.

Below is a table that I compiled from the original source documents--the June 30, 1863 Ordnance Returns of the First Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac--when I was writing my book on Buford at Gettysburg:


UnitSharpsBurnsideSmithGallagherMerrill
8th​ Illinois311
12th​ Illinois86
3rd​ Indiana12182
8th​ NY210
6th​ NY232
9th​ NY3811
17th​ PA127108
3rd​ WV89

I might also point out that Buford and his two brigades didn't just "show up." On June 29, they were expressly ordered to go to--and hold--Gettysburg. They did so on June 30. There was no luck about it. They were there pursuant to a designed plan to have a cavalry screen well in advance of the Left Wing of the Army of the Potomac. Buford had the largest division, and he was trusted by Reynolds, the commander of the Left Wing, so the First Division was the logical choice to do so. It was by design.
 
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thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
IF{,magus IF} Jackson would have made such a suggestion =you do not tell a commander+would he had listen and changed his plans as to either leaving {could not do}or to take the position of taking forces from the center and with Longstreet on the Right and Jackson on the Left then watch for the result..attempt to come around the flank\aka Chancellorsville ,have breakfast with Meade.WOULD HE HAD LIST >Then there is the question no one as asked if Buford and his Cav, had not shown up with their repeaters could Hill had marched over and taken the high ground before any of the Union troops had arrived? ,Did he send any message to Lee to inform him of his situation on that first day? Question WAS the CHARGE necessary or did Lee have a mental slip and think that he was in the 18th century and was one of Napoleon's generals .be victorious and Glory would be yours and with all previous victories you will be ?
And how do you do a flanking attack when in enemy territory, with all you movements watched by the local population... and where the road network don't allow for such a move?

And seriously, as have been pointed out, Bufords men did not have any repeaters.



And your spelling, bad punctuation and lack of line breakers make it very very hard to even understand what you are writing.
As dyslexic myself, I know spelling can be very hard for some people.
But please try use correct punctuation, where the . is after the sentence and use some line breakers.
 
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