Reviewed - 'The Gettysburg Campaign June-July 1863'


Jun 15, 2015
See also my earlier post. This is the newer of the two US Army PDF files on the Battle of Gettysburg. Authors are listed as Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler. Again, I extracted what seemed to be notable quotes. Especially, I had thought the story of the Union troops shouting "Fredricksburg" was apocryphal. But, maybe not! See the next-to-final quote, bottom of this post.

I encourage you to read both of these docs. I found them opinionated and informative, and the hint of "institutional voice" was interesting.

description of Schurz’s initial plan to deploy on right flank of I corps: p25

"Schurz intended to deploy on the right flank of the I Corps’ line, but Rodes’ presence on Oak Hill made that impossible. Worse yet, the acting XI Corps commander began to receive reports of the advance of Early’s division down the Harrisburg Road from the northeast. Schurz conferred with Barlow and quickly decided to establish a defensive line perpendicular to the I Corps’ line to counter the threat posed by both Rodes and Early."

Schurz's next plan: p26

"Schurz faced problems of his own. The general realized that he lacked sufficient numbers to do the three things he deemed essential to maintaining his position: establish a line of battle to stop the Confederates advancing down the Carlisle Road, forge a link with the I Corps on Oak Ridge, and retain a reserve force. All he could do was deploy one of his two brigades as a strong skirmish line between the Carlisle Road and the Mummasburg Road, weighted a bit to the left to provide support to the I Corps if needed, and keep Col. Wladimir Krzyzanowski’s brigade available to respond to crises anywhere along the XI Corps’ front."

Lee's decision to stay and fight: p31

"About 2100, General Longstreet arrived at Lee’s headquarters on the Chambersburg Pike near the seminary. After offering his congratulations on the day’s success, Longstreet was stunned to learn that Lee already had decided to renew the fight on 2 July. As he later wrote, “I suggested that this course seemed to be at variance with the plan of the campaign that had been agreed upon before leaving Fredericksburg.” At the time, the two generals had discussed a strategic offensive into Pennsylvania, in which Lee would shift to the tactical defensive on ground of his choosing if compelled to fight. But now Lee said, “If the enemy is there tomorrow, we must attack him. Longstreet replied, “If he is there, it will be because he is anxious that we should attack him—a good reason, in my judgment for not doing so.” But Lee had made his decision. As he explained in his report, “It had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy, but finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal Army, it became a matter of diffculty to withdraw through the mountains with our large trains. A battle thus became in a measure unavoidable.”"

import of Johnston recon: p32

"Flawed as Captain Johnston’s report was, it determined Lee’s plan of attack for 2 July."

continued finger-pointing at Longstreet: p32,33

"Longstreet once more raised objections to Lee’s plan. When it became clear that Lee would not reverse his decision, Longstreet sought to delay its execution. Only two of his divisions—those commanded by Generals McLaws and Hood—had arrived. He wanted to wait for Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett’s division, still half a day’s march away. Lee determined to press on without it, but he did permit Longstreet to await the impending arrival of Hood’s final brigade and even arranged for Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson’s division of Hill’s third Corps to cooperate with Longstreet. Assuming that Longstreet would obey his orders to advance rapidly against the Union left flank, Lee rode over to Ewell’s headquarters.

When Lee returned around 1100, he was upset to discover that Longstreet had not yet moved. Yet again he rejected his subordinate’s objections and ordered him to attack at once."

nice summary of Sickles v Meade: p35

"Sickles’ advocates later tried to turn Meade’s order into a belated endorsement of his subordinate’s initiative, but the commander clearly meant no such thing."

Fredricksburg: p53

"According to Capt. Henry L. Abbott, the commander of the 20th Massachusetts, his men began “shouting out ‘Fredericksburg,’ imagining the victory as complete everywhere as it was in front of the third Brigade.” Indeed, many II Corps veterans at Gettysburg saw this battle as an opportunity to exact revenge for their bloody repulse in the Battle of Fredericksburg seven months earlier."

details on the penultimate fight: p54

"Pickett’s men breached the Union line in two places. Firing double canister at point-blank range, Capt. Andrew Cowan’s 1st New York Independent Battery quickly sealed the smaller gap just south of the clump of trees. A few yards shy of the wall, both Kemper and Garnett fell—the former severely wounded and the latter killed—leaving Armistead to lead a sizable number of Confederates through a second, and much larger, penetration of the wall at the Angle just north of the copse of trees."


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