Samuel Johnston's Gettysburg Report

speedylee

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Does anyone know where in the OR Confederate Engineer Samuel Johnston's report is for his early morning scouting mission is for July 2? I have the OR on disc but have been unable to find the report.

Thanks,

Lee Elder
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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It is my understanding that Johnston's report was given verbally. See Gettysburg, The Second Day, by Harry Pfanz (University of North Carolina Press, pp. 105-107 in paperback. Pfanz says that when Johnston returned he located Lee in conversation with Longstreet and Hill. Lee called Johnston over and Johnston reported on his patrol, apparently indicating that he had been to the round tops. Lee is reported to have specifically asked,"Did you get there?", and Johnston replied in the affirmative. After Longstreet and Hill stepped away, Lee interviewed Johnston in further detail.

You might want to take a look at the O.R report of William Pendleton, the Artillery Chief of the Army of Northern Virginia (Vol XXVII, Part 2, pp. 346, et seq. Pendleton talks about a reconnaissance on pages 349 - 550 that seems to have occurred a bit earlier than Johnston's patrol. Pfanz refers to Pendleton's report as an "enigma". If you read it, you may agree.
 

datameister

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Does anyone know where in the OR Confederate Engineer Samuel Johnston's report is for his early morning scouting mission is for July 2? I have the OR on disc but have been unable to find the report.

Thanks,

Lee Elder
Here is a link to a Gettysburg Seminar Paper from the NPS written by Karlton D. Smith. This is a comprehensive read. Someone should compile the Seminar Papers into a one or two-volume document.

http://npshistory.com/series/symposia/gettysburg_seminars/11/essay4.pdf
 

rpkennedy

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It is my understanding that Johnston's report was given verbally. See Gettysburg, The Second Day, by Harry Pfanz (University of North Carolina Press, pp. 105-107 in paperback. Pfanz says that when Johnston returned he located Lee in conversation with Longstreet and Hill. Lee called Johnston over and Johnston reported on his patrol, apparently indicating that he had been to the round tops. Lee is reported to have specifically asked,"Did you get there?", and Johnston replied in the affirmative. After Longstreet and Hill stepped away, Lee interviewed Johnston in further detail.

You might want to take a look at the O.R report of William Pendleton, the Artillery Chief of the Army of Northern Virginia (Vol XXVII, Part 2, pp. 346, et seq. Pendleton talks about a reconnaissance on pages 349 - 550 that seems to have occurred a bit earlier than Johnston's patrol. Pfanz refers to Pendleton's report as an "enigma". If you read it, you may agree.

Pendleton was an aged fellow and may have misremembered the reconnaissance. :D

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

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It is my understanding that Johnston's report was given verbally. See Gettysburg, The Second Day, by Harry Pfanz (University of North Carolina Press, pp. 105-107 in paperback. Pfanz says that when Johnston returned he located Lee in conversation with Longstreet and Hill. Lee called Johnston over and Johnston reported on his patrol, apparently indicating that he had been to the round tops. Lee is reported to have specifically asked,"Did you get there?", and Johnston replied in the affirmative. After Longstreet and Hill stepped away, Lee interviewed Johnston in further detail.

You might want to take a look at the O.R report of William Pendleton, the Artillery Chief of the Army of Northern Virginia (Vol XXVII, Part 2, pp. 346, et seq. Pendleton talks about a reconnaissance on pages 349 - 550 that seems to have occurred a bit earlier than Johnston's patrol. Pfanz refers to Pendleton's report as an "enigma". If you read it, you may agree.
Pendleton's reconnaissance was rather vividly described by Coupland R. Page, who accompanied him as a Sergeant Major on his staff. A few years ago I found Page's "Reminiscences of the Battle of Gettysburg" in the Leyburn Library at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and prepared an article based on it that was published by The Gettysburg Magazine, January 2016, issue 54. It was not even available to Harry W. Pfanz in his epic, Gettysburg: The Second Day. I also visited a Page descendant in Staunton, Virginia, who graciously provided images and documents.

To summarize, Lee tasked Pendleton on the night of July 1, and Pendleton set out before dawn on July 2 with Page and Lt. George W. Peterkin, an aide. While riding southward along Seminary Ridge, Pendleton selected promising positions for some of his batteries. They evidently reached Spangler Woods, which Pfanz surmised was at or near the limit of their reconnaissance, but my analysis of Page's recollections suggest they continued on about a mile in a southwesterly direction, and Pendleton himself may have gone to a rise west of Willoughby Run and north of the Sachs' covered bridge over Marsh Run. Page remained behind to water his horse in the run and encountered two of Buford's cavalrymen near a house, which I supposed to be Samuel Pitzer's. Page, who was unarmed, bluffed his opponents and captured them. Pendleton returned, interviewed them, and then sent Peterkin back to Longstreet to inform him the way was open, while Page was sent back and delivered his two prisoners to Col. Walter H. Taylor around 8 a.m., Lee having already gone to see Ewell.

Of course, we may wonder why Pendleton did not move southeasterly toward the Round Tops, but that is hindsight. If he did, he may well have been captured by Buford's men posted along the Emmitsburg road. But the area he did explore was found to be open and unoccupied. Federal units (Biddle and some Third Corps brigades) had in fact moved up Marsh Creek the previous day and evening, so Pendleton's reconnaissance did establish that the way was now clear of potential Federal opposition to Longstreet's flank march.
 
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ronzzo

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In the July, 2019 edition of Gettysburg Magazine, author Allen R. Thompson presented a very good analysis of Johnston’s reconnaissance. His reference material was from Johnston’s letters written after the war.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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The Page account is interesting as it is a primary source. I will have to look up the Gettysburg Magazine articles mentioned by Tome Elmore and rondo. One phrase that caught my attention in Tom Elmore's post above was that Pendleton " . . . sent Peterkin back to Longstreet to inform him the way was open . . . ." But I wondered: open for what? When Pendleton left for his reconnaissance, Lee had yet to give orders for Longstreet's Day 2 assault. Or was Pendleton aware of Longstreet's desire to move in that general direction in the hope of inducing a fight where the Confederates could fight a tactically defensive battle?
 

Tom Elmore

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The Page account is interesting as it is a primary source. I will have to look up the Gettysburg Magazine articles mentioned by Tome Elmore and rondo. One phrase that caught my attention in Tom Elmore's post above was that Pendleton " . . . sent Peterkin back to Longstreet to inform him the way was open . . . ." But I wondered: open for what? When Pendleton left for his reconnaissance, Lee had yet to give orders for Longstreet's Day 2 assault. Or was Pendleton aware of Longstreet's desire to move in that general direction in the hope of inducing a fight where the Confederates could fight a tactically defensive battle?
Interesting. More than one source has Lee and Longstreet riding together at sunrise on July 2, but Pendleton left perhaps a half hour earlier. Page wrote that Pendleton said this on the night of July 1: "I have just returned from General Lee's headquarters and he has directed me to ride over to the right of our line and select positions for some of our rifle guns, to bear on the Round Tops early in the morning. He has ordered General Longstreet to take the Round Tops by sunrise or as soon thereafter as possible."

Page afterwards blamed Longstreet for the defeat at Gettysburg, so for the sake of argument we may entertain the notion that Page augmented Pendleton's remarks. For one thing I can't imagine Pendleton used the specific terminology "Round Tops," although a reference to those two prominent hills in the distance is certainly conceivable. But we can take Longstreet entirely out of the equation and still conclude at a minimum that Pendleton reported the Confederate right flank free from any threatening Federal infantry. The capture of two Federal cavalrymen, presumably assessed to be part of an advance picket, would appear to bolster the conclusion that any Federal infantry was a considerable distance to the east or southeast of Pendleton's position - and hidden from sight. The ground to his south was more open and nothing was observed in that direction.
 

speedylee

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It is my understanding that Johnston's report was given verbally. See Gettysburg, The Second Day, by Harry Pfanz (University of North Carolina Press, pp. 105-107 in paperback. Pfanz says that when Johnston returned he located Lee in conversation with Longstreet and Hill. Lee called Johnston over and Johnston reported on his patrol, apparently indicating that he had been to the round tops. Lee is reported to have specifically asked,"Did you get there?", and Johnston replied in the affirmative. After Longstreet and Hill stepped away, Lee interviewed Johnston in further detail.

You might want to take a look at the O.R report of William Pendleton, the Artillery Chief of the Army of Northern Virginia (Vol XXVII, Part 2, pp. 346, et seq. Pendleton talks about a reconnaissance on pages 349 - 550 that seems to have occurred a bit earlier than Johnston's patrol. Pfanz refers to Pendleton's report as an "enigma". If you read it, you may agree.
The whole this is an enigma. That why I want to read it! I was aware of the Pendleton stuff, just haven't read it yet. Thanks.
 

speedylee

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Aug 15, 2017
In the July, 2019 edition of Gettysburg Magazine, author Allen R. Thompson presented a very good analysis of Johnston’s reconnaissance. His reference material was from Johnston’s letters written after the war.
I'll have to check and find out who has Johnston's letters. I'd like to read them. Thanks.
 

speedylee

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Aug 15, 2017
Does anyone know where in the OR Confederate Engineer Samuel Johnston's report is for his early morning scouting mission is for July 2? I have the OR on disc but have been unable to find the report.

Thanks,

Lee Elder
Okay, Thanks. I thought Johnston wrote a report.
 

Scott Brown

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Jul 14, 2018
In addition to the articles already mentioned, Dave Powell and Bill Hyde also wrote Gettysburg Magazine articles on Johnston's recon. And the park library has copies of Johnston's letters to Fitzhugh Lee, McLaws and Peterkin (whenever they reopen).
 

speedylee

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Aug 15, 2017
In addition to the articles already mentioned, Dave Powell and Bill Hyde also wrote Gettysburg Magazine articles on Johnston's recon. And the park library has copies of Johnston's letters to Fitzhugh Lee, McLaws and Peterkin (whenever they reopen).
Ah! Thanks for the info on the Park.
 

speedylee

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Aug 15, 2017
Pendleton's reconnaissance was rather vividly described by Coupland R. Page, who accompanied him as a Sergeant Major on his staff. A few years ago I found Page's "Reminiscences of the Battle of Gettysburg" in the Leyburn Library at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and prepared an article based on it that was published by The Gettysburg Magazine, January 2016, issue 54. It was not even available to Harry W. Pfanz in his epic, Gettysburg: The Second Day. I also visited a Page descendant in Staunton, Virginia, who graciously provided images and documents.

To summarize, Lee tasked Pendleton on the night of July 1, and Pendleton set out before dawn on July 2 with Page and Lt. George W. Peterkin, an aide. While riding southward along Seminary Ridge, Pendleton selected promising positions for some of his batteries. They evidently reached Spangler Woods, which Pfanz surmised was at or near the limit of their reconnaissance, but my analysis of Page's recollections suggest they continued on about a mile in a southwesterly direction, and Pendleton himself may have gone to a rise west of Willoughby Run and north of the Sachs' covered bridge over Marsh Run. Page remained behind to water his horse in the run and encountered two of Buford's cavalrymen near a house, which I supposed to be Samuel Pitzer's. Page, who was unarmed, bluffed his opponents and captured them. Pendleton returned, interviewed them, and then sent Peterkin back to Longstreet to inform him the way was open, while Page was sent back and delivered his two prisoners to Col. Walter H. Taylor around 8 a.m., Lee having already gone to see Ewell.

Of course, we may wonder why Pendleton did not move southeasterly toward the Round Tops, but that is hindsight. If he did, he may well have been captured by Buford's men posted along the Emmitsburg road. But the area he did explore was found to be open and unoccupied. Federal units (Biddle and some Third Corps brigades) had in fact moved up Marsh Creek the previous day and evening, so Pendleton's reconnaissance did establish that the way was now clear of potential Federal opposition to Longstreet's flank march.
Thanks.
 

Scott Brown

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Jul 14, 2018
Here is the Park's transcribed copy of Johnston's post war letter to McLaws. I've got the Fitzhugh Lee and Peterkin letters somewhere and I'll try to post them (as Tom Elmore said above, Peterkin was on Pendleton's staff).

In my opinion, Allen Thompson's recent GB mag article on the recon is in many ways the best of the bunch already mentioned in this thread, but they are all well worth reading.

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Scott Brown

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There are some problems with this letter, of course.

I’ve never been able to figure out which ‘bridge’ he means, for one thing. Additionally, McLaws - by his own account in SHSP 7 - refused to give up the honor of leading the march (obviously an about face would have saved a bunch of time).

As for the column coming up the Emmitsburg Road, did he actually see one? Or did he assume one would be coming up after the troopers on horseback that he did see? This was too early for Smith/Burling/De Trobriand.
 
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