Sickles Venture Forward

OpnCoronet

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No, in fact, we do not know that Sickles original position was adequate. Because we do not what Lee's original plan of attack really was. It is my understanding that LRI was not q part of either Meade's or Lee's plan of battle for Day 2, so the effect of having to attack and defend LRT was extraneous to whether Sickles' movement helped or hurt the battle for LRT i.e., it was an issue that would have existed whether Sickles moved or not.
If Longstsreet's attack was the beginning of an Attack en echelon on the Union left(Sickles)then a larger csa corps would coming in on the flank of a smaller Union corps. The history of ANV attacks on AoP flanks tended to have unfortunate affects on the AoP, if not always the Union cause.
 

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TDMD

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No, in fact, we do not know that Sickles original position was adequate. Because we do not what Lee's original plan of attack really was. It is my understanding that LRI was not q part of either Meade's or Lee's plan of battle for Day 2, so the effect of having to attack and defend LRT was extraneous to whether Sickles' movement helped or hurt the battle for LRT i.e., it was an issue that would have existed whether Sickles moved or not.
If Longstsreet's attack was the beginning of an Attack en echelon on the Union left(Sickles)then a larger csa corps would coming in on the flank of a smaller Union corps. The history of ANV attacks on AoP flanks tended to have unfortunate affects on the AoP, if not always the Union cause.
But we do know that Lee's plan of attack was to roll up the Union left which was assumed to be somewhere north of the PO on either the Emmittsburg Road ridgeline or Cemetery Ridge. His plan of attack was based upon the failed recon mission by his chief engineer, Capt. Samuel Johnston who saw only four cavalry troopers where there was evidence of several Federal corps. LRT was important to the Federals as an anchor to Sickles' original poisition (which Meade ordered Sickles to occupy as his left flank anchor, but worried that it might have been a little long for his corps, which is why Fifth Corps was nearby) and as an OP (and signal station). Given Lee's plan of attack, it was of little importance to the Confederates.

The en echelon attack only entered the equation when Sickles was discovered in his advanced position.
 

OpnCoronet

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In fact, Longstreet's attack was no longer coming onto the Union Army's flank on Cemetary Ridge. A Union line of battle to his front, made Hood query Longsgtreet's plan and suggested he work his Div. around, rather than attacking frontally. Whether from confusion or stubborness Longstreet refused(even though Hood tried to stretch his orders and men to do it anyway). The point is, Because of Sickles movement, the Confederate attack was no longer a flank attack, but a frontal assault all along the line.
 

TDMD

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In fact, Longstreet's attack was no longer coming onto the Union Army's flank on Cemetary Ridge. A Union line of battle to his front, made Hood query Longsgtreet's plan and suggested he work his Div. around, rather than attacking frontally. Whether from confusion or stubborness Longstreet refused(even though Hood tried to stretch his orders and men to do it anyway). The point is, Because of Sickles movement, the Confederate attack was no longer a flank attack, but a frontal assault all along the line.
Actually the initial attacks were flank attacks against the troops posted in Devil's Den (as I stated already several times, Sickles presented his flanks to Longstreet). As far as Longstreet's stubbornness is concerned, I believe that is reticence about following Hood's suggestion stemmed the fact that in his mind that it veered from Lee's intention too much, plus if Hood went around behind the Round Tops neither Lee nor Longstreet could see what Hood would be up against. At the time they had an inkling that the Sixth Corps would be up soon to take the field. In short, they did not want Hood to send one-ninth of the ANV into the unknown. Longstreet's decision not to follow Hood's advice was based on caution and sound judgment.

The attack stopped being a flank attack when Barksdale slammed into Charles Graham in the Peach Orchard, who didn't hold long.

Finally, again, all Sickles did to the Confederates was to offer up his corps and others who were trying to extricate them from a bad position as a glass jaw - although he probably didn't really think so, knowing his ego.
 

OpnCoronet

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III Corps was in line of battle with both flanks refused, making the formation a rough Vee; Hood and McLaws were attacking Sickles line against line.
The result of the battle was the impetus of Longstreet's attack being absorbed by an outpost force, separate from the Union MLR. Units are decimated in almost every major battle, it is the result of such sacrifices that battles are won a or lost. That it was not a part of Meade's plan or that III Corps was decimated says nothing about its ultimate results to the Battle of Gettysburg..
 

TDMD

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III Corps was in line of battle with both flanks refused, making the formation a rough Vee; Hood and McLaws were attacking Sickles line against line.
The result of the battle was the impetus of Longstreet's attack being absorbed by an outpost force, separate from the Union MLR. Units are decimated in almost every major battle, it is the result of such sacrifices that battles are won a or lost. That it was not a part of Meade's plan or that III Corps was decimated says nothing about its ultimate results to the Battle of Gettysburg..
On the contrary, both flanks of Third Corps were hanging. The left flank sitting on Devil's Den and quite static, the right flank resting along the Emmittsburg Road ridgeline also open to attack. And again, I disagree about Longstreet's attack being absorbed by the Third Corps. It is well known that Graham's Brigade was smashed into like a tsunami by Barksdale's Brigade. Sickles' position was crumbling like a house of cards and Third Corps would quite likely have been totally destroyed if not for reinforcements. And yes units are destroyed in major battles, but not normally a unit as large as an entire corps. The only results of the battle on the second day as brought on by Sickles was the near destruction of his own corps and the wrecking of several divisions of other corps which came in support - nothing more than that.

And since when was Sickles supposed to disobey orders to create his own defensive plan?

Finally, I would suggest that you read the old issue of Blue And Gray Magazine which shows how Sickles position was quickly overwhelmed by attacks on its open left and by Barksdale's frontal assault shortly thereafter. Or, you could read Gettysburg's Bloody Wheatfield, by Jay Jorgenson which reveals the same. It was the reinforcements that stymied Longstreet's attacks, not Sickles' ill advised move forward. There is a reason Dave Powell titled his article in issue #28 of Gettysburg Magazine "Advance To Disaster".
 

OpnCoronet

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Contrary to Lee's plan, Longstreet was not coming onto III Corps Flank. Hood hesitated because, against expectation, he was facing a line of battle, and wanted to work his way East to locate and attack the flank, when he found it, which turned out to be the RT's. Even though neither hill figured in Lee plan of attack.
The Fact remains, that Sickles corps (and reinforcements) were absorbing the full force of II Corps' attack, separate from the Union MLR
 

ole

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Meade's defensive line on Cemetery Ridge was to anchor on what was to become known as Little Round Top. ("Anchor," as most of y'all know, is to place a flank against some geographical feature that makes it very difficult for the opposition to cross in an organized force. That could be a swamp, a river, a tangled forest, a rocky hill, or ... you get the idea. Much of military strategy was to get at the flank of the opposing force. The more difficult that is, the less likely it was to get rolled up.)

Flanking a fortified line makes it near impossible to bring the guns in that line to bear on the flanking force -- instead of the head-on attack wherein a thousand muskets can be shooting at you, flank that line and maybe you get 50 muskets in opposition. Changes the odds considerably.

Sickles took his Corps off the anchor and exposed both his flanks.

Yes. He did disrupt Longstreet's attack, but we can't know how that attack would have fared if he had stayed where he was assigned. Meanwhile, he destroyed a Corps in moving it to what he considered a better position.
 

OpnCoronet

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We have only the historical record of the most likely effect of a full blooded confederate assault on the AoP flank, especially if it had enough time to achieve full momentum.(it usually turned out bad, more often than not for the AoP)
LRT was not an Achor, it was abandoned except for some Signal Units. in any case even if Sickles' had remained in assigned position. III Corps left flank ended several miles short of LRT. Thats why he did not like his position; no flank protection and apparently in a position dominated by higher ground.
 

ole

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We have only the historical record of the most likely effect of a full blooded confederate assault on the AoP flank, especially if it had enough time to achieve full momentum.(it usually turned out bad, more often than not for the AoP)
LRT was not an Achor, it was abandoned except for some Signal Units. in any case even if Sickles' had remained in assigned position. III Corps left flank ended several miles short of LRT. Thats why he did not like his position; no flank protection and apparently in a position dominated by higher ground.
Rarely do I disagree with you, Opn, but Sickles was to anchor his left flank on Little Round Top.

As such, he would have been stretched thin, but he opted for a front longer than the one he was assigned.

To get to Sickles' assigned left flank, Longstreet's right flank would have had to move through Devil's Den, wade Plum Creek, reorganize, and attack at the base of Little Round Top.

Sickles was not assigned to occupy Little Round Top -- just to anchor on it with the understanding that no major troup movement could work their way over it and launch an organized attack with any real force.
 

wilber6150

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We have only the historical record of the most likely effect of a full blooded confederate assault on the AoP flank, especially if it had enough time to achieve full momentum.(it usually turned out bad, more often than not for the AoP)
LRT was not an Achor, it was abandoned except for some Signal Units. in any case even if Sickles' had remained in assigned position. III Corps left flank ended several miles short of LRT. Thats why he did not like his position; no flank protection and apparently in a position dominated by higher ground.
But what flank proetection did he have moving so far ahead from where he was?
 

TDMD

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Contrary to Lee's plan, Longstreet was not coming onto III Corps Flank. Hood hesitated because, against expectation, he was facing a line of battle, and wanted to work his way East to locate and attack the flank, when he found it, which turned out to be the RT's. Even though neither hill figured in Lee plan of attack.
The Fact remains, that Sickles corps (and reinforcements) were absorbing the full force of II Corps' attack, separate from the Union MLR
Lee's plan called for Longstreet's two divisions of the First Corps to roll up an assumed open hanging left flank, again based upon Captain Johnston's failed recon mission. Hood hestitated because by the time he got into position. In the original position ordered by Meade, there were no hanging flanks, after Sickles advance, there were hanging flanks, consequently, Sickles presented Longstreet with what was not there before, the present of an isolated corps ripe for destruction. For whatever confusion it caused in the Confederate high command scheduled, it created at least equal disruption to Meade's line and a needless weakening thereof along other parts of the line. The results speak for themselves (res ipsa loquitor) - two thousand more casualties to the defenders (needlessly) than the attackers who went into the attack with a 2:1 disadvantage in numbers.

He also took away from Longstreet the unknown and tipped off his whereabouts and that of the Federal left. Sort of like - 'here I am, come and get me.'
 

TDMD

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Rarely do I disagree with you, Opn, but Sickles was to anchor his left flank on Little Round Top.

As such, he would have been stretched thin, but he opted for a front longer than the one he was assigned.

To get to Sickles' assigned left flank, Longstreet's right flank would have had to move through Devil's Den, wade Plum Creek, reorganize, and attack at the base of Little Round Top.

Sickles was not assigned to occupy Little Round Top -- just to anchor on it with the understanding that no major troup movement could work their way over it and launch an organized attack with any real force.
Ole, In reading Sauers, I am left with a strong suspicion that he was to occupy the hill if he could; if not, elements of Fifth Corps were to come up and defend that position. This comes from Geary's comments.
 

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Lee's plan called for Longstreet's two divisions of the First Corps to roll up an assumed open hanging left flank, again based upon Captain Johnston's failed recon mission. Hood hestitated because by the time he got into position. In the original position ordered by Meade, there were no hanging flanks, after Sickles advance, there were hanging flanks, consequently, Sickles presented Longstreet with what was not there before, the present of an isolated corps ripe for destruction. For whatever confusion it caused in the Confederate high command scheduled, it created at least equal disruption to Meade's line and a needless weakening thereof along other parts of the line. The results speak for themselves (res ipsa loquitor) - two thousand more casualties to the defenders (needlessly) than the attackers who went into the attack with a 2:1 disadvantage in numbers.

He also took away from Longstreet the unknown and tipped off his whereabouts and that of the Federal left. Sort of like - 'here I am, come and get me.'
Please let me know where I can find a copy of Lees' tactical plan for the battle of Gettysburg. You've referenced it twice now and I've been under the impression that no one is sure what his specific plan was. I've read several theories but haven't seen any two that agree or weren't written 20 years later by someone trying to poke a finger in someone elses face.
 

TDMD

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Please let me know where I can find a copy of Lees' tactical plan for the battle of Gettysburg. You've referenced it twice now and I've been under the impression that no one is sure what his specific plan was. I've read several theories but haven't seen any two that agree or weren't written 20 years later by someone trying to poke a finger in someone elses face.
Troy Harmon's book discusses Lee's plan. Also, there was an article in Gettysburg Magazine Issue #26 about Longstreet, neither a hero nor a goat at Gettysburg which discusses Lee's plan. Dave Powell's article in Issue #28 of the same magazine discusses Lee's plan and Longstreet's attack against Sickles, as does Gettysburg's Bloody Wheatfield by Jay Jorgensen. There are several other magazine articles which discuss the plan. I believe that you are correct regarding the details of the plan, but the objective thereof seems to almost be universally understood as an attempt to a roll up the presumed Federal left flank.
 
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What I find to be funny in all this is the argument of Sickles movement rarely includes the reason for his move forward. After walking some of the ground that Meade places Sickles on it is easy to see his distaste. I'm not defending Sickles but the position that Meade put him in might not have been the best choice. See the first paragraph... http://books.google.com/books?id=0469CCIGijgC&pg=PA160&lpg=PA160&dq=meade's+orders+to+sickles&source=bl&ots=fhlHuXdqdG&sig=3cQHg5XFaYlFPonXV6jmL6ynTEQ&hl=en&ei=ARQRToHfHeO00AH7neSuDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=meade's%20orders%20to%20sickles&f=false
 

TDMD

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What I find to be funny in all this is the argument of Sickles movement rarely includes the reason for his move forward. After walking some of the ground that Meade places Sickles on it is easy to see his distaste. I'm not defending Sickles but the position that Meade put him in might not have been the best choice. See the first paragraph... http://books.google.com/books?id=0469CCIGijgC&pg=PA160&lpg=PA160&dq=meade's+orders+to+sickles&source=bl&ots=fhlHuXdqdG&sig=3cQHg5XFaYlFPonXV6jmL6ynTEQ&hl=en&ei=ARQRToHfHeO00AH7neSuDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=meade's%20orders%20to%20sickles&f=false
The position that Sickles complained about was not really the position that Meade ordered him to. Dave Powell mentions that in his Gettysburg Magazine (issue #28). Sickles managed to convey that post-battle. His HQ on the night of July 1/2 was in the low swale that he complained about. Meade ordered him to be slightly east of that swale on higher ground.
 


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