The Failure of Pickett's Charge

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#21
Garnett crossed the road with his right passing around the Codori Farm (with Armistead passing just slightly south), almost the exact same way that Wright did the day before. All of those bodies were still there (although most of their weapons had been policed up during the previous night and had been used against the assaulting troops) on July 3 and would have been mingled with the dead from Pickett's Division. I agree that many of the casualties were sustained at the road and the fields east of the road, I just don't think that the fence played much of a role in the reason why men were falling there.

That's not where the bodies were found, it's where they were buried. Bodies were gathered from all over the fields east of the road and buried in trenches along the road. Where they ended up doesn't necessarily show where they fell.
If you study the map closely, you don't get a sense of dead Confederates being moved far from where they fell. So the heavy concentration of graves in certain locations is an accurate representation of where the action was the hottest.

Just going by this map, it shows 80 Confederate graves on top of Cemetery Ridge which would match the description of 100-300 crossing the stone wall with Armistead.

According to Clifford Dowdey in DEATH OF A NATION (Pg 314) Garnett passed north of the Codori Farm. Kemper on the south and Armistead followed Garnett. There are a considerable number of graves all around the Codori Farm which would account for Pickett's dead and Wright's dead from the previous day.

I don't know how else to explain the huge number of graves west of the Emmitsburg Road except that these were men killed as their units stacked up waiting for the guys in front to cross the fence. I think the Confederates were moving at 100-120 steps per minute and when they hit the fence, they came to a dead stop. This would be magnified as units behind them continued moving forward. It became a traffic jam.

Then you have to consider the concentration of graves on the east side. There are 744 labelled and another 80 on top of Cemetery Ridge as I said. Some dead Confederates might have been carted out of town and brought to this giant burial concentration but I doubt that because Confederate graves are shown just south of town. So these men died on the east side of Emmitsburg Road . . . in and around the fence and between the fence and The Angle. Interestingly, you don't see many graves near the stone wall. They're all very close to the road.

I" just don't think that the fence played much of a role in the reason why men were falling there." We're just going to have to agree to disagree on that point. I think that fence line proved to be a pivotal obstacle in the assault. I think Confederates were slaughtered as they tried climbing over it.

Confederate graves  close up.jpg


How many do you think stayed in the road? The evidence suggests that it may have been as low as 20-25% of the force that made it to the road.
Dowdey claims 50% of Pickett's Division charged up the slope towards the stone wall so 20-25% may be too low. Again, if you look at the map (here's the link to it) you don't see many graves on the approach to the Emmitsburg Road.

I've always heard that artillery only accounted for 10% of casualties with small arms fire making up the rest. But this was different . . . . so let's say only 80% made it to the west fence along Emmitsburg Road and the Codori Barn.

If 80% make it to the road and Dowdey is correct, that's 30% taking cover in the road or behind the fences . . . . 1300. (Dowdey uses the figure of 4550 that fell in for Assembly as the number that actually attacked.)

If you look at the casualty figures for Pickett's Division (2900 . . . 600 KIA, 1200 WIA and 1100 MIA) that leaves 1600 men showing up for roll call after the battle.

So 1300 seems to fit.

In addition, most of the casualties taken were not taken at the road but rather on the slopes to the east. So a lot of men were definitely going past the road and continuing the assault and were being led by officers who would fall between the road and wall. I just don't think that the evidence supports the theory that the attacking lines were left leaderless.
I think company cohesion fell apart from units mixing up and from casualties. All accounts say that the front was around 800 yards wide at the time it hit the Emmitsburg Road so this tells me that between the crowding together to escape fire from the flanks and the confusion caused by the fences, many men had no one pushing them.

Another piece of evidence to suggest this is that when Armistead crossed the stone wall, he had between 100-300 men with him and all say that it was a mixture of all three brigades. There are many accounts of the confusion on the approach to the angle.

I think another huge piece of evidence regarding the impact of the fences is that as the men who followed Armistead were retreating over the stone wall, many Confederate soldiers were just reaching the wall.

Yet Armistead's was the rear brigade. Where had these other men been? What slowed them down?

I think many brave, determined men followed senior leaders up the slope but the small unit leadership needed to push and lead the men forward had fallen apart.

Iverson's men surrendered because to resist was to die, it's as simple as that. They walked into a trap, were surprised, and anyone who rose higher than a man lying down was shot repeatedly.
Well . . . . it's not quite that simple. Men surrender when their will to fight erodes. Where leadership remains effective, men will continue to fight. Here is an example from Iverson's Brigade where leadership remained effective.

Colonel Davis, commander of the Twelfth North Carolina, on the right of the brigade, saw a small bottom in a wheatfield and moved his unit away from the others into that recess and, because of the lay of the land, disappeared out of sight of the Confederate regiments, as well as the Yanks occupying a wooded, rocky bluff in front of him. "I was left alone without any orders with no communications with the right or left and with only 175 men confronting several thousand," the colonel said of his situation. "Here we remained in suspense but no orders came from any source."

About the same time, the isolated Colonel Davis, with the Twelfth North Carolina, made a decision. If he could not see any troops around him, perhaps the Yanks over the brow of the. hill in his front felt equally on their own and he could outfox them. Ordering his men to let out the loudest Rebel yell 175 voices could muster, he sent them over the rise in a wild advance
I think Emmitsburg Road and those two fence lines caused a huge disruption in small unit leadership, created a lot of confusion and gave a lot of men a chance to hit the dirt. That's my comparison to Iverson's Brigade.

I would argue that most of the men who made it to the road, continued on and I think that the evidence supports this. Most of the captured were those who were too wounded to make it back to Seminary Ridge or were unwilling to face the withering fire moving back towards the road from the slope. Those who stayed in the road generally made it to the Confederate lines.
Can you share what evidence supports your contention that most men who made it to the road continued on?

Great debate. Thanks!
 
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scone

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#22
A more recent hypothesis argues that the fence wasn’t really the issue, it was allegedly more to do with a reluctance to fight, they reached the fence and on seeing the carnage and futility of the charge decided that it was better to retreat, it’s argued that had the confederate ranks pushed on and really made an attempt to breach the fence then the casualty rate and number of those killed should have been much higher. The bodies of the dead were buried where they fell yet the numbers of recorded dead don’t appear to tally with what should have been expected with a full on frontal assault, of course, it just a theory.
while different battle look at the battle of franklin ,tn twice the distance little artillery support and a lt of fighting after sunset My family went in with torches 22nd Alabama and 28th Alabama regiments of Ed Johnson div of SD lee Corps... …
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don't think it a reluctance to fight

I think Artillery played a big part … fence played a big part … I had family in the 5th Alabama Battalion (Archer’s Brigade) im not sure how far they got .. I've read some members made it to union lines captured like The 7th Tennessee …. It made it to the stone wall north of The Angle but was unable to hold its position. It lost 24 killed, 38 wounded and 54 missing of 249 engaged. Colonel Fite and Major Williamson were captured. Colonel Fite would remain a prisoner for the rest of the war. Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Shepherd took command of the regiment when Colonel Fite fell.
When the men of the 7th Tennessee who had advanced the farthest were cut off and abut to be captured, Captain A.D. Norris ripped the flag from the staff and carried it to safety. It was the only flag in Archer’s Brigade that survived the battle, although three standard bearers were lost carrying it.

A connection to both family im the 5th and General Hatton has a statue just mile from me in in the Lebanon, tn town square My SCV camp is named after him
Hatton believed that the Union should be preserved and initially opposed secession. However, after President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to suppress unlawful combinations that were preventing the laws of the United States from being executed, Hatton reversed his position and formed a Confederate military unit, the Lebanon Blues, which became a part of the 7th Tennessee. Hatton was soon elected as colonel of the regiment, which was sent to western Virginia in July 1861.

In 1862, Hatton and his men were ordered to the Richmond area to stop Federal Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's drive on the Confederate capital. During the resulting Peninsula Campaign, Hatton served with distinction, and on May 23, 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general of the 4th Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Northern Virginia; this appointment was not confirmed by the Confederate Congress. Just eight days later, he was shot in the head and killed while leading his Tennessee Brigade at the Battle of Fair Oaks.

His body was returned to Tennessee for burial, but because Middle Tennessee was occupied by Federal troops, he was temporarily buried at Knoxville. On March 23, 1866, he was reburied in Lebanon's Cedar Grove Cemetery. A statue of him was erected in Lebanon's town square in 1912....

Off track some but part a big puzzle
 
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#23
Just going by this map, it shows 80 Confederate graves on top of Cemetery Ridge which would match the description of 100-300 crossing the stone wall with Armistead.
Agreed. I tend to go with the higher estimate with a mix of his own and Garnett's men who reached the wall but needed help to drive on.

According to Clifford Dowdey in DEATH OF A NATION (Pg 314) Garnett passed north of the Codori Farm. Kemper on the south and Armistead followed Garnett. There are a considerable number of graves all around the Codori Farm which would account for Pickett's dead and Wright's dead from the previous day.
Again, I generally agree. IIRC, Garnett's right passed around the farmhouse.

I don't know how else to explain the huge number of graves west of the Emmitsburg Road except that these were men killed as their units stacked up waiting for the guys in front to cross the fence. I think the Confederates were moving at 100-120 steps per minute and when they hit the fence, they came to a dead stop. This would be magnified as units behind them continued moving forward. It became a traffic jam.
I would posit that the southernmost graves are a combination of dead from Wright's Brigade and artillery casualties from Pickett's Division as they advanced towards the road. The long lines of graves are likely from Pettigrew's Division who were taking fire significantly before reached the road.

Dowdey claims 50% of Pickett's Division charged up the slope towards the stone wall so 20-25% may be too low. Again, if you look at the map (here's the link to it) you don't see many graves on the approach to the Emmitsburg Road.

I've always heard that artillery only accounted for 10% of casualties with small arms fire making up the rest. But this was different . . . . so let's say only 80% made it to the west fence along Emmitsburg Road and the Codori Barn.

If 80% make it to the road and Dowdey is correct, that's 30% taking cover in the road or behind the fences . . . . 1300. (Dowdey uses the figure of 4550 that fell in for Assembly as the number that actually attacked.)

If you look at the casualty figures for Pickett's Division (2900 . . . 600 KIA, 1200 WIA and 1100 MIA) that leaves 1600 men showing up for roll call after the battle.

So 1300 seems to fit.
From Harrison and Busey's Nothing But Glory: Pickett's Division at Gettysburg, here are the numbers for the division (for the record, the mortally wounded are counted among the wounded and wounded/captured):

Kemper: 1781 total; 114 killed, 223 wounded, 214 wounded and captured, 127 captured; 678 casualties
Garnett: 1851 total; 181 killed, 213 wounded, 286 wounded and captured, 225 captured; 905 casualties
Armistead: 2188 total: 196 killed, 199 wounded, 333 wounded and captured, 329 captured; 1057 casualties

Of course the initial total is present for duty so should be reduced by 10-15% so figure about 1500 for Kemper, 1600 for Garnett, and 1850 for Armistead. So figure about 2900 casualties out of about 4900 officers and men.

I think company cohesion fell apart from units mixing up and from casualties. All accounts say that the front was around 800 yards wide at the time it hit the Emmitsburg Road so this tells me that between the crowding together to escape fire from the flanks and the confusion caused by the fences, many men had no one pushing them.
While I don't disagree about fading unit cohesion, I believe that it occurred after the road rather than at the road. We know that the division marched at the common step until they began to near the road when they switched to the quick step. After passing over the road, the men broke out into the double-quick and here is where I think units began to mix up (although I grant that there was some jumbling beforehand as units closed up from casualties and began to sidle somewhat to the left). Anecdotally, it seems that most of the junior officers were lost after the road although Kemper seems to have lost somewhat more before the road but I chalk that up to the fact that they definitely passed over the road before the infantry opened upon them (Stannard's Brigade opened fire as Kemper slipped to the left, across the front of the Vermonters' line). Armistead's Brigade seems to have maintained cohesion longer than Garnett and Kemper as the brigades to their front were masking them from at least a portion of the fire from the Union line.

Another piece of evidence to suggest this is that when Armistead crossed the stone wall, he had between 100-300 men with him and all say that it was a mixture of all three brigades. There are many accounts of the confusion on the approach to the angle.

I think another huge piece of evidence regarding the impact of the fences is that as the men who followed Armistead were retreating over the stone wall, many Confederate soldiers were just reaching the wall.

Yet Armistead's was the rear brigade. Where had these other men been? What slowed them down?

I think many brave, determined men followed senior leaders up the slope but the small unit leadership needed to push and lead the men forward had fallen apart.
Again, I don't disagree that the regimental lines fell apart, just on the timing. I agree that Armistead had close to 300 men who crossed the wall with him and that it was a mix of men but I tend to argue that he was picking up troops from Garnett and the leftmost of Kemper's men (as well as a smattering of Tennesseans who reached the Angle at about the same time as Garnett) who were taking cover at the wall or in the rolling ground between the road and the wall. We know a sizable portion of Garnett's men made it to the wall but not in enough strength to go over the top. Lt. George Finley (56th Virginia) was directing his men to fire over the wall while waiting for Armistead to come up and described Garnett dying about 30 yards from the wall.

My guess is that the men reaching the wall after Armistead were those who had taken cover in the folds of ground were edging forward but were far too little, far too late.

I think the line officer and NCO leadership broke down after the road because of casualties. Again, from Nothing But Glory.

Kemper: 450 officers and NCOs; 223 casualties
Garnett: 473 officers and NCOs; 303 casualties
Armistead: 509 officers and NCOs; 308 casualties

The division would lose almost 2/3 of its officers and more than half of its NCOs. And of that number, only about 28% were in the "wounded" category. The rest were killed, wounded and captured, or captured. That number tells me that most of them were lost between the road and the wall.

Well . . . . it's not quite that simple. Men surrender when their will to fight erodes. Where leadership remains effective, men will continue to fight. Here is an example from Iverson's Brigade where leadership remained effective.
I would argue that the regiment remained effective because it was mostly hidden from the murderous fire that annihilated the rest of the brigade.

Can you share what evidence supports your contention that most men who made it to the road continued on?
Just anecdotally from Confederates who survived. I would argue that taking cover in the road occurred much more commonly in Pettigrew and Trimble's Divisions as they were under heavy infantry fire prior to the Emmitsburg Road. There is no doubt that some Virginians took cover in the road, I just don't see any evidence that large numbers of men stopped there for any length of time. In addition, the Vermonters whose line extended almost all the way to the Codori House, didn't write about men staying in the road. They did, however, write about the killing slope between the road and the wall and how it was carpeted with bodies after the attack failed. I personally believe that most of Pickett's Division crossed the road and then was destroyed on the eastern slope towards Cemetery Ridge.

Great debate. Thanks!
It has been, indeed.

Ryan
 
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Booner

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#24
I wonder how much the type of ground determined where the graves were placed?

If I remember clearly from one of my trips to Gettysburg, the ground up around the angle was pretty rocky, with more than a few rock outcroppings clearly showing through the surface of the soil. In some of those areas it would be pretty difficult to dig a few inches into the soil, much less 15-20 inches. Given that the confederate dead had been laying out in the sun for a few days, you'd not want or be able to move them very far, but you'd still have to move them to an area where you could dig a trench deep enough to cover the body. This could play a part in determining where a soldier fell vs where he was buried.
 

Waterloo50

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#25
I wonder how much the type of ground determined where the graves were placed?

If I remember clearly from one of my trips to Gettysburg, the ground up around the angle was pretty rocky, with more than a few rock outcroppings clearly showing through the surface of the soil. In some of those areas it would be pretty difficult to dig a few inches into the soil, much less 15-20 inches. Given that the confederate dead had been laying out in the sun for a few days, you'd not want or be able to move them very far, but you'd still have to move them to an area where you could dig a trench deep enough to cover the body. This could play a part in determining where a soldier fell vs where he was buried.
If I remember rightly, after Gettysburg, the various burial parties didn’t worry about the location or depth of the graves. It was more the case that the bodies were placed in shallow graves where they had fallen, heavy rains later exposed many of the bodies so in some respects you’re right, the graves just weren’t deep enough, I don’t know if the graves were shallow because the ground was to hard to dig or if it was just a case that there were so many dead to be buried that it was quicker and easier to dig shallow graves.
There is one other thing, I wonder if those that plotted the graves made allowances for those trenches and graves that contained both Union and Confederate dead. Without exhumation it would be guess work to state emphatically that the graves were definitely confederate dead.
 

Booner

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#26
There is one other thing, I wonder if those that plotted the graves made allowances for those trenches and graves that contained both Union and Confederate dead. Without exhumation it would be guess work to state emphatically that the graves were definitely confederate dead.
In reading one of the links supplied by one of the posters to this thread, it was mentioned that the Union went over the battlefield and buried their dead first, which makes sense. As a Union survivor of the battle, you'd walk over the ground you fought over and look for men of your unit and bury them as soon as possible after the battle. Your unit may be called on to chase the rebels and you'd want your friends to be buried and their graves marked before you left.
The confederates were buried later, and according to the article, not very well or very deep by confederate prisoners. I'm not surprised. A body that been subjected to the weather for 3-4 days is pretty ripe, and likely to fall apart when moved. You'd probably throw enough dirt on them to cover them to try and keep the smell down as fast as possible.

The horses were gathered in a pile and burned.

Gettysburg had to be a terrible place to live after the battle.
 
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#28
Just two points

Garnett: 1851 total; 181 killed, 213 wounded, 286 wounded and captured, 225 captured; 905 casualties

Of course the initial total is present for duty so should be reduced by 10-15% so figure about 1500 for Kemper, 1600 for Garnett, and 1850 for Armistead. So figure about 2900 casualties out of about 4900 officers and men.

We know a sizable portion of Garnett's men made it to the wall but not in enough strength to go over the top.
Using the numbers above, if we say Garnett went forward with 1600 and lost 680 KIA/WIA . . . . that leaves close to a thousand men. Where were they?

We know some were lost during the Union artillery bombardment that hit the assembly areas on Seminary Ridge . . . . some passed out due to the heat . . . . some simply said "not today" and went back to the woods behind the Confederate line of cannon. But I've never seen a report stating of a mass desertion by any of Pickett's Brigades. So what happened to these men?

What strikes me as odd is that all units along an 800 yard front suffered similar casualty distribution.

What did they all have in common? The Emmitsburg Road.


I think the line officer and NCO leadership broke down after the road because of casualties. Again, from Nothing But Glory.

Kemper: 450 officers and NCOs; 223 casualties
Garnett: 473 officers and NCOs; 303 casualties
Armistead: 509 officers and NCOs; 308 casualties
Let's look at this another way . . . .

Kemper . . . 5 regiments . . . 50 line companies . . . a gross ratio of 4.5 leaders per company remained

Garnett . . . 5 regiments . . . 50 line companies . . . a gross ratio of 3.4 leaders per company remained

Armistead . . . 5 regiments . . . 50 line companies . . . a gross ratio of 4 leaders per company remained

So imagine you're in a line formation and officers and NCOs are falling all around . . . . you're still going to have 34-45 leaders to guide your regiment. Some might be corporals and some might be generals . . . . but the leaders are there to guide a line formation.

What this suggests to me is that the lines fell apart. What charged up the slope were small mobs and clusters of men.

Would that have happened if the fences had not been there? Doubtful. This is what modern obstacles do for us today. They slow down and disrupt the enemy formation.
 
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#29
From Earl J. Hess' Pickett's Charge, page 77 describing the terrain facing the assaulting troops:

The effect of these fences along Emmitsburg Road has been exaggerated. They were intact and offered an impossible obstacle in front of Pettigrew's division, but most of them had already been dismantled in front of Pickett's division by the swirling fight that took place there the day before. Many defending Union soldiers tore down sections of the fence to build breastworks, and advancing Confederate units often broke down other sections while crossing them in their advance. Many accounts by survivors of Pickett's command do not even mention the fences, testifying to their limited impact on the attacking lines.
And on page 79:

Pettigrew's men would come within the range of small arms fire when they reached the Emmitsburg Road. Here the fences were still intact, for the supporting brigade of Posey had failed to cross the road in its disjoined advance the evening before. These fences had a dramatic and catastrophic effect on Pettigrew's attack, far more serious than was the case with Pickett. Pettigrew's staff officer Louis G. Young later wrote that there were a number of other, smaller fences that crisscrossed the landscape fronting the division - detailed maps of the battlefield indicate their location - but neither he nor any other survivor who mentioned these fences offered any details as to their effect on the advance. Everyone in the division, however, remembered and often vividly described the two fences along the road.
While I don't agree with everything that Hess wrote in this book, I read the evidence the same way in this aspect.

Ryan

Ryan
 
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#30
While I don't agree with everything that Hess wrote in this book, I read the evidence the same way in this aspect.
So looks like more of a factor in Pettigrew's Division than Pickett's.

Hmmm.

Well, sounds pretty solid but still leaves some questions.

Wright's Attack hit to the right of The Copse Of Trees . . . .

HQ-CSA-Wright_0984.jpg



while Pickett hit to the left of The Copse Of Trees . . . .

PICKETT'S ATTACK DETAIL.jpg



Still leaves the question: Where did they cross the Emmitsburg Road?

Interestingly, I've seen maps showing all three of Pickett's brigades crossing south of the Codori Farm, others to the north and still others on both sides! I think the latter is probably correct.

Wright's Brigade is usually shown as crossing to the south of the Codori Farm.

So it sure seems that some of the same ground may have been covered two days in a room and then Pickett's men found fewer or no fence obstacle.

The fact that there are no accounts of men lying in the road is also a big piece of evidence against my theory.

What I still have questions about is why Pickett's men fell apart and turned "mob like" . . . how Armistead crossed through the first two brigades . . . and how is it that men were still coming up to the wall as other Confederates were retreating west, across it?

Then there are also the "missing men" . .. . the guys not killed, wounded or captured. Where were they and why?

I don't think I will be able to get to Gettysburg this year until late October. But that will be the focus of my visit. I'd like to not only walk the ground but look for photographs after the battle.

I'm also interested in the location of the dead. Not the initial graves but where the bodies lay as burials began.

One final thing that I want to do is to take a stick that's around 68" in height and have someone hold it while I take photos from the forward slope of Cemetery Ridge. This angle. (Excuse the pun.)

masking fires.jpg



What I suspect is that the initial rush of men climbing the last slope blocked Union infantry fire from hitting men in the vicinity of the Emmitsburg Road. This made the ER "dead space" creating a safe place for soldiers to hide . . . until of course, the attackers had left and then, suddenly, the men laying in Emmitsburg Road would have been totally exposed.

This is another thing I want to find out about . . . where were the Confederate prisoners taken?

Thanks. Great info as always!
 

Tom Elmore

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#31
Obstacles like fences were cleared by the Pioneer Corps, that is, a company-sized unit in the Confederate army attached to each division. However, since the Emmitsburg road in that vicinity was held by the Federals, Confederate pioneers could not approach it. Crossing the post and rail fence (on both sides of the road) where it still existed was indeed a problem, especially for the men under Pettigrew and Trimble on the north end of the charge where the fencing was still largely intact. The road there just happened to be at about the same distance (200 yards or so) where Federal infantry could discharge their weapons with great effect, so the few extra seconds it took to get over a fence proved disastrous for the Confederates. The roadbed in places being a bit lower than the adjacent terrain made it a relatively safe place to take refuge, but at the same time kept them pinned down there and became a trap, especially, again, for the men of Pettigrew and Trimble. Meanwhile, many of the Federal infantrymen in the front line had previously gathered up extra weapons that were loaded and could be immediately discharged to give them a substantial edge in firepower when it was most needed. In addition, soldiers of the 12th New Jersey, armed with buck and ball weapons, might have modified some rounds with extra buckshot. One more great advantage for the Federals was their positioning of troops to attack the flanks - Stannard's Vermonters on the south end, and the 8th Ohio plus about 100 skirmishers of Sherrill (formerly Willard) on the north end. Meanwhile, substantial Federal reinforcements were approaching from multiple directions, representing the 3rd, 6th, 11th and 12th Corps, with several additional batteries. They would have counter-attacked and thrown back any modest Confederate breakthrough, but it never got to that point. My attached two draft maps represent about the tipping point for the north and south end of the charge - 3:04 p.m. by my estimate.
 

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#32
Obstacles like fences were cleared by the Pioneer Corps.
Great post. Thanks. I didn't realize the CSA had a Pioneer Corps. Tried to look for something like that in Longstreet's Corps and didn't find it.

The info on the relationship between the fence line and the federal front line is also very interesting. I need to look at that more.

Many thanks
 
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#33
Wright's Attack hit to the right of The Copse Of Trees . . . .
Sort of. The breakthrough was south of the Copse but Wright's line ran north to where Cushing's northernmost is shown on your map. Their left got to within about 30 yards of the wall (probably very close to where Garnett was shot and killed the next day). To describe their position, the 48th Georgia's right was across from the Copse (with part of the 2nd Georgia Battalion on their left flank), the 3rd Georgia's left flank was to the 48th's right, the 22nd Georgia fronted approximately where the 20th Massachusetts and 1st Minnesota are on your map, and the rest of the 2nd Georgia Battalion were extended in a skirmish line further right. The Georgians covered much of the same front that Pickett's men would on the 3rd.

Interestingly, I've seen maps showing all three of Pickett's brigades crossing south of the Codori Farm, others to the north and still others on both sides! I think the latter is probably correct.
I agree. My read is that Garnett generally crossed north of the house (with his right passing around the buildings), Kemper passed south of the house before sidling north, and Armistead followed Garnett's path.

Wright's Brigade is usually shown as crossing to the south of the Codori Farm.
Wright passed around the Codori Farm. The 48th and part of the 3rd fought the 82nd New York and 15th Massachusetts (whose left flank was just north of the farm) with the right of the 3rd and 22nd Georgia passed south (on the Elliott map, we can see Colonel Joseph Gasden's grave south of the house; he was one of the first men killed in the 22nd Georgia and died in the road).

What I still have questions about is why Pickett's men fell apart and turned "mob like" . . . how Armistead crossed through the first two brigades . . . and how is it that men were still coming up to the wall as other Confederates were retreating west, across it?
I would argue that the intense fire that Pickett's men received after passing the road combined with the fact that the men accelerated into the double-quick led to their line beginning to disintegrate. In ideal circumstances, it's difficult to keep men together when they start to double-quick and when under heavy fire with officers and NCOs falling almost constantly, it's not surprising that the men would start to bunch and coalesce around the flags.

As for the latecomers to the wall, I don't think that there were all that many. My guess is that they would have been those few who needed some time to build up their nerve for the final push or were attempting to take cover at the wall, which is what many of Garnett's men did before Armistead came up. These men wouldn't have been that far behind Armistead since he and his forlorn hope didn't stop at the wall but went right over and were only there for a few minutes before being wiped out. Another possibility could be a handful of North Carolinians from Lowrance's Brigade who were stopped just north of the Angle and some of them could have straggled towards the wall when their very small group was obliterated.

Then there are also the "missing men" . .. . the guys not killed, wounded or captured. Where were they and why?
Harrison and Busey argue that the vast majority of the "missing" were in fact killed on the field but that fact was never confirmed. But the fact that the division has no further record of them and the Union did not record them among the captured tells me that they never left the battlefield. In my experience with New York casualties, the missing with no further paper trail agrees with this hypothesis.

I'm also interested in the location of the dead. Not the initial graves but where the bodies lay as burials began.
There is a description from a Vermonter describing the fields in front of the wall. I'll see if I can find it.

What I suspect is that the initial rush of men climbing the last slope blocked Union infantry fire from hitting men in the vicinity of the Emmitsburg Road. This made the ER "dead space" creating a safe place for soldiers to hide . . . until of course, the attackers had left and then, suddenly, the men laying in Emmitsburg Road would have been totally exposed.
I generally agree, I just disagree that there were all that many men who stayed there from Pickett's Division.

This is another thing I want to find out about . . . where were the Confederate prisoners taken?
In Pickett's Division, virtually all of their captured were taken at the wall and were policed up by Union troops as they advanced towards the Emmitsburg Road in the wake of the collapse of the Confederate assault. This is where all the wounded and captured were taken (those hurt west of the road were generally able to make it back to Seminary Ridge).

Ryan
 

5fish

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#34
A poor idea, poor planning, poor organization/coordination at start, poor terrain to cover, poor use of reinforcing troops and an enemy in quite the advantageous position waiting for revenge. Sometime you just fail no matter how good you are/think you are.
I always must remind everyone the Pickett's charge was plan B made on the fly by Lee and Longstreet after Longstreet forgot to bring Pickett men to the field quickly... @JerseyBart is correct poor plan or bad plan... If Pickett's men had reach the field by the morning than no Pickett's charge...
 
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#35
I always must remind everyone the Pickett's charge was plan B made on the fly by Lee and Longstreet after Longstreet forgot to bring Pickett men to the field quickly... @JerseyBart is correct poor plan or bad plan... If Pickett's men had reach the field by the morning than no Pickett's charge...
Lee and Longstreet both have take some of the blame for Pickett not being ready. Longstreet, being peevish, did not meet with Lee on July 2, as was his custom; rather, he sent a report of what happened on his front and never called up Pickett, letting his men rest. Lee, knowing that Pickett and his men were back at Marsh Creek, never made it clear that he wanted Longstreet to have his entire corps ready by dawn outside of wanting Longstreet to continue attacking. In fact, his orders were vague enough that they gave Longstreet the leeway to explore the possibility of moving off to the right and around the Union flank. His scouts were just reporting back when Lee arrived at first light and, needless to say, Lee was unhappy. As they were hashing this out, the sound of artillery fire could be heard in the direction of Culp's Hill as the Union began their bombardment that preceded their moves to retake the lost ground on the hill.

Ryan
 
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#36
Harrison and Busey argue that the vast majority of the "missing" were in fact killed on the field but that fact was never confirmed. But the fact that the division has no further record of them and the Union did not record them among the captured tells me that they never left the battlefield. In my experience with New York casualties, the missing with no further paper trail agrees with this hypothesis.
Sorry . . . that was poor wording on my part.

A set of casualty figures I found shows this for Pickett's Division as a whole. Note, it breaks down those "wounded and captured."

"Pickett's division suffered 2,655 casualties (498 killed, 643 wounded, 833 wounded and captured, and 681 captured, unwounded)."

If we take just the first three categories (498 + 643 + 833) we have 1974 men killed or injured.

If we use a conservative estimate for Pickett's Division of 4500 assembled before the attack, we're left with (4500-1974) or 2526 men.

Where were they when Armistead crossed the stone wall?

if Armistead took, let's say, 200 men over the wall and he crossed through two other brigades . . . . then that means 92% of those not killed or wounded did not participate in the final assault over the wall.

Where were they?



Obviously, I'm a numbers geek so bear with me as I play with them a little more.:nah disagree:

How were the "captured" actually captured?

My guess is that some who went with Armistead over the wall, put up their hands and surrendered. (Btw, we know 80 Confederates were buried on Cemetery Ridge so that means, what . . . 70-120 surrendered there?)

Others on the west side of the stone wall probably surrendered rather than walk down the slope.

Where were the rest captured? As I envision it, Emmitsburg Road and the fences provide cover and concealment. The final charge up the slope masks fires and creates an absolute dead space where hundreds of Confederates take over.

Then the attack fails, men begin to surrender and perhaps more fire is placed on Emmitsburg Road (?) Many of the men who went up the slope choose to take cover there rather than risk a walk across the field. Many who spent the final charge there remain there.

By the numbers . . .

498 Killed + 643 wounded in Confederate hands leaves 3400 out of the 4500 who assembled to attack.

833 wounded and captured + 681 captured leaves 1888 out of the 4500 who assembled to attack. Did these 1800 men all go up the slope?

I don't think so. I don't think it's a big enough area. The number of wounded and captured would have been much higher.

I think your points about the fence being taken down . . . the ferocity of fire on that slope . . . the bunching up and confusion caused by men jogging or running up the slope . . . are all extremely important considerations.

But because of how the numbers lay out, I'm just left with the nagging feeling that there was more to it.

Thanks!
 
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#37
A set of casualty figures I found shows this for Pickett's Division as a whole. Note, it breaks down those "wounded and captured."

"Pickett's division suffered 2,655 casualties (498 killed, 643 wounded, 833 wounded and captured, and 681 captured, unwounded)."

If we take just the first three categories (498 + 643 + 833) we have 1974 men killed or injured.

If we use a conservative estimate for Pickett's Division of 4500 assembled before the attack, we're left with (4500-1974) or 2526 men.
I'm generally with you here although I think that the division was somewhat smaller by the time that they stepped off due to at least 300 casualties from the bombardment and an unknown but noticeable number of men prostrated by heat.

Where were they when Armistead crossed the stone wall?

if Armistead took, let's say, 200 men over the wall and he crossed through two other brigades . . . . then that means 92% of those not killed or wounded did not participate in the final assault over the wall.

Where were they?
These men fall into a few categories in my mind. 1) Those who were prostrated by the heat. A number of officers commented that a disconcerting number of men just couldn't make the attack. Unlike in the film, Pickett's men were not under cover in the woods but were rather laying out in the fields between the artillery line and the trees to their rear. We don't know how many of these men there were but I would estimate it was on the order of 150-200. 2) Men who fell out during the advance. We know that Pickett's Division was hemorrhaging men right from the start. When Captain Bright of Pickett's staff was sent back to Longstreet, he noted that there were many men who were making their way to the rear in small groups. Of course, he commented that these were North Carolinians but, based on his path back to Seminary Ridge, these were almost certainly Virginians. 3) Those that stayed in the road. In Pickett's Division, I don't think that there were all that many but it certainly drained some of the remaining manpower. 4) Those who took cover at the wall and in the folds of ground along the slope. Here is where I think the bulk of the men were. Due to the murderous fire, they were trying to stay as low as they could and began fighting as best that they could.

Of course, we have to exclude most of Kemper's men from those who would have been able to follow Armistead. Only his far left would have been near enough to go over the wall near Cushing's guns since the bulk of his brigade was near the wall south of the Copse with his 2 right regiments forming a firing line facing south and attempting to hold the Vermonters back.

My guess is that some who went with Armistead over the wall, put up their hands and surrendered. (Btw, we know 80 Confederates were buried on Cemetery Ridge so that means, what . . . 70-120 surrendered there?)

Others on the west side of the stone wall probably surrendered rather than walk down the slope.
I'm with you here.

Where were the rest captured? As I envision it, Emmitsburg Road and the fences provide cover and concealment. The final charge up the slope masks fires and creates an absolute dead space where hundreds of Confederates take over.

Then the attack fails, men begin to surrender and perhaps more fire is placed on Emmitsburg Road (?) Many of the men who went up the slope choose to take cover there rather than risk a walk across the field. Many who spent the final charge there remain there.
I actually agree but disagree as to where most of the men took cover. There were several significant knolls along the slope which provided cover to both the wounded and unwounded alike. Many of the captured simply could not make it back down the slope and were quietly policed up as the Union moved forward, collecting the flags and wounded. I just don't see many making it all the way back to the road. Of course, there were exceptions with men who managed to make it from the wall all the way back to Seminary Ridge.

Ryan
 
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#38
I'm generally with you here although I think that the division was somewhat smaller by the time that they stepped off due to at least 300 casualties from the bombardment and an unknown but noticeable number of men prostrated by heat.
Thanks for the detailed response as always. I've learned a lot from your comments and that has shortened the amount of investigation I need to do . . . plus give me new trails to follow. I greatly appreciate it!

So, let me use Clifford Dowdey's estimate of 4500 at Assembly . . . minus 300 that didn't make it out of the woods. That leaves 4200.

Here's what we know:

There were 80 Confederate burials on Cemetery Ridge.

1141 are killed or are wounded but remain in Confederate hands (498 + 643).

I'm going to assume 20% were hit by Union artillery or double the normal rate in a Civil War attack.

That means 228 fell to artillery while getting to the Emmitsburg Road

99 KIA​
128 WIA later return to Confederate lines​

and then 916 fell to artillery and small arms between Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge.

399 KIA​
515 WIA later return to Confederate lines​
Of those 399 KIA, 80 are buried on Cemetery Ridge, leaving 319 that are lost on the slope . . . low enough to make it easier to drag them to the burial pits along Emmitsburg Road.

You then have 833 wounded and captured plus 681 captured. I assume they were all between the Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge.

Now . . . Dowdey also estimated that just half of Pickett's Division made the final rush . . . 2100 men.

The KIA not on Cemetery Ridge, the KIA buried on Cemetery Ridge, the WIA captured and the CAPTURED . . . add up to 1913 or roughly everyone Duffey says charges up the final slope. If he's right, only a couple of hundred unwounded men make it off the slope.

Where are the other half? The "other half" include 643 WIA that managed to get back to Seminary Ridge . . . plus the 100 or so KIA killed by arty while getting to Emmitsburg Road.

2100 - 743 = 1300+ men who simply aren't accounted for . . . unless, of course, Dowdey is wrong.

NUMBERS.jpg


I am going to leave it there. This horse has been officially beaten to death. However, I look forward to any response to this or any future response on any other subject.

Regards

John
 
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#39
Thanks for the detailed response as always. I've learned a lot from your comments and that has shortened the amount of investigation I need to do . . . plus give me new trails to follow. I greatly appreciate it!

So, let me use Clifford Dowdey's estimate of 4500 at Assembly . . . minus 300 that didn't make it out of the woods. That leaves 4200.

Here's what we know:

There were 80 Confederate burials on Cemetery Ridge.

1141 are killed or are wounded but remain in Confederate hands (498 + 643).

I'm going to assume 20% were hit by Union artillery or double the normal rate in a Civil War attack.

That means 228 fell to artillery while getting to the Emmitsburg Road

99 KIA​
128 WIA later return to Confederate lines​

and then 916 fell to artillery and small arms between Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge.

399 KIA​
515 WIA later return to Confederate lines​
Of those 399 KIA, 80 are buried on Cemetery Ridge, leaving 319 that are lost on the slope . . . low enough to make it easier to drag them to the burial pits along Emmitsburg Road.

You then have 833 wounded and captured plus 681 captured. I assume they were all between the Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge.

Now . . . Dowdey also estimated that just half of Pickett's Division made the final rush . . . 2100 men.

The KIA not on Cemetery Ridge, the KIA buried on Cemetery Ridge, the WIA captured and the CAPTURED . . . add up to 1913 or roughly everyone Duffey says charges up the final slope. If he's right, only a couple of hundred unwounded men make it off the slope.

Where are the other half? The "other half" include 643 WIA that managed to get back to Seminary Ridge . . . plus the 100 or so KIA killed by arty while getting to Emmitsburg Road.

2100 - 743 = 1300+ men who simply aren't accounted for . . . unless, of course, Dowdey is wrong.

View attachment 315690

I am going to leave it there. This horse has been officially beaten to death. However, I look forward to any response to this or any future response on any other subject.

Regards

John
A few factors: 1) Pickett's Division was spread over several hundred yards of front and it wasn't easy to gather a number of troops to make a push. Combined with the amount of fire that they were taking, only the most daring went over the wall with Armistead; many stayed at the wall, taking cover, and firing at the 72nd Pennsylvania on the crest of the ridge to their front (it's also likely that a volley from the 72nd killed Garnett).

2) Kemper's Brigade was broken apart when his 2 rightmost regiments (11th and 24th Virginias) who fronted to the south and formed a firing line against Stannard's Vermonters, taking them out of the rush. In fact, I would argue that those two regiments holding the door open explains why Kemper's brigade took fewer casualties than Garnett and Armistead as his men had a better chance to get back to Seminary Ridge.

3) There were two thrusts that broke the front line. Armistead's at the Angle and Colonel Hodges (14th Virginia) gathered a cluster of troops from Armistead's right and some of Kemper's men and pushed over the breastworks south of the Copse but it was quickly eliminated, like Armistead's.

Ryan
 
Joined
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Messages
543
#40
A poor idea, poor planning, poor organization/coordination at start, poor terrain to cover, poor use of reinforcing troops and an enemy in quite the advantageous position waiting for revenge. Sometime you just fail no matter how good you are/think you are.
That's funny, but had the Confederate artillery found their mark you'd be speaking with a southern accent.
 



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