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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.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.
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.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
Can you share what evidence supports your contention that most men who made it to the road continued on?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.
Great debate. Thanks!