The July 3rd attacks on Culp's Hill


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major bill

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Lee's battle plans for July 3rd was for the II Corps to attack Culp's Hill at the same time as Longstreet attacked the center. Ewell reinforced Johnson's division for this assault. However, J buohnson attacked in the morning, long before Longstreet was ready to attack.

Why didn't Ewell/Johnsonn have better knowledge of when Longstreet was going to attack? Was it Ewell's responsibility to better coordinate with Longstreet?

It is difficult to believe that Ewell did not known when Longstreet would launch his assault. After all Lee ordered Ewell to attack Culp's Hill at the same time as Longstreet attacked the center of the Union line. Part of the orders given by Lee, would be for Ewell to somehow coordinate with Longstreet.

Beacause the three assults on Culp's Hill occurred long before Longstreet attacked, their probabilities of sucess were limited and they probably had no real impact on The chances of a stressful assult on the center of the Union line. It appears that the three assults on Culp's Hill by Johnson on July 3rd get limited coverage in most books about Gettysburg.
 

Andy Cardinal

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The 12th corps initiated the combat which was why Ewell did not/ could not wait.

Second, Lee's original plan called for an earlier attack by Law (Hood), McLaws, & Pickett. This was not practical as Longstreet explained & Lee agreed. Lee then substituted Pettigrew and Trimble for Hood & McLaws. I believe this also may have shifted the axis of attack further north than Lee originally intended. I think original he envisioned an attack from roughly the Peach Orchard at an angle toward the Angle, but when tithe plan changed it was more direct from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge.
 

rpkennedy

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The 12th corps initiated the combat which was why Ewell did not/ could not wait.

Second, Lee's original plan called for an earlier attack by Law (Hood), McLaws, & Pickett. This was not practical as Longstreet explained & Lee agreed. Lee then substituted Pettigrew and Trimble for Hood & McLaws. I believe this also may have shifted the axis of attack further north than Lee originally intended. I think original he envisioned an attack from roughly the Peach Orchard at an angle toward the Angle, but when tithe plan changed it was more direct from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge.
Correct. Lee wanted Longstreet to attack the Union left again after having reinforced his line with Pickett's troops. When Longstreet wasn't ready at dawn (Lee wasn't altogether clear on what time that he wanted the attack to take place) and Ewell and the Twelfth Corps struggled on Culp's Hill, Lee had to come up with another plan.

Ryan
 

rpkennedy

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Lee's battle plans for July 3rd was for the II Corps to attack Culp's Hill at the same time as Longstreet attacked the center. Ewell reinforced Johnson's division for this assault. However, J buohnson attacked in the morning, long before Longstreet was ready to attack.

Why didn't Ewell/Johnsonn have better knowledge of when Longstreet was going to attack? Was it Ewell's responsibility to better coordinate with Longstreet?

It is difficult to believe that Ewell did not known when Longstreet would launch his assault. After all Lee ordered Ewell to attack Culp's Hill at the same time as Longstreet attacked the center of the Union line. Part of the orders given by Lee, would be for Ewell to somehow coordinate with Longstreet.

Beacause the three assults on Culp's Hill occurred long before Longstreet attacked, their probabilities of sucess were limited and they probably had no real impact on The chances of a stressful assult on the center of the Union line. It appears that the three assults on Culp's Hill by Johnson on July 3rd get limited coverage in most books about Gettysburg.
Lee wanted an early attack but didn't specify anything beyond that. Plus, the orders that Longstreet got were vague enough to give him the idea that he could perhaps move around the flank rather than launch another frontal attack. His scouts were just reporting back when Lee rode up expecting Longstreet to be getting set up for an attack.

Ryan
 

Chris H

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On the battle’s first day Ewell seemed annoyed from, as he saw it, the lack of clear direction from Lee. Under Jackson, Ewell had grown accustomed to receiving precise orders regarding when/what to do. Lee expected that his corps commanders would act with necessary discretion and govern themselves according to circumstances. As a corps commander, Ewell had showed difficulty embracing the newfound “freedom” of his command. Whether he was unsure of himself, or lacked the qualities for such a command billet, is oft argued.

In my very humble opinion, Ewell should have been careful to liaise with his colleague, Longstreet. It’s been a few years since I read Pfanz’s Culp’s Hill book, perhaps there is more there.
 

Andy Cardinal

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On the battle’s first day Ewell seemed annoyed from, as he saw it, the lack of clear direction from Lee. Under Jackson, Ewell had grown accustomed to receiving precise orders regarding when/what to do. Lee expected that his corps commanders would act with necessary discretion and govern themselves according to circumstances. As a corps commander, Ewell had showed difficulty embracing the newfound “freedom” of his command. Whether he was unsure of himself, or lacked the qualities for such a command billet, is oft argued.

In my very humble opinion, Ewell should have been careful to liaise with his colleague, Longstreet. It’s been a few years since I read Pfanz’s Culp’s Hill book, perhaps there is more there.
Very difficult for Ewell & Longstreet to communicate with each other as they were at opposite ends of an exterior line. The only coordination possible would have been the sound of the guns. Slocum's counterattack preempted Ewell & really put an end to any coordination that might have been possible. This counterattack was a key to the Union victory in the battle as it took the initiative away from Lee very early on July 3.
 

Chris H

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Very difficult for Ewell & Longstreet to communicate with each other as they were at opposite ends of an exterior line. The only coordination possible would have been the sound of the guns. Slocum's counterattack preempted Ewell & really put an end to any coordination that might have been possible. This counterattack was a key to the Union victory in the battle as it took the initiative away from Lee very early on July 3.
Very good point. Hard to imagine how Lee realistically expected this plan of battle to develop.
 

major bill

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Not trying to be difficult, but were there no means of coordination between Longstreet and Ewell? Signal flags, signal flares, or Ewell putting a few dispatch riders with Longstreet, all could have been tired. Lee must have known that Longstreet's assault was delayed, did Lee send any messages to Ewell about the delay? Hill had units which were in Longstreet's attack and must have know the attack was delayed, did Hill forward any information to Ewell?

I am not sure how things worked During the Civil War, but in more modern wars commanders are expected to coordinate with commanders to their left and right. If anything Hill should have communicated with both Longstreet and Ewell so he could properly control his Corps during the planned assaults.
 

Andy Cardinal

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Not trying to be difficult, but were there no means of coordination between Longstreet and Ewell? Signal flags, signal flares, or Ewell putting a few dispatch riders with Longstreet, all could have been tired. Lee must have known that Longstreet's assault was delayed, did Lee send any messages to Ewell about the delay? Hill had units which were in Longstreet's attack and must have know the attack was delayed, did Hill forward any information to Ewell?

I am not sure how things worked During the Civil War, but in more modern wars commanders are expected to coordinate with commanders to their left and right. If anything Hill should have communicated with both Longstreet and Ewell so he could properly control his Corps during the planned assaults.
That's an interesting question.... I'm not aware of Confederate signal flags at Gettysburg but it would make sense that there were.

As for mounted couriers, the travel time would have been the issue with a nearly 10 mile round trip between Longstreet & Ewell, in my opinion.
 

major bill

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Even if the attacks were 20 minutes off from each other that is still probably within the amount of time where one assault would impact the Union's response. General Meade know two hours or longer before Pickett's Charge that Culp's Hill was secure and he would not need to commit any of his reserve forces there.
 

Andrew

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Ewell found out that Longstreet's attack was delayed shortly after Johnson's attack started (about a half hour). Ewell stated that by that time it was "too late to recall him". So, there was some communication & coordination between the far left and far right. But since the 12th Corps initiated the attack before Johnson was expecting to do the same, Johnson no longer had the initiative or control of the timing. It seems there wasn't enough time between Longstreet being delayed and the 12th Corps attacking Johnson for the news of the delay to make it from the far right to the far left of the Confederate line to get both ends back in sync.
 

infomanpa

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Hill had units which were in Longstreet's attack and must have know the attack was delayed, did Hill forward any information to Ewell?
If anything Hill should have communicated with both Longstreet and Ewell so he could properly control his Corps during the planned assaults.
Did Hill do anything during the battle of Gettysburg?:whistling:
 

Bruce Vail

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3rd North Carolina State Troops were badly cut up in the attack. One surviving officer estimated the casualties at 75 percent (the number is high, compared to other sources).

My avatar, Lt. Ward, seems to have made it through okay. Gen. Steuart called it a "slaughter pen."
 

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