Thoughts about General John Gibbon?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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John Gibbon wrote the highly scientific treatise The Artillerist's Manual of 1859. This manual was used by both sides. Gibbon was considered such an artillery expert that General Irvin McDowell made him chief of artillery. Despite his expertise in artillery Gibbon was soon promoted and left artillery in the past. He was acting Corps commander and his men bore the blunt of Pickett's Charge. So some questions.

1) Why do we not hear much about General Gibbon?
2) How well did he preform at the Battle of Gettysburg?
3) He had three brothers and two brother-in-laws serve in the Confederate army. Did John Gibbon give any thought of resigning and serving in the Confederate army?
4) If Gibbon had served in the Confederate army would of he made a major impact? Would he have obtained high rank in the Confederate army?
5) Was his service in the post Civil War, Indian Wars (Nez Perce campaign) noteworthy?
 

7thWisconsin

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John Gibbon was an excellent commander at every level of command. He was the first commander of the Iron Brigade, and was known as a strict drillmaster. Many of the men swore they would shoot him in their first engagement. But the training he gave them allowed them as green troops to go toe-to-toe with Jackson´s Corps for 3 hours until darkness separated the combatants. He commanded the Brigade at South Mountain where they got their nickname, and at Antietam where they charged The Cornfield. Kicked up to division command, he led a division at Fredericksburg and swore ¨he´d rather have one regiment of my old brigade than this whole damned division.¨ 6 months later his division of Hancock´s Corp held against Pickett at Gettysburg. His troops captured Fort Gregg at Petersburg in April 1865. After the war, he reverted to his permanent pre-war rank of Captain of artillery. Rather than resign, he did his duty and rose in rank again to Col. He commanded one wing of the the 1876 Great Sioux War, where he told Custer: ¨Wait for us, Custer; there are enough Indians for all of us.¨ The famous reply was ¨No. I won´t.¨ It was Gibbon´s men who relieved Custer´s survivor´s on the banks of the Little Bighorn, and buried the dead. I believe John Gibbon personally identified Custer´s remains. Gibbon also participated in scientific expeditions in the west; there´s a waterfall named for him in Yellowstone National Park. After the war, he was an honored guest at Iron Brigade reunions, where he remarked once that the 5-pointed Brigade insignia meant more to him than his Corps badge. These are just some random highlights but, you can see, he´s a hero of mine.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Gibbon was severely wounded during the repulse of Pickett's Charge, and when he returned to duty, he agitated about being given corps command, which eventually happened--he was appointed commander of the XXV Corps of the Army of the James. He was a solid, competent soldier.

Gibbon was John Buford's roommate in Salt Lake City during the Mormon War of 1860-61.
 
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Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
Just to add a point, Gibbon was an instructor in artillery at West Point when he wrote the Manual in 1859. The Manual was not a drill manual, but was more of a treatise covering the art and science of being an artillerist, dealing with multiple technical issues including the equipment and ordnance, and addressing the theory and physics of fire, the history of artillery, selection of horses, tactics, etc. Like so many guys who started the war as artillerists (e.g., Griffin, Ricketts, Upton, etc) moving to the infantry presented the possibility of promotion to higher rank. Once a gunner always a gunner, he did get briefly involved serving a piece at Antietam - it was actually in his old Battery B 4th US, which he had commanded in Utah where, as @ericwittenberg points out, he roomed with some guy named Buford.
 
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rbasin

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Tampa, Fl
Gibbon was severely wounded during the repulse of Pickett's Charge, and when he returned to duty, he agitated about being given corps command, which eventually happened--he was appointed commander of the XXIII Corps of the Army of the James. He was a solid, competent soldier whose defeat at the Rosebud set the stage for the debacle at the Little Big Horn.

Gibbon was John Buford's roommate in Salt Lake City during the Mormon War of 1860-61.
I thought it was like the XXV Corps. XXIII was with Schofield
 

Ole Miss

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John Gibbon’s post Civil War career was exciting but unfortunately he was forced to relinquish his command during the Nez Perce campaign of 1877. His hip wound from Gettysburg coupled with another wound forced him from the field
It has been a subject of debate among Little Big Horn students the role, if any, that his Montana Command played in the rescue of Major Reno’s 7th Cavalry survivors of the fight on June 25, 1876.

I personally believe Gibbon’s arrival influenced the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne to leave the scene thus saving Reno’s survivors.
Peace to his ashes!
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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Crook faced the Natives at The Rosebud. Unfortunately none of the other US units en route to the Little Big Horn knew that the engagement had occurred 8 days before. I speculate that had Crook stayed in the field Custer’s command might have been able to use Crook’s Crow and Shoshoni scouts and his soldiers. Would that have made a difference? I don’t know but could not have worsened the results
Regards
David
 
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