Pickett Was Pickett confident his attack at Gettysburg would succeed.

jackt62

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Prior to the PPT assault, isn't General Longstreet supposed to have said to Lee:

"General, I have been a soldier all my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions, and armies, and should know, as well as anyone, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arranged for battle can take that position.”
 

rpkennedy

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Prior to the PPT assault, isn't General Longstreet supposed to have said to Lee:

"General, I have been a soldier all my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions, and armies, and should know, as well as anyone, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arranged for battle can take that position.”

He did.

Ryan
 

John S. Carter

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Being anxious to get going was pretty common. I don't particularly blame Pickett for wanting to start.

I disagree that Pickett didn't show concern. He ordered his officers to walk rather than ride into combat, for example. He told Garnett that the division was going to "catch Hell" and to get to the Union lines as quickly as possible. Pickett was never one to have an overabundance of caution but he did his due diligence in giving his men the best chance possible.

Longstreet had given pretty specific instructions about how the attack was supposed to proceed so I don't think that Pickett needed to question him.

I don't think that there's a question that Pickett was confident in his troops but the same thing could be said about Lee himself.

Ryan
The fault lies with the fact that the artillery could not take out the Union artillery on the flanks and that they overshot ,due to the length of the fuse,Both factors resulted in the amount of deaths before Picket and Armstead had reached the front of Union line .The fence may have contributed to the brake up and halt to climb over or remove the boards,If these would have been corrected would the charge have been successful or would the flanks have had to take their positions and move to the rear ? Would this have resulted in victory and possible serious damage to the Union army? Is this another Lost Chance illusion?
 

treebie2000

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What was it that he said to his troops which instilled the courage to march into this pit of Union cannon ? Would it had not been better to have been delivered by the commanding officer Longstreet ?Was there a bit of a chock in Pickett's voice? It must have been delivered with a bit of sadness since he did not like this plan of sending his and Armistead troops into this Fredericksburg {just no hill} .Did Armistead deliver a heroic speech to his troops?Pickett was a young officer who was intralled as most young officers of the ANV was to have such an opportunity to be the one to lead his divisions into a heroic attack that could bring glory[fame to his troops and victory to the ANV against such a force as the entire AP.and to be under the command of General Robert LEE ,who had led his army to victory for two years,Antietam still questionable since he left the field first.I do believe if any general had regrets as to this was Longstreet since he had been at Fredericksburg with Lee.
Pickett was not a young officer. He had 19 years in the service of the US government before resigning his commission to serve Virginia and the Confederacy. He was at Chapultepec with Longstreet, who was only 4 years older than he.
 

John S. Carter

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Pickett was not a young officer. He had 19 years in the service of the US government before resigning his commission to serve Virginia and the Confederacy. He was at Chapultepec with Longstreet, who was only 4 years older than he.
My fault,Everytime I read or see a picture of Pickett ,I see a youthful and romantic officer,totally dedicated to the Confederate cause.ONE ,did Armistead and Pickett discuss with Longstreet this movement before the troops moved or did as in the movie Pickett just asked Longstreet if he was to advance and a depressed Longstreet said a simple "yes"?
 

rpkennedy

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The fault lies with the fact that the artillery could not take out the Union artillery on the flanks and that they overshot ,due to the length of the fuse,Both factors resulted in the amount of deaths before Picket and Armstead had reached the front of Union line .The fence may have contributed to the brake up and halt to climb over or remove the boards,If these would have been corrected would the charge have been successful or would the flanks have had to take their positions and move to the rear ? Would this have resulted in victory and possible serious damage to the Union army? Is this another Lost Chance illusion?

The artillery bombardment was more successful than many give it credit for in that it did seriously damage the batteries along Cemetery Ridge in the vicinity of the Copse of Trees. But yes, many of their shots did go long and make the ground on the back side of the ridge an inferno. The batteries on Cemetery Hill were targeted but there wasn't a great artillery platform to fire upon them so they took the fire without much fuss and so did the batteries along lower Cemetery Ridge, which were difficult to see by many of the Confederate gunners.

Most of the fence in the area where Pickett attacked had already been taken down earlier in the battle (Wadsworth's men took down some of the Emmitsburg Road fencing on July 1 and the 15th Massachusetts and 82nd New York used the fence rails around the Codori Farm to build a barricade on the afternoon of July 2) so it didn't play much of a role for Pickett's men. Pettigrew's Division, on the other hand, had to contend with a full fence at close range to the Union line. They suffered the worst in regards to the fences.

Ryan
 
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John S. Carter

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The artillery bombardment was more successful than many give it credit for in that it did seriously damage the batteries along Cemetery Hill in the vicinity of the Copse of Trees. But yes, many of their shots did go long and make the ground on the back side of the ridge an inferno. The batteries on Cemetery Hill were targeted but there wasn't a great artillery platform to fire upon them so they took the fire without much fuss and so did the batteries along lower Cemetery Ridge, which were difficult to see by many of the Confederate gunners.

Most of the fence in the area where Pickett attacked had already been taken down earlier in the battle (Wadsworth's men took down some of the Emmitsburg Road fencing on July 1 and the 15th Massachusetts and 82nd New York used the fence rails around the Codori Farm to build a barricade on the afternoon of July 2) so it didn't play much of a role for Pickett's men. Pettigrew's Division, on the other hand, had to contend with a full fence at close range to the Union line. They suffered the worst in regards to the fences.

Ryan
There is myth that when Pickett made it to the top and had broke through ,that he looked back as if he anticipated reinforcements or a follow up to his attack.. Was there suppose to be be ? Did Longstreet tell him this or was this just his own hope?
 

jackt62

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There is myth that when Pickett made it to the top and had broke through ,that he looked back as if he anticipated reinforcements or a follow up to his attack.. Was there suppose to be be ? Did Longstreet tell him this or was this just his own hope?

Lee's intent was to support Pickett on the flank with part of AP Hill's Corps. While this was a logical step to undertake, the execution did not fulfill the planning, and whether or not Longstreet understood or was told the totality of the plan is unclear to me.
 

dgfred

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What about the men who made the march/walk across the field and what they were thinking. They were following orders - do or die, but
I bet individually you have go to believe a lot of them were saying to themselves - this is crazy. This is the reverse of Fredericksburg.
I know the norms were different then and following orders as today is mandatory - but when you are seeing the elephant and know
a slaughter is imminent - how Lee kept his God like status among the troops is puzzling to me.

Then after all that slaughter... a few did make it at least to the angle. What if support was available or an attack elsewhere was successful? So in reality... it 'could' have worked if other things went perfect. Which they never do. Haha
 

Grant's Tomb

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In the game Sid Meier's Gettysburg, there is a scenario called Longstreet's option Big Round Top in which the player has the option of deciding to go ahead with the actual attack on the Union center or doing what Longstreet had proposed to Lee to move around to the right and attack the Army of the Potomac's left flank and have Pickett's division dug on Big Round Top and the Taneytown road which they have as the Union Army's line of communication. If you're commanding the Union troops, you have Sedgwick's 6th Corps facing Pickett
 

John S. Carter

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Lee's intent was to support Pickett on the flank with part of AP Hill's Corps. While this was a logical step to undertake, the execution did not fulfill the planning, and whether or not Longstreet understood or was told the totality of the plan is unclear to me.
Was it AP corp that was the first to arrive at Gettysburg? Could it be stated that the first Confederate divisions or corp had the opportunity after forcing the Union troops out of the town to continue to the high ground?This is where the myth of "if only Stonewall had been in command of Confederate troops at that time!Were this halted by Reynolds having taken the Round Top.?Has to Kulp 's Hill,it would be that the Confederate forces stopped or where halted near the top thus giving the Union time to reinforce the position ,as they would do on the right flank when app.they halted due to night falling .It they had gone further would they not have taken the flank and a major supply depot. There is the fact that with the Union they had the reserve to place into the areas where they were required .the Con.army had none or was Lee not informed of these possible cracks on Union flanks,This battle for the ANV was one error or miss opportunity after the other.Then is the question, was Meade the better commander at this battle than Lee{some have questioned Lee's mental condition due to possible stoke]?,Lee had defeated the AP under other generals so why not this one,could that have mattered to Lee?This fact that his army had accomplished such success may have inflated his attitude to this,It appears that Longstreet was correct but consider my previous statement.Other than Warhorse did any other command question Lee?
 

NDR5thNY

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Is it true that Pickett was confident of success? His public statements of bravado to his men before the assault may have been a necessary part of commanding leadership, but I seriously doubt that he, together with Longstreet and Alexander, was thrilled with having to carry out Lee's order.
I am reading “ Covered with Glory” by Rod Gragg. Pages 167 to 168. Relay the notes General Longstreet sent Colonel Edward Porter Alexander in which Longstreet tells Alexander not to advise General Pickett to advance if the artillary barrage does not drive off the Union forces. Alexander’s response to Longstreet is that he “will only be able to judge the effect of our fire on the enemy but by his return fire, for his infranty is but little exposed to view and the smoke will obscure the whole field.” Alexander believed Longstreet was deferring the decision to launch the attack to him. Colonel Alexander conferred with Brigadier General Ambrose R. Wright . Wright said “ He has put the responsibility back on you.” “Alexander asked,” tell me exactly what you think of this attack.”” General Wright said, “ Well it is mostly a question of supports. It is not as hard to get there as it looks... The real difficulty is to stay there after you get there —- for the whole infernal Yankee army is there in a bunch.”
“Finally, Alexander sought out Pickett. The dapper Virginian appeared upbeat and confident—- and certain of victory. “
“His intentions now settled dispatched a terse message to Longstreet. “ When our fire is at its best, I will advise General Pickett to advance.””
From this account, it appears Pickett was confident of victory! There are numerous accounts of the soldiers expressing confidence while waiting for the charge.
It is surprising to me read the accounts of the confidence expressed by the men of the 26th NC even after crossing Emmittsburg road.
Once again, I recommend reading “ Covered with Glory” by Rod Gragg.
 

John S. Carter

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Lee's intent was to support Pickett on the flank with part of AP Hill's Corps. While this was a logical step to undertake, the execution did not fulfill the planning, and whether or not Longstreet understood or was told the totality of the plan is unclear to me.
If it is unclear to you ,would it not be unclear to a general who knew Lee and was referred to as Lee's Warhorse,This is where Lee needed Thomas who would have understood Lee's method of orders for battle .they were close to his method of orders.You go there ,the rest is that you attack and defeat the for how you do it is in your own order of attack.RIGHT?
 

jackt62

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If it is unclear to you ,would it not be unclear to a general who knew Lee and was referred to as Lee's Warhorse,This is where Lee needed Thomas who would have understood Lee's method of orders for battle .they were close to his method of orders.You go there ,the rest is that you attack and defeat the for how you do it is in your own order of attack.RIGHT?

Considering that Longstreet advocated a defensive stance, or at least once engaged at Gettysburg argued with Lee for a turning movement on Day 2, and given that Lee was known to deliver general "guidelines" for his operations (and was more easily in sync with harmonious commanders such as Jackson), the flawed execution at Gettysburg is probably not a surprise.
 

jackt62

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When our fire is at its best, I will advise General Pickett to advance.””
From this account, it appears Pickett was confident of victory! There are numerous accounts of the soldiers expressing confidence while waiting for the charge.

I have not read "Covered With Glory" but am familiar with that famous back and forth exchange between Alexander and Longstreet. But I must disagree that Alexander's directive about advancing infers that Pickett was confident of victory. Pickett was a protege of Longstreet, and must have absorbed some of Longstreet's misgivings about undertaking such an assault. Moreover, Pickett as the subordinate responsible officer could not be expected to impart discouraging messages to his troops, either verbally or by body language in executing the assault, regardless of his true feelings. That being said, I have no doubt that the rank and file troops displayed their usual courage and confidence in stepping out across that open field.
 

NDR5thNY

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I have not read "Covered With Glory" but am familiar with that famous back and forth exchange between Alexander and Longstreet. But I must disagree that Alexander's directive about advancing infers that Pickett was confident of victory. Pickett was a protege of Longstreet, and must have absorbed some of Longstreet's misgivings about undertaking such an assault. Moreover, Pickett as the subordinate responsible officer could not be expected to impart discouraging messages to his troops, either verbally or by body language in executing the assault, regardless of his true feelings. That being said, I have no doubt that the rank and file troops displayed their usual courage and confidence in stepping out across that open field.
Thank you for your insights. I am enjoying learning from this wonderful website.
 

jackt62

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Other than Warhorse did any other command question Lee

Not that I am aware of. As the longest serving Corps commander at Gettysburg, Longstreet had a relationship with Lee that enabled him to be forceful in his advocacy. In the past, Longstreet had successfully argued with Lee to delay his Corps attack at Second Manassas in order to reconnoiter the field. The other Corps commanders, Ewell and Hill, were newly appointed and while having effectively served as Division Commanders, it would not behoove them to question their Army commander's orders. (Although in fact, Hill's actions did help bring on the engagement perhaps unintentionally.)
 

John S. Carter

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Considering that Longstreet advocated a defensive stance, or at least once engaged at Gettysburg argued with Lee for a turning movement on Day 2, and given that Lee was known to deliver general "guidelines" for his operations (and was more easily in sync with harmonious commanders such as Jackson), the flawed execution at Gettysburg is probably not a surprise.
Thank you,,Is a indication of a great leader the willingness to consider the opinions of underlines?I have not read where Lee did this ,If a division commander is in a position to recommend a change would it be wise to consider this.Even if he did not.should Lee have again consider that Longstreet had knowledge based on experience .as at Fredericksburg ,
 

jackt62

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Thank you,,Is a indication of a great leader the willingness to consider the opinions of underlines?I have not read where Lee did this ,If a division commander is in a position to recommend a change would it be wise to consider this.Even if he did not.should Lee have again consider that Longstreet had knowledge based on experience .as at Fredericksburg ,

For sure, a great or even good leader should always seek advice from trusted and knowledgeable subordinates. But in the final analysis, the decision must be made by the leader who can accept or reject any or all of the advice. BTW, it might have been Meade or Grant who once said that Councils of War were useless forums for arriving at any effective decisions.
 
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