Pickett Was Pickett confident his attack at Gettysburg would succeed.

John S. Carter

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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.
Must have been Grant for Meade did call on after the first day,the issue was to leave or remain ,Meade made the call.Eishenhower called a staff meaning before the debarkation on June 5. This was to go or wait,To his credit Monty said to go,,
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

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Must have been Grant for Meade did call on after the first day,the issue was to leave or remain ,Meade made the call.Eishenhower called a staff meaning before the debarkation on June 5. This was to go or wait,To his credit Monty said to go,,
For what it is worth, the meeting called by Meade after the first day, was a meeting with only those senior officers who had arrived on the field that day. When asked if they should remain all agreed that they should. Meade's reply was something like: "Good, because it is too late to change now." The so called "Council of War" at Gettysburg took place on the night of day 2. It was Butterfield (not a supporter of Meade) who called it a "Council of War" and who suggested that they 12 assembled generals took a vote. For the record, Meade had already sent a message to Halleck indicating the intention to hold the position and see what developed. My view is that the meeting on July 2 was to ensure that the whole senior command bought into staying put, which they did.
 

WJC

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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.
There is an all-too-common confusion between leading through consensus and majority vote. Great leaders do not rely on votes: they listen to the opinions of their subordinates, giving them a full hearing for their views. Then the leader makes the decision.
 

WJC

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It was Butterfield (not a supporter of Meade) who called it a "Council of War" and who suggested that they 12 assembled generals took a vote.
Though by no means an expert, it has long seemed to me that the idea of a vote was ahistorical nonsense. These were accomplished military professionals educated to perform in a system where the ultimate decision is made by the commander. To suggest that Meade was such a weak commander that he could not make a decision on his own does him a great disservice.
 

wausaubob

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Pickett on that day probably thought the advance would succeed. The Confederates had won the first day, and nearly won the second day, after considerable success.
But once the artillery barrage started, it would been very difficult to see what was happening on the US line. Because of the amount of open ground between the two armies, there were probably no close in Confederate skirmishers.
The US artillery on both flanks was partially or fully concealed. And stationary armies could both collect extra rifles, and send the shooters to the front and have loaders in the rear ranks. The Confederates had not advance on many fixed positions in the eastern theater, so they were not anticipating the kind of fight the Army of the Potomac demonstrated that day. As the flanks of the advance contracted away from enemy fire, some US regiments were able to advance and shoot parallel to the advancing lines.
It was a dangerous thing to do, because of all the open ground. But no one knew how dangerous.
Between Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor the ratio of battle casualties to losses due to disease changed radically.
 

Jantzen64

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Has it been established that Lee ordered Pickett to destroy his official report on the charge? Is there any scholarship regarding the particulars of what it said that would have caused such an order? Attacking Lee? Attacking Longstreet? Other division commanders?
 

rpkennedy

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Has it been established that Lee ordered Pickett to destroy his official report on the charge? Is there any scholarship regarding the particulars of what it said that would have caused such an order? Attacking Lee? Attacking Longstreet? Other division commanders?

According to Lee's secretary, yes, Lee ordered Pickett to destroy the report. According to Mrs. Pickett, one copy existed in Pickett's personal papers but was later destroyed during the evacuation of Richmond, IIRC. We can suppose what he wrote, but we have no idea about the specifics. My guess is that he lambasted a number of officers and Lee didn't want the high command to be torn apart over what was written and swept it under the rug.

Ryan
 

Jantzen64

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According to Lee's secretary, yes, Lee ordered Pickett to destroy the report. According to Mrs. Pickett, one copy existed in Pickett's personal papers but was later destroyed during the evacuation of Richmond, IIRC. We can suppose what he wrote, but we have no idea about the specifics. My guess is that he lambasted a number of officers and Lee didn't want the high command to be torn apart over what was written and swept it under the rug.

Ryan
Thank You! One of the unsolved mysteries of the war, I suppose . . .
 

CowCavalry

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He did.

Ryan
Isn't the source of this quote Longstreet's memoirs, written some 35 years later? By that time he had had years of scorn and blame heaped upon him, I am not so sure he can be trusted here to remember what he said to Lee or to not have it colored by the vitriol he had received over the years. Looking back through the prism of those years and knowing the outcome of the attack, it may be a case of what he wished (or felt about the situation) he had said to Lee and not what he actually did say to Lee.
 

ronzzo

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For what it is worth, the meeting called by Meade after the first day, was a meeting with only those senior officers who had arrived on the field that day. When asked if they should remain all agreed that they should. Meade's reply was something like: "Good, because it is too late to change now." The so called "Council of War" at Gettysburg took place on the night of day 2. It was Butterfield (not a supporter of Meade) who called it a "Council of War" and who suggested that they 12 assembled generals took a vote. For the record, Meade had already sent a message to Halleck indicating the intention to hold the position and see what developed. My view is that the meeting on July 2 was to ensure that the whole senior command bought into staying put, which they did.
Correct, and Butterfield suggested the vote after much discussion to reach an agreement. He also recorded the votes.
 

rpkennedy

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Isn't the source of this quote Longstreet's memoirs, written some 35 years later? By that time he had had years of scorn and blame heaped upon him, I am not so sure he can be trusted here to remember what he said to Lee or to not have it colored by the vitriol he had received over the years. Looking back through the prism of those years and knowing the outcome of the attack, it may be a case of what he wished (or felt about the situation) he had said to Lee and not what he actually did say to Lee.

That's a fair critique. The issue with this quote is that there were only 2 people present: Lee and Longstreet, and Lee never wrote anything about what was said so we only have Longstreet's memories. That said, Longstreet often spoke his mind to Lee and I can see him saying something along these lines even if the phrasing is off.

Ryan
 
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