Was Sickles justified in disobeying orders when he positioned his corps along Emmitsburg Road on the 2nd Day of Gettysburg?

29thWisCoG

Private
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Was Sickles justified in disobeying orders when he moved down from Cemetery Ridge to position his corps along Emmitsburg Road on the second day?

What would have happened if he had remained on Cemetery Ridge as ordered, would there have been less casualties, would the line have held the Rebel attack?
 

neyankee61

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
This may have been already mentioned but...Sickles may have fixated on the Emmitsburg Rd because one-third of his Corps (2 Brigades, Burling's and DeTrobriand's plus two batteries) and the Corps train had to use the road to come up. Numerous aides were sent to hurry them up and orders were sent to turn off the trains at the Greenmount intersection and for the Brigades to follow. Even though the trains did the two Brigades continued up the road. Sickles became so concerned he sent Gen'l Graham to find out what the delay was. The road was in rough shape following the over night rain, the I Corps men and wagons, and the III Corps men and ammo wagons passage, churging it up. The two Brigades arrived after 9AM but Sickles had spent the morning looking at and worrying about the road and the elevated ground to his front. His focus was there.
 

29thWisCoG

Private
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
His original line was somewhat like a V shape, from the 2nd Corps on the right sloping down to the base of LRT then to the top of LRT... it was partially wooded in the lower/middle portions, why would this be so difficult to defend compared to where he moved his line up to the PO Salient?
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
His original line was somewhat like a V shape, from the 2nd Corps on the right sloping down to the base of LRT then to the top of LRT... it was partially wooded in the lower/middle portions, why would this be so difficult to defend compared to where he moved his line up to the PO Salient?
That may be why, as I pointed out, Hunt's apparent concern about that line was not whether it could be defended, but whether it was favorable for offensive operations.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Have walked that area many times and yes it is very much true. Not only is the landscape rather uneven, the woodlots between what would have been Sickles assigned position (between the southern-end of Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top) and the Peach Orchard/Emmitsburg Road would have presented a challenge for infantry and was very poor for artillery.
Thank you. One of my great regrets in life has been my inability to walk the Gettysburg Battlefield.
 

Saint Jude

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Location
Heaven
Got it - that's all great. Now how about something showing that he ordered Barlow forward and to eliminate his connection to Schurz. IIRC, Barlow's own account in his letters was that he was ordered to "connect with" Schurz's division, which is consistent with Schurz.
Barlow also said that he was in the position he had been ordered to be in.
 
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