Where was Longstreet's Fence?

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infomanpa

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I've always wondered where General Longstreet observed the final July 3 charge. It is said that he sat on a fence. Of course, it would have to be a place where he could see an appreciable part of the battlefield without exposing himself to danger. In my wanderings across the field, I came up with where I believe he was sitting. It makes sense because he isn't too close to Union lines and he is along a ridge where his artillery was placed. This makes sense because we know there were several messages between him and his artillery man, Porter Alexander. Below is an image with my proposed fence location and a picture showing what Longstreet would have seen. Notice the complete view of the Union lines with the understanding that those trees next to the Codori house would not have been as tall and dense.
Capture copy.jpg

20180703_111952.jpg
 

Tom Elmore

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Sergeant Edward H. Compton of Company B, 7th Virginia was a little in front of his regiment, on the skirmish line, when the advance began. Based on my calculations, Compton would have passed very close to the spot on your map. He wrote in his reminiscences: "Lee, Longstreet and Pickett were all there sitting on their horses when we started ...".

Compton's account suggests that Longstreet mounted his horse at that location just prior to the advance, perhaps in response to General Lee riding up. I figure Compton passed close to the three generals at about 2:50 p.m.

It looks like your proposed spot is right on the money. Nice work.
 

infomanpa

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It looks like your proposed spot is right on the money. Nice work.
Thank you. With all the accounts of Longstreet watching from a fence, I was surprised that no one apparently attempted to locate him. On my map, I should have drawn the artillery positions on the crest, more to the east and closer to where he was sitting.
 
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Gettysburg Greg

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Great post. My belief, based only on what I have picked up from guides and Adelman/Smith videos, is the spot known as the "Point of Woods" is likely where Longstreet sat on the fence and began the charge with a nod to Pickett. That location shows up on your overhead. Just my 2 cents. :D
 

WJC

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Thanks for sharing the results of your investigation. It certainly appears to be the right location.
 

infomanpa

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Great post. My belief, based only on what I have picked up from guides and Adelman/Smith videos, is the spot known as the "Point of Woods" is likely where Longstreet sat on the fence and began the charge with a nod to Pickett. That location shows up on your overhead. Just my 2 cents. :D
Of course it's certainly possible that Longstreet watched from the Point of Woods. My problem with that is that I believe that Lee was reported to have watched from the P of W. If that was so, the two of them would have been communicating and watching the Charge together. I don't know of any evidence that indicates that these men were together.
 
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Stock

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Sergeant Edward H. Compton of Company B, 7th Virginia was a little in front of his regiment, on the skirmish line, when the advance began. Based on my calculations, Compton would have passed very close to the spot on your map. He wrote in his reminiscences: "Lee, Longstreet and Pickett were all there sitting on their horses when we started ...".

Compton's account suggests that Longstreet mounted his horse at that location just prior to the advance, perhaps in response to General Lee riding up. I figure Compton passed close to the three generals at about 2:50 p.m.

It looks like your proposed spot is right on the money. Nice work.
Great post. My belief, based only on what I have picked up from guides and Adelman/Smith videos, is the spot known as the "Point of Woods" is likely where Longstreet sat on the fence and began the charge with a nod to Pickett. That location shows up on your overhead. Just my 2 cents. :D
 

Stock

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Wow, your thoughts on this blow my mind and I mean that in a very, very nice way. Having been to the battlefield about 12 times starting with my young childhood (I am 70 now) I just always thought Southern artillery to be maybe a few hundred yards out of the tree line, sort of along the Virginia Monument as the edge of woods, especially since the battlefield artillery of today is so close to the tourist road on Seminary Ridge. Maybe I have been missing it, has the NPS placed any artillery in the position you have proposed? And I would never think Lee or Longstreet to be that close to the Emmitsburg Road, my thinking that Union cavalry might just try to capture any major officers that came that close to such a fight. I do recall that Pickett was near the Cordori Barn but I never imagined Lee and Longstreet to be that close. But of course I have not sifted a lot of information on the actual locations as you have discerned, I just assumed. This is great food for thought, thank you. This is exactly why I love this site so much, new perspectives to me.
 

infomanpa

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Wow, your thoughts on this blow my mind and I mean that in a very, very nice way. Having been to the battlefield about 12 times starting with my young childhood (I am 70 now) I just always thought Southern artillery to be maybe a few hundred yards out of the tree line, sort of along the Virginia Monument as the edge of woods, especially since the battlefield artillery of today is so close to the tourist road on Seminary Ridge. Maybe I have been missing it, has the NPS placed any artillery in the position you have proposed? And I would never think Lee or Longstreet to be that close to the Emmitsburg Road, my thinking that Union cavalry might just try to capture any major officers that came that close to such a fight. I do recall that Pickett was near the Cordori Barn but I never imagined Lee and Longstreet to be that close. But of course I have not sifted a lot of information on the actual locations as you have discerned, I just assumed. This is great food for thought, thank you. This is exactly why I love this site so much, new perspectives to me.
The artillery monuments on today's battlefield on Seminary Ridge mostly represent their positions on July 2. On July 3, during the Charge, the southern leg of the Rebel artillery were advanced to the locations as shown on my map. Since the southern troops had complete control of that area, including Emmitsburg Rd. on July 3, the positions were safe for artillery as well as for Longstreet. By the way, as I stated in my earlier post, Lee was more safely surrounded at the Point of the Woods near Seminary Ridge. And a welcome to you here, Stock
 
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speedylee

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I've always wondered where General Longstreet observed the final July 3 charge. It is said that he sat on a fence. Of course, it would have to be a place where he could see an appreciable part of the battlefield without exposing himself to danger. In my wanderings across the field, I came up with where I believe he was sitting. It makes sense because he isn't too close to Union lines and he is along a ridge where his artillery was placed. This makes sense because we know there were several messages between him and his artillery man, Porter Alexander. Below is an image with my proposed fence location and a picture showing what Longstreet would have seen. Notice the complete view of the Union lines with the understanding that those trees next to the Codori house would not have been as tall and dense.
View attachment 197870
View attachment 197871
First, congratulations on your research. It reads to me as though you looked in depth for an answer. I was a little surprised to see how close you put Longstreet to the Union line and I was surprised to see that you believe Longstreet was in front of the Confederate artillery. I have no argument, you've looked more carefully into the question than I have (I haven't looked at all), but I was a little surprised. Sure is an interesting topic, nice job putting your thoughts into the image.
 

Yankeedave

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I had always wondered if they hadn't sat around the Bliss Farm but your posts and this thread changed my mind.
 
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James N.

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The artillery monuments on today's battlefield on Seminary Ridge mostly represent their positions on July 2. On July 3, during the Charge, the southern leg of the Rebel artillery were advanced to the locations as shown on my map. Since the southern troops had complete control of that area, including Emmitsburg Rd. on July 3, the positions were safe for artillery as well as for Longstreet. By the way, as I stated in my earlier post, Lee was more safely surrounded at the Point of the Woods near Seminary Ridge. And a welcome to you here, Stock
Although the map doesn't extend quite that far, I know that the Peach Orchard (which is on the Emmitsburg Road and certainly in advance of modern Confederate Avenue) was used as a Confederate artillery position on July 3.
 
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I've always wondered where General Longstreet observed the final July 3 charge. It is said that he sat on a fence. Of course, it would have to be a place where he could see an appreciable part of the battlefield without exposing himself to danger. In my wanderings across the field, I came up with where I believe he was sitting. It makes sense because he isn't too close to Union lines and he is along a ridge where his artillery was placed. This makes sense because we know there were several messages between him and his artillery man, Porter Alexander. Below is an image with my proposed fence location and a picture showing what Longstreet would have seen. Notice the complete view of the Union lines with the understanding that those trees next to the Codori house would not have been as tall and dense.
View attachment 197870
View attachment 197871
Great post. My own reading has Longstreet nearer to Point of Woods, but you may just have nailed it. Although, with the target of the attack at about the Angle, that position seems a little far right for a good vantage point. The Angle is just about the very top of your blue lines showing the Union position.
 
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infomanpa

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I was a little surprised to see how close you put Longstreet to the Union line and I was surprised to see that you believe Longstreet was in front of the Confederate artillery.
I don't believe that Longstreet was much forward of his artillery line. As I said in post #3 above, I probably should have drawn the line of artillery a lot closer to the Longstreet location since that spot was very likely along the ridge where the guns were placed. If you visit there, you will notice the ridge crest, even though it is flattened and not always very distinct.
 

speedylee

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I don't believe that Longstreet was much forward of his artillery line. As I said in post #3 above, I probably should have drawn the line of artillery a lot closer to the Longstreet location since that spot was very likely along the ridge where the guns were placed. If you visit there, you will notice the ridge crest, even though it is flattened and not always very distinct.
Right. I am familiar with the location.
 
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