Why were the tired & thirsty 15th Alabama selected to attack the 20th Maine on LRT ?

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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
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Jan 16, 2015
Like every other command in the Army of Northern Virginia, they attacked the enemy when ordered. The 20th Maine just happened to be in their path, having arrived on Little Round Top only a few minutes ahead of them. No doubt there were a lot of tired and thirsty men in both armies; all suffered alike from the heat and humidity of a July day. Law's brigade had a longer distance to travel than most (25 miles) on the same day they entered into a major battle, but there were others. The Union Sixth Corps had just completed a continuous 30 (or more) mile march when elements of that corps went into battle on July 2.
 

Just Jim

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Location
Missouri
When Law's troops first went forward, Oates men were the 3rd regiment in line. Law saw the line being squeezed by Big Round Top so he moved the 48th and 44th Alabama to the left and they attacked Devil's Den and this left Oates on the far right. Otherwise Oates men would of probably hit where the 44th New York or 16th Michigan troops were.
 
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rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
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May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
When Law's troops first went forward, Oates men were the 3rd regiment in line. Law saw the line being squeezed by Big Round Top so he moved the 48th and 44th Alabama to the left and they attacked Devil's Den and this left Oates on the far right. Otherwise Oates men would of probably hit where the 44th New York or 16th Michigan troops were.
Law's Brigade wasn't so much being squeezed by BRT but instead, a gap had opened within Robertson's Brigade which Law tried to fill with the 48th and 44th Alabama.

R
 

Mdiesel

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Location
Maryland
Oates had actually attempted to have his mens canteens filled & a party of 22 men were sent off with the canteens to find water. Unfortunately for the 15th AL these men were all captured.

Besides even if they hadn't been the 15th AL was soon after ordered to advance & the water party probably wouldn't have been able to find them soon enough in any event.

But I bet Oates wished he had those 22 men in the fight with the 20th Maine. There were some touch & go moments in that fight in which ever man was needed....
 
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jgoodguy

Banished Forever
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Aug 17, 2011
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Oates had actually attempted to have his mens canteens filled & a party of 22 men were sent off with the canteens to find water. Unfortunately for the 15th AL these men were all captured.

Besides even if they hadn't been the 15th AL was soon after ordered to advance & the water party probably wouldn't have been able to find them soon enough in any event.

But I bet Oates wished he had those 22 men in the fight with the 20th Maine. There were some touch & go moments in that fight in which ever man was needed....
A side note, water was needed to clean muskets so the lack of water not only affected the men, but their ability to load rounds into fouled muskets.
 

Rio Bravo

First Sergeant
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Location
Suffolk, U.K.
Well I had no idea that the 15th Alabama went up Big Round Top before attacking up LRT ! ..........Amazing.
Does anyone think that the Texas Brigade might have stood a better chance of capturing LRT ?
 

AUG

Major
Retired Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Location
Texas
Well I had no idea that the 15th Alabama went up Big Round Top before attacking up LRT ! ..........Amazing.
Does anyone think that the Texas Brigade might have stood a better chance of capturing LRT ?
Remember the 4th and 5th Texas went up the front face of LRT (the western face) as well. They tried it several times but couldn't make it any further - and they were just as exhausted as Law's Alabama Brigade was, having marched over 20 miles that morning. If the Texans couldn't than I would bet no man could.

In my opinion LRT was a waste of time and good men; I think Law's Brigade and the 4th and 5th Texas would have been put to better use if engaged elsewhere. Even if they did manage to momentarily capture LRT, with exhausted men, heavy losses, etc., and with Federal reinforcements on the way there was little chance they could get much further than that.
 
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dlavin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
North Balt Co., MD
Given the marching and counter marching for Longstreet's corps to get in position, my guess is any regiment would have been tired. We could be talking about any regiment from his corps, just so happens it was Oates'.

I know it was touch and go a few times but given the ground being defended by the Feds and the reverse for the Rebs, I am not convinced that any regiment, fresh or not, would have been able to gain and hold that position very long.
 
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