Skip to comments.The Great Battle of Gettysburg
Posted on 07/01/2013 7:04:32 AM PDT by National Review
As Gettysburg hits 150, a detailed account of the nations greatest battle.
By Mackubin Thomas Owens
Robert E. Lees smashing victory against Major General Joseph Hookers Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville in May 1863 provided the Confederacy with three strategic options: shift resources from Virginia to Mississippi in order to revive Vicksburg, the Rebel redoubt on the Mississippi River; reinforce Braxton Braggs Army of Tennessee, enabling him to reprise his 1862 invasion of Kentucky and maneuver the Union Army of the Cumberland under William Rosecrans out of its position in central Tennessee; or invade Pennsylvania.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
“Fourscore and seven years ago......”
An interesting summary of the battle. But Owens’ repeats one of the most common untruths about the battle - that Meade did not pursue the retreating Confederate army. Meade did, in fact, pursue and there were several dozen contacts ranging from skirmishes to pretty major engagements between July 4th when Lee began his retreat and July 14 when he crossed back over the Potomac. Eric Wittenberg wrote a great account of it, “One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863”.
Not again! Quick, someone email General Pickett and tell him to stay put!
For some reason history has been hard on General Meade despite his outstanding accomplishments. I note that after he was put in command of the Army of the Potomac they never lost another battle except for Cold Harbor and that was Grant's mistake. Grant himself had nothing but the most positive accolades to say about Meade.
I’ll look for that, .
I was going to go tot he 15th anniversary but then I say it had been held in June according to some websites and then other sites said in a couple of days
thanks for the link.
Meade’s record over the remainder of the war is mixed at best. However, he was a far better leader than his predecessors, including Hooker (who was aggressive, but drunk and consorting with prostitutes much of the time); McClellan (a superb organizer and trainer but too cautious to exploit clear opportunities) and Burnside (marginally competent)
General Meade deserves great credit for successfully fighting a decisive battle literally on the fly. He assumed Command of the Army of the Potomac on the eve of Gettysburg, after Hooker was finally sacked. He faced the supreme challenge of moving his army on short notice to face Lee and coordinating the operation through Hooker’s existing staff. Meade also faced the liabilities of having Corps commanders like Dan Sickles and a chief of staff like Dan Butterfield. Both were cronies of Joe Hooker and worked actively to undermine Meade and his reputation.
In fact. Sickles almost lost Gettysburg—and quite possibly, the war—on his own, by repositioning his corps without permission and creating a large gap in the Union lines. Had the salient been fully exploited by the Confederates, Gettysburg would have ended on the first day, and Lee’s Army would have paraded in Philadelphia within a week.
Against that backdrop, Meade’s performance at Gettysburg was superb. And while he is often faulted for “failing” to pursue Lee back into Virginia, the truth is that the Army of the Potomac suffered terribly at both Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; Meade knew his Army needed more men and logistical support to mount the campaigns initiated by Grant in the spring of 1864. In fact, he probably deserves credit for not trying to fight another decisive battle in the weeks following Gettysburg. Engaging Lee on his home turf, Meade might have suffered another major defeat, leaving himself (and Grant) in a far less advantageous position in 1864.
Meade’s reputation has suffered for several reasons. First, he made some poor choices after Gettysburg, namely in the run-up to the Battle of the Crater outside Petersburg. He recognized the folly of the plan, yet failed to intervene when subordinates changed it. Meade also hated the press and made no secret of his contempt. As a result, reporters adopted an informal policy of blaming anything that went wrong on Meade, while giving credit for successes to other officers.
Finally, Meade had GRE misfortune of passing away just a few years after the war, while his enemies (notably Sickles and Butterfield) lived into old age, With their writings and political connections, they made sure that Meade’s reputation was thoroughly trashed, while enhancing their own. Sickles, the Tammany Hall politician, even succeeded in getting himself the Congressional Medal of Honor—30 years after the war ended.
I’m not sure if George Meade will ever be called a great general, but he was good enough to win at Gettysburg, despite being new to command of an army, and having subordinates who were as much a liability as an asset. He was a very competent, professional soldier at the very moment the Union needed those qualities. It’s worth remembering that Lincoln had a terrible track record in picking commanders before Meade; if someone else had been leading the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the outcome would have been much different.
Pull out SPI’s Terrible Swift Sword, or, one of its children.
Then you can change history!
Tommorrow is the anniverary of Battle for Little Roundtop
That is subject to debate. While I tend to agree, General Longstreet claimed that Sickles move probably is what won the second day for the south by tying up so many of Longstreet's troops before they could get to cemetary ridge and by frustrating Lee's plan for an "en echelon" attack on the Union's left flank.
Go on and read the commentary thread below the article...
They’re fighting THAT Civil War all over again on the thread...
Entertaining at the least... but disturbing when you realize that some people have NO grasp on our history at all.
Meade at least managed to get the high ground. You wonder if he would have succeeded at that had Jackson still been alive. The old artillerist would have fought Meade hard for it on the first day, maybe harder than one legged Baldy Ewell.
“In fact Sickles almost lost Gettysburgand quite possibly, the waron his own, by repositioning his corps without permission and creating a large gap in the Union lines. Had the salient been fully exploited by the Confederates, Gettysburg would have ended on the first day, and Lees Army would have paraded in Philadelphia within a week.”
Actually I think that would be the second day. I’ve an ancestor who was with the 13th Mississippi in that assault on Sickles’ position- ‘the battle of the peach orchard’, Barksdale’s Brigade. I have a picture of him in his uniform.
It’s my understanding that the Mississippians breached the Federal line but there was no one to follow up the attack. The attack was launched very late in the afternoon and darkness may have prevented any opportunity to exploit their position, which might have given Longstreet the chance to flank the Union line.
You are correct...BTW, I have ancestors who fought in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas regiments during the war. The deepest penetration of the Union lines at Gettysburg was made by the University Grays, Company A of the 11th Mississippi Regiment. The unit consisted almost entirely of students enrolled at the University of Mississippi before the war; not a single one returned to Ole Miss after Lee’s surrender. Their casualty rate during Pickett’s charge was 100%; every single man was killed, wounded or captured—the highest losses of any unit at Gettysburg.
Was this actually a personal thing with him?
That is, if Mexico is not considered to be part of the North American continent. Otherwise, it seems that the biggest battle, in terms of the number of participants, the number of casualties and the amount of time it covered would have been Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) in 1521.
This may be how Hooker managed to get his name synonymous with prostitution:
“Washington, DC is an ever evolving city. The Civil War wrought great change with its influx of soldiers and the federal government’s rapid expansion. The City’s population doubled in the decade during and after the Civil War, with rowdy young men making up a goodly portion of the new residents. Parts of the city were so out of control that some compared those areas to the mythic lawlessness of the Old West. One of the most notorious sections was a dangerous slum called Murder Bay.”
“Already known for its rough reputation, it gained new prominence during the Civil War when Brigadier General Joseph Hooker forcibly relocated many the City’s bawdy houses, gaming hells, and other commercial vice establishments into the neighborhood. His goal was to contain them in a more manageable area. Murder Bay quickly acquired the new nickname “Hooker’s Department”. By the end of the nineteenth century, Murder Bay was known as one of the City’s most dangerous districts. It had the singular distinction of having one of the largest concentration of women-owned businesses in the City, primarily illegal saloons and brothels”
“In 1880 Congress took steps to clean up Murder Bay through an aggressive urban renewal program. The neighborhood notorious for its brothels and bars was selected as the site for a combined City and Federal Post Office. The new building’s architecture was unusual in Washington, DC. Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, it became the City’s largest federal office building upon its completion. Following passage of the Federal Buildings Act of 1926, the federal government launched a new architectural gentrification project that would result in the complex of government office buildings now known as Federal Triangle.
Today these federal office buildings, which include the Ariel Rios Federal Building, the Department of Commerce, the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, and the Department of Justice building offer few hints of the area’s infamous past. Thousands of federal workers and tourists pass daily through the nearby Metro station, plaza, and National Aquarium (in the basement of the Commerce Building) without realizing that one hundred years ago to walk through the same area was to take one’s life into one’s hands. “
Was General Hooker actually whoring around himself? Or is that just a rumor that got started based on his public record? I can certainly believe he was a drinker, but drunks (and even womanizers) aren't always whoremongers.
“Was General Hooker actually whoring around himself? “
The available articles don’t seem to support that charge... more that he got his name associated with whoring by trying to move the D.C. brothels. But who knows, it could have been both. The story I used to hear was that he allowed prostitutes to follow his army but I haven’t seen that supported.