Thanks for the post. Just came from vacation which included Gettysburg. The real Hero at Gettysburg was Joshua Chamberlain at Little Round Top!
That being said, Gettysburg was a sequence of small-unit actions, anyone of which, going the other way, could have changed the entire battle and war.
On the first day, Beaufort's holding the high ground, the 2nd Maine at Little Round Top, Custer's thwarting of Stuart, all of which culminated in Pickett's disasterous charge.
Robert E. Lee was an exceptional soldier, leader and really, American. But, he and his officer's were afflicted with the same disease that the Imperial Japanese Navy had in World War II..."Victory Disease". They could not imagine losing and as a result, fought where they should not have fought and abandoned their strategic plans for what they thought were tactical "sure-things".
I have walked Gettysburg, and felt the spirits there. They remain there, forever, lest we forget!
He was certainly one of them, but there were many others, too. Just as Chamberlain held the south end of the fishhook at Little Round Top, BG Greene and the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Div, XII Corps held Culp's Hill in fierce fighting on the north. That's never received the acclaim of the Little Round Top action, but holding the north end of the line was equally important.....and my great grandfather was there! What a thrill it was to walk the lines a few years ago.
I would disagree, respectfully with your assessment. Buford won the battle, by forcing Lee to engage before he was ready. Chamberlain without a doubt was a great hero, but had Lee listened to “Gloomy Pete” and withdrew to fight on ground of his choosing, the outcome of the war may have been different.