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Gettysburg, Day 3 (High Water Mark by Iced Earth)
Iced Earth ^ | July 3 | Iced Earth

Posted on 07/03/2012 4:07:16 AM PDT by chargers fan

The 149th Anniversary of Day 3 and Longstreet's Assault. The band Iced Earth wrong a rock song about it (below).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh6M4jBd1O8


TOPICS: VetsCoR
KEYWORDS: civilwar; confederate; gettysburg; union

1 posted on 07/03/2012 4:07:27 AM PDT by chargers fan
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To: chargers fan

Pickett’s charge?


2 posted on 07/03/2012 5:04:49 AM PDT by kenavi (Obama doesn't hate private equity. He wants to be it with our money.)
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To: chargers fan
Never attack the center of a line when you are out numbered . Always attack the end of the line in that case .

If Stonewall were alive at Gettysburg things would have been entirely different . I believe Lee punished Longstreet's corp on. the 3rd day for not getting it done on the 2nd day . An attack on the center of a fortified line was insane .

Early on the 2nd day ( 10:00 AM ) Lee ordered Longstreet to move on the two roundtops where Lee believe he could control the theater of battle ,, Longstreet resisted but Lee insisted . It took longstreet til 4:00 PM to get his men into position and by then the Union Army had dug in and was prepared for the ensuing battle . Gettysburg was a ground of little importance to Lee as the Confederate Army could not hold it . Lee could not afford to split up his forces to hold the ground . The Harrisburg rail lines was his actual target in early July . Lee wanted to take the war to the north to allow the farmers in the Shenandoah Valley to get their crops growing for the war effort .

3 posted on 07/03/2012 5:07:24 AM PDT by Lionheartusa1 (-: Socialism is the equal distribution of misery :-)
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To: Lionheartusa1

If Lee could not pull off a victory, it was over for State’s Rights vs. the Federals. The Union had broken on day 1. If not for Chamberlain, they would have broken on day 2. He truly believed that they would route at the sight of a charge as the weakened, tired units were moved there. Some units did, in fact, begin to retreat as the Confederates approached. Had the flanks been attacked as well, it would have been a closer thing. The Union used interior lines to move in fresh troops.

He did not believe he could pull back and deploy between the Union Army and D.C. or the morale of his own would fail. Lee tried an act of desperation and the gamble failed. In many ways, he fell into the same political trap that many on the North did, but he did not have the replacements for the troops sacrificed that day.


4 posted on 07/03/2012 5:34:55 AM PDT by Ingtar ("As the light begins to fade in the city on the hill")
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To: Ingtar
It was utterly hopeless, and, I think, had a far smaller chance of success than even the most rabid neo-Confederates claim. The Union had the better part of three or four corps (!!!) behind the initial deployments. Lee committed no cavalry to exploit a breach, and even if he did, they were utterly exhausted---both man and horse---by JEB Stuart's idiotic show-off stunt in PA.

I strongly disagree that a living Jackson would have pulled off some miracle. Quite the contrary, the Jackson legend forgets that he made a critical, potentially war-ending mistake at Seven Pines, and that he could have done nothing more than Longstreet did (poor ol' Pete still gets blamed for Lee's foolishness).

To me the sign of a great commander is that he loses a smaller % of his forces than his enemy most of the time. In the Pacific in WW II, despite facing incredibly tough islands such as Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and others, Adm. Nimitz had the lowest ratio of casualties to total men employed in the entire war eclipsing the vaunted MacArthur. Well, Lee consistently had a higher % of casualties than his Union foes except at Fredericksburg---hard to lose that one!---and often lost the same total number of men as did Federal armies of about the same size. At Gettysburg, he lost a full 30% of all men committed to the action, an astonishing loss for a supposedly brilliant general. The supposedly inferior Union generals through the first 12 major battles or campaigns had a lower ratio of men lost to men committed than any southern general except at the aforementioned Fredericksburg, and leaving aside the obvious surrender at Vicksburg (a 100% loss to the Confeds that skews the data).

5 posted on 07/03/2012 5:52:08 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: chargers fan
It was 1 P.M. by my watch when the signal guns were fired, the field at that time being entirely silent, but for light picket firing between the lines, and as suddenly as an organ strikes up in a church, the grand roar followed from all the guns of both armies. The enemy's fire was heavy and severe, and their accounts represent ours as having been equally so, though our rifle guns were comparatively few and had only very defective ammunition. As an illustration, I remember that the casualties in my own battalion (26 guns) were about 147 men and 116 horses in the two days' actions, and about 80 per cent. of the wounds were from artillery fire. General A.S. Webb, U.S.A., who commanded a brigade on Cemetery Hill, told me, after the war, that a Federal battery, coming into action on the Hill, lost from our artillery fire 27 out of 36 horses in about ten minutes. Average distances I should suppose were about 1,400 yards. We had some casualties from canister. I had fully intended giving Pickett the order to advance as soon as I saw that our guns had gotten their ranges, say, in ten or fifteen minutes, but the enemy's fire was so severe that when that time had elapsed I could not make up my mind to order the infantry out into a fire which I did not believe they could face, for so long a charge, in such a hot sun, tired as they already were by the march from Chambersburg. I accordingly waited in hopes that our fire would produce some visible effect, or something turn up to make the situation more hopeful; but fifteen minutes more passed without any change in the situation, the fire on neither side slackening for a moment. Even then I could not bring myself to give a peremptory order to Pickett to advance, but feeling that the critical moment would soon pass, I wrote him a note to this effect: "If you are coming at all you must come immediately or I cannot give you proper support; but the enemy's fire has not slackened materially, and at least 18 guns are still firing from the Cemetery itself."
        This note (which, though given from memory, I can vouch for as very nearly verbatim) I sent off at 1:30 P.M., consulting my watch. I afterwards heard what followed its receipt from members of the staff of both Generals Pickett and Longstreet, as follows: Pickett on receiving it galloped over to General Longstreet, who was not far off, and showed it to General L. The latter read it and made no reply. (General Longstreet himself, speaking of it afterwards, said that he knew the charge had to be made, but could not bring himself to give the order.) General Pickett then said: "General, shall I advance? "Longstreet turned around in his saddle and would not answer. Pickett immediately saluted, and said, "I am going to lead my division forward, sir," and galloped off to put it in motion; on which General L. left his staff and rode out alone to my position. Meanwhile, five minutes after I sent the above note to Pickett, the enemy's fire suddenly slackened materially, and the batteries in the Cemetery were limbered up and were withdrawn. As the enemy had such abundance of ammunition and so much better guns than ours that they were not compelled to reserve their artillery for critical moments (as we almost always had to do), I knew that they must have felt the punishment a good deal, and I was a good deal elated by the sight. But to make sure that it was a withdrawal for good, and not a mere change of position or relieving of the batteries by fresh ones, I waited for five minutes more, closely examining the ground with a large glass. At that time I sent my courier to Pickett with a note: "For God's sake come quick; the 18 guns are gone "; and, going to the nearest gun, I sent a lieutenant and a sergeant, one after the other, with other messages to same effect. A few minutes after this, Pickett still not appearing, General Longstreet rode up alone, having seen Pickett and left his staff as above. I showed him the situation, and said I only feared I could not give Pickett the help I wanted to, my ammunition being very low, and the seven guns under Richardson having been taken off. General Longstreet spoke up promptly: "Go and stop Pickett right where he is, and replenish your ammunition." I answered that the ordnance wagons had been nearly emptied, replacing expenditures of the day before, and that not over 20 rounds to the gun were left -- too little to accomplish much -- and that while this was being done the enemy would recover from the effect of the fire we were now giving him. His reply was: "I don't want to make this charge; I don't believe it can succeed. I would stop Pickett now, but that General Lee has ordered it and expects it," and other remarks, showing that he would have been easily induced, even then, to order Pickett to halt. It was just at this moment that Pickett's line appeared sweeping out of the wood, Garnett's brigade passing over us. I then left General Longstreet and rode a short distance with General Garnett, an old friend, who had been sick, but, buttoned up in an old blue overcoat, in spite of the heat of the day, was riding in front of his line. I then galloped along my line of guns, ordering those that had over 20 rounds left to limber up and follow Pickett, and those that had less to maintain their fire from where they were. I had advanced several batteries or parts of batteries in this way, when Pickett's division appeared on the slope of Cemetery Hill, and a considerable force of the enemy were thrown out, attacking his unprotected right flank. Meanwhile, too, several batteries which had been withdrawn were run out again and were firing on him very heavily. We opened on these troops and batteries with the best we had in the shop, and appeared to do them considerable damage, but meanwhile Pickett's division just seemed to melt away in the blue musketry smoke which now covered the hill. Nothing but stragglers came back. As soon as it was clear that Pickett was "gone up," I ceased firing, saving what little ammunition was left for fear of an advance by the enemy. About this time General Lee came up to our guns alone and remained there a half hour or more, speaking to Pickett's men as they came straggling back, and encouraging them to form again in the first cover they could find. While he was here Colonel Fremantle, of the Coldstream Guards, rode up, who afterwards wrote a very graphic account of the battle and of incidents occurring here, which was published in Blackwoods Magazine. A little before this, Heth's division, under Wilcox, had been advanced also, but I cannot recall the moment or the place where I saw them, but only the impression on my mind, as the men passed us, that the charge must surely be some misapprehension of orders, as the circumstances at the moment made it utterly impossible that it could accomplish anything, and I thought what a pity it was that so many of them were about being sacrificed in vain. It was intended, I believe, that Pettigrew should support Pickett's right flank, but the distance that had to be traversed in the charge got such an interval between the two that Pickett's force was spent and his division disintegrated before Pettigrew's got under close fire. I have always believed that the enemy here lost the greatest opportunity they ever had of routing General Lee's army by prompt offensive. They occupied a line shaped somewhat like a horseshoe. I suppose that the greatest diameter of the horseshoe was not more than one mile, and the ground within was entirely sheltered from our observation and fire, with communications by signals all over it, and they could concentrate their whole force at any point in a very short while and without our knowledge. Our line was an enveloping semicircle, over four miles in development, and communication from flank to flank even by courier was difficult, the country being well cleared and exposed to the enemy's view and fire, the roads all running at right angles to our lines, and some of them at least broad turnpikes which the enemy's guns could rake for two miles. Is it necessary now to add any statement as to the superiority of the Federal force or the exhausted and shattered condition of the Confederates for a space of at least a mile in their very center, to show that a great opportunity was thrown away? I think that General Lee himself was quite apprehensive that the enemy would "riposte," and that it was that apprehension which brought him alone out to my guns where he could observe all the indications.
        Note
. -- In Fremantle's account he tells of General Lee's reproving an artillery officer for spurring his horse severely when it shied at the bursting of a shell. The officer was my ordnance officer and acting adjutant, Lieutenant F.M. Colston, now of Baltimore, and the shying was not at the bursting of a shell, but, just at that time there was a loud cheering in the enemy's line, a little on the right, and General Lee requested Colston to ride towards it and discover if it indicated an advance. Colston's horse cut up because it did not want to leave my horse, the two being together a great deal on the march and in the camp. General Lee then spoke to him, as Fremantle narrates; and the cheering turned out to be given to some general officer riding along the Federal line.
        In the above narrative I have given all the light I can throw on the subjects of enquiry in the 4th and 5th questions of 's letter, the 1st and 2d having been previously discussed. The 3d question relates to the lack of coordination between the attacks of the 2d July; and a similar lack of coordination is equally patent in the attacks on the 3d. I attribute it partially to the fact that our staff organizations were never sufficiently extensive and perfect to enable the Commanding General to be practically present every where and to thoroughly handle a large force on an extended field, but principally it was due to the exceedingly difficult shape in which our line was formed, the enemy occupying a center and we a semi circumference, with poor and exposed communications along it. I believe it was simply impossible to have made different attacks from the flanks and center of the line we occupied and over the different distances which would have to be traversed and which should be so simultaneous that the squeeze would fall on the enemy at all points at the same time. And in this connection, I think that the very position which we took and every feature of the three days' conflict shows the absurdity of a story told by Swinton, who is generally very fair and above giving anecdotes suitable only for the marines. He says that some of our brigades were encouraged to the charge by being told that they were to meet only Pennsylvania militia, but on getting very near the enemy's line they "recognized the bronzed features of the veterans of the Army of the Potomac," (I quote from memory) and were at once panic struck. Such stories are not only absurd, but, in a history, are in bad taste, having a tendency to provoke retorts. The above has been written in piecemeal in leisure moments during the past month, and with scarcely the opportunity to read it over, which must be my apology for its deficiencies; but as a narrative of what fell under my personal knowledge, it may assist -------- in understanding some of the points of his inquiries, and is at your service for that or any other purpose.

Very respectfully, yours,

E.P. Alexander.

6 posted on 07/03/2012 6:15:57 AM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: Ingtar
Lee contracted malaria during the Mexican war of 1846 and it has been rumored that Lee had a malaria attack which may have contributed to his lack of good judgment .

If Longstreet had rallied his troops to the Roundtops as ordered by Lee ,,, Chamberlain would not have affected the outcome of the second day .

The fact still remains ,,,,,, attacking the center of the fortified Union line behind the stone wall on the Tawneytown Pike was shear suicide and Longstreet and Pickett knew it before the assault began .

Had Stonewall been at Gettysburg history would have been entirely different . Stonewall made a living out of kicking butt when he was out numbered and in many cases he did it by attacking the end of their line or by flanking their line .

After all is said and done ,,, Lee did have to retreat as a result of his action on the 3rd day . Lincoln was really jerked at Meade for allowing Lee's Army to return to Virginia after the battle .

In summary ,,,, I believe Lee was P!$$ED at Longstreet and decided to punish his Corp.for not getting the job done on the 2nd day .

7 posted on 07/03/2012 6:47:02 AM PDT by Lionheartusa1 (-: Socialism is the equal distribution of misery :-)
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To: LS
The Union had the better part of three or four corps (!!!) behind the initial deployments

A union Corp was about the size of an oversized CSA Division. Union leadership was not up to snuff leading to smaller units/per officer.

8 posted on 07/03/2012 6:54:00 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: LS

The one thing Jackson could have done that Longstreet could not was to convince Lee that a flanking attack or redeployment would work.


9 posted on 07/03/2012 7:06:04 AM PDT by Ingtar ("As the light begins to fade in the city on the hill")
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To: chargers fan

The point some posters make about Jackson is incorrect. Jackson would have been with Lee on the FIRST DAY. Ewell screwed up the first day victory and thus you had days two and three. Jackson would have crushed the broken Union forces and Lee would have rolled up the Yanks as their Corps were strung out trying to reach Gettysburg. Ewell’s failure to attack as ordered on the first day cost the south the victory.


10 posted on 07/03/2012 7:14:19 AM PDT by prof.h.mandingo (Buck v. Bell (1927) An idea whose time has come (for extreme liberalism))
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To: chargers fan

Our family lost a young boy that day—Eighth VA. His brother searched for his body through the piles of the dead, and in the delay was captured. I have a direct account from the surviving brother, describing the horrors of that scene. It is inconceivable.


11 posted on 07/03/2012 7:51:39 AM PDT by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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To: central_va

Absolutely right-—so you’re still talking about 50,000 men at minimum backing up a line that was facing . . . what? less than 5000 who survived the march across the open field? Idiotic. Absolutely idiotic. That charge alone should have shattered Lee’s myth.


12 posted on 07/03/2012 9:01:28 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: Ingtar

That is unproven, and no way to know how he could have influenced Lee. Many historians cite the incredible baggage train deployed to the west/northwest of Gettysburg, and note that Lee had put himself in a position where he had to at all costs protect that food/ammo supply.


13 posted on 07/03/2012 9:09:22 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: LS

Those 3 corps that you refer to were crushed the day before and were not mustering anywhere near that number.


14 posted on 07/03/2012 9:54:16 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

7 Corps total. The Union had 50,000 men in reserve. Lee had zero.


15 posted on 07/03/2012 10:59:56 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: LS

lee had three corps of 30,000 each(approx)


16 posted on 07/03/2012 11:49:15 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: LS

You are misunderstang what happened. On July 3rd at 3:00 PM the Union forces on Cemetary Ridge numbered about 10,000 plus arty( a lot of it) and a little cavalry. The CSA attackers outnumbered the defenders 3:2 ratio. The Union line would have broke if the CSA cavalry had been there to support the flanks of the attack.


17 posted on 07/03/2012 11:57:14 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
True and irrelevant: only 15,000 or so were committed to the middle of the line. No one knows, but it is most likely that under 10,000 reached the copse of trees---perhaps as few as 5,000. I'll for now take your claim that the Union had only 10,000 at that point in the line, but I find it highly suspect. The Union had seven corps, or about 135,000 men, at or marching to Gettysburg. I think all seven were up by day 3.

Confederate cavalry? Seriously? You mean Stuart with his exhausted horses and riders who just the night before had literally fallen out of their saddles from lack of sleep? THAT group was going to provide a dramatic charge against artillery that would turn the tide? I think not.

18 posted on 07/03/2012 3:38:46 PM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: central_va

“lee had three corps of 30,000 each(approx)”

Yes, on DAY 1!! But by day 3, two of the three were shot to hell. He had no more than probably 60,000 effective across the whole battlefield and by disposition of troops, he had vastly more ground to cover, having a line that was probably twice as long as the federal line. He had to keep his cavalry on the far right flank to protect against the Union cavalry sweeping in and destroying his guns. So that took many thousand more out of action.


19 posted on 07/03/2012 3:43:06 PM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: central_va
Our discussion was an interesting one, so I did some research and, more important, enlisted a friend who is a stathound and Civil War afficionado. Here are some numbers:

Pickett’s Division (brigades of Armistead, Kemper & Garnett) 5,040

Pettigrew’s Division (brigades of Fry, Marshall, Davis & Brockenbrough) 4,570.

Trimble’s Division (brigades of Lowrance and Lane) 2,200

Total infantry attacking 11,800, plus 19 guns that moved forward with the assault. (Note that this is almost 1/4 less than what is traditionally discussed when discussing the "charge" of 15,000 men).

Union:

Front line in the center in Cemetery Ridge: Hay’s Division (brigades of Sherrill, Smyth, and the 8th Ohio under Sawyer) 2,000.

Gibbon’s Division (brigades of Webb, Hall & Harrow) 2,425.

Doubleday’s Division (brigades of Stannard & Gates (only 2 regiments each)) 1,720.

Humphrey’s Division (1st Mass Sharpshooters) 200.

Total infantry in front line 6,345, supported by 18 guns.

The Union reserve nearby totaled about 3,500, but only 2,560 (13 regiments and the 10th NY Provisional Guard) were actually moved up in support of the front line.

So, initially, 11,800 Confederates went against 6,345 Federals, but during the assault the Federals were strengthened while the Confederates’ declined.

My contact thinks that probably about half of the reserve actually got into combat. Nonetheless, at the critical point, the Federals probably possessed a slight numerical advantage as Brockenbrough’s brigade of 700 failed to cross half the field and Confederate casualties were approaching 4,000 by the time the front brigades neared the angle. And that doesn’t count the unwounded shirkers who melted away while crossing the fields.count

One should not include Wilcox and Lang’s Confederate brigades from Anderson’s Division totaling 1,500 men in the assault, as they moved forward late and after the main assault had already been stopped. They retreated after reaching Plum Run, were unable to keep Stannard from flanking Pickett on his right, and retreated as soon as they saw the assault had been repulsed.

In other words, perhaps---not counting reserves---the initial assault numbers would have been 3:2 or even 2:1, but by the time the Confederates got within shooting distance, their numbers had dropped to 7,000 vs. the original 6300 now reinforced by at least 2500, or 8800 to 7000---not even a 1:1 ratio.

I had forgotten that the Confed cavalry---already worn out, as I explained---had in fact been beaten earlier in a battle with the Federal cavalry and couldn't have helped if they wanted to.

20 posted on 07/04/2012 9:41:46 AM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
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To: chargers fan

This song’s a good matchup w/ the Gettysburg movie footage. Inspired me to dig out my Glorious Burden cd!


21 posted on 07/30/2012 9:38:13 PM PDT by saltlick
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