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THE THIRD DAY AT GETTYSBURG - History

THE THIRD DAY AT GETTYSBURG - History


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By Henry Hunt Major General USA

IN VIEW of the successes gained on the second day, General Lee resolved

to renew his efforts. These successes were:

1st. On the right, the lodgment at the bases of the Round Tops, the possession of Devil's Den and its woods, and the ridges on the Emmitsburg road, which gave him the coveted positions for his artillery.

2nd. On the left, the occupation of part of the intrenchments of the Twelfth Corps, with an outlet to the Baltimore pike, by which all our lines could be taken in reverse.

3rd. At the center, the partial success of three of Anderson's brigades in penetrating our lines, from which they were expelled only because they lacked proper support. It was thought that better concert of action might have made good a lodgment here also.

Both armies had indeed lost heavily, but the account in that respect seemed in favor of the Confederates, or at worst, balanced. Pickett's and Edward Johnson's divisions were fresh, as were Posey's and Mahone's brigades of R. H. Anderson's, and William Smith's brigade of Early's division.

These could be depended upon for an assault; the others could be used as supports, and to follow up a success. The artillery was almost intact. Stuart had arrived with his cavalry, excepting the brigades of Jones and Robertson, guarding the communications; and Imboden had also come up. General Lee, therefore, directed the renewal of operations both on the right and left. Ewell had been ordered to attack at daylight on July 3d, and during the night reenforced Johnson with Smith's, Daniel's, and O'Neal's brigades. Johnson had made his preparations, and was about moving, when at dawn Williams's artillery opened upon him, preparatory to an assault by Geary and Ruger for the recovery of their works. The suspension of this fire was followed by an immediate advance by both sides. A conflict ensued which lasted with varying success until near 11 o'clock, during which the Confederates were driven out of the Union intrenchments by Geary and Ruger, aided by Shaler's brigade of the Sixth Corps. They made one or two attempts to regain possession, but were unsuccessful, and a demonstration to turn Johnson's left caused him to withdraw his command to Rock Creek. At the close of the war the scene of this conflict was covered by a forest of dead trees, leaden bullets proving as fatal to them as to the soldiers whose bodies were thickly strewn beneath them.

Longstreet's arrangements had been made to attack Round Top, and his orders issued with a view to turning it, when General Lee decided that the assault should be made on Cemetery Ridge by Pickett's and Pettigrew's divisions, with part of Trimble's. Longstreet formed these in two lines-Pickett on the right, supported by Wilcox; Pettigrew on the left, with Lane's and Scales's brigades under Trimble in the second line. Hill was ordered to hold his line with the remainder of his corps six brigades-give Longstreet assistance if required, and avail himself of any success that might be gained. Finally a powerful artillery force, about one hundred and fifty guns, was ordered to prepare the way for the assault by cannonade. The necessary arrangements caused delay, and before notice of this could be received by Ewell, Johnson, as we have seen, was attacked, so that the contest was over on the left before that at the center was begun. The hoped-for concert of action in the Confederate attacks was lost from the beginning.

On the Federal side Hancock's corps held Cemetery Ridge with Robinson's division, First Corps, on Hays's right in support, and Doubleday's at the angle between Gibbon and Caldwell. General Newton, having been assigned to the command of the First Corps, vice Reynolds, was now in charge of the ridge held by Caldwell. Compactly arranged on its crest was MeGilvery's artillery, forty-one guns, consisting of his own batteries, reenforced by othcrs from the Artillery Reserve. Well to the right, in front of Hays and Gibbon, was the artillery of the Second Corps under its chief, Captain Hazard. Woodruff's battery was in front of Ziegler's Grove; on his left, in succession, Arnold's Rhode Island, Cushing's United States, Brown's Rhode Island, and Rorty's New York. In the fight of the preceding day the two last-named batteries had been to the front and suffered severely. Lieutenant T. Fred Brown was severely wounded, and his command devolved on Lieutenant Perrin. So great had been the loss in men and horses that they were now of four guns each, reducing the total number in the corps to twenty-six. Daniel's battery of horse artillery, four guns, was at the angl. Cowan's 1st New York battery, six rifles, was placed on the left of Rorty's soon after the cannonade commenced. In addition, some of the guns on Cemetery Hill, and Rittenhouse's on Little Round Top, could be brought to bear, but these were offset by batteries similarly placed on the flanks of the enemy, so that on the Second Corps line, within the space of a mile, were 77 guns to oppose nearly 150. They were on an open crest plainly visible from all parts of the opposite line. Between 10 and 11 A. M., everything looking favorable at CuIp's Hill, I crossed over to Cemetery Ridge, to see what might be going on at other points. Here a magnificent display greeted my eyes. Our whole front for two miles was covered by batteries already in line or going into position. They stretched-apparently in one unbroken mass-from opposite the town to the Peach Orchard, which bounded the view to the left the ridges of which were planted thick with cannon. Never before had such a sight been witnessed on this continent, and rarely, if ever, abroad. What did it mean? It might possibly be to hold that line while its infantry was sent to aid Ewell, or to guard against a counter-stroke from us, but it most probably meant an assault on our center, to be preceded by a cannonade in order to crush our batteries and shake our infantry; at least to cause us to exhaust our ammunition in reply, so that the assaulting troops might pass in good condition over the half milc of open ground which was beyond our effective musketry fire. With such an object the cannonade would be long and followed immediately by the assault, their whole army being held in readiness to follow up a success. From the great extent of ground occupied by the enemy's batteries, it was evident that all the artillery on our west front, whether of the army corps or the reserve, must concur as a unit, under the chief of artillery, in the defense. This is provided for in all well-organized armies by special rules, which formerly were contained in our own army regulations, but they had been condensed in successive editions into a few short lines, so obscure as to be virtually worthless, because, like the rudimentary toe of the dog's paw, they had become, from lack of use, mere survivals-unintelligible except to the specialist. It was of the first importance to subject the enemy's infantry, from the first moment of their advance, to such a cross-fire of our artillery as would break their formation, check their impulse, and drive them back, or at Icast bring them to our lines in such condition as to make them an easy prey. There was neither time nor necessity for reporting this to General Meade, and beginning on the right, I instructed the chiefs of artillery and battery commanders to withhold their fire for fifteen or twenty minutes after the cannonade commenced, then to concentrate their fire with all possible accuracy on those batteries which were most destructive to us-but slowly, so that when the enemy's ammunition was exhausted, we should have sufficient left to meet the assault. I had just given these orders to the last battery on Little Round Top, when the signal-gun was fired, and the enemy opened with all his guns. From that point the scene was indescribably grand. All their batteries were soon covered with smoke, through which the flashes were incessant, whilst the air seemed filled with shells, whose sharp explosions, with the hurtling of their fragments, formed a running accompaniment to the deep roar of the guns. Thence I rode to the Artillery Reserve to order fresh batteries and ammunition to be sent up to the ridge as soon as the cannonade ceased; but both the reserve and the train had gone to a safer place. Messengers, however, had been left to receive and convey orders, which I sent by them; then I returned to the ridge. Turning into the Taneytown pike, I saw evidence of the necessity under which the reserve had "decamped," in the remains of a dozen exploded caissons, which had been placed under cover of a hill, but which the shells had managed to search out. In fact, the fire was more dangerous behind the ridge than on its crest, which 1 soon reached at the position occupied by General Newton behind McGilvery's batteries, from which we had a fine view as all our own guns were now in action.

Most of the enemy's projectiles passed overhead, the effect being to sweep all the open ground in our rear, which was of little benefit to the Confederates-a mere waste of ammunition, for everything here could seek shelter. And just here an incident already published may be repeated, as it illustrates a peculiar feature of civil war. Colonel Long, who was at the time on General Lee's staff, had a few years before served in my mounted battery expressly to receive a course of instruction in the use of field-artillery. At Appomattox we spent several hours together, and in the course of conversation I told him I was not satisfied with the conduct of this cannonade which I had heard was under his direction, inasmuch as he had not done justice to his instruction; that his fire, instead of being concentrated on the point of attack, as it ought to havc been, and as I expected it would be, was scattered over the whole field. He was amused at the criticism and said: "I remembered my lessons at the time, and when the fire became so scattered, wondered what you would think about it!"...

The Confederate approach was magnificent, and excited our admiration; but the story of that charge is so well known that I need not dwell upon it further than as it concerns my own command. The steady fire from McGilvery and Rittenhouse, on their right, caused Pickett's men to "drift" in the opposite direction, so that the weight of the assault fell upon the positions occupied by Hazard's batteries. I had counted on an artillery cross-fire that would stop it before it reached our lines, but, except a few shots here and there, Hazard's batteries were silent until the enemy came within canister range. They had unfortunately exhausted their long range projectiles during the cannonade, under the orders of their corps commander, and it was too late to replace them. Had my instructions been followed here, as they were by McGilvery, I do not believe that Pickett's division would have reached our line. We lost not only the fire of one-third of our guns, but the resulting cross-fire, which would have doubled its value. The prime fault was in the obscurity of our army regulations as to the artillery, and the absence of all regulations as to the proper relations of the different arms of service to one another. On this occasion it cost us much blood, many lives, and for a moment endangered the integrity of our line if not the success of the battle. Soon after Pickett's repulse, Wilcox's, Wright's, and Perry's brigades were moved forward, but under the fire of the fresh batteries in Gibbon's front, of McGilvery's and Rittenhouse's guns and the advance of two regiments of Stannard's Vermont brigade, they soon fell back. The losses in the batteries of the Second Corps were very heavy. Of the five battery commanders and their successors on the field, Rorty, Cushing, and Woodruff were killed, and Milne was mortally and Sheldon severely wounded at their guns. So great was the destruction of men and horse that Cushing's and Woodruff's United States, and Brown's and Arnold's Rhode Island batteries were consolidated to form two serviceable ones.

The advance of the Confederate brigades to cover Pickett's retreat showed that the enemy's line dpposite Cemetery Ridge was occupied by infantry. Our own line on the ridge was in more or less disorder, as the result of the conflict, and in no condition to advance a sufficient force for a counter-assault. The largest bodies of organized troops available were on the left, and General Meade now proceeded to Round Top and pushed out skirmishers to feel the enemy in its front. An advance to the Plum Run line, of the troops behind it, would have brought them directly in front of the numerous batteries which crowned the Emmitsburg Ridge, commanding that line and all the intervening ground; a farther advance, to the attack, would have brought them under additional heavy flank fires. McCandless's brigade, supported by Nevin's, was, however, pushed forward, under cover of the woods, which protected them from the fire of all these batteries; it crossed the Wheat-field, cleared the woods, and had an encounter with a portion of Benning's brigade, which was retiring. Hood's and McLaws's divisions were falling back under Longstreet's orders to their strong position, resting on Peach Orchard and covering Hill's line. Our troops on the left were locked up. As to the center, Pickett's and Pettigrew's assaulting divisions had formed no part of A. P. Hill's line, which was virtually intact. The idea that there must have been "a gap of at least a mile" in that line, made by throwing forward these divisions, and that a prompt advance from Cemetery Ridge would have given us the line, or the artillery in front of it, was a delusion. A prompt counter-charge after a combat between two small bodies of men is one thing; the change from the defensive to the offensive of an army, after an engagement at a single point, is quite another. This was not a "Waterloo defeat" with a fresh army to follow it up, and to have made such a change to the offensive, on the assumption that Lee had made no provision against a reverse, would have been rash in the extreme. An advance of 20,000 men from Cemetery Ridge in the face of the 140 guns then in position would have been stark madness; an immediate advance from any point, in force, was simply impracticable, and before due preparation could have been made for a change to the offensive, the favorable moment had any resulted from the repulse-would have passed away.

Whilst the main battle was raging, sharp cavalry combats took place on both flanks of the army. On the left the principal incident was an attack made by order of General Kilpatrick on infantry and artillery in woods and behind stone fences, which resulted in considerable losses, and especially in the death of General Farnsworth, a gallant and promising officer who had but a few days before been appointed brigadier-general and had not yet received his commission. On the right an affair of some magnitude took place between Stuart's command of four and Gregg's of three brigades; but Jenkins's Confederate brigade was soon thrown out of action from lack of ammunition, and two only of Gregg's were engaged. Stuart had been ordered to cover Ewell's left and was proceeding toward the Baltimore pike, where he hoped to create a diversion in aid of the Confederate infantry, and in case of Pickett's success to fall upon the retreating Federal troops. From near Cress's Ridge, two and a half miles east of Gettysburg, Stuart commanded a view of the roads in rear of the Federal lines. On its northern wooded end he posted Jackson's battery, and took possession of the Rummel farm-buildings, a few hundred yards distant. Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee were on his left, covered by the wood, Jenkins and Chambliss on the right, along the ridge. Half a mile east on a low parallel ridge, the southern part of which bending west toward Cress's Ridge furnished excellent positions for artillery, was tbe Federal cavalry brigade of McIntosh, who now sent a force toward Rummel's, from which a strong body of skirmishers was thrown to meet them, and the battery opened. McIntosh now demanded reenforcements, and Gregg, then near the Baltimore pike, brought him Custer's brigade and Pennington's and Randol's batteries. The artillery soon drove the Confederates out of Rummel's, and compelled Jackson's Virginia battery to leave the ridge. Both sides brought up reentorcements and the battle swayed from side to side of the interval. Finally the Federals were pressed back, and Lee and Hampton, emerging from the wood, charged, sword in hand, facing a destructive artillery fire-for the falling back of the cavalry had uncovered our batteries. The assailants were met by Custer's and such other mounted squadrons as could be thrown in; a melee ensued, in which Hampton was severely wounded and the charge repulsed. Breathed's andMcGregor's Confederate batteries had replaced Jackson's, a sharp artillery duel took place, and at nightfall each side held substantially its original ground. Both sides claim to have held the Rummel house. The advantage was decidedly with the Federals, who had foiled Stuart's plans. Thus the battle of Gettysburg closed as it had opened, with a very creditable cavalry battle.

General Lee now abandoned the attempt to dislodge Meade, intrenched a line from Oak Hill to Peach Orchard, started all his impedimenta to the Potomac in advance, and followed with his arrny on the night of July 4th, via Fairfield. .

But the hopes and expectations excited by the victory of Gettysburg were as unreasonable as the fears that had preceded it; and great was the disappointment that followed the "escape" of Lee's army. It was promptly manifested, too, and in a manner which indicates how harshly and unjustly the Army of the Potomac and its commanders were usually judged and treated; and what trials the latter had to undergo whilst subjected to the meddling and hectoring of a distant superior, from which they were not freed until the general-in-chief accompanied them in the field. On the day following Lee's withdrawal, before it was possible that all the circumstances could be known, three dispatches passed between the respective headquarters.

First. Halleck to Meade July 14th (in part) :

I need hardly say to you that the escape of Lee's army without another battle has created great dissatisfaction in the mind of the President, and it will require an active and energetic pursuit on your part to remove the impression that it has not been sufficiently active heretofore.

Second. Meade to Halleck July 14th:

Having performed my duty conscientiously and to the best of my ability, the censure of the President conveyed in your dispatch of 1 P. M. this day, is, in my judgment, so undeserved that! feel compelled most respectfully to ask to be immediately relieved from the command of this army.

Third. Halleck to Meade July 14th:

My telegram stating the disappointment of the President at the escape of Lee's army was not intended as a censure, but as a stimulus to an active pursuit. It is not deemed a sufficient cause for your application to be relieved.

Whatever the object of these dispatches of General Halleck, they are perfectly consistent with a determination on the part of the War Department to discredit under all circumstances the Army of the Potomac and any commander identified with it-and that was the effect in this case.

General Longstreet always thought Gettvsburg was lost because Lee, contrnry to their agreement at the beginning of the campaign, carried the fight to the enemy instead of making the enemy carry it to him. And at Gettysburg, surety, he seems to have been more of a military realist than his commander. He was, for example. dead set against Pickett's charge and, as General Alexander reveals in the following report he delayed as long as possible the order to Pickett to begin it. As that now famous charge swept toward the Union lines, Colonel Freemantle, a British observer who was watching it with Longstreet, said, "1 wouldn't have missed th is for anything. " And Longstreet replied, "The devil you wouldn't! I would like to have missed it very much." The conclusion seems inescapable now that General Lee did not fight Gettysburg well, but that from his point of view, everything that could go wrong those three days did go wrong.


Battle of Gettysburg Ends: On This Day, July 3

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from July 1 to July 3, 1863, ended with a victory for Union General George Meade and the Army of the Potomac.

The three-day battle was the bloodiest in the war, with approximately 51,000 casualties. Even with such heavy losses, it proved to be a significant victory for the Union. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee, had invaded Union territory and was moving through southern Pennsylvania with an eye to Harrisburg, the state capital. General Lee hoped that defeating the Union army in a large battle on Northern territory would deliver a great, perhaps final blow to the war-weary United States. But the Union victory effectively ended the Confederate invasion of the North and provided a much-needed boost of morale for US soldiers and civilians alike.

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought not only on the field, but on the streets of Gettysburg as well. On July 1, Confederate soldiers chased retreating Union soldiers through the town, then looted homes and cellars for valuables, clothing, and food. Despite this initial Union retreat, the battle ended on July 3 with Pickett’s Charge, in which a force of 15,000 Confederate soldiers charged through open fields at Union lines but failed to break through them.

In this video, take a virtual tour of the battlefield with historian Matthew Pinsker, Associate Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History, Dickinson College, as he provides a guide to the battle’s most important locations.


Contents

Military situation

Shortly after the Army of Northern Virginia won a major victory over the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30 – May 6, 1863), Robert E. Lee decided upon a second invasion of the North (the first was the unsuccessful Maryland campaign of September 1862, which ended in the bloody Battle of Antietam). Such a move would upset the Union's plans for the summer campaigning season and possibly reduce the pressure on the besieged Confederate garrison at Vicksburg. The invasion would allow the Confederates to live off the bounty of the rich Northern farms while giving war-ravaged Virginia a much-needed rest. In addition, Lee's 72,000-man army [6] could threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and possibly strengthen the growing peace movement in the North. [19]

Initial movements to battle

Thus, on June 3, Lee's army began to shift northward from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Following the death of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Lee reorganized his two large corps into three new corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet (First Corps), Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell (Second), and Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill (Third) both Ewell and Hill, who had formerly reported to Jackson as division commanders, were new to this level of responsibility. The Cavalry Division remained under the command of Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. [20]

The Union Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, consisted of seven infantry corps, a cavalry corps, and an Artillery Reserve, for a combined strength of more than 100,000 men. [5]

The first major action of the campaign took place on June 9 between cavalry forces at Brandy Station, near Culpeper, Virginia. The 9,500 Confederate cavalrymen under Stuart were surprised by Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton's combined arms force of two cavalry divisions (8,000 troopers) and 3,000 infantry, but Stuart eventually repelled the Union attack. The inconclusive battle, the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the war, proved for the first time that the Union horse soldier was equal to his Southern counterpart. [21]

By mid-June, the Army of Northern Virginia was poised to cross the Potomac River and enter Maryland. After defeating the Union garrisons at Winchester and Martinsburg, Ewell's Second Corps began crossing the river on June 15. Hill's and Longstreet's corps followed on June 24 and 25. Hooker's army pursued, keeping between Washington, D.C. and Lee's army. The Union army crossed the Potomac from June 25 to 27. [22]

Lee gave strict orders for his army to minimize any negative effects on the civilian population. [23] Food, horses, and other supplies were generally not seized outright, although quartermasters reimbursing Northern farmers and merchants with Confederate money were not well received. Various towns, most notably York, Pennsylvania, were required to pay indemnities in lieu of supplies, under threat of destruction. During the invasion, the Confederates seized some 1,000 northern African Americans. A few of them were escaped fugitive slaves, but most were freemen all were sent south into slavery under guard. [16] [17] [18] [24]

On June 26, elements of Maj. Gen. Jubal Early's division of Ewell's Corps occupied the town of Gettysburg after chasing off newly raised Pennsylvania militia in a series of minor skirmishes. Early laid the borough under tribute, but did not collect any significant supplies. Soldiers burned several railroad cars and a covered bridge, and destroyed nearby rails and telegraph lines. The following morning, Early departed for adjacent York County. [25]

Meanwhile, in a controversial move, Lee allowed J.E.B. Stuart to take a portion of the army's cavalry and ride around the east flank of the Union army. Lee's orders gave Stuart much latitude, and both generals share the blame for the long absence of Stuart's cavalry, as well as for the failure to assign a more active role to the cavalry left with the army. Stuart and his three best brigades were absent from the army during the crucial phase of the approach to Gettysburg and the first two days of battle. By June 29, Lee's army was strung out in an arc from Chambersburg (28 miles (45 km) northwest of Gettysburg) to Carlisle (30 miles (48 km) north of Gettysburg) to near Harrisburg and Wrightsville on the Susquehanna River. [26]

In a dispute over the use of the forces defending the Harpers Ferry garrison, Hooker offered his resignation, and Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck, who were looking for an excuse to rid themselves of him, immediately accepted. They replaced Hooker early on the morning of June 28 with Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, then commander of the V Corps. [27]

On June 29, when Lee learned that the Army of the Potomac had crossed the Potomac River, he ordered a concentration of his forces around Cashtown, located at the eastern base of South Mountain and eight miles (13 km) west of Gettysburg. [28] On June 30, while part of Hill's Corps was in Cashtown, one of Hill's brigades, North Carolinians under Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew, ventured toward Gettysburg. In his memoirs, Maj. Gen. Henry Heth, Pettigrew's division commander, claimed that he sent Pettigrew to search for supplies in town—especially shoes. [29]

When Pettigrew's troops approached Gettysburg on June 30, they noticed Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. John Buford arriving south of town, and Pettigrew returned to Cashtown without engaging them. When Pettigrew told Hill and Heth what he had seen, neither general believed that there was a substantial Union force in or near the town, suspecting that it had been only Pennsylvania militia. Despite General Lee's order to avoid a general engagement until his entire army was concentrated, Hill decided to mount a significant reconnaissance in force the following morning to determine the size and strength of the enemy force in his front. Around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, two brigades of Heth's division advanced to Gettysburg. [30]

Union

The Army of the Potomac, initially under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker (Maj. Gen. George Meade replaced Hooker in command on June 28), consisted of more than 100,000 men in the following organization: [31]

    , commanded by Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth, Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson, and Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday. , commanded by Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gens. John C. Caldwell, John Gibbon, and Alexander Hays. , commanded by Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, with divisions commanded by Maj. Gen. David B. Birney and Maj. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys. , commanded by Maj. Gen. George Sykes (George G. Meade until June 28), with divisions commanded by Brig. Gens. James Barnes, Romeyn B. Ayres, and Samuel W. Crawford. , commanded by Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, Brig. Gen. Albion P. Howe, and Maj. Gen. John Newton. , commanded by Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gen. Francis C. Barlow, Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr, and Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz. , commanded by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gens. Alpheus S. Williams and John W. Geary.
  • Cavalry Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, with divisions commanded by Brig. Gens. John Buford, David McM. Gregg, and H. Judson Kilpatrick.
  • Artillery Reserve, commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert O. Tyler. (The preeminent artillery officer at Gettysburg was Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, chief of artillery on Meade's staff.)

During the advance on Gettysburg, Maj. Gen. Reynolds was in operational command of the left, or advanced, wing of the Army, consisting of the I, III, and XI Corps. [32] Note that many other Union units (not part of the Army of the Potomac) were actively involved in the Gettysburg Campaign, but not directly involved in the Battle of Gettysburg. These included portions of the Union IV Corps, the militia and state troops of the Department of the Susquehanna, and various garrisons, including that at Harpers Ferry.

Confederate

In reaction to the death of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson after Chancellorsville, Lee reorganized his Army of Northern Virginia (75,000 men) from two infantry corps into three. [33]

    , commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, with divisions commanded by Maj. Gens. Lafayette McLaws, George Pickett, and John Bell Hood. , commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, with divisions commanded by Maj. Gens. Jubal A. Early, Edward "Allegheny" Johnson, and Robert E. Rodes. , commanded by Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill, with divisions commanded by Maj. Gens. Richard H. Anderson, Henry Heth, and W. Dorsey Pender. , commanded by Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, with brigades commanded by Brig. Gens. Wade Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee, Beverly H. Robertson, Albert G. Jenkins, William E. "Grumble" Jones, and John D. Imboden, and Col. John R. Chambliss.

Herr Ridge, McPherson Ridge and Seminary Ridge

Anticipating that the Confederates would march on Gettysburg from the west on the morning of July 1, Buford laid out his defenses on three ridges west of the town: Herr Ridge, McPherson Ridge and Seminary Ridge. These were appropriate terrain for a delaying action by his small cavalry division against superior Confederate infantry forces, meant to buy time awaiting the arrival of Union infantrymen who could occupy the strong defensive positions south of town at Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, and Culp's Hill. Buford understood that if the Confederates could gain control of these heights, Meade's army would have difficulty dislodging them. [34]

Confederate General Henry Heth's division advanced with two brigades forward, commanded by Brig. Gens. James J. Archer and Joseph R. Davis. They proceeded easterly in columns along the Chambersburg Pike. Three miles (5 km) west of town, about 7:30 a.m. on July 1, the two brigades met light resistance from vedettes of Union cavalry, and deployed into line. According to lore, the Union soldier to fire the first shot of the battle was Lt. Marcellus Jones. [35] Lt. Jones later returned to Gettysburg, in 1886 erecting a monument marking the spot where he fired the first shot. [36] Eventually Heth's men encountered dismounted troopers of Col. William Gamble's cavalry brigade. The dismounted troopers resisted stoutly, delaying the Confederate advance by firing their breechloading carbines from behind fences and trees. [37] Still, by 10:20 a.m., the Confederates had pushed the Union cavalrymen east to McPherson Ridge, when the vanguard of the I Corps (Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds) finally arrived. [38]

North of the pike, Davis gained a temporary success against Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler's brigade but was repelled with heavy losses in an action around an unfinished railroad bed cut in the ridge. South of the pike, Archer's brigade assaulted through Herbst (also known as McPherson's) Woods. The Union Iron Brigade under Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith enjoyed initial success against Archer, capturing several hundred men, including Archer himself. [39]

General Reynolds was shot and killed early in the fighting while directing troop and artillery placements just to the east of the woods. Shelby Foote wrote that the Union cause lost a man considered by many to be "the best general in the army." [40] Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday assumed command. Fighting in the Chambersburg Pike area lasted until about 12:30 p.m. It resumed around 2:30 p.m., when Heth's entire division engaged, adding the brigades of Pettigrew and Col. John M. Brockenbrough. [41]

As Pettigrew's North Carolina Brigade came on line, they flanked the 19th Indiana and drove the Iron Brigade back. The 26th North Carolina (the largest regiment in the army with 839 men) lost heavily, leaving the first day's fight with around 212 men. By the end of the three-day battle, they had about 152 men standing, the highest casualty percentage for one battle of any regiment, North or South. [42] Slowly the Iron Brigade was pushed out of the woods toward Seminary Ridge. Hill added Maj. Gen. William Dorsey Pender's division to the assault, and the I Corps was driven back through the grounds of the Lutheran Seminary and Gettysburg streets. [43]

As the fighting to the west proceeded, two divisions of Ewell's Second Corps, marching west toward Cashtown in accordance with Lee's order for the army to concentrate in that vicinity, turned south on the Carlisle and Harrisburg roads toward Gettysburg, while the Union XI Corps (Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard) raced north on the Baltimore Pike and Taneytown Road. By early afternoon, the Union line ran in a semicircle west, north, and northeast of Gettysburg. [44]

However, the Union did not have enough troops Cutler, whose brigade was deployed north of the Chambersburg Pike, had his right flank in the air. The leftmost division of the XI Corps was unable to deploy in time to strengthen the line, so Doubleday was forced to throw in reserve brigades to salvage his line. [45]

Around 2 p.m., the Confederate Second Corps divisions of Maj. Gens. Robert E. Rodes and Jubal Early assaulted and out-flanked the Union I and XI Corps positions north and northwest of town. The Confederate brigades of Col. Edward A. O'Neal and Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson suffered severe losses assaulting the I Corps division of Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson south of Oak Hill. Early's division profited from a blunder by Brig. Gen. Francis C. Barlow, when he advanced his XI Corps division to Blocher's Knoll (directly north of town and now known as Barlow's Knoll) this represented a salient [46] in the corps line, susceptible to attack from multiple sides, and Early's troops overran Barlow's division, which constituted the right flank of the Union Army's position. Barlow was wounded and captured in the attack. [47]

As Union positions collapsed both north and west of town, Gen. Howard ordered a retreat to the high ground south of town at Cemetery Hill, where he had left the division of Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr in reserve. [48] Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock assumed command of the battlefield, sent by Meade when he heard that Reynolds had been killed. Hancock, commander of the II Corps and Meade's most trusted subordinate, was ordered to take command of the field and to determine whether Gettysburg was an appropriate place for a major battle. [49] Hancock told Howard, "I think this the strongest position by nature upon which to fight a battle that I ever saw." When Howard agreed, Hancock concluded the discussion: "Very well, sir, I select this as the battle-field." Hancock's determination had a morale-boosting effect on the retreating Union soldiers, but he played no direct tactical role on the first day. [50]

General Lee understood the defensive potential to the Union if they held this high ground. He sent orders to Ewell that Cemetery Hill be taken "if practicable." Ewell, who had previously served under Stonewall Jackson, a general well known for issuing peremptory orders, determined such an assault was not practicable and, thus, did not attempt it this decision is considered by historians to be a great missed opportunity. [51]

The first day at Gettysburg, more significant than simply a prelude to the bloody second and third days, ranks as the 23rd biggest battle of the war by number of troops engaged. About one quarter of Meade's army (22,000 men) and one third of Lee's army (27,000) were engaged. [52]


The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond

The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond brings current research and interpretation to bear on a range of pivotal issues surrounding the final day of the battle, July 3, 1863. This revisionist approach begins by expanding our knowledge of the engagement itself: individual essays address Confederate general James Longstreet's role in Pickett's Charge and Union general George Meade's failure to pursue Lee after the fighting. Other essays widen the scope of investigation to look at contemporary reactions to the Confederate defeat across the South, the construction of narratives by the participants themselves--from Confederate survivors of Pickett's assault to Union sergeant Ben Hirst--and the reverberations of Pickett's final momentous charge.

Combining fresh evidence with the reinterpretation of standard sources, these essays refocus our view of the third day at Gettysburg to take in its diverse stories of combat and memory.

The contributors are Gary W. Gallagher, William Garrett Piston, Carol Reardon, Robert K. Krick, Robert L. Bee, and A. Wilson Greene.

About the Author

Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His books include The Confederate War and Lee and His Generals in War and Memory.
For more information about Gary W. Gallagher, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"These essays help to uncover the true story of Gettysburg beyond the constructed reality of wartime memory makers and later historians. . . . This collection proves that new scholarship surrounding the battle is not only possible but exciting."--Civil War History

"Both serious students of Gettysburg and general Civil War enthusiasts will find these essays thought-provoking, informative, and challenging. . . . Students of Civil War military campaigns should look forward eagerly to subsequent volumes of Gallagher's 'Military Campaigns of the Civil War Series."--Civil War Regiments

"The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond is a real gem. . . . These well-written and well-documented essays are an important contribution to Gettysburg historiography."--Louisiana History

"Gallagher . . . has provided a mini-treasure for Civil War specialists in this compilation of well-written and challenging theses."--Booklist

"The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond is a rare collection. Remarkably consistent in focus and high quality, its articles offer fresh research and a coherent, innovative perspective on the history of the most studied Civil War engagement."--West Virginia History

"This is a fine collection of essays relating to the Gettysburg campaign. Readers will find them entertaining and enlightening, to be sure, and some might find one or two of them provoking. They are good reading."--Harry W. Pfanz, author of Gettysburg--The Second Day and Gettysburg--Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill


Map Gettysburg Third day. Position of troops.

The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of the United States Code) or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.

Note that the written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.


Lt. Alonzo Cushing at Gettysburg

It was in the pre-dawn hours of July 2, 1863, when six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery went into battery in a small, weed choked pasture on Cemetery Ridge. Partially enclosed by a stone wall that turned sharply west and then southward, later to be known as "The Angle", the position was right in the center of the Union's Second Corps line on Cemetery Ridge. Dawn revealed a broad plain of farm fields subdivided by rows of wooden fencing with the Emmitsburg Road, from Emmitsburg, Maryland to Gettysburg, a few hundred feet in front and almost parallel to the ridge. For the men of the battery, it was a perfect field for artillery to defend and with little activity occurring at that early hour, the artillerymen lounged by the guns.

1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing, 22 years-old and an experienced veteran of numerous battles, commanded Battery A. Born in Wisconsin in 1841, Cushing's family had moved to New York while he was an adolescent. Receiving an appointment to West Point, Cushing found that he loved the discipline of military life and was enamored with artillery. After graduating in the class of 1861, he served in staff positions to various officers until assigned to command the battery in the spring of 1863. Described by men who knew him as a skilled artillerist and devoted to duty, Cushing's battery was manned by men who had served in the army prior to the war and others who had transferred in from infantry regiments. Assigned to the Artillery Brigade of the Second Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, Cushing had thoroughly drilled his battery, preparing them for battle with strict discipline and his personal knowledge of the chaos a battle presented. Though experienced, no one in the battery could have predicted what lay ahead for them at Gettysburg.

Later that same day, the battery was first engaged in a brief artillery duel with Confederate cannon positioned on Seminary Ridge nearly a mile distant, and later in the repulse of the Confederate attack against the Union left that swept right up to the stone wall in front of Cushing's guns. There was some sporadic firing the following morning but then the field went silent. Cushing's artillerymen found shade by their guns or under the limber chests, the horse teams lazily hitched to their harnesses while the drivers brought buckets of water from the nearest wells. Around 1 o'clock, the sharp report of two southern cannon alerted the men. Almost immediately, the ground shook with the roar of over 140 cannon and the air came alive in a storm of exploding shells. It was the cannonade meant to destroy the Union guns and positions that would be charged by two and one-half divisions of southern infantry, including the command of General George E. Pickett. The shock of this southern barrage startled the battery's men, some scrambling for cover while the horses pulled and strained against their harnesses. Through the dust and smoke raced the young lieutenant, barking orders to his gunners to get to their posts and within minutes, Cushing's battery was in action.

Battery A appeared to be the focus of the Confederate cannonade and was nearly destroyed by the furious bombardment. Artillerymen and horses fell dead at their posts. A limber chest exploded with a roar, killing and maiming the crew in charge of adding fuses to the shells. Guns were dismounted, carriages and limbers shattered. At one point, a wheel of one cannon carriage collapsed and the crew abandoned the piece. Furious, Cushing raced into the middle of the fleeing soldiers, drew his pistol, and ordered the men back to their gun, threatening them with death if they ran again. The spare wheel was rolled up to the gun carriage, the piece lifted and set, and within minutes the cannon was back in action.

The cannonade left Cushing's battery in shambles. Only a handful of artillerymen remained, not enough to man the two remaining cannon that could still be used. Though painfully wounded by shell fragments, the young lieutenant was unwilling to personally leave the field or retire his shattered command. Receiving permission from General Alexander Webb, commander of the Union brigade stationed around the battery, to move his two guns down to the wall in the Angle, Cushing and his survivors rolled a gun forward adjacent to the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry where he ordered that extra canister rounds be piled by the piece. Canister- a tin can filled with iron balls- was specifically designed to use against infantry, turning the cannon into a giant shotgun.

Soon the southern infantry of George Pickett's Division crossed the Emmitsburg Road and surged toward Cemetery Ridge. Union infantry opened fire as cannon along the entire front sent hissing shells into the Confederate columns. Round after round tore into the southern ranks but they pressed on, steadily closing on the Angle, Webb's men, and Cushing's gun. Determined to fight to the last, Cushing personally directed every shot as his crew struggled to load and prepare the cannon for the next round. Switching to double charges of canister, Cushing could now see the Confederates were barely 100 yards away and would be up to the muzzle of his gun within seconds. Grasping the lanyard that fired the gun, he shouted above the din to Sergeant Frederick Fuger standing nearby, "I will give them one more shot!" Seconds later a Confederate bullet struck him through the mouth, killing him instantly. His lifeless body tumbled over the gun trail.

The young lieutenant died a hero's death and was later buried with full military honors at his alma mater, West Point. Original cannon on cast-iron carriages and a narrative tablet mark the position of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery in the famous Angle at Gettysburg. Between the guns is a simple stone marker dedicated to Lt. Cushing, placed there by his family, former officers and friends from the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry, in 1887. Approved for a posthumous Medal of Honor in 2010, the medal was awarded by President Barack Obama in a special ceremony at the White House on November 6, 2014. Lieutenant Cushing's is the last Medal of Honor to be awarded to a soldier in the American Civil War.


Map Map of the Battle of Gettysburg showing positions held July 1st & 3rd 1863.

The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of the United States Code) or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.

Note that the written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.


THE THIRD DAY AT GETTYSBURG - History

Battle of Gettysburg : Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge Battle of Gettysburg Cemetery Hill Seminary Ridge, The Round Tops Taneytown Road Emmitsburg Road, Little Round Top The Angle, General Barksdale Wilcox Lang Peach Orchard Plum Run

Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg

Gen. Meade's Headquarters at Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg

Battle of Cemetery Ridge, 2nd Day, Gettysburg

Battle of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, July 2, 1863

Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863

Cemetery Ridge and Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge

1st Minnesota Infantry Monument

Monument to 1st Minnesota Infantry

Confederates press Cemetery Ridge

Battle of Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863

Day 3, Battle of Gettysburg

Day 3, Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg

"Well, capture them!", Hancock commanded, then galloped away to search for additional troops to fill the gap. Without hesitation, Colvill ordered his 262 officers and men forward toward Plum Run where they crashed headlong into Wilcox's men. Within minutes the charge was over. Barely a handful of Minnesotans escaped to rally on Cemetery Ridge, but they had stopped the Alabamians cold while Union troops from Willard's brigade and other commands moved in. Finding himself in danger of being cut off, Wilcox ordered his regiments to retreat and the threat was over. The 1st Minnesota Infantry suffered an appalling loss in this suicidal charge, and more soldiers in the regiment were killed and wounded the following day in repulsing " Pickett's Charge ". The regiment's 82% loss at Gettysburg was never equaled by any other Union regiment during the Civil War.

Just north of the melee in Plum Run, Brig. General Ambrose Wright's Georgia Brigade attacked Union troops at the Codori House and drove them back, pursuing the retreating soldiers to the Angle on Cemetery Ridge. Wright was vigorously counter-attacked by Vermont troops- "Green Mountain Boys" of the 13th, 14th and 16th Vermont Infantry Regiments, which overwhelmed Wright's Confederates, a number of whom were taken prisoner. This was the first and last battle for these Vermont "nine-month regiments", which would be mustered out two weeks after the close of the battle. With the arrival of fresh Union batteries, the gap on Cemetery Ridge was now closed.

July 2nd ended under a fiery red sunset, in sympathy to the blood spilled in the fields, pastures, and woods of the Adams County countryside.

The Confederate artillery bombardment preceding Pickett's Charge on July 3 battered Cemetery Ridge, and Union artillery on the ridge counterfired to Seminary Ridge. Thirty-four Union cannons were disabled, but the three Confederate divisions of the subsequent infantry assault (Pickett's of the First Corps and Pettigrew's and Trimble's of the Third Corps), attacked the Union II Corps at the "stone fence" at the Angle. Heavy rifle and artillery fire prevented all but about 250 Confederates led by Lewis Armistead from penetrating the Union line to the high water mark of the Confederacy. Armistead was mortally wounded. Two brigades of Anderson's Division, assigned to protect Pickett's right flank during the charge, reached a more southern portion of the Union line at Cemetery Ridge soon after the repulse of Pickett's Division, but were driven back with 40% casualties by the 2nd Vermont Brigade.

On July 3, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,000 Confederates, later known as Pickett's Charge, against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great losses to the Confederate army. Lee next led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. Some 51,000 soldiers (23,000 Union 28,000 Confederates) were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the three-day battle.

Pennsylvania Honors Her Sons at Gettysburg

Official Cemetery Ridge Map

Official Gettysburg Battlefield Map

The Pennsylvania Monument

The Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg

The Rite of Absolution

Father Corby, Gettysburg NMP

Father William Corby Statue

After the war, Corby returned to his pre-war occupation of teaching at Notre Dame University and was appointed university president. He spent a few years away from Notre Dame for a brief appointment at Sacred Heart College in Watertown, Wisconsin, and returned to Notre Dame in 1877. The university flourished under his guidance until his retirement in 1881. Corby also founded the Notre Dame Post No. 569 of the Grand Army of the Republic, the only post in the nation, "composed entirely of members of a religious order." Father William Corby died in 1897 and is buried at Notre Dame where a similar statue to Father Corby stands today.

Cemetery Ridge, Battle of Gettysburg

Attack of Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863
Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

Recommended Reading : Gettysburg --Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill (Civil War America ) (Hardcover). Description: In this companion to his celebrated earlier book, Gettysburg —The Second Day, Harry Pfanz provides the first definitive account of the fighting between the Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill—two of the most critical engagements fought at Gettysburg on 2 and 3 July 1863. Pfanz provides detailed tactical accounts of each stage of the contest and explores the interactions between—and decisions made by—generals on both sides. In particular, he illuminates Confederate lieutenant general Richard S. Ewell's controversial decision not to attack Cemetery Hill after the initial southern victory on 1 July. Continued below.

Pfanz also explores other salient features of the fighting, including the Confederate occupation of the town of Gettysburg , the skirmishing in the south end of town and in front of the hills, the use of breastworks on Culp's Hill, and the small but decisive fight between Union cavalry and the Stonewall Brigade. About the Author: Harry W. Pfanz is author of Gettysburg --The First Day and Gettysburg --The Second Day. A lieutenant, field artillery, during World War II, he served for ten years as a historian at Gettysburg National Military Park and retired from the position of Chief Historian of the National Park Service in 1981. To purchase additional books from Pfanz, a convenient Amazon Search Box is provided at the bottom of this page.

Interspersed with humor and down-to-earth observations concerning battlefield conditions, the author conscientiously describes all aspects of the battle, from massing of the assault columns and pre-assault artillery barrage to the last shots and the flight of the surviving rebels back to the safety of their lines… Having visited Gettysburg several years ago, this superb volume makes me want to go again.

Recommended Reading : Cemetery Hill: The Struggle For The High Ground, July 1-3, 1863. Description: Cemetery Hill was critical to the Battle of Gettysburg. Controversy has ensued to the present day about the Confederacy's failure to attempt to capture this high ground on July 1, 1863, following its victory over two Corps of the Union Army to the North and West of town. Subsequent events during the Battle , such as Pickett's charge, the fighting on Little Round Top, and the fight for the Wheatfield, have received more attention than General Early's attack on Cemetery Hill during the evening of July 2. Yet, the fighting for Cemetery Hill was critical and may have constituted the South's best possibility of winning the Battle of Gettysburg. Continued below.

Terry Jones's "Cemetery Hill: The Struggle for the High Ground, July 1 -- 3, 1863" (2003) is part of a series called "Battleground America Guides" published by Da Capo Press. Each volume in the series attempts to highlight a small American battlefield or portion of a large battlefield and to explain its significance in a clear and brief narrative. Jones's study admirably meets the stated goals of the series. The book opens with a brief setting of the stage for the Battle of Gettysburg. This is followed by chapters describing the Union and Confederate armies and the leaders who would play crucial roles in the fight for Cemetery Hill. There is a short discussion of the fighting on the opening day of the battle, July 1, 1863, which focuses on the failure of the South to attempt to take Cemetery Hill and the adjacent Culp's Hill following its victory of that day. The chief subject of the book, however, is the fighting for Cemetery Hill late on July 2. Jones explains Cemetery Hill's role in Robert E. Lee's overall battle plan. He discusses the opening artillery duel on the Union right followed by the fierce attack by the Louisiana Tigers and North Carolina troops under the leadership of Hays and Avery on East Cemetery Hill. This attack reached the Union batteries defending Cemetery Hill and may have come within an ace of success given the depletion of the Union defense on the Hill to meet threats on the Union left. Elements of the Union 11th Corps and 2nd Corps reinforced the position and drove back the attack. Southern general Robert Rodes was to have supported this attack on the west but failed to reach his position in time to do so. General John Gordon's position was in reserve behind the troops of Hays and Avery but these troops were not ordered forward. The book deals briefly with the third day of the Battle -- the day of Pickett's charge -- in which the Southern troops did not renew their efforts against Cemetery Hill -- such an attempt would have had scant chance of success in daylight. The final chapter of the book consists of Jones's views on the events of the battle, particularly the failure of the Lieutenant General Richard Ewell of the Second Corps of Lee's Army to attack Cemetery Hill on July 1, a decision Jones finds was correct, and the causes of the failure of the July 2 attack (poor coordination among Ewell, Rodes, Gordon, and A.P Hill of the Southern Third Corps.) There is a brief but highly useful discussion to the prospective visitor to Gettysburg of touring the Cemetery Hill portion of the Battlefield. The book is clearly, crisply and succinctly written. It includes outstanding maps and many interesting photographs and paintings. The reader with some overall knowledge of Gettysburg will find this book more accessible that the two volumes of Harry Pfanz's outstandingly detailed trilogy that deal with the first day of the battle and with the fighting for Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. Serious students of the Battle of Gettysburg can get a good, clear overview of the fighting for Cemetery Hill from this volume.

Recommended Reading : Pickett's Charge--The Last Attack at Gettysburg (Hardcover). Description: Pickett's Charge is probably the best-known military engagement of the Civil War, widely regarded as the defining moment of the battle of Gettysburg and celebrated as the high-water mark of the Confederacy. But as Earl Hess notes, the epic stature of Pickett's Charge has grown at the expense of reality, and the facts of the attack have been obscured or distorted by the legend that surrounds them. With this book, Hess sweeps away the accumulated myths about Pickett's Charge to provide the definitive history of the engagement. Continued below.

Drawing on exhaustive research, especially in unpublished personal accounts, he creates a moving narrative of the attack from both Union and Confederate perspectives, analyzing its planning, execution, aftermath, and legacy. He also examines the history of the units involved, their state of readiness, how they maneuvered under fire, and what the men who marched in the ranks thought about their participation in the assault. Ultimately, Hess explains, such an approach reveals Pickett's Charge both as a case study in how soldiers deal with combat and as a dramatic example of heroism, failure, and fate on the battlefield.

Recommended Reading : Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg . Description: Challenging conventional views, stretching the minds of Civil War enthusiasts and scholars as only John Michael Priest can, Into the Fight is both a scholarly and a revisionist interpretation of the most famous charge in American history. Using a wide array of sources, ranging from the monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield to the accounts of the participants themselves, Priest rewrites the conventional thinking about this unusually emotional, yet serious, moment in our Civil War.

Starting with a fresh point of view, and with no axes to grind, Into the Fight challenges all interested in that stunning moment in history to rethink their assumptions. Worthwhile for its use of soldiers’ accounts, valuable for its forcing the reader to rethink the common assumptions about the charge, critics may disagree with this research, but they cannot ignore it.

Recommended Reading : Last Chance For Victory: Robert E. Lee And The Gettysburg Campaign. Description: Long after nearly fifty thousand soldiers shed their blood there, serious misunderstandings persist about Robert E. Lee's generalship at Gettysburg . What were Lee's choices before, during, and after the battle? What did he know that caused him to act as he did? Last Chance for Victory addresses these issues by studying Lee's decisions and the military intelligence he possessed when each was made. Continued below.

Packed with new information and original research, Last Chance for Victory draws alarming conclusions to complex issues with precision and clarity. Readers will never look at Robert E. Lee and Gettysburg the same way again.

Recommended Reading : General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse . Review: You cannot say that University of North Carolina professor Glatthaar (Partners in Command) did not do his homework in this massive examination of the Civil War–era lives of the men in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Glatthaar spent nearly 20 years examining and ordering primary source material to ferret out why Lee's men fought, how they lived during the war, how they came close to winning, and why they lost. Glatthaar marshals convincing evidence to challenge the often-expressed notion that the war in the South was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight and that support for slavery was concentrated among the Southern upper class. Continued below.

Lee's army included the rich, poor and middle-class, according to the author, who contends that there was broad support for the war in all economic strata of Confederate society. He also challenges the myth that because Union forces outnumbered and materially outmatched the Confederates, the rebel cause was lost, and articulates Lee and his army's acumen and achievements in the face of this overwhelming opposition. This well-written work provides much food for thought for all Civil War buffs.

Recommended Reading : ONE CONTINUOUS FIGHT: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia , July 4-14, 1863 (Hardcover) (June 2008 ). Description: The titanic three-day battle of Gettysburg left 50,000 casualties in its wake, a battered Southern army far from its base of supplies, and a rich historiographic legacy. Thousands of books and articles cover nearly every aspect of the battle, but not a single volume focuses on the military aspects of the monumentally important movements of the armies to and across the Potomac River . One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 is the first detailed military history of Lee's retreat and the Union effort to catch and destroy the wounded Army of Northern Virginia. Against steep odds and encumbered with thousands of casualties, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee's post-battle task was to successfully withdraw his army across the Potomac River. Union commander George G. Meade's equally difficult assignment was to intercept the effort and destroy his enemy. The responsibility for defending the exposed Southern columns belonged to cavalry chieftain James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart. If Stuart fumbled his famous ride north to Gettysburg , his generalship during the retreat more than redeemed his flagging reputation. The ten days of retreat triggered nearly two dozen skirmishes and major engagements, including fighting at Granite Hill, Monterey Pass , Hagerstown , Williamsport , Funkstown, Boonsboro, and Falling Waters. Continued below.

President Abraham Lincoln was thankful for the early July battlefield victory, but disappointed that General Meade was unable to surround and crush the Confederates before they found safety on the far side of the Potomac . Exactly what Meade did to try to intercept the fleeing Confederates, and how the Southerners managed to defend their army and ponderous 17-mile long wagon train of wounded until crossing into western Virginia on the early morning of July 14, is the subject of this study. One Continuous Fight draws upon a massive array of documents, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and published primary and secondary sources. These long-ignored foundational sources allow the authors, each widely known for their expertise in Civil War cavalry operations, to describe carefully each engagement. The result is a rich and comprehensive study loaded with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern and Northern cavalry, and fresh insights on every engagement, large and small, fought during the retreat. The retreat from Gettysburg was so punctuated with fighting that a soldier felt compelled to describe it as "One Continuous Fight." Until now, few students fully realized the accuracy of that description. Complimented with 18 original maps, dozens of photos, and a complete driving tour with GPS coordinates of the entire retreat, One Continuous Fight is an essential book for every student of the American Civil War in general, and for the student of Gettysburg in particular. About the Authors: Eric J. Wittenberg has written widely on Civil War cavalry operations. His books include Glory Enough for All (2002), The Union Cavalry Comes of Age (2003), and The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign (2005). He lives in Columbus , Ohio . J. David Petruzzi is the author of several magazine articles on Eastern Theater cavalry operations, conducts tours of cavalry sites of the Gettysburg Campaign, and is the author of the popular "Buford's Boys." A long time student of the Gettysburg Campaign, Michael Nugent is a retired US Army Armored Cavalry Officer and the descendant of a Civil War Cavalry soldier. He has previously written for several military publications. Nugent lives in Wells, Maine .


Watch the video: Fixing Gettysburg: The Third Day (June 2022).


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