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 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 12:47 am
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csamillerp
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i think everyone is forgetting that the soldiers that would have attacked culps hill was the elites of lee's army. when me or you walk that hill we cant compare ourselves with them, they frequently marched twenty plus miles a day. On the second day those troops captured the first line of earthworks, those earthworks was probably the ones the federals were digging on the second day.



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 12:48 am
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TimK
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But here's the problem with playing the "what if" game...

As long as we're saying "what if" Jackson was there, then we might as well say - and "what if" Culp's Hill wasn't so steep? And what if it wasn't so late in the day? And what if dinosaurs still roamed the earth? I have a hard enough time trying to completely understand what actually happened, yet alone go through all the what could have happened scenarios.

Sorry. It's been a tough week. I'll go back to lurking now.



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 12:51 am
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csamillerp
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lol true but i think the main conversation has turned to practability of anyone taking culp's hill.



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 01:03 am
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Doc C
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I agree Pam. The terrain of east cemetery hill and both culp hills is markedly different from that of cemetery ridge (I too have walked these areas). Got to be a mountain goat for culps. As I mentioned in another post the culps area had limited battery positions. CSA, yes Ewell did have a corp but only Johnson's division was fresh. Early's division was scattered through the town and I don't think Rode's division was in any shape to continue that night other than possibly Gordon's. In addition, don't forget about Slocum's Xll corps just south of the culp's hill area. Since we're on what if's, what if Ewell's corps did attack culps hill wouldn't it be susceptible to a flank attack by Slocum's corp.

Doc C



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 04:34 am
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ole
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Some people don't like what ifs. I'm not particularly fond of them either, but they do stimulate discussion above and beyond what we might get in just hashing over the factual details. Kinda deepens the understanding of the situations.

Rather than studying details, the what if sometimes presents a why. Not all the time, but sometimes.  But the many times we get space bats are made up for by the few times we get some refreshingly new insight.

Just an observation.

Ole



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 05:05 am
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csamillerp
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thats true i really didnt think about that. i have never been to gettysburg, it has always been a dream of mine since i was five and watched Gettysburg with my dad. I guess when you get into the what if's of the civil war the possibilities are endless. but still the thought about Jackson being alive at gettysburg is just pretty cool.



 Posted: Sun Feb 14th, 2010 01:25 am
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Doc C
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CSA, check out some of the websites devoted to modern day pictures of the battlefield and especially the cemetery hill and culps hill areas. These might help you see what the ground looks like. I've been interested in the civil war for over 40 years but only had visited the Vicksburg and Red River Battlefields prior to moving up to Maryland. After visiting Gettysburg and Antietam for the first time 10 years ago, I came away with a much better understanding of the battle even though I've read about them for many years. Seeing the field first had adds a whole new understanding that books and maps can't supply. One of my ancestors was in the 9th La infantry in Early's division. I've walked up East Cemetery Hill and I'm still in awe how these individuals attacked up that steep hill the evening of July 2nd. Another, in Pettigrew's brigade, was killed along the Emmitsburg road during the P-P-T attack.

Doc C



 Posted: Sun Feb 14th, 2010 03:22 am
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barrydancer
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I think Jackson would have probably been more aggressive, and assuming the all of the fighting went the same, as Ole said, I think he would likely have tried Culp's Hill.  But I don't think it would have been an easy mark for Jackson, Ewell, or anyone else.

I'm only here to defend James Longstreet, though, who didn't take all day to get his troops into position.  In the span of three hours he marched and counter-marched two divisions of infantry cross country, got them into position, and began the attack.  A group of Marines retraced the march about ten or so years ago, carrying only canteens I think, and were barely able to beat the 1st Corp's time.  The US Army tried it earlier in the 20th century and were slower.



 Posted: Sun Feb 14th, 2010 04:12 am
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csamillerp
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longstreet was an amazing corp commander and i think he would have made an interesting army commander. he is one of my favorite commanders partially because he is from south carolina as is maxcy gregg. but in my beliefs i do believe jackson would have been a bit quicker but that is just a personal opinion



 Posted: Sun Feb 14th, 2010 04:14 am
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csamillerp
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well you have given me food for though doc but the whole thing im trying to get at is that it would have been better to attempt the attack and maybe gain a foothold on culps hill then to not try at all and lose some of the finest troops Lee had.



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 10:42 pm
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TimK
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I know I dissed what ifs earlier, but I was in a bad mood then.

I think that the biggest what if is - what if the pontoon bridges had gotten to Fredericksburg before Lee did. If not for some bureaucracy and bad roads in the winter of 1862, we might have a lot less to be talking about. If the Union army could have crossed the Rappahannock unopposed and then down to Richmond, I think the Civil War would have been considerably shorter. Gettysburg would be just another village in Pennsylvania.



 Posted: Thu Feb 25th, 2010 04:52 pm
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Mark
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csamiller, in regards to Longstreet as an army commander: he had an independent command once in late 1863 and it resulted in a disasterous Knoxville campaign (he lost to Ambrose Burnside!). Longstreet was an unimagniative though competent corps commander, but IMHO he lacked the strategic vision to be a good army commander. Cheers!

-Mark



 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2010 03:17 am
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barrydancer
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Mark wrote: csamiller, in regards to Longstreet as an army commander: he had an independent command once in late 1863 and it resulted in a disasterous Knoxville campaign (he lost to Ambrose Burnside!). Longstreet was an unimagniative though competent corps commander, but IMHO he lacked the strategic vision to be a good army commander. Cheers!

-Mark

I'll grant you East Tennessee wasn't Longstreet's finest hour.  Even Porter Alexander in his books noted that the Knoxville campaign wasn't typical of Longstreet.  There's a reason Robert E. Lee made Longstreet second in command of the Army of Northern Virgina, though.  Over Jackson, no less. 

The attack in depth at Chickamauga, the development of the traverse trench at Petersburg.  Hardly unimaginative.  Unlike so many other Civil War commanders, Longstreet learned and adapted.  The Longstreet of Seven Pines was not the Longstreet of Second Mansassas.  The Longstreet of Second Manassas wasn't the Longstreet of Chickamauga or The Wilderness.  The same can't be said of, say, Braxton Bragg, who never learned anything.

He was a longtime advocate for a concentration in the Western Theatre, where I'll argue the war was won (or lost, depending on your point of view. :P).  He assembled one of the finest staffs of the war, choosing people for their ability not because they were friends or good Christians, and used that staff in innovative ways akin to the Prussians later in the century.  The 1st Corps staff knew everything their general knew and were an integral part of the command.

I think Longstreet would have have made a fine army commander, but he never got his shot.  He was one of the finest corps commanders of the war, however.



 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2010 11:45 am
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kg3138
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If Jackson was alive after Chancellorsville, Gettysburg would never have happened, it would have been only a small engagement on the way to the Pipe Creek line that Meade originally wanted to fight at.  I agree, he would have taken Culp's Hill, but there would have been no 2nd or 3rd days at Gettysburg.  After that I don't think Lee or Jackson would have ventured to attack the Pipe Creek line because it would be a Fredricksburg in reverse. 
I think that part of the reason that Lee did not agree with Longstreet's assessment of sending troops around the flank of the Union army on the 2nd Day is that he had no one to make his troops move fast enough (i.e. Jackson and his 'foot cavalry').  Plus he had no cavalry to lead the way. 
Also, Lee could not stay in the North for an indefinite period of time based on the fact of the Union's superior rail transportation. They could have trained in men from all over and built a line all across the Potomac so that Lee could not escape and was then trapped North of the Potomac and thus end the war.  He had to bide his time for a couple months and then move to the South to allow his freedom of maneuver to not be compromised.
That being said I often wonder what would have happened to the war if Jackson had lived. 



 Posted: Sat Mar 20th, 2010 10:06 am
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rangerrebew
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Don't forget, Lee's orders to Ewell said to take Culp's Hll "if practicable". If Lee had ordered him to take the hill, things may have been different too. So it might be argued that Lee's orders to Ewell were insufficient for the task at hand and left too much authority to the General.



 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 04:45 am
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peaeyeparker
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Hey Ranger and others,

Been reading a lot on the whole "if practicable" issue lately, and I'm still not convinced that the outcome would've been much different even if Lee had issued crystal-clear orders to attack.

Johnson wasn't really available for an assault, and Rodes and Early were in pretty bad shape after marching and fighting all day.  There's a lot of glib summaries from Jackson's old staffers and others of the Peanut Gallery, such as Trimble, who suggest that 5 asthmatic Boy Scouts could've taken Cemetery Hill from the AOP on July 1st, but in my opinion, they're too dismissive of the remaining members of the 1st and 11th Corps, as well as the approach of the 12th.  Even if Ewell had managed to take Cemetery Hill, there's nothing that says he could've kept it.

Just my 2 cents!

Adam



 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 10:21 am
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IrishBrigade
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Since the original question was whether the first day at Gettysburg would have been different if Jackson had been there as a Corps commander instead of Ewell I'll throw in my opinion on the matter.

I think Ewell gets a lot of unwarranted criticism for the end of the first day. His men had fought all day, he had very limited intelligence has to what awaited him beyond Cupls hill, it was late in the day and to adequately support the advance he would have needed Hill to come up alongside him which Hill appeared to be unwilling or unable to do. Therefore he had several good reasons to stay where he was, they'd done a good days work.

Even if he(or Jackson) had taken Culps hill the AOP wouldn't have made their defence on Seminary ridge and would have withdrawn, albeit somewhat badly beaten up. So now the CSA now holds the stronghold of Gettysburg - big deal, Gettysburg would just be another town where there was a fight during the war. Meade has a very strong defensive postion at the Pipe Creek, Lee still doesn't know where Stuart is nor does he know the strength of the Union army in front of him. Lee is in a good position to attack Harrisburg, I don't believe that he would have attacked DC.

One other point is that if Jackson had lived, the ANV would not have been re-org'd into 3 corps which could have put a different tactical scenario for the ANV as Lee sought to invade the North with 2 larger corp instead of 3 smaller ones.

What if's are good fun but there's too many possibilities for one thread so you're better off sticking to the original point. I sometimes wonder would the legend of Jackson be as strong if he didn't suffer such an untimely death. He is portrayed as a tragic hero of the confederacy, his legend might have been somewhat tarnished if he'd have lived through the last two years of the war where even Jackson would have got whipped.

Last edited on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 10:22 am by IrishBrigade



 Posted: Sat Nov 26th, 2011 10:17 am
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csamillerp
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Irishbrigade, even Lee was defeated in the end of war... he also lived but he is still considered one of the greatest if not The greatest general in american history. Jackson's untimely death had little to do with his fame. He was famous before he died... he was famous before Lee was a household name.



 Posted: Sun Nov 27th, 2011 10:20 am
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csamillerp wrote: i think everyone is forgetting that the soldiers that would have attacked culps hill was the elites of lee's army. when me or you walk that hill we cant compare ourselves with them, they frequently marched twenty plus miles a day. On the second day those troops captured the first line of earthworks, those earthworks was probably the ones the federals were digging on the second day.

If you're talking Jackson's Corps, they attacked Culp's Hill on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Jackson's Corps did become the Second Corps in November 1862 and then was broken up following his death with Ewell commanding the Second Corps and A.P. Hill commanding the newly formed Thrid Corps.

And if you mean the Stonewall Brigade, they were a part of Edward "Allegheny" Johnson of the Second Corps and did fight at Culp's Hill on the 2nd and 3rd days.



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