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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 01:22 pm
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ashbel
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Bama

Not sure it is a new theory.  Just an observation that I think most people would make.  Look up any hill.  The crest is a single line.  Look down any gradual hill and you will see the full field below.

Consider this.  Many of the missed rounds fired in the Civil War were fired too high.  There was a reason why the commanding officers admonished their troops to: "fire low boys." 

When you are on the crest of a hill and fire high what do you hit?  The rows and rows of troops behind.  When you are going up the hill and you fire high what do you hit?  Nothing.  Or in the case of Gettysburg - you hit General Meade's headquarters - well behind the lines.

 

 

 



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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:19 pm
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ole
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That is hogwash or worse.
Absotively! Even if Meade had weakened his middle, he had adequate time from Pickett's step-off to change things on his inner lines. And he did.

ole



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:21 pm
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TimHoffman01
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I seem to remember this theory was exmined a bit in an issue of America's Civil War.  Probably about two years ago.  I don't remember the exact issue but it was in the March timeframe and I couldn't find the article just now on their site.  I'll check my magazine holder when I get home tonight.  I DO remember it was a very interesting article.



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:26 pm
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ashbel
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Bama

Sorry.  I misunderstood your point.

As far as the Stuart attack on July 3, Bowden and Ward in their book "Last Chance for Victory" make this point as well.  According to them, the idea was to attack the Federal rear and divert attention from the Federal defense of PC.



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:29 pm
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TimHoffman01
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My first visit was to 1st Manassas around 1974.  I remember it was a slightly stormy day.  We mainly went through the visitor's center and their museum at the time.  We didn't walk the field much then, but I do remember getting up close and personal with some of the cannon.   Hey, I was only about 6 at the time.

It was enough of a seed at the time that I wanted to find out more.  Over the next several years I got to know that field pretty darn well.  Unfortunately it has been more than a decade since I've been able to go between work & family stuff.  Hopefully I can get the kids there this year.  I'm planning a lot of visits this spring/summer.  I actually plan on USING my vacation time this year.

Speaking of finding out more, I actually had my 8th Birthday party by the visitor's center at Chancellorsville.  I remember being astonished not long before that to find a group of Confederate soldiers "still there" when we were doing one of the trails.  I really didn't understand the concept of reenactments and reenactors at the time. One of the guys showed us how they had fun in camp with some period style playing cards and a pair of musket balls hammered flat on the sides and made into dice.  Pretty neat that.



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:39 pm
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ole
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The idea of a three-pronged attack on the third day is a relatively recent "discovery." Whatever the plans, they were poorly coordinated and simply didn't work as intended.

Ashbel: Appreciate your observation and explanation of high ground. Any rise, however slight, overlooking an open area makes a killing field. Haven't been to Gettysburg yet, but thoroughly understand that Cemetery Ridge isn't that much of a height. The attacking force has a thin, horizontal line up there as a target. That thin, horizontal line has an expanse of advancing troops as targets.

ole



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 03:41 pm
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David White
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1969 Vicksburg (unless you want to count Sabine Pass as my true first in the mid-60s). Seven summers later I was working there.



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 05:36 pm
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ashbel
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Ole

Thanks.  Your summary explains it better than mine.

David

Does that mean you worked with Ed Bearss at Vicksburg?  Does that also mean that you are the same David White that wrote a great article about Ed's talk later this month for the Austin CWRT newsletter? 



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 05:50 pm
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ole
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Only on the boards to you get to bash real scholars.

ole



 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2008 06:18 pm
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j harold 587
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Not wishing to argue with anyone, however Lee was just going with the generally accepted 1860 tactics for assault of a triangle defense. The fishook description did not come into use untill the late 1880s. The reasoning as taught at West Point was that you attacked both legs of the triangle to consolidate reserves and trains in the rear and when a strong drive collapsed the point of the triangle (or the center) the defenders would have difficulty not firing on their own troops while the troops from the break through had targets in all directions except their rear where their reserves were comming from. This also gives credibility to concentrating all troops on the copse of trees for the anticipated break through. Also after the second days fighting a CSA unit (Ga I think) reported breaking through, so Bobby Lee had good intel that a break through was not out of the question.  



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 05:18 pm
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Rebel Yell
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You are correct, J. Confederates under Ambrose Wright's command did break the union center on Cemetery Ridge on 2 July. However, as they were unsupported, they were forced to retreat.  As a result of, Wright supposedly told Pickett that getting there was easy, it was staying there that would be difficult.



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 07:55 pm
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Doc C
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Just finished the section in Coddington's book on Wright's attack. Coddington questioned Wright's reports of the area of his break through. Rather than resembling the area further north on Cemetery Ridge and the copse of trees Wrights description of the area is more similar to those further south on the ridge. Irregardless, Hill/Anderson provided no support for Wright thus his regiment couldn't have held against the union II and 12th corps.

Currently studying for the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide test to be hopefully given in December. This is my third reading of Coddingtons book. Have read Pfanz's series twice (which I feel is more detailed than Coddingtons book) and the majority of the major texts on the battle in addition to books on specific aspects - devils den, wheat field, cemetery hill, hospitals, retreat, etc. Visit up there about every 6 weeks. Any other suggestions for study from my esteemed colleaques out there.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 08:30 pm
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ashbel
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Doc

I would include "Last Chance for Victory" by Scott Bowden and Bill Ward.  It is a very well researched and thought provoking book on Gettysburg. 



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 08:52 pm
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Doc C
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Got it, read it. Still think of the myriad of books written on the subject, Pfanz's is the most complete and detailed.

Thanks,

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 10:13 pm
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Rebel Yell
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Wright's troops, I believe, reached the union line on Cemetery Ridge a bit south of the copse of trees.



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 10:20 pm
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Rebel Yell
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Doc, I definitely agree with you about Pfanz's books. I take them with me just about every trip and his work was extremely helpful when I was trying to follow the ebb and flow of the fighting on Culps Hill. Not to degrade Chamberlain and the 20th Maine, but Greene's defense of Culps Hill and its impact on the battle's outcome is often overlooked.

Have you read his book about the first day???

Also, have you seen any of Frassanito's books such as "Gettysburg, A Journey in Time"?



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 10:36 pm
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Doc C
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Reb

Yep, got'em and read'em. Great then and now photos by Frassanito. Battle of Cemetery Hill has already intriqued me. My ggguncle was in Hay's Brigade and the 9th La. It's impressive to stand at the top or bottom of the hill and see down the steep slope where the Tigers attacked . Will pose a question to the board, If Law's and Robertson's brigades had taken the round tops would it have made a difference? My take is that it would'nt b/o the nearby 2, 5, 6, 11, 12th corps would have stopped the flanking movement at the north face of little round top.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 10:56 pm
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Rebel Yell
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Doc, a good question and one that has been hotly debated for years. IMHO, taking the roundtops would not have been a decisive factor. However, if Cemetery and Culps Hill were taken, that would have made a big difference. By the way, I heard an interesting Gettysburg ghost story about the Tigers. The guide showed a spot (now paved over), which I believe would have been Winebrenner's Run where supposedly several wounded Tigers were washed away and drowned during the post-battle rainstorm and is now haunted by their spirits. The spot is almost directly across Baltimore Street from the Farnsworth House.



 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2008 11:11 pm
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PvtClewell
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Rebel Yell,

I agree with you about George Sears Greene's contribution at Culp's Hill as being seriously underplayed. One theory I heard is that Chamberlain, a college professor, lived for another 40 years or so after the battle and at the drop of a hat would talk and write about his part in Gettysburg to anyone who would listen. Greene, on the other hand, was the oldest general on the field — in his 60s, I think — and was the quintessential professional who did his job without seeking glory.

And then, of course, there was that movie...

Sears' book on Gettysburg is a good reference, too.

Doc C, regarding flanking movement: Well, maybe not the 11th Corps :)



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