View single post by Johnny Huma
 Posted: Sun Jun 22nd, 2008 02:24 am
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Johnny Huma
Johnny Huma

Joined: Sat Oct 7th, 2006
Location: Williamsport, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 105

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Hi Gettysburgerrn,
Just a thought on Lee pushing Ewell..Lee should not have had to push Ewell at all..Ewell was a capable commander and Lee knew it..Although he had not yet commanded a Corps he was a good Division commander. Some will defend Ewell saying that Lee told Him to take Cemetery Hill if Practicable and that would have left it up to Ewells discretion. To understand this one must understand how these Southerners talked to each other in that period. Lee's use of the term "if practiable" was a courtosy given to all his commanders when he gave orders..It would be like your boss telling you to take a letter and mail it but not to get hit by any cars if practicable..You see that would not have stopped you from trying to mail the letter..You would have attempted to mail the letter..So Ewell could have never known if he could take the hill if he did not try to take it. Seems lower subordinates seen that the hill could have been taken and wonder why they stopped..The best explanation is that Ewell just had a big victory and may not have wanted to press his luck which stopped him in his tracks..Remember success has many friends but failure is a lonley bastard. Ewell still had troops who were not hard fought as Gordens Brigade could have moved on the hill with no problem..Once the halt had taken place and the discussions about taking the hill set in it was too late to try because Hancock did a great job in rallying those troops with that lull in the battle. Ewell knew Lees style of command and knew what that command meant and used it as a scapegoat..One must also understand Lees after battle reports actually clearing Ewell of what should have been insobordiation..Why? Because Lee needed his Generals and had just lost Jackson and really could not afford to throw Ewell to the Southern polititions to eat him up and spit him out..Ewell knew he screwed up and thats why he made the statement that there were many blunders committed at Gettysburg and he had his share of them...As far as Lee pushing him his orders to take the hill was pushing enough and should have been carried out. One other command that was in question was the command "but not to bring on a general engagement"..Now there was the excuse that Lee wrote in for Ewell and to give him his out" Lets face it, at that point of the battle do your really think that Lee or Ewell thought that a general engagement was not happening and that what had just happened was a mere skirmish...No...Those orders were infact given to all commanders the morning of the 1st..If Ewell thought that a major engagement was not being fought would he have attacked at all..He actually pushed his advantage when he saw he fell on the Union flank and therefore was doing what Lee expected of his commanders and that was to take advantage of a good situation..I think Ewell was hesitant to move on solely on the basis of Early convincing him they needed support from Penders Div or whoever Lee could send..Infact those boys were fought a lot harder than Ewells boys...I guess we will never know the real reason that Ewell stopped in his tracks when the momentem he had was all he needed to take the hill and I believe he would have had no problem taking it..Such is History...


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