View single post by HankC
 Posted: Sat Dec 27th, 2008 06:15 pm
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HankC
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Howard's conservative tactics at Gettysburg necessarily beg comparison with those of the lamented Reynolds on 7/1. Unluckily, criticism of Reynolds' tactics was mostly unheard of until rather recently.

Howard's approach to his indefensible sector requires him to preserve both a fallback position and his lines of retreat.

His deployment of a division on Cemetery Hill and advance of only 2 divisions makes a bad situation slightly better. At best, 3 divisions will little delay the Confederate advance on the plain north of town while the 1st Corps extricate themselves.

The 1st Corps, meanwhile is placed, against great odds, with a flank exposed to the CS 2nd Corps and poor lines of retreat - no roads and open fields.

The question in my mind is: why, especially with the Pipe Creek circular clearly detailing Meade's wishes, did Buford and Reynolds choose to defend positions on McPherson and Seminary ridges? Merely because a position is a good one, does not require it be fought for.

Won oneders if Reynolds, acting as a wing commander, wished to prove himself at grand strategy by 'improving' upon Meade's directives.

Buford knew the whereabouts of Ewell's 2 approaching divisions and both men knew that any 2 rebel divisions outnumber any single Union Corps and especially the 1st and the 11th, the 2 smallest in the AotP.

In the long term, the 11th corps survived the battle, went west and was consolidated with the 12th corps into the 20th corps. The 1st corps, virtually demolished at Gettysburg, disbanded the next spring and it's units were reassigned as needed.


HankC

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