View single post by ckule
 Posted: Fri Jun 24th, 2011 05:06 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 23rd, 2011
Posts: 6

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All the comments are on point.  LRT would not serve as a gun platform, except for the one section.  Yet it did serve as a promontory with line of sight command of the entire field.  It was elevated, above battle smoke.  It was visible from below -- if not from the firing line, then from slightly behind it from command points either Union or ANV.  Moreover it was in direct line of sight with the summit of Culp's Hill, from which E. Cemetery Hill, Benner's, Oak Hill, and Seminary Ridge were visible.  While impractical as a major gun platform because of time constraints, a signal tower could easily and quickly have been constructed and manned by the ANV. 

But here is the key question:  if LRT had no practical use, why would Lee have tried so hard to have it?  Why did Meade commit so much to defend it?  Likewise Culp's, which had the same drawbacks?  Of course it offered the great advantage of enfilade perspective, but given that usage, it would surely also have been crucial in adjusting gunfire.  This would have induced Meade to abandon Gettysburg, affording Lee his  (partial) victory and enabling ANV to operate in Pennsylvania indefinitely.  I think Lee came to Pennsylvania with Antietam, not Chancellorsville, primarily in mind, and I think that Meade was less committed to cutting Lee off than to defending Washington.  In the end Meade fell into the perfect strategy, which was to run Lee down, and he did so (barely) by holding onto LRT and Culp's.

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