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Who's to blame for the Battle of Gettysburg day by day?

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by oldreb1343, May 15, 2012.

  1. oldreb1343

    oldreb1343 Retired User

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    I want to know y'alls opinion on who's to blame for the Battle of Gettysburg, day by day, movement by movement, and reason why you think this.
     

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  3. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    In its largest context, Gettysburg, was the direct result of Lee's wanting to fight a climactice (or at least, decisive) battle on northern soil, to force a negotiated settlement of the War in the confederacy's favor.
    Ewell informed Lee that he would make a final attack to secure the Cemetary Hill height, as Lee wanted. But, insissted that he needed reinforcements to make the attempt(not a sure thing under the circumstances, anyway), Lee refused Ewell's request for the reinforcements, so , in fact, the decision not to attack was Lee's.
    On day Two and Three, Lee was forced by the reluctance of his subordinates to substitute his original plans, because he could not or would not command his subordinates.
    On Day Three, especially, Lee kept in command of the major assault, an officer who who had no confidence in the assaults success and predicted its complete failure.
    If it is the case that Gettysburg, was Lee's worst fought battle, then do we not know who lost the battle on all three days?IMO, it all boils down to a failure of Lee to command his army.
     
  4. DanF

    DanF First Sergeant

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    I'll stick with Pickett's assessment. The main reason the Confederacy lost at Gettysburg was those **** Yankee's!

    :D
     
  5. oldreb1343

    oldreb1343 Retired User

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    best answer ive probably ever heard
     
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  6. truthckr

    truthckr First Sergeant

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    They should have followed Forrest's maxim. If they got there first with the most, then Meade would have broklen his army trying to take Cemetary Ridge.
     
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  7. rhp6033

    rhp6033 Sergeant Major

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    In a larger sense, both sides (throughout the war) suffered from a lack of a plan to end the war. A common thread was "...if we win this...then they give up." You see it in McClellan's efforts to capture Richmond, without defeating the Confederate armies in the meantime. You see it in Lee's efforts to defend northern Virginia, and his invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania. On a wider scale, you see it in the British campaign against the American Revolution, Napolean's campaign against the Russians, or Hitler's campaign against the British or the Soviet Union, or even America's campaign against the N. Vietnamese. What happens if the other side simply refuses to quit fighting, when it has enough territory to either hide or retreat?

    I'm a big fan of Lee, and I understand his reasons for invading Pennsylvania. He couldn't stay where he was (it was foraged out). He couldn't retreat without falling all the way back to the N. Anna line, and leaving most of fertile northern Viriginia crops to be harvested under Union control. If he tried to stay where he was, his army would have been dimembered in a futile attempt to save Vicksburg, losing both Vicksburg and Richmond to boot. This left him with an offensive as the only option, and hope that he could capture provisions and scare the Union government into abandoning the Vicksburg campaign to boot. But as for a war-ending strategy, I doubt Lee - the realist - ever really thought of it as such. The option of seizing Baltimore or Washington D.C. was more a political sop to the war cabinet in Richmond than it was a realistic expectation.
     
  8. TDMD

    TDMD First Sergeant

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    I'm not convinced that Meade would have been dumb enough to bother to try. The onus was more on Lee to destroy Meade than the other way around - until the retreat/pursuit.
     
  9. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    If the situation looked bad enough after Day 1, Meade would have moved back to Pipe Creek and invited Lee to try again.

    Then again, moving an army in the face of an equal, opposing army is risky business. Maybe he was right to stay on that ridge with a cemetery.
     
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  10. TDMD

    TDMD First Sergeant

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    Indeed it is risky, but at least Meade had the cavalry handy that he felt he could trust to screen the retrograde back to Pipe Creek if he thought he'd need to do so.
     
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  11. truthckr

    truthckr First Sergeant

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    It's my understanding that Meade was looking to bring the battle to the confederates, but I must admit a lack of knowledge in this regard.
     
  12. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Private

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    I blame General Jeb Stuart for the loss at Gettysburg. If he had done his job, who knows what would happened.
     
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  13. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy 1st Lieutenant

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    Meade was pretty much looking to fight defensively against Lee right from the get go. One of his first acts as army commander was to send engineers to scope out defensive positions in northern Maryland, settling on Pipe Creek. He even went so far as to assign specific sectors to the various corps.

    R
     
  14. TDMD

    TDMD First Sergeant

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    Here are Meade's orders from Halleck upon taking command of the AotP:

     
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  15. TDMD

    TDMD First Sergeant

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    Did you know that Lee had more cavalry brigades with him than Stuart had with him?
     
  16. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Captain Forum Host

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    Eric Wittenberg's book 'Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions' gives a very good count of whose cavalry was where, in what force. He lets Stuart 'off the hook' somewhat with this, leaving a question mark over why Lee would not use the Cavalry he had with him as his 'eyes' when Stuart was absent. He also writes of exactly where Stuart was, ( under orders ) and why it had been fairly impossible to get a message through to Lee as to his position. I personally don't know enough from other perspectives to draw a conclusion, but Wittenberg seems to be fairly balanced through most of his book ( plus incredibly well researched ) so one has no reason to question his conclusions. I've learned not to make up my mind based on one book of course, but this one does help you view Stuart an awful lot more favourably than you would if you'd only read, say, 'Killer Angels'.
     
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  17. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    If Lee were just planning a Raid, taking his entire army, including artillery and transportation, would defeat that purpose.
    There was the option of reinforcing the West, where the war was in the process of being lost. Reinforcing Johnston (or Bragg) was no more a forlorn hope, than ending the war in Pa.(or even, just, getting supplies).
     
  18. oldreb1343

    oldreb1343 Retired User

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    Now yes i asked for the failures for gettysburg but if you go more specific and say why did the south loose at getysburg well that opens a new feild like i know i once said it can also be chamberlians fualt why the south lost at gettysburg if he hadnt held againt the 15th alabama the whole rear of the army would have been exposed but then agian you can also say if anyone hadnt done there job the south would have won but im just trying to get deep details on peoples opions ive read several books and got facts but we all know the true war will never be in the histroy books
     
  19. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Captain

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    Well, as already noted, the most direct causes of the failure at Gettysburg, on all three days, rests most solidly on Lee's failure to(in?) command.
     
  20. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet First Sergeant

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    From what I remember from the cavalry brigades Lee had the brigades of Imboden and Jenkins were rather new to the regular service beeing converted from partisans or infantry; and Robertson´s brigade was pretty green.
     
  21. TDMD

    TDMD First Sergeant

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    My point, of course, was to illustrate that Lee had cavalry units with him, and as army CO, had the right to select the cavalry units he wanted attached to the ANV. He also had Grumble Jones' brigade with the army. Even though many of the horsemen were green, the army CO should be able to assure himself that he could trust them to do the basic duties of cavalry. In fact, on the retreat, Imboden and his command performed admirably guarding the wagons of wounded and supplies from the Federals - and they were detached from the main body at the time, too. Bottom line, Lee was not blind at Gettysburg - he chose to be.
     

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