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The Night that Ended the Myth of Robert E. Lee’s “Superior Generalship” George Meade and His Conference of War at Gettysburg

Gettysburg_Council_of_War

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

It has been another busy and stressful day as I work, try to get all I need done before I retire and remain on active duty in just 17 days, help Judy with our very energetic bundle of puppy joy, Maddy Lyn, get some substantive work done on the house and try to get “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” ready to send to my agent. So tonight another section of one of my three Gettysburg book drafts that I hope to finish when I really retire.

This article is about how George Meade outgeneraled Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg focusing on the different was they learned of how the battle was going. Lee went with his gut feelings, ignored his senior Corps Commander’s warnings of disaster on more than one occasion, and made assumptions about his enemy and his own army that were incorrect throughout the battle.

His opponent, George Meade, only three days in command of his Army when the battle occurred did a much better job in using aa very effective intelligence section to know where every unit in Lee’s Army was, in assessing the battlefield by going where he was needed, and calling on the thoughts and opinions of his generals on the night of July Second following a climactic day of battle which was still going on as they met.

The article was edited and adapted as a vignette for Army Doctrine Publication ADP 5-0, The Operations Process. 

Peace,

Padre Steve+

While Lee took no counsel and determined to attack on the night of July 2nd little more than two miles away Major General George Meade took no chances. After sending a message to Henry Halleck at 8 PM Meade called his generals together. Unlike Lee who had observed the battle from a distance Meade had been everywhere on the battlefield during the day and had a good idea what his army had suffered and the damage that he had inflicted on the Army of Northern Virginia. Likewise during the day he had been with the majority of his commanders as opposed to Lee who after issuing orders that morning had remained unengaged.

Meade wired Halleck “The enemy attacked me about 4 P.M. this day…and after one of the severest contests of the war was repulsed at all points.” [1] However Meade, realizing that caution was not a vice still needed to assess the condition of his army, hear his commanders and hear from his intelligence service. He ended his message: “I shall remain in my present position to-morrow, but am not prepared to say until better advised of the condition of the army, whether operations will be of an offensive or a defensive character.” [2]

As he waited for his commanders his caution was apparent. Before the attack on Sickles’ III Corps at the Peach Orchard Meade had asked his Chief of Staff Brigadier General Dan Butterfield to “draw up a contingency plan for withdraw to Pipe Creek.” After that attack Alfred Pleasanton said that Meade ordered him to “gather what cavalry I could, and prepare for the retreat of the army.” [3] Some of his commanders who heard of the contingency plan including John Gibbon and John Sedgwick believed that Meade was “thinking of a retreat.”[4]. Despite his flat assurances to Halleck his position was threatened on both flanks and he “foresaw disaster, and not without cause.” [5]

In assessing Meade’s conduct it has to be concluded that while he had determined to remain, that he was smart enough to plan of the worst and to consult his commanders and staff in making his decision. Meade wrote to his wife that evening “for at one time things looked a little blue,…but I managed to get up reinforcements in time to save the day….The most difficult part of my work is acting without correct information on which to predicate action.” [6]

Meade called Colonel George Sharpe from the Bureau of Military Information to meet with him, Hancock and Slocum at the cottage on the Taneytown Road where he made his headquarters. Sharpe and his aide explained the enemy situation. Sharpe noted that “nearly 100 Confederate regiments in action Wednesday and Thursday” and that “not one of those regiments belonged to Pickett.” He then reported with confidence that indicated that “Pickett’s division has just come up and is bivouac.” [7]

It was the assurance that Meade needed as his commanders came together. When Sharpe concluded his report Hancock exclaimed “General, we have got them nicked.” [8]

About 9 P.M. the generals gathered. Present were Meade, and two of his major staff officers Warren just back from Little Round Top, wounded and tired, and Butterfield his Chief of Staff. Hancock action as a Wing Commander was there with Gibbon now commanding II Corps, Slocum of XII Corps with Williams. John Newton a division commander from VI Corps who had just arrived on the battlefield now commanding I Corps was present along with Oliver Howard of XI Corps, John Sedgwick of VI Corps, George Sykes of V Corps and David Birney, now commanding what was left of the wounded Dan Sickles’ III Corps. Pleasanton was off with the cavalry and Hunt attending to the artillery.

The meeting began and. John Gibbon noted that it “was at first very informal and in the shape of a conversation….” [9]The condition of the army was discussed and it was believed that now only about 58,000 troops available to fight. Birney honestly described the condition of III Corps noting that “his corps was badly chewed up, and that he doubted that it was fit for much more.” [10] Newton who had just arrived was quoted by Gibbon as saying that Gettysburg was “a bad position” and that “Cemetery Hill was no place to fight a battle in.” [11] The remarks sparked a serious discussion with Meade asking the assembled generals “whether our army should remain on that field and continue the battle, or whether we should change to some other position.” [12]

The reactions to the question showed that the army commanders still had plenty of fight in the. Meade listened as his generals discussed the matter. Hancock said he was “puzzled about the practicability of retiring.” [13] Newton later noted that he made his observations about the battlefield based on the danger that Lee might turn the Federal left and impose his army between it and its supplies. He and the other commanders agreed that pulling back “would be a highly dangerous maneuver to attempt in the immediate presence of the enemy.” [14]

Finally Butterfield, no friend of Meade and one of the McClellan and Hooker political cabal who Meade had retained when he took command posed three questions to the assembled generals.

“Under existing circumstances, is it advisable for this army to remain in its present position, or retire to another nearer its base of supplies?”

It being determined to remain in present position, shall the army attack or wait the attack of the enemy?

If we wait attack, how long?” [15]

Gibbon as the junior officer present said “Correct the position of the army…but do not retreat.” Williams counselled “stay,” as did Birney and Sykes, and Newton after briefly arguing the dangers finally agreed. Howard not only recommended remaining but “even urged an attack if the Confederates stayed their hand.”Hancock who earlier voiced his opinion to Meade that “we have them nicked”added “with a touch of anger, “Let us have no more retreats. The Army of the Potomac has had too many retreats….Let this be our last retreat.” Sedgwick of VI Corps voted “remain” and finally Slocum uttered just three words “stay and fight.” [16]

None counselled an immediate attack; all recommended remaining at least another day. When the discussion concluded Meade told his generals “Well gentlemen…the question is settled. We remain here.” [17]

Some present believed that Meade was looking for a way to retreat to a stronger position, that he had been rattled by the events of the day. Slocum believed that “but for the decision of his corps commanders” that Meade and the Army of the Potomac “would have been in full retreat…on the third of July.” [18] Meade would deny such accusations before Congressional committees the following year.

Much of the criticism of his command decisions during the battle were made by political partisans associated with the military cabal of Hooker, Butterfield and Sickles as well as Radical Republicans who believed that Meade was a Copperhead. Both Butterfield and Birney accused Meade before the committee of wanting to retreat and “put the worst possible interpretation on Meade’s assumed lack of self-confidence without offering any real evidence to substantiate it.”Edwin Coddington notes “that Meade, other than contemplating a slight withdraw to straighten his lines, wanted no retreat from Gettysburg.”[19]

Alpheus Williams wrote to his daughters on July 6th “I heard no expression from him which led me to think that he was in favor of withdrawing the army from before Gettysburg.”[20] Likewise the message sent by Meade to Halleck indicates a confidence in the upcoming battle of July 3rd. If Meade had some reservations during the day, as he mentioned in the letter to his wife they certainly were gone by the time he received the intelligence report from Sharpe and heard Hancock’s bold assertion that the enemy was “nicked.”

As the meeting broke up after shortly after midnight and the generals returned to their commands Meade pulled Gibbon aside. Gibbon with II Corps held the Federal center on Cemetery Ridge. Meade told him “If Lee attacks tomorrow, it will be in your front.” Gibbon queried as to why Meade thought this and Meade continued “Because he has made attacks on both our flanks and failed,…and if he concludes to try it again it will be on our center.” Gibbon wrote years later “I expressed the hope that he would, and told General Meade with confidence, that if he did we would defeat him.” [21]

If some generals believed Meade to be a defeatist it was not present in his private correspondence. He wrote to his wife early in the morning of July 3rd displaying a private confidence that speaks volumes:

“Dearest love, All well and going on well in the Army. We had a great fight yesterday, the enemy attacking & we completely repulsing them- both armies shattered….Army in fine spirits & every one determined to do or die.” [22]

Meade did what Lee should have done, he had been active on the battlefield, he consulted his intelligence service and he consulted his commanders on the options available to him. Lee remained away from the action on July 2nd he failed to consult his commanders. He failed to gain accurate intelligence on the Federal forces facing him and he failed to fully take into account his losses. Meade better demonstrated the principles of what we now call “mission command.”

[1] [1] Sears, Stephen W Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 2003 pp.341-342

[2] Ibid. p.342

[3] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.355

[4] Ibid.

[5] Foote, Shelby The Civil War, A Narrative, Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.524

[6] Trudeau, Noah Andre Gettysburg, A Testing of Courage Harper Collins, New York 2002 p.413

[7] Ibid. Sears p.342

[8] Ibid. Trudeau p.413

[9] Ibid. Sears

[10] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[11] Ibid. Guelzo p.556.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. Sears p.343

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[16] Ibid. Guelzo p.556

[17] Ibid. Foote p.525

[18] Ibid. Guelzo

[19] [19] Coddinton, Edwin Gettysburg, A Study in Command Simon and Schuster New York 1968 pp.451-452

[20] Ibid. p.452

[21] Ibid. Foote p.525

[22] Ibid. Trudeau p.345

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A Council Of War: Meade and His Generals the Night of July 2nd 1863

Gettysburg_Council_of_War

 

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

The past couple of days I have been bombarding my readers with articles about the Battle Of Gettysburg leading into the 4th Of July. The are all from my Gettysburg text that I hope eventually will find a publisher, and all have been on the site before. A modified version of this article will be a vignette in the upcoming Army Doctrinal Publication on Operations. I have two more in the hopper for today. I hope you enjoy,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

While Lee took no counsel and determined to attack on the night of July 2nd little more than two miles away Major General George Meade took no chances. After sending a message to Henry Halleck at 8 PM Meade called his generals together. Unlike Lee who had observed the battle from a distance Meade had been everywhere on the battlefield during the day and had a good idea what his army had suffered and the damage that he had inflicted on the Army of Northern Virginia. Likewise during the day he had been with the majority of his commanders as opposed to Lee who after issuing orders that morning had remained unengaged.

Meade wired Halleck “The enemy attacked me about 4 P.M. this day…and after one of the severest contests of the war was repulsed at all points.” [1] However Meade, realizing that caution was not a vice still needed to assess the condition of his army, hear his commanders and hear from his intelligence service. He ended his message: “I shall remain in my present position to-morrow, but am not prepared to say until better advised of the condition of the army, whether operations will be of an offensive or a defensive character.” [2]

As he waited for his commanders his caution was apparent. Before the attack on Sickles’ III Corps at the Peach Orchard Meade had asked his Chief of Staff Brigadier General Dan Butterfield to “draw up a contingency plan for withdraw to Pipe Creek.” After that attack Alfred Pleasanton said that Meade ordered him to “gather what cavalry I could, and prepare for the retreat of the army.” [3] Some of his commanders who heard of the contingency plan including John Gibbon and John Sedgwick believed that Meade was “thinking of a retreat.”[4]. Despite his flat assurances to Halleck his position was threatened on both flanks and he “foresaw disaster, and not without cause.” [5]

In assessing Meade’s conduct it has to be concluded that while he had determined to remain, that he was smart enough to plan of the worst and to consult his commanders and staff in making his decision. Meade wrote to his wife that evening “for at one time things looked a little blue,…but I managed to get up reinforcements in time to save the day….The most difficult part of my work is acting without correct information on which to predicate action.” [6]

Meade called Colonel George Sharpe from the Bureau of Military Information to meet with him, Hancock and Slocum at the cottage on the Taneytown Road where he made his headquarters. Sharpe and his aide explained the enemy situation. Sharpe noted that “nearly 100 Confederate regiments in action Wednesday and Thursday” and that “not one of those regiments belonged to Pickett.” He then reported with confidence that indicated that “Pickett’s division has just come up and is bivouac.” [7]

It was the assurance that Meade needed as his commanders came together. When Sharpe concluded his report Hancock exclaimed “General, we have got them nicked.” [8]

About 9 P.M. the generals gathered. Present were Meade, and two of his major staff officers Warren just back from Little Round Top, wounded and tired, and Butterfield his Chief of Staff. Hancock action as a Wing Commander was there with Gibbon now commanding II Corps, Slocum of XII Corps with Williams. John Newton a division commander from VI Corps who had just arrived on the battlefield now commanding I Corps was present along with Oliver Howard of XI Corps, John Sedgwick of VI Corps, George Sykes of V Corps and David Birney, now commanding what was left of the wounded Dan Sickles’ III Corps. Pleasanton was off with the cavalry and Hunt attending to the artillery.

The meeting began and. John Gibbon noted that it “was at first very informal and in the shape of a conversation….” [9]The condition of the army was discussed and it was believed that now only about 58,000 troops available to fight. Birney honestly described the condition of III Corps noting that “his corps was badly chewed up, and that he doubted that it was fit for much more.” [10] Newton who had just arrived was quoted by Gibbon as saying that Gettysburg was “a bad position” and that “Cemetery Hill was no place to fight a battle in.” [11] The remarks sparked a serious discussion with Meade asking the assembled generals “whether our army should remain on that field and continue the battle, or whether we should change to some other position.” [12]

The reactions to the question showed that the army commanders still had plenty of fight in the. Meade listened as his generals discussed the matter. Hancock said he was “puzzled about the practicability of retiring.” [13] Newton later noted that he made his observations about the battlefield based on the danger that Lee might turn the Federal left and impose his army between it and its supplies. He and the other commanders agreed that pulling back “would be a highly dangerous maneuver to attempt in the immediate presence of the enemy.” [14]

Finally Butterfield, no friend of Meade and one of the McClellan and Hooker political cabal who Meade had retained when he took command posed three questions to the assembled generals.

“Under existing circumstances, is it advisable for this army to remain in its present position, or retire to another nearer its base of supplies?”

It being determined to remain in present position, shall the army attack or wait the attack of the enemy?

If we wait attack, how long?” [15]

Gibbon as the junior officer present said “Correct the position of the army…but do not retreat.” Williams counselled “stay,” as did Birney and Sykes, and Newton after briefly arguing the dangers finally agreed. Howard not only recommended remaining but “even urged an attack if the Confederates stayed their hand.” Hancock who earlier voiced his opinion to Meade that “we have them nicked” added “with a touch of anger, “Let us have no more retreats. The Army of the Potomac has had too many retreats….Let this be our last retreat.” Sedgwick of VI Corps voted “remain” and finally Slocum uttered just three words “stay and fight.” [16]

None counselled an immediate attack; all recommended remaining at least another day. When the discussion concluded Meade told his generals “Well gentlemen…the question is settled. We remain here.” [17]

Some present believed that Meade was looking for a way to retreat to a stronger position, that he had been rattled by the events of the day. Slocum believed that “but for the decision of his corps commanders” that Meade and the Army of the Potomac “would have been in full retreat…on the third of July.” [18] Meade would deny such accusations before Congressional committees the following year.

Much of the criticism of his command decisions during the battle were made by political partisans associated with the military cabal of Hooker, Butterfield and Sickles as well as Radical Republicans who believed that Meade was a Copperhead. Both Butterfield and Birney accused Meade before the committee of wanting to retreat and “put the worst possible interpretation on Meade’s assumed lack of self-confidence without offering any real evidence to substantiate it.” Edwin Coddington notes “that Meade, other than contemplating a slight withdraw to straighten his lines, wanted no retreat from Gettysburg.”[19]

Alpheus Williams wrote to his daughters on July 6th “I heard no expression from him which led me to think that he was in favor of withdrawing the army from before Gettysburg.”[20] Likewise the message sent by Meade to Halleck indicates a confidence in the upcoming battle of July 3rd. If Meade had some reservations during the day, as he mentioned in the letter to his wife they certainly were gone by the time he received the intelligence report from Sharpe and heard Hancock’s bold assertion that the enemy was “nicked.”

As the meeting broke up after shortly after midnight and the generals returned to their commands Meade pulled Gibbon aside. Gibbon with II Corps held the Federal center on Cemetery Ridge. Meade told him “If Lee attacks tomorrow, it will be in your front.” Gibbon queried as to why Meade thought this and Meade continued “Because he has made attacks on both our flanks and failed,…and if he concludes to try it again it will be on our center.” Gibbon wrote years later “I expressed the hope that he would, and told General Meade with confidence, that if he did we would defeat him.” [21]

If some generals believed Meade to be a defeatist it was not present in his private correspondence. He wrote to his wife early in the morning of July 3rd displaying a private confidence that speaks volumes:

“Dearest love, All well and going on well in the Army. We had a great fight yesterday, the enemy attacking & we completely repulsing them- both armies shattered….Army in fine spirits & every one determined to do or die.” [22]

Meade did what Lee should have done, he had been active on the battlefield, he consulted his intelligence service and he consulted his commanders on the options available to him. Lee remained away from the action on July 2nd he failed to consult his commanders. He failed to gain accurate intelligence on the Federal forces facing him and he failed to fully take into account his losses. Meade better demonstrated the principles of what we now call “mission command.”

 

[1] [1] Sears, Stephen W Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 2003 pp.341-342

[2] Ibid. p.342

[3] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.355

[4] Ibid.

[5] Foote, Shelby The Civil War, A Narrative, Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.524

[6] Trudeau, Noah Andre Gettysburg, A Testing of Courage Harper Collins, New York 2002 p.413

[7] Ibid. Sears p.342

[8] Ibid. Trudeau p.413

[9] Ibid. Sears

[10] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[11] Ibid. Guelzo p.556.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. Sears p.343

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[16] Ibid. Guelzo p.556

[17] Ibid. Foote p.525

[18] Ibid. Guelzo

[19] [19] Coddinton, Edwin Gettysburg, A Study in Command Simon and Schuster New York 1968 pp.451-452

[20] Ibid. p.452

[21] Ibid. Foote p.525

[22] Ibid. Trudeau p.345

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Cemetery & Culp’s Hill Pt 3

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I am traveling with my students to Gettysburg this weekend and happen to be posting my newest additions to my text, these dealing with the battles for Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill which occurred on the night of July 2nd and early morning of July 3rd 1863. I hope you enjoy.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Brigadier General Alpheus William, U. S. Army

What happened next is one of the more complicated and confusing issues of the day. During the morning Meade had considered a spoiling attack against Ewell’s Second Corps using Twelfth Corps and other units on the Federal right. In order to facilitate this he allowed Henry Slocum to persist in believing that he was still an acting wing commander for the troops of Twelfth Corps in what was the Union right wing on the march up to Gettysburg, and the now cancelled Pipe Creek Circular. In the process, Slocum appointed Alpheus Williams of his First Division to head the corps. However, “Meade cancelled the attack but failed to explicitly rescind the entire order, expecting Slocum to return command of the Twelfth Corps by default. He did not. Instead, Slocum assumed that the attack had been cancelled that he still commanded the right wing.” [1] This led to a situation where Meade was unaware of who was actually commanding the corps, and created confusion about what the series of events that happened next. Without direct orders from Meade to relinquish command of the non-existent wing, Slocum chose “to cast himself in the more important role, leaving the tactical handling of the Twelfth Corps to Alpheus Williams.” [2]

In fairness “George Meade was so preoccupied with by his struggle to contain Hill’s and Longstreet’s efforts against his left flank,” [3] that he permitted this nearly catastrophic situation to develop. Longstreet’s attack on the Federal left, supported by the brigades of Rans Wright and Cadmus Wilcox forced Meade to pull troops from all along the Federal line. The Second Corps and Fifth Corps went in and as Longstreet’s attack progressed Meade ordered in reinforcements from John Sedgwick’s Sixth Corps and Slocum’s Twelfth Corps to reinforce his forces in the Peach Orchard, the Wheat Field and along the southern extension of Cemetery Ridge, “but the summons could not have come at a worse time for Slocum, who was growing convinced that Culp’s Hill was about to receive its own attack.” [4] The issue was how much of Twelfth Corps did Meade order Slocum to send to Cemetery Ridge?

Since a copy of Meade’s actual order does not exist we are left with accounts of the various commanders and staff officers. According to some accounts Meade directed Slocum to send “at least one division” to the threatened sector, an assertion also made by Meade’s son who served as his aide during the battle. Partisans of Meade and Slocum have argued about this since the battle, and historians tend to take the side of either general depending on how they interpret the numerous and often conflicting accounts of the evening.

Slocum clearly interpreted the order as a “request for his entire corps. He discussed the matter with Williams in his assumed role as commander of the Twelfth Corps. Both of them expected Meade to amend the order when made aware of the situation on Culp’s Hill.” [5] His actions support that assertion. After the war Slocum insisted that Meade had ordered his to “remove the entire 12th Corps from its position on the right, to one on the left.” [6] But Slocum did not immediately comply with Meade’s order to send the entire corps, if that indeed was what Meade had ordered. Williams later wrote that Slocum ordered him to “detach all I could spare – at least one division on Culp’s Hill.” [7] While Williams dispatched Ruger’s division to the south he retained Geary’s division on the hill.

Meanwhile, after consulting with Williams, Slocum sent an aide to Meade “to convey his opinion that at least a division should be kept on Culp’s Hill.” [8] The aide, Colonel Hiram Rodgers, returned with “Meade’s permission to keep one brigade rather than a division on the right.” [9] It was fortunate that Meade relented, and allowed Slocum to keep a brigade, but “Slocum’s appeal also demonstrates that Meade gave him no initiative, despite what some historians have alleged. Slocum tried to amend the order, Meade insisted. He clearly gave Slocum no choice in the matter.” [10] When John Geary got the order to take two brigades to the south he obeyed, leaving George Sears Greene to defend Culp’s Hill, “leaving some 1,400 men to hold a sector previous occupied by almost 10,000.” [11]

Greene was ordered by Slocum to “occupy the breastworks as thrown up by the corps.” [12] He immediately set to the task of having his brigade redeploy to meet the demands of the new situation. He had a difficult choice to make, he could extent the line to occupy as much of the fortifications that he could, which would leave the line perilously thin, or he could occupy a shorter section that would allow him to better concentrate his firepower. “Greene elected to do the latter. He filled the abandoned trenches for a distance of three regiments, kept to more back to cover his original position, and sent a fifth forward to stiffen the picket line…. Even to hold what he had selected, Greene had to take the risk of nearly doubling the front of each regiment.” [13]

While Greene adjusted his brigade to meet the new situation Geary marched his troops into deepening night following Ruger. However in another unexplainable mistake, he and his division lost their way in the dark and marched south, away from the battle and stopped halted near Rock Creek where it formed a line. Thus, two brigades of the division were out of the battle for four critical hours, leaving Greene and his brigade to make the best of the situation on Culp’s Hill. Blame can be assigned to Geary for not sending out messengers to find Slocum, and to Slocum for losing track of the division which had marched past his headquarters on Powers Hill as they moved south. Part of the reason for this might have been that Slocum assumed that Geary was operating under the orders of Williams who he had appointed to command the corps, and “some hours would pass before everyone realized that Geary had marched off the game board and needed to be recalled to Culp’s Hill.” [14] Thankfully for the Army of the Potomac the march cost nothing in a strategic or tactical sense, but it easily could have.  “Slocum referred to Geary’s march as “an unfortunate and unaccountable mistake…. And the historian of the 2d Massachusetts concluded that “it did not show much of a soldier’s instinct to take a road leading to the rear and follow it for two miles before halting.” [15]

Notes

[1] Ibid. Melton C. Sherman’s Forgotten General p.130

[2] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.395

[3] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.394

[4] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.347

[5] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.131

[6] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.194

[7] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.194

[8] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.395

[9] Ibid. Greene “A Step All-Important and Essential Element of Victory” p.114

[10] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.133

[11] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.395

[12] Greene, George Sears. The Breastworks at Culp’s Hill in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Volume III, The Tide Shifts Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel Castle, Secaucus NJ p.317

[13] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage pp.395-396

[14] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.399

[15] Ibid. Greene “A Step All-Important and Essential Element of Victory” p.120

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Gettysburg: Cemetery & Culp’s Hill Pt 1

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I am traveling with my students to Gettysburg this weekend and happen to be posting my newest additions to my text, these dealing with the battles for Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill which occurred on the night of July 2nd and early morning of July 3rd 1863. I hope you enjoy.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

culp's hill

On the night of July 1st 1863 Dick Ewell’s Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill prepared for another day of battle. Despite a significant amount of success on July 1st, Lee’s Army had failed to drive the lead elements of the Army of the Potomac off of Cemetery Hill, which Oliver Howard had wisely placed Steinwehr’s division and his artillery, and which both he and Winfield Scott Hancock recognized had to be held if the Confederates were to be defeated. As the darkness fell over the battlefield that night more Federal troops in the form of Major General Henry Slocum’s Twelfth Corps began to take up positions on Cemetery Hill as well as Culp’s Hill alongside the battered brigades of Oliver Howard’s Eleventh Corps, and Abner Doubleday’s First Corps.

At first Slocum and many of his officers seemed to “have had much apprehension that the Confederates would attempt a head-on attack on Culp’s Hill…or troubled enough by the likelihood of rebel movements to give any orders to improve their hillside positions by digging trenches or chopping down enough trees to form rough protective walls.” [1] The three brigades of Geary’s division of the Twelfth Corps entered the line to the east of the remnants of Wadsworth’s Second division of First Corps along the northern and eastern face of Culp’s Hill.

The commander of the Twelfth Corps was Major General Henry Slocum. Slocum was from upstate New York and entered West Point in 1848 at the age of twenty having already earned a teacher’s certificate at the age of seventeen. “Ability and activity had marked his whole life.” [2] One of his closest friends and roommate at West Point was Philip Sheridan who described the New Yorker as “a cadet whose education was more advanced than mine, and whose studious habits and willingness to aid others benefitted me greatly.” [3] Slocum graduated seventh in the class of 1852 which included George Crook who distinguished himself in the Civil War under the command of Sheridan, as well as Silas Casey, an engineer “whose later architectural achievements would include both the Washington Monument and the Library of Congress.” [4]

Slocum was commissioned in 1852 as a Brevet Second Lieutenant of Artillery and first served in Florida with the First Artillery, and then at Fort Moultrie in Charleston South Carolina. There he was promoted to First Lieutenant and began to study law. Slocum was an abolitionist but he was in favor of gradual abolition, and understood the mood of the South as the fires of disunion and secession over the issue of slavery smoldered. However, due to chronic illnesses that he and his wife suffered in the hot, humid, and fever-ridden climate of the Carolina Low Country, he resigned his commission and returned to New York in late 1856. There he passed the bar, went into the slat business and became relatively well off. He also became active in the Republican Party where he was elected to the State assembly in 1858. As an assemblyman he avoided the schemes that were pressed on him by other members, and maintained a well-earned reputation for honesty. During the time he also became very active in the New York State Militia where he served as a Colonel of Artillery. The governor refused Slocum’s request to raise artillery units instead desiring him to remain as his military adviser at Albany. This was not to Slocum’s liking and he earnestly sought command of an infantry regiment, which he finally obtained when he was appointed as commander of the newly raised 27th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

“Slocum was above medium height, with long, wavy brown hair that he combed behind his ears, a heavy brown mustache and sparkling brown eyes…. He seemed especially disposed to order and discipline and was attentive to details that he sought to master.” [5] As a regimental commander known as a disciplinarian, but also a commander who cared for and defended his troops, making sure that they were adequately led, trained, fed, and billeted. Sadly, the training regimen was cut short and the unit thrown into action at the Battle of Bull run where Slocum was severely wounded in the leg attempting to rally it when it was caught in the flank by Wade Hampton’s South Carolinians. While the regiment’s performance was uneven, it performed about as well as most other Federal units at Bull Run, however, “Slocum’s own conduct was solid and presaged his battlefield demeanor for the rest of the war.” [6]

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Major General Henry Slocum

After Bull Run Slocum earned rapid promotion for his performance. While he was recovering from his wound he was promoted to Brigadier General and made a brigade commander. When the Sixth Corps was formed in 1862 he was given command of its First Division. He “led that division with distinction in the maelstrom of Gaines Mill” [7] during McClellan’s mismanaged Peninsular Campaign. At the Battle of South Mountain during the Antietam Campaign, Slocum and his division distinguished themselves, in an attack that “routed the enemy and captured for battle flags.” [8]  Following that he was promoted to Major General and took command of Twelfth Corps when its commander, Joseph Mansfield was killed at Antietam. His rise had been rapid, nearly meteoric, even though his generalship style was described as similar to John Sedgewick: “competent, careful, cautious, and entirely without military imagination.” [9] He was now the second youngest officer in the army to attain that rank, despite having served just two years as a Lieutenant in the Regular Army, a few months as a Colonel of Volunteers and under two years as a General. He ranked second in the Army of the Potomac to Joe Hooker and was senior to every other corps commander including Reynolds and Meade. Like most volunteer officers he “probably had some political backing, but, if so, it was not particularly blatant according to the standards of the time.” [10]

He commanded Twelfth Corps at Chancellorsville where it was in the fighting and fought well suffering over 3,000 casualties. Slocum was highly critical of Hooker’s performance and was an early advocate for Meade assuming command of the Army of the Potomac. Slocum, who had no desire to command the army went to Lincoln himself to have Hooker removed.

At Gettysburg Slocum was served by two solid division commanders, Brigadier General Alpheus Williams, who though a volunteer officer was considered one of the best division commanders in the army, and Brigadier General Joseph Geary. Joseph Geary was another battle hardened volunteer who had fought with the Pennsylvania volunteers in Mexico and was wounded five times in the assault on Chapultepec. “After this exploit, he was named the regiment’s colonel and returned home a war hero.” [11] He went to California in 1849 was elected as the first mayor of San Francisco. A strong anti-slavery man, Geary was appointed to the unenviable position of Governor of the Kansas Territory where he had vetoed the Lecompton Constitution, earning him the enmity of President James Buchanan.

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Brigadier General George Sears Greene, U.S. Army

One of Geary’s brigades was commanded by Brigadier General George Sears Greene. Greene was “the oldest general in the army, though he was far from doddering or ineffectual. He was a hardy war-horse, a man who spent most of his time in the saddle, an officer who insisted on hard drilling and discipline in camp and hard fighting on the battlefield.” [12] He was “described as a strict disciplinarian and an officer with a rigid sense of justice,” [13] who did not win immediate affection from his troops, “but those under his command soon learned to appreciate his ability,” [14] his troops nicknaming him “pap” “pop” or “pappy.” Greene led his brigade up Culp’s Hill where it took a position next to the remnants of the Iron Brigade on the eastern face of the rugged edifice.

Greene was born in Warwick Rhode Island in 1801 and graduated from West Point second in a class of thirty five. He was commissioned as an artillery officer some six years before Robert E. Lee. He was a descendent of Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene.  His son Lieutenant Dana Greene United States Navy, was the Executive officer of the ironclad warship USS Monitor which fought the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first battle between fully steam-powered armored warships in the history of the world. Dana Greene distinguished himself in the battle when he took command of the Monitor when its commander was wounded.

He had graduated second in his class at West Point in 1823, a full six years before Robert E. Lee, and after 13 years of garrison and instructor duty as an artillery officer, left the army in 1836 to enter civilian life as an engineer. After Greene left the army he spent most of his time overseeing the construction of railroads in the rapidly growing nation, as well as designing “sewage and water systems for Washington, Detroit, and several other cities. The Central Park reservoir in New York City was his handiwork, along with the enlarged High Bridge over the Harlem River.” [15]

Greene did not serve in the Mexican War and when the call came for volunteers in 1861 he waited to join up. In January 1862 he resigned from work on the Croatan Reservoir in New York City and was appointed to command the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry, a unit composed of men from the northern reaches of the state along the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Greene was promoted to Brigadier General in 1862 he commanded his brigade and served as an acting division commander at Antietam, where he was one of the few Federal General Officers not to fail the courage of his men in the heat of that bloody action. He commanded the division with skill, and audacity in the fierce fighting around the Dunker Church, the Cornfield and the Eastern Woods, which was “the one bright spot in the abruptly dismal Union picture.” [16] Despite his excellent performance he requited command of the Division to Geary, “who had returned to the army after being wounded at Cedar Mountain. Geary outranked Greene. (Geary’s appointment to brigadier general predated Greene’s by three days), and “Old Man Greene” went back to leading his brigade.” [17] During the battle of Chancellorsville he would again take acting command of the division when Geary was incapacitated during some of the heaviest fighting. During the fight where Twelfth Corps was attacked from multiple directions, Greene saved his brigade “by having them clear a 200-foot-wide space in front of their position and digging in with bayonets, tin cups, and canteen-halves.” [18] Following the battle he again returned to command his brigade of New Yorkers. By the time of Gettysburg the old general “was a seasoned veteran with enough battle experience at or above brigade level to allow his superiors to feel confident in his abilities.” [19]

As Greene’s brigade took their positions on Culp’s Hill, Greene had them do something that was not yet commonplace in either army. They began to construct field fortifications and breastworks. This occurred after he met Geary to discuss the defense of the hill. Geary told Greene that “he personally opposed building breastworks,” as “the men became less than stalwart in the open field. But he would leave the matter to his brigadiers.” [20] Greene replied and told Geary that “the saving of lives was more useful than such theories and that his men would build them if they had time to do so.” [21] With Geary’s blessing Greene ordered his troops to start building the types of fortifications that had helped save them at Chancellorsville.

Working through the night with the ample materials at hand they dug in, an officer wrote “Right and left the men felled the trees, and blocked them up into a close log fence. Piles of cordwood which lay near were appropriated. The sticks, set slanting on end against the outer face of the logs made excellent battening.” [22]  Likewise, “any pioneer details “which had spades and picks” set up a battening of earth over the felled logs.” [23] They linked their positions with each other such as the Iron Brigade on its left, as well as Brigadier General Thomas Kane’s brigade to Greene’s right, “which extended Greene’s line down the southeastern slope, its members imitated their comrades.” [24] The line of fortifications took advantage of the natural terrain which on its own made the ground good for the defense, but when fortified made it nearly impregnable to assault. Greene’s old regiment, the 60th New York, was particularly valuable as “it was largely composed of men accustomed to woodcraft, and they fell in to construct log breastworks with unaccustomed heartiness. All instinctively knew that a life-and-death struggle was impending, and that every help should be used.” [25] Since the Hill was actually two peaks connected by a lower “saddle” which fell at the juncture of his and Kane’s brigades, Greene felt it prudent to “take the additional precaution of having his men construct a short traverse at the lower end of their sector, providing an emergency line facing the saddle.” [26] By noon the fortifications were completed and the Federal troops rested and waited behind their creation for the coming attack. Greene described his position:

“Our position on the front were covered with a heavy growth of timber, free from undergrowth, with large ledges of rock projecting above the surface. These rocks and trees offered good cover for marksmen. The surface was very steep on our left, diminishing to a gentle slope on our right. The Second Brigade was on our right, thrown forward at a right angle to conform with the crest of the hill.” [27]

Notes

Greene’s decision to fortify the hill was emulated by the rest of the division as well as some of Wadsworth’s troops, and the Greene’s actions was fortuitous would have a profound effect on the coming struggle for Culp’s Hill.

[1] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.345

[2] Tagg, Larry The Generals of Gettysburg: The Leaders of America’s Greatest Battle Da Capo Press Cambridge MA 1998 Amazon Kindle Edition p.143

[3] Melton, Brian C. Sherman’s Forgotten General: Henry W. Slocum University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London 2007 p.14

[4] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.15

[5] Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill NC 1993 p.91

[6] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.51

[7] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg  p.143

[8] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg  p.144

[9] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston and New York 2003 p.38

[10] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.91

[11] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg  p.155

[12] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg  p.162

[13] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.211

[14] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.162

[15] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.162

[16] Sears, Stephen W. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam Houghton-Mifflin Company, Boston and New York 1983 p.231

[17] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.162

[18] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.346

[19] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.162

[20] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg  p.325

[21] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.114

[22] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg  p.325

[23] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.346

[24] Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.287

[25] Jones, Jesse H. The Breastworks at Culp’s Hill in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Volume III, The Tide Shifts Edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel Castle, Secaucus NJ p.316

[26] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.287

[27] Ibid. Pfanz Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill p.116

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Disaster at Blocher’s Knoll

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Today another section from my Gettysburg text, this on the disaster the befell the Union Eleventh Corps north of the town on the afternoon of July 1st 1863.

Have a great day,

Peace

Padre Steve+

barlow_gordon

Schurz placed his own Second division under the acting command of Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelpfennig his senior brigade commander. Schimmelpfennig was a former Prussian Captain, an engineering officer, who had left the Prussian army to fight in the 1848 Revolution where he met Schurz and the two men became fast friends. When the revolution was crushed Schimmelpfennig, like Schurz fled Germany and was sentenced to death in absentia by the government of the Palatine region. He immigrated to the United States in 1853 “where he wrote military history and secured a position as an engineer in the War Department.” [1] He volunteered to serve at the outbreak of the war, and was appointed as colonel of the German 74th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Schimmelpfennig took command of the brigade when his brigade commander was killed at Second Bull Run, and he was promoted to Brigadier General by Lincoln in November 1862. According to an often told fable Lincoln supposedly promoted the German “because he found the immigrant’s name irresistible,” [2] but unlike so many other volunteer generals Schimmelpfennig was no novice to soldiering. It “took him aback to discover that American-born generals “have no maps, no knowledge of the country, no eyes to see where help is needed.” [3] He also criticized the method by which many American staff officers were selected, from their “relations, some of old friends, or men recommended by Congressmen,” [4] as compared to Molkte’s Prussian General Staff which prided itself on producing competent staff officers who could also direct troops in the heat of battle.

He too was a Chancellorsville and warned of the danger of the hanging flank and his troops were routed by Jackson’s, but as one writer noted “The brigade’s list of casualties indicates that it deserves more credit than it has been generally given.” [5] Schimmelpfennig too wanted to redeem himself and the Germans of his command as they marched to meet Lee again.

The First Division of Eleventh Corps was under the command of Brigadier General Francis Barlow. Barlow was a twenty-nine year old Harvard law graduate and Boston Brahmin was well connected politically with the more radical abolitionists of the Republican Party and had an intense dislike of Democrats. He volunteered for service and became the regimental commander and of the 61st New York Infantry. Though he did not have prior military training he “was a self-taught officer of resolute battlefield courage.” [6] His courage and competence were recognized and was promoted to Brigadier General after Antietam where he had been wounded in the groin by canister in the vicious battle for the sunken Road.

Due to his abilities the “Boy general” was convinced by his fellow abolitionist, Howard to command an Eleventh Corps division after Chancellorsville, but Barlow soon regretted his decision. Barlow, was to use modern terminology somewhat of an elitist and snob. He disliked army life and developed a reputation as a martinet with a boorish personality, who life in the army “very tedious living so many months with men who are so little companions for me as our officers are.” [7]

“Billy” Barlow was not happy with commanding the Germans, and he “disliked the beery and impenetrable Germans in his division as much as he disliked Democrats.” He admitted that he had “always been down on the ‘Dutch’ & I do not abate my contempt now.” [8] The feeling was reciprocal, his men considered him a “petty tyrant” and one wrote “As a taskmaster he had no equal. The prospect of a speedy deliverance from the yoke of Billy Barlow filled every heart with joy.” [9] As Barlow marched with his men into Gettysburg he had in his pocket a letter requesting to be given command of one of the new brigades of U.S. Colored Troops which were then being raised, something he felt was more attuned to his abolitionist beliefs and temperament.

Brigadier General Adolf von Steinwehr was another of the German’s and he enjoyed a solid reputation as a soldier. Steinwehr was a German nobleman, actually “Baron Adolf Wilhelm Augustus Friedrich von Steinwehr, a onetime officer in the army of the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbutel.” [10] Steinwehr was a graduate of the Brunswick Military Academy came to the United States seeking to serve in the United States Army and served in the Coastal Survey as an engineer, but was not able to get a commission. He settled in Connecticut and volunteered to serve at the beginning of the war. He raised the heavily German 29th New York Infantry. He was made a brigadier general in October 1861 and took command of the Eleventh Corp’s Second division in in the summer of 1862 when the Corps was still under the command of Franz Sigel. A Pennsylvania soldier noted that Steinwehr was “accomplished and competent, and deserv[ing] of more credit than he ever received.” [11] At Chancellorsville his troops performed well and did some hard fighting before being driven back, Howard considered Steinwehr’s conduct and bearing at Chancellorsville as “cool, collected and judicious.” [12]

As Howard and Schurz consulted on Cemetery Hill, it was decided that Schurz would advance Schimmelpfennig and Barlow’s divisions to the north of the town in order to anchor the right flank of Doubleday’s embattled First Corps. “As Schurz remembered it, he was to take the “First and Third Divisions of the Eleventh Corps through the town and … place them on the right of First Corps, while he {Howard} would hold back the Second Division… and the reserve artillery on Cemetery Hill and the eminence east of it as a reserve.” [13] Schimmelpfennig’s division led the way through the town and deployed to the north, Barlow’s division followed moving to its right.

Schurz had two missions, to protect First Corps right flank and also to “guard against the anticipated arrival of Confederates from the northeast.” [14] Schurz intended to bring his two divisions into line each with one brigade forward and one in reserve. Schimmelpfennig’s brigade was placed at a right angle to the flank of Robinson’s division. It was Schurz’s intention that Barlow’s division “extend Schimmelpfennig’s front facing north” by keeping Ames’ brigade as a reserve in the right rear “in order to use it against a possible flanking movement by the enemy.” [15]

Both divisions were very small, especially compared to their Confederate opponents, consisting of just two brigades apiece. Schurz estimated that the two divisions numbered “hardly over 6,000 effective men when going into battle…” [16] and the ground that they had to occupy, being flat and open without and without any geographic advantage was hardly conducive for the defense, but it was necessary in order to attempt to secure the flank of First Corps and to prevent Doubleday’s command from being rolled up by Ewell’s Corps.

With the heavy pressure being put on First Corps by the Confederate divisions of Heth, Pender and Rodes; and the arrival of Jubal Early’s division of Ewell’s Second Corps Howard had few choices, and realistically Howard’s “only course was to delay the enemy.” [17] Howard has been faulted by historians Stephen Sears and Edwin Coddington for allowing Doubleday and First Corps to continue to fight on McPherson’s Ridge instead of withdrawing back to Seminary Ridge or even Cemetery Ridge during the lull in fighting early in the afternoon. [18] However, in defense of Howard, the only Confederate troops on the field when he met with Doubleday between Seminary and McPherson’s Ridge during the lull were those of Heth and Pender, as Rodes’ division had not yet arrived. As such, Howard promised to protect Doubleday’s flank without full knowledge of the situation, a promise that “would soon prove rash.” [19]

In making his decision to advance it was Howard’s intention was to get Schimmelpfennig and Barlow’s divisions up to Oak Hill to secure the right flank, but by the time his troops were moving into the open country north of the town, Rodes’s division was already there and the guns of Carter’s artillery battalion soon found the range on the Union troops. Because of this Schimmelpfennig “had to post his troops on the plain facing northwest off the right and rear of First Corps” [20] and his troops were never able to “make their link up with Robinson and the dangling flank of First Corps.” [21]

Schurz’s small divisions now found themselves facing elements of two veteran Confederate divisions; those of Robert Rodes and Jubal Early. Unlike the battle on McPherson’s and Seminary Ridge the Eleventh Corps troops did not have the advantage of good defensible ground. Likewise they had to cover a front that was much too wide for their numbers without fast reinforcements from Third or Twelfth Corps, which would not come.

Oliver Howard was counting on the timely arrival of either Slocum’s Twelfth or Sickles’ Third Corps which were in reasonable marching distance of Gettysburg, however Sickles was attempting to sort out conflicting orders from Meade and Howard, while Slocum who had just gotten the now hopelessly out of date Pipe Creek Circular waited for hours after receiving Howard’s message before putting his troops on the road to Gettysburg. Coddington argues that Howard’s hope for reinforcement at this point “was both unrealistic and unfair to the commanders of the other corps,” [22] but others have questioned that point of view, especially in regard to Slocum. Slocum’s most recent biographer Brian Melton notes that Slocum seemed to believe that “Reynolds and Howard were actively disobeying orders” [23] and wanted Slocum to do the same, and “because he deemed it contrary to Meade’s wishes, he did not want to come forward himself to take responsibility for the fight, or “of becoming a scapegoat for a lost, politically important fight someone else started against standing orders.” [24]

Melton attributes Slocum’s reluctance to take command and send his troops forward was that he had been McClellanized as a result of learned behavior in the politically charged Army of the Potomac. As such he was hesitant to jump into a situation that he had no control and then be blamed for the defeat.

“What historians see in Slocum at Gettysburg is not so much a failure of nerve (though it can be described as such) but, rather, the triumphant moment of his McClellanism. Slocum, with his tendency to absorb the philosophies of his powerful superiors, displayed conduct on day one and day two of Gettysburg that looks like McClellan in microcosm. He was absorbed with maneuver, over-cautious, focused on retreat, and scrupulously concerned with the chain of command (sometimes conveniently so). Like McClellan on the Peninsula he found excuses that kept him away from the fight, and therefore the responsibility.” [25]

What the Union command situation does show is that in a rapidly changing tactical environment that orders, no matter how well thought out, can become obsolete as soon as soon as contact is made. There it is imperative that commanders and staff officers adapt to changing situations. However, in the Army of the Potomac, which had been formed and taught by McClellan, and had endured command shake ups and the political machinations of many of its senior commanders, Slocum found that he could not take that risk. Melton wrote, “no matter what his reasons, Slocum missed an important opportunity to play an important role in the most famous battle fought on this continent, Acoustic shadows and conflicting orders kept him away from the fighting when other corps desperately needed him. Instead of covering himself with glory that day, the best he can hope for is to be quietly excused.” [26]

barlow

Major General Francis Barlow

“A Portrait of Hell”

Without reinforcements Schurz’s divisions moved north out of the town. Schurz had two missions as he moved north, “to protect Doubleday’s right and to guard against the anticipated arrival of Confederates from the northeast.” [27] to do this he had to keep his line compact enough on bad defensive ground with little natural advantage and maintain a reserve to parry any emerging Confederate threats from the northeast. The first issue was that to meet these missions Schurz only had about 6,000 troops, and these had to be spread along a line beginning at the Mummasburg Road to the York Pike. Even so there was a gap of about a quarter of a mile between Schurz’s left and Doubleday’s troops on Oak Ridge. It was the best he could do and for practical purposes the two Eleventh Corps divisions were only able to form “the equivalent of a strong skirmish line along their broad front.” [28] Had Barlow remained in place his troops would have been in a better position to receive the Confederate attack and protect Doubleday’s right flank.

However, this did not happen. Barlow did not comply with Schurz’s orders to simply extend Schimmelpfennig’s line and keep Ames’s brigade as a reserve to parry any attack on his right flank. Instead, as he moved his division through the town, Barlow secured the permission of Howard to take a small portion of high ground about a mile further north, called Blocher’s Knoll. There was a certain logic to the move, “to prevent the Rebel troops then visible to the north – George Doles’s brigade, of Rodes’s division – from occupying it and using it as an artillery platform.” [29] But the advance was to be a disastrous mistake as it left Barlow’s division exposed to Doles’s advancing troops, as well as Jubal Early’s division which then deploying for battle along the Harrisburg Road in perfect position to turn the flank of Schurz’s divisions. When Howard saw that deployment he countermanded his order that had allowed Barlow to seize Blocher’s Knoll. Howard wrote, “as soon as I heard of the approach of Ewell and saw that nothing the turning of my right flank if Barlow advanced… I countermanded the order.” [30] But the aggressive Billy Barlow continued to advance and left his own flank exposed to the attack of Early’s division which was “deployed in a three-brigade-wide battle front that was almost a mile across – and overlapped the Union line by almost half a mile.” [31]

Barlow was the only non-German division commander in XI Corps and he had little regard for Schurz. “Without consulting or even notifying his superiors, Barlow issued orders that got his division moving toward that point.” [32] Barlow advanced Colonel Ludwig Von Gilsa’s small brigade with two sections of artillery to Blocher’s Knoll placing it on the extreme right of the Union line. Instead of maintaining Ames’ brigade in reserve and slightly to the right of von Gilsa to guard against any potential flanking attack, Barlow deployed Ames’s brigade on the left of von Gilsa’s brigade facing slightly to the northwest. Barlow’s decision to do this left von Gilsa’s right flank hopelessly exposed and gave him no reserve to meet any danger on the right.

The orders that Barlow had previously had from Howard to move forward to Blocher’s Knoll were predicated on Oak Hill being unoccupied and Schimmelpfennig’s division being able to occupy it before the Confederates could do so. Barlow, on his own volition, knowing that the Confederates had taken Oak Hill and were assaulting Robinson’s division on Oak Ridge decided to advance movement placed Barlow’s division “where Barlow wished it to be” [33] and not where Schurz or Howard expected it, with disastrous results. Schurz noted:

“But I now noticed that Barlow, be it that he had misunderstood my order, or that he was carried away by the ardor of the conflict, had advanced his whole line and lost connection with my third division on the left, and…he had instead of refusing, had pushed forward his right brigade, so that it formed a projecting angle with the rest of the line.” [34]

There are still debates as to why Barlow advanced but one of the most likely explanations is that he saw the unprotected left of Brigadier General George Doles’s brigade of Georgians from Rodes division and wanted to strike them in the flank. [35]

To be sure, the position on Blocher’s Knoll “offered a cleared crown suitable for artillery and a good line of sight up the Heidlersburg Road,” [36] provided that it could be supported but it had a weakness in that “thick woods began about one hundred feet below the crest toward Rock Creek, severely limiting the field of fire in the direction of the anticipated Confederate advance.” [37] Barlow’s deployment provided Jubal Early with the perfect opportunity to execute one the hard hitting flanking attacks that had been the specialty of his old superior Stonewall Jackson.

The instrument of Barlow’s division’s destruction was Brigadier General John Gordon’s brigade of Early’s division. Gordon was a self-taught soldier whose army service began when he was “elected Captain of a mountaineer company” [38] called “the Raccoon Roughs” in the opening weeks of the war.” [39] As Georgia had no room in its new military for the company Gordon offered it to Alabama where is was mustered into the 6th Alabama regiment. Even though Gordon had no prior military experience, he learned his trade well and possessed “an oratorical skill which inspires his troops to undertake anything. His men adore him….he makes them feel as if they can charge hell itself.” [40] After Manassas, Gordon was elected colonel of the 6th Alabama. He commanded the regiment until he was wounded five times in the defense of the Bloody Lane at Antietam. His final wound that day was to the face, which rendered him unconscious. He fell “with his face in his cap, and only the fact that another Yankee bullet had ripped through the cap saved him from smothering in his own blood.” [41] Before Chancellorsville the gallant colonel was promoted to brigadier general and given command of Lawton’s brigade.

Gordon’s troops hit the exposed right flank of Colonel Ludwig Von Gilsa’s tiny brigade and that force was overwhelmed by the fierceness of the Confederate assault. Von Gilsa was a professional soldier by trade who had served as a “major in the Prussian army during the Schleswig-Holstein War before immigrating to the United States” [42] from 1848 through 1850. After coming to the United States Von Gilsa supported as a singer, piano player and lecturer in New York, and on the outbreak of the war he raised and was commissioned as the Colonel of the 41st New York Infantry. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Cross Keys in the spring of 1862 and was made a brigade commander when Julius Stahel was elevated to division command. His first battle as a brigade commander was Chancellorsville where on the extreme Union right he warned of Stonewall Jackson’s flanking move, but his reports were discounted. Von Gilsa was a colorful man who won the respect of his men and “was notorious for his genius for profanity in his native German.” During the difficult retreat from Chancellorsville, Oliver Howard reminded the German Colonel “to depend upon God, and von Gilsa poured out a stream of oaths in German with such vehemence and profusion that Howard thought he had gone insane.” [43] Admired by his troops, one officer noted that von Gilsa was “one of the bravest of me4n and an uncommonly good soldier.” [44] This did not keep his new division commander Barlow from taking a dislike to him and arresting the German on the march to Gettysburg for allowing more than one soldier at a time to break ranks to refill canteens. Barlow reinstated Von Gilsa to his command at 1 p.m. just as his brigade was entering Gettysburg and beginning its march to engage the Confederates north of the town.

The position occupied by von Gilsa’s brigade “was at once a strong and dangerous position, powerful in front…but exposed on both flanks.” [45] Thus the exposed position of Barlow’s troops on Blocher’s Knoll provided the advancing Confederates the opportunity to roll up his division and defeat it in detail before moving down the Federal line to deal with Schimmelpfennig’s division. The Confederate attack engineered by Jubal Early was a masterpiece of shock tactics combining a fearsome artillery barrage with a well-coordinated infantry assault.

Colonel H.P Jones who commanded Jubal Early’s artillery battalion opened up a crossfire on von Gilsa’s brigade from its positions east of the Heidlersburg Road as Gordon’s brigade struck assisted by pressure being put forth by Junius Daniel’s brigade of Rodes division which was attacking Ames’s brigade from the northwest. The concentrated fire of the artillery added to the din and furthered the destruction among the Union men as Jones’s battalion’s fire “enfiladed its whole line and took it in reverse.” [46] The artillery fire from Jones’s battalion supported Gordon’s brigade as well as Early’s other two brigades, those of Hays and Avery as they advanced. “A prominent member of Ewell’s staff later said he had never seen guns “better served than Jones’ were on this occasion.” [47]

Von Gilsa’s outnumbered and badly exposed Union troops attempted to make a stand but were slaughtered by the Confederates; soon the brigade began to unravel, and then disintegrated. But it was not the complete rout posited by the brigade’s critics. It took “fifteen to twenty minutes of hard fighting for John Gordon’s men, assisted by some of George Doles regiments, to overrun Blocher’s Knoll” [48]One Confederate soldier later recalled, “it was a fearful slaughter, the golden wheat fields, a few minutes before in beauty, now gone, and the ground covered with the dead and wounded in blue.” [49] Another of Gordon’s soldiers noted “The Yankees…fought more stubborn than I ever saw them or ever want to see them again.” [50] Von Gilsa himself displayed tremendous courage in trying to stem the tide of the Confederate advance. He had “one horse shot from under him, but jumped onto another and desperately tried to stem the retreat. On soldier saw him ride “up and down that line through a regular storm of lead, meantime using German epithets so common to him.” [51] Despite his best efforts, just as a Chancellorsville von Gilsa was unable to hold his position and his troops fled through crowded and chaotic streets of Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill where their retreat was halted and they joined the troops of Steinwehr’s division and the other survivors of the First and Eleventh Corps troops who managed to escape the Confederate onslaught.

gordon

Brigadier General John Gordon

As Von Gilsa’s brigade collapsed Gordon “focused on the exposed right flank of Ames’s brigade” and Doles’s troops, now supported by Ramseur fell upon its left and “Ames’s outnumbered troops also collapsed” [52] even as that young and gallant commander attempted to advance his brigade to support Von Gilsa’s now fleeing troops. Barlow was in the thick of the fighting attempting to rally von Gilsa’s troops when he was wounded. Ames, the senior brigade commander took command of the shattered remnants of the two brigades when Barlow, went down. The wounded Barlow would be assisted by Gordon and “carried to the shade” of a nearby farmhouse by a member of Early’s staff. [53] Barlow recovered and after the war “he and Gordon established a friendship that lasted for the remainder of their lives.” [54]

Adelbert Ames was a native of Maine and had a stellar reputation when he entered Gettysburg. The young officer “graduated 5th out of 45 students in the Class of 1861, which completed its studies just after the fall of Fort Sumter.” [55] He was commissioned into the artillery and was wounded at First Bull Run where he was awarded the Medal of Honor. After he recovered he was commended for his service during the Peninsular Campaign. Ames then returned to Maine where he organized and commanded the illustrious 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry, and after Fredericksburg was promoted to brigadier general. “Like von Gilsa’s brigade, Ames’s came under fire from both infantry and artillery.” [56] After Chancellorsville he was promoted to brigadier general and took command of his brigade in Barlow’s division. Ames was a brave and capable leader who would continue to serve with distinction throughout the war ending up as a Major General of Volunteers and serving as one of Mississippi’s Reconstruction governors after the war. He lived a long and eventful life and was the last Civil War general to die in 1933.

Amidst the chaos of the retreat Ames worked with von Gilsa to “try to gather enough men together around a cluster of buildings along the Heidlersburg Road which served as the Adams County almshouse,” [57] and upon assuming command he succeeded in “slowing the retreat and establishing a second line when Avery’s and Hays’s brigades came crashing in on the right.” [58] However, this line too was driven back in great confusion as the brigades of Gordon and Hays, supported by Jones’s artillery hammered the thin blue line.

Schurz attempted to recover the situation by extending Schimmelpfennig’s division to the right, and advanced his reserve brigade under Polish born Colonel Wladimir Krzyzanowski to support Barlow counterattacking against Doles’s brigade. Krzyzanowski too was a refugee from Europe, coming from a region of Poland occupied by Prussia. “Kriz” as he was known to many Americans had fled to New York following the failed revolution of 1848 and made his living as a civil engineer. When war came Krzyzanowski volunteered for service, and was allowed to recruit “a multinational regiment that became known as the 58th New York Infantry, the “Polish Legion.” [59] Following service in a number of campaigns he was given command of a brigade in June of 1862.

Krzyzanowski’s brigade achieved some initial success against one of Doles’s regiments and for a time engaged in a furious short range shoot out with two more of Doles’s regiments. The opponents stood scarcely seventy-five yards apart aiming deadly volleys at one another without regard for themselves, an Ohio solider recalled “Bullets hummed about our ears like infuriated bees, and in a few minutes the meadow was strewn with…the wounded and the dead.” [60] Despite their gallantry Krzyzanowski’s troops were also rolled up in the Confederate assault when Doles and Gordon turned his flanks. Both of “Krzyzanowski’s flanks received enfilading fire and the brigade fell back across the Carlisle Road toward an orchard on the north side of Gettysburg.” [61]

As the situation deteriorated Schimmelpfennig ordered the 157th New York Infantry to support Krzyzanowski. The regiment advanced and engaged in a furious twenty minute fight, continuing the battle “in Indian fashion” until Schurz ordered them to retreat. The gallant 157th sacrificed itself buying time for others to withdraw and left over 75 percent of its men on the battlefield, when the order came, “less than fifty of the 157th were able to rise out of the wheat and follow.” [62] “So the horrible screaming, hurtling messengers of death flew over us from both sides,” recollected a New York soldier. “In such a storm it seemed a miracle that any were left alive.” [63] Krzyzanowski described the scene as “a portrait of hell.” [64]

Harry Hays brigade of Louisianans joined the assault on the collapsing Federal right while on the left Schimmelpfennig’s line collapsed under the weight of Doles’s attack, which had now been joined by the brigade of Stephen Ramseur. The proud Schimmelpfennig joined his troops in retreat. Inside the town he was unhorsed by enemy fire. In the town Schimmelpfennig was knocked unconscious “with the butt of a musket – “by the blow of a gun” – as he tried to scale a fence.” [65] By the time he regained himself Confederate troops were swarming all around, and to avoid capture he prudently “took refuge in a woodshed, where he remained in hiding the next three days.” [66] The attack of Early’s division supported by Doles and Ramseur “completely unhinged the end of the long Union line and destroyed any opportunities for resistance on that part of the field.” [67]

Howard was still looking for relief from Major General Slocum’s Twelfth Corps and seeing the disaster unfolding north of the town sent the First Brigade of Brigadier General Adolph Steinwehr’s division from Cemetery Hill to support the fleeing men of Barlow and Schimmelpfennig’s divisions. The small brigade of about 800 soldiers under the command of Colonel Charles Coster advanced through the town to a brickyard on the outskirts of the town. Before this small force could get into position they were hit hard by Hays and Avery’s brigades of Early’s division. The Confederates again had a massive numerical advantage at the point of attack with “eight big regiments to face Coster’s three small ones” [68] and they too were able to find an open flank and envelop both flanks of the tiny Union brigade. Avery’s brigade took them in the right flank and with both flanks turned by the advancing Confederates [69] Coster’s little brigade broke under the pressure and began to retreat leaving many prisoners to be collected by the Confederates. The commander of the 134th New York exclaimed “I never imagined such a rain of bullets.” [70] In its fight with Avery’s brigade which had the New Yorkers in a crossfire, the 134th lost some forty men killed and 150 wounded. Coster had entered the fight with about 800 soldiers but by the end of the afternoon over 550 were casualties, with “313 of them left it as prisoners.” [71] Coster survived the assault but resigned from the army a few months later never having filed and official report. [72] As the Union right collapsed and the Confederate pressure on Robinson’s division on Oak Ridge mounted, von Amsberg’s brigade, without the 157th New York found itself without support and was forced to withdraw. However, the sacrifice of Coster’s brigade “succeeded in checking the enemy long enough to permit Barlow’s division to “enter the town without being seriously molested on its retreat.” [73]

In his after action report as well as in other correspondence Barlow was acrimonious toward the German troops who he had so carelessly exposed to the Confederate onslaught on Blocher’s Knoll. He wrote “We ought to have held the place easily, for I had my entire force at the very point where the attack was made….But the enemies [sic] skirmishers had hardly attacked us before my men began to run. No fight at all was made.” [74] However, more circumspect Union officers do not back the gallant, but arrogant Boston Brahmin’s statement nor do his Confederate opponents. The Union artillery commander Henry Hunt wrote that it was “an obstinate and bloody contest” [75] while Gordon, whose brigade had inflicted so much of the damage on Barlow’s divisions wrote:

“The enemy made a most obstinate resistance until the colors of the two lines were separated by a space of less than 50 paces, when his line was broken and driven back, leaving the flank which this line had protected exposed to the fire from my brigade. An effort was made by the enemy to change his front and check our advance, but the effort failed and this line too, was driven back in the greatest confusion with immense loss in killed, wounded and prisoners.” [76]

A private of the 61st Georgia Infantry of Gordon’s brigade wrote that the Eleventh Corps troops “stood firm until we got near them. Then they began to retreat in good order. They were harder to drive than we had known them before….Their officers were cheering their men and behaving like heroes and commanders of ‘the first water’” [77]

During the retreat the redoubtable Hubert Dilger whose battery had wrought such death and destruction on O’Neal and Iverson’s brigades and Carter’s artillery while supporting Robinson’s division on Oak Ridge continued its stellar contribution to the battle. Instead of withdrawing his battery completely he halted four guns north of the town to support the infantry. “The four cannon immediately banged away at the approaching Confederate infantry and helped hundreds of Federal troops successfully escape the clutches of the enemy.” [78] When he could do no more Dilger withdrew to Cemetery Hill where his guns joined the mass of Union artillery gathering on that edifice.

Collapse and the Retreat of First & Eleventh Corps

The retreat of Eleventh Corps “southward through the streets of Gettysburg exposed the rear of the First Corps at a time when Doubleday’s troops were already having to give ground before the superior numbers represented by” [79] the divisions of Harry Heth and Dorsey Pender of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps. The First Corps had been battling Hill’s troops for the better part of the morning and for the most part had gotten the better of their Confederate opponents, inflicting very heavy casualties on the divisions of Heth, Pender and Robert Rodes. The fierceness of the Union defense of the ridges west of the town wreaked havoc on the Confederate attackers. The remnants of the Iron Brigade supported by the brigades of Biddle and Stone, Gamble’s dismounted cavalry, and Wainwright’s expertly directed artillery inflicted massive casualties on their Confederate opponents.

Notes

[1] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.218

[2] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.63

[3] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.166

[4] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.166

[5] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.139

[6] Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.38

[7] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.181

[8] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.181

[9] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.126

[10] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.162

[11] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.63

[12] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.132

[13] Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.198

[14] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.74

[15] Ibid. Guelzo . Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.181

[16] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, p.288

[17] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.74

[18] Ibid. Sears, Gettysburg pp.193-194 and Coddington p.303

[19] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.142

[20] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.140

[21] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.166

[22] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.303

[23] Melton, Brian C. Sherman’s Forgotten General: Henry W. Slocum University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London 2007 p.125

[24] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.143

[25] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.124

[26] Ibid. Melton Sherman’s Forgotten General p.128

[27] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.74

[28] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.76

[29] Ibid. Sears, Gettysburg pp.193-194 and Coddington p.212

[30] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.77

[31] Ibid. Sears, Gettysburg pp.193-194 and Coddington p.212

[32] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.217

[33] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.216

[34] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.77

[35] Ibid. From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership Greene p.78

[36] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.216

[37] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.78

[38] Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of Confederate Commanders Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge 1959, 1987 p.111

[39] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.262

[40] Freeman, Douglas Southall, Lee’s Lieutenant’s a Study in Command, One volume abridgement by Stephen W Sears, Scribner, New York 1998 p.41

[41] Sears, Stephen W. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam Houghton-Mifflin Company, Boston and New York 1983 p.242

[42] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.224

[43] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.127

[44] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.61

[45] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.128

[46] Hunt, Henry The First Day at Gettysburg in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War edited by Bradford, Neil Meridian Press, New York 1989 p.363

[47] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, p.291

[48] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.225

[49] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.79

[50] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.225

[51] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.128

[52] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.79

[53] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.188

[54] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.141

[55] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.129

[56] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.234

[57] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.187

[58] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, p.292

[59] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg p.236

[60] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.80

[61] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.80

[62] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.186

[63] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.225

[64] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.186

[65] Ibid. Tagg The Generals of Gettysburg p.139

[66] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative. Volume Two Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.477

[67] Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, p.292

[68] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.190

[69] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, p.241

[70] Ibid. Trudeau Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage p.241

[71] Ibid. Sears, Gettysburg pp.193-194 and Coddington p.217

[72] Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.190

[73] Ibid. Pfanz The First Day at Gettysburg pp. 267-268

[74] Ibid Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.79

[75] Ibid. Hunt The First Day at Gettysburg p.365

[76] Report of Brigadier General J. B. Gordon, CSA, commanding brigade, Early’s Division, in Luvaas, Jay and Nelson Harold W editors. The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg South Mountain Press, Carlisle PA 1986 p.45

[77] Ibid. Greene From Chancellorsville to Gettysburg: O. O. Howard and Eleventh Corps Leadership p.79

[78] Gottfried, Bradley The Artillery of Gettysburg Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville TN 2008 p.71

[79] Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History 1861-1865 Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis 2000 p.244

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Councils of War at Gettysburg: Lee & Meade July 2nd 1863

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

As I noted yesterday I returned from Gettysburg and another Staff Ride, and one of the questions that came up during some of our table talk, as well as on the battlefield was about the command decision process by which Robert E. Lee and George Gordon Meade and their subordinates planned, prepared and debated what to do on the night of July 2nd 1863, following the bloody, but unsuccessful attacks by Hood’s and McLaw’s Divisions at Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Wheat Field, Peach Orchard and Plum Run.

To provide that overview in one article I have encapsulated a number of chapters from my Gettysburg text into one article. The contrast between Lee’s decision to attack, his refusal to take counsel of dissenting voices and views of his subordinates stand in stark contrast to those of his opponent, George Gordon Meade, his subordinate commanders and staff. Their decisions shaped the outcome of the battle of Gettysburg, and were decisive in Lee’s defeat, and instrumental in the eventual defeat of the Confederacy, just under 21 months later.

I hope you enjoy,

Peace

Padre Steve+

Lee1

As night fell on July 2nd 1863 General Robert E Lee had already made his decision. Despite the setbacks of the day he was determined to strike the Army of the Potomac yet again. He did not view the events as setback, and though he lacked clarity of how badly many of his units were mauled Lee took no external council to make his decision. With the exception of A.P. Hill who came and submitted a report to him Lee neither required his other two corps commanders, James Longstreet or Richard Ewell to consult with him, nor took any action to visit them.

Lee did “not feel that his troops had been defeated” and he felt that “the failure on the second day had been due to a lack of coordination.”1

In his official report of the battle he wrote:

“The result of this day’s operations induced the belief that, with proper concert of action, and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery to render to the assaulting columns, that we should succeed, and it was ultimately determined to continue the attack…” 2

While Lee’s charge of a “lack of coordination” of the attacks can certainly be substantiated, the fact of the matter was that if there was anyone to blame for his lack of coordination it was him, and  even Lee’s most devoted biographer Douglas Southall Freeman would write that on July 2d “the Army of Northern Virginia was without a commander.” 3 Lee’s decision to attack on July 3rd, having not taken counsel of his commanders or assessed the battle-worthiness of the units that he was planning to through into his final assault on the Union center was “utterly divorced from reality.” 4 His plan was essentially unchanged from the previous day. Longstreet’s now battered divisions were to renew their assault on the Federal left in coordination with Pickett and two of Hill’s divisions.

In light of Lee’s belief that “a lack of coordination” was responsible for the failures of July 2nd it would have been prudent for him to ensure such coordination happened on the night of July 2nd. “Lee would have done well to have called out his three lieutenants to confer with them and spell out exactly what he wanted. That was not the way he did things however…” 5

Lee knew about the heavy losses among his key leaders but “evidently very little was conveyed to him regarding the condition of the units engaged this day.” 6 This certainly had to be because during the day his only view of the battlefield was from Seminary Ridge through binoculars and because he did not get first hand reports from the commanders involved. Lee was undeterred and according to some who saw Lee that night he seemed confident noting that when Hill reported he shook his and said “It is well, General,…Everything is well.” 7

It was not an opinion that Lee’s subordinates shared. Ewell and his subordinates were told to renew their attack on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill on the night of July 2nd, but “he and his generals believed more than ever that a daylight assault against the ranked guns on Cemetery Hill would be suicidal-Harry Hays said that such an attack would invite “nothing more than slaughter…” 8

LongstreetJ_main

James Longstreet was now more settled in his opposition to another such frontal attack and shortly after dawn when Lee visited him to deliver the order to attack again argued for a flanking movement around the Federal left. Lee’s order was for Longstreet to “attack again the next morning” according to the “general plan of July 2nd.” 9 Longstreet had not wanted to attack the previous day and when Lee came to him Longstreet again attempted to persuade Lee of his desire to turn the Federal flank. “General, I have had my scouts out all night, and I find that you still have an excellent opportunity to move around to the right of Meade’s army and maneuver him into attacking us.” 10

Lee would have nothing of it. He looked at his “Old Warhorse” and as he had done the previous day insisted: “The enemy is there,” he said, pointing northeast as he spoke, “and I am going to strike him.” 11 Longstreet’s gloom deepened and he wrote that he felt “it was my duty to express my convictions.” He bluntly told Lee:

“General, I have been a soldier all of my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions and armies, and should know, as well as any one, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arranged for battle can take that position.” 12

But Lee was determined to force his will on both his subordinates and the battle. Lee was convinced that the plan could succeed while Longstreet “was certain” that the plan “was misguided and doomed to fail.” 13 Longstreet, now realized that further arguments were in vain recalled that Lee “was impatient of listening, and tired of talking, and nothing was left but to proceed.” 14

Even a consultation with Brigadier General William Wofford whose brigade had help crush Sickle’s III Corps at the Peach Orchard and had nearly gotten to the crest of Cemetery Ridge could not alter Lee’s plan. Wofford had to break off his attack on July 2nd when he realized that there were no units to support him. Lee asked if Wofford could “go there again” to which Wofford replied “No, General I think not.” Lee asked “why not” and Wofford explained: “General, the enemy have had all night to intrench and reinforce. I had been pursuing a broken enemy, and now the situation is very different.” 15

The attack would go forward despite Longstreet’s objections and the often unspoken concerns of others who had the ear of Lee, or who would carry out the attack. Walter Taylor of Lee’s staff wrote to his sister a few days after the attack the “position was impregnable to any such force as ours” while Pickett’s brigadier Richard Garnett remarked “this is a desperate thing to attempt” and Lewis Armistead said “the slaughter will be terrible.” 16

Pickett’s fresh division would lead the attack supported by Johnston Pettigrew commanding the wounded Harry Heth’s division of Hill’s Third Corps and Isaac Trimble commanding two brigades of Pender’s division, Trimble having been given command just minutes prior to the artillery bombardment. 17 On the command side few of the commanders had commanded alongside each other before July 3rd. Trimble had just recovered from wounds had never been with his men. Pettigrew had been given command when Pender was wounded was still new and relatively untested, and Pickett’s three brigadiers and their brigades had never fought together. Two of the divisions had never served under Longstreet. From a command perspective where relationships and trust count as much as strength and numbers the situation was nearly as bad is it could be. Although the Confederates massed close to 170 cannon on Seminary Ridge to support the attack ammunition was in short supply and the Lieutenant Colonel Porter Alexander who had been tasked with coordinating fires only controlled the guns of First Corps.

The assaulting troops would attack with their right flank exposed to deadly enfilade fire from Federal artillery and with the left flank unsupported and exposed to such fires from Union artillery on Cemetery Hill. It was a disaster waiting to happen. Longstreet noted “Never was I so depressed as on that day…” 18

general-george-meade

While Lee took no counsel and determined to attack on the night of July 2nd little more than two miles away Major General George Meade took no chances. After sending a message to Henry Halleck at 8 PM Meade called his generals together. Unlike Lee who had observed the battle from a distance Meade had been everywhere on the battlefield during the day and had a good idea what his army had suffered and the damage that he had inflicted on the Army of Northern Virginia. Likewise during the day he had been with the majority of his commanders as opposed to Lee who after issuing orders that morning had remained unengaged, as was noted by the British observer Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Fremantle who wrote that during the “whole time the firing continued, he sent only one message, and only received one report.” 19

Meade wired Halleck that evening: “The enemy attacked me about 4 P.M. this day…and after one of the severest contests of the war was repulsed at all points.” 20 However Meade, realizing that caution was not a vice still needed to better assess the condition of his army, hear his commanders and hear from his intelligence service, ended his message: “I shall remain in my present position to-morrow, but am not prepared to say until better advised of the condition of the army, whether operations will be of an offensive or a defensive character.” 21

As Meade waited for his commanders his caution was apparent. Before the attack on Sickles’ III Corps at the Peach Orchard Meade had asked his Chief of Staff Brigadier General Dan Butterfield to “draw up a contingency plan for withdraw to Pipe Creek.” After the attack on Sickles Alfred Pleasanton said that Meade ordered him to “gather what cavalry I could, and prepare for the retreat of the army.” 22 Some of his commanders who heard of the contingency plan including John Gibbon and John Sedgwick believed that Meade was “thinking of a retreat.” 23. Despite Meade’s  flat assurances to Halleck  his army’s position had been threatened on both flanks, though both were now solidly held, but some of his subordinates believed, maybe through the transference of their own doubts, that Meade “foresaw disaster, and not without cause.” 24

In assessing Meade’s conduct it has to be concluded that while he had determined to remain, that he was smart enough to plan of the worst and to consult his commanders and staff in making his decision. Meade wrote to his wife that evening “for at one time things looked a little blue,…but I managed to get up reinforcements in time to save the day….The most difficult part of my work is acting without correct information on which to predicate action.” 25

Gettysburg_Council_of_War

Meade called Colonel George Sharpe from the Bureau of Military Information to meet with him, Hancock and Slocum at the cottage on the Taneytown Road where he made his headquarters. Sharpe and his aide explained the enemy situation. Sharpe noted “nearly 100 Confederate regiments in action Wednesday and Thursday” and that “not one of those regiments belonged to Pickett.” He then reported with confidence that indicated that “Pickett’s division has just come up and is bivouac.” 26

It was the assurance that Meade needed as his commanders came together. When Sharpe concluded his report Hancock exclaimed “General, we have got them nicked.” 27

About 9 P.M. the generals gathered. Present were Meade, and two of his major staff officers Warren just back from Little Round Top, wounded and tired, and Butterfield his Chief of Staff. Hancock action as a Wing Commander was there with Gibbon now commanding II Corps, Slocum of XII Corps with Williams. John Newton a division commander from VI Corps who had just arrived on the battlefield now commanding I Corps was present along with Oliver Howard of XI Corps, John Sedgwick of VI Corps, George Sykes of V Corps and David Birney, now commanding what was left of the wounded Dan Sickles’ III Corps. Pleasanton was off with the cavalry and Hunt attending to the artillery.

The meeting began and John Gibbon noted that it “was at first very informal and in the shape of a conversation….” 28 The condition of the army was discussed and it was believed that now only about 58,000 troops were available to fight. Birney honestly described the condition of III Corps noting that “his corps was badly chewed up, and that he doubted that it was fit for much more.” 29 Newton who had just arrived was quoted by Gibbon as saying that Gettysburg was “a bad position” and that “Cemetery Hill was no place to fight a battle in.” 20 The remarks sparked a serious discussion with Meade asking the assembled generals “whether our army should remain on that field and continue the battle, or whether we should change to some other position.” 31

The reactions to the question showed that the army commanders still had plenty of fight in the. Meade listened as his generals discussed the matter. Hancock said he was “puzzled about the practicability of retiring.” 32 Newton later noted that he made his observations about the battlefield based on his belief that that Lee might turn the Federal left and impose his army between it and its supplies, as Longstreet However Newton and the other commanders agreed that pulling back “would be a highly dangerous maneuver to attempt in the immediate presence of the enemy.” 33

Finally Butterfield, no friend of Meade and one of the McClellan and Hooker political cabal who Meade had retained when he took command posed three questions to the assembled generals:

“Under existing circumstances, is it advisable for this army to remain in its present position, or retire to another nearer its base of supplies?

It being determined to remain in present position, shall the army attack or wait the attack of the enemy?

If we wait attack, how long?” 34

Gibbon as the junior officer present said “Correct the position of the army…but do not retreat.” Williams counseled “stay,” as did Birney and Sykes, and Newton, who after briefly arguing the dangers finally agreed. Oliver Howard not only recommended remaining but “even urged an attack if the Confederates stayed their hand.” Hancock who earlier voiced his opinion to Meade that “we have them nicked” added “with a touch of anger, “Let us have no more retreats. The Army of the Potomac has had too many retreats….Let this be our last retreat.” Sedgwick of VI Corps voted “remain” and finally Slocum uttered just three words “stay and fight.” 35

None of Meade’s assembled commanders counseled an immediate attack; all recommended remaining at least another day. When the discussion concluded Meade told his generals “Well gentlemen…the question is settled. We remain here.” 36

Some present believed that Meade was looking for a way to retreat to a stronger position, that he had been rattled by the events of the day. Slocum believed that “but for the decision of his corps commanders” that Meade and the Army of the Potomac “would have been in full retreat…on the third of July.” 37 Meade would deny such accusations before Congressional committees the following year as Radical Republicans in Congress sought to have him relieved for political reasons.

Much of the criticism of his command decisions during the battle were made by political partisans associated with the military cabal of Hooker, Butterfield and Sickles as well as Radical Republicans who believed that Meade was a Copperhead. Both Butterfield and Birney accused Meade before the committee of wanting to retreat and “put the worst possible interpretation on Meade’s assumed lack of self-confidence without offering any real evidence to substantiate it.” Edwin Coddington notes “that Meade, other than contemplating a slight withdraw to straighten his lines, wanted no retreat from Gettysburg.” 38

Alpheus Williams of XII Corps, wrote to his daughters on July 6th regarding his beliefs about Meade on the night of July 2nd. “I heard no expression from him which led me to think that he was in favor of withdrawing the army from before Gettysburg.” 39 Likewise the message sent by Meade to Halleck indicates Meade’s own confidence in the upcoming battle of July 3rd. If Meade had some reservations during the day, as he mentioned in the letter to his wife they certainly were gone by the time he received the intelligence report from Sharpe and heard Hancock’s bold assertion that the enemy was “nicked.”

As the meeting broke up after shortly after midnight and the generals returned to their commands Meade pulled Gibbon aside. Gibbon with II Corps had the Federal center on Cemetery Ridge. Meade told him “If Lee attacks tomorrow, it will be in your front.” Gibbon queried as to why Meade thought this and Meade continued “Because he has made attacks on both our flanks and failed,…and if he concludes to try it again it will be on our center.” Gibbon wrote years later “I expressed the hope that he would, and told General Meade with confidence, that if he did we would defeat him.” 40

If some of his generals and political opponents believed Meade to be a defeatist,  that defeatism was not present in his private correspondence. He wrote to his wife early in the morning of July 3rd displaying a private confidence that speaks volumes: “Dearest love, All well and going on well in the Army. We had a great fight yesterday, the enemy attacking & we completely repulsing them- both armies shattered….Army in fine spirits & every one determined to do or die.” 41

The contrast between Lee’s and Meade’s decision making process is Meade did what Lee should have done, he had been active on the battlefield, he consulted his intelligence service and he consulted his commanders on the options available to him. Lee remained away from the action on July 2nd he failed to consult his commanders. He failed to gain accurate intelligence on the Federal forces facing him and he failed to fully take into account his losses. Meade better demonstrated the principles of what we now call “mission command.”

Notes

1 Freeman, Douglas Southall, Lee’s Lieutenant’s a Study in Command, One volume abridgement by Stephen W Sears, Scribner, New York 1998 p.558

2 Lee, Robert E, Reports of Robert E Lee, C.S. Army, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia Campaign Report Dated January 20th 1864. Amazon Kindle Edition location 594 of 743

3 Freeman, Douglas S. R.E. Lee volume 3 Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1935 p.150

4 Sears, Stephen W Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 2003 p.349

5 Coddinton, Edwin Gettysburg, A Study in Command Simon and Schuster New York 1968 p.455

6 Trudeau, Noah Andre Gettysburg, A Testing of Courage Harper Collins, New York 2002 p.4117 Ibid p.412

8 Ibid. p.347

9 Ibid. p.430

10 Wert, Jeffry General James Longstreet, the Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier A Tuchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York 1993 p.283

11 Foote, Shelby The Civil War, A Narrative, Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.529 12 Ibid. Wert p.283

13 Ibid. Sears p.349

14 Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.377

15 Ibid. Foote p.531

16 Ibid. Wert p.287

17 Ibid. Freeman p.589

18 Ibid. Wert p.290

19 Fremantle, Arthur Three Months in the Southern States, April- June 1863 William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London 1863 Amazon Kindle edition p.266

20 Sears, Stephen W Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 2003 pp.341-342

21 Ibid. p.342

22 Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.355

23 Ibid.

24 Foote, Shelby The Civil War, A Narrative, Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.524

25 Trudeau, Noah Andre Gettysburg, A Testing of Courage Harper Collins, New York 2002 p.413

26 Ibid. Sears p.342

27 Ibid. Trudeau p.413

28 Ibid. Sears p.342

29 Ibid. Trudeau p.415

30 Ibid. Guelzo p.556

31 Ibid. Guelzo p.556

32 Ibid. Sears p.343

33 Ibid. Sears p.343

34 Ibid. Trudeau p.415

35 Ibid. Guelzo p.556

36 Ibid. Foote p.525

37 Ibid. Guelzo

38 Coddinton, Edwin Gettysburg, A Study in Command Simon and Schuster New York 1968 pp.451-452

39 Ibid. p.452

40 Ibid. Foote p.525

41 Ibid. Trudeau p.345

 

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“Well, We May as Well Fight it out Here” Meade Decides to Fight at Gettysburg

general-george-meade

“General Meade will commit no blunder in my front, and if I commit one he will make haste to take advantage of it.” Robert E Lee June 28th 1863

The choosing of the place to give battle, at any level of war, but particularly at the operational level is always of the utmost importance and has been so from time immemorial. Despite advances in technology terrain and weather are major factors that a commander or staff must consider in terms of their courses of action. Knowing the terrain features as well as the infrastructure such as road networks that they are operating on allows commanders to choose courses of action which accentuate their strengths and expose their opponent’s weaknesses. To understand this is a key part of Course of Action (COA) development, Operational Art and Operational Design as well as analyzing Centers of Gravity, especially in determining decisive points.

While the commanders at Gettysburg did not use such terminology, they did understand the effects of terrain and weather, friction and the importance of occupying “good ground.” Our understanding of these concepts can help us draw from the actions of the commanders at Gettysburg lessons that we can employ today, despite the vast changes in technology and expansion of the battlefield.

As he looked at the dispositions of the Confederate army on June 30th George Gordon Meade “felt he had move his forces in such a way as to challenge the enemy advance while at the same time protecting Washington and Baltimore.” 1 To do this he decided to concentrate the Army of the Potomac along what is known as the Pipe Creek line, a line along Parr’s Ridge just behind Pipe Creek to the south of Meade’s Taneytown headquarters. As an engineer Meade recognized the The decision was made because he realized that his advance had caused Lee’s army to abandon its threatening movement toward Harrisburg and the Susquehanna and was concentrating in the general area of Cashtown, South Mountain and possibly advancing toward Gettysburg.

The Pipe Creek line offered Meade a number of advantages; “it covered his own supply line and blocked the direct route to Baltimore.” 2 The positions of his intrenched army there would be “almost impossible to storm by frontal attack” 3 as well as allow his army to concentrate quickly. By placing himself in that position Meade believed that it would force Lee to attack him on good ground of his own choosing, offer him the chance to attack should Lee divide his forces, or by allowing Lee to exhaust his forage and supplies to withdraw from Pennsylvania without giving battle. Meade’s intention at Pipe Creek was to fight the “kind of battle he was to fight at Gettysburg.” 4

However Meade’s carefully laid plan became a victim of circumstances as events progressed during the evening of June 30th and morning of July 1st. When Reynolds was told by Buford that contact had been made and the Confederates were advancing on Gettysburg he brought I Corps and XI Corps up as quickly as he could and issued orders for III Corps under Sickles to join them at Gettysburg.

About 1130 a.m. Meade received word from John Reynolds’ aide Captain Stephen Weld that Reynolds had engaged the enemy at Gettysburg and had not received Meade’s Pipe Creek circular, which jeopardized his plan. Meade, having not known that Reynolds was not acting on his latest plan had assumed that Reynolds was conducting a temporary holding action at Gettysburg, but at 1 p.m. he was given the message that “Reynolds was dead or severely wounded and that Otis Howard was in command on the field.” 5 At this point Meade wasted no time and appointed Winfield Scott Hancock to go to Gettysburg and take charge of the situation, not trusting Howard’s abilities and instructed him “If you think the ground and position there are a better one to fight under existing circumstances, you will so advise the General, and he will order his troops up.” 6 He placed John Gibbon in command of II Corps and because he was concerned that Lee might cut off the embattled I Corps and XI Corps.

It was at this point that Meade decided to abandon his Pipe Creek plan and even before getting Hancock’s report, issued orders to his Corps commanders. At about 4:30 p.m. Meade ordered Sedgwick and his VI Corps up to Taneytown and put Slocum’s XII Corps and Sykes V Corps on the road to “move up to Gettysburg at once.” 7

Throughout the afternoon Meade kept his wits and “may have restrained a natural impulse to rush to the battleground and take over control of affairs himself.” 8 After the battle some criticized Meade for this, but it was from a perspective of command, and what we now call Mission Command did the right thing. He stayed at his headquarters to better control the movements and communicate with all his forces, which he could not have done had he rushed to the front, and instead “delegated authority to a highly competent subordinate, while he himself stayed close to the center of operations at army headquarters.” 9

Had Meade done what many commanders might have done in his position, and moved to the battle he might not have been able to do the more important job of ensuring the in a moment of crisis that his subordinate commanders received his orders and moved their units where they were needed. In fact any delay of getting the Union forces to Gettysburg could have been fatal to his army and allowed Lee to gain the advantage and possibly defeat his forces in detail. Likewise if Hancock arrived and found that the position could not be held, Meade would still be in position to ensure that the Pipe Creek position could be held.

The man he appointed in his stead, Hancock was someone that was not only capable but someone that “was a man who he knew and could trust,” 10 and who despite being junior to Howard, Slocum and Sickles was able to diplomatically handle the awkwardness of the situation. After Hancock arrived on the field he took in the tactical situation and judged it “the strongest position by nature on which to fight a battle that I ever saw.” 11

Howard objected to Hancock taking charge of the battlefield due to seniority, and although Howard had selected the position, demurred to Howard and said “and if it meets your approbation I will select this as the battlefield.” After Howard concurred Hancock announced “Very well, sir. I select this as the battlefield.” 12 While Howard could make the claim that he actually selected the ground of where to fight by emplacing Steinwehr’s division on the Hill as a reserve and withdrawing the battered remnants of I Corps and XI Corps to it during the afternoon, it was Hancock that “organized the all-round defense of the position.” 13 After consulting with Howard and directing Slocum’s XII Corps to occupy Culp’s Hill Hancock sent his aide Major William Mitchell to tell Meade that the position “could not well be taken.” 14 He had III Corps extend the line down Cemetery Ridge and directed his own II Corps to protect the flank in case Lee attempted to turn the Federal left. Upon Slocum’s arrival Hancock relinquished command and rode to Taneytown to personally brief Meade on the situation.

When Meade received word that from Hancock that he believed that “Gettysburg could maintain itself until dark” he dispatched a message to Hancock and Doubleday “It seems to me that we have so concentrated that a battle at Gettysburg is now forced upon us.” 15 Meade then sent a dispatch to Henry Halleck in Washington: “A.P. Hill and Ewell are certainly concentrating…Longstreet’s whereabouts I do not know. If he is not up tomorrow, I hope with the force I have concentrated to defeat Hill and Ewell; at any rate I see no other course that to hazard a general battle.” 16 He added “Circumstances during the night may alter this decision, of which I will try to advise you.” 17 Upon sending out his final orders directing all units to Gettysburg he had his headquarters strike its tents and equipment and begin to move to Gettysburg, being briefed by Hancock before he set off at 10 p.m.

Meade arrived on the field about midnight to the surreal scene of soldiers of the I Corps and XI Corps encamped on the grounds of the cemetery, many exhausted and asleep having thrown back the last Confederate attacks, and met Slocum, who had taken charge when Hancock went back to brief Meade, as well as Howard, his artillery chief Henry Hunt and chief engineer, Gouverneur Warren, Dan Sickles of III Corps his and by Hancock when that weary general arrived back from Taneytown.

Howard was anxious due to the disaster that had befallen his Corps, but Meade assured him that he was not assigning any blame. He then asked their opinions about the position. Howard declared “I am confident that we can hold this position.” He was joined by Slocum who noted “It is good for defense,” and Sickles added “It is a good place to fight from.”
Meade was satisfied with their conclusions and replied: “I am glad to hear you say so, gentlemen for it is too late to leave it.” 18

Meade then began a thorough inspection of his lines, the placement of his forces and disposition of his artillery, which he directed Hunt “to see that the artillery was properly posted.” 19 An engineer officer made a sketch of the position, and “Meade used to indicate where he wanted to post his troops” 20 and he had copies made and “sent to the corps commanders.” 21 After consulting with Slocum about the position on Culp’s Hill, and the “practicability of attacking the enemy in that quarter.” Slocum indicated that it was excellent for defense but “not favorable for attack,” 22 Warren added his “his doubts about attacking across ground that was sullied and uneven” 23 and Meade gave up the option of taking the offensive there, which he had considered to do when Sedgwick arrived with VI Corps later in the day. He and Warren also directed XII Corps to construct “breastworks and abatis” on the peaks of Culp’s Hill,” 24 a measure that would prove to be of decisive importance on the night of July 2nd and morning of July 3rd. He also moved V Corps into a reserve position behind Cemetery Hill on the Baltimore Pike, and used his command authority to replace Doubleday, who he did not feel able enough to command a Corps, who had been in acting command of I Corps since the death of Reynolds’ with Brigadier General John Newton who commanded a division in Sedgwick’s V Corps, earning himself Doubleday’s undying enmity.
About 3 a.m. still unsure of Lee’s intent Meade wrote Halleck informing him that the army “was in a strong position for the defensive” and though hoped to attack had considered all possibilities, and attempted to prepare for anything, even Lee attempting to move around his flank to interpose himself between Meade and Washington, exactly as Longstreet had recommended to Lee. If that occurred he told Halleck that he would “fall back to my supplies at Westminster….” 25 (the Pipe Creek line).

Meade made his headquarters at the Liester House behind Cemetery Ridge where he continued planning. Meade’s headquarters offered him a central position from which he could easily reach any position on the battlefield and speed communications with his commanders. The position he had taken was strong, with his Corps all occupying good ground and positions being continuously improved and reinforced as more troops arrived. To the north XII Corps occupied a very strong position on Culp’s Hill while I Corps and XI Corps occupied Cemetery Hill. II Corps now occupied the central area of Cemetery Ridge with Sickles III Corps extend that line south toward the Round Tops. V Corps was in reserve and cavalry was posted to cover each flank. Sedgwick’s VI Corps was nearing Gettysburg and expect to arrive in the afternoon after completing a 36 mile forced march from Manchester Maryland. His army occupied interior lines allowing rapid reinforcements to any threatened area. It was as strong as a position as could be imagined.

After sunrise Meade met Carl Schurz, who had so ably helped maintain XI Corps on July 1st and whose troops occupied the northern face of Cemetery Hill. Schurz observed that though Meade “looked careworn and tired, as though he had not slept the night before-probably because he hadn’t” but that “his mind was evidently absorbed by a hard problem. But this simple, cold, serious soldier with his business-like air did inspire confidence….” 26

As Schurz watched Meade survey the Federal defenses he asked how many soldiers Meade expected to have on hand. Meade told him that he expected about 95,000. 27 Meade then told Schurz: “Well, we may fight it out here just as well as anywhere else” and then rode off. 28

During the night of July 1st Meade did what Lee failed to do. Lee failed to control his units or commanders, while Meade maintained control of his units, ensured that his commanders understood his intent and replaced ones that he felt unable to do what was needed. Lee conducted no reconnaissance of any importance, the only attempt sending his staff engineer to look around Little Round Top, a task that he failed in, while Meade and his subordinates made a thorough reconnaissance of their lines and fortified them. Lee, in an almost fatalistic manner did no real contingency planning, leaving things to the elan’ of his troops and the Providence of God, but Meade planned for contingencies that Lee might attempt, even the possibility that Lee might do what Longstreet so strongly advocated.

In the end Meade did almost everything that a commander could do to ensure that his army not only was in position to succeed in the tactical and operational levels, but also through his contact with his superiors linked his operations to larger strategic considerations.

Notes

1 Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.118

2 Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston and New York p.150

3 Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster, New York 1968 p.239

4 Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.239

5 Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.188

6 Huntington, Tom Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA 2013 p.154

7 Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.159

8 Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.323 9 Ibid Coddington. The Gettysburg Campaign p.323

10 Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.158

11 Jordan, David M. Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier’s Life University of Indiana Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis 1988 p.84 

12 Foote, Shelby The Civil War a Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.48313 Ibid. Foote The Civil War a Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian p.483

14 Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.321

15 Ibid. Trudeau pp.264-265

16 Ibid. Sears Gettysburg p.241

17 Ibid. Trudeau p.265

18 Ibid. Huntington Searching for George Meade p. 159

19 Hunt, Henry J. The Second Day at Gettysburg in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume III The Tide Shifts, edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, Castle Books Secaucus New Jersey p.293

20 Ibid. Huntington. p.15921 Ibid. Coddington The Gettysburg Campaign p.330

22 Ibid. Foote The Civil War a Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian p.494

23 Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.228 

24 Ibid. Guelzo Gettysburg: The Last Invasion p.228

25 Ibid. Foote The Civil War a Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian p.464

26 Ibid. Huntington Searching for George Meade p.160

27 An overestimate based on unit reports, which included many troops not present for duty, or able to perform their duties. He actually had about 83,000-85,000 on the field during the battle. 

28 Ibid. Huntington Searching for George Meade p.160

 

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A Council of War: Meade and his Generals Decide to Stay and Fight at Gettysburg July 2nd 1863

Gettysburg_Council_of_War

“In Mission Command, the commander must understand the problem, envision the end state and visualize the nature and design of the operation…describe the time, space, resources while constantly assessing the process” CJCS Mission Command White Paper, 3 April 2012

While Lee took no counsel and determined to attack on the night of July 2nd little more than two miles away Major General George Meade took no chances. After sending a message to Henry Halleck at 8 PM Meade called his generals together. Unlike Lee who had observed the battle from a distance Meade had been everywhere on the battlefield during the day and had a good idea what his army had suffered and the damage that he had inflicted on the Army of Northern Virginia. Likewise during the day he had been with the majority of his commanders as opposed to Lee who after issuing orders that morning had remained unengaged.

Meade wired Halleck “The enemy attacked me about 4 P.M. this day…and after one of the severest contests of the war was repulsed at all points.” [1] However Meade, realizing that caution was not a vice still needed to assess the condition of his army, hear his commanders and hear from his intelligence service. He ended his message: “I shall remain in my present position to-morrow, but am not prepared to say until better advised of the condition of the army, whether operations will be of an offensive or a defensive character.” [2]

As he waited for his commanders his caution was apparent. Before the attack on Sickles’ III Corps at the Peach Orchard Meade had asked his Chief of Staff Brigadier General Dan Butterfield to “draw up a contingency plan for withdraw to Pipe Creek.” After that attack Alfred Pleasanton said that Meade ordered him to “gather what cavalry I could, and prepare for the retreat of the army.” [3] Some of his commanders who heard of the contingency plan including John Gibbon and John Sedgwick believed that Meade was “thinking of a retreat.”[4]. Despite his flat assurances to Halleck his position was threatened on both flanks and he “foresaw disaster, and not without cause.” [5]

In assessing Meade’s conduct it has to be concluded that while he had determined to remain, that he was smart enough to plan of the worst and to consult his commanders and staff in making his decision. Meade wrote to his wife that evening “for at one time things looked a little blue,…but I managed to get up reinforcements in time to save the day….The most difficult part of my work is acting without correct information on which to predicate action.” [6]

Meade called Colonel George Sharpe from the Bureau of Military Information to meet with him, Hancock and Slocum at the cottage on the Taneytown Road where he made his headquarters. Sharpe and his aide explained the enemy situation. Sharpe noted that “nearly 100 Confederate regiments in action Wednesday and Thursday” and that “not one of those regiments belonged to Pickett.” He then reported with confidence that indicated that “Pickett’s division has just come up and is bivouac.” [7]

It was the assurance that Meade needed as his commanders came together. When Sharpe concluded his report Hancock exclaimed “General, we have got them nicked.” [8]

About 9 P.M. the generals gathered. Present were Meade, and two of his major staff officers Warren just back from Little Round Top, wounded and tired, and Butterfield his Chief of Staff. Hancock action as a Wing Commander was there with Gibbon now commanding II Corps, Slocum of XII Corps with Williams. John Newton a division commander from VI Corps who had just arrived on the battlefield now commanding I Corps was present along with Oliver Howard of XI Corps, John Sedgwick of VI Corps, George Sykes of V Corps and David Birney, now commanding what was left of the wounded Dan Sickles’ III Corps. Pleasanton was off with the cavalry and Hunt attending to the artillery.

The meeting began and. John Gibbon noted that it “was at first very informal and in the shape of a conversation….” [9] The condition of the army was discussed and it was believed that now only about 58,000 troops available to fight. Birney honestly described the condition of III Corps noting that “his corps was badly chewed up, and that he doubted that it was fit for much more.” [10] Newton who had just arrived was quoted by Gibbon as saying that Gettysburg was “a bad position” and that “Cemetery Hill was no place to fight a battle in.” [11] The remarks sparked a serious discussion with Meade asking the assembled generals “whether our army should remain on that field and continue the battle, or whether we should change to some other position.” [12]

The reactions to the question showed that the army commanders still had plenty of fight in the. Meade listened as his generals discussed the matter. Hancock said he was “puzzled about the practicability of retiring.” [13] Newton later noted that he made his observations about the battlefield based on the danger that Lee might turn the Federal left and impose his army between it and its supplies. He and the other commanders agreed that pulling back “would be a highly dangerous maneuver to attempt in the immediate presence of the enemy.” [14]

Finally Butterfield, no friend of Meade and one of the McClellan and Hooker political cabal who Meade had retained when he took command posed three questions to the assembled generals.

“Under existing circumstances, is it advisable for this army to remain in its present position, or retire to another nearer its base of supplies?”

It being determined to remain in present position, shall the army attack or wait the attack of the enemy?

If we wait attack, how long?” [15]

Gibbon as the junior officer present said “Correct the position of the army…but do not retreat.” Williams counselled “stay,” as did Birney and Sykes, and Newton after briefly arguing the dangers finally agreed. Howard not only recommended remaining but “even urged an attack if the Confederates stayed their hand.” Hancock who earlier voiced his opinion to Meade that “we have them nicked” added “with a touch of anger, “Let us have no more retreats. The Army of the Potomac has had too many retreats….Let this be our last retreat.” Sedgwick of VI Corps voted “remain” and finally Slocum uttered just three words “stay and fight.” [16]

None counselled an immediate attack; all recommended remaining at least another day. When the discussion concluded Meade told his generals “Well gentlemen…the question is settled. We remain here.” [17]

Some present believed that Meade was looking for a way to retreat to a stronger position, that he had been rattled by the events of the day. Slocum believed that “but for the decision of his corps commanders” that Meade and the Army of the Potomac “would have been in full retreat…on the third of July.” [18] Meade would deny such accusations before Congressional committees the following year.

Much of the criticism of his command decisions during the battle were made by political partisans associated with the military cabal of Hooker, Butterfield and Sickles as well as Radical Republicans who believed that Meade was a Copperhead. Both Butterfield and Birney accused Meade before the committee of wanting to retreat and “put the worst possible interpretation on Meade’s assumed lack of self-confidence without offering any real evidence to substantiate it.” Edwin Coddington notes “that Meade, other than contemplating a slight withdraw to straighten his lines, wanted no retreat from Gettysburg.” [19]

Alpheus Williams wrote to his daughters on July 6th “I heard no expression from him which led me to think that he was in favor of withdrawing the army from before Gettysburg.” [20] Likewise the message sent by Meade to Halleck indicates a confidence in the upcoming battle of July 3rd. If Meade had some reservations during the day, as he mentioned in the letter to his wife they certainly were gone by the time he received the intelligence report from Sharpe and heard Hancock’s bold assertion that the enemy was “nicked.”

As the meeting broke up after shortly after midnight and the generals returned to their commands Meade pulled Gibbon aside. Gibbon with II Corps held the Federal center on Cemetery Ridge. Meade told him “If Lee attacks tomorrow, it will be in your front.” Gibbon queried as to why Meade thought this and Meade continued “Because he has made attacks on both our flanks and failed,…and if he concludes to try it again it will be on our center.” Gibbon wrote years later “I expressed the hope that he would, and told General Meade with confidence, that if he did we would defeat him.” [21]

If some generals believed Meade to be a defeatist it was not present in his private correspondence. He wrote to his wife early in the morning of July 3rd displaying a private confidence that speaks volumes:

“Dearest love, All well and going on well in the Army. We had a great fight yesterday, the enemy attacking & we completely repulsing them- both armies shattered….Army in fine spirits & every one determined to do or die.” [22]

Meade did what Lee should have done, he had been active on the battlefield, he consulted his intelligence service and he consulted his commanders on the options available to him. Lee remained away from the action on July 2nd he failed to consult his commanders. He failed to gain accurate intelligence on the Federal forces facing him and he failed to fully take into account his losses. Meade better demonstrated the principles of what we now call “mission command.”

 

[1] [1] Sears, Stephen W Gettysburg Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 2003 pp.341-342

[2] Ibid. p.342

[3] Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York 2013 p.355

[4] Ibid.

[5] Foote, Shelby The Civil War, A Narrative, Fredericksburg to Meridian Random House, New York 1963 p.524

[6] Trudeau, Noah Andre Gettysburg, A Testing of Courage Harper Collins, New York 2002 p.413

[7] Ibid. Sears p.342

[8] Ibid. Trudeau p.413

[9] Ibid. Sears

[10] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[11] Ibid. Guelzo p.556.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. Sears p.343

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid. Trudeau p.415

[16] Ibid. Guelzo p.556

[17] Ibid. Foote p.525

[18] Ibid. Guelzo

[19] [19] Coddinton, Edwin Gettysburg, A Study in Command Simon and Schuster New York 1968 pp.451-452

[20] Ibid. p.452

[21] Ibid. Foote p.525

[22] Ibid. Trudeau p.345

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The Forgotten Hero: Brigadier General George Sears Greene at Culp’s Hill: Night of July 2nd and 3rd 1863

220px-George_S._GreeneBrigadier General George Sears Greene

On the night of July 1st 1863 Dick Ewell’s Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill prepared for another day of battle. Despite a significant amount of success Lee’s Army had failed to drive the lead elements of the Army of the Potomac off of Cemetery Hill. As the evening progressed more Federal troops in the form of Henry Slocum’s XII Corps began to take up positions on Cemetery Hill as well as Culp’s Hill which Oliver Howard and Winfield Scott Hancock recognized to be vital to holding the Federal position.

The three brigades of Geary’s division entered the line to the east of Wadsworth’s division of I Corps along the northern and eastern face of Culp’s Hill. Key to the position was the placement of the brigade of Brigadier General George S. Greene one of the oldest, if not the oldest Union officer on the field. Greene’s brigade took a position next to the remnants of the Iron Brigade which had fought so hard along Seminary Ridge earlier in the day.

Greene had been born in 1801 and had graduated from West Point as an artillery officer some six years before Robert E. Lee. He graduated second in his class at West Point in 1823 and after 13 years left the army in 1836 to enter civilian life as an engineer. Greene missed the Mexican War but when the call came for volunteers in 1861 he was appointed to command the 60th New York Volunteer Infantry. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1862 he commanded his brigade and served as an acting division commander at Antietam. He was a descendent of Nathaniel Greene and his son Lieutenant Dana Greene USN was the Executive officer of the USS Monitor at the Battle of Hampton Roads against the CSS Virginia.

culps hill map

As the Federal units on Culp’s Hill took their positions they began to do something that was not yet commonplace in either army. They began to construct field fortifications and breastworks. Working through the night with the ample materials at hand they dug in and linked their positions with each other as well as Brigadier General Thomas Kane’s brigade to Greene’s right. The line of fortifications took advantage of the natural terrain which on its own made the ground good for the defense, but when fortified made it nearly impregnable to assault.

During the day of July second little happened on Ewell’s front. Though he had persuaded General Lee to leave his troops in place Ewell remained mostly inactive on July second with the exception of some skirmishing and a battle between the Stonewall Brigade and Gregg’s division of Federal Cavalry on Brinkerhoff’s Ridge about two and a half miles east of the town.

It would not be until the evening of the 2nd that Ewell’s troops went into action against the now very well entrenched Federal Forces on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill. The assaults began on Cemetery Hill where Jubal Early’s division attacked forces along the north and east section of the hill to be supported by Robert Rodes’ division on the west.

However as with most of the Confederate offensive actions of the battle this too fell apart as Rodes division gave little support to Early’s attack as due to both Rodes’ and Ewell’s indecisiveness Rodes “did not give himself enough time to get his big division into formation for the attack. By the time he had completed the complicated maneuver of wheeling his brigades forty-five degrees to the left and advancing them half a mile to a good place from which to charge up Cemetery Hill the battle was over.” [1]

Though Early achieved some success his division was repulsed and the threat to the Union gun line on Cemetery Hill was ended. One author noted of Early’s attack: Courage and determination could not offset superior numbers and fresh troops. With no help coming and enemy units swarming around them, all those Rebels who were still under some command and control began to fall back.” [2]

Longstreet’s attack on the Federal left forced George Meade to pull troops from his quiet sector along Culp’s Hill in order to reinforce his forces in the Peach Orchard, the Wheat Field and along the southern extension of Cemetery Ridge. According to most accounts Meade directed Slocum to send “at least one division” to the threatened sector which weakened the forces deployed on Culp’s Hill considerably.

However within XII Corps there was much confusion and in addition to William’s division Geary had pulled two of his brigades out of line leaving only George Greene’s brigade to defend Culp’s Hill “guarding nearly half a mile of Twelfth Corps works.”[3] Neither Slocum nor Williams realized the danger and before the units which had left the hill could return Allegheny Johnson’s division of Ewell’s corps which had sat inactive and impatiently awaiting orders to attack all day jumped off.

culp's hill149th New York Volunteer Infantry on Culp’s Hill

The Confederate attack began around Seven PM and continued through the night. Johnson sent some 4,700 men to attack Greene’s 1,300 dug in veterans. “That kind of manpower edge would have likely been decisive elsewhere on the field that day, but against Pop Greene’s providential and well-constructed breastworks the odds leveled out.” [4]Greene’s men fought hard as Greene directed them and requested reinforcements from I Corps and XI Corps who in turn sent units including the Iron Brigade to help. However, the six regiments that arrived had been reduced to fractions of their former strength by the first day’s battle “increased Greene’s force only by about 755 men.” [5]Additionally, Hancock who heard the battle raging “sent two regiments to the relief of Slocum as well.”[6] Greene’s report of the battle noted:

“we were attacked on the whole of our front by a large force few minutes before 7 p.m. The enemy made four distinct charges between 7 and 9.30 p.m., which were effectually resisted. No more than 1,300 were in our lines at any one time. The loss of the enemy greatly exceeds ours.”[7]

As the night wore on Confederate attacks continued and in the darkness other Federal units arrived, including those from XII Corps which had gone earlier in the day. By mid-morning Johnson’s assault was done. His units had suffered severe casualties and his division had been drained of all attacking power by the time Lee needed it on the morning of July 3rd to support Pickett’s attack. “This division, formed by Stonewall Jackson was never the same again. Its glories were in the past.”[8] In the end the Army of the Potomac still held both Cemetery and Culp’s Hill, in large part due to the actions of the old soldier, George Greene who’s foresight to fortify the hill and superb handling of his troops and those who reinforced him kept Johnson’s division from rolling up the Federal right.

Ewell’s troops would play no further role in the battle. In the end his presence around Cemetery and Culp’s Hill diminished the resources that Lee needed to support his other assaults on the second and third day of battle. In effect it left Lee without one third of his forces. The result was the sacrifice of many troops with nothing to show for it. Ultimately Lee is to blame for not bringing Ewell’s forces back to Seminary Ridge where they and their artillery may have had a greater effect on the battle.

greene monumentMonument to General George S Greene on Culp’s Hill

The real hero of Culp’s Hill was Greene. But Greene in many ways is a forgotten hero, he was not given much credit in Meade’s after action report though Slocum attempted to rectify this and Meade made some minor changes to his report. But it was in later years that Greene was began to receive recognition for his actions. James Longstreet gave Greene credit for saving the Union line on the night of July 2nd and said that “there was no better officer in either army” at the dedication of the 3rd Brigade monument on Culp’s Hill in 1888. Greene died in 1899 having been officially retired from the Army in 1893 as a First Lieutenant, his highest rank in the Regular Army. A monument to Greene stands on Culp’s Hill looking east in the direction of Johnson’s assault.

Until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

[1] Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, A Touchstone Book, Simon and Schuster Ne5w York, 1968 pp.429-430

[2] Tredeau, Noah Andre. Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2002 p.409

[3] Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg: Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill NC 1993 p. 204

[4] Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston and New York 2003 p.326

[5] Ibid. Coddington p.431

[6] Jordan, David M. Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier’s Life Indian University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis 1988 p.94

[7] Luvaas, Jay and Nelson Harold W. editors. The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg South Mountain Press, Carlisle PA 1986 pp. 159-160

[8] Dowdy, Clifford. Lee and His Men at Gettysburg: The Death of a Nation Skyhorse Publishing, New York 1986, originally published as Death of a Nation Knopf, New York 1958 p.262

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Filed under civil war, History, leadership, Military

Gettysburg: The Order of Battle

battle-of-gettysburg-war-is-hell-store

Note: This is a resource for those following my Gettysburg series and for my students that go with me on the Gettysburg Staff Ride. When the armies met at Gettysburg Lee’s Army of Norther Virginia had about 75,000-80,000 effectives, Meade’s Army of the Potomac had about 80,000-85,000 depending on the sources. This meant that they were relatively evenly matched in terms of manpower and that the battle came down to leadership, tactical decisions and strategic factors that were already in play by the time that the armies met at Gettysburg.

As a note of explanation the Confederate forces at the division and brigade level were named after their commander’s, or in some cases previous commanders. Confederate units were allocated to the Army from the various states, thus there is no Confederate “Regulars” as are shown in the Union order of battle. Union Corps were numbered as were the divisions and brigades in each corps. In some cases the brigades or divisions were referred to by the names of their commanders, but this was not consistent. Federal forces consisted of both Regular Army units as well as units allocated by the states. The reader can note the composition of each brigade in both the Union and Confederate armies to see from where the soldiers were recruited from.

So apart from that there is no story to tell tonight. Nothing in the way of commentary. This is simply a resource.
Have a great night.

Peace

Padre Steve+

confeorg

Army of Northern Virginia – General Robert Edward Lee, Commanding



ileerob001p1

General Staff: Chief of Staff and Inspector General: Col Robert H. Chilton; Chief of Artillery: BG William N. Pendleton; Medical Director: Dr. Lafayette Guild; Aide de Camp and Asst. Adjutant General: Maj Walter H. Taylor; Aide de Camp and Asst. Military Secretary: Maj Charles Marshall; Aide de Camp and Asst. Inspector General: Maj Charles S. Venable; Aide de Camp: Maj Thomas M. R. Talcott

General Headquarters
Escort: 39th Virginia Cavalry Battalion (companies A & C)

James_Longstreet

I Corps- Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, Commanding

Lafayette_McLaws

McLaws’ Division- MG Lafayette McLaws

Kershaw’s Brigade-BG Joseph B. Kershaw
2nd South Carolina, 3rd South Carolina, 7th South Carolina, 8th South Carolina,  15th South Carolina; 3rd South Carolina Battalion
Barksdale’s Brigade- BG William Barksdale (mw); Col Benjamin G. Humphreys
13th Mississippi, 17th Mississippi, 18th Mississippi, 21st Mississippi
Semmes’ Brigade- BG Paul J. Semmes (mw); Col Goode Bryan
10th Georgia, 50th Georgia, 51st Georgia, 53rd Georgia
Wofford’s Brigade- BG William T. Wofford
16th Georgia, 18th Georgia, 24th Georgia, Cobb’s (Georgia) Legion, Phillips’ (Georgia) Legion, 3rd Georgia Sharpshooter Battalion
Cabell’s Artillery Battalion- Col Henry C. Cabell; Maj Samuel P. Hamilton
1st North Carolina Artillery, Battery A, Pulaski (Georgia) Artillery, 1st Richmond Howitzers, Troup (Georgia) Artillery

GeorgePickett

Pickett’s Division- MG George E. Pickett

Garnett’s Brigade- BG Richard B. Garnett (k); Maj Charles S. Peyton
8th Virginia, 18th Virginia, 19th Virginia, 28th Virginia, 56th Virginia
Kemper’s Brigade- BG James L. Kemper (w&c); Col Joseph Mayo, Jr
1st Virginia, 3rd Virginia, 7th Virginia, 11th Virginia, 24th Virginia
Armistead’s Brigade- BG Lewis A. Armistead (mw&c); Ltc William White (w); Maj Joseph R. Cabell; Col William R. Aylett
9th Virginia, 14th Virginia, 38th Virginia, 53rd Virginia, 57th Virginia
Dearing’s Artillery Battalion- Maj James Dearing; Maj John P. W. Read (w)
Fauquier (Virginia) Artillery, Hampden (Virginia) Artillery, Richmond Fayette (Virginia) Artillery, Blount’s (Virginia) Battery

Lt._Gen._John_B._Hood

Hood’s Division- MG John Bell Hood (w); BG Evander M. Law

Law’s Brigade-BG Evander M. Law; Col James L. Sheffield
4th Alabama, 15th Alabama, 44th Alabama, 47th Alabama, 48th Alabama
Robertson’s Brigade- BG Jerome B. Robertson (w); Ltc Philip A. Work
3rd Arkansas, 1st Texas, 4th Texas, 5th Texas
Anderson’s Brigade- BG George T. Anderson (w); Ltc William Luffman (w)
7th Georgia, 8th Georgia, 9th Georgia,  11th Georgia,  59th Georgia
Benning’s Brigade- BG Henry L. Benning
2nd Georgia, 15th Georgia,  17th Georgia, 20th Georgia
Henry’s Artillery Battalion- Maj Mathias W. Henry; Maj John C. Haskell
Branch (North Carolina) Battery, Charleston German (South Carolina) Artillery, Palmetto (South Carolina) Light Artillery, Rowan North Carolina Artillery
Artillery Reserve- Col James B. Walton
Alexander’s Artillery Battalion- Col Edward P. Alexander (w)
Ashland (Virginia) Artillery, Bedford (Virginia) Artillery, Brooks (South Carolina) Artillery, Madison (Louisiana) Light Artillery, Richmond (Virginia) Battery, Bath (Virginia) Battery
Washington (Louisiana) Artillery Battalion- Maj Benjamin F. Eshleman
First Company, Second Company, Third Company, Fourth Company

Richard-Ewell

II Corps- Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell Commanding

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Early’s Division- MG Jubal A. Early
Hays’ Brigade- BG Harry T. Hays
5th Louisiana, 6th Louisiana, 7th Louisiana, 8th Louisiana, 9th Louisiana
Smith’s Brigade-BG William Smith
31st Virginia, 49th Virginia, 52nd Virginia
Hoke’s Brigade- Col Isaac E. Avery (mw); Col Archibald C. Godwin
6th North Carolina: Maj Samuel McD. Tate, 21st North Carolina: Col William W. Kirkland, Maj James Beall, 57th North Carolina: Col Archibald C. Godwin, Ltc Hamilton C. Jones
Gordon’s Brigade- BG John Brown Gordon
13th Georgia, 26th Georgia, 31st Georgia, 38th Georgia, 60th Georgia, 61st Georgia
Jones’ Artillery Battalion- Ltc Hilary P. Jones
Charlottesville (Virginia) Artillery, Courtney (Virginia) Artillery, Louisiana Guard Artillery, Staunton (Virginia) Artillery
Cavalry 35th Virginia Battalion: Ltc Elijah V. White

JohnsonE

Johnson’s Division- MG Edward Johnson

Steuart’s Brigade- BG George H. Steuart
1st Maryland Battalion, 1st North Carolina, 3rd North Carolina, 10th Virginia, 23rd Virginia, 37th Virginia
Stonewall Brigade- BG James A. Walker
2nd Virginia, 4th Virginia, 5th Virginia, 27th Virginia, 33rd Virginia
Nicholls’ Brigade-Col Jesse M. Williams
1st Louisiana, 2nd Louisiana, 10th Louisiana, 14th Louisiana, 15th Louisiana
Jones’ Brigade- BG John M. Jones (w); Ltc Robert H. Dungan
21st Virginia, 25th Virginia, 42nd Virginia, 44th Virginia, 48th Virginia, 50th Virginia
Andrews’ Artillery Battalion- Maj Joseph W. Latimer (mw); Cpt Charles I. Raine
1st Maryland Battery, Alleghany (Virginia) Artillery, Chesapeake (Maryland) Artillery, Lee (Virginia) Battery

robert-rodes

Rodes’ Division- MG Robert E. Rodes

Daniel’s Brigade-BG Junius Daniel
32nd North Carolina, 43rd North Carolina, 45th North Carolina, 53rd North Carolina, 2nd North Carolina Battalion
Doles’ Brigade-BG George P. Doles
4th Georgia, 12th Georgia, 21st Georgia, 44th Georgia
Iverson’s Brigade- BG Alfred Iverson, Jr.
5th North Carolina, 12th North Carolina, 20th North Carolina, 23rd North Carolina
Ramseur’s Brigade- BG Stephen D. Ramseur
2nd North Carolina, 4th North Carolina, 14th North Carolina, 30th North Carolina
Rodes’ (old) Brigade- Col Edward A. O’Neal
3rd Alabama, 5th Alabama, 6th Alabama, 12th Alabama, 26th Alabama
Carter’s Artillery Battalion-Ltc Thomas H. Carter
Jefferson Davis (Alabama) Artillery, King William (Virginia) Artillery, Morris (Virginia) Artillery, Orange (Virginia) Artillery

Artillery Reserve- Col J. Thompson Brown
First Virginia Artillery Battalion- Cpt Willis J. Dance
2nd Richmond (Virginia) Howitzers, 3rd Richmond (Virginia) Howitzers, Powhatan (Virginia) Artillery, Rockbridge (Virginia) Artillery, Salem (Virginia) Artillery
Nelson’s Artillery Battalion- Ltc William Nelson
Amherst (Virginia) Artillery, Fluvanna (Virginia) Artillery, Milledge’s Georgia Battery

general_a_p_hill

III Corps- Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill Commanding

Richard_H._Anderson

Anderson’s Division- MG Richard H. Anderson
Wilcox’s Brigade- BG Cadmus M. Wilcox
8th Alabama, 9th Alabama, 10th Alabama, 11th Alabama, 14th Alabama
Mahone’s Brigade- BG William Mahone
6th Virginia, 12th Virginia, 16th Virginia, 41st Virginia, 61st Virginia
Wright’s Brigade-BG Ambrose R. Wright; Col William Gibson; BG Ambrose R. Wright
3rd Georgia, 22nd Georgia, 48th Georgia, 2nd Georgia Battalion
Perry’s Brigade- Col David Lang
2nd Florida, 5th Florida, 8th Florida
Posey’s Brigade- BG Carnot Posey (w); Col. Nathaniel Harris
12th Mississippi, 16th Mississippi, 19th Mississippi, 48th Mississippi
Cutt’s Artillery Battalion- Maj John Lane
Company A, Company B, Company C

heth

Heth’s Division- MG Henry Heth (w); BG James J. Pettigrew (w)
Pettigrew’s Brigade-BG James J. Pettigrew; Col James K. Marshall (k); Maj John T. Jones (w)
11th North Carolina, 26th North Carolina, 47th North Carolina, 52nd North Carolina
Heth’s (old) Brigade- Col John M. Brockenbrough; Col Robert M. Mayo
40th Virginia, 47th Virginia, 55th Virginia, 22nd Virginia Battalion
Archer’s Brigade- BG James J. Archer (w&c); Col Birkett D. Fry (w&c); Ltc Samuel G. Shepard
13th Alabama, 5th Alabama Battalion, 1st Tennessee (Provisional Army), 7th Tennessee,  14th Tennessee
Davis’ Brigade- BG Joseph R. Davis (w)
2nd Mississippi, 11th Mississippi, 42nd Mississippi, 55th North Carolina
Garnett’s Artillery Battalion- Ltc John J. Garnett
Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Artillery, Huger (Virginia) Artillery, Lewis (Virginia) Artillery, Norfolk (Virginia) Blues Artillery

William_Dorsey_Pender

Pender’s Division-MG William D. Pender (mw); BG James H. Lane; MG Isaac R. Trimble (w&c); BG James H. Lane
McGowan’s Brigade-Col Abner M. Perrin
1st South Carolina (Provisional Army), 1st South Carolina Rifles, 12th South Carolina, 13th South Carolina, 14th South Carolina
Lane’s Brigade- BG James H. Lane; Col Clark M. Avery
7th North Carolina, 18th North Carolina, 28th North Carolina, 33rd North Carolina, 37th North Carolina
Thomas’ Brigade- BG Edward L. Thomas
14th Georgia, 35th Georgia, 45th Georgia, 49th Georgia
Scales’ Brigade- BG Alfred M. Scales (w); Ltc George T. Gordon; Col William L. J. Lowrance
13th North Carolina, 16th North Carolina, 22nd North Carolina, 34th North Carolina, 38th North Carolina
Poague’s Artillery Battalion- Maj William T. Poague
Albemarle (Virginia) Artillery, Charlotte (North Carolina) Artillery, Madison (Mississippi) Artillery, Brooke’s Virginia Battery
Artillery Reserve- Col Reuben L. Walker
McIntosh’s Artillery Battalion- Maj David G. McIntosh
Danville (Virginia) Artillery, Hardaway (Alabama) Artillery, 2nd Rockbridge (Virginia) Artillery, Johnson’s Virginia Battery
Pegram’s Artillery Battalion- Maj William R. J. Pegram; Cpt Ervin B. Brunson
Crenshaw (Virginia) Battery, Fredericksburg (Virginia) Artillery, Letcher (Virginia) Artillery, Pee Dee (South Carolina) Artillery, Purcell (Virginia) Artillery

CWP015

Cavalry Division- Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart
Hampton’s Brigade- BG Wade Hampton (w)
1st North Carolina, 1st South Carolina, 2nd South Carolina, Cobb’s (Georgia) Legion, Jeff Davis (Mississippi) Legion, Phillips (Georgia) Legion
Robertson’s Brigade (not present at Gettysburg) BG Beverly H. Robertson
4th North Carolina, 5th North Carolina
Fitzhugh Lee’s Brigade- BG Fitzhugh Lee
1st Maryland Battalion, 1st Virginia, 2nd Virginia, 3rd Virginia, 4th Virginia, 5th Virginia
Jenkins’ Brigade- BG Albert G. Jenkins (w); Col Milton J. Ferguson
14th Virginia, 16th Virginia, 17th Virginia, 34th Virginia Battn., 36th Virginia Battn., Jackson’s (Virginia) Battery
William H. F. (Rooney) Lee’s Brigade- Col John R. Chambliss, Jr.
2nd North Carolina Cavalry, 9th Virginia, 10th Virginia, 13th Virginia
Jones’ Brigade- BG William E. Jones
6th Virginia, 7th Virginia, 11th Virginia
Stuart’s Horse Artillery- Maj Robert F. Beckham
Breathed’s (Virginia) Battery, Chew’s (Virginia) Battery, Griffin’s (Maryland) Battery Hart’s (South Carolina) Battery, McGregor’s (Virginia) Battery, Moorman’s (Virginia) Battery
Imboden’s Command- BG John D. Imboden
18th Virginia, 62nd Virginia, McNeill’s Company (Virginia), Staunton (Virginia) Battery

Union Order of Battle
unionorg

general-george-meade

Army of the Potomac – Major General George Gordon Meade, Commanding



General Staff: Chief of Staff: Maj. Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Chief of Artillery: Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, Medical Director: Maj Jonathan Letterman, Chief of Engineers: Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Bureau of Military Information: Col. George H. Sharpe
Command of the Provost Marshal General: Brig. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick
93rd New York: Col. John S. Crocker, 8th United States (8 companies): Capt. Edwin W. H. Read, 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry: Col. R. Butler Price, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Companies E&I): Capt. James Starr, Regular cavalry
Engineer Brigade: Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham
15th New York (3 companies): Maj Walter L. Cassin, 50th New York: Col. William H. Pettes, U.S. Battalion: Capt. George H. Mendell

GenJFRenyolds

I Corps- Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds (k)

JSWadsworthBGenleft

First Division- Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth
1st  Brigade (The Iron Brigade)-Brig. Gen. Solomon Meredith (w); Col.. William W. Robinson
19th Indiana, 24th Michigan, 2nd Wisconsin, 6th Wisconsin, 7th Wisconsin
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler
7th Indiana, 76th New York, 84th New York (14th Militia), 95th New York, 147th New York, 56th Pennsylvania (9 companies)

john_Cleveland_Robinson

Second Division- Brig. Gen. John C. Robinson
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Gabriel R. Paul (w); Col. Samuel H. Leonard (w); Col. Adrian R. Root (w&c); Col. Richard Coulter (w); Col. Peter Lyle; Col. Richard Coulter
16th Maine, 13th Massachusetts, 94th New York, 104th New York, 107th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Henry Baxter
12th Massachusetts, 83rd New York (9th Militia), 97th New York, 11th Pennsylvania, 88th Pennsylvania, 90th Pennsylvania

abner-doubleday

Third Division- Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday; Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Rowley; Maj. Gen. Abner Doubleday
1st Brigade- Col. Chapman Biddle; Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Rowley; Col. Chapman Biddle
80th New York (20th Militia), 121st Pennsylvania, 142nd Pennsylvania, 151st Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Roy Stone (w); Col. Langhorne Wister (w); Col. Edmund L. Dana
143rd Pennsylvania, 149th Pennsylvania, 150th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade- Brig. Gen. George J. Stannard (w); Col. Francis V. Randall
13th Vermont, 14th Vermont, 16th Vermont
Artillery Brigade- Col. Charles S. Wainwright
Maine Light, 2nd Battery (B), Maine Light, 5th Battery (E), 1st New York Light, Batteries E&L, 1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery B, 4th United States, Battery B

HancockWinfield_teaser

II Corps- Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock (w); Brig. Gen. John Gibbon; Brig. Gen. William Hays

John_C._Caldwell

First Division- Brig. Gen.  John C. Caldwell
1st Brigade- Col. Edward E. Cross (mw); Col. H. Boyd McKeen
5th New Hampshire, 61st New York, 81st Pennsylvania , 148th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade (The Irish Brigade) – Col. Patrick Kelly
28th Massachusetts, 63rd New York (2 companies),69th New York (2 companies), 88th New York (2 companies), 116th Pennsylvania (4 companies)
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Samuel K. Zook (mw); Lt. Col.. Charles G. Freudenberg (w); Col. Richard P. Roberts (k); Lt. Col.. John Fraser
52nd New York, 57th New York, 66th New York, 140th Pennsylvania
4th Brigade- Col. John R. Brooke (w)
27th Connecticut (2 companies), 2nd Delaware, 64th New York, 53rd Pennsylvania, 145th Pennsylvania (7 companies)

john_Gibbon

Second Division- Brig. Gen. John Gibbon (w); Brig. Gen. William Harrow
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. William Harrow; Col. Francis E. Heath
19th Maine, 15th Massachusetts, 1st Minnesota, 82nd New York (2nd Militia)
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. Alexander S. Webb (w)
69th Pennsylvania, 71st Pennsylvania, 72nd Pennsylvania, 106th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade- Col. Norman J. Hall
19th Massachusetts, 20th Massachusetts, 7th Michigan, 42nd New York, 59th New York (4 companies)
Unattached: Massachusetts Sharpshooters, 1st Company

Daniel_Edgar_Sickles

III Corps- Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles (w); Maj. Gen. David B. Birney

David_B._Birney_-_Brady-Handy

First Division- Maj. Gen. David B. Birney; Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward (w)
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Charles K. Graham (w&c); Col. Andrew H. Tippin; Col. Henry J. Madill
57th Pennsylvania (8 companies), 63rd Pennsylvania, 68th Pennsylvania, 105th Pennsylvania, 114th Pennsylvania, 141st Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade- Brig. Gen. J. H. Hobart Ward; Col. Hiram Berdan
20th Indiana, 3rd Maine, 4th Maine, 86th New York, 124th New York, 99th Pennsylvania, 1st United States Sharpshooters, 2nd United States Sharpshooters (8 companies)
3rd Brigade- Col. P. Régis de Trobriand
17th Maine, 3rd Michigan, 5th Michigan, 40th New York, 110th Pennsylvania (6 companies)

HumphreysA

Second Division- Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys
1st Brigade- Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Carr (w)
1st Massachusetts, 11th Massachusetts, 16th Massachusetts, 12th New Hampshire, 11th New Jersey,26th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. William R. Brewster
70th New York, 71st New York, 72nd New York, 73rd New York, 74th New York, 120th New York
3rd Brigade-Col. George C. Burling
2nd New Hampshire, 5th New Jersey, 6th New Jersey, 7th New Jersey, 8th New Jersey,115th Pennsylvania
Artillery Brigade-Capt. George E. Randolph (w); Capt. A. Judson Clark
1st New Jersey Light, Battery B, 1st New York Light, Battery D, New York Light, 4th Battery, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery E, 4th United States, Battery K

George_Sykes_and_staff_-_Brady-Handy

V Corps-Maj. Gen. George Sykes

James_Barnes

First Division- Brig. Gen. James Barnes (w)
1st Brigade-Col. William S. Tilton
18th Massachusetts, 22nd Massachusetts, 1st Michigan, 118th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer
9th Massachusetts, 32nd Massachusetts, 4th Michigan, 62nd Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Col. Strong Vincent (mw); Col. James C. Rice
20th Maine, 16th Michigan, 44th New York, 83rd Pennsylvania

2.-Brig.-Gen.-Romeyn-B.-Ayres

Second Division-Brig. Gen. Romeyn B. Ayres
1st Brigade- Col. Hannibal Day
3rd United States (Cos. B, C, E, G, I and K), 4th United States (Cos. C, F, H and K), 6th United States (Cos. D, F, G, H and I), 12th United States (Cos. A, B, C, D and G, 1st Bn. and Cos. A, C and D, 2nd Bn.), 14th United States (Cos. A, B, D, E, F and G, 1st Bn. and Cos. F and G, 2nd Bn.)
2nd Brigade-Col. Sidney Burbank
2nd United States (Cos. B, C, F, H, I and K), 7th United States (Cos. A, B, E and I), 10th United States (Cos. D, G and H), 11th United States (Cos. B, C, D, E, F and G),17th United States (Cos. A, C, D, G and H, 1st Bn. and Cos. A and B, 2nd Bn.)
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Stephen H. Weed (k); Col. Kenner Garrard
140th New York, 146th New York, 91st Pennsylvania, 155th Pennsylvania
Third Division-Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford
1st Brigade-Col. William McCandless
1st Pennsylvania Reserves (9 companies), 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves,13th Pennsylvania Reserves
2nd Brigade (not present—assigned to Washington defenses)
3rd Brigade-Col. Joseph W. Fisher
5th Pennsylvania Reserves, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves, 10th Pennsylvania Reserves, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves, 12th Pennsylvania Reserves (9 companies)
Artillery Brigade-Capt. Augustus P. Martin
Massachusetts Light, 3rd Battery, 1st New York Light, Battery C, 1st Ohio Light, Battery L, 5th United States, Battery D, 5th United States, Battery I

John_Sedgwick

VI Corps-Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick

HGWright

First Division-Brig. Gen. Horatio G. Wright
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert
1st New Jersey, 2nd New Jersey, 3rd New Jersey, 15th New Jersey
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Bartlett; Col. Emory Upton
5th Maine, 121st New York, 95th Pennsylvania, 96th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. David A. Russell
6th Maine, 49th Pennsylvania (4 companies), 119th Pennsylvania, 5th Wisconsin

Provost Guard: 4th New Jersey (3 companies): Capt. William R. Maxwell

albion-howe-111-b-4713

Second Division- Brig. Gen. Albion P. Howe
2nd Brigade-Col. Lewis A. Grant
2nd Vermont, 3rd Vermont, 4th Vermont, 5th Vermont, 6th Vermont
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Neill
7th Maine (6 companies), 33rd New York (detachment), 43rd New York, 49th New York, 77th New York, 61st Pennsylvania

NewtonJohn

Third Division-Maj. Gen. John Newton; Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alexander Shaler
65th New York, 67th New York, 122nd New York, 23rd Pennsylvania, 82nd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Henry L. Eustis
7th Massachusetts, 10th Massachusetts, 37th Massachusetts, 2nd Rhode Island.
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton; Col. David J. Nevin
62nd New York, 93rd Pennsylvania, 98th Pennsylvania,139th Pennsylvania
Artillery Brigade-Col. Charles H. Tompkins
Massachusetts Light, 1st Battery, New York Light, 1st Battery, New York Light, 3rd Battery, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery C, 1st Rhode Island Light, Battery G, 2nd United States, Battery D, 2nd United States, Battery G, 5th United States, Battery F

Oliver-Otis-Howard-9345101-1-402

XI Corps-Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard; Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz

Francis_C._Barlow

First Division-Brig. Gen. Francis C. Barlow (w); Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames
1st Brigade-Col. Leopold von Gilsa
1st New York (9 companies), 54th New York, 68th New York, 153rd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames; Col. Andrew L. Harris
17th Connecticut, 25th Ohio, 75th Ohio, 107th Ohio

Adolph_von_Steinwehr

Second Division-Brig. Gen. Adolph von Steinwehr
1st Brigade-Col. Charles R. Coster
134th New York, 154th New York, 27th Pennsylvania, 73rd Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade  Col. Orland Smith
33rd Massachusetts, 136th New York, 55th Ohio, 73rd Ohio

schurz

Third Division-Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz; Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig; Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig; Col. George von Amsberg
82nd Illinois, 45th New York, 157th New York, 61st Ohio, 74th Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade-Col. Wladimir Krzyzanowski
58th New York, 19th New York, 82nd Ohio, 75th Pennsylvania, 26th Wisconsin
Artillery Brigade-Maj Thomas W. Osborn
1st New York Light, Battery I, New York Light, 13th Battery, 1st Ohio Light, Battery I, 1st Ohio Light, Battery K, 4th United States, Battery G

Henry_Warner_Slocum

XII Corps-Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum; Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams

alpheus-williams1

First Division-Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams; Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger
1st Brigade-Col. Archibald L. McDougall
5th Connecticut, 20th Connecticut, 3rd Maryland, 123rd New York, 145th New York, 46th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger; Col. Silas Colgrove
27th Indiana, 2nd Massachusetts, 13th New Jersey, 107th New York, 3rd Wisconsin

General-John-Geary

Second Division-Brig. Gen. John W. Geary
1st Brigade-Col. Charles Candy
5th Ohio, 7th Ohio, 29th Ohio, 66th Ohio, 28th Pennsylvania, 147th Pennsylvania (8 companies)
2nd Brigade-Col. George A. Cobham, Jr.; Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Kane
29th Pennsylvania, 109th Pennsylvania, 111th Pennsylvania
3rd Brigade-Brig. Gen. George S. Greene (w)
60th New York, 78th New York, 102nd New York, 137th New York, 149th New York
Lockwood’s Brigade-Brig. Gen. Henry H. Lockwood
1st Maryland, Potomac Home Brigade, 1st Maryland, Eastern Shore,150th New York
Artillery Brigade-Lt Edward D. Muhlenberg
1st New York Light, Battery M, Pennsylvania Light, Battery E,4th United States, Battery F  5th United States, Battery K

pleasonton

Cavalry Corps -Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton

buford

First Division-Brig. Gen. John Buford
1st Brigade-Col. William Gamble
8th Illinois, 12th Illinois (4 cos.) & 3rd Indiana (6 cos.), 8th New York
2nd Brigade-Col. Thomas Devin
6th New York (6 companies), 9th New York, 17th Pennsylvania, 3rd West Virginia, Companies A and C
Reserve Brigade-Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt
6th Pennsylvania, 1st United States, 2nd United States, 5th United States, 6th United States

dmgregg

Second Division-Brig. Gen. David Gregg
1st Brigade-Col. John B. McIntosh
1st Maryland (11 companies), Purnell (Maryland) Legion, Company A, 1st Massachusetts, 1st New Jersey, 1st Pennsylvania, 3rd Pennsylvania, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Section, Battery H
3rd Brigade-Col. John I. Gregg
1st Maine (10 companies), 10th New York, 4th Pennsylvania, 16th Pennsylvania

Kilpatrick-Judson(1)

Third Division-Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick
1st Brigade-Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth (k); Col. Nathaniel P. Richmond
5th New York, 18th Pennsylvania, 1st Vermont, 1st West Virginia (10 companies)
2nd Brigade-Brig. Gen. George A. Custer
1st Michigan, 5th Michigan, 6th Michigan, 7th Michigan: (10 companies)
Horse Artillery
1st Brigade-Capt. James M. Robertson
9th Michigan Battery, 6th New York Battery,2nd United States, Batteries B and L, 2nd United States, Battery M, 4th United States, Battery E
2nd Brigade-Capt. John C. Tidball
1st United States, Batteries E and G, 1st United States, Battery K, 2nd United States, Battery A

Robert_O_Tyler

Artillery Reserve-Brig. Gen. Robert O. Tyler, Capt. James M. Robertson

1st Regular Brigade-Capt. Dunbar R. Ransom
1st United States, Battery H, 3rd United States, Batteries F and K, 4th United States, Battery C, 5th United States, Battery C
1st Volunteer Brigade-Lt. Col.. Freeman McGilvery
Massachusetts Light, 5th Battery (E), Massachusetts Light, 9th Battery, New York Light, 15th Battery, Pennsylvania Light, Batteries C and F
2nd Volunteer Brigade-Capt. Elijah D. Taft
1st Connecticut Heavy, Battery B, 1st Connecticut Heavy, Battery M, Connecticut Light, 2nd Battery. New York Light, 5th Battery
3rd Volunteer Brigade-Capt. James F. Huntington
New Hampshire Light, 1st Battery, 1st Ohio Light, Battery H, 1st Pennsylvania Light, Batteries F and G, West Virginia Light, Battery C
4th Volunteer Brigade-Capt. Robert H. Fitzhugh
Maine Light, 6th Battery, Maryland Light, Battery A, New Jersey Light, 1st Battery, 1st New York Light, Battery G, 1st New York Light, Battery K
Train Guard: 4th New Jersey Infantry (7 companies)

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