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  #1  
Old 14 Apr 12, 04:15
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General Ewell at Gettysburg.

Late in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, after a full day of fierce fighting, Confederate troops finally drove the Union defenders from the fields west of Gettysburg. As the Union troops fled east toward the haven of Cemetery Hill, General Robert E. Lee sent the following order to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell, commander of the II Corps, whose men had gained victory that day: 'The enemy [is] retreating over those hills in great confusion. You only need press those people to secure possession of the heights .Do this, if possible.' Legend tells us that, at that crucial moment, 'Old Bald Head' lost his nerve. Instead of pursuing the fleeing Union soldiers, who were so panicked they could not defend themselves, Ewell held back, allowing the Federals to entrench atop Cemetery Hill. The advantage of holding the heights led to the Union victory at Gettysburg. Ewell's indecision supposedly cost the South the battle.My hand was called about Ewell on the Gordon thread so maybe Cici will answer the question here on a new thread. "

http://www.historynet.com/did-lt-gen...gettysburg.htm

As far as Gettysburg is concerned, Ewell had the slows and was actually worse than Longstreet! The opportunity slipped away from General Lee because of him.

Marshall
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  #2  
Old 14 Apr 12, 08:51
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And, let's just assume for a second that you're right, Marshall.

That means that the Battle of Gettysburg would have been a one-day long skirmish between portions of both armies, but not a full engagement. Meade would have fallen back to his chosen position along Pipe Creek, and we would be discussing the Battle of Taneytown.

At the end of the day, that's what the result of Ewell taking Culp's Hill on July 1 would have been. Big deal.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 09:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Wittenberg View Post
And, let's just assume for a second that you're right, Marshall.

That means that the Battle of Gettysburg would have been a one-day long skirmish between portions of both armies, but not a full engagement. Meade would have fallen back to his chosen position along Pipe Creek, and we would be discussing the Battle of Taneytown.

At the end of the day, that's what the result of Ewell taking Culp's Hill on July 1 would have been. Big deal.
Big deal, eh? General Lee's army would still be in Pennsylvania on the 3rd day gathering supplies and such.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 10:53
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But like locusts, Lee's army had already passed by that way, I would question there was much left.
Plus, Lee's wagons were back beyond Cashtown, meaning they would be in even more peril from the likes of Buford's Cav being brought up to the fight that now would be in MD.
A myriad of possibilities, none of which was an advantage to Lee.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 11:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
Late in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, after a full day of fierce fighting, Confederate troops finally drove the Union defenders from the fields west of Gettysburg. As the Union troops fled east toward the haven of Cemetery Hill, General Robert E. Lee sent the following order to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell, commander of the II Corps, whose men had gained victory that day: 'The enemy [is] retreating over those hills in great confusion. You only need press those people to secure possession of the heights .Do this, if possible.' Legend tells us that, at that crucial moment, 'Old Bald Head' lost his nerve. Instead of pursuing the fleeing Union soldiers, who were so panicked they could not defend themselves, Ewell held back, allowing the Federals to entrench atop Cemetery Hill. The advantage of holding the heights led to the Union victory at Gettysburg. Ewell's indecision supposedly cost the South the battle.My hand was called about Ewell on the Gordon thread so maybe Cici will answer the question here on a new thread. "

Quote:
Lee's order seemed to assume that it would be relatively easy for Ewell to dislodge the Federals from their post atop Cemetery Hill. After the Civil War, apologists for Lee ignored the fact that the Union position was virtually impregnable, and they used this order as proof that Lee was not responsible for the Southern defeat at Gettysburg. Ewell was to blame because he had failed to pursue the defeated Northern army, allowing them to entrench on the critical high ground
http://www.historynet.com/did-lt-gen...gettysburg.htm

As far as Gettysburg is concerned, Ewell had the slows and was actually worse than Longstreet! The opportunity slipped away from General Lee because of him.

Marshall
In spite of the fact that Federal troops were already entrenching, reinforcements were upcoming and the Second Corps was heavily disorganized, your post makes absolute sense

If Ewell had made the attack, he would have been up against Hancock, the best Union corps commander on the field. He would be without one division, and attacking with two disorganized ones. He would have been likely unable to take the heights and would have been repulsed with losses in all likelyhood.

And remember, Lee told him to "not bring on a general engagement". Therefore the orders were contradictory by nature.

Again, with Longstreet and Ewell being slow. The defeat at Gettysburg was primarily Lee's fault. Not Longstreet, Not Stuart, Not Ewell. Does it ever stop?

From the link you gave:

Quote:
Lee, who was personally commanding Hill's troops (he had at first refused to order them into battle, then changed his mind and sent them forward), decided at the time to accept what had been accomplished that afternoon. He did not instruct Ewell to mount a charge against Cemetery Hill. He allowed Perrin to return to Seminary Ridge. Had Lee wanted to deny the enemy the heights, he could have sent Maj. Gen. Richard Anderson's division just now arriving and ready to fight ahead to Cemetery Hill. Instead, Lee told Anderson to prepare to camp for the night.
Quote:
Ewell's forces were in just as bad shape as Hill's. Rodes had sent all five of his brigades into the battle, but only two, Doles' and Ramseur's, were at the front and in position to continue the fighting. O'Neal had lost almost 25 percent of his force, and most of his survivors (except the few who had joined Ramseur's charge) remained on Oak Hill. Daniel, too, had taken huge losses; almost 35 percent of his troops had fallen in battle. Iverson had suffered the most. His casualties exceeded 900 men, 60 percent of his brigade, and the remnants lay exhausted atop Oak Hill. And even though both Doles and Ramseur were ready for more action, their numbers, too, were diminished. They had entered into battle with 2,600 effectives; only about 2,000 remained.
Quote:
While Ewell's reasons for not challenging the Federals crowded on Cemetery Hill were perhaps wrong, was he right in not mounting an assault against the slope? Experts who have studied Gettysburg say yes. They base their analysis not only on the impotence of the Confederate forces but also on the strength of the Union forces.
Quote:
When the Federal lines collapsed north and west of Gettysburg, the Union troops drew back to Cemetery Hill, the designated haven in case of defeat. Colonel Orland Smith's 2,000-man brigade, supported by a battery of six guns, was atop the knoll, eager to greet any oncoming Rebels. As the fleeing Federals climbed the slopes, their officers guided them into imposing defensive positions. Gamble's 1,500 troopers were sent south, in front of and along Cemetery Ridge, where they guarded the left flank from Confederate assault. Most of the I Corps fell in atop Cemetery Ridge behind the cavalry; Wadsworth's division rushed to Culp's Hill to protect the right flank; and Howard's corps augmented Smith's men on Cemetery Hill. A total of about 12,000 Union soldiers were ready to defend the heights.
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  #6  
Old 14 Apr 12, 12:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgronski View Post
But like locusts, Lee's army had already passed by that way, I would question there was much left.
Plus, Lee's wagons were back beyond Cashtown, meaning they would be in even more peril from the likes of Buford's Cav being brought up to the fight that now would be in MD.
A myriad of possibilities, none of which was an advantage to Lee.
That's exactly correct, Mike.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 14:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
Late in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, after a full day of fierce fighting, Confederate troops finally drove the Union defenders from the fields west of Gettysburg. As the Union troops fled east toward the haven of Cemetery Hill, General Robert E. Lee sent the following order to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell, commander of the II Corps, whose men had gained victory that day: 'The enemy [is] retreating over those hills in great confusion. You only need press those people to secure possession of the heights .Do this, if possible.' Legend tells us that, at that crucial moment, 'Old Bald Head' lost his nerve. Instead of pursuing the fleeing Union soldiers, who were so panicked they could not defend themselves, Ewell held back, allowing the Federals to entrench atop Cemetery Hill. The advantage of holding the heights led to the Union victory at Gettysburg. Ewell's indecision supposedly cost the South the battle.My hand was called about Ewell on the Gordon thread so maybe Cici will answer the question here on a new thread. "

http://www.historynet.com/did-lt-gen...gettysburg.htm

As far as Gettysburg is concerned, Ewell had the slows and was actually worse than Longstreet! The opportunity slipped away from General Lee because of him.

Marshall
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall, Lee left Ewell with the discretion to take Cemtery Hill or not. As you may have read in several of the other threads Ewell had several good reasons for not attempting to take it. Lee provided no support in the form of Anderson's fresh division, or Thomas' unused brigade of Pender's division. They might have been helpful by attempting an assault from the western part of the hill while Ewell's main assault might have come in from the north and northeast.

Just for memory's sake, here are some of the ORs from Rodes, Ewell and Lee:

Quote:
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
No. 506.--Report of Maj. Gen. R. E. Rodes, U.S. Army, commanding division.
In the pursuit, the division captured about 2,500 prisoners--so many as to embarrass its movements materially.
The troops, being greatly exhausted by their march and somewhat disorganized by the hot engagement and rapid pursuit, were halted and prepared for further action. I did not change their position materially, nor order another attack, for the following reasons: 1st, in the midst of the engagement just described, the corps commander informed me, through one of his officers, that the general commanding did not wish a general engagement brought on, and hence, had it been possible to do so then, I would have stopped the attack at once; but this, of course, it was impossible to do then; 2d, before the completion of his defeat before the town, the enemy had begun to establish a line of battle on the heights back of the town, and by the time my line was in a condition to renew the attack, he displayed quite a formidable line of infantry and artillery immediately in my front, extending smartly to my right, and as far as I could see to my left, in front of Early. To have attacked this line with my division alone, diminished as it had been by a loss of 2,500 men, would have been absurd. Seeing no Confederate troops at all on my right; finding that General Early, whom I encountered in the streets of the town within thirty minutes after its occupation by our forces, was awaiting further instructions, and, receiving no orders to advance, though my superiors were upon the ground, I concluded that the order not to bring on a general engagement was still in force, and hence placed my lines and skirmishers in a defensive attitude, and determined to await orders or further movements either on the part of Early or of the troops on my right.

O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
No. 467.--Report of Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, C. S. Army, commanding Second Army Corps.
General Gordon mentions that 300 of the enemy's dead were left on the ground passed over by his brigade. The enemy had entirely abandoned the north end of the town, and Early entering by the York Railroad at the same time that Rodes came in on the Cashtown road, they together captured over 4,000 prisoners and three pieces of artillery, two of which fell into the hands of Early's division. So far as I can learn, no other troops than those of this corps entered the town at all. My loss on this day was less than 2,900 killed, wounded, and missing.
The enemy had fallen back to a commanding position known as Cemetery Hill, south of Gettysburg, and quickly showed a formidable front there. On entering the town, I received a message from the commanding general to attack this hill, if I could do so to advantage. I could not bring artillery to bear on it, and all the troops with me were jaded by twelve hours' marching and fighting, and I was notified that General Johnson's division (the only one of my corps that had not been engaged) was close to the town.
Cemetery Hill was not assailable from the town, and I determined, with Johnson's division, to take possession of a wooded hill to my left, on a line with and commanding Cemetery Hill. Before Johnson got up, the enemy was reported moving to outflank our extreme left, and I could see that seemed to be his skirmishers in that direction. Before this report could be investigated by Lieut. T. T. Turner, aide-de-camp of my staff, and Lieut. Robert D. Early, sent for that purpose, and Johnson placed in position, the night was far advanced.


O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
No. 426.--Reports of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.
It was ascertained from the prisoners that we had been engaged with two corps of the army formerly commanded by General Hooker, and that the remainder of that army, under General Meade, was approaching Gettysburg. Without information as to its proximity, the strong position which the enemy had assumed could not be attacked without danger of exposing the four divisions present, already weakened and exhausted by a long and bloody struggle, to overwhelming numbers of fresh troops. General Ewell was, therefore, instructed to carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army, which were ordered to hasten forward. He decided to await Johnson's division, which had marched from Carlisle by the road west of the mountains to guard the trains of his corps, and consequently did not reach Gettysburg until a late hour.
That should explain the situation in heaps. Finally, as Eric has already stated, the capture of those hills was a moot point. Meade and the AotP slips back to the Pipe Creek line and defends from there, which is more than likely a more formidable line than the one held at Gettysburg.

One more thing, your quote comes from Walter Taylor and neither Lee, nor Ewell. Both of the generals seemed less certain of success. Also, you should give a look to J.D. Petruzzi's article about how Buford threw a monkey wrench into any attempt by the Confederates by his actions with Gamble's and Devin's brigades.

Please don't tell me you still believe that Longstreet should have attacked at sunrise on July 2.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 14:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomDeFranco View Post
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall, Lee left Ewell with the discretion to take Cemtery Hill or not. As you may have read in several of the other threads Ewell had several good reasons for not attempting to take it. Lee provided no support in the form of Anderson's fresh division, or Thomas' unused brigade of Pender's division. They might have been helpful by attempting an assault from the western part of the hill while Ewell's main assault might have come in from the north and northeast.

Just for memory's sake, here are some of the ORs from Rodes, Ewell and Lee:



That should explain the situation in heaps. Finally, as Eric has already stated, the capture of those hills was a moot point. Meade and the AotP slips back to the Pipe Creek line and defends from there, which is more than likely a more formidable line than the one held at Gettysburg.

One more thing, your quote comes from Walter Taylor and neither Lee, nor Ewell. Both of the generals seemed less certain of success. Also, you should give a look to J.D. Petruzzi's article about how Buford threw a monkey wrench into any attempt by the Confederates by his actions with Gamble's and Devin's brigades.

Please don't tell me you still believe that Longstreet should have attacked at sunrise on July 2.
OK, thanks Tom.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 15:11
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Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
OK, thanks Tom.
That's not a problem Marshall. I hope there's no hard feelings. The point of my post was to inform and not to talk down to you. I hope those qoutes help.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 20:40
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Ewell was definitely competent. He knew how to pick good ground and how to position troops to his advantage.

No matter what stage in the battle he was in, it was important that Ewell take the high ground of Cemetery and Culps Hills. If he didn't notice those hills commanded the area, he sought advice from subordinates who all suggested taking the hill and even received orders which focused on taking that ground. Since he didn't even attempt to take the hill, I can't see how he didn't lose his nerve.

Ewell later wrote that he was responsible for many of the errors committed at Gettysburg, and he may have considered his inaction on day 1 to be one of those errors.

Ewell aside, the lack of cavalry cost Lee any form of decent recon; it didn't help that Longstreet didn't report the newly arrived Union forces on Cemetary Ridge and the Round Tops. Then there was Pickett's Charge on day 3..it didn't help that Longstreet delayed the attack even though he knew Alexander was running low on ammo.

In short, Ewell did nothing when the opportunity was presented for taking the commanding ground in the area, but Stuart also deserves blame for the Confederate loss; other Generals made the situation worse.
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Old 14 Apr 12, 22:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American87 View Post


Ewell aside, the lack of cavalry cost Lee any form of decent recon; it didn't help that Longstreet didn't report the newly arrived Union forces on Cemetary Ridge and the Round Tops. Then there was Pickett's Charge on day 3..it didn't help that Longstreet delayed the attack even though he knew Alexander was running low on ammo.

In short, Ewell did nothing when the opportunity was presented for taking the commanding ground in the area, but Stuart also deserves blame for the Confederate loss; other Generals made the situation worse.

That is False. Lee had 4 cavalry brigades at his disposal as his moved north besides Stuart. These were the brigades of Imboden, Jones, Robertson, and Jenkins, with Jones and Roberston detached in Virginia. Lee failed to utilize these troops for reconnaissance of any kind and did not issue any instruction of any kind to them except to recall Robertson and Jones on the 29th to his main army.

Read Eric's book on the subject, although I doubt it will change your disposition.

Ultimately, the blame for the battle of Gettysburg goes to Lee.

Alexander had withdrawn his ammunition train, which caused his ammunition shortage. The attack would have failed anyway even if Alexander had kept his bombardment up. He simply wasn't doing enough damage to the Federal position.
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Last edited by semperpietas; 14 Apr 12 at 22:45..
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Old 15 Apr 12, 02:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American87 View Post
Ewell was definitely competent. He knew how to pick good ground and how to position troops to his advantage.

No matter what stage in the battle he was in, it was important that Ewell take the high ground of Cemetery and Culps Hills. If he didn't notice those hills commanded the area, he sought advice from subordinates who all suggested taking the hill and even received orders which focused on taking that ground. Since he didn't even attempt to take the hill, I can't see how he didn't lose his nerve.

Ewell later wrote that he was responsible for many of the errors committed at Gettysburg, and he may have considered his inaction on day 1 to be one of those errors.

Ewell aside, the lack of cavalry cost Lee any form of decent recon; it didn't help that Longstreet didn't report the newly arrived Union forces on Cemetary Ridge and the Round Tops. Then there was Pickett's Charge on day 3..it didn't help that Longstreet delayed the attack even though he knew Alexander was running low on ammo.

In short, Ewell did nothing when the opportunity was presented for taking the commanding ground in the area, but Stuart also deserves blame for the Confederate loss; other Generals made the situation worse.
We've been over this Ewell thing on day 1 forever. Despite even the ORs from him, Rodes and Lee you still adamantly remain stuck on stubborn with this guy. Look, the opportunuity for him to take Cemetery Hill or Culp's Hill was slim to none and slim left the building two hours ago.

Next, Stuart left Lee with four brigades of cavalry. Neither he nor Ewell used them to good effect on July 1. They may not have trusted the cavalry leaders they had at hand, but they did have four brigades.

And what (and when) was this intel Longstreet was supposed to have about Union troops on Cemetery Ridge and the Round Tops?
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Last edited by TomDeFranco; 15 Apr 12 at 13:33..
  #13  
Old 15 Apr 12, 16:42
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Originally Posted by American87 View Post
Ewell aside, the lack of cavalry cost Lee any form of decent recon; it didn't help that Longstreet didn't report the newly arrived Union forces on Cemetary Ridge and the Round Tops. Then there was Pickett's Charge on day 3..it didn't help that Longstreet delayed the attack even though he knew Alexander was running low on ammo.

In short, Ewell did nothing when the opportunity was presented for taking the commanding ground in the area, but Stuart also deserves blame for the Confederate loss; other Generals made the situation worse.
Ummmm....no....

Your statement plainly demonstrates a lack of research, serious reading, or deep analysis. You're just dead wrong about the so-called "lack of cavalry".
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Old 15 Apr 12, 16:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Wittenberg View Post
Ummmm....no....

Your statement plainly demonstrates a lack of research, serious reading, or deep analysis. You're just dead wrong about the so-called "lack of cavalry".
Eric,

I have a hard time believing American 87 does not know what he is talking about. Are you sure that Lee had cavalry with him while Stuart was off trying to make headlines for himself?
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Old 15 Apr 12, 17:33
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Hmm lets see here. Lee had 3 Corps dispersed across about 100 miles, and had 4 Cavalry Brigades for screening and recon; Imboden and Robertson were not competent commanders, and it's unfortunate I have to point that out. Before the battle started, no practical person could claim Lee had proper Cavalry.

Indeed, Longstreet's biggest contribution to the battle was recruiting Harrison.

I'm not sure what this feeble force was doing on the 2nd-probably screening the flanks or on recon missions. Either way, they weren't posted on the Confederate right, watching Cemetery Ridge. Had Stuart been present, with his numbers and Generals, there's a good chance Lee never would have made his attack on the 2nd day, as that attack was based on faulty recon.

If theres anybody without a personal point to make, and just enjoys the subject, I would appreciate intelligent feedback.
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