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  #1  
Old 20 Apr 12, 22:34
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Who Blundered?

Maybe if I look long enough I will find out.

Wonder if there was sabotage?

Cannons shooting high at Gettysburg has always been talked about.

SPECIAL ORDERS, Numbers 154.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 8, 1863.
I. A board, to consist of not less than three nor more than six artillery officers, to be designated by the chief of artillery, Army of Northern Virginia, will meet on the 1st of each month, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to report such facts in regard to the artillery and projectiles in use in this army as may have come to their knowledge, and to make any suggestions in regard to changes and improvements they may think necessary, and also to make tables of ranges of guns for the use of the Confederate States artillery.
* * * * * * * * *
By command of General Lee:
W. H. TAYLOR,



http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/...ntent=045/0873

SPECIAL ORDERS, Numbers -.
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CORPS, June 15, 1863.
In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 154, headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, June 8, 1863, the following-named officers are designated to constitute the board therein named, viz:
Colonel E. P. Alexander, president; Major Dearing; Major Henry; Captain Reilly, Henry`s battalion; Captain Blount, Dearing`s battalion; Captain Fraser, Cabell`s battalion. The board will be called together by the president on the earliest day practicable, and will proceed to discharge the duties indicated in the order, and will report the result within the present week, if practicable, or as soon as may be.
By command of General W. N. Pendleton:
D. D. PENDLETON,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.

http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/...ntent=045/0896
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  #2  
Old 20 Apr 12, 23:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
Maybe if I look long enough I will find out.

Wonder if there was sabotage?

Cannons shooting high at Gettysburg has always been talked about.

SPECIAL ORDERS, Numbers 154.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, June 8, 1863.
I. A board, to consist of not less than three nor more than six artillery officers, to be designated by the chief of artillery, Army of Northern Virginia, will meet on the 1st of each month, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to report such facts in regard to the artillery and projectiles in use in this army as may have come to their knowledge, and to make any suggestions in regard to changes and improvements they may think necessary, and also to make tables of ranges of guns for the use of the Confederate States artillery.
* * * * * * * * *
By command of General Lee:
W. H. TAYLOR,



http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/...ntent=045/0873

SPECIAL ORDERS, Numbers -.
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CORPS, June 15, 1863.
In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 154, headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, June 8, 1863, the following-named officers are designated to constitute the board therein named, viz:
Colonel E. P. Alexander, president; Major Dearing; Major Henry; Captain Reilly, Henry`s battalion; Captain Blount, Dearing`s battalion; Captain Fraser, Cabell`s battalion. The board will be called together by the president on the earliest day practicable, and will proceed to discharge the duties indicated in the order, and will report the result within the present week, if practicable, or as soon as may be.
By command of General W. N. Pendleton:
D. D. PENDLETON,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.

http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/...ntent=045/0896
Marshall,

Instead of trying to find fault on the Rebel side (or some conspiracy) on who prevented Lee from gaining a great victory at Gettysburg, I would look to the Northern side of the equation. Performances by Union commanders such as Meade, Hancock, Buford, Greene, Vincent, etc had much more to do with the outcome of the battle than the supposed misdeads of Lee's subordinates.

But, if you must find a culprit on the Rebel side, I nominate Lee. The great commander was not himself and did not perform well. A.P. Hill was no great shakes either. But, then again, there were commanders on the AotP side of the ledger that did not do well either. Howard followed up his bad performance at Chancellorsville with another debit at Gettysburg. And Sickles provided Lee with an opportunity to achieve that great decisive victory on Northern soil by making his 3rd Corps a bullseye with his ill advised move.

Considering the ground the AotP occupied, Lee and his army would have had to been on their A-Game and hoped for more than a few mistakes on the Yankee side to achieve a very decisive victory. With, a few exeptions the Yanks did not provide those opportunities and the ANV did not bring their A-Game with them.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 03:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cici View Post
Marshall,

Instead of trying to find fault on the Rebel side (or some conspiracy) on who prevented Lee from gaining a great victory at Gettysburg, I would look to the Northern side of the equation. Performances by Union commanders such as Meade, Hancock, Buford, Greene, Vincent, etc had much more to do with the outcome of the battle than the supposed misdeads of Lee's subordinates.

But, if you must find a culprit on the Rebel side, I nominate Lee. The great commander was not himself and did not perform well. A.P. Hill was no great shakes either. But, then again, there were commanders on the AotP side of the ledger that did not do well either. Howard followed up his bad performance at Chancellorsville with another debit at Gettysburg. And Sickles provided Lee with an opportunity to achieve that great decisive victory on Northern soil by making his 3rd Corps a bullseye with his ill advised move.

Considering the ground the AotP occupied, Lee and his army would have had to been on their A-Game and hoped for more than a few mistakes on the Yankee side to achieve a very decisive victory. With, a few exeptions the Yanks did not provide those opportunities and the ANV did not bring their A-Game with them.
Agree with everything said here.

I would point out that the Confederate Artillery bombardment was hampered by a number of reasons, including smoke and Pendleton moving the ammunition trains too far back.

But, B7B does have a small point about fuses. Typically, the ANV would receive it's artillery fuses from Richmond, but a shortage had forced in new fuses from Charleston and Selma. There were quality control concerns (the fuses from Charleston in particular burned longer than they were supposed to). However, I contribute that to the poor and often ad hoc manufacturing condition that existed in the South compared to the North. There was no way Southern industry to produce fuses that were mathematically precise.

I certainly wouldn't say sabotage.
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Last edited by semperpietas; 21 Apr 12 at 03:31..
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Old 21 Apr 12, 07:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cici View Post
Marshall,

Instead of trying to find fault on the Rebel side (or some conspiracy) on who prevented Lee from gaining a great victory at Gettysburg, I would look to the Northern side of the equation.
I am not trying to place a reason for not winning a battle. Just to show General Lee must have had a reason to ask for a test of those fuses he undoubtedly had a feeling were not exactly right just before going to Gettysburg.

Quote:
Performances by Union commanders such as Meade, Hancock, Buford, Greene, Vincent, etc had much more to do with the outcome of the battle than the supposed misdeads of Lee's subordinates.
I have never taken anything away from the Union side of the Battle of Gettysburg. Where do you come up with this stuff?

Quote:
But, if you must find a culprit on the Rebel side, I nominate Lee. The great commander was not himself and did not perform well. A.P. Hill was no great shakes either. But, then again, there were commanders on the AotP side of the ledger that did not do well either. Howard followed up his bad performance at Chancellorsville with another debit at Gettysburg. And Sickles provided Lee with an opportunity to achieve that great decisive victory on Northern soil by making his 3rd Corps a bullseye with his ill advised move.
I agree with you.

Quote:
Considering the ground the AotP occupied, Lee and his army would have had to been on their A-Game and hoped for more than a few mistakes on the Yankee side to achieve a very decisive victory. With, a few exeptions the Yanks did not provide those opportunities and the ANV did not bring their A-Game with them.
I agree with you. I am just trying to show that there was testing going on of the fuses and wondered why the cannons were shooting high if they had reset everything. That's all. If that committee had reset everything then there shouldn't have been a problem with the fuses before July 1st.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 08:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
I am not trying to place a reason for not winning a battle. Just to show General Lee must have had a reason to ask for a test of those fuses he undoubtedly had a feeling were not exactly right just before going to Gettysburg.

I have never taken anything away from the Union side of the Battle of Gettysburg. Where do you come up with this stuff?

I agree with you.

I agree with you. I am just trying to show that there was testing going on of the fuses and wondered why the cannons were shooting high if they had reset everything. That's all. If that committee had reset everything then there shouldn't have been a problem with the fuses before July 1st.
Marshall,

I deleted my earlier post. I too did not get this take from your thread starter. Thanks for clarifying.

I have seen both of the documents you cite, but cannont verify the reasoning behind them.

Based on the first line in the first one it would seem that this was a task omitted earlier, or an effort to assure better quality control across the board. The omission of a specific study of a particular manufacturer or manufacturing location seems to give strength to that idea.

The inclusion of the study of artillery pieces and range tables along with the shells makes me feel this may also have been part of a larger effort to decrease the deficit Confederate artillery had against the Union gunners.

Regards,
Dennis
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Old 21 Apr 12, 08:34
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A problem otheer than the fuzes would have been the extra problem in making adjustments in a bombardment of this type.

When multiple batteries are firing into the same area it becomes difficult to tell which shellbursts are yours. In addition smoke from previous rounds would obscure you shell bursts and make it hard to adjust. Then add to that all the smoke being produced from the Federal batteries which were firing back and it gets really hard to make reliable adjustments.

If a round was not seen to burst the CSA cannoneers would not know it the round was:
long and burst behind the ridgeline out of sight,
or if the fuze burnt to long,
or if it was a dud,
or if it was just lost in the smoke

and if it was to long they would have to guess about what adjustments to make since they could not see where the shell actualy landed behine the ridge. Yet another advantage of the Federal position.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 09:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Widow Maker View Post
A problem otheer than the fuzes would have been the extra problem in making adjustments in a bombardment of this type.

When multiple batteries are firing into the same area it becomes difficult to tell which shellbursts are yours. In addition smoke from previous rounds would obscure you shell bursts and make it hard to adjust. Then add to that all the smoke being produced from the Federal batteries which were firing back and it gets really hard to make reliable adjustments.

If a round was not seen to burst the CSA cannoneers would not know it the round was:
long and burst behind the ridgeline out of sight,
or if the fuze burnt to long,
or if it was a dud,
or if it was just lost in the smoke

and if it was to long they would have to guess about what adjustments to make since they could not see where the shell actualy landed behine the ridge. Yet another advantage of the Federal position.
Wouldn't the issue of bad fuses been dead if there was a committee to test and recalibrate before Gettysburg?
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Old 21 Apr 12, 09:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B7B Southern View Post
Wouldn't the issue of bad fuses been dead if there was a committee to test and recalibrate before Gettysburg?
Possibly. That is if the burn time was consistanly longer or shorter than expected. The problem was often the fact that the fuzed were just unreliable and inconsistant. Even Federal fuzes had a higher rate of failure than would be acceptable today. A lot of the fuzes were not the mortar style burning fuze. Fulminate of mecury based impact fuzes were often used and these are sometime found still intact and dangerous on battlefields even today.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 12:19
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A couple things I've noted:

1. the actual ammo on the Reb side was inferior (at least according to Alexander).

2. shooting over is not uncommon, and most of Lee's guns had to either reach or shoot uphill, neither of which helped.

3. where Alexander was targeting the 2nd day, he was doing lots of damage on both men and horses. Otherwise, Lee's artillery couldn't effectively find the range, mostly because he didn't have as many counterbattery guns or he couldn't find a platform for it.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 17:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgronski View Post
A couple things I've noted:

1. the actual ammo on the Reb side was inferior (at least according to Alexander).

2. shooting over is not uncommon, and most of Lee's guns had to either reach or shoot uphill, neither of which helped.

3. where Alexander was targeting the 2nd day, he was doing lots of damage on both men and horses. Otherwise, Lee's artillery couldn't effectively find the range, mostly because he didn't have as many counterbattery guns or he couldn't find a platform for it.
Point one: Since he was speaking of ammunition and not gun type that would include the fuze issue mentioned in the OP.

Point two: The problems with "overs" seems to get repeated a lot and not just in this battle.

Point three: Yes the second day showed what the ANV artillery and Alexander could accomplish in the right tactical setting. That reports of this might have encouraged Lee to think that somehow his artillery suppress the Unioin artillery in the more open and well established central part of the battlefield. I believe that expecting his artillery to be able to win the duel with the Army of Potomac's artillery which he knew from experience was more numerous and better supplied better supplied Was one of his major failures on the field.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 19:43
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I was wondering if the Confederates had the technology to time the fuses so correctly that they were going for an air burst directly over Union lines, because otherwise, it seems to me if they were on target with ordnance that exploded a bit late they would have still done more damage than hitting the Union rear the like I'm pretty sure they were..
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Old 21 Apr 12, 20:39
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Originally Posted by KICK View Post
I was wondering if the Confederates had the technology to time the fuses so correctly that they were going for an air burst directly over Union lines, because otherwise, it seems to me if they were on target with ordnance that exploded a bit late they would have still done more damage than hitting the Union rear the like I'm pretty sure they were..
Been years since I read up on it but I think that the only way they were setting "timed fuzes at this time was cutting the fuze longer or shorter. Other than that there was solid shot and impact fuzes.
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Old 25 Apr 12, 02:07
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Its my understanding that there had been an explosion at the Richmond Armories before the battle and that Lee's artillery were forced to obtain its munitions from Charleston. Apparently there was a difference in the fuse times between the two which resulted in the initial barrage overshooting the Union frontlines, leaving them relatively unscathed.

How this discrepency in fuses could have gone undetected prior to the battle is unknown but the Confederate infantry marched straight into Union lines that were still intact.

The fuse discrepency could be attributed to a lack of Confederate quality control.
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Old 25 Apr 12, 06:15
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Its my understanding that there had been an explosion at the Richmond Armories before the battle and that Lee's artillery were forced to obtain its munitions from Charleston. Apparently there was a difference in the fuse times between the two which resulted in the initial barrage overshooting the Union frontlines, leaving them relatively unscathed.

How this discrepency in fuses could have gone undetected prior to the battle is unknown but the Confederate infantry marched straight into Union lines that were still intact.

The fuse discrepency could be attributed to a lack of Confederate quality control.
It seems to me the change had to have been made after the testing that was ordered by Lee.
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Old 25 Apr 12, 07:14
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Thirteen months in the rebel army is an account by a northerner who worked in the rebel ordinance (among other things) and later defected. I believe they also had some northerners as engineers in Charleston and managing Lee's logistics. So I would not rule out sabotage.
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