Pickett’s Charge: The Second Wave


We’re going to talk about Pickett’s Charge:
The Second Wave. Are you ready? It’s text heavy however I have excerpts within
the text that I’ll pluck out so I won’t read the entire text at times. I know how to skim over it. But it’s text heavy like my Congressional
Hearings on General Meade was 2 years ago. And a lot of good visuals as we go along. Pickett’s Charge Second Wave begins with General
Longstreet and Lee’s discussion on the morning of July 3, 1863 and here we have Longstreet
saying to General Lee somewhere in the vicinity of the Peach Orchard, Round Tops area: [Ranger
first quote from Longstreet]. And that’s a loaded one isn’t it? I do a 3 or 4 hour tour just on that statement
alone so I have to be very careful not to get sidetracked. Lee responds: [Ranger reads first Lee quote,
Longstreet’s second quote, and Longstreet’s third quote] You know sometimes when we do
history at a higher level, we invert questions or invert evidence to get at truths and notice
what is not being said here. Lee’s not pointing his fist at the Copse of
Trees and the Angle and saying I want you to attack the Philadelphia Brigade there. He’s not saying I want you to break the Union
line at the Stone Wall. He’s saying Cemetery Hill. So there’s some key words here and for you
to understand the second wave, you have to understand that the goal is not the clump
of trees and the Angle, it’s the position of Cemetery Hill. That’s what they’re talking about – the position. That doesn’t mean that they would ignore the
Copse of Trees or the Stone Wall, but those are bumps in the road rather than the overall
objective. The objective is terrain oriented. Now I want you to notice the word “position.” I’m going to break down words as we go along
today. Pluck important words out so that there’s
a new meaning to Lee and Longstreet’s words as we go along. The word “position” is a loaded military word. Main position. Position – Jomini said in his “Article of
War,” that there are two objectives any time someone is attacking in a Napoleonic battle. The objective is either force -oriented or
terrain oriented. Force oriented or terrain oriented. Force oriented is you just want to move your
opponent backwards or in some kind of other direction from where they are. Terrain oriented objectives are more you want
a particular – if you are the attacker – you want to capture terrain, key terrain, a key
position that if you hold it, your opponent has to leave and you get to stay, or visa
versa. And so if you look throughout the reports
of Lee, Longstreet, and others, they consistently use the word “position,” which means the attacks
are terrain oriented. They kind of want to capture certain pieces
of ground. So position right away tells you it’s not
a stone wall, an angle, a copse of trees – those are all part of the frill, the fluff, the
window dressing – but the goal is key terrain that once you control it, you control the
battlefield. Your opponent has to leave and fight elsewhere. So it’s Cemetery Hill. There’s no doubt as to what Lee’s objective
is. There’s only one person who could have ordered
Longstreet to take the main position, the Cemetery Hill. Longstreet would add in his book years later
[Ranger reads quote on screen]. Now Longstreet would say that it would take
close to 30,000 troops to be able to achieve the objective of taking the main position,
the Cemetery Hill. Again not the angle, the copse of trees, but
the whole hill, to capture the National Cemetery, East Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, the entire
position, you would need twice the amount of men that he and Lee were discussing down
on the southern end of the battlefield sometime after sunup on July 3 and so keep that in
mind. And we are going to see that General Lee listened
to him. There were roughly 15,000 plus additional
troops placed in reserve to support the attack. “Co-operation” is another key word. I want you to look for these words – I’m not
just throwing them out there for nothing. You are going to see them pop up over and
over again in the reports. Co-operation means that there are other units
that have roles to help the 12 to 13,000 troops of the main attack succeed. They’re co-operative troops, they’re support
troops, they’re reserve troops, and various other terms that we’re going to see here. Lee wrote to Jefferson Davis on July 4th. Now obviously those letters and memorandums
that he would send to Jefferson Davis didn’t reach Davis on July 4. Today we could do that with a quick tweet,
but in those days it would take Imboden’s cavalry would take a metal box of letters
from Lee to Davis and it would take a couple of weeks before Davis actually saw what Lee
had to write. But in there, Lee would write immediately
after the battle while the thoughts are fresh in his mind, [Ranger reads quote on screen]. Notice the word “position.” Again, he’s not saying we failed to break
the Union line at the Angle, at the Copse of Trees, he’s saying we failed to take the
“position” – the position that is the difference maker. And he said we “attempted to dislodge.” How many of you know Bill Hewitt? Bill Hewitt spread the word about “dislodge”
probably more than anyone on the staff. It’s a crucial word. I did a tour and I’m not going to name the
date, I’m not going to name the institution I did the tour for because I don’t want to
mention the person’s name, but this is an author who knows a lot about the battle and
he and I were to co-conduct Pickett’s Charge for a college group coming across the field
of Pickett’s Charge a few years ago and we stopped at one point and this person said
that was co-conducting the tour with me, they said, “well there’s not a lot in Robert E.
Lee’s report to tell you what he was trying to do on the third day of the battle.” And of course I had to be very careful and
diplomatic at that point because if you know the words in the report, it’s obvious what
he’s trying to do. “Dislodge” tells you everything you need to
know about what Lee’s objectives were in terms of broader strategic goals and then his terrain-oriented
objective, his tactical objective is Cemetery Hill and we’re going to find out here in just
a minute what his overall operational objective is. “Dislodge” tells you what that objective is. “Possession” is another key word. When you carry a flag into battle, it always
means two things, two non-verbal messages sent through the smoke and noise to your opponent. Two messages: 1. Possession 2. Location. You know how a quarterback, lets say at Beaver
Stadium for Penn State, lets say an opposing team is coming in to play there and there’s
70,000 screaming fans there in Happy Valley and the opposing quarterback can’t hear anything. He can’t hear anything and he has known for
a week that he can’t hear anything and the coaches have run through silent counts – you
know what silent counts are – and you’ll see the quarterback stomp his heels a couple of
times and the you’ll see him tap his hip – those are all silent counts to start the offense
moving, to have the receiver run in motion, he’s tapping the butt of the center to let
him know when to hike the ball – these are all silent counts. It’s too loud to hear signals so everything
is silent and silent signal oriented. Does everybody got that? On a battlefield, it’s too loud, too noisy,
too smokey to hear orders at times so when you are told when all else fails, follow the
flag because the flag will determine the location – that’s why troops in Pickett’s Charge will
try to plant the flag on the stone wall – that meant something to both sides – it meant location,
it also meant possession, it meant we own this position. We own this position. When the Marines reenacted the raising of
the Flag on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima, they hadn’t taken the entire island at that point,
but they reenacted not only for a photo-op, but they reenacted the raising of the Flag
so all the Japanese in the valley below could see where the flag was. It was a large flag and it signaled we own
this island and it’s just a matter of time. So possession – flags mean possession. Lee says here, “we were unable to get possession
of his position.” We are no talking about temporary breakthroughs. We’re talking about second waves that secure
a position. Possession means to “permanently lay claim
to something.” Not attack without any objective. So possession another key word. “Dislodge.” “We attempted to dislodge.” So lets look at what “dislodge” means. Probably the best visual for dislodgement
would be the opposite of that and that’s a log or a fallen tree that’s lodged in a river
or creek. Lodged. How many of you had experience seeing a fallen
tree in a river or a creek? And so you come up to that tree and you need
to have that tree float down stream. Let’s say that’s your objective. Well it’s lodged in the ground. This for instance would be your Cemetery Hill,
the main position that lodges the tree. So you have to cut the tree some. You have to cut the tree up, you have to maybe
leverage it with 2 by 4s, you might have to bring in a truck and some chains, you do whatever
you can to get that tree loose and nimble enough that it will float down stream. You got a picture of it floating away?That’s
General Lee’s operational objective at Gettysburg. It’s to dislodge the Union Army from its main
position, the Cemetery Hill, so it floats down the Baltimore Pike stream. Have you got that? He’s trying to dislodge – “we failed to dislodge
the enemy from his main position.” We failed. We tried to push that car out of the muddy
hole that it was in. We pushed, and we heaved, and we hoed, and
we revved, and we tried to get the car out of the bog or the snow it was in. We couldn’t dislodge it. It just remained stuck and hinged and anchored
on Round Top, and Culps Hill, and Cemetery Hill. We couldn’t dislodge it and get it floating
toward Maryland. Ok so “dislodge.” There’s more meaning to that. So Sun Tzu said in his writings that you show
your enemy – you show him two things every time you attack him in battle. You show him the “Golden Bridge” or the “Iron
Fence.” The “Golden Bridge” or the “Iron Fence.” General Lee was trying to show the Union army
and Meade the “Golden Bridge.” The “golden bridge” is you leave a way of
escape and you hope your opponent takes it. And if he takes it, for instance, God forbid
someone were to walk through that door when it was open a few minutes ago and 3 or 4 of
our law enforcement people surrounded him and surrounded him with their hands on their
holsters. And this person – they are trapped. Except the door is open and there’s a way
out and so the non-verbal message is if you leave now, we might not follow through with
the handcuffs or the embarrassment that could follow. I’m leaving you a way out and we won’t pursue
you. That kind of thing. However, if someone comes behind him and closes
the door, it’s all or nothing at that point isn’t it? So now the person – lets say the steaks are
really high and they have to survive. They have to survive and there are people
depending on him escaping, well now you have a fight on your hands because it’s all or
nothing. The door is closed and they’re surrounded. Robert E. Lee surrounded the Union army on
3 sides but left the escape route open all during the battle. And that’s because he wanted the Union army
to take the invitation to leave and I’ll explain that more. That’s what dislodgement is about. You want your opponent to leave. General Longstreet wanted to show the Union
army the iron fence. The iron fence is to maneuver around somewhere
South of the Round Tops ideally, and block the path to Westminster where the main depot
was, where there were 4,000 tons of medical and food supplies by the third day of the
battle and also the road to Frederick City and Washington, D.C. He wanted to block that, set up defensive
ground, knew the Union army would have to attack, like someone closing that door, they
would have to fight to open that door to Westminster and to Washington. That’s an all or nothing proposition. That’s drawing the line in the sand. That’s not to say that Longstreet was wrong,
it’s to say that their ideas on how to fight at Gettysburg were 180 degrees opposite. Have you got that? One wanted to block the path out, the other
wanted to extend the golden bridge. One wanted the Union army to take the invitation
to leave, the other wanted to block the way home. In case I forget to say this, I’ll go ahead
and say it now just to make sure that this comes out. This has to do with human psychology and we’re
doing history at a higher level when we bring in all the sciences, particularly human psychology. Human psychology in this instance applies
in that if an opponent has a way out, and I have already hinted at this, but if they
have a way out they might take it. Now think about in your associations with
people or in life – when you have deadlines that have to be met and you have to pull an
all-nighter so there isn’t embarrassment at work the next day and you have to make sure
it’s done, when there are those kinds of deadlines, that’s your iron fence and that’s when you’re
going to do something ahead of schedule or you are going to make sure that it’s done. If the golden bridge is – there’s a way out. I could sleep a little late tonight and then
do it tomorrow. When you have no way out, I don’t want to
conjure bad memories or anything like that – if you have had bills to pay and money was
short – if there’s an extra day or two, a grace period, that’s the golden bridge. If there’s not, that’s the iron fence. Right? And you’re up against the break. And so Lee wanted to leave a way out. if you leave a way out, your opponent will
fight less desperately. That’s controlling his desperation level. Have you got that? If you got into an argument with somebody
right now on a one-on-one level, there would be moments where you could say things to throw
flames on the fire, fuel on the flames, and you could escalate the argument. Or you could deescalate with words that quench
the fire. Can everyone see that? There are ways to escalate and deescalate. If you escalate, that means you’re showing
the iron fence. If you deescalate, you are leaving a way out. Jomini in his “Art of War” – this is Robert
E. lee’s battle plan by the way – it comes right out of Jomini’s “Art of War.” [Ranger reads quote on screen]. Let me say something quickly about Jomini
without going off on a side track. Occasionally, you will hear someone say, the
generals back then didn’t read Jomini; they didn’t really depend on Jomini. And that is completely false. And I’ll tell you why. You can read – you could have not read Jomini
– and we could go to West Point and find that you didn’t check out the manual and we don’t
find your name on the check-out card when you attended there in the 1840s or 1850s,
but you learned Jomini. Why? Because Jomini’s truths are eternal truths
to either learn the easy way or the hard way. Right? You could jump off this building right now
and not have read Newton’s laws, but your legs are still going to get crushed. When you go into – I love laws that dictate
things, they are there for us to discover – there are so many methods in business and
in every discipline where there are laws and principles that you study and when you learn
them, they are going to work over and over and over again because they’re there to discover,
not to publish. So Jomini’s book – he was a Swede, he traveled
with Napoleon, and it’s a history book of the “Art of War” throughout the ages with
all the great generals from Antiquity up to his present which would be the early 1800s
– if when you are attacking someone and it’s a frontal assault, you need 2 to 3 to 1 odds
in your favor. If you don’t, you don’t have enough troops
to follow through and carry the position and have possession of the position. If you are going to attack someone, if you
are going to turn someone’s front – we’ve already started some of these, I’m not going
to get sidetracked – you are going to see them unfold as we go along, there are rules
that dictate warfare. if you don’t learn them the easy way, you
are going to learn them in a very public, embarrassing way at the expense of your troops. Now what’s Robert E. Lee’s plan here? Robert E. Lee’s plan is 2/3 of his force – Ewell
and Longstreet – are to attack the flanks. One is attacking up the Emmitsburg Road, the
other Culps Hill. Where is the point of impact? Cemetery Hill. A.P. Hill represents the 1/3 of the force
to keep the enemy in check or watch his movements. Why is there fighting at the Bliss Farm on
the morning of July 3? Why does the fighting open against Caldwell,
part of Caldwell’s division, and some of A.P. Hill’s corps on the morning of July 2 again
in front of the Bliss Farm and in front of Ziegler’s Grove? It’s because like a boxer jabs towards the
chin before he lands a hook either from the right or from the left, the jab is to set
up, to fix the hands for the defender around the chin so that there’s an opening shot to
the jaw. Do you got that? Football. Lets use Penn State again. Why run the ball up the middle over and over
and over when you know you are only going to get one or two yards? It’s to cause all of the lanes on the defensive
line to close in and contract so that you can run around the outside but the only way
you cause the defense to contract so you can go around the ends is you have to go up the
middle like jabbing at his jaw to set up the right or the left hook. So all of the Confederate movements on the
2nd and 3rd day start with A.P. Hill jabbing at the center and the Federals don’t know
which way the hook is coming in from. can you see that? And he’s there as a reminder that if the Union
troops which are largely concentrated behind the center, if they go to the left or the
right, A.P. Hill is there to go in and take the center. The objective is always Cemetery Hill whether
the 2/3 drive of the Confederate army drive on the center and take it that way, take the
main position that way, or they draw Union troops out to the flanks and then A.P. Hill
goes in and takes the center after the Red Sea parts. In all cases, there’s a dead eye by the Confederates
on taking the position that they want to dislodge the Union Army from and that’s Cemetery Hill. [Ranger reads slide]. I tell my students at Penn State one of the
ways we do history at a higher level is we look for patterns across time and space. Patterns tell us something deeper about ourselves. Why are there so many Civil War battles around
dead angles, and bloody angles, and salients, and mule shoes, and the answer is because
you can achieve maximum firepower at the bend in a line. A bend in a line is where you achieve maximum
firepower. That was the goal in combat then and it is
now. Maximum firepower is best achieved through
crossfire. If directed correctly, if you surround a main
position like Cemetery Hill, if your attacks up the Emmitsburg Road reach that far, and
are able to cooperate with the attacks on Culps Hill, and you’re able to surround Cemetery
Hill and you direct your fire correctly, if you miss someone on the front side, you do
what? You hit someone on the backside. The defender is weakest at a salient, at a
mule shoe, at an angle. Why? Because their fire is dispersed like suns
rays in all directions. There’s no intersecting fields of fire at
all. Now Henry Hunt, you all know this, would try
to correct that by moving artillery, McGilvery’s artillery, out onto a platform what is now
the Minnesota and Pennsylvania monuments to create a curl so they could crossfire with
Hazzard’s guns against Pickett’s troops. How many of you know that? And so there were attempts at different times
during the battle to rectify that problem but a natural disadvantage of the Union army
would be they could be surrounded at the arc. So Lee attacks Cemetery arc from 3 sides that
included the west, the north, east. The only place that he didn’t attack was from
the South. That’s because Lee left the southerly escape
route open and left Meade the golden bridge and hoped he would take it. Now this is a little bit offtrack but I have
to mention it. It’s critical. If General Meade took the invitation to leave
and retreated to the next water/railroad hookup which would be along Pipe Clay Creek Maryland
– and there was some variations on that at Littlestown and some other places – had he
taken the invitation to fall back to the next place that would sustain him logistically
and still cover his main supply depot at Westminster and cover Washington and Baltimore, if he
took that invitation, it’s only a 12 or 15 mile retreat to Maryland. You can do that logistically. You keep your spacing in between your units,
you keep panic from metastasizing, you keep your order, you keep cavalry in the rear to
protect to bridges so you can escape without having your rear destroyed by fire and your
wagons burned and disrupt your retreat, you might be able to pull all that off. Politically, a retreat to Maryland is an admission
by the Lincoln administration and the election, which is only a year away, that the President
can’t defend the state of Pennsylvania in time of emergency, which means he doesn’t
carry the state of Pennsylvania and it means that he loses the general election. Does everybody see that? So General Lee is saying, there it is. There’s the golden bridge. Please take it. Even if you manage to fall back safely to
the next water/railroad hookup to live to fight another day, politically you’re likely
destroyed. That’s dislodgement. “Squeezing the Cemetery Hill balloon.” This is something they would teach at Fort
Levenworth, they would teach this at military schools like West Point or the Army War College. Think of Cemetery Hill as a balloon. Now imagine a balloon with helium and a string
attached and imagine it bobbing back and forth. And image that your goal is to reach out – everybody
reach out with your right hand if you would – and grasp that balloon. And you goal is to pop the balloon with your
right hand. But it’s elusive and it’s moving around. And so you can’t – your hand is not large
enough to grasp it and pop it with that kind of elusiveness until you put a palm on the
reverse side of the balloon. Now you have something to press up against
and pop the balloon. Does everyone have that picture in mind? The Confederate attacks for 2 days against
Culps Hill or the metaphoric palm on the reverse side of the Cemetery Hill balloon, the attacks
up the Emmitsburg Road for 2 days were the hand pushing against Cemetery Hill to pop
the balloon and to leave the escape route open to Maryland. Does everyone see that picture? Sometimes they’ll use the term “hammer and
anvil.” Think of Culps Hill as the anvil to hold Federal
troops in place so the attacks up the Emmitsburg road, which are the hammer, have something
to smash Cemetery Hill against. When you have a fishhook shape line like the
Union army has, a horseshoe or a salient, if you have something like that, and you don’t
put troops on a palm on the reverse side of the balloon, or an anvil on the reverse side
of the anvil, the hammer that’s about to hit it, if you don’t put an anvil on the reverse
side and you have nothing to hold Cemetery Hill in place. The troops on Culps Hill can pivot out as
a compass draws a circle on a piece of paper, the Union right wing can pivot off of Culps
Hill, pivot on Cemetery Hill, take the Confederate left and reverse it – Oak Hill – threaten
the Confederate supply routes on the Cashtown Road and Fairfield Road. Can you see that? In other words, the Union fishhook can unbend
and attack in reverse as a compass draws a circle on a piece of paper. It can pivot like a wing that’s released and
envelope. So the Confederate attacks on Culps Hill were
a forceful bending of the Union line towards them so that they could smash up against it. Have you got that? Ok. And so the “Cemetery Hill balloon” looks like
this from the 11th Corps perspective. This would be where 11th Corps troops are. This is a picture taken in 1869, the year
that an auger was digging for the Soldiers’ National Monument to be dedicated shortly
thereafter. You can see the beautiful stone wall there
along Taneytown Road. In the distance, you can see a racetrack,
an old racetrack, probably a dog racing track, perhaps a horse racing track that appears
sometime after the battle and before this photograph was taken in 1869. Did any of you do that tour with me in 1998
where I got soaked in the rain taking people through that race course? Ok that was years and years ago and we were
being filmed on PCN and everyone just started laughing. And then you can see the Lutheran Seminary
in the distance and Seminary Ridge. We are going to talk about – where you see
the racetrack, it’s called Long lane today – we are going to talk a lot about troops
that were there for a second wave to move in and take Cemetery Hill. This is one side of the Cemetery Hill balloon. Another view of West Cemetery Hill looking
from the Minnesota monument to the southwest to the Emmitsburg Road and what appears to
be the Emmanuel Trostle farm which no longer stands. That would be across from where McDonald’s
is today. I’d love to see a foundation put there. You know something just to mark it there. And then this is East Cemetery Hill, a view-a-vis
Cemetery Hill looking toward the German Reformed Church, looking towards the fields where Hays
and Avery made their attack against Adelbert Ames and his 11th Corps troops on the second
day of the battle against East Cemetery Hill. Today we divide them up and call them East
Cemetery Hill, and National Cemetery, and Evergreen Cemetery, but at the time it was
not carved up like a pie. It was all one big hill. It’s the same hill that Buford and Reynolds
and Hancock saw as the key position on the battlefield the first day of the battle. It was the point where the roads connected:
the Emmitsburg Road, the Taneytown Road, the Baltimore Pike, all dovetail there so you
had to control that hill to control the concentration of your troops on the roads moving from Maryland
to Pennsylvania behind them. I did a tour there a few years ago in the
mid 90s and I got a blow up of this poster board version of this view and when I did,
I took out a magnifying glass and looked real close and I found in here abetee. Abetee are what would like sharpened pencils
stuck in the ground. Did you know the 11th Corps cut into the trees
along the Baltimore Pike here and created field fortifications? Harry T. Hayes who commanded the Louisiana
troops talks about crossing over the abettee as they charged up the hill on the evening
of the 2nd. That’s just bonus material there but it was
fortified. Culps Hill is not the only place on the battlefield
where there were field fortifications. So this is the Cemetery Hill balloon. And so Cemetery Hill – one of my dreams is
to see someone with some kind of computer program recreate cemetery Hill to the way
it looked at the time of the battle. If that were to occur, I don;t think we would
talk much about Round Top or other positions on the battlefield. I think we would be as impressed as Hancock
and others about the key position and why it had to be held. Why Howard, Hancock, and others fought after
the war over who claimed that it was the key position. So it’s the Cemetery Hill balloon. Now it gets better. You know this is the off season for me so
I don’t have the same energy levels so I could hit a wall at some point. Right now I feel pretty good though so lets
just keep going here. I’ll have my sea legs probably towards the
end of June, but anyway. July 3 Longstreet writes in his official report
for July 3: [Ranger reads quote]. Not a lot of people know that. You know it was not Fry according to Longstreet,
it’s not Fry, it’s not Pettigrew, it’s Pickett. He’s the guide. [Ranger continues reading]. Now this is a very very important point. Couple of very important points. One is the term “salient.” You’re going to see with the maps that I show
you are going to continue to pop up. That the salient that represents the key position
on the battlefield is Cemetery Hill. Salient is a curved, horseshoe-shaped position. The salient for Longstreet is not the stone
wall angle. That comes into existence as the salient or
a definition of a salient in the 1880s during the memorial period. The salient that Longstreet is talking about
is hitting one side of the Cemetery Hill balloon while Ewell hits the other side via Culps
Hill to try to take it in reverse.They are talking about a salient big enough for 30,000
troops to be involved. The angle that’s out there was big enough
for the Philadelphia Brigade and some reserves to come up and for Armistead’s brigade, but
it was no more than a brigade-size objective. If you really want to take it, you send 2
brigades. The Confederates had many many many brigades
as you are going to see here. They had a mile’s worth in width and breadth
of troops and so the salient here that he is talking about – now one way we can get
at that is he says: “General Pickett’s line to be the guide and to attack the line of
the enemy’s defenses, and General Pettigrew, in command of Heth’s division” – he is saying
that Pettigrew is to move on the same line with Pickett. Now if we interpret “on” to mean that they
are following a fence that goes across the field from where the Virginia Memorial is
now to the clump of trees- and that’s how tradition has sort of defined it loosely over
years and lack of direct evidence – then we say they are moving and they are all guiding
on Fry. He’s in the center. Everyone has agreed to guide on Fry. Pickett is to close on his left towards Fry,
Pettigrew is to close on his right towards Fry, and Fry is guiding on this fence which
ultimately leads to the trees. You don’t find any of that in the Confederate
reports. There is no mention of that at all. They are talking about the main position – the
Cemetery Hill – the key position. So what’s a more logical way to interpret
the word “on”? And “on” can mean “against.” How many of you heave heard the term “On”
used in that way? There’s a website now, and I haven’t looked
at it, but its moveon.edu or something like that, there’s also – you have heard “advancing
on the colors,” right? You have heard of “on to Richmond,” you have
heard of “marching on to Gettysburg” – that’s in several of the reports – or “marching on
the capitol.” You have heard that. “On” in all of those instances has nothing
to do with standing up on something or being literally up on it. “On” means “against” or “toward” – “onward.” So if you are moving “on” – if I were to say
to you, alright just move one, just move on. You would all know what that meant. It wouldn’t mean “find a fence and guide on
it.” It would mean get out of here, or move on
to the next place or wherever it is that your next itinerary object is. So moving on the same line is moving against
Hancock’s line. You are going to see this thing develop as
we go along. He’s talking about not guiding on a fence
that leads to a clump of trees – none of that is in here. We have fictitiously added all of that. What he is saying is “we are moving on Hancock’s
Second Corps line.” Pettigrew and Pickett are moving against the
same line. Now there is a second line that I’m coming
to. They are attacking the first line. The first line is Hancock’s line. There’s a second line though that has to do
with the second wave. So they are moving on the same line. And the fact that he says “General Pickett’s
line to be the guide and to attack the line of the enemy’s defenses,” Pettigrew is attacking
that same line. They are attacking the line, the line then
is the North-South running position of the Second Corps on Cemetery Ridge. So I’ll have better maps as we go along but
this one here is a Bachelder troop movement map done in the late 1870s and it’s very crowded. I will show you more detailed ones later but
you can see the Confederate assault. This is done to represent around 3pm on July
3. You can see the Confederate attacks on Culps
Hill. You can see Robert Rhodes’ division – we will
say more about that – he is augmented by elements of Pender’s division. You can see Pickett’s division here in the
low swales around the Henry Spangler farm, Wilcox and Lang’s troops were near the Rogers
House, and then you can Anderson’s division back here and various other units. There is the fence line running across the
field that leads to the clump of trees that we make so much of internally. But what I am suggesting is they are not moving
on this line, upon this line. They are moving against this line and Pickett
and Pettigrew were moving against it. What’s the salient? The salient is the start of the bend in the
2nd Corps line as it relates to the 11th Corps line and the overall salient is the bend in
the fishhook. Do you see that? That’s the salient that they are trying to
take. We are talking about a key position that decisively
ends the battle. It dislodges the Union Army. It gets the tree floating downstream. A stone wall doesn’t do that. Is the stone wall part of the overall mosaic? Yes, obviously. Ok sot he Copse of Trees as we talk about
the second wave they come in to focus here at this point. One of the earliest photographs taken of the
Copse of Trees was in 1882. It was not commonly photographed until the
1880s because that is the memorial period when veterans were coming back in large numbers
like you go to your high school reunion around the 20th and 25th more than you would before
or later. There’s something about the mystic chords
of memory at 25 years, as Carol Reardon would teach in a history and memory class at Penn
State. By the way, buy Pickett’s Charge in History
and Memory by Carol Reardon. It’s the best book there is on memory. But this notion of photographs being taken
of the Copse of Trees, that doesn’t commonly start until the 1880s. Let me say a little bit more about the importance
of the 1880s and memory. Classic cars are not considered “classic”
until 20 years. National memorials for wars are not allowed
to be placed on the National Mall until 20 years after the war, viz a vie America’s entry
into Vietnam is in the 1960s, the Vietnam Memorial is not allowed out on the mall until
the 1980s. The Cyclorama was painted in the 1880s, the
ORs come out in the 1880s, 30 new monuments were placed on the battlefield a year in the
1880s. The 1880s is the period of warm, fuzzy feelings
where everyone wants to come back and remember the best and forget the worst. That’s when reconciliation starts. Now the Copse of Trees start to be photographed
at that time and that’s not very big for 1882 is it? That means it has 19 years to grow since the
battle and that is all the bigger it is. And this is the earliest known photograph
we have of the Copse of Trees. Looking up from the Emmitsburg Road you can
see it here and several other trees around it. Not very large and again, this is what 16
years after Pickett’s Charge ended. That’s how high it is. And people have questioned over the years
whether those trees could be seen on the smoke covered field by 30,000 troops, particularly
if you are talking about a second wave. But even if you are talking 12 to 13,000 troops,
on a smoke-covered field with odulations, rises and falls, and ebbs and flows of the
ground, and all the noise, you would want to pick something that everyone could see. Right? And so the trees are not that daunting. Why did they wait to take pictures of the
Copse of Trees so long when there are loads of pictures of Round Top and the Evergreen
Cemetery Gate House? It’s because it wasn’t important until the
1880s. And when does it start to become important
in the 1880s when the term “High water mark” really begins to gain traction when there
is a reunion between the Philadelphia brigade and Armistead’s Virginia brigade which leads
to warm fuzzy feelings between the two. The ice starts to break and reconciliation
begins and by 1892 there is a monument calling the area the “high Water Mark.” And then there’s this recreation in 1913 at
the 50th anniversary and at the 75th anniversary in 1938 of shaking hands at that wall. So in some ways, in a very kind way, it’s
a collusion of the Philadelphia brigade and Armistead’s Virginia brigade that puts disproportionate
amount of attention on the angle at the expense of everything else that 30,000 troops were
maneuvering towards. Now Ziegler’s Grove – if you wanted to pick
a group of trees that everyone can see on the field at the time, it was Ziegler’s Grove. However, Ziegler’s Grove by 1874 was a shadow
of itself for a couple of reasons. Kathy Harrison has done the most research
on Ziegler’s Grove and she would tell you this: that an old soldier’s home was to be
constructed and the beginnings of that construction started in the late 1860s and then for whatever
reason, the old soldier’s home went belly up by the early 1870s so a lot of forest for
Ziegler’s Grove had been cleared out for a home that was never completed for veterans. Also these trees were probably diseased from
incoming shells, there was a lot of crossfire aimed at East Cemetery Hill from Benner’s
Hill and from Hospital Hill, from the Railroad cut North of town from the Seminary as well
as shots from the Peach Orchard and the crossfire point would have been Cemetery Hill. That’s where all of the crossfire was coming
in. That was the common denominator for all crossfire
and Ziegler’s Grove would have taken shells from every direction not just from West to
East. And so that would lead to trees being cleared
out. So it was not something to look at by the
1880s when the veterans were coming back. Alexander Hayes’ death, Pettigrew’s untimely
death, their deaths had a lot to do in the memorial period with Ziegler’s Grove not receiving
more attention. The trees on the front of Pettigrew and Alexander
Hayes would have received more attention had those 2 people been around in the 1880s when
there was a revival of interest in the battle. Some of you know the park is in the process
of relocating these fences. They’ll soon be back in place and maybe Ziegler’s
Grove will be planted. But it was 2 acres of white oaks. It was not a small clump of trees. it was 2 acres of land of white oaks and there
are accounts at the time on both sides indicating that those were the more logical trees that
Pickett’s and Pettigrew’s and Trimble’s troops were aiming for. Now this is a sketch done by Edwin Forbes
for Frank Leslie’s Civil War Illustrated. In those days with out the internet and television,
you bought a subscription to a newspaper and they would have inserts on whatever major
event was going on and in this case, the Civil War. And one of the drawers was Edwin Forbes. And he began this sketch at the time of the
battle and then would complete it in the subsequent days. He is standing somewhere here on Seminary
Ridge probably near the McMillan House – this could be the McMillan House – this would be
McMillan Woods behind and he’s looking out across. It’s really interesting. You couldn’t take photographs of moving objects
in those days because the lapse time on photography was so slow that even if a horse moved his
head, it blurred the photograph. How many of you knew that? So sketch artists – photographers didn’t show
up for several days after a battle because they had to make sure that everything was
still. But sketch artists could draw scenes in action
and you can see here – this very well could be Wright’s brigade, it could be maybe Posey
which is part of Richard Anderson’s division. So one of these reserve units that is going
to probably come up, if its Wright, will come over – Wright’s Georgians – and support the
right rear of Pickett’s division. But these are some of the reserve units. Remember, supports, reserves, cooperation,
second wave – these are units that will be going forward to help cover the flank in just
a minute. You can see Pickett’s troops coming in from
the right oblique and you can see Marshall – you know Fry – and Joe Davis and others
– here is Ziegler’s Grove as it looked at the time. The copse of trees would be somewhere in here. You can see where the National Cemetery would
be today and this is all Cemetery Hill, the Cemetery Hill balloon. You can see the Cemetery Hill is also partially
eclipsing Culps Hill and Wolf Hill in the background. Isn’t that fantastic! A snapshot of the way it looked at the time. And again, the position, the main position,
is Cemetery Hill. Culps Hill itself is no goo. Heavily wooded. If you were to mass 8,000 troops on Culps
Hill, your opponent could attack you successfully with 2,000 and get away with it and why is
that? Because with the 8,000 troops that are firing,
most of those volleys are going to be absorbed by the thick timber and reduce your force
to whatever you thought you would have made it better than your opponent. A smaller force can fight in a city and in
city streets that can fight in a forested area because timber and then in the former
example, city buildings, can absorb all that, the fields of fire, and stop the density of
the fire. So Culps Hill, Round Top, wooded, not key
positions. Cemetery Hill wide open. There is nothing to block your field of fire. it is the main position. Now, as you look at this sign here – my wife’s
an art teacher and so I try to bring in visual things – we have two parts of our brain – so
you look at that sign, that’s not the city of Philadelphia. It’s rather a what? A sign telling you if you continue this way
on 95 for instance, you are going to be in Philadelphia. Here is the actual city right? So one is a sign promising if you continue
in that direction, you are going to find Philadelphia. But the sign itself is not Philadelphia. And I would say the same thing to keep in
mind when you leave here today. When you look at the copse of trees or Ziegler’s
Grove, remember that trees, at best, are a sign saying this way. This way to Philadelphia. So the sign then here in this case – this
is your Philadelphia sign, this is Philadelphia. This is your sign, the trees are nothing more
than a sign post that say “this way to key terrain.” So keep that in mind. The trees themselves don’t win the battle
– capturing the trees do nothing for you. The trees are just a sign post that say “this
way to key position.” So don’t become so locked into discussion
about which trees they were aiming for. Look at the city beyond that the trees are
directing them towards. Jomini said in his “Art of War” – [Ranger
reads quote]. Two lines rather than three lines in his day
are important because then eventually by the time of the Civil War, you are almost fighting
exclusively in two lines, at least in your battle front, and that’s because the more
lines you have, the more crowded the space becomes and the more you are tripping over
and the more restrictive your maneuvering is. And so you want to simplify. Artists would say – there are some artists
that are called minimalists – minimalists are people that want no clutter at all. They want clean lines. On a battlefield, Jomini is saying, I am a
minimalist. I want clean lines, I don;t want a lot of
clutter. But he uses the word “two.” I will come back to that term. Let’s go to the word supporting distance. [Ranger reads screen]. You can see here in my example that the skirmish
line is leading by 500 yards over the primary line and then the reserves are 300 yards back. And so there is spacing that has to be adhered
to. And there are several reasons why you space
them on average 400 yards apart – the layers of an attack – 400 yards apart. [Ranger reads number 1]. So if a defender is attacking with artillery
– the front line – or even with small arms fire the front line, a lot of that is going
to be spent over 300 yards. Is that 100%? No, but 300 to 400 yards is usually good for
that. [Ranger reads number 2]. If you got reserves that are following at
supporting distance and you are in the front lines, and you are thinking of turning and
running, this snow plow is following you and its going to keep pushing you forward. Have you ever had to confront someone or something,
hopefully not, and you look to see who is behind you and if the people behind you are
leaving you, that’s not a good thing. You want them to be behind you. And if they want you to go forward and they
are trying to make an example of you, they might even have a broom handle in the small
of your back pushing you forward, making sure you don’t come back. [Ranger reads number 3]. People are not really comfortable this so
I won’t linger on it but veterans have PTSD and it has a lot to do with then you are in
battle, cortisol and adrenaline is released in your head, it affects memory, it affects
your ability to maybe fall over, you have acrophobia, and those kinds of things, your
vision is narrowed. It’s a chemically altered state. Your memory is not as clear. You have veterans that are in veterans hospitals
now talking to psychologists for years because they can’t remember something that’s not meant
to be remembered logically. In any case, 3 to 400 yards is the distance
for panic to dissipate if the front ranks are routed and they retreat to rally on the
next line. Did you know that panic, if the distances
were too close – lets say 50 to 100 yards between front line and second line – then
panic can metastasize the second lines and destroy them too psychologically without a
shot fired. Can you see that? That’s why spacing is critical but 300 to
400 yards panic would dissipate. So these are the kinds of things that Jomini
talks about. If you don’t read Jomini, you are going to
learn these things the hard way. And so Jomini doesn’t have to publish these
rules of war for them to be true. [Ranger reads number 4]. So you don’t want to be too close, but you
want to be within supporting distance so that you can close quickly. Keep that in mind later on when you are doing
a first day tour and the ranger talks about Pender’s division suddenly moving forward
and Heth’s division lying down and Pender passing in front of them. Or Tilton and Switzer trading places with
Caldwell’s division in the Wheatfield. One set of units lying down and the other
pushing forward. They are keeping their spacing separated and
they are trying to share the same space and reduce panic. So you need those distances. Now there are historians on university staffs
throughout this country that study structures and systems: business systems, railroad systems,
automobile systems, carrying systems, packaging systems. Systems are a form of study. So are structures: human structures, physical
structures. And when you use the number 2 as Jomini recommended
on the line of battle, it’s called “mutual support.” Two is the number of mutual support. And that’s doing history at a higher level
if you recognize that 2 is the number of support even on the most basic level. When people get married, you have 2 partners. When they become married, they are mutually
supporting each other. If you look at a building’s joists and you
were to go below the frontus piece and behind the initial facade and the curb appeal, you’ll
find usually most ranchers, most square or rectangle buildings have pairs of twos, even
the columns are pairs of twos. 2, 4, 6. Two is the number of mutual support. In a battle, in a brigade front you will have
a front rank and a rear rank. Front rank fires while the rear rank loads. The front rank and the rear rank will interchange
that way and they mutually support each other. That is just the natural structure. Also attacks during the Civil War tend to
be in twos. You are talking Second Mannassas. You are talking about Longstreet and Jackson
working together. Jackson draws in Union 5th Corps from one
direction, waits for them to over commit, and Longstreet comes in and takes them in
reverse. Or at Chancellorsville, Lee challenges directly
Hooker’s position frontally while Jackson makes this long march around to hit them in
the flank. But mutual support. You can see mutual support and importance
of mutual support. It’s working together in twos. You are always stronger when you are paired
together with someone. Why is this important in a Civil War battle? During the Civil War, they fought with what
is called linear war, or what we would say today 2D war. Two-dimensional war. Versus today, we fight three-dimensional war
and beyond. Gettysburg constitutes 2D war. World War II represents the first fully 3D
war. I’m teaching a course at Penn State now called
“The World at War” and we are in the middle of World War II now. We are looking at 20th century for a four-month
period, but now we are in the middle of Waorld War II and and we are looking at how World
War II in part was the first 3-dinemsional war. There were elements of 3-dimensional war in
World War I but its not used in any kind of unit until World War II. Alright what is linear war? Linear war – and we will use the term 2-dimensional
war – is your fighting at ground level. You don’t have air support. Now there are hot air balloons and hydrogen
balloons for lines of site. You might take a Round Top and Cemetery Hill
and put signal stations there. But this is before the era before smokeless
gunpowder by about 30 years so there is think heavy smoke on the battlefield. And when a battle starts, you can’t see from
an arial perspective in 3 dimension down upon your opponent. So attacks are coming at you – this is critical,
if you get this, you’ll never be the same, you’ll never see this battle the same, nor
will you see any other Civil War battle or Napoleonic battle the same again. If you are a defender like General Hancock
was on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett’s Charge on July 3, what you see coming towards you
with Pickett on your left and Pettigrew on your right, is at ground level, it’s two dimension. You don’t know which attack has layers of
depth to follow through and which one is a thin veneer decoy. That’s why over and over during the Civil
War, there’s a diversionary attack, a decoy, a fixing force, a holding force, and then
there’s the real attack and the defender doesn’t know which one is which. It takes him about 15 minutes for the defender
to discover which one is real and by that time, if they have over committed in the wrong
direction, they are in trouble. During the Civil War then, you have two dimensional
war. By the time of World War II, when you have
planes flying over and bombing cities and industrial centers in the rear of the lines,
you have three dimensional war. It’s much more difficult to conceal something
out in the open moving towards your opponent. I suppose with GPS and satellite its even
more so that way now so we are really in three dimensional war and beyond. Mutual support is the number 2. So if you are Hancock and you are looking
at these two attacks coming towards you, which one is the real attack, and which one is the
phony one? Which one is to direct your attention to the
wrong direction? How many of you used to watch – I forget the
name of the game show now where there was something behind a curtain – lets make a deal. So there was a new car behind one curtain. Let’s say you are down to two curtains. There is a new car behind one and nothing
behind the other, maybe some cat food or something. And so you have to decide which one – it’s
a fifty-fifty chance. That’s how it is if you are General Hancock
in linear war with 2 forces coming at you, 2 divisions coming at you from 2 different
directions. One coming at you directly – that is Pettigrew
– and one coming at you from an angular, diagonal direction – which is Pickett’s oblique attack. You don’t know which one has the car behind
it and which one with nothing behind it. Can you picture that? And so that is what we are looking at here. How many of you have been going down the highway
at a certain speed, maybe 55-65 miles an hour, and your wife or husband says “you have to
take this exit!” and it’s too late and you missed it and you have to go down another
2 exits and circle back. That’s how it is in a battle too. You can over commit in the wrong direction
and it’s hard to double back and you are going to lose valuable time and in a battle, you’ve
got to guess right the first time. So erase the thought of trees at all, just
think of Pickett and Pettigrew coming at the Federals. Here is another demonstration and I think
it is worth taking a moment to do it. Think of it this way – I may shatter the mic
doing this. But let’s say that I want to take you all
in reverse. I want to come at you flank-wise so I am going
to put a decoy force here. Think of this as General Pettigrew. [Ranger claps and whistles]. Look this way! Ayyyy! And once you are fixed by all of the noise
looking in that direction, then the other attack is coming in in a flank sort of way. That is Pickett-Pettigrew. That is the whole idea of trying to throw
your opponent off and send him in the wrong direction. [Ranger reads slide]. These are key words here: “reserve,” “supporting,”
“second line,” we have been talking about mutual support – not only do you have 2 lines
within a battle front, you have the reserves that are coming up who are also in 2 lines,
then your reserves usually with your attacking lines, make up mutual support too. The decisive blow is the second line of the
enemy so your defender that you are attacking also has a second line. So you can’t just attack what you see, you
have to predict that he is going to have reserves too and you have to have your reserves come
up in a proper way to carry through and take his reserves beyond. Can you see that? Think about the first day of the battle when
Heth’s division pushed forward against First Corps and then at some point beyond Herbst
Woods, they hit the ground. That was one way to allow reserves to pass. The reserves would step on their rear and
cross them, that is Pender’s division. A.P. Hill would have picked the moment, just
from a gut feeling, when to send Pender forward to close the 300 to 400 yard distance past
Pender to not lose momentum and keep the push all the way to hit the secondary supports
of First Corps so that you could carry Seminary Ridge. Can you see that? That’s why there is a second wave in every
attack because you have to have second lines that are going to follow through at a gut-felt
moment. That’s where you gain possession with the
second line. Alright we are going to go through these quickly
from the reports. Cadmus Wilcox, who commanded troops on the
right of Pickett’s Charge, supporting Pickett’s right with Florida and Alabama troops, said,
[Ranger reads slide]. You can see the smoke here. This is where Wilcox and Lang’s troops would
have been in support of Pickett’s right flank. Now they ran into the rear of the Vermont
brigade here who flanked Pickett’s troops – I am presuming everyone knows that story
– but that is what he is talking about. Support. And by the way, Wilcox and Lang’s troops were
lying, you know where the Rodger’s house is? That would be across from the Klingle farm
along the Emmitsburg Road, the far right flank of Pickett’s Charge near Spangler Lane. Those troops of Wilcox and Lang, Alabama and
Florida troops, were lying down the reverse slope – that would be the western slope of
the Emmitsburg Road ridge opposite the Klingle farm – so Pickett’s troops – Armistead, Kemper,
Garnett – could walk through them and step on them and walk over them, and then Wilcox
and Lang stood up and followed them at 300 to 400 yards. Ok do you gave that picture? When you have crowded space you have to be
creative that way. We’re going to talk about Pickett’s Charge:
The Second Wave. Are you ready? It’s text heavy however I have excerpts within the text
that I’ll pluck out so I won’t read the entire text at times. I know how to skim over it.
But it’s text heavy like my Congressional Hearings on General Meade was 2 years ago.
And a lot of good visuals as we go along. Pickett’s Charge Second Wave begins with General
Longstreet and Lee’s discussion on the morning of July 3, 1863 and here we have Longstreet
saying to General Lee somewhere in the vicinity of the Peach Orchard, Round Tops area: [Ranger
first quote from Longstreet]. And that’s a loaded one isn’t it? I do a 3 or 4 hour tour
just on that statement alone so I have to be very careful not to get sidetracked. Lee
responds: [Ranger reads first Lee quote, Longstreet’s second quote, and Longstreet’s third quote]
You know sometimes when we do history at a higher level, we invert questions or invert
evidence to get at truths and notice what is not being said here. Lee’s not pointing
his fist at the Copse of Trees and the Angle and saying I want you to attack the Philadelphia
Brigade there. He’s not saying I want you to break the Union line at the Stone Wall.
He’s saying Cemetery Hill. So there’s some key words here and for you to understand the
second wave, you have to understand that the goal is not the clump of trees and the Angle,
it’s the position of Cemetery Hill. That’s what they’re talking about – the position.
That doesn’t mean that they would ignore the Copse of Trees or the Stone Wall, but those
are bumps in the road rather than the overall objective. The objective is terrain oriented.
Now I want you to notice the word “position.” I’m going to break down words as we go along
today. Pluck important words out so that there’s a new meaning to Lee and Longstreet’s words
as we go along. The word “position” is a loaded military word. Main position. Position – Jomini
said in his “Article of War,” that there are two objectives any time someone is attacking
in a Napoleonic battle. The objective is either force -oriented or terrain oriented. Force
oriented or terrain oriented. Force oriented is you just want to move your opponent backwards
or in some kind of other direction from where they are. Terrain oriented objectives are
more you want a particular – if you are the attacker – you want to capture terrain, key
terrain, a key position that if you hold it, your opponent has to leave and you get to
stay, or visa versa. And so if you look throughout the reports of Lee, Longstreet, and others,
they consistently use the word “position,” which means the attacks are terrain oriented.
They kind of want to capture certain pieces of ground. So position right away tells you
it’s not a stone wall, an angle, a copse of trees – those are all part of the frill, the
fluff, the window dressing – but the goal is key terrain that once you control it, you
control the battlefield. Your opponent has to leave and fight elsewhere. So it’s Cemetery
Hill. There’s no doubt as to what Lee’s objective is. There’s only one person who could have
ordered Longstreet to take the main position, the Cemetery Hill. Longstreet would add in
his book years later [Ranger reads quote on screen]. Now Longstreet would say that it
would take close to 30,000 troops to be able to achieve the objective of taking the main
position, the Cemetery Hill. Again not the angle, the copse of trees, but the whole hill,
to capture the National Cemetery, East Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, the entire position,
you would need twice the amount of men that he and Lee were discussing down on the southern
end of the battlefield sometime after sunup on July 3 and so keep that in mind. And we
are going to see that General Lee listened to him. There were roughly 15,000 plus additional
troops placed in reserve to support the attack. “Co-operation” is another key word. I want
you to look for these words – I’m not just throwing them out there for nothing. You are
going to see them pop up over and over again in the reports. Co-operation means that there
are other units that have roles to help the 12 to 13,000 troops of the main attack succeed.
They’re co-operative troops, they’re support troops, they’re reserve troops, and various
other terms that we’re going to see here. Lee wrote to Jefferson Davis on July 4th.
Now obviously those letters and memorandums that he would send to Jefferson Davis didn’t
reach Davis on July 4. Today we could do that with a quick tweet, but in those days it would
take Imboden’s cavalry would take a metal box of letters from Lee to Davis and it would
take a couple of weeks before Davis actually saw what Lee had to write. But in there, Lee
would write immediately after the battle while the thoughts are fresh in his mind, [Ranger
reads quote on screen]. Notice the word “position.” Again, he’s not saying we failed to break
the Union line at the Angle, at the Copse of Trees, he’s saying we failed to take the
“position” – the position that is the difference maker. And he said we “attempted to dislodge.”
How many of you know Bill Hewitt? Bill Hewitt spread the word about “dislodge” probably
more than anyone on the staff. It’s a crucial word. I did a tour and I’m not going to name
the date, I’m not going to name the institution I did the tour for because I don’t want to
mention the person’s name, but this is an author who knows a lot about the battle and
he and I were to co-conduct Pickett’s Charge for a college group coming across the field
of Pickett’s Charge a few years ago and we stopped at one point and this person said
that was co-conducting the tour with me, they said, “well there’s not a lot in Robert E.
Lee’s report to tell you what he was trying to do on the third day of the battle.” And
of course I had to be very careful and diplomatic at that point because if you know the words
in the report, it’s obvious what he’s trying to do. “Dislodge” tells you everything you
need to know about what Lee’s objectives were in terms of broader strategic goals and then
his terrain-oriented objective, his tactical objective is Cemetery Hill and we’re going
to find out here in just a minute what his overall operational objective is. “Dislodge”
tells you what that objective is. “Possession” is another key word. When you carry a flag
into battle, it always means two things, two non-verbal messages sent through the smoke
and noise to your opponent. Two messages: 1. Possession 2. Location. You know how a
quarterback, lets say at Beaver Stadium for Penn State, lets say an opposing team is coming
in to play there and there’s 70,000 screaming fans there in Happy Valley and the opposing
quarterback can’t hear anything. He can’t hear anything and he has known for a week
that he can’t hear anything and the coaches have run through silent counts – you know
what silent counts are – and you’ll see the quarterback stomp his heels a couple of times
and the you’ll see him tap his hip – those are all silent counts to start the offense
moving, to have the receiver run in motion, he’s tapping the butt of the center to let
him know when to hike the ball – these are all silent counts. It’s too loud to hear signals
so everything is silent and silent signal oriented. Does everybody got that? On a battlefield,
it’s too loud, too noisy, too smokey to hear orders at times so when you are told when
all else fails, follow the flag because the flag will determine the location – that’s
why troops in Pickett’s Charge will try to plant the flag on the stone wall – that meant
something to both sides – it meant location, it also meant possession, it meant we own
this position. We own this position. When the Marines reenacted the raising of the Flag
on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima, they hadn’t taken the entire island at that point, but
they reenacted not only for a photo-op, but they reenacted the raising of the Flag so
all the Japanese in the valley below could see where the flag was. It was a large flag
and it signaled we own this island and it’s just a matter of time. So possession – flags
mean possession. Lee says here, “we were unable to get possession of his position.” We are
no talking about temporary breakthroughs. We’re talking about second waves that secure
a position. Possession means to “permanently lay claim to something.” Not attack without
any objective. So possession another key word. “Dislodge.” “We attempted to dislodge.” So
lets look at what “dislodge” means. Probably the best visual for dislodgement would be
the opposite of that and that’s a log or a fallen tree that’s lodged in a river or creek.
Lodged. How many of you had experience seeing a fallen tree in a river or a creek? And so
you come up to that tree and you need to have that tree float down stream. Let’s say that’s
your objective. Well it’s lodged in the ground. This for instance would be your Cemetery Hill,
the main position that lodges the tree. So you have to cut the tree some. You have to
cut the tree up, you have to maybe leverage it with 2 by 4s, you might have to bring in
a truck and some chains, you do whatever you can to get that tree loose and nimble enough
that it will float down stream. You got a picture of it floating away?That’s General
Lee’s operational objective at Gettysburg. It’s to dislodge the Union Army from its main
position, the Cemetery Hill, so it floats down the Baltimore Pike stream. Have you got
that? He’s trying to dislodge – “we failed to dislodge the enemy from his main position.”
We failed. We tried to push that car out of the muddy hole that it was in. We pushed,
and we heaved, and we hoed, and we revved, and we tried to get the car out of the bog
or the snow it was in. We couldn’t dislodge it. It just remained stuck and hinged and
anchored on Round Top, and Culps Hill, and Cemetery Hill. We couldn’t dislodge it and
get it floating toward Maryland. Ok so “dislodge.” There’s more meaning to that. So Sun Tzu said
in his writings that you show your enemy – you show him two things every time you attack
him in battle. You show him the “Golden Bridge” or the “Iron Fence.” The “Golden Bridge” or
the “Iron Fence.” General Lee was trying to show the Union army and Meade the “Golden
Bridge.” The “golden bridge” is you leave a way of escape and you hope your opponent
takes it. And if he takes it, for instance, God forbid someone were to walk through that
door when it was open a few minutes ago and 3 or 4 of our law enforcement people surrounded
him and surrounded him with their hands on their holsters. And this person – they are
trapped. Except the door is open and there’s a way out and so the non-verbal message is
if you leave now, we might not follow through with the handcuffs or the embarrassment that
could follow. I’m leaving you a way out and we won’t pursue you. That kind of thing. However,
if someone comes behind him and closes the door, it’s all or nothing at that point isn’t
it? So now the person – lets say the steaks are really high and they have to survive.
They have to survive and there are people depending on him escaping, well now you have
a fight on your hands because it’s all or nothing. The door is closed and they’re surrounded.
Robert E. Lee surrounded the Union army on 3 sides but left the escape route open all
during the battle. And that’s because he wanted the Union army to take the invitation to leave
and I’ll explain that more. That’s what dislodgement is about. You want your opponent to leave.
General Longstreet wanted to show the Union army the iron fence. The iron fence is to
maneuver around somewhere South of the Round Tops ideally, and block the path to Westminster
where the main depot was, where there were 4,000 tons of medical and food supplies by
the third day of the battle and also the road to Frederick City and Washington, D.C. He
wanted to block that, set up defensive ground, knew the Union army would have to attack,
like someone closing that door, they would have to fight to open that door to Westminster
and to Washington. That’s an all or nothing proposition. That’s drawing the line in the
sand. That’s not to say that Longstreet was wrong, it’s to say that their ideas on how
to fight at Gettysburg were 180 degrees opposite. Have you got that? One wanted to block the
path out, the other wanted to extend the golden bridge. One wanted the Union army to take
the invitation to leave, the other wanted to block the way home. In case I forget to
say this, I’ll go ahead and say it now just to make sure that this comes out. This has
to do with human psychology and we’re doing history at a higher level when we bring in
all the sciences, particularly human psychology. Human psychology in this instance applies
in that if an opponent has a way out, and I have already hinted at this, but if they
have a way out they might take it. Now think about in your associations with people or
in life – when you have deadlines that have to be met and you have to pull an all-nighter
so there isn’t embarrassment at work the next day and you have to make sure it’s done, when
there are those kinds of deadlines, that’s your iron fence and that’s when you’re going
to do something ahead of schedule or you are going to make sure that it’s done. If the
golden bridge is – there’s a way out. I could sleep a little late tonight and then do it
tomorrow. When you have no way out, I don’t want to conjure bad memories or anything like
that – if you have had bills to pay and money was short – if there’s an extra day or two,
a grace period, that’s the golden bridge. If there’s not, that’s the iron fence. Right?
And you’re up against the break. And so Lee wanted to leave a way out. if you leave a
way out, your opponent will fight less desperately. That’s controlling his desperation level.
Have you got that? If you got into an argument with somebody right now on a one-on-one level,
there would be moments where you could say things to throw flames on the fire, fuel on
the flames, and you could escalate the argument. Or you could deescalate with words that quench
the fire. Can everyone see that? There are ways to escalate and deescalate. If you escalate,
that means you’re showing the iron fence. If you deescalate, you are leaving a way out.
Jomini in his “Art of War” – this is Robert E. lee’s battle plan by the way – it comes
right out of Jomini’s “Art of War.” [Ranger reads quote on screen]. Let me say something
quickly about Jomini without going off on a side track. Occasionally, you will hear
someone say, the generals back then didn’t read Jomini; they didn’t really depend on
Jomini. And that is completely false. And I’ll tell you why. You can read – you could
have not read Jomini – and we could go to West Point and find that you didn’t check
out the manual and we don’t find your name on the check-out card when you attended there
in the 1840s or 1850s, but you learned Jomini. Why? Because Jomini’s truths are eternal truths
to either learn the easy way or the hard way. Right? You could jump off this building right
now and not have read Newton’s laws, but your legs are still going to get crushed. When
you go into – I love laws that dictate things, they are there for us to discover – there
are so many methods in business and in every discipline where there are laws and principles
that you study and when you learn them, they are going to work over and over and over again
because they’re there to discover, not to publish. So Jomini’s book – he was a Swede,
he traveled with Napoleon, and it’s a history book of the “Art of War” throughout the ages
with all the great generals from Antiquity up to his present which would be the early
1800s – if when you are attacking someone and it’s a frontal assault, you need 2 to
3 to 1 odds in your favor. If you don’t, you don’t have enough troops to follow through
and carry the position and have possession of the position. If you are going to attack
someone, if you are going to turn someone’s front – we’ve already started some of these,
I’m not going to get sidetracked – you are going to see them unfold as we go along, there
are rules that dictate warfare. if you don’t learn them the easy way, you are going to
learn them in a very public, embarrassing way at the expense of your troops. Now what’s
Robert E. Lee’s plan here? Robert E. Lee’s plan is 2/3 of his force – Ewell and Longstreet
– are to attack the flanks. One is attacking up the Emmitsburg Road, the other Culps Hill.
Where is the point of impact? Cemetery Hill. A.P. Hill represents the 1/3 of the force
to keep the enemy in check or watch his movements. Why is there fighting at the Bliss Farm on
the morning of July 3? Why does the fighting open against Caldwell, part of Caldwell’s
division, and some of A.P. Hill’s corps on the morning of July 2 again in front of the
Bliss Farm and in front of Ziegler’s Grove? It’s because like a boxer jabs towards the
chin before he lands a hook either from the right or from the left, the jab is to set
up, to fix the hands for the defender around the chin so that there’s an opening shot to
the jaw. Do you got that? Football. Lets use Penn State again. Why run the ball up the
middle over and over and over when you know you are only going to get one or two yards?
It’s to cause all of the lanes on the defensive line to close in and contract so that you
can run around the outside but the only way you cause the defense to contract so you can
go around the ends is you have to go up the middle like jabbing at his jaw to set up the
right or the left hook. So all of the Confederate movements on the 2nd and 3rd day start with
A.P. Hill jabbing at the center and the Federals don’t know which way the hook is coming in
from. can you see that? And he’s there as a reminder that if the Union troops which
are largely concentrated behind the center, if they go to the left or the right, A.P.
Hill is there to go in and take the center. The objective is always Cemetery Hill whether
the 2/3 drive of the Confederate army drive on the center and take it that way, take the
main position that way, or they draw Union troops out to the flanks and then A.P. Hill
goes in and takes the center after the Red Sea parts. In all cases, there’s a dead eye
by the Confederates on taking the position that they want to dislodge the Union Army
from and that’s Cemetery Hill. [Ranger reads slide]. I tell my students at Penn State one
of the ways we do history at a higher level is we look for patterns across time and space.
Patterns tell us something deeper about ourselves. Why are there so many Civil War battles around
dead angles, and bloody angles, and salients, and mule shoes, and the answer is because
you can achieve maximum firepower at the bend in a line. A bend in a line is where you achieve
maximum firepower. That was the goal in combat then and it is now. Maximum firepower is best
achieved through crossfire. If directed correctly, if you surround a main position like Cemetery
Hill, if your attacks up the Emmitsburg Road reach that far, and are able to cooperate
with the attacks on Culps Hill, and you’re able to surround Cemetery Hill and you direct
your fire correctly, if you miss someone on the front side, you do what? You hit someone
on the backside. The defender is weakest at a salient, at a mule shoe, at an angle. Why?
Because their fire is dispersed like suns rays in all directions. There’s no intersecting
fields of fire at all. Now Henry Hunt, you all know this, would try to correct that by
moving artillery, McGilvery’s artillery, out onto a platform what is now the Minnesota
and Pennsylvania monuments to create a curl so they could crossfire with Hazzard’s guns
against Pickett’s troops. How many of you know that? And so there were attempts at different
times during the battle to rectify that problem but a natural disadvantage of the Union army
would be they could be surrounded at the arc. So Lee attacks Cemetery arc from 3 sides that
included the west, the north, east. The only place that he didn’t attack was from the South.
That’s because Lee left the southerly escape route open and left Meade the golden bridge
and hoped he would take it. Now this is a little bit offtrack but I have to mention
it. It’s critical. If General Meade took the invitation to leave and retreated to the next
water/railroad hookup which would be along Pipe Clay Creek Maryland – and there was some
variations on that at Littlestown and some other places – had he taken the invitation
to fall back to the next place that would sustain him logistically and still cover his
main supply depot at Westminster and cover Washington and Baltimore, if he took that
invitation, it’s only a 12 or 15 mile retreat to Maryland. You can do that logistically.
You keep your spacing in between your units, you keep panic from metastasizing, you keep
your order, you keep cavalry in the rear to protect to bridges so you can escape without
having your rear destroyed by fire and your wagons burned and disrupt your retreat, you
might be able to pull all that off. Politically, a retreat to Maryland is an admission by the
Lincoln administration and the election, which is only a year away, that the President can’t
defend the state of Pennsylvania in time of emergency, which means he doesn’t carry the
state of Pennsylvania and it means that he loses the general election. Does everybody
see that? So General Lee is saying, there it is. There’s the golden bridge. Please take
it. Even if you manage to fall back safely to the next water/railroad hookup to live
to fight another day, politically you’re likely destroyed. That’s dislodgement. “Squeezing
the Cemetery Hill balloon.” This is something they would teach at Fort Levenworth, they
would teach this at military schools like West Point or the Army War College. Think
of Cemetery Hill as a balloon. Now imagine a balloon with helium and a string attached
and imagine it bobbing back and forth. And image that your goal is to reach out – everybody
reach out with your right hand if you would – and grasp that balloon. And you goal is
to pop the balloon with your right hand. But it’s elusive and it’s moving around. And so
you can’t – your hand is not large enough to grasp it and pop it with that kind of elusiveness
until you put a palm on the reverse side of the balloon. Now you have something to press
up against and pop the balloon. Does everyone have that picture in mind? The Confederate
attacks for 2 days against Culps Hill or the metaphoric palm on the reverse side of the
Cemetery Hill balloon, the attacks up the Emmitsburg Road for 2 days were the hand pushing
against Cemetery Hill to pop the balloon and to leave the escape route open to Maryland.
Does everyone see that picture? Sometimes they’ll use the term “hammer and anvil.” Think
of Culps Hill as the anvil to hold Federal troops in place so the attacks up the Emmitsburg
road, which are the hammer, have something to smash Cemetery Hill against. When you have
a fishhook shape line like the Union army has, a horseshoe or a salient, if you have
something like that, and you don’t put troops on a palm on the reverse side of the balloon,
or an anvil on the reverse side of the anvil, the hammer that’s about to hit it, if you
don’t put an anvil on the reverse side and you have nothing to hold Cemetery Hill in
place. The troops on Culps Hill can pivot out as a compass draws a circle on a piece
of paper, the Union right wing can pivot off of Culps Hill, pivot on Cemetery Hill, take
the Confederate left and reverse it – Oak Hill – threaten the Confederate supply routes
on the Cashtown Road and Fairfield Road. Can you see that? In other words, the Union fishhook
can unbend and attack in reverse as a compass draws a circle on a piece of paper. It can
pivot like a wing that’s released and envelope. So the Confederate attacks on Culps Hill were
a forceful bending of the Union line towards them so that they could smash up against it.
Have you got that? Ok. And so the “Cemetery Hill balloon” looks like this from the 11th
Corps perspective. This would be where 11th Corps troops are. This is a picture taken
in 1869, the year that an auger was digging for the Soldiers’ National Monument to be
dedicated shortly thereafter. You can see the beautiful stone wall there along Taneytown
Road. In the distance, you can see a racetrack, an old racetrack, probably a dog racing track,
perhaps a horse racing track that appears sometime after the battle and before this
photograph was taken in 1869. Did any of you do that tour with me in 1998 where I got soaked
in the rain taking people through that race course? Ok that was years and years ago and
we were being filmed on PCN and everyone just started laughing. And then you can see the
Lutheran Seminary in the distance and Seminary Ridge. We are going to talk about – where
you see the racetrack, it’s called Long lane today – we are going to talk a lot about troops
that were there for a second wave to move in and take Cemetery Hill. This is one side
of the Cemetery Hill balloon. Another view of West Cemetery Hill looking from the Minnesota
monument to the southwest to the Emmitsburg Road and what appears to be the Emmanuel Trostle
farm which no longer stands. That would be across from where McDonald’s is today. I’d
love to see a foundation put there. You know something just to mark it there. And then
this is East Cemetery Hill, a view-a-vis Cemetery Hill looking toward the German Reformed Church,
looking towards the fields where Hays and Avery made their attack against Adelbert Ames
and his 11th Corps troops on the second day of the battle against East Cemetery Hill.
Today we divide them up and call them East Cemetery Hill, and National Cemetery, and
Evergreen Cemetery, but at the time it was not carved up like a pie. It was all one big
hill. It’s the same hill that Buford and Reynolds and Hancock saw as the key position on the
battlefield the first day of the battle. It was the point where the roads connected: the
Emmitsburg Road, the Taneytown Road, the Baltimore Pike, all dovetail there so you had to control
that hill to control the concentration of your troops on the roads moving from Maryland
to Pennsylvania behind them. I did a tour there a few years ago in the mid 90s and I
got a blow up of this poster board version of this view and when I did, I took out a
magnifying glass and looked real close and I found in here abetee. Abetee are what would
like sharpened pencils stuck in the ground. Did you know the 11th Corps cut into the trees
along the Baltimore Pike here and created field fortifications? Harry T. Hayes who commanded
the Louisiana troops talks about crossing over the abettee as they charged up the hill
on the evening of the 2nd. That’s just bonus material there but it was fortified. Culps
Hill is not the only place on the battlefield where there were field fortifications. So
this is the Cemetery Hill balloon. And so Cemetery Hill – one of my dreams is to see
someone with some kind of computer program recreate cemetery Hill to the way it looked
at the time of the battle. If that were to occur, I don;t think we would talk much about
Round Top or other positions on the battlefield. I think we would be as impressed as Hancock
and others about the key position and why it had to be held. Why Howard, Hancock, and
others fought after the war over who claimed that it was the key position. So it’s the
Cemetery Hill balloon. Now it gets better. You know this is the off season for me so
I don’t have the same energy levels so I could hit a wall at some point. Right now I feel
pretty good though so lets just keep going here. I’ll have my sea legs probably towards
the end of June, but anyway. July 3 Longstreet writes in his official report for July 3:
[Ranger reads quote]. Not a lot of people know that. You know it was not Fry according
to Longstreet, it’s not Fry, it’s not Pettigrew, it’s Pickett. He’s the guide. [Ranger continues
reading]. Now this is a very very important point. Couple of very important points. One
is the term “salient.” You’re going to see with the maps that I show you are going to
continue to pop up. That the salient that represents the key position on the battlefield
is Cemetery Hill. Salient is a curved, horseshoe-shaped position. The salient for Longstreet is not
the stone wall angle. That comes into existence as the salient or a definition of a salient
in the 1880s during the memorial period. The salient that Longstreet is talking about is
hitting one side of the Cemetery Hill balloon while Ewell hits the other side via Culps
Hill to try to take it in reverse.They are talking about a salient big enough for 30,000
troops to be involved. The angle that’s out there was big enough for the Philadelphia
Brigade and some reserves to come up and for Armistead’s brigade, but it was no more than
a brigade-size objective. If you really want to take it, you send 2 brigades. The Confederates
had many many many brigades as you are going to see here. They had a mile’s worth in width
and breadth of troops and so the salient here that he is talking about – now one way we
can get at that is he says: “General Pickett’s line to be the guide and to attack the line
of the enemy’s defenses, and General Pettigrew, in command of Heth’s division” – he is saying
that Pettigrew is to move on the same line with Pickett. Now if we interpret “on” to
mean that they are following a fence that goes across the field from where the Virginia
Memorial is now to the clump of trees- and that’s how tradition has sort of defined it
loosely over years and lack of direct evidence – then we say they are moving and they are
all guiding on Fry. He’s in the center. Everyone has agreed to guide on Fry. Pickett is to
close on his left towards Fry, Pettigrew is to close on his right towards Fry, and Fry
is guiding on this fence which ultimately leads to the trees. You don’t find any of
that in the Confederate reports. There is no mention of that at all. They are talking
about the main position – the Cemetery Hill – the key position. So what’s a more logical
way to interpret the word “on”? And “on” can mean “against.” How many of you heave heard
the term “On” used in that way? There’s a website now, and I haven’t looked at it, but
its moveon.edu or something like that, there’s also – you have heard “advancing on the colors,”
right? You have heard of “on to Richmond,” you have heard of “marching on to Gettysburg”
– that’s in several of the reports – or “marching on the capitol.” You have heard that. “On”
in all of those instances has nothing to do with standing up on something or being literally
up on it. “On” means “against” or “toward” – “onward.” So if you are moving “on” – if
I were to say to you, alright just move one, just move on. You would all know what that
meant. It wouldn’t mean “find a fence and guide on it.” It would mean get out of here,
or move on to the next place or wherever it is that your next itinerary object is. So
moving on the same line is moving against Hancock’s line. You are going to see this
thing develop as we go along. He’s talking about not guiding on a fence that leads to
a clump of trees – none of that is in here. We have fictitiously added all of that. What
he is saying is “we are moving on Hancock’s Second Corps line.” Pettigrew and Pickett
are moving against the same line. Now there is a second line that I’m coming to. They
are attacking the first line. The first line is Hancock’s line. There’s a second line though
that has to do with the second wave. So they are moving on the same line. And the fact
that he says “General Pickett’s line to be the guide and to attack the line of the enemy’s
defenses,” Pettigrew is attacking that same line. They are attacking the line, the line
then is the North-South running position of the Second Corps on Cemetery Ridge. So I’ll
have better maps as we go along but this one here is a Bachelder troop movement map done
in the late 1870s and it’s very crowded. I will show you more detailed ones later but
you can see the Confederate assault. This is done to represent around 3pm on July 3.
You can see the Confederate attacks on Culps Hill. You can see Robert Rhodes’ division
– we will say more about that – he is augmented by elements of Pender’s division. You can
see Pickett’s division here in the low swales around the Henry Spangler farm, Wilcox and
Lang’s troops were near the Rogers House, and then you can Anderson’s division back
here and various other units. There is the fence line running across the field that leads
to the clump of trees that we make so much of internally. But what I am suggesting is
they are not moving on this line, upon this line. They are moving against this line and
Pickett and Pettigrew were moving against it. What’s the salient? The salient is the
start of the bend in the 2nd Corps line as it relates to the 11th Corps line and the
overall salient is the bend in the fishhook. Do you see that? That’s the salient that they
are trying to take. We are talking about a key position that decisively ends the battle.
It dislodges the Union Army. It gets the tree floating downstream. A stone wall doesn’t
do that. Is the stone wall part of the overall mosaic? Yes, obviously. Ok sot he Copse of
Trees as we talk about the second wave they come in to focus here at this point. One of
the earliest photographs taken of the Copse of Trees was in 1882. It was not commonly
photographed until the 1880s because that is the memorial period when veterans were
coming back in large numbers like you go to your high school reunion around the 20th and
25th more than you would before or later. There’s something about the mystic chords
of memory at 25 years, as Carol Reardon would teach in a history and memory class at Penn
State. By the way, buy Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory by Carol Reardon. It’s
the best book there is on memory. But this notion of photographs being taken of the Copse
of Trees, that doesn’t commonly start until the 1880s. Let me say a little bit more about
the importance of the 1880s and memory. Classic cars are not considered “classic” until 20
years. National memorials for wars are not allowed to be placed on the National Mall
until 20 years after the war, viz a vie America’s entry into Vietnam is in the 1960s, the Vietnam
Memorial is not allowed out on the mall until the 1980s. The Cyclorama was painted in the
1880s, the ORs come out in the 1880s, 30 new monuments were placed on the battlefield a
year in the 1880s. The 1880s is the period of warm, fuzzy feelings where everyone wants
to come back and remember the best and forget the worst. That’s when reconciliation starts.
Now the Copse of Trees start to be photographed at that time and that’s not very big for 1882
is it? That means it has 19 years to grow since the battle and that is all the bigger
it is. And this is the earliest known photograph we have of the Copse of Trees. Looking up
from the Emmitsburg Road you can see it here and several other trees around it. Not very
large and again, this is what 16 years after Pickett’s Charge ended. That’s how high it
is. And people have questioned over the years whether those trees could be seen on the smoke
covered field by 30,000 troops, particularly if you are talking about a second wave. But
even if you are talking 12 to 13,000 troops, on a smoke-covered field with odulations,
rises and falls, and ebbs and flows of the ground, and all the noise, you would want
to pick something that everyone could see. Right? And so the trees are not that daunting.
Why did they wait to take pictures of the Copse of Trees so long when there are loads
of pictures of Round Top and the Evergreen Cemetery Gate House? It’s because it wasn’t
important until the 1880s. And when does it start to become important in the 1880s when
the term “High water mark” really begins to gain traction when there is a reunion between
the Philadelphia brigade and Armistead’s Virginia brigade which leads to warm fuzzy feelings
between the two. The ice starts to break and reconciliation begins and by 1892 there is
a monument calling the area the “high Water Mark.” And then there’s this recreation in
1913 at the 50th anniversary and at the 75th anniversary in 1938 of shaking hands at that
wall. So in some ways, in a very kind way, it’s a collusion of the Philadelphia brigade
and Armistead’s Virginia brigade that puts disproportionate amount of attention on the
angle at the expense of everything else that 30,000 troops were maneuvering towards. Now
Ziegler’s Grove – if you wanted to pick a group of trees that everyone can see on the
field at the time, it was Ziegler’s Grove. However, Ziegler’s Grove by 1874 was a shadow
of itself for a couple of reasons. Kathy Harrison has done the most research on Ziegler’s Grove
and she would tell you this: that an old soldier’s home was to be constructed and the beginnings
of that construction started in the late 1860s and then for whatever reason, the old soldier’s
home went belly up by the early 1870s so a lot of forest for Ziegler’s Grove had been
cleared out for a home that was never completed for veterans. Also these trees were probably
diseased from incoming shells, there was a lot of crossfire aimed at East Cemetery Hill
from Benner’s Hill and from Hospital Hill, from the Railroad cut North of town from the
Seminary as well as shots from the Peach Orchard and the crossfire point would have been Cemetery
Hill. That’s where all of the crossfire was coming in. That was the common denominator
for all crossfire and Ziegler’s Grove would have taken shells from every direction not
just from West to East. And so that would lead to trees being cleared out. So it was
not something to look at by the 1880s when the veterans were coming back. Alexander Hayes’
death, Pettigrew’s untimely death, their deaths had a lot to do in the memorial period with
Ziegler’s Grove not receiving more attention. The trees on the front of Pettigrew and Alexander
Hayes would have received more attention had those 2 people been around in the 1880s when
there was a revival of interest in the battle. Some of you know the park is in the process
of relocating these fences. They’ll soon be back in place and maybe Ziegler’s Grove will
be planted. But it was 2 acres of white oaks. It was not a small clump of trees. it was
2 acres of land of white oaks and there are accounts at the time on both sides indicating
that those were the more logical trees that Pickett’s and Pettigrew’s and Trimble’s troops
were aiming for. Now this is a sketch done by Edwin Forbes for Frank Leslie’s Civil War
Illustrated. In those days with out the internet and television, you bought a subscription
to a newspaper and they would have inserts on whatever major event was going on and in
this case, the Civil War. And one of the drawers was Edwin Forbes. And he began this sketch
at the time of the battle and then would complete it in the subsequent days. He is standing
somewhere here on Seminary Ridge probably near the McMillan House – this could be the
McMillan House – this would be McMillan Woods behind and he’s looking out across. It’s really
interesting. You couldn’t take photographs of moving objects in those days because the
lapse time on photography was so slow that even if a horse moved his head, it blurred
the photograph. How many of you knew that? So sketch artists – photographers didn’t show
up for several days after a battle because they had to make sure that everything was
still. But sketch artists could draw scenes in action and you can see here – this very
well could be Wright’s brigade, it could be maybe Posey which is part of Richard Anderson’s
division. So one of these reserve units that is going to probably come up, if its Wright,
will come over – Wright’s Georgians – and support the right rear of Pickett’s division.
But these are some of the reserve units. Remember, supports, reserves, cooperation, second wave
– these are units that will be going forward to help cover the flank in just a minute.
You can see Pickett’s troops coming in from the right oblique and you can see Marshall
– you know Fry – and Joe Davis and others – here is Ziegler’s Grove as it looked at
the time. The copse of trees would be somewhere in here. You can see where the National Cemetery
would be today and this is all Cemetery Hill, the Cemetery Hill balloon. You can see the
Cemetery Hill is also partially eclipsing Culps Hill and Wolf Hill in the background.
Isn’t that fantastic! A snapshot of the way it looked at the time. And again, the position,
the main position, is Cemetery Hill. Culps Hill itself is no goo. Heavily wooded. If
you were to mass 8,000 troops on Culps Hill, your opponent could attack you successfully
with 2,000 and get away with it and why is that? Because with the 8,000 troops that are
firing, most of those volleys are going to be absorbed by the thick timber and reduce
your force to whatever you thought you would have made it better than your opponent. A
smaller force can fight in a city and in city streets that can fight in a forested area
because timber and then in the former example, city buildings, can absorb all that, the fields
of fire, and stop the density of the fire. So Culps Hill, Round Top, wooded, not key
positions. Cemetery Hill wide open. There is nothing to block your field of fire. it
is the main position. Now, as you look at this sign here – my wife’s an art teacher
and so I try to bring in visual things – we have two parts of our brain – so you look
at that sign, that’s not the city of Philadelphia. It’s rather a what? A sign telling you if
you continue this way on 95 for instance, you are going to be in Philadelphia. Here
is the actual city right? So one is a sign promising if you continue in that direction,
you are going to find Philadelphia. But the sign itself is not Philadelphia. And I would
say the same thing to keep in mind when you leave here today. When you look at the copse
of trees or Ziegler’s Grove, remember that trees, at best, are a sign saying this way.
This way to Philadelphia. So the sign then here in this case – this is your Philadelphia
sign, this is Philadelphia. This is your sign, the trees are nothing more than a sign post
that say “this way to key terrain.” So keep that in mind. The trees themselves don’t win
the battle – capturing the trees do nothing for you. The trees are just a sign post that
say “this way to key position.” So don’t become so locked into discussion about which trees
they were aiming for. Look at the city beyond that the trees are directing them towards.
Jomini said in his “Art of War” – [Ranger reads quote]. Two lines rather than three
lines in his day are important because then eventually by the time of the Civil War, you
are almost fighting exclusively in two lines, at least in your battle front, and that’s
because the more lines you have, the more crowded the space becomes and the more you
are tripping over and the more restrictive your maneuvering is. And so you want to simplify.
Artists would say – there are some artists that are called minimalists – minimalists
are people that want no clutter at all. They want clean lines. On a battlefield, Jomini
is saying, I am a minimalist. I want clean lines, I don;t want a lot of clutter. But
he uses the word “two.” I will come back to that term. Let’s go to the word supporting
distance. [Ranger reads screen]. You can see here in my example that the skirmish line
is leading by 500 yards over the primary line and then the reserves are 300 yards back.
And so there is spacing that has to be adhered to. And there are several reasons why you
space them on average 400 yards apart – the layers of an attack – 400 yards apart. [Ranger
reads number 1]. So if a defender is attacking with artillery – the front line – or even
with small arms fire the front line, a lot of that is going to be spent over 300 yards.
Is that 100%? No, but 300 to 400 yards is usually good for that. [Ranger reads number
2]. If you got reserves that are following at supporting distance and you are in the
front lines, and you are thinking of turning and running, this snow plow is following you
and its going to keep pushing you forward. Have you ever had to confront someone or something,
hopefully not, and you look to see who is behind you and if the people behind you are
leaving you, that’s not a good thing. You want them to be behind you. And if they want
you to go forward and they are trying to make an example of you, they might even have a
broom handle in the small of your back pushing you forward, making sure you don’t come back.
[Ranger reads number 3]. People are not really comfortable this so I won’t linger on it but
veterans have PTSD and it has a lot to do with then you are in battle, cortisol and
adrenaline is released in your head, it affects memory, it affects your ability to maybe fall
over, you have acrophobia, and those kinds of things, your vision is narrowed. It’s a
chemically altered state. Your memory is not as clear. You have veterans that are in veterans
hospitals now talking to psychologists for years because they can’t remember something
that’s not meant to be remembered logically. In any case, 3 to 400 yards is the distance
for panic to dissipate if the front ranks are routed and they retreat to rally on the
next line. Did you know that panic, if the distances were too close – lets say 50 to
100 yards between front line and second line – then panic can metastasize the second lines
and destroy them too psychologically without a shot fired. Can you see that? That’s why
spacing is critical but 300 to 400 yards panic would dissipate. So these are the kinds of
things that Jomini talks about. If you don’t read Jomini, you are going to learn these
things the hard way. And so Jomini doesn’t have to publish these rules of war for them
to be true. [Ranger reads number 4]. So you don’t want to be too close, but you want to
be within supporting distance so that you can close quickly. Keep that in mind later
on when you are doing a first day tour and the ranger talks about Pender’s division suddenly
moving forward and Heth’s division lying down and Pender passing in front of them. Or Tilton
and Switzer trading places with Caldwell’s division in the Wheatfield. One set of units
lying down and the other pushing forward. They are keeping their spacing separated and
they are trying to share the same space and reduce panic. So you need those distances.
Now there are historians on university staffs throughout this country that study structures
and systems: business systems, railroad systems, automobile systems, carrying systems, packaging
systems. Systems are a form of study. So are structures: human structures, physical structures.
And when you use the number 2 as Jomini recommended on the line of battle, it’s called “mutual
support.” Two is the number of mutual support. And that’s doing history at a higher level
if you recognize that 2 is the number of support even on the most basic level. When people
get married, you have 2 partners. When they become married, they are mutually supporting
each other. If you look at a building’s joists and you were to go below the frontus piece
and behind the initial facade and the curb appeal, you’ll find usually most ranchers,
most square or rectangle buildings have pairs of twos, even the columns are pairs of twos.
2, 4, 6. Two is the number of mutual support. In a battle, in a brigade front you will have
a front rank and a rear rank. Front rank fires while the rear rank loads. The front rank
and the rear rank will interchange that way and they mutually support each other. That
is just the natural structure. Also attacks during the Civil War tend to be in twos. You
are talking Second Mannassas. You are talking about Longstreet and Jackson working together.
Jackson draws in Union 5th Corps from one direction, waits for them to over commit,
and Longstreet comes in and takes them in reverse. Or at Chancellorsville, Lee challenges
directly Hooker’s position frontally while Jackson makes this long march around to hit
them in the flank. But mutual support. You can see mutual support and importance of mutual
support. It’s working together in twos. You are always stronger when you are paired together
with someone. Why is this important in a Civil War battle? During the Civil War, they fought
with what is called linear war, or what we would say today 2D war. Two-dimensional war.
Versus today, we fight three-dimensional war and beyond. Gettysburg constitutes 2D war.
World War II represents the first fully 3D war. I’m teaching a course at Penn State now
called “The World at War” and we are in the middle of World War II now. We are looking
at 20th century for a four-month period, but now we are in the middle of Waorld War II
and and we are looking at how World War II in part was the first 3-dinemsional war. There
were elements of 3-dimensional war in World War I but its not used in any kind of unit
until World War II. Alright what is linear war? Linear war – and we will use the term
2-dimensional war – is your fighting at ground level. You don’t have air support. Now there
are hot air balloons and hydrogen balloons for lines of site. You might take a Round
Top and Cemetery Hill and put signal stations there. But this is before the era before smokeless
gunpowder by about 30 years so there is think heavy smoke on the battlefield. And when a
battle starts, you can’t see from an arial perspective in 3 dimension down upon your
opponent. So attacks are coming at you – this is critical, if you get this, you’ll never
be the same, you’ll never see this battle the same, nor will you see any other Civil
War battle or Napoleonic battle the same again. If you are a defender like General Hancock
was on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett’s Charge on July 3, what you see coming towards you
with Pickett on your left and Pettigrew on your right, is at ground level, it’s two dimension.
You don’t know which attack has layers of depth to follow through and which one is a
thin veneer decoy. That’s why over and over during the Civil War, there’s a diversionary
attack, a decoy, a fixing force, a holding force, and then there’s the real attack and
the defender doesn’t know which one is which. It takes him about 15 minutes for the defender
to discover which one is real and by that time, if they have over committed in the wrong
direction, they are in trouble. During the Civil War then, you have two dimensional war.
By the time of World War II, when you have planes flying over and bombing cities and
industrial centers in the rear of the lines, you have three dimensional war. It’s much
more difficult to conceal something out in the open moving towards your opponent. I suppose
with GPS and satellite its even more so that way now so we are really in three dimensional
war and beyond. Mutual support is the number 2. So if you are Hancock and you are looking
at these two attacks coming towards you, which one is the real attack, and which one is the
phony one? Which one is to direct your attention to the wrong direction? How many of you used
to watch – I forget the name of the game show now where there was something behind a curtain
– lets make a deal. So there was a new car behind one curtain. Let’s say you are down
to two curtains. There is a new car behind one and nothing behind the other, maybe some
cat food or something. And so you have to decide which one – it’s a fifty-fifty chance.
That’s how it is if you are General Hancock in linear war with 2 forces coming at you,
2 divisions coming at you from 2 different directions. One coming at you directly – that
is Pettigrew – and one coming at you from an angular, diagonal direction – which is
Pickett’s oblique attack. You don’t know which one has the car behind it and which one with
nothing behind it. Can you picture that? And so that is what we are looking at here. How
many of you have been going down the highway at a certain speed, maybe 55-65 miles an hour,
and your wife or husband says “you have to take this exit!” and it’s too late and you
missed it and you have to go down another 2 exits and circle back. That’s how it is
in a battle too. You can over commit in the wrong direction and it’s hard to double back
and you are going to lose valuable time and in a battle, you’ve got to guess right the
first time. So erase the thought of trees at all, just think of Pickett and Pettigrew
coming at the Federals. Here is another demonstration and I think it is worth taking a moment to
do it. Think of it this way – I may shatter the mic doing this. But let’s say that I want
to take you all in reverse. I want to come at you flank-wise so I am going to put a decoy
force here. Think of this as General Pettigrew. [Ranger claps and whistles]. Look this way!
Ayyyy! And once you are fixed by all of the noise looking in that direction, then the
other attack is coming in in a flank sort of way. That is Pickett-Pettigrew. That is
the whole idea of trying to throw your opponent off and send him in the wrong direction. [Ranger
reads slide]. These are key words here: “reserve,” “supporting,” “second line,” we have been
talking about mutual support – not only do you have 2 lines within a battle front, you
have the reserves that are coming up who are also in 2 lines, then your reserves usually
with your attacking lines, make up mutual support too. The decisive blow is the second
line of the enemy so your defender that you are attacking also has a second line. So you
can’t just attack what you see, you have to predict that he is going to have reserves
too and you have to have your reserves come up in a proper way to carry through and take
his reserves beyond. Can you see that? Think about the first day of the battle when Heth’s
division pushed forward against First Corps and then at some point beyond Herbst Woods,
they hit the ground. That was one way to allow reserves to pass. The reserves would step
on their rear and cross them, that is Pender’s division. A.P. Hill would have picked the
moment, just from a gut feeling, when to send Pender forward to close the 300 to 400 yard
distance past Pender to not lose momentum and keep the push all the way to hit the secondary
supports of First Corps so that you could carry Seminary Ridge. Can you see that? That’s
why there is a second wave in every attack because you have to have second lines that
are going to follow through at a gut-felt moment. That’s where you gain possession with
the second line. Alright we are going to go through these quickly from the reports. Cadmus
Wilcox, who commanded troops on the right of Pickett’s Charge, supporting Pickett’s
right with Florida and Alabama troops, said, [Ranger reads slide]. You can see the smoke
here. This is where Wilcox and Lang’s troops would have been in support of Pickett’s right
flank. Now they ran into the rear of the Vermont brigade here who flanked Pickett’s troops
– I am presuming everyone knows that story – but that is what he is talking about. Support.
And by the way, Wilcox and Lang’s troops were lying, you know where the Rodger’s house is?
That would be across from the Klingle farm along the Emmitsburg Road, the far right flank
of Pickett’s Charge near Spangler Lane. Those troops of Wilcox and Lang, Alabama and Florida
troops, were lying down the reverse slope – that would be the western slope of the Emmitsburg
Road ridge opposite the Klingle farm – so Pickett’s troops – Armistead, Kemper, Garnett
– could walk through them and step on them and walk over them, and then Wilcox and Lang
stood up and followed them at 300 to 400 yards. Ok do you gave that picture? When you have
crowded space you have to be creative that way. Ans we have A. R. Wright, Ambrose Wright,
saying, [Ranger reads quote]. So support is not only about following through to hit your
enemy’s second line and gain possession of a key terrain or main position, a terrain-oriented
objective, it’s also about having something to fall back on and that’s what Wright’s role
eventually became. Is that a second wave? Yes because support means offense and defense.
And we can see Wright and he would move over behind Wilcox. Then we have Robert Rodes,
[Ranger reads quote]. So here is Rodes’ division – this is all part of the second wave. If
Pickett’s troops are able to come through the low ground, move under Federal artillery
pieces, take them by flank, the attacks up the Emmitsburg Road are jump started again
from the day before. The Emmitsburg Road leads to the Cemetery Hill balloon which includes
Cemetery Ridge. They attack here, Federals over committ and choose that door, that curtain
where they think the car is, then Pettigrew breaks through there. That is how echelons
work. Then that forces more Federal troops in the second line which is Cemetery Hill,
to move down. That allows Rodes to move in and take what is now the National Cemetery.Can
you see that? So the point of assault is in front of the Vermont brigade right here, but
your objective is further up the line so you are trying to create a chain reaction. You
are trying to create movement further up the line. And then Englehard, who was an assistant
adjutant general of operations in Pender’s division, is writing this report for Isaac
Trimble who was wounded and captured during Pickett’s Charge, and we will skim through
this one quickly here but he talks about 2 brigades forming his second line, he was a
support to Pettigrew. Moving down further, he talks about the 2 brigades thus formed
as a support to Pettigrew with Lowrence on the right, after suffering no little from
the two hours 3rd, advanced in close supporting distance of Pettigrew’s line. So Trimble would
follow Pettigrew’s right, Lane’s North Carolina brigade would pivot to the left to try to
protect the flank over here against Alexander Hays’ division, mainly New York troops there
– the 125th, 126th New York and the 8th Ohio. Supporting distance then is the key words
here. James Lane, who is pictured here, tells us in the Official Records, [Ranger reads
quote]. And then we have Lowrance of the 34th North Carolina saying that [Ranger reads quote].
If you look at all of these units, Lowrence’s brigade which was formally Scales’ brigade
– he was wounded on the first day of the battle – you look at Thomas, Perrin, and we are going
to bring some more – Wilcox, Lang, Wright, you soon have over 15,000 troops and these
are all support troops. So do they in one grand movement all move together in a second
wave? No some are moving forward, some are standing at supporting distance. They are
always staying within 300 to 400 yards. They are always waiting for an opportunity to either
be a rallying point or to advance if the opportunity presents itself. And Colonel Abner Perrin,
14th South Carolina, talks about the skirmishing on his front. The skirmishing would have been
where Long Lane faces the Cemetery Hill, that would be behind the Steinwhere Avenue businesses
today. There is a development there called Colt Park and there were units there under
Thomas’ Georgians, they had been in reserve on the first day behind Pender’s attack. There
was also McGowen’s South Carolinians who were under Perrin, and then Ramseur, Iverson, and
Dole’s division of Rodes’ Division all along Long Lane. But Perrin talks about “Our skirmishers
being within easy range of their artillerists on Cemetery Hill”. You all know where Fairview
Avenue is in Colt Park development? If you were to leave here today and take Culp Street,
which is very near the old wax museum and McDonalds, and you were to take that due west
towards the rec park off of Steinwhere Avenue, the first high rise that you come to, and
the rise runs from your right to left – it’s called Fairview Avenue today – and that was
a major skirmishing line where Confederates of Rodes’ division and elements of Pender’s
division tried to gain access to dismantled fence rails where they could shoot at where
the National Cemetery is today and bug Osborne’s guns and try to shoot at the artillery there.
Artillery during the Civil War didn’t advance very much like it had in Napoleon’s time because
of the rifled weapon. If you could put really good marksmen within range of an artillerist
and shoot at them, you could reduce the trained people running that gun. They would have to
draw replacements from infantry units – think of a car today at an Indy race going into
a pit stop. They have a 14-second pit stop and that what it takes to win – to have 4
tires changed, and the windows cleaned, and the turbo fuel put in there, and the jack
put under so that you can replace the wheels and the tires – do you got that picture? Now
if you were to remove the people who practice what it takes to run that car and just take
some people out of the stands and put them in charge, you are not going to have a 14-second
pit stop. One of the ways that marksmen were used, sharpshooters were used during the Civil
War is they would shoot at artillerists so if you eliminate people who were trained to
fire 3 or 4 shots a minute, and they have to start drawing in from the crowd, metaphorically
speaking, then you are going to reduce their effectiveness once a bombardment and the main
attack starts. So that is what the Confederates were doing all behind what is today McDonalds
and Friendlys, and those businesses along Steinwhere Avenue. They were shooting at Osbourne’s
11th Corps guns, shooting at Woodruff’s guns, remember Woodruff was shot in the back while
he was helping to load there in Ziegler’s Grove, shooting at them to try to reduce their
effectiveness for the attack that was coming. And so he is saying that his support role
then, Abner Perrin’s support role as part of the second wave was to keep a constant
pressure on Federal artillery. As kind of a review here, you have Pettigrew, you have
Lane and Lowrence as part of Trimble, and we have Anderson back here – we will mention
Anderson before we are done – we see Lane’s North Carolinians pivoting – do you know where
McDonalds sits today on Steinwhere Avenue there was a knoll there that isn’t there today
and that knoll was almost as high as this room and it has been truncated to create McDonalds
and the parking lot around it – but that knoll was used by the 8th Ohio to circumvent Lane’s
brigade, get around behind them and capture some of their flags. The knoll became cover
and concealment to disturb the Confederate flank. That is why Lane’s brigade had to move
that way. The battlefield was bigger than the political boundaries. And then we have
Richard Anderson: [Ranger reads quote]. Notice what he is saying is they gained the first
ridge. Joe Davis, whose Mississippians attacked on the far left of Pickett’s Charge on the
far left near where the Brian Farm is today and where the Emmanuel Trostle farm used to
be, he says, [Ranger reads quote]. So he is telling you as is Anderson that there is a
first ridge, first line, and that they broke into into the first line. I don’t have Robert
E. Lee’s fuller January 1864 report, but in there he told Jefferson Davis in his final
report that “we gained their works but we were not able to move beyond them.” And so
he is telling him the second wave never fully reached the second line of defenses. And then
Anderson tells us as we narrow down to I think our last 4 or 5 slides, Anderson who commanded
Wilcox and Perry’s brigades said, [Ranger reads quote]. Now Longstreet might have been
right on this. This is not the emphasis of the program whether Longstreet was right or
Lee was right. I always stay away from that because I don’t know, but I am distinguishing
here that Longstreet put the breaks on the second wave being fully implemented unlike
Pender passing Heth on the first day, or Caldwell passing Tilton and Switzer of Barnes’ division
on the second day in the Wheatfield, that second line never pours through to hit the
defender’s second line.If they don’t go forward they
stay at a safe distance. We talked about panic and controlling that and so they become a
rallying point for those that are falling back. A.P. Hill said, [Ranger reads quote].
July 3rd, Ewell writes, [Ranger reads first line of quote.] Now that is not complementary
to General Longstreet. If all of these attacks are to be working together along the entire
Union line and Ewell is telling you that he was ordered to renew his attack at daylight,
that would mean Longstreet and Hill were ordered to be ready at daylight. These are ways of
getting at the truth indirectly. [Ranger continues reading]. So the 7 and a 1/2 hours of attacks
over on Culps Hill were about trying to find a moment to cooperate with what we call Pickett’s
Charge – to attack the Cemetery Hill balloon from all sides. Some of you know that the
final desperate assault the Confederates had on Culps Hill was through Pardee Field. It
was about 10:30. It was about the same time that General Stewart showed up on East Cavalry
Field firing artillery as a sign that he was in position, which was at least saying “I
have your flank covered” so Ewell would feel comfortable to attack with infantry knowing
that his flank was covered at East Cavalry Field and that’s when at the same time, coincidentally
or not, when Ewell was told Longstreet would cooperate with him. The Culps Hill attacks
were not just side shows. They were cooperation, support. Ewell says, [Ranger reads quote].
Now isn’t this interesting. There are reports from the cavalry
that there were Federal columns moving towards Johnson’s left at Culps Hill and he goes on
to say, and I didn’t give you the full report, but Ewell heard the same reports, had it checked
out, and learned that there were no forces there, there were phantom forces. I think
it was probably Alpheus Williams’ division, but in any case, the reports were exaggerated
at the very least. So he says, [Ranger continues reading quote]. Now this is important because
what he is telling you is Johnson fell back from Culps Hill, according to Ewell, not because
Slocum and Williams pushed them off of Culps Hill but because
there were reports from Stewart that Federal troops were about to flank them via the Baltimore
Pike. But they don’t completely disappear the Confederates. They fall back 300 yards
– that would be where modern East Confederate Avenue is today and why is that? There are
two reasons. One: So that Johnson’s mere presence facing Culps Hill keeps 12th Corps from shifting
over to repulse Pickett, Pettigrew, Trimble. So you can cooperate without firing a shot
can’t you? You just stand there and keep an eye on them and make them realize that if
they move then you will move again. And then another reason why you fall back 300 yards
is because once you break contact now, you can be redirected in some other way. Once
you are locked and entangled, you can’t. Once you break contact, one of the reasons why
Lafayette McLaws broke contact after the fight in the Wheatfield on the second day and fell
back beyond the Emmitsburg Road with most of his troops, is so that he would be mobile
to support General Pickett and the attack. Or as Longstreet wanted to do, to link with
Pickett to create a flanking maneuver around Round Top. Once McLaws broke contact, he was
mobile again. This is a map – some of you walked this with me this past summer – this
is a Bachelder map done in the late 1870s of troop positions and troop movements. And
you can see many of the things we talked about but notice here – this is about 3pm when Pickett’s
troops are already fully engaged. You can see Rodes’ division waiting for a favorable
opportunity, Anderson’s troops getting ready to move forward. You can see Johnson’s division
of Ewell’s Corps – they have broken contact and if the Cemetery Ridge line breaks, they
can be directed to block the retreat. They are no longer entangled in the timber of Culps
Hill. They are mobile – keep that in mind. Walter Taylor of General Lee’s staff wrote
in the Southern Historical Society Papers in 1877, [Ranger reads quote]. We saw that
earlier in Anderson’s report and A.P. Hill’s report. We can see Anderson’s division back
here. Now my colleague Bill Hewitt made a really interesting point. He asked this question
a few years ago in a conversation with me and I am sure he has told you all this on
tours that if General Lee really wanted to dislodge the Union Army from Culps Hill which
would allow exposure of Cemetery Ridge so Johnson’s division could gain Culps Hill and
maneuver on to the Baltimore Pike. If he really wanted to do that, what else did he need?
If he failed, you don’t just throw the baby out with the bath water. What did Lee lack
in that assault? And Bill Hewitt reasoned that Lee needed one more division. When you
are repairing something, fixing something, it’s usually just one piece. You don’t start
all over from ground zero; there is one missing piece. So one more division would have allowed
Lee to break the Culps Hill position and what’s the only other division available on the battlefield?
Anderson’s division. Now Anderson wasn’t fully used to support Pickett’s Charge, part of
it was but not all of it. In retrospect, I used to work at Appomattox – I started there
in the early 80s as a park ranger and we would talk about how Lee surrendered to Grant in
the parlor there at the Wilbur McLean home and how Douglass Southall Freeman said it
was the longest half hour of Lee’s life as he waited 30 minutes there for any sound – the
sound of horse hooves as Grant and his staff was arriving for Lee to surrender. And Freeman
said during that period, Lee would have thought back across the entire war and the decisions
he wished he had back like Pickett’s Charge. Now if you are Lee thinking this thing years
later: was it a total wash or could have I tinkered with it and made it work. Now one
moving part that’s not used, if you don’t include Hood and McLaws, is Anderson’s division
could have been moved over to support Johnson. And is that enough? It might have been enough
to take the position. It might not have. But all you need is one side of the Cemetery Hill
balloon to break and so Anderson is your missing division. And we see here the VMI cadet, formerly
VMI cadet, later staff member Walter Taylor of Lee’s staff. This is Walter Taylor writing
, [Ranger reads quote]. What we see Walter Taylor of Lee’s staff saying is that Lee had
known that all of his troops were not going to be committed in an offensive way, in support
in Pickett’s Charge then Lee would have then more seriously considered maneuvering south,
blocking Meade’s way home showing him the iron fence, sort of an all-or-nothing proposition.
General Lee wrote in his official report, [Ranger reads quote]That is Lee writing to
Davis in his official report that the reason McLaws and Hood did not go in to support this
attack is because Longstreet was worried about the Round Tops. And that is very understandable.
Why? Lee put all of his cavalry over here to support Ewell to be in support to harass
the retreat. And what was Stewart’s role? His role would have been not to come up behind
Cemetery Ridge, it would have been – and I know some of you in the room feel the same
way – the logical way of looking at Stewart’s role would have been to come down from the
Hanover Road, burn the several bridges between here and the Pipe Clay Creek line so you have
6,000 Federal wheeled vehicles trying to escape on the Baltimore Pike without fences and then
if you are cavalry, you set fire to all of those wagons and it blocks the way out. Can
you see that? And so cavalry then creates panic in the retreat. Does that mean that
Stewart would have achieved that? No but that is what his goal would have been. So if you
are Longstreet, Hood and McLaws don’t have any cavalry. Why? Because Lee put all of his
eggs in one basket for the pursuit as part of the supports for taking the second line
and for the golden bridge escape which is the way out that he hoped the Federals would
take. That left Longstreet without any cavalry to find out what was behind the Round Tops
and so he decided to keep McLaws and Hood to guard his flank. He might have been right
but I want you to see that’s why Hood and McLaws didn’t go in. So as we conclude, our
theme this year has been “reconstruction” and so I was asked when I was preparing this
how could I relate this to Reconstruction and I am always looking for a way to do at
least one talk on the battle itself. Every year I try to find one way to talk about the
battle no matter what the theme has been. I have found creative ways to do that. And
people love that. People love this place and I have always found that it went over well
with the appetite that people have. So I am still trying to tie this in with the Reconstruction
theme. So how can one tie the second wave into a rebirth, reconstruction, reconciliation
theme which is our theme for this winter? Simple. It is done by understanding the High
Water Mark of the rebellion is a theme of Reconstruction. The monument was put there
in early 1890s – 1892, 1893 – so such a theme allows room for Confederate courage in the
face of impossible odds. We talked in the last lecture about the Lost Cause emphasizing
many things and one of the things it emphasized was that the Confederates fought courageously
against overwhelming logistical odds and you have heard that over time and again. So the
High Water Mark Monument allows for the Confederate courage in the face of impossible odds, without
acknowledging the Confederacy as a separate country. So you can acknowledge Confederate
courage, bravery, honor, and valor, without acknowledging the Confederacy. To acknowledge
a second wave, it gives second thought to an illegitimate nation. Did you all know that
the official records of the War of the Rebellion which have all the reports and I have quoted
them over and over in here, that have all the soldier memorandums and accounts and so
forth, did you know that they along with all the official Federal documents, many of them
compiled in the 1880s related to the Civil War, do not call the Civil War “The Civil
War” or the “War Between the States.” What does the Federal government officially call
the Civil War? The War of the Rebellion. It’s a negative term – and I don’t mean negative
as a dour thing – but it’s negative in that it’s saying for those who have ears to hear
and eyes to see that the South’s nation is never officially acknowledged. So it is a
High Water Mark of the Rebellion. So if you are talking second wave, you are talking about
keeping the notion of a nation alive and so there is no place for that in a war of rebellion
that was pout down soundly with the defeat of the charge. And then my conclusion state,
[Ranger reads screen]. Thank you all for coming out today. I will see you in the summer!

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