'For Every Southern Boy'

Discussion in 'Education' started by onedomino, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    One hundred forty-five years ago today there was a seminal moment in American history. It was a moment upon which everything turned. It was Lee’s desperate gamble. It was the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg:

    "For every southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances . . . that moment doesn't need even a fourteen year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the gold dome of Washington itself . . ." - William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust

    http://www.metafilter.com/72962/Today-in-History-The-Battle-of-Gettysburg
     
  2. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    How tragic for America, that time.

    Out of respect for the sincerity of those brave boys on both sides, I won't vent about what an affront to god almighty I think slavery is and was, in this thread.
     
  3. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Gettysburg was lost when AP Hill chose to go into bivouac instead of taking Little Round Top before Union reinforcements arrived and JEB Stuart decided to go galavanting around the countryside and ride around the Union army instead of doing his job.

    Lee was a commander by suggestion. Had Stonewall Jackson survived and been in command of his brigade, the one AP Hill inherited prior to Gettysburg, the suggestion to "move forward in force, if practicable" would have been a command to charge. Buford's cavalry could not have withstood a brigade. Instead, AP Hill decided :if practicable" meant his men were tired.

    Lee should have abandoned the field the next morning. Instead, he found himself in the position he usually put Union forces in, he achieved the same results they generally did.

    Had he just moved his forces between Meade and DC and chosen high ground to defend, he would have forced Meade into the open and to attack his position.

    Pickett's charge was a waste of human life and a tactically stupid move uncharacteristic of Lee.
     
  4. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Was not Lee’s order to "secure possession of the heights...if practicable" given to Ewell, not AP Hill? I agree that the subsequent hesitation cost the Confederates their advantage and Lee needed to reposition the army as Longstreet recommended and you outlined above. Longstreet was the only Southern commander who actually understood what was happening on the field and correctly predicted the outcome. But Lee was not in Pennsylvania to fight a defensive battle. He was there to take the risks that might lead to a decisive victory and end the War. Lee thought the Northern line was weaker in the center than the flanks. He overestimated the potential effect of the pre-assault artillery bombardment. He took a huge gamble and lost.
     
  5. Gungnir
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    Gungnir Member

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    Bah, what a waste.
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    My great Grandmother Blitz was a resident of Gettyburg during that battle.

    All she remembered about it was that a cannon was overturned when someone took a turn too sharply in front of her house.

    She also heard the Gettyburg address but didn't recall anything about it.

    She died in about '63 or 64.

    She had 13 children and outlived all but a handful of them.
     
  7. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    I stand corrected. It was Ewell and not Hill that assumed command of Jackson's Corps.

    While Lee in fact did take the war north to lure the Union army into a fight, his primary objective was to take the war out of Virginia to give the people of Virginia a break.

    Even so, if you ever walked the battlefield at Gettysburg, Lee must have chosen those 3 days to take up smoking weed. There is NO way I would have charged across that open field, at a slight incline, against a fortified line on that ridge. I definitely understand why Longestreet questioned Lee's decision.

    That Pickett's troops actually reached the Union line is a miracle in and of itself. Not only were they attacking a forified line, but they attacked into a salient which put them in a crossfire. They never had a chance.

    The Confederates could also have rolled up the Union right has their attack not been so half-assed. Revisionist history makes a hero out of Chamberlain, and while his bravery in the battle is unquestionable, a concerted and concentrated attack on his position would have swept through his lines.

    Heh ... hindsight's 20/20. It looks a lot different from a aerial map than actually standing on the ground. And I am NOT one to appreciate Civil War battlefields beyond taking note of the strategy and tactics that were employed. They all just look like cow pastures.:eusa_whistle:

    The Union could have destroyed the Army of No Virginia at Antietam but Meade preferred to rest on his laurels that he actually had forced Lee from the field.

    Had AS Johnson not deemed himself bulletproof and been killed at Shiloh, Grant's Army would have ended up in the Tennessee River.

    Our Nation's history has been defined by many seemingly inconsequential decisions.
     
  8. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Not much doubt of that. But as it turned out, the Hornet's Nest, where peach blossoms fell on the living and the dead, held long enough. That day, the Southern soldiers found out that there were also brave, determined men in the Northern Army. Had Albert Sydney Johnson not been killed at Shiloh, the course of the War might have been different. Would the South have forced the North to recognize the Confederacy? Probably not. But Albert Sydney Johnson was perhaps the most capable commander on either side, and his absence greatly damaged the Confederacy. The South had truly brilliant people leading it military effort. If the North had leaders like Johnson, Lee, Longstreet, Forrest, and Jackson, the War might have been over in a few months, not almost four years as turned out to be the case.
     
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  9. BrianH
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    BrianH Senior Member

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    My third Great Grandfather was stabbed by a bayonet at Gettysburg. He was with General Hood and part of the Hood's Brigade. He had a collapsed lung because of it, but survived. He had bad luck throughout the war. He was captured, escaped, captured again, escaped, captured again, and I think escaped successfully. Then he got stabbed at Gettysburg at a place called Devil's Den. I had two other direct relatives that fought also. One never returned; no one knows what happened to him. And the other survived.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  10. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Fascinating.

    Did you ever get to speak to him?

    Grandma Blitz had some wonderful stories to tell me.

    Sadly, she thought my name was Rudoph, (she thought I was her youngest son) but it didn't much matter.

    She was history come alive and for that 7 or 8 year old boy that I was when I used to listen to he tell me about her life, she was like a time machine.
     

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