Aldie-Host - Gettysburg, 2 July 1863, Part II
Aldie-Host - Iron Brigade!
Aldie-Host - 6th Wisconsin was pulling rear guard for the 1st Army Corps on 1 July 1863. If you ever stopped to wonder why the four regiments of the Iron Brigade were facing west down the Cashtown Road and the 6th Wisconsin was over in the railroad grade.
Vickie - black hats,gotta get me one of those black hats someday
Aldie-Host - They were about to pull in on the 7th WI's right when they had a staff officer from Abner Doubleday tell them to head north to the railroad.
Aldie-Host - For more than one hundred years, America has been told a story of the battle of Gettysburg that has been widely accepted and virtually believed. We've all heard how the Army of Northern Virginia had arranged to have Lieutenant General James Longstreet's 1st Army Corps attack the Federal Left Flank at dawn on 2 July 1863, and we've heard that Longstreet was too slow and stubborn to carry those orders out. But what really did occur with the Army of Northern Virginia's concentration in and about Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in July 1863? And how did the string of events during this one twenty four hour period cause the Confederacy to come within a breath of complete and total victory to losing all hope of a successful northern invasion of Pennsylvania before the sun set that evening?
Aldie-Host - We left this discussion as Longstreet was about to march to the Federal Left.
Aldie-Host - Longstreet found himself about to launch a mass attack on the Federal Left minus his one boot. He had ordered Brigadier General Evander Law to march from his position at New Guilford, Pennsylvania some twenty miles away, the night before. Law had gotten his brigade of Alabamians on the line of march at 3:00 am and was known to be approaching the field. Longstreet asked General Lee to await his arrival, and Lee granted the request. It was just before Noon when Law arrived, and the march to the Federal Left did not begin long after this.
Aldie-Host - Amazingly enough, this movement of Longstreet's was never applied to paper in any form of a written order, at least none that have survived. It's simply told by the officers of Longstreet's Corps as certain portions of it had pertained to their own commands.
Aldie-Host - The game plan was simple: Longstreet was to deploy on the left flank of the Federals and drive them inward. A.P. Hill was to tie down the Federals all along Cemetery Hill to prevent them from shifting support to the left. In the meantime, Richard Ewell was to bring the Federal Right on Culp's Hill to battle to prevent it from shifting support to the left as well. On 2 July 1863 the entire front of the Federal Army of the Potomac would be ablaze in combat. The entire front.
Aldie-Host - During the seventy two hours at Gettysburg, July 2nd would turn out to be the most brutal of the three days. Fighting hadn't even subsided on Cemetery Hill until long after dark.
Aldie-Host - We do know that Lee wished McLaws to attack along the Peach Orchard, but his plans for Hood were never clear.
Aldie-Host - In the meantime, Lieutenant General A. P. Hill had sent orders to Richard Anderson to move his division into the center between McMillan's and Spangler's Woods. The brigade of Cadmus Wilcox would occupy the extreme right of Anderson's division south of Spangler's Woods.
Aldie-Host - We're talking about Gettysburg Day Two here.
Aldie-Host - The first serious fighting that took place this day was with Cadmus Wilcox's brigade south of these woods, he had come across some Berdan's Sharpshooters making a reconnaissance west of the Emittsburg Road. This was done by an order of Major General Daniel Sickles. It was about noon, Longstreet was well underway on his flank march, and Sickles began moving his men into the Peach Orchard.
Aldie-Host - The time here is confirmed by the After Action Report of Major General David Birney who apparently ordered 100 of Berdan's Sharpshooters to feel out the enemy's strength in the front. Longstreet would have been one hour underway on his flank march at this time.
Aldie-Host - Just so y'all know what's going on...Longstreet is underway during his infamous march, and Birney is now sending these troops down the Millerstown Road to see what's out there. There has been sporatic firing going on. He further more sent the 3rd Maine Infantry down there with Berdan's to support.
Aldie-Host - Up until this time, Birney's men had been anchored at the north base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. He was the left flank of the 3rd Army Corps.
Aldie-Host - Question: Understanding the Gettysburg Topography, where is Sugar Loaf Mountain located?
ks-Moderator - Sugar Loaf Mountain...also known as???
Aldie-Host - Beat you to it, KS. This is tonite's first quiz question. Hehehe
Aldie-Host - Anybody want to take a stab at this one?
Aldie-Host - Hi Scarlet!
Aldie-Host - Sugar Loaf Mountain is the proper name for Little Round Top.
Aldie-Host - The first serious fighting that took place this day was with Cadmus Wilcox's brigade south of these woods, he had come across some Berdan's Sharpshooters making a reconnaissance west of the Emittsburg Road. This was done by an order of Major General Daniel Sickles. It was about noon, Longstreet was well underway on his flank march, and Sickles began moving his men into the Peach Orchard.
Camp - also called Granite Spur
Aldie-Host - Your hubby is there feeding you answers?
ks-Moderator - Not hardly, Aldie. ;)
Aldie-Host - Colonel John L. Black, commanding the 1st South Carolina Cavalry, was accompanying Longstreet's column that morning and had a recollection of his own. Upon passing he had noticed Brigadier General William Barksdale sitting on the top of a fence lining the Cashtown Road. According to Black, he had been looking rather pale and not well that morning.
Aldie-Host - I haven't come across anything that would state this, and I believe we have a member here who is a Mississippi Infantry specialist, though I can't recall his name. I wonder if Barksdale had one of those death premonitions on this morning.
Camp - Aldie, its Dameron.
Aldie-Host - It's Dameron?
ks-Moderator - Correct, it's Dameron.
Camp - he is the MS Specialist
Aldie-Host - OK, I remember talking about Barksdale with him previously particularly that of his role at Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville Campaign.
Aldie-Host - It was Black who had a lieutenant check out Black Horse Tavern. There this lieutenant found some barrels of whiskey that Black ordered destroyed. He made the report directly to Longstreet about the whiskey, and the general responded: "I supposed you saved some for yourself and me?" But Black was as much a tea totler as was Stonewall Jackson and responded: "Excuse me, General, as I do not drink, I forgot to do so."
Aldie-Host - I doubt very much this statement amused General Longstreet. I believe he was exercising some humor and Black didn't quite see the humor in the statement.
Aldie-Host - Whatever the case, the little dialogue with Longstreet that afternoon was about his claim to fame in the history books. He's not mentioned for anything spectacular throughout the remainder of the battle.
Aldie-Host - An incident occurred at Lee's Headquarters earlier that morning that permits the forerunner as to why Longstreet ordered a counter march earlier in the day. He called Colonel Edward Porter Alexander to Lee's Headquarters and appoints him tactical commander of the First Corps Artillery, giving him specific instructions to bring up his own battalion of artillery, but leave the Washington Artillery in park. And above all keep your cannon out of view of the signal station sitting on Little Round Top.
AoT - Hi please pray tell continue I am just listening and learning
Xan - Evening all....don't worry Aldie, I will go sit quietly with AoT.
Aldie-Host - Along the march, Longstreet's column had marched with Lafayette McLaws division in the lead with John Bell Hood following behind with his division. McLaws had been riding at the front of the column with Captain Samuel Johnson of Lee's staff, when it came upon a bump in the route that elevated itself to such an extent that his marching column could be viewed from Little Round Top.
Aldie-Host - He saw the tracks in the road. That of Alexander's artillery preceding the march, but knew his columns couldn't take it without being detected. Captain Johnson and he searched for alternative routes. McLaws returned to his division after a while and according to a 17th Mississippi Soldier in the column, he had been using language that he certainly would not have taught his grand son back home.
Aldie-Host - This is the point where Longstreet counter-marches. So, what's happening beyond the slopes in the 1st Corps front while Longstreet is determining a counter march. Anybody?
Xan - Um, Aldie, are you referring to the move where Sickles goes slip-sliding-away from where he's supposed to be?
Aldie-Host - That's right!
Aldie-Host - While the entire 1st Corps is concealed behind behind the hills, Dan Sickles 10,000 troops change positions and move a half mile forward into the Peach Orchard. Longstreet can't know that Captain Johnson's original reconnaissance report has now drastically changed and will cause Longstreet serious problems in his assault.
Aldie-Host - Alot of soldiers that were there on 2 July would accredit Dan Sickles with thwarting General Longstreet's assault and cause it's demise.
Aldie-Host - You'll find these statements in "Fighting For The Confederacy" by Colonel Edward Porter Alexander, as well as the Regimental History of the 22nd Massachusett
Aldie-Host - Infantry
Xan - Of course a lot of other soldiers, starting with Gen. Meade, would blame Sickles for nearly getting the Union line broken, and call him bad names.
Aldie-Host - This is true. I'm not saying that Dan Sickles was right, but 10,000 men formed in a salient in your front, can't be ignored either. And it's presence was a serious nuissance to Lafayette McLaws.
Aldie-Host - McLaws went in search of Longstreet who was marching some distance behind him. He brought the 1st Corps Commander to the top of the rise and shown him Little Round Top staring him directly in the face. General Longstreet simply shook his head and said: "Why, this won't do! Is there no other way to avoid it?" McLaws then informed him of an alternate route that was found. As this was happening, Hood's column still on the move crashed into the back of McLaws' column.
Xan - *Hmph.* Those 10k soldiers standing in a solid line with 5 other corps would present a pretty impressive picture too. However I am interrupting, please continue.
Aldie-Host - Not at all. I recently stood on Cemetery Hill looking down at the Peach Orchard area. I can imagine the awsome sight a movement of this kind must have been to Hancock and his staff officers.
Aldie-Host - To untangle this mess, Longstreet went to change the order of march and suggested that Hood take the lead on the counter. It would be easier this way. McLaws disapproved of this suggestion and insisted that his division maintain the lead. Longstreet did not wish to argue at this time, and simply told McLaws if he can get his column unjammed, that he can maintain the lead in the march. This was done.
Aldie-Host - About six hundred yards from reaching the western crest of Seminary Ridge, General Longstreet rode up the General McLaws and asked: "How are you going in?" McLaws told him that it would depend on what he found in his front. Longstreet told him: "There is nothing in your front, you will be entirely on the flank of the enemy." He said this in accord to what General Lee had said earlier in the day. McLaws then told him: "Then I will continue my march in column of companies, and after arriving on the flank, and as far as is necessary will face to the left and march on the enemy."
Aldie-Host - Good for you, Crazybet. If you have any questions let me know.
Xan - Aldie, a pause for geography clarification. "600 yards from" in what direction, and what are you calling the "crest" of Seminary Ridge? Can you give me a structural reference, like a farm, as to where you are referring to them being?
Aldie-Host - The back slope of Seminary Ridge, Xan. McLaws came up the same road the Andrew Humphrey's Division marched into Gettysburg on. The Millerstown Road...there is a rise that proceeds to a crest. At the top you'll run into spot where Porter Alexander aligned his artillery and the Peach Orchard is in your front.
Xan - Hmm, okay, I think I know where we're at. Although I confess Second Day GB is about my weakest area, never having mustered the courage to wade through Phanz. My bad.
Aldie-Host - McLaws would then begin to file to the left.
Crazybet - You mean there was a Crazy Catherine who spied for the North in Richmond and I've failed to study about her?
Aldie-Host - It's a fasinating book!
Aldie-Host - When McLaws van had reached the crest of Seminary ridge in front of the Peach Orchard, he was horrified at what he found. The Peach Orchard was NOT empty if had Federal Troops formed in it with battery.
Xan - Of course if Sickles had stayed where he was ordered to be, McLaws would have marched happily along TO the Peach Orchard and been MORE horrified to find the whole Union army right on the other side. *Boom*.
Aldie-Host - Yes, I agree. However, their march would have been much stronger being unchallenged on Little Round Top had it not fought it's way through the Peach Orchard, Devil's Den and the Wheatfield.
Crazybet - Aldie, I have a copy of Col. Black's memoirs, my gg grandfather was in the 1st SC Cav, Co. A. I
Aldie-Host - Cool, Crazybet!!
Xan - Alas, the Evil Younger Son formerly known as SOX is now plaintively pleading for some computer time. Should be back in a few, carry on.
Aldie-Host - The Confederate High Command on this day had functioned very poorly. The intelligence provide to it that morning by Captain Johnson had been faulty. McLaws had no choice at this time to begin bringing his command on line in front of positions reported hours earlier as being empty of enemy troops. And while doing this, he immediately came under battery fire from the Peach Orchard.
Aldie-Host - Who's responsibility is it to keep the attacking column informed of changes on the field? Does anyone know?
ks-Moderator - Not I.
Aldie-Host - This is an interesting question. Since it was Army level that did the reconnaissance I would like to think it would be Army that would watch the march's progress.
Camp - skirmishers
Aldie-Host - Hood's column would take another hour to come online, and the attack could not begin until it did so. In the meantime, McLaws division would under go an artillery barrage it had not planned on. While Hood came online, McLaws troops were already dying.
jarhead - Longstreet followed the guide that Lee gave him. It is the guide that got them in trouble
Aldie-Host - Yes, Captain Samuel Johnson
Aldie-Host - We were wondering whether staff officers should have been viewing the progress of the march all along and keeping Longstreet abreast of any changes. And if so, who's responsibility was that? Army Headquarters or 1st Army Corps Headquarters?
jarhead - OOOOO scarey! I had a CO in the Marine Corps by that name. Not very good either.
newyawk - jarhead Johnson had scouted the ground not the roads. The fault truly lies with Lee, because he did not use any of his cavalry to scout the roads leading to LRT.
jarhead - I agree newyawk
jarhead - He also got pig headed about a frontal assault instead of an end round
Aldie-Host - Major General John Hood's division was observed from the Peach Orchard's southwest corner. Brigadier General Graham had called attention to the long column of butternut troops crossing the Emmitsburg Pike to Major General Daniel Sickles. Apparently what was deploying on in front of the Peach Orchard was only part of the Army of the Potomac would expect that day.
Aldie-Host - General George Gordon Meade had learned shortly after his corps commander's meeting at 3:00 pm that General Sickles had disobeyed his orders to form his troops on the ground to the left of Hancock. Having personally not liked the ground assigned him, he moved his 10,000 man Corps a half mile forward taking up the position of the Peach Orchard, Rose's Woods, and Devil's Den. Meade was riding down there with his staff to ascertain why?
Aldie-Host - He met his engineer, Major General Gouverneur K. Warren enroute to the Peach Orchard. Firing had already begun in small spurts on the left. Meade had sent Warren over to the left to find out what it was all about, then proceeded to ride to the orchard to give Sickles a piece of his mind.
Aldie-Host - Ahhh....the key to why Henry left the discussion to me!
ks-Moderator - Your efforts are appreciated even if the room isn't packed this Friday night, Aldie.
Aldie-Host - General Hood's men were already deploying on ground a half mile in front of the Round Tops, as General Warren reached the signal station on the top of Little Round Top. He peered out through his binoculars towards the west beyond Devil's Den, but could see nothing.
Bill NT - Aldie, hmmmmm, let's think on that a while.....hmmmmmm
Aldie-Host - Oh, I know. I'm among the very best in Civil War personnel.
Bill NT - Aldie (that Hmmmmm was in reference to why did Henry leave the board ro you)
Bill NT - OK, so Warren's up on LRT, Hood's men are deploying, Warren see's nothing.....then what?
Aldie-Host - Because I was next in line for the inheritance, Bill.
ks-Moderator - Hard for me to imagine his inability to see SOMETHING there, Aldie.
Aldie-Host - Yeah, but I'm not through with how this event went down.
Bill NT - inheritance?
Aldie-Host - Unsatisfied with this observation, he had the signal station on Little Round Top wig wag down to Smith's New York Battery occupying a ridge line to the right of Devil's Den to fire one salvo. The battery soon fired into the abyss, but the intelligence that came back from it was shocking.
Bill NT - This sounds familiar
Aldie-Host - As the salvo split the air, Warren now caught site of thousands of bayonets and musket barrels glistening in the afternoon sun, as thousands of rebel heads turned in the direction of the artillery round to ascertain it's meaning. The line of glinting barrels extended a half-mile beyond General Warren's left.
Bill NT - I always wonder about the "bayonets" part of that story, we've discussed in a couple of forums: 1. the fact that the bayonet makes loading much more difficult; 2. Many Confederate soldiers "lost" their bayonets pretty quickly.
Bill NT - Seems to me they probably weren't bayonets thatWarren saw
Aldie-Host - Many of the soldiers didn't like using them anyway
Aldie-Host - Major General Warren turned white. He knew Little Round Top was the key to the entire Federal Army and if unsupported by infantry personnel, the Army would be chased out of Gettysburg. This hill must have infantry placed on it immediately. He sent off couriers in search of an available brigade to rush to his assistance. If the rebels got a hold of Little Round Top the Battle of Gettysburg would be lost.
Bill NT - An interesting aside to this story, Warren's aide was Lt. Washington A. Roebling who later achieved fame as the builder of the Brooklyn Bridge
Aldie-Host - That's correct
Aldie-Host - If there be a Part III to this day, we're about to commit all the troops to combat. There is some more fasinating incidents that occurred just prior to the kick off of the afternoon attack, but I may add that to beginning of the day's attacks, if asked to do so for a future discussion.
ks-Moderator - I think it would be very worthwhile to continue the discussion at a future date, Aldie.
ks-Moderator - As I said earlier, THANK YOU for your efforts, Aldie. Looking forward to Part 3 and more of those personal stories of participants.
Aldie-Host - It was July 1st 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg was well underway by the time the Iron Brigade was racing to form line of battle against Brigadier General J.J. Archer's Brigade. The 6th Wisconsin had been the last regiment in line in James Wadsworth's Division on the march into town, and for the most part explains why the 5th regiment of the Iron Brigade was so far detached from it's other four sister regiments. It raced into combat bringing along with it 340 officers and enlisted men.
WuzReb - Aldie, LOL, how you think folks are findin' this camp? We just followed the sound of your voice!
Aldie-Host - An aide to General Meredith, Lieutenant Gilbert M. Woodward, came to Dawes on the gallop, telling the Colonel to "form your line, and prepare for action." As the 6th Wisconsin was preparing to join the left of the Iron Brigades line of battle, another, Lieutenant Martens, from General Doubleday informed Dawes that General Doubleday now had command of the 1st Corps, but didn't explain why. General Doubleday wanted the 6th Wisconsin to halt and upon that order, Colonel Dawes ordered the 6th WI to "lie down."
Aldie-Host - When a third lieutenant rode up, orders were given to Colonel Dawes to move his regiment to the right. As the 6th Wisconsin proceeded to get into line on the right, Major General Reynolds (KIA) was being borne to the rear by several officers. Colonel Dawes then lost his horse having a minnie ball strike her in the breast penetrating seventeen inches. (The horse survived the war by several years, but got seriously naped whenever someone got curious about the wound).
Aldie-Host - The 6th Wisconsin crossed the Cashtown Pike by climbing two fences to cross the road. Dawes was unaware of the railroad cut until alot of his began to fall dead as they climbed the fence. Here Captain John Ticknor fell dead.
Aldie-Host - Well...this just happens to be one of my hundreds of human interest stories.
Aldie-Host - Upon pulling into the right of the 95th New York Infantry, Colonel Dawes informed Major Edward Pye of the 95th New York that "We must charge."
Aldie-Host - By this time as 420 men started with the regiment at the Cashtown Pike, only 240 were left by the time they had reached the railroad cut.
Aldie-Host - "The rebel color was seen waving defiantly above the edge of the railroad cut. A heroic ambition to capture it took possession of several of our men. Corporal Eggleston, of Company "H," sprang forward to seize it, and was shot and mortally wounded. Private Anderson of his company, furious at the killing of his brave young comrade, recked little for the rebel colors, but he swung aloft his musket and with a terrific blow split the skull of the rebel who had shot young Eggleston. This soldier was well known in the regiment as "Rocky Mountain Anderson." Lieutenant William N. Remington was shot and severly wounded in the shoulder, while rushing for the color. Into this deadly melee came Corporal Francis A. Waller, who seized and held the rebel battle flag. His name will forever remain upon the historic record, as he received from Congress a medal for this deed.
Aldie-Host - ...Running forward through our line of men, I found myself face to face with hundreds of rebels, whom I looked down upon in the railroad cut, which was, where I stood, four feet deep."
Aldie-Host - "...I shouted: Where is the colonel of this regiment?" An officer in gray, with stars on his collar, who stood among the men in the cut said: "Who are you?" I said: I command this regiment. Surrender, or I will fire." This officer did not reply but simply passed his sword forward.
Aldie-Host - ..."The fighting around the rebel colors had not ceased when this surrender took place. I took the sword. It would have been the handsome thing to say, "Keep your sword, sir." but I was new to such occasions, and when six other officers came up and handed me their swords, I took them also. I held this awkward bundle in my arms until relieved by Adjutant Brooks."
Aldie-Host - "...Corporal Frank Asbury Waller brought me the captured battle flag. It was the flag of the 2nd Mississippi Volunteers, one of the oldest and most distinguished regiments in the Confederate Army."
Aldie-Host - Name the Regiment that captured the 2nd Mississippi Infantry in the Railroad cut at Gettysburg?
Gen Sherman - the 6th Wisconsin
Aldie-Host - That's right, for $1000!!
Aldie-Host - Well...I've got to take a break here.