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Posted By: on: 08/06/2000 22:10:53 EDT
Subject: Longstreet's Attack on July 2nd

Message Detail:
Sorry this is somewhat off the topic but I have written it earlier and can't edit right now.

If needed to he could have attacked. The Peninsular Campaign would have needed Longstreet to attack. Certainly I cannot say if he would have. However I believe he would have. He knew what it took to win. Gettysburg, Antietam, and South Mountain were places that Lee should not have attacked at. What would you have thought of Lee if he had attacked at Fredricksburg? Certainly not that he had many tactical brains. Possibly(I do not know enough about Fredricksburg) Longstreet told Lee to keep on the defensive. Actually I think Jackson did want to attack. At the Wilderness was that flanking move called? Was that a defensive move? Certainly not. That was JUST as aggressive as Jackson was. Therefore Longstreet could attack when needed. As we know at Gettysburg it was not needed, and HELPED to crush the Confederacy. This thread is not about the turning point so I will not get into that.I am not saying that Longstreet was the "miracle worker that was going to save the war." He was a subordinate officer who did his job, yes slowly. One of the traits that Gen. Lee liked. I'm sure someone will say that he was slow at Gettysburg. Examine these points before you do so. Longstreeet's troops had just marched 20-25 miles in the middle part of a PA summer. It was hot, humid, and dusty. Yes I know it was also muddy. It had just rained a day or two before the Gettysburg battle. Lee did not plan a definite attack on the Union right(Little Round Top) until mid-morning. This taken from Harry Pfanz's book, "Gettysburg the Second Day." Page 61. Longstreets troops had to march( unobserved) at least four miles before starting there attack. From Herr's Ridge to Warfield Ridge. They needed water(one regiment did not have time to get any), rest(they got little), and food. Taking all of this into account how could Longstreet get his men to Warfield Ridge any quicker. He had to turn his men around once and march almost back to Herr's Ridge before turning back on another road to keep Gen. Lee's orders. Also someone mentioned that he was being stubborn when Longstreet did not tell Hood to attack on the extreme right. WRONG. This would have been called insubordination. Possible court-martial(very unlikely). Hood asked Longstreet to postpone or change the attack. McLaws asked and finally asked Gen. Lee. Lee denied Longstreet's final request. Then Longstreet had no choice but to follow orders. Fitzugh Lee said of Longstreet, "there is a man that cannot be stampeded." Again with Longstreet attacking there are several instances of this. One of these is at 2nd Manassas where he attacked the Federal left. At the Peninsula he commanded a division. Seems to me that McLellan was driven back. Lee was new to command and needed all the help he could get from his highest commanders.(I do not mean to insult Lee for this. Every new commander has to have help from his generals.) Also some say that Longstreet was given an order to attack at sunrise. This was a popular belief made up by Generals Early and Pendleton after the war. Four of Lee's staff officers said that no order of this nature was ever given. These officers were Col. Long, Col. Walter Taylor, Col. Charles Marshall, and Major Charles Venable. These were Lee's primary staff officers. Col. Long did think that Lee wanted an attack as early as practicable. As I said above though Lee didn't even know where he was going to strike until midmorning. Lee did say this to Longstreet and Hill upon hearing Col. Long's reconnasince(sp) that the enemy was in force in their position. "Gentleman, we will attack the enemy in the morning as early as practicable." To this order Longstreet did start bringing his troops up. However they were not able to get to Gettysburg until midmorning. Then they started on the march from Herr's Ridge to Little Round Top. As I stated above they had to turn around once(in accordance with Lee's orders that the march be unobserved) and then go a different route. Technically Lee should have sent cav. on this route before Longstreet went(of course Stuart wasn't there and Lee refused to use his other cavalry). Nazgul(am I correct) you say that the war was lost in the west. I agree. To this Longstreet wanted to send troops out west instead of invading the north. Maybe it would have helped. Maybe not. I do not know. However he could have attacked Grant's lines around Vicksburg. Grant would have his back to swamps and the Mississippi River. Not good odds of winning a siege. You'll say that this was not the turning point of the war. I don't care. I'm not talking turning point, I'm talking about the siege of Vicksburg and battle of Gettysburg.You also say that Lee took a gamble invading the North. Why not do the safest thing and send troops west. This may have bought the Conf. more time, or even won the war for the COnf.

Carpe DiemNY

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