GDG- Gettysburg Digest, Vol 3, Issue 31
chaplain.chuck at gmail.com
Mon Nov 1 16:30:03 CDT 2010
The map in question purports to show the action as completed on July 2.
There were undoubtedly more maps arising from other stages of the campaign.
The value of the map is that it shows perceptions at ANV HQ after the
conclusion of action on the Second Day and before changes that occurred the
There are understandable distortions in the map, as it was initially
sketched under the trying circumstances of battle. Yet its depiction of the
Federal line as it extended south, shifting from the west side of the
Taneytown Road to the east side and then back to the west side (Humphreys
Division did spend the night on the east side) is revealing. I think it
explains why A.L. Long thought it was a *"weak"* point in the Federal
position, Harrison describing it as *"the weakest point."* Hunt himself
described that section of the Federal line even after it was bolstered by
artillery as being *"a salient,"* one that *"to the left and rear of which
was McG's brig." *And we do know how vulnerable a salient can be! * ;^)*
The situation was seen up close by Lee and Longstreet on the early morning
of July 3, as reported by Captain Gart Johnson on the skirmish line.
Pendleton said that the right of the attacking forces was to strike a *"flank"
*and then *"sweep the enemy." *Striking a flank is not a frontal assault.
Moreover, Long said that the attack at that point would be driving *"toward
Cemetery Hill." *That could not sensibly occur if it was a frontal assault.
Granted, it didn't happen as cleanly as planned, but Pettigrew's ADC said
that the pressure in the advance was "*from right to left"* such that the
attack was indeed "*slightly oblique." *Although I don't have the source in
front of me, a captain among Pickett's men, aware that their advancing line
was oblique to the enemy's and thus receiving enfilade fire (presumably from
McGilvery), protested to his colonel, who responded that he understood, but
that was the plan (the poor colonel died moments later).
Nowhere to my knowledge does anyone in the ANV high command use descriptors
suggesting it was intended to be a frontal assault undertaken by Pickett,
though that was so frequently depicted in explanations offered a decade or
two ago, before Troy's book was released.
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