GDG- Someone remind me

Tom Ryan pennmardel at
Mon Jan 23 09:17:54 CST 2012

I would add to what Jim worte that, while the skirmishing between Berdan and Wilcox's troops was taking place in Pitzer's woods, three of Wilcox's other Alabama regiments were moving in a southerly direction through the woods.  This movement was reported to Sickles in a way that made him believe the movement involved a greater amount of troops.  This info apparently prompted Sickles to move his corps forward to the E. Road in order to, in his way of thinking, be in a better position to defend against an inevitable attack.

Another factor that Sickles apparently took into oonsideration in deciding to move away from Cemetery Ridge out to the E. Road was the departure of Buford's brigades that had been screening his left flank.  The absence of this screen led Sickles to deploy the 2nd USSS out a distance on that left flank supported by pickets from other regiments.

My guess is that, if Buford was not permitted to withdraw, his cavalry pickets would have gotten a better handle on what those movements through Pitzer's woods that were reported by Berdan's troops consisted of. Sickles reading of this report was that larger forces than the three AL regiments were in the process of moving south. 

Sickles, as happens in most cases, acted on his understanding of the available information.  Unfortunately for him and the AoP, the report was exagerated and misleading.

Tom Ryan  



I don't think any day 1 fighting took place that far  south on the field. 

As the AOP retreated from Seminary Ridge on July 1 some cavalry units from Gamble's brigade covered the southern area of the Seminary fighting (near Red Patch) until the advancing ANV drove them away.The cavalry retreated south and east to the area of the Peach Orchard, from which they sent out pickets to scout the area west of them. Later that day some units from the III Corp (Humphrey's division) marched to the field from the west up the present day Wheatfield/Millerstown Road. I would hazard a guess that other than pickets the woods were not occupied on July 1. 

 On the 2nd, as the ANV gathered strength along Seminary Ridge, they began to fill in the area close to the woods. Also on the 2nd, as Sickles became concerned about what lay in front of him, he sent several companies of the US Sharpshooters, accompanied by men from the 3rd Maine, across the fields on a reconnaissance in order to find the left flank of the ANV. These men found and fired on troops of the 10th AL of Wilcox's brigade in a brief engagement that confirmed Sickles's fears that the Confederates were lining up across from him on the ridge. The AOP troops retreated from the area. which was occupied by Wilcox's men and, later in the day, by Barksdale's Mississippians and Wofford's Georgians. All of these ANV troops would participate in the July 2 advance on the AOP line in the 6-6:30 timeframe. 

Present day Berdan Avenue has some monuments to the men from the AOP who advanced to this area and discovered the expanding ANV line. 

Hope this helps. 


----- Original Message -----

From: "keith mackenzie" <bluzdad at> 
To: "GDG" <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 6:14:07 PM 
Subject: GDG- Someone remind me 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
who fought in Pitzers Woods on day 1 and 2. 

"Hello! I'm The Doctor." 
(Dr. Who) 

 From: George Connell <georgeconnell at> 
To: GDG <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 5:53 PM 
Subject: Re: GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility 
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 

If you google LC you'll see that this is one of the things almost always cited. I think it's wrong. 



On Jan 22, 2012, at 5:39 PM, Dennis Lawrence <denlaw at> wrote: 

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
>> I have long been bothered by the belief that anyone who maintains that the South's defeat was inevitable as long as the Union retained the will to fight is a  "Lost Causer!" 
>> I think this is an utterly realistic assessment of the 'correlation of forces' and a great example of why the South was nuts to risk war. 
> Hello, 
>  I am not familiar with this definition of a lost causer.  To me a lost causer is a person who tries to perpetuate the myth that the war was not about slavery, but states rights, and the associated ideas that go with that - War of Yankee aggression, Lincoln the tyrant, Black Confederates, Confederate flag apologists,  etc. 
> Take Care 
> Dennis 
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