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The Battle of Gettysburg

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I have read three books on Gettysburg. One by Stephen Sears, one by Noah Trudeau and have started Day Two by Pfanz. I've also been to the park more times than I can count and have taken numerous tours, battlefield walks. The enormity of the battle is overwhelming to me. I actually have stopped trying to understand it to some degree. If anything I have focused more on Antietam than any other battle. 

However, if you want good reads about units, pick up and read "Covered in Glory" by Rod Gragg about the 26th NC. They were decimated at Gettysburg on Day One and Three. 

Also Youtube channel StuffWriter has videos of battlefield walks at Gettysburg that can be entertaining. 

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14 hours ago, TKE226 said:

I have read three books on Gettysburg. One by Stephen Sears, one by Noah Trudeau and have started Day Two by Pfanz. I've also been to the park more times than I can count and have taken numerous tours, battlefield walks. The enormity of the battle is overwhelming to me. I actually have stopped trying to understand it to some degree. If anything I have focused more on Antietam than any other battle. 

However, if you want good reads about units, pick up and read "Covered in Glory" by Rod Gragg about the 26th NC. They were decimated at Gettysburg on Day One and Three. 

Also Youtube channel StuffWriter has videos of battlefield walks at Gettysburg that can be entertaining. 

I can truly understand what you are saying about trying to understand the Battle of Gettysburg as it can be overwhelming to such a large degree.  Although I have never been to the battlefield (plan on going one day), I have read it over and over again from many different angles and it just seems to be such an enormous feat to try to manage/command a battle that was this large and also "hung in the balance for both sides at so many different times during the actual fighting".  There has been plenty of blame to go around for the Southern Generals for a few of them not performing up to what was expected from them, but without being there it would be almost impossible to lay blame on anyone who was in command for not attacking at "key moments - sending in more reinforcements - etc".  I think it is best put at this statement by a Confederate General many years after the battle when someone was trying to put the blame on a certain Confederate Corp Commander - this Confederate General when ask "just what was the real reason the Confederates were defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg, this General just replied that - He Thought That The Union Army Had A Lot To Do With It"!!!  I think that answer pretty much sums it for the defeat.  Better fortified position and more troops and a shorter line to reinforce their weak spots at anytime.

The Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam as the Union Army Called it) is also a great battle to study.  The difference in this battle was that the Union Army Commander - McClellan knew of General Lee's every move (had copies of General Lee's battle orders) and also how the Confederate Commander had split his forces and where his exact locations would pretty much be.  When you have more troops, know your enemy's weak spots and movements, it's pretty hard not to win.  That being said, the Confederate Army fought greatly out-numbered and after giving the Union Army as good or better than it got - waited in a battle position for the Union Army to come at them again and Union General McClellan choose to remain in place and then with their backs to the large river behind them and ammunition running low, the Confederate Commander decided to withdraw and cross the river back into Virginia.

I am amazed at how the Confederate Army held out as they did and not knowing at the time why and how the Union Army was being so aggressive as this was not the style of Union General George McClellan up till this battle.  What would have been the odds of a Confederate Victory if General Lee had known the exact location and intentions of Union General McClellan before the Union Army moved the first man???

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Because of the enormity of Gettysburg, when I read about it I get so confused by all the troop movements and involvement trying to keep them straight my head starts spinning. 

 

Both are worth visiting but the first time I was at Antietam I fell in love. The surrounding area is very rural and the battlefield is usually quiet and as peaceful. Many times you may not see another person other than park staff. Much of it is the same landscape so it’s easy to envision the fighting. 

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On 10/26/2019 at 8:24 AM, TKE226 said:

Because of the enormity of Gettysburg, when I read about it I get so confused by all the troop movements and involvement trying to keep them straight my head starts spinning. 

 

Both are worth visiting but the first time I was at Antietam I fell in love. The surrounding area is very rural and the battlefield is usually quiet and as peaceful. Many times you may not see another person other than park staff. Much of it is the same landscape so it’s easy to envision the fighting. 

It is on my "Bucket List" the next time I visit up through the Shenandoah Valley.  It seems as though I read several years back that "commercial developers" were trying to move in on some of the original battlefield?  Have you heard this or is it just another rumor?

I can easily understand how you can "imagine the movement and strategy of the troops involved.  I find myself sometimes pouring over the maps that many authors put into their books or what I can gleam from other sources.  I honestly wish that today's schools would teach the "truth" about the War Between The States/Civil War to the students without a bias for either side and just tell what these brave men fought for on both sides of the issue.  Many of these brave men were just simply farmers/merchants and only knew what their limited educational background or sectional part of the nation was prescribing at the time.  Today's history lessons are far too politically correct and have lost all creditably with the truth.  These brave men on both sides deserve the truth to be told.  It's funny for a long time after the War Between The States ended and they would have "Reunions From Both Sides - Both Union/Confederate" these brave survivors would meet and gladly talk and share their undying devotion to the men who fought and died on both sides without any animosity.  Wonder why we can't do that same type of thing today without the "PC Police" trying to get involved and make their opinions and beliefs the only side of the argument and if you don't fall in line with their belief you are some type of racist or hater???  You can't go back and "re-write history".  All you can do is hopefully understand and learn from it. 

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Antietam is not at all commercially developed. In fact the Civil War Trust, renamed now American Battlefield Trust or something like that has purchased a bunch of land that prevents building on. Though parts of the battlefield are actively farmed today, as they were during the battle. Definitely worth it if you can make it. I am fortunate that I live an hour to Gettysburg and 2 to Antietam. 

I certainly don't know what is taught in school these days regarding the Civil War. I do however think that any way it is taught probably gives a sided approach. Given its human nature to formulate an opinion and side one way or another, i think any way its taught will leave people on one side or the other. Calling it the War Between the states is a decidedly southern spin as well. Maybe teach it from both sides. I don't know the answer. it's true the majority of the Confederate privates did not own slaves or very few and were not rich plantation owners. Probably joined out of pride, maybe for a sense of adventure, because their buddies did, the Union invaded the South. But they were ultimately fighting to uphold a way of life and economy based on the enslavement of a race. It's made very clear in the SC declaration of succession slavery was the primary reason, maybe not the only, but its there. 

 

But if you are looking for human interest stories, beyond the one you mentioned there are many many recorded stories of immediately following guys shooting at each other, they would come out and converse with each other as if nothing happened. 

 

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Glad to hear that "developers are not trying to take parts of this great battlefield".  I had a cousin that is now past on and he had a son that lived in Virginia and I think his son had told him about encroachment on a few battlefields and I thought that Sharpsburg was one of them that they had spoken about.  He and his son did a lot of sight seeing of many battlefields in Virginia for several years before my cousin's health started to worsen for him.  Maybe it was Cold Harbor that they had stated as I have lost some of the emails that he use to send me of all of his travels.  He really got into the War Between The States when he retired and had time to do so as many people do with whatever their main interests or hobbies are.  You are very fortunate to be living in an area that is so full of history and also be that close to so many battlefields.  I was in the Shenandoah Valley a few years ago and stayed over three days and I still could not find enough time to go to every site I wanted to visit.  I did get to Winchester and spent a lot of time in Lexington and at VMI and Washington & Lee College.  Both of these colleges have strong historical ties to our beloved South-land and nation.  I got to sit in the exact spot in the Chapel where General Robert E. Lee sat each morning and prayed before he started his day.  A beautiful city and it is just bursting alive with history.  I also got to visit the grave of Lt. General Stonewall Jackson.  That was also a moving experience for me.

What is taught in school these days in a whole lot different than what was taught in my day and even back then it was a "watered down version of the truth" as I was lucky enough to be able to find some books in our county library that still told the truth as much as it could be written back then.  That was one thing that President Jefferson Davis worried about to the end of his days and that was "the truth concerning the Confederate Soldier and why he fought for his nation and it's independence".  Back in the late 1990's I was invited to come and speak at a local Elementary School and I was able to get a friend who was a Confederate Re-enactor to come with me.  I gave the class the gospel truth on the causes and reasons for the War Between The States and even though the teacher really appreciated our coming and talking to the kids, we were never ask back nor was anyone else since that time???  This is why our world has become so "PC" and the truth cannot be told nor will it be tolerated.  You are absolutely right in stating that the "truth or the way it is taught is usually written or enforced by the victors".  I would take that another step in saying that the "P.C. Crowd" most likely dictate the way things are taught in order to not offend anyone with anything.  You can't teach history without telling the gospel truth, but this is the world we live in today.

Yes, my calling the Civil War - The War Between The States" is truly a Southern Thing.  Any true Southerner who knows his history (there are fewer and fewer of us each year) would never call it the Civil War.  In the 1920's - Congress pass a resolution to officially call it the "War Between The States".  Somehow over the years it has been changed by so called historians always referring to it as the Civil War.  The last time I looked at war - a civil war was -  a war between the people of one nation - fighting it out to see who would gain control.  This happened in Spain and in Russia, where they had an internal civil war.  The Civil War or War Between The States was fought by two separate nations - The United States of America and The Confederate States of America.  Just because one side lost (due to many reasons) does not mean that the other side was right, it just means that the other side had more men and weapons to wage war more effectively than their opponent did.

94% of all Confederate Soldiers never owned slaves.  No slave ship that ever brought slaves to the American coastlines ever flew a Confederate Flag over it.  Slavery was first tried in the North and if the climate would have allowed it, there is no doubt that our northern brothers would have become very wealthy slave holders/owners.  Since the climate would not accommodate slave labor in the mass scale that a Southern climate would, Yankee ingenuity once again reigned supreme in their efforts to buy slaves from stronger tribes in Africa, who actually caught and enslaved their own black skinned brothers/sisters and sold them to the highest bidders.  There are still a lot of rich New England Families that can trace their wealth back to their "slave-selling-ancestors-that owned the large slave ships that visited the many Southern Ports to unload their cargo and make a huge profit from it".  Also, at the outbreak of the War Between The States, there was over 10,000 "Free Men Of Color That Owned Slaves Throughout The South"  That's right, free black men owned other black slaves and worked them to make themselves a profit.  Yes, it is clearly in the Articles of Secession of SC - concerning slavery, but the vast, vast, majority of Confederate Soldiers did not own slaves and many worked along side black men on small farms in the South land just to make a living (Share Croppers).  There was also many "Slave-Owning Yankees" in the so-called border states, such as MO, Maryland, Kentucky, Washington City, (D.C), Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois, although you won't read or hear much about that now.  Honest Abe Lincoln's own wife came from a slave owning family.  General U.S. Grant owned a slave and was ask after the war "why it took him so long to give the man his freedom - Grant replied that good help was hard to come by"????  The Great Emancipation Proclamation is really a joke if you consider what Honest Abe wrote.  He wrote that "slaves that lived in the states that were in rebellion were now free men"?  He did not free slaves in the states of Kentucky, Missouri  or Maryland and Washington City????  Abe Lincoln did not have the executive power to free slaves in any state that was a Confederate State and was pretty much avoided in all the other places where slavery was allowed in order to not offend many of Abe Lincoln's slave owning friends????  Stuff like this is never told or spoken in public schools these days and everyone is taught to think that Abe Lincoln freed all the slaves???

Was slavery an issue, yes it was and I think even if the South had won the war and with the coming of the mechanical revolution that was already sweeping across the North, that slavery due to the increase of productive machinery and the high cost of keeping slave labor around and healthy, the slavery question would have come to an end by the end of the 1870's - if not sooner???  Slavery was an awful thing and throughout history - this evil institution has been forced on many weaker nations in our world.  For people to think and believe that slavery is just a Southern Thing is the biggest lie since the case of "Original Sin" as both the North and South were equally involved in this ugly institution and should equally share the blame, along with the black tribes that enslaved their own people and sold them to the slave traders in Africa.

I had over 20 Confederate Ancestors that fought for the Confederate States of America and not the first one of these brave men owned any slaves, but fought for the reason that the Union Army had cross over into the Confederate States of America and they all felt that they had to go and do their duty to help fight what they truly believed was the 2nd American Revolution.  It's sad to know that it is so hard these days to speak and talk about the War Between The States - albeit from a Northern or Southern point of view without the whole issue turning into "the slavery thing".  Many people also do not know that a "Three Man Peace Committee" went to Washington, City to speak with newly elected President Lincoln of the USA and tried to broker a peace accord before the war actually started, but Lincoln could not understand where the North would replace over 3/4 of the G.N.P. at the time if the South withdrew from the Union.  Just think what might have happened if cooler heads would have prevailed in that meeting??????????

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Why did SC and the other states secede? 

The war would not have occurred if states did not secede, creating two "nations." So is it as easy as asking the question why did states secede to find the answer as to causes? I think its called a Civil War because prior to secession, it was one nation. 

Yes the North had slaves, agreed. That is not a hidden fact. But it was dying in the North and supported the economy in the South. Maybe Joe Ancestor Enlistee did not own slaves, but the war was going on by that point, it wasn't going to stop. Why the war started and why enlisted men fought are often two very different things - on both sides. 

 

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On 10/31/2019 at 8:25 AM, TKE226 said:

Why did SC and the other states secede? 

The war would not have occurred if states did not secede, creating two "nations." So is it as easy as asking the question why did states secede to find the answer as to causes? I think its called a Civil War because prior to secession, it was one nation. 

Yes the North had slaves, agreed. That is not a hidden fact. But it was dying in the North and supported the economy in the South. Maybe Joe Ancestor Enlistee did not own slaves, but the war was going on by that point, it wasn't going to stop. Why the war started and why enlisted men fought are often two very different things - on both sides. 

 

I can't argue with the way the South Carolina Secession Articles were written and yes it did have slavery in it as a cause to freely leave the Union as they felt it was their right.  This Article of Secession, like most laws were written by wealthy - highly - educated - men and not the common farmer/merchant that lived in the South (This also happened in the North).  One cannot make an accurate opinion of why the War Between The States started if you only look at the beginning of hostilities.  The bad temperament between both sides had existed for at least 30 to 40 years before the outbreak of the War Between The States.  They almost came to blows in the 1850's if it had not been for cooler heads and minds.  The only good thing for the South if war had broken out in 1850, it would have a lot better percentage of winning as the North had not fully entered the Industrial Leap Forward as it did in the early 1860's.  South was being taxed at a high rate and only saw their tax dollars going North for the most part, which was a true statement.

After our first war of independence from Great Britain and we won our freedom, there was the great difficulty of having 13 colonies to sign 13 different peace accords with.  Then you had to get all 13 original colonies to agree to come together and form one nation.  There's where the "rub" came into play.  No state wanted to give to a central govt the power that they had just fought with the "Super Power Of The World To Win" and thus be in the same boat all over again.  So, a loosely formed central govt was formed with the 13 original colonies where they all "freely joined".  Since they all agreed to "freely join" there was nothing in the constitution of the United States that said they could not "freely leave whenever they got ready".  In fact, during the War of 1812, once again with Great Britain, the New England States met together and voted on a resolution to succeed from the Union and it passed and before they could adjourn their meeting, a rider on horseback came up and told of General Andrew Jackson's victory over the British Army at the Battle of New Orleans.  Now what would have happened if General Andrew Jackson had lost that battle or the rider had gotten there a day late?  Would we had have the New England States forming their own govt??? 

If secession was wrong or illegal, then Jefferson Davis (Who Begged To Be Tried) Robert E. Lee and several other high ranking members of the Confederate States of America would have been brought to trial.  The U.S. Supreme Court knew it was a battle that they could not win in the courtroom and suggested that President Jefferson Davis be released and set free.

As I had stated in a earlier post, the blame for slavery in the USA can just as easily be laid at the doorstep of the North as it can be at the South.  No slave ship ever flew the Confederate Flag over it and all slaves that were brought into Southern Ports where from the New England States where merchant ships was the main form of commerce.  Slavery also existed in the United States from 1776 until 1865.  Slavery only existed in the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.  It is easy to point fingers when your cash crop and commerce for the most part has been driven by the greed of Northern Merchants and Businessmen. 

I would also like to point a fact that I have discussed with many of my Northern Friends over the Late War Of Northern Aggression (Civil War) and it is this:

"If slavery was such an evil thing (we all know that slavery in any form is bad - but consider the times these people live in), why during a mighty - four year struggle by the undersized and out-numbered Confederate Armies - who depended on the crops/meats/supplies that were coming in from the rural areas of the South so all the able bodied white men could go off and fight and all that was left at home were "old men - women - children", the slaves could have revolted and over-thrown their masters and the Southern Armies in the fields fighting the Yankees would have had to return home to put down the rebellions, but this never happened on a large scale, maybe a few revolted here and there, but for the vast majority of them (slaves) they stayed loyal and helped the South do all it could do as they also felt like they were defending their homelands.  Now this is something you will never read in books that were written after the "Carpetbaggers/Scallywags" came South and then the total Military Occupation of the only part of the United States that has ever had to have military troops in it and some of them stayed as long as 12 years - came to be.  After this time there were certain elements of the Northern Abolitionist Movement and the Union Army/Govt that wanted to divide the Southern Whites against the Southern Blacks and they did a pretty good job of it.  This 12 year occupation and restriction of Southern Soldiers/Sailors/Govt Officials is the main reason the KKK was formed and that was to protect what little rights the Southern Whites had after military occupation by the North and they used many Colored Troops in their occupation which only further widened the gap between the Southern Whites and Blacks.  The KKK in it's early days did a very good job in helping rid the land of military occupation by Northern Troops.  Once this was done throughout the South the KKK (Original KKK) was totally disbanded and told to never reform.  Over the years after this, many outlaw units that could not be controlled began to reform, but it was not the intent or desire of the original leaders of the KKK to have this continue.  As a matter of fact the largest ever organization of KKK Members was in the state of Indiana?????  Ain't that a hoot!!! 

I enjoy our talks/conversations as it is good to hear comments and understanding from both sides of the aisle.  Please keep up the good work.

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