Jump to content
Game-Labs Forum
Mr. Mercanto

The Civil War: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were too Afraid to Ask!

Recommended Posts

On 12/26/2017 at 2:50 PM, GDSPathe said:

What would a Peace between the Union and the Confederacy look like if President Mcclellan won in 1864 or if the Confederacy had managed to occupy Washington D.C following victory at first bull run

Cool question!

Both scenarios are pretty different. For the record, considering the Federals had about 20 odd thousand troops garrisoned in Washington, seperate from the Army of Virginia, in July, 1861, I'd say Rebel occupation was unlikely; however, let us pretend Joe Johnston had a tactical nuke, or something ;).

A July 1861 occupation of Washington would likely have brought the Confederacy all it desired, access to the New Mexican and Arizona territories, and almost certainly Kentucky and Missouri. The Family of Nations would likely have sided with the Confederacy on the basis that the war was clearly won, and a cessation of hostilities was in the best interest of said nations (especially with the added bonus of the death of Republican Democracy). The United States would therefore likely had to give into all Confederate demands. It is possible that some minor concessions be made, such as the free navigation of the Mississippi River by both parties, and a Free Trade agreement. Such concessions would have aided both parties. Also, the Fugitive Slave Act would likely be repealed, and the US Capitol moved to a Free State. The future of Maryland and Delaware is hard to determine in this scenario. Marlyand might have been partitioned, but more likely wholly annexed by the Confederacy. Delaware would have been disinclined to joining the new nation, but fearing the death of slavery in its borders otherwise, would likely have joined the CSA. 

If Little Mac takes the Presidency in 1864, we must consider a number of factors. The Union armies have advanced much, and in his last few months in office, Lincoln has likely pushed his generals to the extremity to win the war before March 9. If Lincoln is successful, and according to the Blind Memorandum, he intended to be, Sherman is in the Carolinas, ready to pounce on Lee's rear, Wilmington has fallen with Fort Fischer, Johnston's Army of the South is scattered, Kirby Smith is still cut off from the rest of the Confederacy. The situation is, militarily, not great. THis gives the Federals a good deal of power at the negotiation table. McClellan has promised Reunion in his Chicago Platform, but will try to achieve with negotiation. This means an armistice, which is foolishness, as it will be very difficult, or impossible to resume the war from an armistice. In McClellan the Rebels will find a President of weak moral firmness, a poor choice for negotiation. It is possible that the Rebels rest from him a recognition of their independence, however, given the powerful military position Lincoln could place the armies in by March, Old Abe might make such cowardice on the part of the Young Napoleon impossible. 

Thus, a compromise might be reached, an obvious answer might be Mexico. In the midst of her own war against Napoleon III, the US and CS might enter into an alliance to preserve Mexican democracy and the Monroe Doctrine (as insane as this sounds, this idea was optimistically maintained through to Lincoln's 1865 River Queen conference with the Confederate Peace Delegation). Such a scheme might be meant by McClellan to reunify the country, but meant by the Confederates to establish themselves as a separate nation. The result would likely be in the Confederates favour, with a treaty establishing an Alliance Defensive between the two nations, as well as amicable free trade relations and navigation of the Mississippi. Mac might secede New Mexican and Arizona territories, for a price. The purchase, and victory over the French might be used to ausage the sting of defeat for the Union. 

The alternative, of course, is that McClellan might refuse to acknowledge Rebel independence if he inherited a military situation that was undeniably excellent, and force the war to a pro-Union settlement. In this case, McClellan would likely repeal the 13th Amendment, or insure that the slave states re-entered the Union in time to block it. This however, would not be recorded in a "treaty" as a treaty implies two or more legitimate sovereign powers, which in this instance, the CSA does not constitute. 

Obviously, the McClellan case is more complicated, and is largely determinant upon Lincoln's capacity to wage the war after losing the election, and McClellan's moral fiber. Personally, I have more faith in one then the other. 

For more on Confederate efforts to negotiate a peace (or lack thereof) read Steven E. Woodsworth's "The Last Function of Government: Confederate Collapse and Negotiated Peace" in Mark Grimsely and Brooks D. Simpson's collection of edited essays "The Collapse of the Confederacy" (University of Nebraska Press: 2001)
 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2017 at 3:30 PM, thedauphin said:

Thanks Mr Mercanto for your abstract... :)

Mr Slotkin's angle gives an even more tragic edge to General McClellan - his indeciscion fueled by too much weight felt on his shoulders. And while being indecided (and indecisive) in his actions, not lacking in conviction or vision how the Union may be saved. We well know that President Lincoln's vision prevailed - which seems obvious to us in 2017, but probably seemed unlikely to the people of 1861. Even though the exact manifestation of that vision was as much shaped by the escalation of the war as by Lincoln's agenda.

I think it has been already been speculated about in this thread, what would have become of the Union if McClellan had won the 1864's election? Yet I still wonder - what if McClellan had been a tad more succesful... what if he had been a bit more diplomatic and thus had more support in both civil and military administration? Could he have stayed in command throughout '63 and '64 and then challenge Lincoln? In a war less escalted through causalities and Emancipation Act? Could a President McClellan achieve victory not by crushing the CSA but giving the seceding states an option to return to the Union 'in honor'?

Would there have been a third way, besides a triumphant North or an independent South?

 

No third way really could have been achieved, as Bruce Catton expresses the idea, the issues were simply to contrasting. Freedom vs Slavery, Democracy vs Anarchy, Union vs Secession; there is simply no alternative. The Confederacy must be free to dissolve the US Constitution, and carry slavery to the furthest borders of the continent, and beyond, or the Union must preserve the Nation and Constitution, and free itself of the pestulance of slavery.

"The madness of going forward was matched only by the impossibility of going back...The Trumpet had been sounded, which could never call retreat...the nation had drawn the Terrible Swift Sword, and the scabbard had been thrown away." - Bruce Catton

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

War of Rights is a lot of fun :). A few of us from this forum, including your's truly, are on its Pre-Alpha list. Its a $69 USD investment to get on, and well worth it!


:D I'm glad that this thread has led to some book purchases, and I might hope a few of my suggestions made the cut ;).

Ken Burn's "The Civil War" is...well its ok. Its not a half bad overview of the struggle, but it fails to adequately explore how the war was started. Its reliance on Shelby Foote, who a) is painfully misguided by Lost Cause Mythology and b), was not a historian, bogs its down somewhat. Two stand out documentaries from the top of my head that I would recommend are the National Park Service documentary on the Battle of Antietam, and the documentary "This Republic of Suffering" based on Drew Giplin Faust's monograph of the same name. The Antietam documentary, despite being old, remains highly relevant of an excellent caliber. Plus, you get to hear Darth Vader talk about the Civil War, which is great. Here's a link :)



"This Republic of Suffering" tackles the fascinating and complex questions about how the 19th century culture of death was changed by and adapted to the Civil War. It should hopefully be on Netflix, and its fantastic. 


If you want a Civil War movie, "The Free State of Jones" is probably, from an Academic standpoint, one of the best Civil War films ever made. Glory, Lincoln, and Gettysburg, are also fine choices, though Lincoln, and Gettysburg are fraught with errors (read: artistic licence) :P

 

my interest in the Civil War grows and grows :D will definitely check out this documentary, going to dive into some books also. I could not find anything on Netflix, perhaps the difference in regions is the problem.

As for the movies, i haven't watched the Free State of Jones yet. It is on my list, i did watch Glory, and Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. I liked Gettysburg the most though despite the errors. I didn't like Glory and Gods % Generals that much. I am a Gettysburg fan lol and have ordered a special Blu-ray edition along with a Gettysburg map to watch :D 

 

oh i forgot War of Rights, i am thinking on investing in it also. Looks fun, maybe we can meet up with the guys from here and form our own regiment

Edited by Mukremin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/26/2017 at 5:02 PM, Mukremin said:

anyone know the first person Civil War shooter? Its a crowd funding project which uses the Crytek engine. Pretty decent :)

I play every day as long as there are enough players on the servers.

In fact,  I was playing it before I stumbled across this gem. :)

Edited by A. P. Hill
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2017 at 11:54 PM, LastZeroFigther said:

Ive always been curious, of what quality, compared to Europeans, was the Union army just before, during the course of, and immediately following. I know that many European observers did not think much of the prowess of the combatants and it stands to reason that since many of the soldiers were volunteers they would not be as high of quality as a professional soldier but I find it difficult to believe that both the soldiers and their leadership were universally as poor as I have seen some make it out to be. Surely as the conflict continued union training and leadership improved to the point where it would be a force to be reckoned with even for a European army if only on combat experience alone. Also was it not the case that many European nations at the time had manditory military service and would therefore have similar issues of motivation and training as the union would have?

 

I have also seen someone mention that Civil War armies were using outdated tactical doctrines compared to European armies but I have never seen anything to suggest that any European forces were fighting in drastically different ways and I suspect that if they were the US would have probably adjusted their tactics to match new military doctrines. Does the idea hold true?

I can't speak to the tactical differences between US and EU armies at the time.

On the first question, there have been lots of forum posts about this on other boards (a quick google search will reveal dozens) and the quick answer is....there's no way to really know. Numbers of army size from that time are general at best (the Union Army boasts over 600,000 soldiers at the end of the war, but how many of those were actual fighting men is anyone's guess - guessing various European army sizes might be even harder), looking at training vs experience in the various armies is going to be even harder, as is comparing general officer ability, and arguably the easiest thing to compare, technology of weapons, hits a snag when you realize you'd also have to try and figure out what sort of production output a country could reasonably sustain during a prolonged conflict (it seems clear to me that any European country would have to import massive amounts of raw materials to try and keep up with what the Union could produce by war's end).

So, this is a question that will never be satisfactorily answered in a way that will ever convince anyone to change their position on it....unless someone makes a mod for this game that lets us sim it out =P 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, asmallcat said:

So, this is a question that will never be satisfactorily answered in a way that will ever convince anyone to change their position on it....unless someone makes a mod for this game that lets us sim it out =P 

Send Billy Sherman and his boys to make Europe howl!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

No third way really could have been achieved, as Bruce Catton expresses the idea, the issues were simply to contrasting. Freedom vs Slavery, Democracy vs Anarchy, Union vs Secession; there is simply no alternative. The Confederacy must be free to dissolve the US Constitution, and carry slavery to the furthest borders of the continent, and beyond, or the Union must preserve the Nation and Constitution, and free itself of the pestulance of slavery.

"The madness of going forward was matched only by the impossibility of going back...The Trumpet had been sounded, which could never call retreat...the nation had drawn the Terrible Swift Sword, and the scabbard had been thrown away." - Bruce Catton

I think there are a couple major things being missed in the answers to the question.  The first being that even IF little Mac wins the election in 1864, he would not take office until March 4th, 1865.  There was a much longer gap between winning the presidency and taking office than there is now due to many logistical reasons.  I believe, that if Lincoln had lost the election he would have pushed harder for an earlier end to the war, or at the very least an earlier start to what proved to be the final campaigns.

If one goes with the current timeline, we see that by March 4th Grant is besieging the Richmond/Petersburg line and the last supply lines are nearly severed.  Sherman has taken Savannah and Charleston and is playing a "cat and mouse game" with Joe Johnston in the Carolinas.  This means that McClellan takes office with the war nearly won.  If one reads McClellan's own papers (I had to while writing my capstone), one sees that in his personal correspondence that he has no actual plan to end the war with negotiation with the way the war goes.  He is saying he will to try and appease the old democrats in his party.  What a candidate says they will do and what they actually do can be very different things.  Especially with wartime powers.  If he does send representatives to the Confederacy to honor his pledge, I believe he would have a draft of unacceptable demands for the Confederacy and thus they would be forced to decline.  Then he could blame the Confederacy for not accepting his negotiations and then finish the war.  Not unlike Lincoln did to the Confederate representatives he met at Hampton Roads.  I get the feeling that had he actually negotiated a peace he knows he would not have been re-elected and thus committed political suicide, allow peace when a war is nearly won.  Even Mac was too politically astute, or his advisors would have been, to see the faults in giving up when it was nearly won.

 

Now as to what would have happened had the Confederacy won in 1861?  I agree with Mr. Mercanto in believing it nearly impossible for the disorganized and unprepared Confederate army to have laid siege to Washington and won in 61.  They did not have the artillery capable of winning a siege like it would have taken.  Also, with the regular army returning the Union would have been able to field a further 16,000+ experienced soldiers to break the siege.

But, to play to the fancy that says the Confederates win.  I get the feeling we would see 3-4 nations come in what we know of today as the United States by the end of the 1800's.  We would have the Union, the Confederacy, a Mormon state in Utah and possibly a nation comprising California, Oregon, Washington state and possibly more.  The U.S. military had just quieted a Mormon issue in 1858 and I believe that Brigham Young would have taken full advantage of the splitting of the nation and the focus on the new border to proclaim his own nation.  Also, the fact that California and the other western lands at the time were not well garrisoned, it is possible that the small minority that wished independence (Bear flag republic) would have been able to sway more people than was done historically.  I definitely ascribe to the historiography that there would have ended up being at least 3 nations in what we know of as the United States today.  Essentially one growing to keep the North and South in check (much like Germany grew to keep England and France in check) more than the North and South ganging up to fight in Mexico.  I just feel there wasn't enough push from the populace at the time to fight another war in Mexico when the nations would likely have had to deal with reconfiguring their borders and how to deal with each other.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Buford Protege said:

I think there are a couple major things being missed in the answers to the question.  The first being that even IF little Mac wins the election in 1864, he would not take office until March 4th, 1865.  There was a much longer gap between winning the presidency and taking office than there is now due to many logistical reasons.  I believe, that if Lincoln had lost the election he would have pushed harder for an earlier end to the war, or at the very least an earlier start to what proved to be the final campaigns.

 

 

I feel I covered this in my response concerning an 1864 peace :P. An outright victory in Feb 1865 is not really logistically possible. Union success inapril 65 was dependent in part on Confederate desertion. Said desertion would certainly have been stymied by a McClellan win. 

 

52 minutes ago, Buford Protege said:

 

If one goes with the current timeline, we see that by March 4th Grant is besieging the Richmond/Petersburg line and the last supply lines are nearly severed.



At this time, Grant was pressing the Petersburg-Weldon railroad. He was unable to push further to the South Side railroad. With far less desertion in the Rebel ranks, it is hard to imagine him taking the South Side railroad at this time. As it happens, we have an experimental historical laboratory for this. In October of 1864, Grant launched a major offensive in order to break Rebel lines to ensure a Union victory. The attack was motivated by political expediency, similar to the post-election campaigns you propose, and were repulsed. Political necessity granted no military power necessary for victory, until the Rebellion had suffered sufficient desertions to afford and opportunity. 

 

56 minutes ago, Buford Protege said:

 

But, to play to the fancy that says the Confederates win.  I get the feeling we would see 3-4 nations come in what we know of today as the United States by the end of the 1800's.  We would have the Union, the Confederacy, a Mormon state in Utah and possibly a nation comprising California, Oregon, Washington state and possibly more.  The U.S. military had just quieted a Mormon issue in 1858 and I believe that Brigham Young would have taken full advantage of the splitting of the nation and the focus on the new border to proclaim his own nation.  Also, the fact that California and the other western lands at the time were not well garrisoned, it is possible that the small minority that wished independence (Bear flag republic) would have been able to sway more people than was done historically.  I definitely ascribe to the historiography that there would have ended up being at least 3 nations in what we know of as the United States today.  Essentially one growing to keep the North and South in check (much like Germany grew to keep England and France in check) more than the North and South ganging up to fight in Mexico.  I just feel there wasn't enough push from the populace at the time to fight another war in Mexico when the nations would likely have had to deal with reconfiguring their borders and how to deal with each other.


I think a more likely break would be the Western Silversits from the Gold Standard Yankee North in the mid 1870s, but its all hypothetical :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Andre Bolkonsky said:

:rolleyes:

No seriously, its a great film historiographically. When you have Bynum and Blight as advisers, you really can't go wrong. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

No seriously, its a great film historiographically. When you have Bynum and Blight as advisers, you really can't go wrong. 

At the risk of repeating myself. 

:rolleyes:

The five most deceptive words in the English language are 'based on a true story'. 

Completely unwatchable, pandering to a desired storyline, Hollywood history wrapped in a period-correct wrapper to cover up its flaws. 

I have no more to add; except if you think this is a truly great movie, my opinion of you has suffered irreperable harm. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Andre Bolkonsky said:

At the risk of repeating myself. 

:rolleyes:

The five most deceptive words in the English language are 'based on a true story'. 

Completely unwatchable, pandering to a desired storyline, Hollywood history wrapped in a period-correct wrapper to cover up its flaws. 

I have no more to add; except if you think this is a truly great movie, my opinion of you has suffered irreperable harm. B)

Its definitely the best history of Reconstruction  on film, granted there are few other films that touch this, but those that do, do quite poorly. :P If you're looking for a 100% historically accurate Civil War film, then I wish you the best of luck, and I suspect you'll find it with the Tooth Fairy ;)

As for its watch ability. The film has terrible pacing, but meh, I'm viewing it as a historian, not a popcorn eating spectator. You want watchable, watch National Treasure lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

Its definitely the best history of Reconstruction  on film, granted there are few other films that touch this, but those that do, do quite poorly. :P If you're looking for a 100% historically accurate Civil War film, then I wish you the best of luck, and I suspect you'll find it with the Tooth Fairy ;)

As for its watch ability. The film has terrible pacing, but meh, I'm viewing it as a historian, not a popcorn eating spectator. You want watchable, watch National Treasure lol.

You know what? I am about to receive the special edition Gettysburg Blu-ray set. Going to watch it another ten times :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually,  back in 1991, (hope some of the players here can remember that year,) there was a made for television movie, with the sound stage based in Richmond, Virginia, called "Ironclads". 

I managed to get on the set and took personal pictures of the full sized reproductions of both the Monitor and the Virginia, more commonly known under the original ship's name, Merrimack. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we're going to TV miniseries, 'The Blue and the Gray' was shot in Northwest Arkansas in my youth. You can see me in several scenes. In one scene where some actors are talking, you can see me simoultaneously drinking at a party from one camera angle, dancing with a girl from another camera angle, and making out with the same girl in the hayloft from another camera angle. 

I learned a lot about film making that day, and if you look good on camera and actually bother to act the director will push you up the ladder of on-air screen time. 

Good times. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched Gettysburg on Blu-Ray yesterday. What a great movie, i liked and enjoyed every second of it. This is the 10th time i watched it. The acting is great, Pickets charge, Armistead getting hit, Chamberlains bayonette charge.

Can someone explain what exactly are the historical errors? Minor or major issues?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/12/2017 at 6:28 AM, Mr. Mercanto said:

Its definitely the best history of Reconstruction  on film, granted there are few other films that touch this, but those that do, do quite poorly. :P If you're looking for a 100% historically accurate Civil War film, then I wish you the best of luck, and I suspect you'll find it with the Tooth Fairy ;)

As for its watch ability. The film has terrible pacing, but meh, I'm viewing it as a historian, not a popcorn eating spectator. You want watchable, watch National Treasure lol.

Come on Mercanto we all know your favorite movies are Gods and Generals along with Field of Lost Shoes

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

Come on Mercanto we all know your favorite movies are Gods and Generals along with Field of Lost Shoes

:lol::lol: LOL!!!

Actually, there was a time where I would defend G&G to the hilt...oh how niave I once was. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Mukremin said:

I watched Gettysburg on Blu-Ray yesterday. What a great movie, i liked and enjoyed every second of it. This is the 10th time i watched it. The acting is great, Pickets charge, Armistead getting hit, Chamberlains bayonette charge.

Can someone explain what exactly are the historical errors? Minor or major issues?

lol well, I don't have time to write out a thesis long response, so I'll just point out a few in no particular order. They'll probably all revolve around the 2nd Day, since I find that day to be the most cirtical and extra-ordinary of the three days. 

a) Lee never pressed for the capture of Cemetery Hill. He only mentioned it once in his dispatch to Ewell, in which he stated to only take it "if practicable" and "without bringing on a general engagement." [emphasis added]. Lee had a bad tendency to autoneo-logisims and vague aphorisms, and this was one of his most egregious. Ewell was perplexed by the strange order, which seemed to forbid him from taking the hill if there would be any resistance, which there would be. Ewell demurred, the hill was not taken, there is little evidence Lee cared. 

b ) In keeping with the above, no nighttime confession by Ewell about failing to take Cemetery Hill, nor any impassioned complaint by Trimble, appears to have taken place. There is no record of such meetings until the mid-1870s, when William N. Pendleton and others of his ilk began the effort to shift blame for Gettysburg to Ewell and Longstreet. 

c) While a conference did take place in which Ewell and Early recommended Longstreet attack Cemetery Ridge in the morning, mysteriously absent from the film is Ewell's bold insistence taht his Corps must remain overspread in their present position. Lee demurred, depriving Longstreet of reinforcement which, if provided, may very well have one the day, the battle, and perhaps the Civil War on July 2. 

d) There is no record of Lee compromising with Longstreet to conduct a tactical defensive battle at the climax of the Pennsylvania campaign. In the words of Professor John Keegan, the very notion of such a thing is utterly absurd. McPherson aptly demonstrates in his essay on Lee's goals in Pennsylvania (to be found in "This Mighty Scourge" (2010, Harvard University Press), that Lee was seeking the occupation of the Keystone State, and the repulse from that state, if not outright destruction, of Hooker's (later Meade's) army. Furthermore, Alan Guezlo has demonstrated in Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (2013: Alfred A Knopf), that Lee had intended to destroy the Federal army in detail, corps by corps as they advanced. Needless to say, a defensive action would not be conducive to this goal. Lee meant to attack, and no "defensive agreement" as Longstreet later claimed, appears to exist. 

e) Lee did not know there were six Federal Corps (III, II, V, XI, XII, and I) on the hills South of Gettysburg on the morning of July 2nd; nor was the Federal position understood to be in a fish hook. Lee believed only the battered XI and I Corps were on Cemetery Ridge, and that a concerted effort en echelon, starting from his right, would sweep up the hill, flank them, and drive them back before reinforcement arrived. One of Lee's favourite scouts, Captain Johnston, confirmed the hills before them to be empty earlier that morning. The hills were, in fact, swarming with the II and III Corps, and elements of the V. Johnston scouted the wrong hill. Oops. This misinformation was critical to the delays, and confused assault ultimately essayed by Lee's army. This failure in military intelligence was also one of many reasons for Confederate failure on the 2nd day. Its misrepresentation is a key failing of the film. 

f) Longstreet did not intentionally, "hold on as long as I can" before attacking on the 2nd Day. First, he asked Lee for permission to await the arrival of Law's brigade before attacking, which Lee was content to acquiesce to. When Longstreet did advance, he found himself astride Federal forces do to Johnston's failed reconnaissance, and was forced to counter-march his army by files in order to appropriate a safe military route. Captain Johnston really did render excellent service to the Federal Army that day, it almost reminds one of Dan Sickles. If Longstreet made any unnecessary delays that day, it was to counter-march rather then about face his army. This was done so his lead division might still be Hood's as he wished to lead with his best brigades. Longstreet did not sabotage the plan by dragging his heels, and in-point-of-fact voiced no opposition to the July 2nd assault that was contemporaneously recorded. 

g) Little Round Top was a position of little military significance. Capturing it was never a major Confederate aim. Its ridge is to spiny for more then a cannon or two to be placed astride Cemetery Ridge, and its elevation is to high for the artillery to have the desired effect. Its lack of trees was its only really advantage as an artillery platform (due to the 140th's slightly ostentatious monument to the regiment/Paddy O'Rorke, the scene in the film was shot on Big Round Top, which the film accurately reports as to thick with trees for effective artillery). Little Round Top is also to small to launch an offensive of more then a brigade. Cemetery Ridge was the target of Lee's attack, as he believed that was the flank of the AoP. The attack was shifted to include South Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top when it was discovered there were Federals there too. It was incidental. Exciting, but incidental. 

h) Joshua Chamberlain did not singlehandedly defend Little Round Top. Colonel Paddy O'Rorke, and Colonel James Clay Rice deserve as much credit. Colonel Strong Vincent deserved more credit then any of them. It was his intiative that ansered Major-General Gouvenor K. Warren's desperate summons, and brought the brigade to the hill before securing official approval from Major-General Sykes. Weed's brigade and Hazlett's battery also supported Vincent's 3rd brigade mid-battle. However, Vincent died, O'Rorke died, and Rice clearly needed a better publicist. As a result, Chamberlain gets all the credit. 

There are several other little omissions, changes, and Hollywoodesque moments, but these are some of the key problems, at least with the 2nd Day.



Oh, and then there's this guy carrying a M1863 Remington Zouave Rifle. More like Gettysfarb, ammirite? 


 

Farby Reb Gettysburg.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

lol well, I don't have time to write out a thesis long response, so I'll just point out a few in no particular order. They'll probably all revolve around the 2nd Day, since I find that day to be the most cirtical and extra-ordinary of the three days. 

a) Lee never pressed for the capture of Cemetery Hill. He only mentioned it once in his dispatch to Ewell, in which he stated to only take it "if practicable" and "without bringing on a general engagement." [emphasis added]. Lee had a bad tendency to autoneo-logisims and vague aphorisms, and this was one of his most egregious. Ewell was perplexed by the strange order, which seemed to forbid him from taking the hill if there would be any resistance, which there would be. Ewell demurred, the hill was not taken, there is little evidence Lee cared. 

b ) In keeping with the above, no nighttime confession by Ewell about failing to take Cemetery Hill, nor any impassioned complaint by Trimble, appears to have taken place. There is no record of such meetings until the mid-1870s, when William N. Pendleton and others of his ilk began the effort to shift blame for Gettysburg to Ewell and Longstreet. 

c) While a conference did take place in which Ewell and Early recommended Longstreet attack Cemetery Ridge in the morning, mysteriously absent from the film is Ewell's bold insistence taht his Corps must remain overspread in their present position. Lee demurred, depriving Longstreet of reinforcement which, if provided, may very well have one the day, the battle, and perhaps the Civil War on July 2. 

d) There is no record of Lee compromising with Longstreet to conduct a tactical defensive battle at the climax of the Pennsylvania campaign. In the words of Professor John Keegan, the very notion of such a thing is utterly absurd. McPherson aptly demonstrates in his essay on Lee's goals in Pennsylvania (to be found in "This Mighty Scourge" (2010, Harvard University Press), that Lee was seeking the occupation of the Keystone State, and the repulse from that state, if not outright destruction, of Hooker's (later Meade's) army. Furthermore, Alan Guezlo has demonstrated in Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (2013: Alfred A Knopf), that Lee had intended to destroy the Federal army in detail, corps by corps as they advanced. Needless to say, a defensive action would not be conducive to this goal. Lee meant to attack, and no "defensive agreement" as Longstreet later claimed, appears to exist. 

e) Lee did not know there were six Federal Corps (III, II, V, XI, XII, and I) on the hills South of Gettysburg on the morning of July 2nd; nor was the Federal position understood to be in a fish hook. Lee believed only the battered XI and I Corps were on Cemetery Ridge, and that a concerted effort en echelon, starting from his right, would sweep up the hill, flank them, and drive them back before reinforcement arrived. One of Lee's favourite scouts, Captain Johnston, confirmed the hills before them to be empty earlier that morning. The hills were, in fact, swarming with the II and III Corps, and elements of the V. Johnston scouted the wrong hill. Oops. This misinformation was critical to the delays, and confused assault ultimately essayed by Lee's army. This failure in military intelligence was also one of many reasons for Confederate failure on the 2nd day. Its misrepresentation is a key failing of the film. 

f) Longstreet did not intentionally, "hold on as long as I can" before attacking on the 2nd Day. First, he asked Lee for permission to await the arrival of Law's brigade before attacking, which Lee was content to acquiesce to. When Longstreet did advance, he found himself astride Federal forces do to Johnston's failed reconnaissance, and was forced to counter-march his army by files in order to appropriate a safe military route. Captain Johnston really did render excellent service to the Federal Army that day, it almost reminds one of Dan Sickles. If Longstreet made any unnecessary delays that day, it was to counter-march rather then about face his army. This was done so his lead division might still be Hood's as he wished to lead with his best brigades. Longstreet did not sabotage the plan by dragging his heels, and in-point-of-fact voiced no opposition to the July 2nd assault that was contemporaneously recorded. 

g) Little Round Top was a position of little military significance. Capturing it was never a major Confederate aim. Its ridge is to spiny for more then a cannon or two to be placed astride Cemetery Ridge, and its elevation is to high for the artillery to have the desired effect. Its lack of trees was its only really advantage as an artillery platform (due to the 140th's slightly ostentatious monument to the regiment/Paddy O'Rorke, the scene in the film was shot on Big Round Top, which the film accurately reports as to thick with trees for effective artillery). Little Round Top is also to small to launch an offensive of more then a brigade. Cemetery Ridge was the target of Lee's attack, as he believed that was the flank of the AoP. The attack was shifted to include South Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top when it was discovered there were Federals there too. It was incidental. Exciting, but incidental. 

h) Joshua Chamberlain did not singlehandedly defend Little Round Top. Colonel Paddy O'Rorke, and Colonel James Clay Rice deserve as much credit. Colonel Strong Vincent deserved more credit then any of them. It was his intiative that ansered Major-General Gouvenor K. Warren's desperate summons, and brought the brigade to the hill before securing official approval from Major-General Sykes. Weed's brigade and Hazlett's battery also supported Vincent's 3rd brigade mid-battle. However, Vincent died, O'Rorke died, and Rice clearly needed a better publicist. As a result, Chamberlain gets all the credit. 

There are several other little omissions, changes, and Hollywoodesque moments, but these are some of the key problems, at least with the 2nd Day.



Oh, and then there's this guy carrying a M1863 Remington Zouave Rifle. More like Gettysfarb, ammirite? 


 

Farby Reb Gettysburg.jpg


Thanks for clearing up mate, i appreciate it. Some good points there, although i cannot get into detail because i lack the historical knowledge about Gettysburg and the Civil War.

To me, the feeling what i had at the end was that Lee was responsible for the losses and failure that day along with the absence of Stuart and his Cavalry. It felt like Longstreet wanted to re-deploy and fight on better ground, so he confronted Lee several times in the movie about it.

Guess i will have to dive into the books :)

And that with the rifle, all good movies have that :D you have to have a sharp eye and knowledge to see that, i recognized some rifles because of Ultimate General game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Mercanto left out the most glaring omission on the second day.  The attack of the 1st Minnesota :D.

 

Also, the missing engagements on Culp's Hill late on the 2nd day were very intriguing.  Alas, if they were to fit everything in it would be a very long movie.  

 

My biggest complaint of the Civil War movies is the lack of a movie to go along with "The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Schaara.  Unfortunately they didn't develop enough of the characters needed for that in G&G or Gettysburg.  I would have loved to see Brian Mallon carry on his portrayal of Hancock and the emergence of John Gordon on the Southern side.  Tom Berenger I'm sure would jump at the chance to play Longstreet again.  He is said to have loved the role so much that he owns a bar in Charleston, SC that he named after his role.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lee would come to miss Jackson very much.   What was said to Ewell regarding all 3 days would have sufficed to set Jackson on fire and he would have mopped up.   BUT ... that's a speculation topic that's been around since 1863.

Ewell required more direct orders unlike Jackson who just required a hint at what Lee wanted done.

 

OF COURSE ... if you really wanted to point fingers ...

A. P. Hill could also probably be blamed for the whole event ... Lee told him, he didn't want a general engagement brought on, they were in unfamiliar territory, Stuart and his cavalry were no where to be found, those mounted that Stuart left with Lee and the Army were not up to the task needing done.

Like Mechanicsville in 1862, Hill would prove to be a bit impetuous.  He could have held Heth back, but instead he kept feeding units into the fray.

 

All said and done, Gettysburg was a major failing of the Army of Northern Virginia's entire command structure.  All of the primary players had problems.

Edited by A. P. Hill
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, A. P. Hill said:

Lee would come to miss Jackson very much.   What was said to Ewell regarding all 3 days would have sufficed to set Jackson on fire and he would have mopped up.   BUT ... that's a speculation topic that's been around since 1863.

Ewell required more direct orders unlike Jackson who just required a hint at what Lee wanted done.

 

OF COURSE ... if you really wanted to point fingers ...

A. P. Hill could also probably be blamed for the whole event ... Lee told him, he didn't want a general engagement brought on, they were in unfamiliar territory, Stuart and his cavalry were no where to be found, those mounted that Stuart left with Lee and the Army were not up to the task needing done.

Like Mechanicsville in 1862, Hill would prove to be a bit impetuous.  He could have held Heth back, but instead he kept feeding units into the fray.

 

All said and done, Gettysburg was a major failing of the Army of Northern Virginia's entire command structure.  All of the primary players had problems.

I would definitely have to agree that non of the Confederate upper echelons can be held devoid of blame.  

I would generally argue Stuart was among the chief culprits in which he left the army virtually blind.  He was smarting from the bloody nose taken at Brandy Station and was eager to reclaim glory.  What troopers he left behind were not enough to keep the federal cavalry at bay and perform the full scouting details required.  For one of the few times of the war he allowed the Union army to have nearly complete scouting supremacy.  With the work of Buford, Gregg and Kilpatrick feeding Pleasanton reports that he forwarded to Meade it gave the Union commanders a much better view of the field and knowledge of what was coming and where.  When the fighting started Robertson was busy fending off Wesley Merritt's regular brigade and nowhere enough to handle the entire Confederate army's needs.

 

I would also argue that Lee's army rearrangement led to many of the problems that arose.  Though Jackson's death was not his fault.  I agree with his reasoning that without him it made sense to make 3 Corps instead of 2 massive ones with less proven leaders.  Ewell needed explicit orders (he was an old pre-war company commander).  When given orders and full discretion he did very well at 2nd Winchester and up the Valley.  His orders were no different than Jackson's the year before.  Clear out the Valley, take Harper's Ferry and lead the march north.  He did all 3 very well.  When the battle was joined he needed actual orders and not just a very loose guide of what to do.

A.P. Hill was very impetuous, which Lee should have known from the early days of the war.  Add in his health maladies, he was not in his best form at Gettysburg.  Had he been it is very likely that the III Corps performs far better on the first day.  When in action there were few better leaders than Hill.  Out of action is when he struggled, but he would learn as the war went along.  Knowing of his health issues it is a wonder Lee was not closer to the start of the action.  Perhaps he could have spurred Pender or Anderson to moving faster to the field and driving away Buford before the infantry could reinforce and extend the fight.

All in all it seems to all boil down to Lee giving too much discretion to certain commanders who were untested or trying to reclaim lost headlines.  Different commanders need different things.  Lee learned what men like Longstreet and Jackson needed during the Seven Day's campaign and there were learning curves and opportunities missed.  This was essentially much the same as then in a way.  Opportunities missed in a larger engagement.  Whereas the Union had a command structure that came up together and mostly already knew how to work together (Sickles excepted).

 

One name we missed was E.P. Alexander.  When one strolls the battlefield of Gettysburg it has been pointed out historically that had the artillery been placed on a different rise it would have allowed firing at an oblique angle which would have negated the poor Confederate fuses to a degree.  This would have meant shots falling too far would have just landed on the southern end of Cemetery Ridge instead of Meade's HQ.  Falling short would have hit the skirmishers along the Emmitsburg Road instead of harmlessly in front of the stone wall.  Also, it would have limited the number of Union guns available to work in counter-battery fire.  Only the guns on Cemetery Hill and some of Cemetery Ridge would have been able to engage.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Buford Protege said:

Mr Mercanto left out the most glaring omission on the second day.  The attack of the 1st Minnesota :D.

 

Also, the missing engagements on Culp's Hill late on the 2nd day were very intriguing.  Alas, if they were to fit everything in it would be a very long movie.  

 

My biggest complaint of the Civil War movies is the lack of a movie to go along with "The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Schaara.  Unfortunately they didn't develop enough of the characters needed for that in G&G or Gettysburg.  I would have loved to see Brian Mallon carry on his portrayal of Hancock and the emergence of John Gordon on the Southern side.  Tom Berenger I'm sure would jump at the chance to play Longstreet again.  He is said to have loved the role so much that he owns a bar in Charleston, SC that he named after his role.


Lmao, believe me, I was painfully tempted to mention the Veteran 1st XD. You can actually just barely see them on the 3rd Day during Armistead's assault on Cushing's Battery (they supported the 69th PA in plugging the gap). 


They were going to shoot Last Full Measure, but G&G literally bankrupted Turner Films (it was that much of a flop). Turner has offered rights to option LFM for sale, no bites. Given how poorly Maxwell handled G&G, this might be a blessing :(.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×