Prev: Re: [OT] Ideologies, Next: Re: Combat films

Re: Combat films

From: Allan Goodall <agoodall@i...>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 20:07:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Combat films

On Thu, 16 Mar 2000 21:37:33 PST, "Brian Bilderback"

>Wow, good insight. Now answer me this, because I've heard both
opinions, and 
>don't know what to think. Was he too harsh on Stuart, or right on?

Shaara was pretty well bang on with Stuart. Stuart took the attack at
Station (where the Union cavalry, using new tactics, for the first time
just as effectively as the Confederate cavalry) as an insult. He rode
the Union army, seizing guns and supplies (most of which he later
as a show of what he could do. The problem was that he left Lee without
inkling of where the Union forces were on the other side of the Blue
Mountains. The result was that Lee stumbled into the battle at
Gettysburg with
no idea of his enemy's dispostion. If he had known, Lee would have most
attacked the Union more strongly on the first day (ordering his generals
push hard, as opposed to giving them leeway in his orders) or moved to
advantageous ground for him. In particular, he really wanted to put
between the Union army and Washington, forcing them to fight on ground
of his
own choosing. Stuart's mistake made this impossible.

To be honest, though, you can't overly fault Stuart and Longstreet for
they did, because the seeds of the defeat in the Gettysburg campaign
were sown
in the victory of the Second Manassas campaign. Stuart did the same sort
end run around Pope's Union army just before the battle of Cedar
Mountain and
leading up to Second Manassas. Likewise, Lee ordered Longstreet to
assault the
Union flank at Second Manassas and Longstreet balked for a few hours. 

The difference was that Stuart's end run in 1862 threw Pope into a tail
and the Union general reacted to Stuart and pulled back to where
corps was waiting. And with Longstreet, his delay resulted in him
into the Union flank at exactly the best time to cause a massive
collapse of
the Union left.

So, the same thing happened in the 1863 campaign, with both generals
and Longstreet) having made the same decision -- but with a far
outcome -- a little less than a year before. But Meade wasn't Pope (and
to be
fair, when Stuart started his ride it was the inferior Hooker who headed
army, not Meade). He wasn't about to pull back his army to beat on
Pope showed little ability at ordering cavalry, while the Union horsemen
year later were much improved. 

Longstreet, on the other hand, deserves a little less consideration. The
tactical situation at Gettysburg was far different from 2nd Manassas.
Longstreet delayed, and that delay caused him to lose Little Round Top.
Ironically, if he had NOT delayed, Sickles wouldn't have had the chance
move as many men into his forward position and would thus have been in a
better position to defend himself from Longstreet. 

If Longstreet had done his job, the Union would have probably pulled off
Cemetary Ridge defeated but perhaps in good order (or it would have
into a nasty rout... or Syke's Corps moving up would have pressed
men on Little Round Top and much the same result, would have occurred...
to say). If Stuart had done HIS job, Gettysburg wouldn't have been the
site of
the battle.

My personal feeling is that Longstreet lost Little Round Top, which was
key to the battlefield. I think Syke's Corps would have blooded
men on Little Round Top, perhaps stopping Longstreet from decisively
artillery down on the entire Union line, but without dislodging him.
night, Meade would have had little choice but to pull from Cemetary
Ridge and
defend elsewhere, with the Confederacy having one another victory at a
cost it
couldn't afford. 

Allan Goodall
Goodall's Grotto:

"Surprisingly, when you throw two naked women with sex
toys into a living room full of drunken men, things 
always go bad." - Kyle Baker, "You Are Here"

Prev: Re: [OT] Ideologies, Next: Re: Combat films