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Battles, People & Key Events > Stonewall at Getttysburg?

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message 1: by George (new)

George | 93 comments Would Stonewall have been able to save the day had he been present at Gettysburg? Would he have done remarkably better than Longstreet, whom the Lost Cause romantics have blamed ever since?

message 2: by Rob (new)

Rob McMonigal | 3 comments I think it all hinges on the first day. If Jackson pushes the Union into Maryland, it's all over. I tend to think that he would have seen the superiority of holding the town and kept on going.

I guess we'll never know.

message 3: by George (new)

George | 93 comments Certainly possible. Of course, the first day was quite confused. I'll have to take a look at the order of the Confederate advance into Gettysburg. Was Heth's division attached to Stonewall's corps? How soon would Jackson have been at the battle?

I tend to think Stonewall wouldn't have made that much of a difference. Folks do tend to think of what might have changed had his troops made the flank attack on the second day or Pickett's charge on the 3rd. But I tend to see Jackson as being best when in an independent command, and Longstreet as being more reliable working directly with Lee. I agree though, if he was going to be a decisive factor, it would have been on Day 1.

message 4: by George (new)

George | 93 comments Lee was never all that much for the defensive, but I find it hard to disagree. Perhaps the Lost Causers found it easier to blame Longstreet when he joined the Republican party after the war. And emotionally for Southerners, it's so hard to blame Lee or Stuart, who allowed the Southern army to blunder blindly into Gettysburg.

message 5: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (hotspurot) | 7 comments I quite agree, Donald and George. Longstreet's idea wasn't wrong, per se, it was just strategically oriented when Lee was thinking tactically. As we all know, Lee thought the battle could be resolved in one big extra push-- it had happened before, spectacularly, so why not again?

Now, add Jackson into the mix. What do we know? We know there wouldn't be three small corps in the ANV, likely, but still two larger ones, led by Longstreet and Jackson. Heth was part of Hill's organization, which, presumably, would still be under Jackson as the "Light Division". Ewell would still be a Divisional Commander, about where he shined (another much vilified commander of the ANV, but take a look at his accomplishments in the Valley Campaign sometime).

Would Jackson break up his corps and send Ewell North to menace Chambersberg? Likely not. It's anybody's guess. My thoughts are that he would have kept the larger corps together and attacked heavily on the first day. There would not be any of this timorousness and confusion-- it would have been slam, slam slam... right through Buford's lines and into the town. What next, then? Well, First Corps (union) would have arrived at the end of that, with Eleven behind it. Instead of capturing Culps Hill and reinforcing it, they would have had to form a very different looking line-- not as favorable to the Union as it was historically.

I agree with George's statement that Jackson worked best (Chancelorsville the exception) in independent command. He had his good days, his great days, and his bad days (e.g., the Seven Days' battles). So there's a grand chance that this resurrected Jackson would not be playing at his A game. The scenario above is my best guess at his A game. Very likely, he would have been tired, and if you include elements like possibly being wounded at Chancerllorsville, he might still be suffering from that-- and playing at his C game. In that scenario, I don't see a huge difference with historical outcomes.


message 6: by George (new)

George | 93 comments A very decent analysis. good points, Hotspur.

message 7: by pete (new)

pete | 26 comments hey all,

i have the impression that the first day was most likely going to be confused and largely confined as a precursor of what would happen later no matter who was commanding. the layout of the town apparently limited the number of troops that could be brought to bear with the converging highways, etc. it was only after they got out of town and into the strategic positions that things really heated up.

on the other hand it does seem that meade was a bit out of his depth despite the outcome and i have to wonder if t.j might have tipped the scales in out-generaling (is that a word?) the union. as far as blame is concerned for the defeat, lee said over and over that it was his own fault although there were plenty of recriminations going around. or maybe he was just refering to his ultimate responsibility as the leading general.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that if General Jackson had been there on the first day, he would have taken Culp's hill. General Ewell was his replacement and I think that Jackson would have recognised the significance of the hill, and taken it. General Ewell was too slow a cautious and I think he was the reason the Confederates lost at Gettysburg.

message 9: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (hotspurot) | 7 comments I certainly agree with Jordan's assessment, if we are talking about a Jackson that was well rested and unwounded from Chancellorsville.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  burrell (Joseph41) | 24 comments I'm a lost causer as you say but you put all in the same boat. I not sure if Jackson would have made that big a difference than Longstreet. However I think Jackson if in charge on the 1st day would have pushed harder. Just my view.

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