Tuesday, December 22, 2009

From the Civil War Society Listserv---A Word on Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg

John Foskett on The Civil War Society Listserv: "I've never understood why anybody believes that Jackson would have changed the result at Gettysburg. You can't even plug him into the tactical situation since the ANV fought at Gettysburg as three corps rather than two. Getting over that problem, and even assuming that the fight leading up to the late P.M. July 1 decision regarding Cemetery Hill had not already staggered many of the troops available for an assault, Jackson's tactical record throughout the War ranged generally from mediocre to less than competent - Kernstown, Seven Days, Cedar Mountain, Brawner's Farm, Second Manassas (second day), Chantilly, Fredericksburg. Even the "brilliant" flank attack at Chancellorsville (1) should have been acted on by Hooker when it was slowly unfolding and (2) was poorly managed in terms of getting to the jumpoff point, meaning that it started too late. Jackson's strength was independent operational maneuver, not tactics at the point of contact. The latter was the issue on late July 1 (which was the ANV's best chance to."win" the battle). But you really can't even run the hypothetical well because the ANV was organized in a completely different manner by that point."

CWL concurs and adds the note: If Jackson had survived Chancellorsville, he would have been killed by his own troops near the crest of Culp's Hill during the late evening of July 1.

1 comment:

livin1860s said...

I think the only reason Lee had three corps at Gettysburg was because Jackson had been killed before that, otherwise he most likely would have just had the two corps of Longstreet and Jackson. If Jackson could have made a difference at all it would have been on day one when the Union had first gotten to Cemetery Hill and Culps Hill, disorganised. Jackson probably would have charged those hills right away whereas Ewell would not and did not. As the battle was on day two and three, however, I don't think Jackson would have made a difference at all because it was too late by that time to keep the Union from holding their positions, something that Longstreet realised but Lee did not.