Does the name Joshua L Chamberlain ring any bells?

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, better known as F. Scott.

Right you are, Dana.

And of course, there is Francis Scott Key's famous musical descendant, Leo Kottke.

A name that is sadly neglected, when Gettysburg is discussed, is the Union cavalry commander Brig. Gen. John Buford.  Surely his defiance, against overwhelming forces, secured the high ground for the Union in the subsequent battle?

Buford's choice of ground to defend was a key to the battle, maybe THE key. I read somewhere recently a Civil War commander--it could have been Buford--said a cavalry officer's job was to find a piece of ground worth dying for. Rarely has it been done better.

Totally agree. If Buford hadn't held back the Confederates, they would have taken the high ground of Cemtery Ridge and the Union would have been in the same position as they were at Marye Heights in Fredericksburg. As it was, the Confderates found themselves in that position, which Longstreet pointed out to Lee before Picketts Charge.

Do you think Lee lost the plot on the 3rd day of the battle, in the same way that the Union commanders had done prior to Meade?  And yes, I do appreciate that most of Meade's predecessors did not even know the name of the play that the plot was from and were unable to repeat as much as a single line from the text!

I think Leel ost it on the first day of battle. He never meant to fight at Gettysburg. His plan was to pivot to the right north of the town and bear down on Washington, DC and threaten the capital, hoping to produce a negotiated peace. By getting engaged in a battle at Gettysburg, he had already lost the point of his second northern invasion.

Because of Buford's holding action, Lee was forced to engage without his force consolidated. That forced him to send his troops in piece meal. His orders were not articulate and caused confusion among his division commanders. Lee was not well during the battle. He was suffering from the results of a riding accident and was in much pain. Plus, his cavalry was diminished by absense of JEB Stuart.

Meade did a damn fine job at Gettysburg, considering he was named commander only a day or two before the battle. He did pursue Lee after battle, and was ready to engage in another large battle, but he didn't want to pursue him too far. That made Linclon think he was timid like George McClellan, and had him replaced by Grant. But Meade won the battle that saved the US.

Another hero of the battle was the Union commander (and I can't remember his name - Vincent?) who  recognized the Union's left wing was hanging and ordered Chamberlain's regiment to fill the gap. If he hadn't done that, Lee's forces would have rolled up the Union line.

Vincent had overall command of the regiments on Little Round Top; it was Gen. Warren who realized the hill was essentially undefended and sent Vincent and some artillery there minutes before Hood's troops stormed it.

That is my understanding too.  Col. Strong Vincent was mortally wounded at Gettysburg (he was defending the right flank of Little Round top) and died on July 7th 1863.  His widow gave birth to a baby daughter two months later. Sadly, the daughter died before reaching her first birthday and is buried next to her father.

I totally agree with your points but would add that as well as Stuart's absence, Lee was without the services of Jackson.

And on what seems a more trivial point:

For some years, I have been fascinated by the theory that the battle happened by accident.  Maj Gen Heth, the divisional commander, who sent the original Confederate force to Gettysburg, later claimed in his memoirs that its purpose was to search for boots.  So was the Union actually saved because of a lack of footwear?

Lee's other problem was believing his own press. It seems as if Meade was the only Union general willing to take him on and make it a real fight. Had he pursued Lee after the battle, the Civil War might have ended that July.


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