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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  November 20, 2016 10:05am-11:06am EST

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history tv? visit our website. you can see our upcoming schedule or watch a recent program. american artifacts, wrote to the white house rewind, lectures and history, and more. >> author eric wittenberg talks about the calvary action on july 3 at the 1863 battle of gettysburg. he describes the fighting on east cavalry field and argues against the theory that confederate general jb stewart had orders to get around the union flank. instead, he suggests he was supposed to protect the confederate flank. this is an hour-long event. >> we have six lectures today, or six talks. eric wittenberg's out-of-the-box with the 8:30 slot. most of you know him, he is such
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a good friend of the heritage area. he is an attorney working in the business development and litigation arenas. born in the philadelphia suburbs, he was raised in southeastern pennsylvania. as many of us did, he made his first trip to gettysburg in the third grade and has been hooked on the history of the american civil war ever since. he is an alumnus of dickinson college in pennsylvania and has two degrees from the university of pittsburgh. he has a masters degree and a doctorate from the university of pittsburgh school of law. he is also an award-winning civil war historian. his specialty is calvary operations with an emphasis on the army of potomac's calvary court. he is the author of 19 published books. i can't imagine what he does as a lawyer. 19 published books.
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he is the author of a book about john buford at gettysburg, which won the round tables 2014 book 5 book award. he is also the author of a book about protecting the flank at gettysburg. his first book, "gettysburg for actions," was named the third winner of the robert e. lee roundtable literary award as the best new work interpreting the battle of gettysburg, 1998. the 2011 edition won the u.s.
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army histories foundation distinguished writing award. a number of his titles have been chosen as the main selections of the history and military book clubs. in addition to his books, he is the author of more than two dozen public articles on civil war cavalry operations. these articles have appeared in "gettysburg" magazine and "north and south." especially important to all of us here, his battlefield preservation work. he is part of the battlefield foundation and readily works with the civil war trust in helping to save hallowed ground. he maintains a popular and well-regarded blog entitled open "rantings of a civil war historian." he and his bride susan live in columbus, ohio. we are honored to have him back with us. his talk is entitled "protecting
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the flank on east cemetery field." please welcome eric. [applause] eric: thank you, charles. it is always a pleasure for me to attend this event. i have lost count, but this is the 11th or 12th time i've been invited to speak here. one of the things i enjoy so much about this event is i get to see the same faces every year year after year and it is like , having a reunion with old friends, like sergeant wheeler here in the front row. seeing him is one of the highlights of the year and one of the reasons i'm always so glad to come to this event. thank you for having me back and hopefully you of not grown too weary of hearing me. i want to thank c-span for coming out this morning. it takes something pretty extraordinary for me to put on a suit and tie on a saturday morning. [laughter] eric: on the afternoon of july 2, 1863, the commander of the
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army of the potomac's second cavalry division was order to red to make an advance on gettysburg from the east, specifically from hanover, pennsylvania, along hanover road. with two of his three brigades, one had been left in maryland . with two brigades, he will make his advance along the hanover road. he was a west point trained career calvary officer, a tall and quiet, modest fellow, very capable. not the sort of guy who was flashy by any stretch. i will suggest to you that is one of the most spectacular beards you will ever see. the only one i've seen significantly better is that of john c robinson. but that is pretty darned close. he will have two of his three brigades, commanded by
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john bailey macintosh, and another commanded by colonel his first cousin, colonel irvin gregg. he was an interesting fellow. he was a mexican war vet who had no formal training as a soldier but was very capable as a cavalry officer. he was six foot four inches and the men called him "long john." he was commissioned after the war, that is how well-regarded he is. he has with him two full brigades and he will attack in the direction of a place called brinckerhoff's ridge. and is the far left flank of the confederate position on gettysburg on the afternoon of july 2. those of you who heard me do my talk on stewart's ride in the past, that is one area where i have said stewart's absence made
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a significant difference because we have two great of infantry -- two brigades of infantry performing the role calvary is supposed to cover, which is guarding the flanks of the army. because jenkins is wounded in the morning of july 2 and there is a breakdown in the chain of communications and no one advises colonel ferguson that jenkins is down, jenkins' guys, we don't know what they did that afternoon. is a complete mystery. there are no accounts, there are no reports. nobody knows. it is one of the great mysteries of the battle of gettysburg. but we know what they did not do. they were not picketing the rose, and because of that two brigades of infantry had to do it. one was smith's brigade, picketing the road from carlisle to harrisburg, and then the stonewall brigade, the legendary
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brigade commanded by james walker, is getting to the west. elements of the stonewall for gate that were going to engage on brinckerhoff's ridge. the second of virginia infantry will engage in protracted skirmishing, beginning in midafternoon and ending when it got dark. minimal casualties but an important fight for the simple reason that kept the stonewall brigade out of the attacks on colts hill. they were not able to participate, and having that extra 1200 soldiers might have tip thefficient to ge
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balance. the stonewall dividing the two sides, it will end up being the bone of contention, gregg's men will win the fight. they will hold that stonewall for the rest of the day. at about 6:00 in the evening after having a meeting with robert e. lee, the commander of the cavalry division assigned to the army of northern virginia will make a ride over to brinckerhoff's ridge, and along with major campbell brown and lee, one of his brigade commanders, stewart will sit and watch some of the heaviest fighting that takes place in that sector. sitting on that high ground and looking in the distance, he can see in front of him and open open plain on the next ridge line over, called crest ridge. he sees it is good for calvary cavalry operations. what is important to note is that you have gregg with two of his brigades operating on the far confederate left rank on brinckerhoff's ridge.
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late in the afternoon about 2.5 4.5 miles away, the two brigades of kilpatrick's division and of end up having a nasty skirmish with wade hampton's brigade, escorting the infamous wagon train on the back to gettysburg. kid in mind there were eight -- keep in mind there were eight brigades of calvary assigned to the army of the potomac. some are in maryland, but the rest of the calvary corps, with the exception of one in reserve brigade, fully half is either operating on robert e . lee's left flank, or is beyond the flank and partly around the fight. -- flank. fully half.
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you can't understand these cavalry fields unless you understand that point, it is that simple. is it any surprise that robert e. lee was worried about having half of the potomac's calvary core eater sitting on or around his flank late in the day on july 2? not a surprise at all. he was so worried about it that on the morning of july 3, he summoned a brigadier general to come to the battlefield for the first time. what does he do? he places it right behind the center of his line so that they are there in case the union calvary sweeps around his point flank and gets into his rear, he has a force of calvary cavalry in position to defend against it. when you hear about stewart and what he is going to be doing on july 2 -- excuse me, july 3, you have to understand, his job was to protect the confederate flag.
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-- flank. there was a book published a number of years ago and i will borrow a line from one of my favorite military philosophers, of the 20th century, colonel sherman t. potter from "mash." it is horse hockey. 's theory is that somehow stewart was supposed to sweep down the road, he was to send his horse artillery is up colts hill, and stewart was then to make chaos in the union rear. never mind that there isn't a single shred of evidence to support this nonsense anywhere on the face of this planet. i'm a lawyer. my job is to analyze evidence.
10:18 am't none, it is nonsense. when you hear this theory that stewart was supposed to be operating in concert with pickett's charge in all of these grand, coordinated attacks, and stewart will have his artillery fire shot and could be heard by robert e lee that would tell him he was in position and ready to go. let's talk about this. this calvary was seven miles as the crow flies from where we was. in between w have fighting on colts hill. the ability of robert e lee to hear four artillery shots at a distance of seven miles with fighting in between is a physical impossibility. it simply is not possible. when you hear about this nonsensical theory, if you take nothing else away from this talk today, i hope you take away with you the fact that it is nonsense and nothing more than nonsense. let's talk about what actually did happen. on the night of july 2, the
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division of kilpatrick will move town and go down in the direction of two taverns and along with farnsworth's brigade, they will spend -- kilpatrick's and farnsworth's brigade will camp together. hudson was an interesting fellow . custer knew he wasn't going to finish first so i figured he might as well finish last. if you finished last in your class at west point, they considered you and you mortal. it really was by his own choice. he would get so many demerits he was in jeopardy of being kicked out of school, he would pull extra guard duty and work them off.
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is a remarkable ever on his part, but he succeeded and finished dead last in his class effort onremarkable his part, but he succeeded and finished dead last in his class in 1861. tall, extremely athletic, brave as a lion, george custer has caught the attention of pleasanton, who had an eye for talent. you heard in the discussion yesterday, the promotion of the boy generals, and i believe his analysis of the reasons for that and why those three officers were selected was right on the money. custer was promoted from lieutenant in the regular army to brigadier general and he takes control of the calvary cavalry brigade on the night of june 29, 1863. when he reports to their camp in little town, pennsylvania, he is wearing a garish outfits made of black velvet.
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one of the troopers described him as looking like a circus rider gone wild. his reasoning was he wanted them in to see him and know where he was on the battlefield, that he is a stranger and they do not know this man. he will lead them in battle on hanover, and then on the morning of july 2, george custer and his brigade were given the task of holding the critical intersection of hanover and dutch roads about a mile to the west of brinckerhoff's ridge. they get up in the morning to saddle up and move out. gregg sees them to move out and rides over to find out what is going on. gregg says, i need you here, i don't have sufficient troops. custer says, very well, if you will take responsibility, i will be happy to stay. gregg accepts that
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responsibility and sends a note to pleasanton saying we cannot opa afford to let them go, and pleasanton will ultimately change his mind and give custer the discretion to serve under gregg. this means that gregg will have two brigades there. his cousin john's brigade is in a position where it is not very near the battlefield. it will extend basically from brinckerhoff's ridge to where it connects with the six corporate gate, extending the union far right flank. they will not be available to fight on east cavalry fields. this means gregg has john macintosh's brigade, and the michigan cavalry brigade. ignorant of the very most 3000
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3000 has at the very most horse soldiers and 10 guns of horse artillery and also the battery of captains allinson and randall. these guys are career west point trained regular artillery is. artillerists. they are as good as they come, the unsung heroes of the civil war. these west point soldiers did gave the union artillery it's significant qualitative advantage over the confederates and in many ways played a critical role in ultimately winning the war for the union. randall's guys in particular perform an extraordinary service on july 3. stuart receives orders from lee to come around and guard this point position. with about 4000 men he moves out , on the morning of july 3. he has three brigades of
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cavalry. and part of a fourth. he has the brigade of john randolph chambliss junior, and was severely wounded at the battle of brandy station and was taken to his father-in-law's estate in hanover county, virginia, and when the union high command found out lee was there, they sent people with the express purpose to capture lee. they take him into custody, and he is taken to fortress monroe. chambliss, who was ultimately promoted to brigadier general and would be killed in combat in the petersburg campaign. there is an interesting a footnote to this story.
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chambliss' best friend was gregg. they were very close. he has the chambliss brigade, and the brigade of lee and hampton. then we have witcher. you heard me mention early on the brigade of jenkins, half his brigade was assigned to do provost duty at the army of northern virginia headquarters on seminary ridge. miltonior kernel, ferguson, is assigned to do that task. the other half of the brigade was out under jenkins, jenkins is wounded on july 2, this means the other half of the brigade is commanded by this fellow, vincent witcher. it is a lawyer from west virginia. he is a colorful fellow. he wore a swallow tailed coat
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, so he had the colorful nickname of claw hammer. a commanded a bunch of ruffians. there is no other way to describe them as backwoods, ruffian types. they were given a cavalry duty after doing partisan duty. they had done well in the advance on harrisburg, but they are untrained, largely, they . they are unreliable. they don't carry traditional weapons. there are approximately 400 of them that will go on this expedition with jeb stewart. stewart will arrive on crest ridge. one thing you have to understand about the terrain out there is if you stand at the crest of crest ridge, because of undulations in the terrain and the fact it is lower, you cannot see the intersection of hamilton and low dutch road.
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you just can't. it is impossible to see it. there is no way for you to stand out there and see who is at the intersection of hanover and low dutch road. when stewart arrives, he orders is going to order a battery of artillery to fire four shots, one in each direction of the compass. this is not a signal to robert e lee. it is a tactic called reconnaissance by fire. you fire a shot and hope they will draw a response. that is what the purposes. -- purpose is. these for shots will be fired, and the guns of randall will answer. and now stewart knows where gregg's command is. that is the purpose of the so-called signal guns as many have labeled them. so stewart is going to order his command to take position and he
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will outlinalign them in an interesting alignment. it will look like this, almost in an l shape. they will help the rumble farm buildings am a particularly the barn. next of them is the brigade of hampton, and in this part of the l is the brigade of lee. that is an odd configuration. isn't it? let's think about what stewart had in mind. his plan, and it is obvious from the way he deploys his troops, is to draw the yankee cavalry in by opening fire with the artillery. he's going to draw them in with dismounted fighting around the buildings, and once he has them fully engage, he's going to launch a mounted attack around their flank and encircle them. in other words, he's going to use the mounted portion as the hammer to drive them against the
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anvil of the mounted portions of the command. that is what stewart's plan is. it seems very obvious if you know anything about the way these troops are deployed. the barn here will become a critical landmark in the course of the day because witcher's men will end up occupying the barn and use it as a snipers nest. there will be a protracted firefight. his wife and daughters will be sent away. they don't want them to tell the confederates position. he is briefly a prisoner. ultimately, troops will be pushed forward by gregg. he will send forward the entire fifth cavalry and roughly half sixth cavalry of the michigan
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brigade. why is he sending forward the fifth and sixth michigan? those men are armed with spencer repeating rifles, seven shot repeating rifles. they are all armed with spencers. they fire seven shots before they have to be reloaded. the confederates called them seven shooting devils. we do know for sure that it happened, but it is such a good story, we have to share the it. they used to say they could load on sunday and fire all week before having to reload. these troopers of the michigan cavalry brigade are going to engage in a heavy firefight with witcher's men. for some reason, witcher's men did not have a full complement of ammunition that day and
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witcher will have to get ammunition for them. they're taking heavy fire, he had 292 officers and men of his own virginia cavalry with him. he will write to the official historian of the battle of gettysburg after the war that when he took muster the next morning, only 90 men showed up. that tells you how severe this firefight was. significant losses. it will go on for a while. there is the disposition of the confederates. you see here, i don't have a laser pointer. you see the farm buildings, you can see where it says witcher's headquarters. you see that almost l shaped deployment we talked about. the fifth michigan will attack in the direction of the run there. elements of the new jersey, elements of the third
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pennsylvania will attack. there will be an extended firefight. during the course of that firefight, major ferry stands up on a tree stump and waves his sword to rally the troops, and he is hit literally right between the eyes, killed instantly right there on the spot drops dead. , as he dies, his men are demoralized and pull back, and this enables witcher to resupply his command. fitz lee, you've heard me say he is the greatest example of nepotism i have ever seen in the american civil war with the exception of joseph davis. had he not been the favorite nephew of the commanding general
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of the army of northern virginia, he might've been a regimental sergeant major. i spent over 40 years studying cavalry operations in the civil war, and i have identified for ur good days he is had in the entire war. he ended up in command of the virginia cavalry corps because he was the favorite nephew of robert e. lee. he has also the protege and the soulmate of jeb stewart. they called him the laughing cavalier. he loved to have fun and laugh. wasas five foot four inches , chunky and overweight. he weighed over 300 pounds by the time of the spanish-american war. he was one of those old confederate generals who were asked to rejoin the army to help rally the south to the cause in the spanish-american war and was unable to take the field because he was too fat. but he has with him a veteran
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brigade of virginians. alongside him is the veteran brigade of brigadier general wade hampton the third, reputedly the wealthiest man in the south. hampton paid out of his own pocket to raise the hampton legion. ofompanies of infantry, 4 cavalry. those four companies become the nucleus of a second south carolina cavalry, which is part of his command. that was commanded by butler, who was wounded at brady station. hampton himself is 6'4", 230 pounds solid muscle. he was very proud of the fact as a 17-year-old, he killed a bear with his bare hands. this was a tough customer. this is a man who personally killed 13 yankee troopers and in hand to hand combat. extremely capable, even though he had no formal military training.
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he will end up becoming the successor and the commander of the northern army of virginia and ultimately will be one of two officers the confederacy will promote to lieutenant general. because he was senior to nathan bedford forrest, it is fair to say wade hampton was the highest ranking cavalry officer of the american civil war by 1855. very good at what he did. commands a vitamin brigade of georgians, mississippians, and south carolinians. as the fighting for the barn begins to peter out, there is a miscommunication that happens between hampton, lee, and jeb stuart. that miscommunication means wade hampton in particular are going supported by some of lee's guys are going to make a mounted charge. that mounted charge is headed right in the direction of the hanover and low dutch road.
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when david gregg sees this, he knows he has some reserves. he has the first and seventh michigan cavalry, the first maine cavalry that have not been committed to the fight. he rides over to a very colorful fellow. where is bob o'neill? are you here? for those of you who are interested in colonel william dalton mann, bob wrote a good article published in the gettysburg magazine a couple issues ago about william dalton mann. this guy after the war ends up writing a muckraking newspaper, owning and editing a muckraking newspaper in new york city. his stated mission was to tweak the nose of the aristocracy in new york city. he called himself the saunterer. that is a really interesting biography of him that was
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written. he was a fellow who had an interesting life. he will order his men of the seventh michigan cavalry to draw their sabers and able draw a make a mounted charge and they will meet up by the confederates. they will be hung up by a fence line. you can see the big tree there. that represents a fence line that existed to separate a couple of farm fields. hampton will get caught there. he will end up having a personal duel. you can see hampton is armed with a long broadsword. he will end up having a personal duel with a couple of troopers from the first new jersey. he would be severely wounded. one of them would hit hampton him across the head with his saber. he was also shot in the leg. only because of a color sergeant
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of one of the south carolina units that road with him was he rescued. he would be out of commission until september of 1863 when he gets promoted to commander of the division of cavalry. the seventh michigan crashes into this charge of fitz lee and hampton. you have a very fierce melee. elements are routed, but but they do stop the charge. hampton and fitz lee fallback and a wall falls over the -- lull falls over the battlefield as they continue to have dismounted fighting. stewart sees how close of this impromptu charge has gotten to making its way to the intersection of the roads. he will end up ordering an all out charge by his command. you will see this in the map. primarily by hampton and fitz lee.
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also i elements of chambliss's brigade. they form up and the union troopers universally left a very detailed descriptions of the site of the confederate cavalry as it comes out of the wood line. their sabers glinting in the afternoon sunlight, their battle flags snapping in the afternoon breeze they begin to move , forward. a walk, then a trot, then a gallop and then the charge. david gregg sees them coming. he sends a courier over to lieutenant carl woodruff. he tells woodruff you have to move your guns. woodruff, who will be ultimately awarded a medal of honor three weeks later during the faces of -- phases of the campaign after
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the crossing of the potomac river, would tell the courier to tell general gregg to go to hell. firguns will begin to belch e at the advancing confederates. david gregg would ride over to charles h. town who was dying of tuberculosis. you can see how gaunt he looks. he had only a few months left to live. his voice was a little but a harsh croak. town orders his men to form up, . clustecuster rides over shortly thereafter. he falls ahead of the first michigan cavalry, draws his saber, and says come you, wolverines. he leads them across the open fields headed directly towards for the oncoming confederates. when they collide, they collide
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with so much force that cavalry horses are being flipped over backwards from the violence of the collision. hand to hand melee, just a brutal fight. john rummel found in the yard of his farm two troopers, one union, one confederate, who had killed each other in hand to hand combat but were still intertwined. that should tell you the type of fight this was. along the flank, two companies -- a squadron of the third pennsylvania cavalry led by 27-year-old captain william e. miller of pennsylvania. miller has been given orders to hold his position on the flank. miller sees that the confederates are charging and he also sees that they have no idea he is there.
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he recognizes that he has got an opportunity here to crash into the confederate flag completely flank completely undetected. sitting alongside him is 19-year-old lieutenant william rawle of philadelphia the second , ranking officer in his company. he turns to rawle and he says i see an opportunity. if i order a charge, would you support me? miller fully expected to be court-martialed if he did this. rawle said of course i will support you. captain miller orders his men to charge. they come out of the tree line, yelling with their sabers drawn and crash into the unsuspected left flank of fitz lee's charge. in the meantime, lieutenant woodruff's guns in particular are ripping holes in the ranks of the charging confederates as they make their way across the
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field. they are doing extraordinary work. the union artillery was so good, it literally blasted the confederate horse artillery off the crest ridge. it was so effective and accurate that it drove the confederate artillery off the ridge and a shell disabled one of the guns. it broke the spokes on one of the wheels and left it that it could not be moved. that is how accurate the union artillery fire was that day. on the other side of the line, colonel john mcintosh rallies troopers of the first new jersey cavalry. he rallies troopers of the third pennsylvania cavalry. he rallies some scattered elements of the seventh michigan and he is joined by troopers of th michigan. he cobbles together a scratch force. this scratch force will also charge into the other flank. what happens? getting hit from the left, getting hit from the right,
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getting hit from the front, severe artillery fire. first new jersey had a difficult day because they had the brunt of the fighting over the rummel farm. one point,nt, -- at john bailey mcintosh orders them to leave. the commander, major hugh gainway, refuses to leave. he says we are not going anywhere. we will stay right here. they stay there and it is those men who turn and join mcintosh in making this charge into the flank. ultimately, the confederate charge is stopped dead in its tracks and a pull back and withdraw back to the tree line. let me circle back to mythology for a minute. if it is in fact true that jeb stuart's orders were to get around the union flank and go down the low dutch road to the
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baltimore pike, don't you think that stuart would have made more than one concerted attack out there? don't you think he would have? don't you know jeb stuart well wellot to know that -- that he is aw guy that would keep going. stuart stopped. he tried it, saw he was not going to get through. his orders were to guard the flank and that is what he did. i can promise you it stuart's orders were to get around the flank and get into the rear, there would have been at least one more all out assault but there wasn't. stuart was content and keeping to this place and keep the union cavalry pinned down in place because if they did that they were not able to get into robert e. lee's rear. that is what the fight on east cavalry field was all about, my friends.
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that is not to say stuart would not have been opportunistic. he understood that the low dutch road would intersect with the baltimore pike. if he could in fact break through there, he could make all kinds of mischief in the union rear. this theory does not take into account that had stuart had broken through gregg's line, gone through the intersection of low dutch road, they would have had to run the gauntlet of gregg's brigade. they were simply doing picket duty. they could have come. they would have run a gauntlet with gregg's brigade. the likelihood of them ever getting down there and doing anything productive was almost nil. please keep that in mind when you think about the fight on
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east cavalry field. if you take nothing else away from you today, that is what i want you to take away. at the end of the day, jeb stuart lost over 400 casualties, killed, wounded. you heard me mention the casualties in witcher's command. 150 casualties in the union side. interestingly enough, only one man killed in john bailey mcintosh's brigade, a trooper of the first maine and that was the only regiment that was not engaged. go figure. that is not to say that men were not wounded. there was an officer of the third pennsylvania cavalry by the name of captain walter newhall from pennsylvania. newhalls were world-famous cricket players. walter was a world-renowned cricket player. walter ended up in a fencing
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match trying to capture the a confederate battle flag. the confederate trooper who had the battle flag ended up jousting with him with it and walter newhall had his face torn up by the end of this confederate battle flag. it was a ghastly wound. these are the types of injuries you will have when you have these type of bloody hand to hand combat. the fighting on the main battlefield petered out about 6:00 in the evening. once it got dark stuart withdrew , and returned to headquarters on seminary ridge. gregg did not know he was gone but was happy to let him go. , thus ending the fight on east cavalry field. i want to address a couple of things with you.
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one of the things you here, one of the criticisms you hear leveled at jeb stuart, he should have left the wagon train behind. that he captured in rockville, maryland, on its way to gettysburg. let's remember what it consisted of. it was 150 wagons, brand-new, each pulled by four mules. each wagon filled with nothing but high-grade fodder. let's remember that stuart's orders were to capture supplies from the enemy for use of the army. fodder will be important to a force with horses, right? it is not good nutrition for horses to eat nothing but grass. they have to have oats and other grain to get proper nutrition. stuart's engineering officer in the years after the war wrote had it not been for those 150
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wagons of high-grade fodder, stuart's command would not have been in any condition to engage. let's keep in mind these men have been constantly in the saddle, constantly moving for eight days. along the way, they have had encounters first with union infantry at the very outset of the ride with the 11th new york cavalry at fairfax station, with the first delaware cavalry at westminster. they have a full day of heavy fighting in hanover on june 30. they then make a brutal all night march over south mountain to carlisle, where they had an encounter with union infantry. then they have to march to gettysburg. these men were at the limits of their endurance.
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there is only so much you can go without taking a break and getting some rest. horses for all of their size and strength are fragile beasts. they need water, food, proper nutrition, and they need to rest. all along stuart's ride, horses are breaking down. they have been asked to do more than they are capable of doing yo. some of his troopers are riding horses they have captured in the pennsylvania countryside that are not well-suited to cavalry. some of them are even riding mules. to expect stuart's command to do what dr. carhart says they were tasked to do is asking more of them than they were physically capable of doing. let me repeat that. asking them to do what carhart says they were asked to do is
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more than can be reasonably expected from this command. let's not forget the fight of hunters town. it's asking them to do more than the horses or the men at the had the physical capacity to do. the only task they can realistically perform and be expected to do in any reasonable fashion is to guard the flank. they did so brilliantly. they kept the union cavalry tied up. they prevented them from getting around robert e. lee's rear. in boden's brigade, perform magnificently during the retreat from gettysburg. that was what the fight at ease east cavalry field was about. i want to conclude with this slide. gregg's cavalry monument on east cavalry field and you can see
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the third monument where captain miller's charge crashed into the confederates. what is unique about this particular monument is it is one of the few monuments at the battle of gettysburg that is dedicated to the soldiers of both sides who fought on background. it is dedicated to both union and confederate cavalry who fought there. it was dedicated in the 25th anniversary of the battle. the dedication speech was given by captain james kidd, who fought there. in the years after the war, kidd became a newspaper editor and later publisher, a great writer. he wrote one of the best regarded memoirs of the civil war. kidd gave a speech and that is included verbatim in his memoirs. you can see it. the veterans all came back from both sides.
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you see there is a white wrought-iron fence. that was supposed to be melted down during world war ii to make munition. somebody in the area, a local guy, rescued it and hid it in its barn so it could not be melted down. in the years after world war ii, it was restored and you can still go out and see it to this day. it should not be there but there it is. i would like to finish with this simply because this slide and this monument shows the spirit of reconciliation that took place in the years after the american civil war when our country was reunited and the old vets who had fought tooth and nail came together again as friends. that is what soothes me about -- that is what moves me about going to gettysburg. seeing sites like this monument where you can understand that
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those rifts eventually healed. the men that fought the war were able to come together as brothers even after such vicious fighting. they ended up killing each other in hand to hand combat and their bodies lying intertwined on the battlefield afterwards. never again after the battle of gettysburg and the gettysburg campaign would you hear the old statement whoever saw a dead cavalry men because there were plenty of them. beginning at brandy station, , upperville,urg and finally on the east cavalry field. at the end of that day on july 3, the union cavalry fully come of age. from that day forward, the union cavalry was on an equal footing with the confederates such that by the end of 1864, it was at
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the zenith of its power. if you want to see the union cavalry at its finest, look at its performance in the shenandoah valley campaign of 1864 where in two different battles, they delivered a decisive blow. winchester and cedar creek. that process began in the winter of 1863, and it ended when james harrison wilson's 16,000-man mounted army that tore heart the apart the heart of the deep south in the spring of 1865. with that, i thank you for your time and attention and i will be more than happy to take your questions. [applause] questions? go ahead, jim. >> any thoughts or comments as to stuart's frame of mind after what people would say a sharp
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rebuke with lee. did that influence him at all? the think it influenced him on the first? eric: interesting question. jim's question was what do i think was stuart's state of mind after supposedly being rebuked sharply by robert e. lee on july 2. the answer is i don't think that happened. there are four people that know what occurs in that room. it was robert e. lee, jeb stuart, charles marshall, and charles venable. nobody left behind an account of any sort that discusses what happened when they had their encounter. this legend that there was an ugly confrontation between stuart and lee comes two was to us from colonel thomas taylor mumford who was probably 15 miles away when this happened. he was not there.
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he's relying on hearsay, what we lawyers called double hearsay, which is unreliable. stuart was a sort that had he had his butt chewed out by general lee as is depicted in mr. turner's movie would have told flora about it. when you read stuart's letters to flora, the letters he wrote to her immediately after the battle of gettysburg, you talked he talks about what a grand time he had in pennsylvania. there is no mention of anything. i don't think that happened. there is certainly no proof that it happened. was lee unhappy with stuart for having been out of communication as long as he was? yes, he was. lee in particular was extremely concerned, not so much about the state of his cavalry although that was important, but he had come to rely very heavily on jeb stuart himself.
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i think he was very concerned that stuart was out of communication as long as he was. i think he was worried about his stuart's fate. you have to keep in mind that lee had adequate cavalry and to perform the duties he needed to perform and elected not to make effective use of it in the form of jenkins. had beverly robertson obeyed the orders he was given by stuart, the other two brigades, robinson and jones, would have been in chambersburg by june 30. robertson expressly disobeyed his orders and did not get there until the morning of july 3. is that stuart's fault? hardly. that is right. they were still in the south of the potomac river. do i think of the ugly confrontation that is depicted
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in mr. turner's movie happened? i do not. which consequently means i don't think that stuart's supposedly fragile ego, which i don't buy that for a moment either, was not in such a condition that he felt like he had to do something to redeem himself. let's say for the sake of argument that he did. i will submit to you and you will hear later today when my friend talks about it, the retreat from gettysburg was stuart's finest hour. he performed magnificently. for nearly six days, he kept the army of the potomac away. single-handedly. fight -- whilee he took the fight to the in cavalry. i will submit to you that if it had not been for the fodder and the 150 wagon that was captured, his command would not have been in any condition to perform the services performed during the retreat of gettysburg. there is a very long answer to your question. anybody else?
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roger., wait until she gets to you with the microphone. >> the condition of the horses. briefly. stuart's horses had to be exceedingly tired. they had been on the road at least eight days, pretty much all the time. how bad was the condition of the union horse calvary at the same time? we know stewart was pushing hard. eric: the question was do we know the condition of stuart's horses which was pretty rough, what was the condition of the union forces? the answer is almost as bad. one of the reasons why john buford was ordered to leave the battlefield and go to westminster on the morning of july 2 was because his command had been constantly marching and fighting since the stoneman rate
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-- raid almost without a break and his forces were in rough shape. the difference is about this time coming online was the cavalry bureau outside of washington, d.c. which was formed and created for the specific purpose of supplying remounts for the calvary horses. the with just the goal -- logistical chain is better that the confederates but out in the field it did not matter. their horses were almost in as bad as a condition. it is not as well documented. anybody else? hang on. let her come to you with the microphone. it's ok. up here. up here in the front row. go ahead.
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>> it's not going to go off? [laughter] , he is kind of a shadowy figure he comes and ago. , he was a maryland officer. you said that he came to gettysburg, which i knew that, as they were floating around. when did he come under the command of stuart? harry gilmer? >> eric: the question is about harry gilmore who is a maryland calvary officer. major gilmore was actually on the battlefield on july 1 because he leads in his memoir the account of him doing provost duty guarding union pows. that's as early as july 1. they are there, but they are doing provost duty at army headquarters. >> [indiscernible]
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eric: sarge's point was not only did the wagons that were captured at rockville, maryland provided fodder for the horses, but it is quite correctly points out all 150 of those wagons ended up being used as ambulances in the 17 mile-long wagon train of wounded, moving confederate wounded from the battlefield a gettysburg. you are absolutely correct about that. never argue with the sarge. [laughter] anybody else? thank you very much. [applause] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, history.
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you can see our schedule or watch a recent program. american artifacts, road to the white house rewind, lectures in history and more. at rogers was the start of the children's television program mr. rogers's neighborhood. differs and in 1968 on local pittsburgh television station wqed and later distributed nationwide. a statue dedicated to him sits near heinz field on the backs of allegheny river. up next we will take a look at some other pittsburgh pioneers highlighted in the heinz history center's judiciary -- tradition of innovation center. >> i'm glad we are together again. >> pittsburgh is an amazing place. it is a w


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