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Old September 10th, 2012, 11:09 AM   #21

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read about the cold harbor campaign and Grants vague orders
Would you care to elaborate? I don't recall reading anything on this in any account of Cold Harbor I've read. Indeed, Rhea, an Overland Campaign authority, states that Grant issued orders to examine the ground before launching the attack, but Meade and the corps commanders did not do so. Perhaps you can provide these orders?

Also, great irony in a admirer of Lee criticizing another general for vague orders.
http://cwbn.blogspot.com/2012/07/iss...ert-e-lee.html

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Old November 17th, 2012, 02:35 PM   #22
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I ran across these memos in the OR's showing Meade planning to attack Lee on day 2 but was pre-empted by Longstreet.. I don't recall ever reading about this planned counter attack in any book on the battle..I think it shows Meade in a more aggressive light then usually shown...
MEMORANDUM.


[Taneytown], July 2, 1863-5. 30 a. m.
Major-General SEDGWICK: GENERAL: At 4. 30 p. m. yesterday orders were sent you to move up your command to Taneytown. At 7. 30 p. m. this order was repeated by the hands of Lieutenant Oliver, aide-de-camp, directing that you should make forced marches; that you should take the shortest route to Gettysburg, your trains all to be sent to Westminster and Union Bridge, south of the railroad, as ordered, yourself to report here in person at 11 p. m. By the arrival of your aide, the general was under the belief that you had not received the 4. 30 p. m. order, but your aide reported Lieutenant Oliver on the way, having met him half way there. At 2. 40 a. m., on your non-arrival here, I again dispatched a scout, who was directed to make his way through the woods, if the enemy's cavalry, as was feared, might be between you and us, and deliver you copies of the two orders. The general, after waiting until 12 to see you, left for the field of operations, and directed me to remain and communicate to you his views, and, having done so, to come up to the battle-field early this morning. Your non-arrival, probably owing to the failure of orders to reach you, causes me to submit the following memorandum of the views of
the general as far as your forces are concerned, which was made to me last evening, and based upon the supposition that you were to be here in person before day, and the greater portion of your command. The memorandum is as follows. From it, you must act according to your best judgment and further information and orders received, opening communication with General Meade as soon as possible, and reporting the whereabouts and condition of your command.

(Written July 1-10 p. m.)
The general presumes that the condition of your troops upon arrival here will possibly be such that you can hardly get on the battle- field of to-day before the action is pretty well settled. The general proposes to make a vigorous attack upon the enemy to- morrow. After taking the shortest possible rest necessary, the general thinks you had better move forward as far as possible, and take up position in line of battle at some strong point, so that in the event of the general's being compelled to withdraw, you can cover his withdrawal. If he is successful, you can push forward to aid him. There are strong positions on this side of Willoughby's Run-high, commanding ground. This memorandum was made upon the supposition that your orders would reach you, and you would march by Taneytown. You may have marched by Two Taverns. You may probably make some dispositions, if you are not able to reach the field. A. P. Hill and Longstreet are supposed to be concentrated in front of Gettysburg. Ewell-it is not known definitely where he is, but may be on our right flank. His HEADQUARTERS were at Berlin night before last. You can communicate sufficiently in advance of your column, wherever it may be, to get orders direct from General Meade, who is now on the field, at or near Gettysburg, and I am proceeding to join him. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DANL. BUTTERFIELD, Major-General, Chief of Staff.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 2, 1863-9. 30 a. m.

Commanding Officer Twelfth Corps:
The commanding general desires that you will at once examine the ground in your front, and give him your opinion as to the practicability of attacking the enemy in that quarter. Very respectfully,
S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant- General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 2, 1863.
Commanding Officer Twelfth Corps:
The commanding general desires you to make your arrangements for an attack from your front on the enemy, to be made be the Twelfth Corps, supported by the Fifth. He wishes this a strong and decisive attack, which he will order so soon as he gets definite information of the approach of the Sixth Corps, which will also be directed to co-operate in this attack. For this purpose, he has sent an officer to ascertain the whereabouts of General Sedgwick, and report. Very respectfully, &c.,
DANL. BUTTERFIELD, Major-General, Chief of Staff.
http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=045/0486
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Old November 17th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #23

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Thanks for that post wilber; I think it goes along with the point I was making that Meade himself was aggressive; he was not, however, capable of shaking off the AoP's institutional caution. It took Grant to do that.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 05:19 PM   #24
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At Gettysburg, I think he found himself in a position in which the AOP could be the one settled behind defenses and not attacking and having interior lines for support.So why wouldn't he use it to his advantage..As for after Gettysburg, the latest research also shows that Meade didn't sit there and just let Lee go..
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Old November 18th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #25

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Would it be fair to say that in July 1863 Meade was the only man in the Union who could lose the war in an afternoon. Its enough to make anyone err towards caution
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Old November 21st, 2012, 04:39 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funakison View Post
Would it be fair to say that in July 1863 Meade was the only man in the Union who could lose the war in an afternoon. Its enough to make anyone err towards caution
I would certainly think its fair to say that Meade certainly felt that pressure, even more so knowing that he was given command only a short time earlier...
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Old November 21st, 2012, 06:17 AM   #27

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilber6150 View Post
I would certainly think its fair to say that Meade certainly felt that pressure, even more so knowing that he was given command only a short time earlier...
I know very little of the interactions of Meade and his corps commanders in the time between his appointment and Gettysburg. I'm going to need a little help with that, for sure. But right now, I would deduce from the history of the battle that he had certain commanders he could rely on to act independently in the moment more so than others. Which would be true for any army commander, Lee included. Buford, Reynolds, Hancock... all took actions on that first day that, despite being pushed back through the town as Lee's army came to concentration, set the stage for Union victory. Meade's subsequent deployments on the Union positions he found on his arrival seems to bear my assumption out. Nice assessments, wilber.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 10:12 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I don't think that's entirely correct. After Lee withdrew across the Potomac, Meade pursued, and came within a hairsbreadth of cutting off Ewell's II Corps at Manassas Gap; thanks to "Blinky" French, Ewell got away.
French was quite aggressive, but attacking such strong ground is murderous. Pushing the 3rd Georgia back took several assaults, and used up a division. The concerted attack (in attack column!) of the whole of Wright's brigade was successful (ish), but used up 3rd Corps. 5th Corps would have been put in the next day, but Lee was well passed Front Royal.

Meade had essentially no chance of successfully attacking the Wapping Heights unless he could bang several more Corps against it.
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