Tag Archives: Confederate army

Confederate “Missteps” at Gettysburg

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.39.52 AMGreetings all!

I get a question from my Civil War students all the time. It goes something like this: what mistake cost the Confederates the battle at Gettysburg? There are plenty of contenders. Richard S. Ewell failing to take Cemetery Hill on July 1, James Longstreet sulking around and not launching his flank attack against Little Round Top until late in the day on July 2, and Robert E. Lee himself – ordering a perilous frontal assault against well-fortified Yankees on Cemetery Ridge on July 3. Cavalry wiz-kid JEB Stuart comes up too. He had been more or less MIA for the whole campaign – denying the Army of Northern Virginia valuable intelligence they most certainly would have used to their advantage.

What I find most interesting about the question is that is presumes a foreordained Confederate victory that only fell short due to a misstep by a single individual. The question fails to address whether or not Union commanders (Meade, Hancock, Warren, etc) made some really good calls and outfought the Rebels. This, I think, is worth considering. After all, after the war, when someone asked former Confederate George Pickett why his army failed to secure a victory at Gettysburg he responded, “I think the Union army had something to do with it.”

So here’s your chance to weigh in. And for my money, though I do not necessarily think this was the determining factor to the outcome of the battle, JEB Stuart blew it wholesale and really let his army down. I mean…come on dude. You had ONE JOB.

With compliments,

Keith

 

Possible Scenarios for Future Point of Honor Episodes – The Series Continues…

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Still no word on whether or not Point of Honor will be picked up for future episodes…but just in case, I am going to keep going with possible scenarios, in hope that the series writers stumble upon this blog. To keep up with the story, you might want to read the first installment of the series HERE.

Anyway…as war drama unfolds at home and on the battlefield, things really heat up in Lynchburg…

Episode 2 – PHCT

Incensed by General McClellan’s slow but steady advance toward Richmond in May 1862, the prosperous, wage-earning, free African-Confederate-Americans Virgil and Adolphus – citizens of Lynchburg – pool their ever-growing wages to form and equip a black Confederate regiment. When christened the Point of Honor Colored Troops (PHCT) at a Lynchburg abolitionist jubilee, the very sight of armed blacks standing firm in defense of their southern rights so inspires other Lynchburg slaveholders, that they too reject slavery and free their slaves, who in turn join the swelling negro ranks. Now brigade strength, the PHCT march out of town to face the invading Yankee hordes and with great resolve sing a medley of  Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd and Bonnie Blue Flag – putting forever to rest academic revisionists’ foolish notion that black Confederates are merely a figment of the white southern imagination.

Meanwhile…the drunk (though charming) quadruple amputee Rhodes brother (paroled by his Yankee captors who thought him harmless, as well as charmingly drunk) makes his way to Richmond via ambulance to serve the Confederacy as Lynchburg’s representative in the Virginia State legislature. Rumors fly that he is in contact – though West Point connections – with his brother John, who is still held prisoner in Boston. He is, in fact, plotting with John to beat the Lincoln administration in the freedom game by proposing a Confederate Emancipation Proclamation of their own. The audience knows through a series of pan left – pan right stock footage landscape scenes and voice-overs that correspondence between the Rhodes brothers, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and an irascible Irishman named Patrick Cleburne underscores great support for emancipation among the upper echelons of Rebel leadership. Though there will certainly be resistance to such a revolutionary turn of events – they hope that white southerners will change their tunes once they witness the martial prowess of the thousands fighting under the PHCT banner.

Back at the Point of Honor plantation…times are tough as there is now absolutely no one to work the fields. Not a single person. The womenfolk thus subsist entirely on handouts from the elderly and infirm free black Confederate citizens who are unfit to serve in anything but a motley home guard/Confederate Invalid Corps d’Afrique, and the Confederate money sent home by their drunk (though charming) brother in Richmond and the PHCT soldiers in the field. Pistol packin’ Estella Rhodes, the most incorrigible of the Rhodes sisters, has been behaving strangely. Her constant vomiting, cravings, and irritable behavior provokes suspicion among her sisters. Could she be…..?

In the final scene, Estella sits by the fire writing a letter – addressed to the Richmond front c/o commanding officer, PHCT, Confederate States Army. Cue Dixie and extremely affected southern accent voice-over – “My Dearest Virgil….”

Hoping for the call from Amazon entertainment…fingers crossed!!!

Keith

PS – See another future scenario HERE.