Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg

           When the dust settled after three long days of fighting in the small sleepy town of Gettysburg, PA, the town had changed. It was not a town known to many, but it would be on the map now and shortly after the battle ended tourists and souvenir hunters showed up. The major battle at Gettysburg was the turning point for the Northern Army in the War Between the States and from this point on, the war seemed to go mostly in the favor of the North. While the three day Battle at Gettysburg has been examined by hundreds of historians, most of what happened during the battle is agreed upon. However there is one major point that historians seem to be torn on; Did Robert E. Lee order Jeb Stuart to make a rear attack at Gettysburg?
             Before getting into that debate we must first have an understanding of what led to the  plan of attack on the third day of battle. In order for this to happen, the first two days of battle must be discussed. So this research has led to the opening of the battle that started July 1, 1863.
            The great battle began on the morning of July 1, 1863 just to the northwest of town. Union General John Buford’s cavalry division opened fire on the approaching Confederate Army that attacked from the west. Confederate infantry units under General A.P. Hill’s III Corps marched East down the Chambersburg Pike toward the awaiting Union Cavalry. The advancing Confederate Army outnumbered the single cavalry division that stood in their way. General Buford knew he could not hold long and “arrangements were made for entertaining him until General Reynolds could reach the scene.”[1]
            General Buford had the advantage of position while the Confederates had higher numbers
of soldiers. Buford’s men dismounted, dug in and fought with their new repeating rifles that helped make up for the lack of soldiers. Buford had to hold his position for as long as he could until Major General John Reynolds arrived with his First Corp.
            General Buford’s dismounted troopers were able to push the attacking Confederates back   a bit, but they eventually had to cross a wide shallow creek known as Willoughby Run and took position on McPherson’s Ridge. The dismounted troopers fired their carbines as quickly as they could at the advancing Confederate division led by General John Archer.
            Around 8:30 A.M. General Reynolds and his staff arrived in Gettysburg and rode to General Buford and watched as the battle unfolded. The two Union Generals spoke and made plans for their attack. “The First Brigade maintained this unequal contest until the leading division of General Reynolds' corps came up to its assistance, and then most reluctantly did it give up the front”[2] wrote General Buford on August 27, 1863.
            Reynolds sent for Major General O.O. Howard and his Eleventh Corps to pick up the pace and the same message went to Major General Dan Sickles, who led the Union’s Third Corps. Reynolds left Buford to see where his nearest division was located. It was not far, only a short distance coming up the Emmitsburg Road led by General Wadsworth. Reynolds led Wadsworth and his division across fields over Seminary Ridge, down the Chambersburg Pike to where the fighting was still hot on McPherson’s Ridge.
            As General Reynolds approached a patch of woods that today bears his name on McPherson’s Ridge, he turned his horse with his back to the woods, directing the arriving
infantry division where to go when a bullet smashed through the back of his head. Killing him instantly.
General Buford wrote in his battle report dated August 27, 1863 that “After the fall of General Reynolds, whose advance troops partially drove back the enemy and made heavy captures of prisoners, the enemy brought up fresh troops, and engaged General Doubleday's command, which fought bravely, but was greatly outnumbered and forced to fall back. Seeing our troops retiring, and their need of assistance, I immediately rushed Gamble's brigade to Doubleday's left, and dismounted it in time to render great assistance to our infantry, and to check and break the enemy's line. My troops at this place had partial shelter behind a low stone fence, and were in short carbine range. Their fire was perfectly terrific, causing the enemy to break and rally on their second line, which made no farther advance toward my position.”[3]
The fierce fighting continued throughout the day with the Union Army taking on heavy causalities. By 2:30 P.M. Confederate Lt. General Richard Ewell’s Corps became engaged alongside Lt. General A.P. Hill’s Corp and were able to push the Union defenders through the town of Gettysburg. By this point both sides became exhausted from the six hours of fighting, but the Confederate Army continued their push on the Union troops through the town.
While the Confederate Army was forcing the Union soldiers through the town, Major General O.O. Howard, who now assumed command since Reynolds was killed, “went to the top of a high building in Gettysburg”[4] to view what was happening. General Howard writes in his report of August 31, 1863 that he “came to the conclusion that the only tenable position for my limited force was the ridge to the southeast of Gettysburg, now so well known as Cemetery
Ridge. The highest point at the cemetery commanded every eminence within easy range. The slopes toward the west and south were gradual, and could be completely swept by artillery.”[5]
       Howard established his headquarters near the cemetery which was the highest point of elevation and dug in. This was the best position to be in and would give the Union Army the advantage of higher ground over the Confederates. A strong defense was needed since most of the Union Army engaged in fighting was exhausted and fleeing through town. The Confederates were able to capture the town along with 4,000 Union prisoners.
            General Lee and his commanders had this day about wrapped up and managed to flank the Union troops more than once into giving up the ground they fought so hard for. By the time the sun set on July 1, 1863 the Federal soldiers held the high ground on the southeastern edge of town. Major General Mead, the new commander of the Union Army, along with several other generals accompanied by thousands of troops, formed a fishhook shaped defensive line. The line extended south of Gettysburg, about three miles in length.
            The Union Army now held in their possession Culp’s Hill, to the right of Cemetery Hill and Cemetery Ridge to the base of Little Round Top.
            When Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet arrived near the seminary where the battle first began, he met with General Lee to discuss their next move. “Longstreet said it would be too dangerous to attack the Union army in the defensive positions they were preparing and proposed a sweeping movement to the south and east.”[6] General Lee however rejected this plan and wanted to resume attacking in the morning, but Longstreet protested.
            When the sun rose on the morning of July 2, soldiers from both armies continued arriving in Gettysburg. General Ewell renewed his attack on the Union right against the defenders on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill just as the sun rose. General George Custer was nine miles away but could hear the roar of the guns. He led his cavalry to the outskirts of town, around the Rock Creek area. Custer “was told to deploy his troops facing northeast in such a way as to guard against the Confederate cavalry”[7] if they tried to get behind them.
            While the attack on the Union right continued, Custer and his cavalry never fired a shot and was later ordered to move north and engage Ewell so pressure could be taken off the Union troops entrenched on the two hills. As Custer made a loop with his cavalry, he encountered Confederate Cavalry and a fight broke out. This fight was nothing compared to what the other soldiers were engaged in, but it kept Custer and his men busy.
            Confederate General Ewell kept the pressure on the Union defenders as well as he could, although no ground was gained. Meanwhile Lt. General Longstreet had two divisions of his 1st Corp, led by generals Hood and McLaws moved south to attack the Union left. “Hood's division was moved on farther to our right, and got into position, partially enveloping the enemy's left.”[8] During this entire time Colonel Alexander was ordered by Longstreet open fire on the Union’s left with high volumes of cannon fire. This was to be done, according to Longstreet so they could move into place and get ready for the attack.
            “General Lee ordered his reconnoitering officer to lead the troops of the First Corps and conduct them by a route concealed from view of the enemy. As I was relieved for the time from
the march, I rode near the middle of the line. General Lee rode with me a mile or more. General Anderson marched by a route nearer the enemy's line, and was discovered by General Sickles, who commanded the Third Corps, the left of the Union line.”[9]
            General Sickles, not happy with his assigned position on Cemetery Ridge advanced his corp forward about half a mile. This broke the line of defense of the Union Army causing a gap in the lines. Sickles’ new position was in the Peach Orchard, which was considered “neutral” ground. To scout the area he sent out a group of sharpshooters to see what could be found in a wooded arear to the west of Cemetery Hill.
            Sickles sharpshooters encountered members of Longstreet’s Corp and a fight broke out. Hood’s Division continued to press forward, causing the Union defenders of the Third Corp to retreat east back toward a small rocky hill called Little Round Top. The attacking Confederates pushed on through the Rose Woods and after suffering heavy casualties were finely able to dislodge Union forces from a pile of large boulders known as Devil’s Den.
            “General Hood received a severe wound soon after getting under fire, and was obliged to leave the field. This misfortune occasioned some delay in our operations. In the same attack, General McLaws lost two of his brigadiers (General Barksdale mortally wounded, and General Semmes severely wounded, and since died of his wounds). The command was finally so disposed as to hold the ground gained on the right, with my left withdrawn to the first position of the enemy, resting at the peach orchard. During the combat of this day, four pieces of artillery were captured and secured by the command.”[10]
            On Little Round Top Union General Warren stood by watching the Confederates pushing past his troops. Warren seeing the need to get troops on top of the hill to defend against the coming attack, “he called for troops to occupy it. The Fifth Corps (Sykes's) was hurried to him, and General Hancock sent him Caldwell's division of the Second Corps.”[11] General Sykes sent Colonel Vincent’s brigade, from his division and took control of Little Round Top under the direction of General Warren.[12]
            Around 4 p.m. the Confederate cannonade became more intense as Colonel Vincent gave orders to Colonel Chamberlain to anchor the Union left. With Chamberlain still getting his men in place, the cannon fire from the Confederates lightened a little, but was replaced by a heavy wave of infantry. The fighting, according to Colonel Chamberlain was “at close quarters.”
            More Confederate infantry was arriving to the south of Little Round Top, which was to the front of where Chamberlain had his 20th Maine troops entrenched. “In the midst of this, an officer from my center informed me that some important movement of the enemy was going on in his front, beyond that of the line with which we were engaged. Mounting a large rock, I was able to see a considerable body of the enemy moving by the flank in rear of their line engaged, and passing from the direction of the foot of Great Round Top through the valley toward the front of my left.”[13]
            The attacking Confederate’s continued the heavy assault and in order to keep a strong defense, Chamberlain shifted his line to the left. The line shift happened under intense fire, but the officers and soldiers of the 20th Maine understood what needed to be done. “The enemy's                     flanking column having gained their desired direction, burst upon my left, where they evidently had expected an unguarded flank, with great demonstration.”[14]
            The 20th Maine opened a hot defensive fire on the attacking Confederates to the point where they had to retreat and regroup. “They renewed the assault on our whole front, and for an hour the fighting was severe. Squads of the enemy broke through our line in several places, and the fight was literally hand to hand. The edge of the fight rolled backward and forward like a wave. The dead and wounded were now in our front and then in our rear. Forced from our position, we desperately recovered it, and pushed the enemy down to the foot of the slope. The intervals of the struggle were seized to remove our wounded (and those of the enemy also), to gather ammunition from the cartridge-boxes of disabled friend or foe on the field, and even to secure better muskets than the Enfields, which we found did not stand service well. Rude shelters were thrown up of the loose rocks that covered the ground.”[15]
            A final push came from the Confederate’s and the Union’s loss was severe. Half of Chamberlain’s men had fallen and a third of his regiment laid behind their lines, dead or wounded. While the defending Union troops braced for another attack, the 20th Maine’s ammunition was about exhausted. Chamberlain remembered his men were getting ready to use their muskets as clubs if need be.
            “It was imperative to strike before we were struck” wrote Chamberlain, “by this overwhelming force in a hand-to-hand fight, which we could not probably have withstood or survived. At that crisis, I ordered the bayonet. The word was enough. It ran like fire along the line, from man to man, and rose into a shout, with which they sprang forward upon the enemy,                    now not 30 yards away. The effect was surprising; many of the enemy's first line threw down their arms and surrendered. An officer fired his pistol at my head with one hand, while he handed me his sword with the other. Holding fast by our right, and swinging forward our left, we made an extended "right wheel," before which the enemy's second line broke and fell back, fighting from tree to tree, many being captured, until we had swept the valley and cleared the front of nearly our entire brigade.”[16]
            Over four hundred Confederate prisoners were taken and the Union army had total control of Little Round Top. The retreating Confederates left the area but took up a position in the area of Devil’s Den.
            The blood flowed heavy from both sides and while Longstreet’s Corp was involved in the attack on the Union’s left, Major General Jeb Stuart had already arrived in Gettysburg and was meeting with General Robert E. Lee. “No record of the exchange between them is known to exist.”[17] According to Douglas Southall Freeman, in his book Lee’s Lieutenants he writes “the tradition is that Lee said, ‘well, General Stuart, you are here at last.’”[18]
            It is unknown for sure if even the above words were spoken between Lee and Stuart. In Lee’s official report on the Gettysburg Campaign dated July 31, 1863 he made no mention of saying anything to Stuart or even, for that matter being upset about Stuart’s absence. Lee wrote “During the afternoon, intelligence was received of the arrival of General Stuart at Carlisle, and he was ordered to march to Gettysburg and take position on our left.”[19] 
            General Stuart makes no mention at all of any meeting between Lee and himself. In fact
the only mention of Lee Stuart makes prior to July 3, was in a dispatch he received from Lee informing him of the fight in Gettysburg. Stuart rode to Gettysburg and his “advance reached Gettysburg July 2, just in time to thwart a move of the enemy's cavalry upon our rear by way of Hunterstown. After a fierce engagement, in which Hampton's brigade performed gallant service, a series of charges compelling the enemy to leave the field and abandon his purpose. I took my position that day on the York and Heidlersburg roads, on the left wing of the Army of Northern Virginia.”[20]
            As one can see from the above statement, when taken at face value is when Stuart arrived in Gettysburg, his cavalry became engaged right away in a short fight. There is no mention of him meeting with Lee for further instructions. General George Custer confirms, in his battle report of September 9, 1863 that it was his cavalry that battled with Stuart on July 2. So if Lee and Stuart did meet face to face to make plans for an attack the next day, it did not happen on the afternoon of July 2, but possibly later that night.
            At dawn on the morning of July 3, the fight at Culp’s Hill was renewed by General Ewell on the Union’s right but nothing was heard by Lee coming from their left. General Longstreet had not yet begun his attack as Lee wanted. Instead Longstreet sent out a few scouts to survey the area and see which direction would be best to attack. Longstreet was still in favor of moving further south and attack from that direction, which Lee was strongly against. No matter how much Longstreet protested however, Lee would not give in.  
            “On the following morning our arrangements were made for renewing the attack by my right, with a view to pass around the hill occupied by the enemy on his left, and to gain it by flank and reverse attack. This would have been a slow process, probably, but I think not very difficult. A few moments after my orders for the execution of this plan were given, the commanding general joined me, and ordered a column of attack to be formed of Pickett's, Heth's, and part of Pender's divisions, the assault to be made directly at the enemy's main position, the Cemetery Hill. The distance to be passed over under the fire of the enemy's batteries, and in plain view, seemed too great to insure great results, particularly as two-thirds of the troops to be engaged in the assault had been in a severe battle two days previous, Pickett's division alone being fresh.”[21]
        “Orders were given to Major-General Pickett to form his line under the best cover that he could get from the enemy's batteries, and so that the center of the assaulting column would arrive at the salient of the enemy's position, General Pickett's line to be the guide and to attack the line of the enemy's defenses, and General Pettigrew, in command of Heth's division, moving on the same line as General Pickett, was to assault the salient at the same moment. Pickett's division was arranged, two brigades in the front line, supported by his third brigade, and Wilcox's brigade was ordered to move in rear of his right flank, to protect it from any force that the enemy might attempt to move against it.”[22]
            General Ewell was not having luck breaking Union lines and there was nothing happening on their left. General Lee decided save ammunition and man power and have a
main attack on the Union center. Around 1:00 p.m. General Lee gave instructions to General Longstreet to start a cannonade to focus on the Union center. After two hours of shooting cannon balls, a charge of around 11,000 men were to attempt to break Union lines. This was to be   accomplished by marching across about a mile of open field where the attacking Confederates would be under intense fire.
            At 3:00 p.m., after two hours of heavy cannon fire, the Confederate line emerged from the woods on Seminary Ridge. “Three of the nine brigades in the attacking Confederate force were commanded by Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, a 38 year old career soldier from Virginia.”[23]
Pickett’s division led the assault and no sooner had the Confederate lines stepped out of the woods when their lines were filled with gaps from Union cannon fire.
“Under orders not to fire and not to let loose their Rebel Yell, the Confederates closed the gaps in their lines and kept advancing. Union artillery changed from shells to canister -- tin cans packed with iron balls that made giant shotguns of the cannon -- and mowed great swaths through the Confederate ranks. As the attackers continued to close, Union infantry sent volleys of minie balls into the still-ordered Southern troops.”[24] 
What Rebels survived, returned fire and continued to charge toward Union lies. When close enough, hand-to-hand combat ensued and the Confederates were able to penetrate Union lines. However, due to the large number killed or wounded, the Confederates were not able to continue the fight. They had no choice but to retreat.
“General Wright, of Anderson's division, with all of the officers, was ordered to rally and collect the scattered troops behind Anderson's division, and many of my staff officers were sent to assist in the same service. Expecting an attack from the enemy, I rode to the front of our batteries, to reconnoiter and superintend their operations.”[25] The attack on the Confederate line never came. Both sides were exhausted.
            According to Longstreet, “The enemy threw forward forces at different times and from different points, but they were only feelers, and retired as soon as our batteries opened upon them. These little advances and checks were kept up till night, when the enemy retired to his stronghold, and my line was withdrawn to the Gettysburg road on the right, the left uniting with Lieut. Gen. A. P. Hill's right. After night, I received orders to make all the needful arrangements for our retreat. The orders for preparation were given, and the work was begun before daylight on the 4.”[26]
            While the attack on the Union center was under way, General Jeb Stuart led his cavalry around the right of Union lines. He rode about six miles east of Gettysburg, trying to remain undetected but that did not happen. Stuart’s cavalry caused a lot of dust to stir and due to the lack of rain and the hot weather, they were spotted easily by the defenders of Cemetery and Culp’s Hill.
            General Custer’s brigade spent most of July 2nd in the saddle and finally arrived around three in the morning near Two Taverns, about five miles south of Gettysburg. Custer’s troopers were allowed to get a few hours’ sleep before they would be needed again. General Gregg’s Second Cavalry Division was even closer and rested. By the time the sun came up on the morning of July 3, Gregg had orders to protect the Union’s flanks with his cavalry.
            “The next morning, recognizing the importance of the intersection of the Hanover and Low Dutch Roads – the Low Dutch Road being a direct route to the rear of the Union center – Gregg decided to strongly picket it.”[27] Gregg deployed two brigades one was led by Col. John B. McIntosh whose men connected with Union infantry on Wolf’s Hill. “McIntosh’s men relieved Custer’s brigade, who began moving out. However, Gregg persuaded Custer, who was not under his command, to stay. Just then, Stuart’s command, which had arrived on nearby Cress Ridge, fired four artillery shells and tried to flush out the Union cavalry, signaling the beginning of fighting at East Cavalry Field.”[28] 
            According to Major Henry B. McClellan, who was Jeb Stuart’s aid, the four artillery shots were a “prearranged signal” to let General Lee know his cavalry was in position.[29] Why would General Stuart be at the location of Cress Ridge if all he was supposed to do was guard the Confederate left? As someone who was in a guard position, why would Stuart allow his position be known by firing not one, but four artillery shells?
            While Lee makes no mention of this in his official report, Stuart writes “On the morning of July 3,pursuant to instructions from the commanding general (the ground along our line of battle being totally impracticable for cavalry operations), I moved forward to a position to the left of General Ewell's left, and in advance of it, where a commanding ridge completely controlled a wide plain of cultivated fields stretching toward Hanover, on the left, and reaching to the base of the mountain spurs, among which the enemy held position.”[30]   
            Stuart makes no mention of the signal he used by firing the artillery rounds, so we have to rely on the word of the man Stuart trusted most, Major McClellan. Also mentioned in Stuart’s
report is his constant skirmishes with Union troops. Why would he do this if he was just expected to guard General Ewell’s left? “Flank guards just didn’t do that. Perhaps a little skirmishing, that might have been predictable.”[31]
            Stuart also increased his strength by one brigade, which in many ways would back the theory he was ordered or planning on doing more than just guarding his flank. Stuart himself
answered that question in his report by writing “my command was increased by the addition of Jenkins' brigade, who here in the presence of the enemy allowed themselves to be supplied with but 10 rounds of ammunition.”[32]
            Then we have what I consider the smoking gun. “I moved this command and W. H. F. Lee's secretly through the woods to a position, and hoped to effect a surprise upon the enemy's rear, but Hampton's and Fitz. Lee's brigades, which had been ordered to follow me, unfortunately debouched into the open ground, disclosing the movement, and causing a corresponding movement of a large force of the enemy's cavalry.”[33]
            What could be any clearer? This in my opinion proves what Jeb Stuart had on his mind on July 3, 1863. The only problem was Stuart’s troops were discovered and his surprise plan did not work. As has been mentioned above, there had been no rain so the dust clouds could not be helped regardless of how many trees or woods Stuart had his cavalry travel.
            Further down in Stuart’s report he also adds “During this day's operations, I held such a position as not only to render Ewell's left entirely secure, where the firing of my command, mistaken for that of the enemy, caused some apprehension, but commanded a view of the routes
leading to the enemy's rear. Had the enemy's main body been dislodged, as was confidently hoped and expected, I was in precisely the right position to discover it and improve the opportunity. I watched keenly and anxiously the indications in his rear for that purpose, while in the attack which I intended (which was forestalled by our troops being exposed to view), his
cavalry would have separated from the main body, and gave promise of solid results and advantages.”[34] 
            According to author and historian Tom Carhart, he writes in his book Lost Triumph that the above “is simply inaccurate and misleading in many ways. But in it, Stuart also gives away some of what I believe to have been his true mission that day.” Carhart is right in many ways since Stuart clearly admits he is basically waiting for the right moment to attack Union lines from behind. However what is not clear is whose order was he acting on?
            Stuart’s attacking the Union army from behind is only mentioned by him, not Robert E. Lee. Lee’s only mention of General Stuart in his own report says “During the afternoon, intelligence was received of the arrival of General Stuart at Carlisle, and he was ordered to march to Gettysburg and take position on our left.”[35] That’s it. That’s the only mention of correspondence between Lee and Stuart. It’s hard to believe however, that Lee and Stuart did not meet face to face at some point. But why is there no mention? Could it be because the outcome of Lee’s plan did not end the way it was supposed to, making him look bad?
            The above is speculation but there had to have been a point where the two men met. It is just strange there is no mention between either Lee or Stuart and what their battle plan was. What is strange is not even Longstreet seemed to be aware of what Lee had on his mind for the fight on
day three. Longstreet made no mention of Jeb Stuart or for that matter, General Lee’s three prong attack. All we have is Longstreet making mention of his dislike of Lee’s attack on the Union center.
            The fight that took place on East Cavalry Field between Stuart and Gregg’s troopers left heavy casualties. “Before long, a heavy dismounted engagement raged in the fields around the John Rummell farm. Stuart’s command took heavy casualties in this engagement, and he sent Chambliss’ brigade forward in a mounted charge. Gregg responded by sending the 7th Michigan Cavalry, with Custer leading them, forward in a mounted charge that stopped the Confederate assault dead in its tracks. The Southerners fell back, and Stuart ordered a mounted countercharge by the brigades of Brig. Gens. Fitzhugh Lee and Wade Hampton.”[36]
            The small-arms fight heated up again Stuart’s men continued to fight. However, even though the breech loading weapons used by the Union troops, they were outnumbered by the Confederate Cavalry. Though they had to retreat, some of the troopers would stop and fire, but they kept moving. Before long, the fight was spreading into open farmland where there was just a few clumps of trees and bushes for cover.
The Confederate Cavalry “deployed into line of battle, slowly marching, the blades of their sabers glinting in the bright afternoon sun. They charged, headed straight for Union artillery blasting away at them. Gregg again ordered one of Custer’s units, the 1st Michigan Cavalry, to charge, and, with Custer at their head crying, “Come on you Wolverines!” their charge split the Confederate line in two.”[37] With his trooper’s ammunition running low, “General Stuart wagered
that one last charge using most of his force would overwhelm the Union line and hopefully scatter what appeared to be a thinly held crossroad.”[38]
The Michigan soldiers drove headlong into Stuart's determined troopers. In the fight that
followed, the soldiers shot, slashed, and stabbed each other at close range with heavy losses,                Stuart abandoned his quest to reach the intersection of the Hanover and Low Dutch Roads as would have been required of him if he tried to attack the Union army from behind. The fight for East Cavalry Field was over.
            Jeb Stuart failed to take the Union Army by surprise which is evident from the fight that occurred. While the Confederate cavalry did continue to keep the left of their army protected, Stuart failed to break the union lines. His ride around the Confederate Army started off wrong when they were discovered by defending Union troops. This caused a major problem Stuart had not anticipated.
            In conclusion of the Cavalry fight on July 3, 1863, there is no written record of a meeting between General Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart. Stuart’s actions and his intentions were clear however, in my opinion. He had every intention of making an attack behind Union lines. It is clear Stuart had no intention of simply guarding his armies left flank.
            It’s written in Jeb Stuart’s own report in his own words that he was waiting for the moment to attack. If he was not looking for a fight, then why did he fire the artillery rounds? Some say it was to see if there was a response from Union troops, but there is doubt to this. More likely than not, it was, as historians Tom Carhart and Stephen Sears claim, the four artillery rounds were a signal to General Lee telling him Stuart was in position.
            One could speculate what would have happened had Stuart’s cavalry been able to go around the Union Army undetected. Lee’s three prong attack would have been a complete disaster for the Army of the Potomac. Stuart would have been able to get behind Union
lines along Cemetery Ridge and the Union soldiers would have their backs turned to the attacking Stuart. Their concentration would have been on the thousands of Confederates marching across an open field and not behind them.
            The Union Army would have been cut in half with the Confederates having control of everything between Cemetery Hill and Little Round Top. General Mead would have had no other option but to retreat with this having a devastating effect.
            Of course this did not happen, but it leads one to try and figure out what Lee actually had in mind. It’s just hard to believe that someone like General Lee, who had won so many battles would put all of his eggs in one basket with just Pickett’s Charge. It’s just hard to believe. Lee was too smart for this.
            While there is no concreate proof that Lee was trying to make a three prong attack, it makes sense. There are those that disagree with Tom Carhart’s theory and there are many who have problems when one claims to know what someone else was thinking, but Carhart’s theory makes sense in the point that a three prong attack was Lee’s main goal. With no record of Lee and Stuart meeting to discuss the plan of attack, past research has revealed Lee, like many other generals always consulted with his generals. Not to mention Stuart and Lee were rather close and it is hard to imagine there was not a meeting at some point at Gettysburg between the two.
            After the fighting ceased on July 3, General Robert E. Lee issued the following:
                                                    General ORDERS, No. 74.
                                                  July 41863.
 I. The army will vacate its position this evening. General A. P. Hill's corps will commence the movement, withdrawing from its position after dark, and proceed on the Fairfield road to the pass in the mountains, which it will occupy, selecting the strongest ground for defense toward the east; General Longstreet's corps Will follow, and General Ewell's corps bring up the rear. These two latter corps will proceed through and go into camp. General Longstreet's corps will be charged with the escort of the prisoners, and will habitually occupy the center of the line of march. General Ewell's and General Hill's corps will alternately take the front and rear on the march.
        II. The trains which accompany the army will habitually move between the leading and the rear corps, each under the charge of their respective chief quartermasters. Lieutenant-Colonel [James L.] Corley, chief quartermaster of the army, will regulate the order in which they shall move. Corps commanders will see that the officers remain with their trains, and that they move steadily and quietly, and that the animals are properly cared for.
        III. The artillery of each corps will move under the charge of their respective chiefs of artillery, the whole under the general superintendence of the commander of the artillery of the army.
        IV. General Stuart will designate a cavalry command, not exceeding two squadrons, to precede and follow the army in its line of march, the commander of the advance reporting to the commander of the leading corps, the commander of the rear to the commander of the rear corps. He will direct one or two brigades, as he may think proper,
to proceed to Cash town this afternoon, and hold that place until the rear of the army has
passed Fairfield, and occupy the gorge in the mountains; after crossing which, to proceed in the direction of Greencastle, guarding the right and rear of the army on its march to Hagerstown and Williamsport. General Stuart, with the rest of the cavalry, will this evening take the route to Emmitsburg, and proceed thence toward Cavetown and Boonsborough, guarding the left and rear of the army.
        V. The commanding general earnestly exhorts each corps commander to see that every officer exerts the utmost vigilance, steadiness, and boldness during the whole march.
R. E. LEE, 
Was Stuart acting on his own or Did Robert E. Lee order Jeb Stuart to make a rear attack at Gettysburg? This is a question that one has to answer on his or her own, but this research has led to the conclusion that while there is no mention of Lee giving the order to Stuart in Lee’s report, we have the report of Jeb Stuart himself where he makes his intentions clear.

Catton, Bruce, Gettysburg: The Final Fury. New York: Berkley Publishing, 1974.
Carhart, Tom, Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg and why it failed. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2005.
Foote, Shelby, Stars in Their Courses. New York: Modern Library, 1994
Hessler, James, Sickles at Gettysburg. New York: Savas Beatie, 2009.
Ladd, David, Editor, The Bachelder Paper. Ohio: Morningside Books, 1995.
LaFantasie, Glenn, Twilight at Little Round Top: July 2, 1863, The Tide Turns at Gettysburg. New York: Vintage Books, 2005.
Longstreet, James, From Manassas to Appomattox. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1908.
Piston, William G, Lee's Tarnished Lieutenant. Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1990. A detailed book about Longstreet and his disputes with General Lee.
Priest, John M, Stand to it and Give them Hell: Gettysburg as the Soldiers experienced it from Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top, July 2, 1863. California: Savas Beatie, 2014. 
Longstreet, James, From Manassas to Appomattox. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1908. 
McClellan, Henry B, I Rode with Jeb Stuart: The life and Campaigns if Major General J.E.B. Stuart. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994..
War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume 27, Parts 1,2, 3. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1889.
-Battle reports of Robert E. Lee
-Battle reports of James Longstreet
-Battle Report of Jeb Stuart

[1] War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880. Volume 27, pt. 1.
[2] ibid
[3] ibid
[4] ibid
[5] Ibid (Howard’s Report)
[6] Carhart, Tom. Lost Triumph: Lee’s Real plan at Gettysburg and why it failed (New York: Putnam, 2005).
[7] ibid
[8] War of the Rebellion. (Longstreet’s Report).
[9] Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America (Indiana University, 1960).

[10] War of the Rebellion. (Longstreet’s report).
[11] Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox.
[12] War of the Rebellion (General Sykes Report).
[13] Ibid (Colonel Chamberlain’s report).
[14] ibid
[15] ibid
[16] ibid
[17] Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee’s Lieutenants ( New York: Scribners, 1944).
[18] Ibid p. 139
[19] War of the Rebellion. (Lee’s Report).
[20] War of the Rebellion (Stuart’s Report).
[21] War of the Rebellion (Longstreet’s Report).
[22] ibid
[23] www.civilwar.com
[24] ibid
[25] War of the Rebellion (Longstreet’s Report).
[26] ibid
[28] ibid
[29] McClellan, Henry B. I rode with Jeb Stuart. P. 338.
[30] War of the Rebellion. (Stuart’s Report).
[31] Carhart, Lost Triumph.
[32] War of the Rebellion (Stuart’s Report).
[33] ibid
[34] ibid
[35] War of the Rebellion (Lee’s Report).
[36] www.civilwar.org
[37] ibid
[38] ibid