Monday, July 04, 2005

Gettysburg 142nd Anniversary

Kim and I went to Gettysburg National Military Park for the 142nd anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. Here we are at the Virginia Memorial, with Robert E. Lee on Traveller, and park historians, waiting for the start of the Pickett's charge (Longstreet's Assault) battle walk.

Virgina Memorial
Canon Powershot A85

Each year, I try to spend some time developing a little more insight into what went on during this battle. Going on these anniversary walks, it's remarkable to me to listen to some of the folks who have encyclopedic knowledge of very arcane aspects of the battle. Where do they find the time?

The themes that have evolved that define my understanding of the battle are leadership and estimation. Lee underestimated the leadership and esprit de corps of the Army of the Potomac. He overestimated the mettle of the soldiers on the ground in his own Army of Northern Virginia.

Meade's army was at it's zenith in July 1863. There are numerous examples of extremely competent leadership on the union side from Meade down to the regimental level on all three days of the battle, and in getting the army safely concentrated in Gettysburg before Lee's army could defeat them in detail, as was Lee's objective.

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