Poll: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

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Thread: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

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    In the shadows... Member Vuk's Avatar
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    Default Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Feel free to discuss it, but what I am mainly interested in is seeing poll results.
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member CBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    There is really only one to blame and that is Lee. It was an epic blunder to march into enemy territory, with the primary purpose of gathering supplies, and then allow himself to go blind by sending away his cavalry like he did.


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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Responsible for what? Not being there first, then failed to defeat the Federal Cavalry as he used to?
    As far as I know, Gettysburg was what the Soviets will describe as a battle of Opportunity: a local engagement becoming a full-scale battle.
    Stuart was sent be Lee to do search and recon in order to do develop his offensive that should, in Lee’s view, in raging war in Federal territory, allowed perhaps negotiations with the USA and push major international Power as England and France (Napoleon III having his attempt in Mexico to create a Catholic Counter-Power) to recognise CSA.

    In doing this he went blind as Stuart went too deep.

    However, Lee decided to take the offensive against the Federal Troops, more numerous and in a better defensive position.

    The final decision to launch the frontal assault with his infantry was his decision, a little bit like Napoleon in Waterloo and the Guard, except Napoleon had no choice due to the Prussian arrival on the battlefield.

    So what you make think that Stuart had something to do with Gettysburg defeat, apart the fact of his late and not so successful participation?
    Last edited by Brenus; 05-01-2010 at 14:51.
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    In the shadows... Member Vuk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenus View Post
    Responsible for what? Not being there first, then failed to defeat the Federal Cavalry as he used to?
    As far as I know, Gettysburg was what the Soviets will describe as a battle of Opportunity: a local engagement becoming a full-scale battle.
    Stuart was sent be Lee to do search and recon in order to do develop his offensive that should, in Lee’s view, in raging war in Federal territory, allowed perhaps negotiations with the USA and push major international Power as England and France (Napoleon III having his attempt in Mexico to create a Catholic Counter-Power) to recognise CSA.

    In doing this he went blind as Stuart went too deep.

    However, Lee decided to take the offensive against the Federal Troops, more numerous and in a better defensive position.

    The final decision to launch the frontal assault with his infantry was his decision, a little bit like Napoleon in Waterloo and the Guard, except Napoleon had no choice due to the Prussian arrival on the battlefield.

    So what you make think that Stuart had something to do with Gettysburg defeat, apart the fact of his late and not so successful participation?
    You are wrong, I do not think that it was Stuart's fault. Modern scholars love to blame him though. It started right after the war with the Leeophiles ditching the blame for Lee's defeat on Stuart to protect Lee's reputation. Then you had Longstreet casting stones at the dead Stuart's reputation to explain his own shortcomings.
    Modern scholars who try to discredit the South pick up on this and blame Stuart as well as Lee. It is politics leaking into academics. The South is able to justify secession and say that their institutions really could not have been that bad if it could make men like Lee and Stuart. (except of course the Leeophiles who throw Stuart under the bus) Modern scholars think that to defend their position that institutions such as slavery were bad that they need to discredit the leaders and icons of the South. So they pick up on the Stuart bashing. That is actually something that my history professor told me. (he is a Stuart basher himself :P)
    Stuart being a good or bad commander of course has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of slavery, but since the South makes the lame attempt to justify their institutions and society by pointing at their icons, modern scholars mix politics with academics. History is supposed to be ultimate honesty, not propaganda. You make arguments, but you are supposed to be fair with your evidence and not pick and choose.
    I just wanted to see what view you all held on it. I am actually doing independent research on Stuart now, and am planning on writing a half-Historiographical, half-Research paper on the anti-Stuart bias in the Stuart biographies and why it does not hold water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadagar_AV View Post
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    Pleasing the Fates Senior Member A Nerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Please don't stone me because I got a 'D' in Civil War History class, but I wanted to contribute. War is such a random and spontaneous event, with influences such as evolving tactic, weather, morale and personal presences, I think it wrong to blame Stuart for the loss of Gettysburg and especially with the loss of the entire war. Offensive movements are timely opportunities of chance and luck. To say his decisions based on random circumstances that changed relativelly frequently was a mistake is to be bound by the textbook statements of those looking at the static events in hindsight. I think that the loss of Gettysburg and the war was more a matter of attrition and perhaps other factors I am unfamiliar with than any end-all tactical blunder.
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    mine was the "have a good time" selection. cavalry both north and south was too political, gamed by aristocrats for glory and fame. Stuart had nothing to do with the loss. He did nothing to help bring victory either, obviously. too often we get into blame for loss and fail to give credit for win. certainly Lee should have recognized that his generals failed him on day one and should have backed out of his poor position, but how about some credit for the Federals that took advantage of southern hesitation and took action to give their side the good ground?
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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Lurker Below View Post
    mine was the "have a good time" selection. cavalry both north and south was too political, gamed by aristocrats for glory and fame. Stuart had nothing to do with the loss. He did nothing to help bring victory either, obviously. too often we get into blame for loss and fail to give credit for win. certainly Lee should have recognized that his generals failed him on day one and should have backed out of his poor position, but how about some credit for the Federals that took advantage of southern hesitation and took action to give their side the good ground?
    Im with you on this one. As much as rebel Generals made mistakes. Wouldnt it have been the likes of Buford,Reynolds and Hancock and their actions during the first day.The federal army of Potomac would have been in world of hurt.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    “You make arguments, but you are supposed to be fair with your evidence and not pick and choose.”
    Err, in studying History who are supposed to read the document as well, so my position is LEE is actually responsible for his defeat.
    He choose to sent Stuart in recon, then to walk his armies in enemy territories, then to engage the Federals, then to charge in a open field…
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Gettysburg was a complete failure of an otherwise well-oiled machine. As CBR stated, it started from decisions made at the top, and almost every Confederate commander contributed to the disaster on their own level. Maybe it highlighted how important Jackson was to the team, maybe they didn't play so well without the home field advantage, or maybe they were just having an off day that first day and were too proud to extricate themselves from the situation.
    Last edited by PanzerJaeger; 05-02-2010 at 13:41.

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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    I'm agree with most of the comments. Stuart was a contributing factor along with a string of other failures and factors as is often the case in defeats like this. However, the ultimate responsibility has to fall to Lee.
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    In the shadows... Member Vuk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregoshi View Post
    I'm agree with most of the comments. Stuart was a contributing factor along with a string of other failures and factors as is often the case in defeats like this. However, the ultimate responsibility has to fall to Lee.
    So do you think that Stuart shared some responsibility for the CSA army's failure?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadagar_AV View Post
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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Some, but his was perhaps the first of many mistakes and some factors were out of the CSA's hands - what if Buford had decided not to make a stand at Gettysburg or what if Hooker was still in command of the Army of the Potomac? Even organizational flaws could have contributed to the defeat. I read Porter Alexander's Fighting for the Confederacy and one of his observations about Gettysburg floored me. The CSA had no unified command of artillery like the Union did. During Pickett's Charge, artillery from Ewell's position could have contributed raking fire down the length of the Union line on Cemetary Ridge, but there was no one to coordinate the CSA artillery. That raking fire may have had a much bigger impact on the attack than the cannonade actually used.

    I'm not intimately familiar with the details of Stuart's orders vs all he did/didn't do (other than he was "raiding far and wide") so I can't speak in more detail regarding his failure, but there were other mistakes besides his. Regarding CSA cavalry, in deciding how to respond to your question, I found this interesting synopis of the CSA cavalry situation in the Gettysburg campaign: Rantings of a Civil War Historian. There was CSA cavalry at Gettysburg besides Stuart's and the page paints and interesting picture of the situation.

    I definitely want to get some more books on Gettysburg but there are so many aspects to examine...and I am definitely ready for another trip to the battlefield this summer.
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    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    I say Stuart was only indirectly responsible for the battle, since his absence robbed lee, for the most part, of his eyes and ears*. but the defeat itself was all Lee's fault. he's the guy who could have capitalized on the 1st day by outflanking the Union. (that, and he orders he gave Ewell).


    *and even then, its Lee's fault.
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    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    I personally just think that, at best, he was indirectly responsable for the battle, but not the defeat. the defeat was squarely Lee's fault. he's the guy who ordered a charge on well-emplaced federals when he could have just out manuevred them

    EDIT: ok....accidental double post. may the moderator delete this please?
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Lee was responsible.


    Lee kept two brigades of cavalry in Maryland to guard retreat routes. Lee sent Stuart to get in the way/screen (which Stuart did in part based on information from Mosby). Cavalry was present on day one, but based on Lee's dispositions, only one brigade was there.


    I'd actually ascribe a good deal of the problems Stuart had to -- day I say it -- Union cavalry. The Union cavalry and Stuart had been fighting a running campaign for weeks prior to Gettysburg and it was Union cavalry that stopped Stuart from getting into the Union rear on 3 July. This was NOT the same army of the Potomac that Magruder had hoodwinked on the Peninsula.
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    Hope guides me Senior Member Hosakawa Tito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Lee was responsible.


    Lee kept two brigades of cavalry in Maryland to guard retreat routes. Lee sent Stuart to get in the way/screen (which Stuart did in part based on information from Mosby). Cavalry was present on day one, but based on Lee's dispositions, only one brigade was there.


    I'd actually ascribe a good deal of the problems Stuart had to -- day I say it -- Union cavalry. The Union cavalry and Stuart had been fighting a running campaign for weeks prior to Gettysburg and it was Union cavalry that stopped Stuart from getting into the Union rear on 3 July. This was NOT the same army of the Potomac that Magruder had hoodwinked on the Peninsula.
    Custer's cavalry, though greatly outnumbered, stopped Stuart and prevented him from supporting Pickett's charge.

    Lee's ambiguous orders to Ewell on attacking Culp's Hill "if practicable" two days earlier cost the Confederates the chance to turn the Union right flank early. Ewell delayed his attack till late the following day and gave Meade a chance to dig in and reenforce that crucial high ground. If Ewell had attacked on the 1st, even with a disorganized force, chances are they would have taken that hill and flanked Cemetary Ridge.

    The Confederate artillery bombardment that precluded Pickett's charge wasn't nearly as effective as Lee supposed. The fuses on the explosive shells didn't perform as expected, detonating later than thought. Meade had also moved the bulk of his forces toward the front lines and had them lay low. The result being that the Union rear took the brunt of the barrage, but few troops or reserve were affected.

    The picket fence along the Emmittsburg Road broke up the formations and cohesiveness of Pickett's formations, delaying and exposing them to small arms & canister much like barbed wire does today.

    Even with all that, the charge almost carried the Union center. It was the combination of little things gone wrong that cost Lee's army a victory.
    Making a frontal attack on a fortified position was an uncharacteristically poor decision by Lee, and the fault lies with him alone.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Very briefly: I believe that Generals Stuart & Lee were equally responsible.

  18. #18
    Member Member Nowake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Was Stuart responsible for Gettysburg or the Confederate defeat there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silken View Post
    Very briefly: I believe that Generals Stuart & Lee were equally responsible.
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