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Old July 30, 2012, 11:19 AM   #36
Mike Irwin
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Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,242
"He was the only officer with the resolve and power to have been able to STOP General Pickett from carrying out that catastrophic mistake at Gettysburg."

If Longstreet couldn't change Lee's mind to send Pickett's division across the field, what makes you think Jackson could?

Lee admired and highly valued Jackson fighting ability, but he respected Longstreet's abilities as a counselor, sounding board, and confidant above all others. In some ways, they had almost a father-son relationship, something that I doubt anyone could have ever had with Thomas Jackson given his personality and his quirks.

Remember, Lee secured Longstreet's promotion ahead of Jackson.

And also remember, had Jackson been at Gettysburg, it's very likely that he and Lee wouldn't have been together at the time of Pickett's Charge -- he likely would have been leading his troops in either a diversionary attack designed to bleed off troops from the center, or he would have been otherwise attacking a softspot in the Union line as a back up.

As for Pickett, he was but one of THREE divisional commanders in the charge; the other two divisions were led by Brig. Gens. Pettigrew and Trimble. Pickett, as a Maj. Gen., was senior commander on the field.

He also accompanied his troops for a significant distance through the march (I really hesitate to call it a charge), but stopped well short of the final "high water mark."

Before anyone accuses me of calling Pickett a coward for stopping short, as the senior field commander you could not expect him to march right at the head of his troops the whole way. In fact had he, I'd have questioned his sanity..



"Wow. I thought Lee would have thought better. After all, he has expertly orchestrated the Yankee whipping at Fredericksburg. Did he show any unusual symptoms at Gettysburg? Like fever, nausea, headache or stiff neck?"

Funny you should say that. There are reports of Lee not feeling well at times during the battle, and some historians have speculated that he actually had a mild heart attack or mini-stroke that affected his judgement on the third day.
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Last edited by Mike Irwin; July 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM.
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