Monday, July 23, 2007

More on East Cavalry Field

Spencer carbine at Camp Olden, 22 July 07

J.H. Kidd's "Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman" (973.781) does mention the tendency to waste ammunition when using a Spencer. Kidd also mentions Stuart's cannon shots (p. 143) and the terrific cannonading that preceded Pickett's Charge, which was heard by the folks at East Cavalry Field (p. 145).

Of East Cavalry Field/Gettysburg Day 3, IPBiz has been perplexed by the comments made by Brooke-Rawle about H.B. McClellan:

[from Carhart book reviewed in North & South]: Page 5 of the Rawle book refers to Major H.B. McClellan. The text of Rawle's book as to McClellan is puzzling. "It has been insinuated by [McClellan] who indeed if he were present, might be presumed to have been in a position to judge correctly, that the cavalry operations on the right flank at Gettysburg resulted victoriously for his cause. That this was not the case will be shown conclusively."

A factor to consider is McClellan's repeated reference to the mysterious cannon shots as having been fired by Griffen's battery:

On the plain below, and not more than three hundred yards from the foot of the hill, stood a large frame barn, known as the Rummel Barn. A glance satisfied Stuart that he had gained the position he wanted. The roads leading from the rear of the Federal line of battle were under his eye and could be reached by the prolongation of the road by which he had approached. Moreover, the open fields, although intersected by many fences, admitted of movement in any direction. When Stuart first reached this place the scene was as peaceful as if no war existed. The extension of the ridge on his right hid from view the lines of the contending armies, and not a living creature was visible on the plain below. While carefully concealing Jenkins' and Chambliss' brigades from view, Stuart pushed one of Griffin's guns to the edge of the woods and fired a number of random shots in different directions, himself giving orders to the gun. This, quite as much as the subsequent appearance of Hampton and Fitz Lee in the open ground to the left, announced his position to the enemy's cavalry; for General Gregg tells us that about noon he had received notice from army headquarters that a large body of cavalry had been observed moving toward the Confederate left. He was, therefore, on the alert before Stuart's arrival.

At page 456 of Trudeau's book "Gettysburg" one has a footnote:

In his writings, McClellan would consistenly misidentify this unit as Captain William H. Griffen's 2nd Baltimore Maryland Artillery, which was back at Gettysburg by this time.

Trudeau gives credit for the shots to Captain Thomas A. Jackson's Charlottesville Horse Battery.

One also notes

Stuart then ordered a single cannon to fire in each direction of the compass. The reasons for this are unclear, some speculate that it was to cause stir among Union troopers and perhaps discover their position while some say it was most likely to try and get Gregg to attack first and create an ambush for Gregg's troopers who would be pounced on by Stuart's concealed troopers. However Union troopers from Custer's 6th Michigan detected the deployment of Jenkin's and Chambliss' brigades around the Rummel Farm. Custer ordered Lt. Pennington's artillery battery to open fire on the Confederate artillery (Jackson's battery- that exposed itself when firing that single shot). Pennington's six guns were positioned four north of the Hanover Road and two south of the road. Pennington's battery was more accurate and soon silenced Jackson's battery.

At page 261 of Wert's book "Gettysburg Day 3" one has the text:

For reasons he never explained, Stuart had decided to test the Federals, bringing forward a section of the Louisiana Guard Artillery, a Second Corps unit temporarily attached to the cavalry. Captain Charles A. Green's gunners unlimbered their pair of ten pount Parrotts and hurled shells toward the Low Dutch Road-Hanover Road interesection. It was not yet noon when the Louisianans pulled on the lanyards.

Page 459 of Sears' book merely states "At about 11 a.m. Jeb Stuart had fired off his four-round artillery salvo to inform General Lee that he was behing the Yankee army."

***There is a marker for the Louisiana Guard Artillery at East Cavalry Field. East Cavalry Battlefield, east of Rummel Woods. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Two 10 Pounder Parrotts Two 3 Inch Rifles

July 3. After taking part in the fighting on the previous two days at Gettysburg and Hunterstown this Battery being detached from its Battalion brought its Parrott guns here and rendered important service in the cavalry battle not withdrawing until after dark.

***Brooke-Rawle's account "The Right Flank" does not mention the Stuart cannon shots but does mention that the Union forces on East Cavalry Field were aware of the artillery firing which preceded Pickett's Charge. [see page 16.]



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