Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gettysburg Part II: Georgians and Gettysburg

By Capt. William Carraway
State Public Affairs Officer

[Second in a series on Gettysburg. Find the first blog post here.]

A skirmisher with the 2nd Georgia Battalion
moves out in front of Wright’s Brigade.
Georgia Joins the Fight

As Maj. Gen. Harry Heth contended with the Union Iron Brigade west of Gettysburg, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s Corps arrived to the north and deployed to dislodge Union positions at Oak Hill. To Ewell’s southeast, Brig. Gen. Francis Barlow’s Union division had advanced to occupy the high ground of Blocher’s Knoll. Exposed as they were on the Union right flank, Barlow’s men made tempting targets for the Georgia brigades of Jubal Early’s Division. While Brig. Gen. John Gordon assaulted and fixed Barlow in place, Brig. Gen. George Doles men swept in and flanked Barlow from his position. The dislodged Union troops belonged to Col. Leopold Von Gilsa – the same New Yorkers who had been flanked by Jackson at Chancellorsville. Barlow was wounded and captured and two of his brigades were routed. In one hour’s fighting the Georgians inflicted more than 3,000 casualties on the Union XI Corps while suffering 750 casualties.

The collapse of the Union right caused the entire Union line to fall back through the town of Gettysburg. Union Soldiers desperately established defensive positions on Cemetery Ridge as darkness brought an end to the fighting. Significantly, though the Confederates had nearly routed the Union, they had failed to dislodge them from the high ground of Cemetery and Culps Hills.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kennesaw Mountain leadership lessons still relevant

By Maj. Dustin Krack
Joint Force Headquarters Operations

National Park Service Ranger Willie Johnson
refers to a map to show the array of forces
just prior to the battle of Dead Angle.
Soldiers of the G3 (operations) office of Joint Force Headquarters, Georgia Army National Guard, along with students of Georgia's Regional Training Institute (RTI) military intelligence school, recently had the opportunity to conduct a staff ride of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park located just outside Marietta, Ga.

The first staff ride was conducted in 1906 by a group of U.S. Army students stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kans. as a means of leader development and professional military education. By definition, a staff ride consists of a preliminary study of a selected campaign, a visit to the actual sites associated with the campaign, and an integration phase where participants can discuss ideas and lessons learned.

The field study portion of the Kennesaw Mountain staff ride took place on June 2nd, 2013 guided by ranger and historian Willy R. Johnson of national park services. Johnson has been a loyal employee of the National Park Service for over 39 years, earning the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, a coveted distinction sought after by the field artillery community.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Gettysburg Campaign begins: Lee Turns North

By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Public Affairs Office, Georgia Dept. of Defense

Cavalry forces clashed at Brandy Station June 9, 1863.
The opening engagement of the Gettysburg campaign,
Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.
In June, 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia, in high spirits following their improbable victory at Chancellorsville was marching north from Fredericksburg, Va. General Robert E. Lee’s intended to take the war to the north in an effort to gain foreign recognition of the Confederacy. If Lee could win a battle on northern soil, the Confederate States might gain that foreign recognition or else weaken northern resolve to continue the war.

Lee shared a supreme confidence with his 72,000 men. The Army of Northern Virginia had gained incredible victories at long odds. But those victories had often been the result of the superb leadership of Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville sent shockwaves through the South. He was irreplaceable and indeed, Lee chose not to replace him. Instead, Lee divided Jackson’s 2nd Corps in two. Maj. Gen. Richard Ewell was given command of the 2nd Corps while Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill received command of the newly-created 3rd Corps. Maj. Gen. James Longstreet of Georgia retained command of 1st Corps and Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart commanded Lee’s cavalry division.