Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Walking Gettysburg's Battlefield--Henry Hunt At Cemetery Ridge
Gettysburg Battlewalks: Henry Hunt at Cemetery Ridge, Eric Campbell, Pennsylvania Cable Network, 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2006.
Eric Campbell's rapid delivery holds constant through the course of two hours of both general and detailed facts concering Union artillery on July 3rd. Without a nod to the Culp's Hill action from 4:30a to 11a July 3rd, Campbell's complete focus is upon the Union guns that are facing west: Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, Plum Run and Little Round Top.
Quickly covering Henry Hunt's career and his Civil War activities to July 1863, Campbell argues that Hunt desired his cannoneers to delivery 12 well aimed shots an hour on visible targets. Most cannoneers wished to send up to three shots a minutes at the enemy. Hunt's desire clashed with Winfield Scott Hancock's orders during the afternoon of July 3rd.
The Cemetery Hill artillery, commanded by Major Thomas Osborn of the 11th Corps, stretched from the cemetery gatehouse to Ziegler's Grove and commanded Seminary Ridge from the McMillian Farm to the Bliss Farm. The Cemetery Ridge artillery, commanded by Captain John Hazzard of the 2nd Corps, was massed between Ziegler's Grove to the Copse of Trees near The Angle. The Plum Run artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery of the Artillery Reserve Corps, occupied the Union line from the Copse of Trees to past the Trostle Farm lane.
The placement of the guns by Hunt and his commanders, the delivery of ammunition to the pieces, and reinforcement during the assault was essential to the defeat of Longstreet's second assault. Lee and Longstreet ordered the barrage, which Campbell asserts Lee understood would last only twenty minutes. Most accounts that it lasted about an hour. Campbell does not elaborate difference between what Lee ordered and what Lee got.
The decision to reply to the Confederate bombardment was made by Hancock and against Hunt's orders. Hunt wanted the Rebel assault under long range artillery fire as soon as the troops stepped forward. Hancock's orders diminished the supply of the long range ordinance available for striking the Rebels as they came out of the woods.
The decision to withdraw pieces from Cemetery Ridge and thereby misleading Alexander to conclude that the Federal artillery had been driven away was simultaneously reached by three different generals in three different locations on the battlefield.
Hunt as he rode the Cemetery Ridge line, Osborn on Cemetery Hill and Meade beyond the Taneytown Road. Hunt and Osborn agreed on the withdrawal as a courier from Meade found them and requested the withdrawal.
McGilvery's batteries took Kemper's brigade in their right flank; Osborn's batteries enfiladed Pettigrew's advance. Hazzard's batteries confronted Garnett's and Armisted's brigades head on.
Gettysburg Battlewalks: Henry Hunt at Cemtery Ridge should be viewed with either several issues of Gettysburg Magazine handy or with "Double Canister at Ten Yards": The federal Artillery and the Repulse of Pickett's Charge at hand. Like many of the PCN tours the information delivered is clear, concise and complete within the limits of the dvd format but, unless the viewer is very familiar with the battlefield, the persepective of the PCN camera is limited. The viewer at times wonders just where exactly are the Park Rangers standing while they speak. Campbell has six or seven stops on his tour and he makes the effort to show the audience importance of the terrain and uses 19th century enlarged photographs to show how the tree lines have changed.