Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CWL-- On Front and Flank: Henry Hunt's Artillery on July 3rd

"Double Cannister At Ten Yards": The Federal Artillery and the Repulse of Pickett's Charge, David Schultze, Rank and File Publications, 1995, 77 pages, maps, order of battle, notes, and glossary.

David Shultz' slim but well packed volume opens up the sources regarding the issue of the role that the Federal artillery played in the repulse of Longstreet's second assault. General Pickett responded to a query concerning the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg with the statement "The Union army had something to do with it." After reading Shultz's book, I would say that the Union artillery definitely had something to do with it. I would guess that there may have been as many Rebel casualties from artillery shells as there were from infantry musket bullets.

Quickly, but thoroughly for the purpose of the book, Shultz covers the organization of the Cemetery Ridge artillery line: those pieces under the command of McGilvery, those under Hazard, and those under Osborn (with a nod to Wainwright). Stretching from Plum Run, to the Copse of Trees, to Zeigler's Woods and to the cemetery gatehouse, Henry Hunt brought the talent and the tubes together in the right spot at the right time.

Schultz convincingly describes the mortal effect which McGilvery's and Osborn's pieces had on the flanks of the Confederate assault. Also, the devastation of the pieces under Hazard, at the Union center from the Copse of Trees to Ziegler's Grove, is fully described. In detail, Shultz succintly describes the orders of Hunt and the orders of Hancock, their contradictions, and the effect of the contradictions had on the destruction on the Union center. Also, the decision to cease fire on McGilvery's line, withdraw of peices on Osborn's line and the Confederate belief that their artillery had swept the Union pieces off the ridge is presented.

The maps in the book are adequate but having Gettysburg Magazine at hand was helpful. "Double Canister at Ten Yards" also works well with the PCN dvd Gettysburg Battlewalks: Henry Hunt and Cemetery Ridge. As a taker of the Gettysburg LBG exam, I would put this book on the study list.

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