Doomed from Day One: Battle of Gettysburg and General Lee

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Doomed From Day One

While the assumption that the superior, physically strong and tactically proficient army win wars on the battlefield, there is little thought of how leadership from authoritative figures and the chain of command play a role in determining the outcome of crucial battles. While both General George Meade and General Robert Lee both possess near impeccable character traits and have a long history of prestigious battlefield experience, General Lee faced extreme challenges displayed by his dynamic subordinates underneath his command. By not grasping the total respect and attentive detail from the lower chain of command, General Lee lost control of his officers and these reasons lead to more mistakes on the battlefield that eventually cost the Confederate States of America the Battle of Gettysburg and ultimately the Civil War. June 1863

In the preceding days leading up to the July 1, 1863 commencement of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert Lee was maneuvering his Army of Northern Virginia in preparations for advancement onto Harrisburg. The general consensus among historians is that a victory on northern soil would create a turning point in the war; a war that has been very costly and lasting longer than expected. Even though the Army of Northern Virginia and Gen. Lee have had success in previous battles, the army was depleted and was in need of supplies. A reconnaissance force was sent into town (Gettysburg) for much needed supplies. It was sound judgment, as Gettysburg is a “road hub” with direct access to Harrisburg, a major supply point and rail hub of the North. On the Union side, General George Meade had just assumed command of the Army of the Potomac and was in the process of reorganizing his command and selecting his chief of staff. Former National Parks Service chief historian, Edwin Bearss describes the brief struggles of Meade’s chief of staff appointments: “Meade takes stock of his new command on June 28...
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