OT: Gettysburg

Submitted by Michigan Arrogance on April 25th, 2011 at 11:37 PM

The movie Gettysburg is on TCM now until 3am. I can't turn this movie off. IDK what is it, but I can't turn it off.



April 25th, 2011 at 11:43 PM ^

Gettysburg rocks. We spent a whole week in class in high school watching that movie. It's pretty sweet going to class all week knowing you won't have to do anything but watch a Civil War reenactment.

Louie C

April 25th, 2011 at 11:58 PM ^

That's how I felt in jr high when I found out we were watching Roots. Not only did the movie (as fucked up as some parts were ) kicked ass, but the fact that we got out of book work and weren't quizzed on it was a +1. My social studied teacher damn near had a heart attack when I told her that Alex Haley was a relative of mine. RIP Ms. Knowlton. You were a damned good teacher. 


April 26th, 2011 at 1:42 AM ^

In Civil War class, Gettysburg meant a week of missing class yet not miss anything really. Not to mention all i had to do was tell my teacher ive seen it before for him to let me just leave. I preceeded to follow suit and tell him from there and out i had seen every movie before he showed it, this always exempt me.. stickin it to the man. Its funny someone else thought of the same thing as i did.

M Fanfare

April 25th, 2011 at 11:50 PM ^

The movie Gettysburg is based on the book "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. It's a great read.


April 25th, 2011 at 11:51 PM ^

When I was younger, I would always watch it the first few days of July. 

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) is pretty much responsible for saving the Union Army of the Potomac. 


April 25th, 2011 at 11:57 PM ^

That's really not true. It is true that the fight between the 20th Maine and the 15th Alabama is one of the classic regimental clashes in the history of that war, but in truth, there's very little possibility that the outcome of the battle hinged on it. Unless the 20th routed at initial contact. Otherwise the 15th was one understrength regiment who had already fought their way through two line of Federal defenses, with no remaining water, etc. etc.

The truth is, the Union army probably had ample reserves to counter any reversal on Little Round Top. The Confederates lacked suffecient remaining forces to support any minor gains.


April 26th, 2011 at 12:35 AM ^

But if the bayonet charge had not been ordered the line would not have pushed the rebels into Company B, which was "missing," IIRC, up till that point.  

If supplies had been sufficient, why would he have ordered the maneuver? Would they have survived another charge, who knows.

So yea, that's all I have. 


April 26th, 2011 at 1:04 AM ^

I am not a civil war scholar per se, but I don't think I can agree with your assesment.

(1) Little Round Top was the anchor of the union left flank, had they lost it the Confederates would have the advantage of the high ground allowing them to enfilade fire the union line (assuming they could get guns up there).

(2) Without a geographical feature to anchor their flank on the union line would have been vulnerable to being rolled up.

(3) the Union Army was engaged in many places and reserves will still marching towards Gettysburg from some distance. I am not sure there was a lot in terms of immediate tactical reserves at hand.

(4) Again my knowledge is imperfect, but since Longstreet's entire corps was sent to attack the Union Left and Longstreet delayed attacking until late in the day I would be very surprised if Longstreet did not have some reserves left in hand to exploit any breakthroughs.

(5) It's a much better story the other way.

Finally, regardless of the tactical facts, I think the important thing to remember and to honor Chamberlain for is that given the lack of ammunition and heavy casualties, most men in his position might have decided that descretion was the better part of valor and fallen back. But Chamberlain, who was in a better position to know the true importance of the situation than us today, chose to gamble on an unothadox possibly suicidal attack.

I ask you, what would Tressel have done in that situation?? Assuredly punt.

Chamberlain for Heisman. You heard it here first.


April 26th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

3. By the end of the second day the whole Union army was up. While the 15AL and 20ME were going at it, the Union had Weed's brigade coming up to help Vincent's brigade (which the 20ME was part of), and Crawford's division was also in the area. They also had a bunch of fresh VI Corps brigades at various spots in reserve, although these would have taken longer to get on the scene.

4. Longstreet had no reserves. All 8 of the brigades he had on hand (Pickett's division had not come up yet) were heavily engaged and most had been beaten up pretty badly. This wasn't true of Anderson's division on his left where one brigade never moved and another got owned by a single Union regiment (from Ohio!), but that was far removed from the action on Little Round Top.

I think Chamberlain deserves credit for the unorthodox "swinging gate" maneuver and for keeping the 20ME intact under pressure, but the overall situation probably still favored the Union even if the 20ME had been dislodged and Vincent's brigade thrown back down the hill. The Confederates probably would have had a hard time holding Little Round Top against a Union counterattack. As it was, the action there probably put the battle out of reach for the rebs.  


April 26th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

A lot of historians would argue your point Belisarius...not saying your wrong, but to say it's not true, well that's going to far amigo.

I went to Gettysburg College for undergrad (UM for business school), and know way more about the battle and 20th Maine in particular than I'd like to honestly...our fraternity was in charge of maintenance for the the 20th Maine reenactment site (part charity/partly court ordered). Our advisor had his PHD in History and his thesis was on the 20th Maine, he was also old enough to have been in the battle.

I think you're over looking two parts:

1) The odds were high that the 20th should have been routed (according to most of the local historians).

2) If they had been routed, the 15th would have likely seen the reinforcements they should have already had if it wasn't due to incompetence up the ladder.

On a side note, I was actually on campus when they shot the movie and a couple of my fraternity brothers were extras. Plus Tom Berenger hit on undergrads at the local watering hole for the entire length of the shoot, I'm guessing he wasn't unsuccesful...

yossarians tree

April 26th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^

I went to the National Park last summer. It is truly stunning to actually see and walk the grounds of the battlefield. I was able to walk on the rocks that Chamberlain and his regiment held on Little Round Top. The whole park is very well done and well-preserved--they let it have its dignity and don't fuck it up with a lot of touristy garbage.

Louie C

April 26th, 2011 at 12:06 AM ^

I watched this in high school as well. Everybody was bored and used it as a reason to go to sleep, but the history buff I am, I loved it.  We also watched a documentary on the Civil War that included letters from both sides to their loved ones back home. It's amazing how people back then with little education could write like that while we have kids today that can't write a full sentence without using an acronym. End of old man rant; now git owf mah laown.


April 26th, 2011 at 12:18 AM ^

It was of the era before the "gritty realism" war movies (Saving Private Ryan, etc.), but after era of the "war is spiffy and glorious" war movies (The Longest Day, etc.). 

I've probably spent more of my life than I should wondering what would have happened if Lee had played his cards correctly in that battle.  Or if the Rebels hadn't detoured to Gettyburg for shoes (true story). Or if Stonewall Jackson hadn't been shot after Chancellorsville. 


April 26th, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

Jackson likely advances swifty on day 1, taking the high ground in the area, and perhaps puts the Union on the run in full retreat. Ewell, his successor did not. This determined that Gettysburg would be the sight of battle for the next three days. Still the Union could have solidified further back. It isn't a given that Jackson pours them out and pushes on to threaten Baltimore and Washington or Philadelphia as is often stated. He could have, but it is no given. He likely continues to press, but the result is conjecture. It is fair to say that there is no Little Round Top on Day 2 or Pickett's Charge on Day 3.

In his defense, Ewell was considered outstanding up until that point. He had been a standout in Jackson's Valley Campaigns and was picked to lead the Pennsylvania invasion. Prior to Gettysburg, his forces were near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capitol, before being recalled back south to Gettysburg.

The thing that we should never lose sight of is that the Union ultimately had massive advantages in men and resources. That more than anything any commander did, decided the war. The south had to have the field advantage a man like Jackson provided. The North really didn't. They just needed a leader who accepted the loss of life and continued to press forward for more. Grant ended up being that guy.

yossarians tree

April 26th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

"The thing that we should never lose sight of is that the Union ultimately had massive advantages in men and resources. That more than anything any commander did, decided the war."

This is almost always the case in any war. The North was hobbled by terrible leadership in the field, constantly losing the battle for ground and being tactically schooled by Robert E. Lee.


April 26th, 2011 at 9:21 AM ^

I'll have to check out your blog again.  You're quite the history buff with your camera.  I approve.

I just wanted to mention that about 10 days ago, you inspired me to visit Bo, Fielding Yost, and Bob Ufer in Forest Hills Cemetary when I was in Ann Arbor.  I probably wouldn't have done it if it weren't for you.  Thanks so much!!


April 26th, 2011 at 9:58 AM ^

...of malls in the Fredericksburg area, but we also have the largest collection of major civil war battlefields in the country. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park contains the following battlefields:

  • Fredericksburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • The Wilderness
  • Spotsylvania Courthouse

And four historic buildings - Chatham Manor (overlooks the city of Fredericksburg across the Rappahannock, HQ and hospital for Union forces), Salem Church (located between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, it's the site of a battle associated with Chancellorsville), "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine (where Jackson died and located in the town where the Army of the Potomac travelled through on their way to the Battle of North Anna River following Spotsy Courthouse) and Ellwood Manor (the centroid of the Battle of The Wilderness).

Malls and the other trappings of 21st century development always threaten the sanctity of the FSNMP, but walk over Bloody Angle or along Sunken Road or through the woods of The Wilderness or into the room in Chatham where Union surgeons cut off so many limbs that they had to hand them out the window to be stacked like cordwood between two trees that still exist and you won't remember the malls.

While you're at it, you can visit Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington and Kenmore, the home of Washington's sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ball Washington's home and memorial, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, the James Monroe Museum, and a whole host of other sites associated with the area's colonial and civil war past.

Rush N Attack

April 26th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

I am headed to Fredricksburg in May for the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon. (I think we actually may be running along Sunken Road at one point.)

I'm pretty sure there is a monument to a Michigan Brigade along the shore somewhere...Not really sure...I'll have to google that and check it out when I get there.

EDIT:  found it - http://www.nps.gov/frsp/photosmultimedia/upperp.htm 

Anyways...I can't wait!


April 26th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

...specific location.

In 2003, a monument to the 7th Michigan Infantry was placed where that unit crossed the Rappahannock River into the streets of Fredericksburg. It was the first Union regiment to cross the river during the Battle of Fredericksburg.The monument is on Sophia Street at the foot of Hawke Street.

View Larger Map

Good luck with the Historic Half!  If you stick around past the race and you feel up to it, there are some great restaurants downtown.

Rush N Attack

April 26th, 2011 at 12:04 PM ^

I will definitely check that out.

...and I realize food is personal preference, but do you have any particular favorites/recommendations?

From the little bit of research that I did, it looked like there were quite a few unique places. I think we were just planning on heading downtown, and winging it. There was a seafood place my wife was interested in, but that's about it. We'll have almost 3 full days down there, so we're really looking forward to it.



April 26th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

...to choose from:

Waters Demos

April 26th, 2011 at 7:51 AM ^

That spelling is a function of continued loyalty to the Crown.  (I have no idea if that's true, but I assume it is - that's how I explain most things Canadian to myself). 

Having spent a significant amount of time in Ontario, let me appoint myself as ambassador.

My first order of business is to clarify the use of "eh."  It is not so broad as many Americans would think.  You don't go up to someone and say, "how's it going, eh?" 

In fact, its most precise meaning is "wouldn't you agree?"  E.g., - "it's time to get rid of Paul Maurice, eh?"  Or "fuck the bloc, eh?"

Waters Demos

April 26th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

in the US, I wouldn't know.

However, I assume they're more interested in the Habs right now.  And for those on the west coast, the Canucks.

BTW, with apologies to our Canadian comrades, I'm rooting for the Hawks tonight.  That way, they play San Jose instead of us, while we take a much shorter and more manageable trip to Nashville (and have home ice advantage).