Monday, October 19, 2009

Gettysburg | The movie

What is my favorite movie?
Ever been asked that one?
This ol hillbilly has many but Gettysburg has always haunted me.  I have watched this movie countless times, and it still brings me to tears.  If you haven't seen it here are some of my favorite clips from YouTube.

Get The DVD | Gettysburg (Widescreen Edition)

Introduction to the film "Gettysburg"

At the head of the troops
General Lee gets greeted by the men before the last battle at Gettysburg.

Gettysburg - Pickett's Charge: The Plan
General Longstreet giving orders to colonel Alexander and the commanders participating in the assault.

Pickett's Charge (Part 1: The Bombardment)

Badly blooded by the failed attacks on the flanks (which, some historians argue, can be blamed on Longstreet's cautious reaction to Sickles' moving his corp forward without orders into the Wheatfield), the Army of Northern Virginia had but two fresh Divisions left in the army.

General Lee gambled all on an attack, in which the two Divisions, plus a third made up of several other Divisions badly beaten the previous two days, commanded by General Longstreet and lead by Generals Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble, would attack the center of the Union lines after a massive cannonade to break up Union artillery and infantry deposits, a Napoleonic tactic Lee hoped would work in this instance.

Before the charge would begin, every Confederate artillery piece available would be focused upon the Union center across the way from Cemetary Ridge. It was said the impact of the artillery bombardment was so massive, that in Washington D.C., Lincoln could feel the ground shake.

Pickett's Charge (Part 2: The March)

Whilst the cannonade was underway, Ewell prematurely engaged in actions near Culp's Hill which required a section of the artillery to be diverted away from the main cannon action.

Longstreet was livid when he discovered this, and wanted to cancel the entire attack until all cannons could be focused on the center. However, not enough ammunition remained to resume the bombardment, and by then the Union forces would have recovered.

So, without a full bombardment as Longstreet wanted, and after much hesitation, Longstreet finally ordered the march, which nearly 13,000 men made, marching an entire mile across open ground, their target being a small cusp of trees behind Cemetary Ridge.

Unbeknownst to the Confederates, due to the Southern Artillery being improperly calibrated (the artillery used had a nasty reputation for overshooting their targets), Union infantry deposits and artillery remained relatively intact, and would be brought to bear on the mass of men as they made the march.

Pickett's Charge (Part 3: The Battle)
As if marching an entire mile wasn't exhausting enough, the lines of Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble's Divisions were ripped apart by Union artillery and infantry. Holes were torn in the Confederate lines. At one point, the Union troops began to try and flank the marching Confederates.
Little could be done by the Confederate forces but continue to march, and push the presumably decimated Federal lines back, thus breaking them and sending them into a panic-stricken rout

Pickett's Charge (Part 4: The High Water Mark)
Having marched an entire mile under heavy cannon and musket fire, the surviving mass of the Confederate Divisions began to attack in earnest, and managed to push back the Union defenders in many places.
While some areas were not so lucky; tales tell of a Confederate regiment destroyed down to the last man--the flag bearer--who was then helped over the low stone wall upon reaching it and immediately taken prisoner.
This was considered the High Water Mark of the Confederacy and the entire Civil War, because at this point in the charge, Confederate forces got as close to breaking the Union lines and ultimately achieving victory in the war as they ever have in the Eastern Theater, and ever would.
NOTE: Cameo by Ted Turner, playing Colonel Waller Tazewell Patton, appears in this clip, crying "Let's go boys!" before being shot in the chest. Turner completed this cameo in only two takes, leaving him to remark to people on the set "Just call me Two-Take Ted."

Pickett's Charge (Part 5: The Aftermath)

Robert Edward Lee, commanding the Army of Northern Virginia, suffered his most devastating and total defeat with the failure of what would come to be known as Pickett's Charge. Due primarily to the Southern artillery overshooting their targets, the artillery failing to mass after the premature engagement at Culp's Hill, the glorious Napoleonic assault Lee envisioned would crush the Union center and split their lines in two never came to pass, as over half the 13,000 or so men involved on the Confederate side were killed, wounded, missing, or captured.

Worst of all was the loss of high ranking officers. General Lewis "Lothario" Armistead was shot, and died some days later in a Union field hospital. General Richard Brooke Garnett, wounded some time earlier by his horse and forced to ride to the top, was killed, General James Kemper was grievously wounded, but survived. Only General Pickett and General Longstreet, watching from the rear, were unharmed.

Recognizing his mistake too late, Lee mourned, and begged the forgiveness of his troops, claiming "It is all my fault. General Pickett never forgave Lee for ordering the charge, and when Lee came to order Pickett to look to his Division, Pickett famously responded, "General Lee... I have no Division."

After three days fighting, Robert E Lee was defeated, and for the first time since taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, left the Union army in command of the field.

The Army of Northern Virginia was finished as a fighting force. During the battle, General Ulysses Grant and his Army of the Tennessee forced the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg to surrender, a major victory which, in concert with the defeat at Gettysburg, effectively ended all major offensive operations against the Union.

Gettysburg 75th Anniversary
A montage of archival footage from the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
Made in 1938

Tags | gettysburg, movie, garysworld appalachia


TC said...

The 75th anniversary video was really moving. Thank you for sharing, next time I see it for sale or rent I may have to get it.

Gary said...

Glad ya liked it TC

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