19 February 2016 by Published in: Research and Writing 1 comment

I just found a very interesting tidbit….

A certain Gettysburg licensed battlefield guide has stated a theory that Farnsworth’s Charge occurred a mile or so away from where traditional accounts place it. I’ve always maintained that that theory is just that–a theory. J David Petruzzi and I wrote a very lengthy essay rebutting this theory that appears as an appendix to the second edition of my book Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, the content of which was largely based on the words and comments of the veterans of the battle.

I just found a new one. In this one, a private of the Fifth Corps, wrote, “During this time the Union cavalry made its appearance on our left in rear of Hood’s division. Kilpatrick sent Farnsworth forward across Plum Run. He charged the infantry, and endeavored to capture their reserve artillery and supplies. Though unsuccessful, and its leader and many of his men were killed and many made prisoners, yet it proved a useful diversion. It told upon the final issue of the battle by preventing Longstreet from reinforcing the rebel centre, to assist in the final and main attack which Lee was maturing. It also spoiled the execution of a plan Hood had formed to capture our supply trains.” The source for this is Warren Lee Goss, Recollections of a Private. A Story of the Army of the Potomac (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1899), pp. 211-212.

The course of Plum Run.

The course of Plum Run.

This demonstrates that the other theory is just plain wrong–Plum Run flows nowhere near where that theory places the charge. If, indeed, Farnsworth’s Charge crossed Plum Run as Goss contended, it had to have occurred where the traditional interpretations of the battle place it. This map shows the course of Plum Run, which empties into Rock Creek far from the southern end of the battlefield (to see a larger version of this map, simply click on it). That alternate theory says that the charge happened along the Emmitsburg Road near where Wesley Merritt’s Reserve Brigade fought. Plum Run is nowhere near there.

So much for that other theory…

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Mark Snell
    Sat 20th Feb 2016 at 11:10 am

    Eric,

    Do you know if there is any archaeological evidence (ie: relic-hunting finds) to substantiate either thesis? Now, we all know that it is illegal to use a metal detector on a National Park, but not all of the area where the action/staging occurred is on NPS property. (And I am sure that some people have illegally relic hunted, too.)

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