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Gettysburg by Zach Timmons

Author says: what if the Union army had been forced to withdraw from the battlefield? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

On July 1st, 1863:

on this day Confederate and Union forces begin the battle of Gettysburg, PA. Robert E. Lee had no intention of becoming engaged, but his III Corps under Gen. A.P. Hill ran into Union General John Buford's cavalry division north of the town.

Buford skillfully held off Hill until the Union I Corps under John Reynolds was able to relieve him, but as the Confederate army began to converge on Gettysburg, the I Corps was forced to fall back to the town itself, where they met up with O.O. Howard's XI Corps. As senior commander, Reynolds decided to make his stand on the hills south of the town, ordering his I Corps to fortify Cemetary Hill on his left and the XI Corps to move onto Culp's Hill on the right. The XI Corps had just started to move into position when "Allegheny" Johnson's division of the Confederate II Corps marched up.

Ordered by Lee to "carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army".Johnson, immediately grasping the importance of the heights, ordered his division to take the hill at all costs. Although the mostly German XI Corps put up a tough fight, they were no match for the likes of the Stonewall Brigade, and Johnson soon sent Howard's men running south. Within an hour, Johnson was reinforced by Jubal Early's division, but the commander of the II Corps, Dick Ewell, hesitated to attack Cemetary Hill, now only held by a badly beaten I Corps and fragments of the XI Corps.

However, an officer arrived from General Lee, with a message stating "carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army". Ewell, recently promoted and eager to show his mettle, assaulted Cemetary Hill and rapidly drove the Union forces off, sending them racing down the Baltimore Pike, where they ran into Henry Slocum's XII Corps. Slocum immediately sent a courier to Gen. Meade, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, who ordered his forces to establish a defensive line on Pipe Creek, well to the south of Gettysburg.

Author says this story was originally posted on Zach's Blog. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site for Gettysburg.

Other Stories by Zach Timmons

Balanced Ticket The Kreisau Circle Obituary of President Morrison

Zach Timmons, Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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