In yesterday's post, we looked at the opening moments of the engagement at Gettysburg.
Harry Heth had problem. He was an infantry commander under Robert E. Lee, and was leading the march toward Gettysburg. Some say he inteneded to find shoes in that town. But, he was tactically blind. Lee's cavalry under General Stuart was off riding, God-knows-where. Heth had sent pickets into Gettysburg the day before and had encountered militia.. On what we now call the first day of the battle, he thought that his infantry could move into the town virtually unopposed. What he didn't consider was John Buford, who had moved into the town the late afternoon of the day before.
In this first clip, Buford is trying to save the defensible terrain for the main army, who is behind him several miles. Buford is deceiving Heth, showing only a portion of his force. We call this "economy of force", by only using the force necessary to obtain the objective, which for Buford is to slow Heth down until the main body can arrive. During this phase, Buford drives off the first attack, then strengthens his line for what he knows is the seond attack. Buford will put two brigades on line, with a screen to his north, because he knows that the Confederates are massing on Gettysburg.
With two brigades on line, Buford is committed to this location. He's awaiting Reynolds, who commands a corps of infantry. As the day progresses, Reynold's infantry arrives, and again strengthens the line, allowing the battle to proceed.
Now, let's go surprise Harry Heth.