previous next

The hollow square in the Civil War: a formation used at Gettysburg Many authorities doubted that the formation portrayed in this picture was used at the battle of Gettysburg. Not until the meeting of the survivors of the First Corps at Gettysburg in May, 1885, were these doubts finally dispelled. Late in the afternoon of July 1st General Buford had received orders from General Howard to go to General Doubleday's support. Buford's cavalry lay at that time a little west of the cemetery. Though vastly outnumbered by the advancing Confederate infantry, Buford formed his men for the charge. The Confederates immediately set to forming squares in echelon. This consumed time, however, and the respite materially aided in the escape of the First Corps, if it did not save the remnant from capture. Cavalry in the Civil War was not wont to charge unbroken infantry, the latter being better able to withstand a cavalry charge than cavalry itself. In such a charge the cavalry ranks become somewhat blended, and arrive in clusters on the opposing lines. The horses avoid trampling on the fallen and wounded, and jump over them if possible. Buford's threatened charge was a successful ruse.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Buford (4)
Howard (1)
Doubleday (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May, 1885 AD (1)
July 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: