"That just takes the wind out of you," said National Park Service ranger-historian Troy Harman, who has been studying the battle and working with preservationists to save at least some portion of the field.
...But ranger-historian Harman sees the battle a little differently.
says Custer planned a careful trap.
says the battle was important because it kept the attention of both sides focused on the northern end of the battlefield when the crucial struggle was to the south, at Little Round Top and the Peach Orchard.
The cavalry action further delayed and weakened Confederate attacks on Culp's Hill.It also delayed the redeployment of Union cavalry to the south, leaving the Union left flank unprotected on July 2.Harman
likes to call Hunterstown, four miles north of Gettysburg
, the "north cavalry field," following the pattern of the east and south cavalry fields.He
sees the seemingly separate cavalry actions from Hanover to Fairfield as unified elements, part of the big picture of the Battle of Gettysburg
"In all of these actions, Union cavalry buffered key Union positions in four directions of the compass," he
wrote in a recent article.
While I pretty vigorously disagree with most of Troy Harman's
interpretation of the fight, I do give him credit for focusing attention on this little gem of a battlefield (he calls it North Cavalry Field, a name I think is not only very appropriate, but also very fitting), and I had hoped that his
efforts might help to save the field.