Talk:Richard S. Ewell

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Anonymous criticism[edit]

This article is a perfect illustration of why Wikipedia is utterly useless as a valid source for academic research.

Almost every fact in this article is wrong or questionable; most notable is the myth repeated here regarding Ewell's conduct at Gettysburg, a myth that was definitively debunked nearly a century ago. Are we still protecting Lee's legend even now? If Ewell did make a mistake on 1 July 1863 - it was the exact opposite of the mistake alleged in this horrid article.

No, I'm not fixing the article. It should be deleted and started over. Educate yourself, starting here: 20:01, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Ewell's conduct at Gettysburg was certainly much more questionable compared to Winchester. Research the letters of one of his best subordinates, John Brown Gordon, whose papers can be found in the library of the University of Georgia in Athens. Gordon was quite heated in a letter to his wife written during the time of the battle. He feared that a grave mistake had been made. So, the criticism of Ewell did not begin with the Lee apologists, but with Ewell's very own generals in July 1863. See also the collected papers of Early, Trimble, Harry Hays, etc. I'm certainly not a Lee apologist (his men killed my great-great uncle on East Cemetery Hill), but as a Civil War author and writer, as well as tour guide, Ewell's conduct needs to be discussed from both perspectives. It was late in the day; Anderson was not fully up; Johnson was not yet in position; and part of Early's men were fought out. Still, the odds on July 2 were far slimmer than on July 1. If the article needs any editing, it is that perhaps both sides of the issue should be presented in a little more depth. However, the article is by no means worthless - not at all. Scott Mingus 20:32, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
While I do not normally get excited about comments from anonymous reviewers who offer broad criticism without specific recommendations, this article does need a bit of work, which I will undertake in the next day. Hal Jespersen 21:43, 30 May 2006 (UTC) BTW, I just looked at that article, to "educate" myself, and I'll point out that many of those who disagree with its conclusions have published more scholarly works than this magazine article without footnotes seems to be. But our article should cover both sides more thoroughly. Hal Jespersen 21:51, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Updated. If you have any specific recommendations, post here or edit away. Hal Jespersen 15:45, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Another Critical remark[edit]

The boxed text attributed to Historian Larry Tagg which states “Ewell inspired his men in spite of, not because of, his appearance. Historian Larry Tagg described him:” A description follows and is noted –Larry Tagg, The Generals of Gettysburg.

If one reads the description you can see it is actually from a first hand account by General Richard Taylor in his book “Destruction and Reconstruction” copyright 1879. Below is the description by Taylor from his book. Sound familiar?

Bright, prominent eyes, a bomb-shaped, bald head, and a nose like that of Francis of Valois, gave him a striking resemblance to a woodcock; and this was increased by a bird-like habit of putting his head on one side to utter his quaint speeches. He fancied that he had some mysterious internal malady, and would eat nothing but frumenty, a preparation of wheat; and his plaintive way of talking of his disease, as if he were some one else, was droll in the extreme. His nervousness prevented him from taking regular sleep, and he passed nights curled around a camp-stool, in positions to dislocate an ordinary person's joints and drive the "caoutchouc man" to despair. On such occasions, after long silence, he would suddenly direct his eyes and nose toward me with "General Taylor! What do you suppose President Davis made me a major-general for?"—beginning with a sharp accent and ending with a gentle lisp. Superbly mounted, he was the boldest of horsemen, invariably leaving the roads to take timber and water. No follower of the "Pytchley" or "Quorn" could have lived with him across country. With a fine tactical eye on the battle field, he was never content with his own plan until he had secured the approval of another's judgment, and chafed under the restraint of command, preparing to fight with the skirmish line. On two occasions in the Valley, during the temporary absence of Jackson from the front, Ewell summoned me to his side, and immediately rushed forward among the skirmishers, where some sharp work was going on. Having refreshed himself, he returned with the hope that "old Jackson would not catch him at it." He always spoke of Jackson, several years his junior, as "old," and told me in confidence that he admired his genius, but was certain of his lunacy, and that he never saw one of Jackson's couriers approach without expecting an order to assault the north pole.

Later, after he had heard Jackson seriously declare that he never ate pepper because it produced a weakness in his left leg, he was confirmed in this opinion. With all his oddities, perhaps in some measure because of them, Ewell was adored by officers and men. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I can see that there are some similarities between the texts. What are you proposing we do about it? It is not close enough to the Taylor quotation that you list here to credit it directly to Taylor. Hal Jespersen (talk) 18:37, 18 January 2010 (UTC)