The Confederate attack was made with each corps being a battle line. This was to create waves of men which may have been a manageable attack formation in open fields but in the woods this quickly collapsed. The length of the line also prevented the corps commander from exercising control over his entire command. Eventually an ad hoc command structure was created when each corps commander took control of a section of the front. This was not the best solution but was the only real solution to be made during the battle.
The other main option would be to attack with each corps forming a column. If each corps had attacked as a column the corps commanders would have had more control over the attack. This probably would have allowed them to fight more effectively.
A critical decision because the line formation caused much confusion which resulted in delays and piecemeal attacks. A better controlled formation might have accomplished more.
Longacre, “The Early Morning of War”
1 week ago