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Civil War Trust

Lesson 2: Leaders must actively communicate, make quick decisions, and display confidence

Richard Ewell - July 1

Richard Ewell
The Confederate assault on Culp's Hill ended in failure. (Library of Congress)

By the evening of July 1, the Confederate army had driven Union forces onto a series of hills south of Gettysburg.  Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered Richard Ewell to attack the hills, trying to drive the Unionists from the field entirely before they had time to catch their breath.  Ewell was slow to act on Lee's order.  He allowed his subordinates to persuade him against attacking and eventually asked for reinforcements, further delaying offensive action.  In the end, he ordered several small probes, but did not make a major attack.  The Union men used the night of July 1 to strongly fortify the heights, putting the Confederates into an extremely difficult position for the rest of the battle.

Questions to consider:

What happens when a leader does not act in ways that inspire confidence?

How can you be sure that when you give directions, people know exactly what you want to be done?

These six lessons are part of a more comprehensive program offered by Battlefield Leadership, LLC, for educational and corporate groups. 

Battlefield Leadership is a leadership consulting and training company specializing in providing customized experiential leadership training based in history.  Programs derived from historic events and transformative figures who helped shape the course of history in their own time display the best in character-based leadership and have proven highly effective in catalyzing leadership change for organizations and business leaders at all levels.

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