Lord Alfred Lord Tennyson's Suicide Charge

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“Their’s not to make reply / Their’s not to reason why / Their’s but to do and die / Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.” These famous lines from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” speak of soldiers who died fulfilling their orders. However, Tennyson hints that their suicide charge stemmed from the mistake of an officer, stating that “Someone had blunder’d.” One man’s error sentenced a multitude of men to death. One of the most famous examples of this is Pickett’s charge. Although many historians say that the crushing defeat the result of a multitude of factors, all of it traces back to General Robert E. Lee. On July 3rd, 1863, General Lee, pressured by the incoming reinforcements and a dwindling food supply, ordered General Longstreet to take the combined forces of Major General…show more content…
Instead of listening to the experience of his peer, General Lee allowed complacency to misguide his judgement and he ordered an attack of dubious success. General Edward Porter Alexander, then a colonel in charge giving General Pickett the signal to charge, also recounts his hesitancy towards the questionable orders, stating in his autobiography, “But when I looked at the full development of the enemy’s batteries and knew that his infantry was generally protected from our fire by stone walls… I could not bring myself to give the word” (Alexander 468). Many of the officers in Lee’s army were able to forsee that Pickett’s Charge would be unsuccessful. Consequently, this further places the responsibility of the call on Lee, as he, the General of the Army, was not able to predict what his subordinates were. These concerns were also voiced directly to Lee. General Pendleton recounted,“ (I) had offered my objections to Pickett’s battle and had been overruled… That day at Gettysburg was one of the saddest of my life” (Johnson 345). If the officers had kept their concerns to
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