Richard S. Ewell: The Cost of Inaction

Richard S. Ewell: The Cost of Inaction

Richard S. Ewell: The Cost of Inaction


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

-James 1:12

On July 1, 1863, the 2nd Corps, led by Lieutenant General Richard Ewell approached Gettysburg from the north and began to take control of fighting against the Union XI Corps and the I Corps. They drove them back through town and forced them to take up a defensive position on Cemetery Hill. General Lee knew the importance of that position and the advantage it could give the Confederate Army so he gave orders to Ewell to take the hill if possible. Instead of attacking, Ewell chose to stand down giving the Union Army more time to organize and prepare defenses.

We may never know the exact reasons he chose to stand down. Could it have been that he was confused by the order from General Lee? Or were his men too weary from the battle they were just fighting? No matter the reason, Ewell missed an extremely important opportunity to take a strategic advantage over the Union Army. When he did attack the hill on July 2nd and 3rd, the Union Army had time to occupy the position and build defenses which resulted in heavy Confederate losses.

As I began studying this man and his controversial decision to not attack a vulnerable Army despite orders to the contrary, I couldn’t help but think about one of the biggest struggles that I face as a man . . . complacency. He had the momentum on his side but instead of continuing to fight, he decided that he didn’t need to in that moment.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve made great strides to better myself as a leader, a husband, a father, and as a man, but ultimately the moment I start to feel confidence in what I’ve “achieved”, I begin to take my foot off the gas. The sense of urgency to defeat the enemy and live my life with purity and integrity begins to go away and instead of beating the enemy into submission, I let up because I feel like I’ve already beat him.

Unfortunately, the fight with the enemy is never over, and the moment we put our gun down, we give him time to mount a defense. Then before we know it, we’re­ vulnerable to attack. Kingdom men, we are called to fight every moment of every day against an enemy that is unrelenting. Don’t let your guard down and don’t stop fighting.

Today’s Training: Are there areas of your life that you are over-confident in? Do those areas cause you to let up a little and stop trying to better yourself? If so, take a good, long look at these areas and find ways to stay motivated to fight. God expects us as men to always improve. He wants us to continually push ourselves in every situation.