Death of Jackson vs. Death of Stuart. Which loss was more detrimental to the Confederacy?

Pete Longstreet

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Like the title states, which loss was a bigger blow to the Confederacy. Obviously one was an infantry commander and the other calvary, but based on what they accomplished in their respected positions, which general was more vital to the South....

What do you CWT members think? And what did any soldiers of that time period think?

Longstreet thought that the loss of Jackson was a "great misfortune" and that they "faced a future bereft of much of it's hopefulness." But said of the death of Stuart "his loss was possibly a greater loss to the Confederate army than that of the swift moving Jackson"
 

Pete Longstreet

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I would say General Jackson if he had survived I think he would have kept the war in the south they would have never gone to Gettysburg. Kept it in around Richmond and Petersburg. But even then I think Grant would have come around from the west go south and the rear of Jackson and Lee and surrounded them with the whole entire army.
No so sure about that my friend... I think regardless, the war was going north. Lee wanted to "destroy" the Union army. Davis wanted to make a stand so significant that it would force the U.S. to offer peace and also attract even more foreign recognition. The south knew the clock was ticking on their manpower and supplies and the fastest way to a conclusion was to break the Northern will.
 

jackt62

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One of the issues with the Stuart Gettysburg ride, was his other rides around the armies took only 3-4 days, respectively. But during those rides, the Army of the Potomac was stationary. At Gettysburg, the AoP was moving and thus created greater distance for Stuart to cover. I believe he was gone for about 8 days during the Gettysburg ride, which proved about fatal. You make some good points on the breakdown of communication.

Another less remarked upon aspect of Stuart's Gettysburg "ride" is the fact that he had captured 140 Union wagons, a treasure trove of supplies for the ANV. This was no afterthought, as one of Lee's general objectives for the Gettysburg incursion was to obtain as much food, forage, and other valuables as possible. Stuart knew this and the additional time it took to capture and escort these wagons was a normal byproduct of those instructions.
 

jackt62

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would say General Jackson if he had survived I think he would have kept the war in the south

Maybe. But Jackson was an aggressive commander who believed in taking the war beyond the confines of Virginia. Although Jackson was a proponent of indirect tactics, in contrast to Lee's direct assaults, Jackson might very well have carried out a Gettysburg incursion but with a different approach that favored quick flanking and turning movements
 

John S. Carter

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One of the issues with the Stuart Gettysburg ride, was his other rides around the armies took only 3-4 days, respectively. But during those rides, the Army of the Potomac was stationary. At Gettysburg, the AoP was moving and thus created greater distance for Stuart to cover. I believe he was gone for about 8 days during the Gettysburg ride, which proved about fatal. You make some good points on the breakdown of communication.
Please to explain the duties or purpose of the calvary, I was under the thought that one of the main mission of the calvary was to screen the front of the main force and to alert it of forces which where in its area.Where was Stuart's calvary during that eight days,not even Lee not have any idea were he was.Could JEB not have sent messengers to the main force to keep it informed.One may notice that I am not a patron of Stuart'.The time when the ANV required intelligence the most the question that Lee asked had not been answered "Where is Stuart",Longstreet had his spies out to inform him and Lee had Stuart.Longstreet intelligence told him what the ANV was facing,Lee relied on Jeppy.All this time Longstreet or Ewell or even Hill the first day have been the ones at fault when no one as taken a look at those days when Stuart was out of communication with the main army.
 

John S. Carter

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Lee's instructions to Stuart required him to protect Ewell's right flank, but was unclear as to the chosen route. Stuart had left behind I believe it was 2 brigades to scout for Lee. Overall, I agree that Lee bears much responsibility for the failure of the Gettysburg incursion. Lee was often lackadaisical about issuing clear instructions to his commanders. On the larger issue, the failure of Lee's aggressive movement northwards only diminished the fighting capacity of the ANV, and spelled the ultimate end of the Confederacy.
Very well and diplomatically expressed
Lee's instructions to Stuart required him to protect Ewell's right flank, but was unclear as to the chosen route. Stuart had left behind I believe it was 2 brigades to scout for Lee. Overall, I agree that Lee bears much responsibility for the failure of the Gettysburg incursion. Lee was often lackadaisical about issuing clear instructions to his commanders. On the larger issue, the failure of Lee's aggressive movement northwards only diminished the fighting capacity of the ANV, and spelled the ultimate end of the Confederacy.
 

Cavalier

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@JD Mayo In reference to your post #40 above, would have Jackson been the one to make that call, (invading Pennsylvania), if he had survived Chancellorsville? As a subordinate, not the commander of the ANV, the final decision to invade or not to invade Pennsylvania was not his to make in my opinion. Just a thought.

John
 

Cavalier

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@jackt62 On the subject of the wagons I believe as the chief of the cavalry of the ANV, Stuart would have, or should have realized that keeping in touch with Ewell was more important than the captured wagons, especially under the circumstances. As much of an admirer of Stuart as I am, I find fault with him in this instance. However I realize I am not supported in this view by many prominent historians.

I believe his absence at Gettysburg illustrates the extent of Stuart's importance to Lee and the ANV.

John
 

rpkennedy

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@jackt62 On the subject of the wagons I believe as the chief of the cavalry of the ANV, Stuart would have, or should have realized that keeping in touch with Ewell was more important than the captured wagons, especially under the circumstances. As much of an admirer of Stuart as I am, I find fault with him in this instance. However I realize I am not supported in this view by many prominent historians.

I believe his absence at Gettysburg illustrates the extent of Stuart's importance to Lee and the ANV.

John

If not for those wagons, Stuart doesn't make it to Gettysburg and isn't able to act as the army's rearguard during the retreat (his horses were exhausted and only the high quality fodder kept them going). In addition, the wagons carried away many of the wounded who otherwise would have had to be left behind. The train slowed him down but was critical to later events.

Ryan
 
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rpkennedy

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Til my dying day, I will believe that had Jackson been with his corps on the first day he would have taken the high ground at Gettysburg and there would never have been a Pickett's Charge and the resulting defeat.

It begs the question: which Jackson shows up at Gettysburg? The Valley and Chancellorsville Jackson or the Seven Days and Fredericksburg Jackson?

That said, during the Gettysburg Campaign, Richard Ewell did an excellent job as a new corps commander in a tough situation.

Ryan
 

Cavalier

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@rpkennedy If Stuart was with the Army earlier it would seem, (to me anyways), that the Battle of Gettysburg would have unfolded quite differently than it did, so the importance of the wagons, or the lack of them, would have taken on a different perspective, would they not? Once again, I am probably alone in this opinion.

John
 

rpkennedy

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@rpkennedy If Stuart was with the Army earlier it would seem, (to me anyways), that the Battle of Gettysburg would have unfolded quite differently than it did, so the importance of the wagons, or the lack of them, would have taken on a different perspective, would they not? Once again, I am probably alone in this opinion.

John

That is true but that might be because the army had not advanced nearly as far. When Stuart began his ride and ran into the Army of the Potomac on the move, he really had two options (that were both within the letter of his orders): he could continue on and meet Ewell later on, or move back the way he had come. There are issues with both options. If he continues on, Stuart is out of communications with the rest of the army and it's unclear as to where and when he'll meet up with Ewell. If he goes back, he's at the rear of the army, the exact wrong place for the cavalry to be and he's unable to really perform his role unless the army stops and lets him pass to the front, delaying the movement for an unknown amount of time. Stuart was in a lose-lose situation and took the option that had the most upside; unfortunately for him, the AotP moved much faster and further than it had before, futher delaying Stuart's rendezvous with the rest of the army.

Ryan
 

Scott1967

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I don't think any of the above comments would have made a difference at Gettysburg to be honest , With the loss of Jackson Lee restructures his army placing notable Virginians in leading roles , Heth , AP Hill , Ewell and in my view fared poorly and the fact that Lee took a very hands on approach in the battle goes to prove to me at least he was not confident he could trust his two new Corps commanders hence the reason Longstreet receives most of the burden.

This is not the same Lee we have seen since June 1862 with Jacksons death he takes on that role of being the aggressor ignoring Longstreet's advice which is not even up for discussion and then decides a full frontal attack again ignoring his most senior corps commanders advice and this is crucial because both Ewell and Hill did nothing to back up Longstreet , If Jackson was around maybe Lee might have listened and if both Jackson and Longstreet had objected to the attack maybe Lee might not have been so rash.

This is why Jacksons loss is so critical to the ANV without him the balance of the Army is gone and Lee feels he has to step into that role personally and take a more hands on approach with dire consequences to the ANV.

As for Stuart i have never fully believed he was to blame for his absence at Gettysburg but then again who is going to call Lee a liar , He was a good cavalry commander who led more with charisma and flair than tactical prowess and add to that he was a Virginian and his legendary status was only a matter of time , Ultimately he was replaceable.

All my opinion of course.
 

War Horse

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Jackson’s loss came at a time when the ANV was peaking. Hard to replace one of your most aggressive Lt Generals when you have your opponent on the ropes. It’s like a boxer breaking his hand during a title fight. Sure you have another one but it’s not as effective as having both.
As many here have already pointed out, Stuart’s loss came at a time when the Confederacy was on the decline. That in and of itself makes it a tragic loss however I believe Stuart knew the writing was on the wall. Hampton did an admirable job in his stead.

Jackson’s loss was a bigger blow to the ANV IMHO.
 

jackt62

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The south knew the clock was ticking on their manpower and supplies and the fastest way to a conclusion was to break the Northern will.
Yes, they took a gamble on breaking the Northern will and lost that bet. Alternatively, the south could have taken a purely defensive strategy (as per Joe Johnston), and preserved its resources and manpower to guard critical borders and waterways. That strategy may also have failed, but we don't really know since it was never carried out consistently.
 

Stone in the wall

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No so sure about that my friend... I think regardless, the war was going north. Lee wanted to "destroy" the Union army. Davis wanted to make a stand so significant that it would force the U.S. to offer peace and also attract even more foreign recognition. The south knew the clock was ticking on their manpower and supplies and the fastest way to a conclusion was to break the Northern will.
Yes, Jackson would have jumped at a chance to take the war north. While in the valley, before the 7 Days he had asked to be reinforced and he would take the war away from Richmond and deep into Pennsylvania.
 

Scott1967

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Yes, they took a gamble on breaking the Northern will and lost that bet. Alternatively, the south could have taken a purely defensive strategy (as per Joe Johnston), and preserved its resources and manpower to guard critical borders and waterways. That strategy may also have failed, but we don't really know since it was never carried out consistently.

Not sure about this , Even if the south had took a more defensive stance i doubt their economy would be able to support a protracted war any later than it did , By early 1865 the South was on its knees lack of Horse's , Mules , Food , No Texas beef to supply its western armies while supporting a significant army in the East not to mention high inflation all meant the writing was on the wall regardless in my view.

This was the whole concept of Lee invading the North was to obtain money , supplies and if the opportunity arose to inflict a major defeat on the North thus demoralizing the North even more , They might have pulled it off if Jackson was around but without Jackson and with the new army restructure the odds were long very long.

Lee was not the same at Gettysburg or after he tended to be more hands on and in my view this was due to the loss of Jackson , I have often thought Lee is the perfect figurehead commander of an army both noble and democratic but without doubt it was both Jackson and Longstreet that made him, His shield and sword and the loss of one crippled him.

All my view of course.
 
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To me Jackson death was more of a loss than of Stuarts. By the time of Jeb's death the Union cavalry had pretty much gained a foothold on defeating anything Stuart threw at them.
Jackson's death came at the high mark for the ANV. Who really knows what may have happened at Gettysburg?
 
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