I agree it was an audacious plan, and we can all hypothesize what could have happened had Lew Wallace failed to engage. But the fact remains that nothing in the raid ultimately caused Grant to loosen his grip on Richmond/Petersburg. The XIX Corps was coming from Louisiana and was not in the trenches. While the VI Corps did leave the trenches, there is no evidence that Lee was able to use this departure to any material effect along the lines. Grant said that he thought that the only day where there was any real risk to DC was July 10, but Early did not marshall an attack until the 12th, by which time the VI and XIX Corps had arrived. Tellingly, after Early retreated from DC, Grant did not order those troops to return to the siege lines, but instead sent them into the Valley, ultimately realizing the strategy he had envisoned Sigel/Hunter to deploy back in May. All the while, he continued to extend his lines and threaten Lee's right. Again, I'm not saying that Early's raid was a bad plan, it just didn't have the level of impact on the siege that your comment suggested. Call it by whatever name you want, but Grant's 1864 campaign succeeded in pinning Lee down and depriving him of his most valued resource - large scale operational manouverability.
You are misunderstanding my argument. I never said Early invasion had the precise intent Lee wanted it to have. I said the exact opposite.
You are describing what happened, saying that Lee's plan had no ability to to alter Grant's operations. And your argument is based on what actually took place.
What I am saying is that Lee planned for Early to take Washington, or at least threaten it as much as possible. Had Early taken Washington D.C., filed his troops into its defenses, and taken Lincoln and other dignities prisoner, then it would have forced Grant to make drastic changes to his operations around Richmond. You disagree. You think Grant would have ignored the whole thing or at least have let Early have a field day in the U.S. capital. That is your opinion, but mine is that Lee's plan, if executed as planned, would have had a drastic effect on Grant's operations.
And you are wrong to say that Lee was unable to make any "large scale operational maneuverability" in 1864. Early's invasion and Valley Campaign prove that.