Lee's biggest mistakes at Gettysburg

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I feel like the biggest mistake Lee made that he had the most control over was not moving Ewell's Corps around to the right
What, if any, would the logistics issues be in making such a move so late in the day and behind Longstreet's Corp? And given that Hancock/Howard were moving to hold Cemetery Hill as a key defensive position in the face of the Union rout in the afternoon, was not Lee more properly focused on carrying that position (and the adjacent Culp's Hill), rather than on laying plans for a second day fight? Had Ewell been able to occupy Cemetery Hill, it might possibly have been game, set, and match for the ANV. Confederate artillery atop the Hill would have been in a commanding position to enfilade whatever remained of the Union line along the ridge to the south, thereby making a successful assault on the Union left by Longstreet more doable.
 

neyankee61

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
One mistake Lee made the size of his staff. There was much that was to be done and too few to do it. Either that or he was poorly served by them. Using Pendleton to scout out the roads to the right seems to be a poor use of him. Perhaps serving on Scott's staff which was small during the Mexican war influenced. Below is a picture of Meade's staff

meades staff.jpg
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
There are always mistakes. The battle in Pennsylvania in July 1863 was the last, best chance for the Confederates to win the war. The alternative to Gettysburg was a long war of attrition in which the Confederates were on the defensive and the momentum towards emancipation was building. It wasn't a mistake. The Confederates lost because it was too late in the war for them to win major battles.
 

neyankee61

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Meade was applying lessons he and others learned from Dennis Hart Mahon, a professor at West Point. The concept of an "Advance Guard" goes back to Jomini and Clausewitz who called it the "Great Detachment" or "Advanced Corps"
"When an enemy's position is to be reconnoitered, with the view to force him to show his hand; by calling him to call out his troops; then a large detachment of all arms, adequate to the task of pressing the enemy vigorously, and also of withdrawing with safety when pressed in turn, must be thrown forward."
Meade sent forward the I Corps which was supported by the IX and III Corps, (a detachment of all arms, not cavalry alone). It caused Lee to collect in his forces around Cashtown. In turn this allowed Meade to have some basis to measure Lee's depth and intentions. Reynold's job was to force Lee to deploy his forces by offering resistance. The greater the distance the I Corps was from the main body of the AoP required a more protacted fighting and a greater need of support (IX and III Corps). If successful, it could have draw Lee's forces to the AoP. (The Pipe Creek Line)
Clausewitz concluded, "The Advanced Corps is 'never intended to stop the enemy's movements, but rather...to moderate and regulate them so as to make them calculable"
Meade's letter to Reynolds June 30 included the phrase (to cause the enemy) "to deploy and show his hand."
Meade's plan for Reynolds and the AoP' left wing was straight out of Clausewitz and the teaching of Dennis Hart Mahon.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Organize the evening of Day 1 for an all-out attack as early as possible on Day 2.
The issue with that, was that Lee didn't know the exact position of the Union troops. He sent out scouts on multiple missions, and even then they brought back faulty intelligence of the Union left. With where troops were, and when they came on the field, it would of been extremely difficult for a daylight attack on July 2nd. Now they could have started before 4 PM, but anything before Noon really strains credulity, and even that would have been difficult.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
There seems to be several mistakes made by Lee during that campaign. He should have given precise orders, not discretionary orders, especially having two new corps commanders in Ewell and Hill. The calvary situation is obviously an issue, but Lee should have kept the pressure on after the success of day 1, and not let the federals regroup and fortify. The Federals had the advantage of interior lines and I'm sure Lee understood this. A more direct attack from the Confederate left, would have relieved some of the pressure on the Confederate right, which came so close on day 2. The Confederate attacks were disjointed and allowed the Union time to reinforce at those points. I think Lee was too conservative at Gettysburg. And thus seemed more cautious than he did at Chancellorsville or Second Manassas. It's said that Lee gave his corps commanders discretion during battle. But to rely on two new commanders to perform as he believed one should, especially at that critical moment, when the outcome of a battle could decide the fate of a nation... was a very serious mistake.

The plan on July 2nd involved Ewell's corps demonstrating and then turning that into a full attack if they could find advantage. They only had an advantage when it got dark. The ground and position in that part of the battlefield were extremely difficult. A couple of points to remember about the norther fishhook section of the Union Line.

1.) No reinforcements left this sector until about 7:30 PM, they had no bearing on what took place on other parts of the battlefield. The reinforcements that helped out Union III Corps were from the II and V Union Corps.
2.) If Ewell had made a more direct attack at a earlier time he would have made less headway with more losses, and Meade still would have reinforced against Longstreet with II and V Corps troops.

The echelon attack almost worked because Meade pulled out troops from Culps Hill and Cemetery Hill late in the evening, and the troops from Culp's Hill that pulled out never actually did any fighting that day. It's the only reason Johnson was able to gain a foothold in the first place.

The ultimate objective was Cemetery Hill, when Hancock sent II Corps troops to help Sickle's, he didn't leave himself much left to defend North Cemetery Ridge and West Cemetery Hill with, The opportunity was there to strike, but Posey went in piecemeal, and Mahone never struck. Pender got injured and by the time Lane got things sorted out that he was in charge the opportunity was lost for the "Light Division" to attack. Robert Rodes moves into position that evening but doesn't attack because he doesn't have support on his right flank. On top of that you had Early attacking East Cemetery Hill with Hays and Hoke, with Gordon in reserve. That's 11 brigades going up against Caroll's II Corps brigade, Smith's XI Corps brigade, Von Amsberg's XI Corps brigade, with Coster's and Kryzanowski's XI Corps brigades and Stannard's I Corps brigades in reserve. 11 brigades vs. 6 and only Smith and Caroll were fresh not having fought the day before.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Meade was applying lessons he and others learned from Dennis Hart Mahon, a professor at West Point. The concept of an "Advance Guard" goes back to Jomini and Clausewitz who called it the "Great Detachment" or "Advanced Corps"
"When an enemy's position is to be reconnoitered, with the view to force him to show his hand; by calling him to call out his troops; then a large detachment of all arms, adequate to the task of pressing the enemy vigorously, and also of withdrawing with safety when pressed in turn, must be thrown forward."
Meade sent forward the I Corps which was supported by the IX and III Corps, (a detachment of all arms, not cavalry alone). It caused Lee to collect in his forces around Cashtown. In turn this allowed Meade to have some basis to measure Lee's depth and intentions. Reynold's job was to force Lee to deploy his forces by offering resistance. The greater the distance the I Corps was from the main body of the AoP required a more protacted fighting and a greater need of support (IX and III Corps). If successful, it could have draw Lee's forces to the AoP. (The Pipe Creek Line)
Clausewitz concluded, "The Advanced Corps is 'never intended to stop the enemy's movements, but rather...to moderate and regulate them so as to make them calculable"
Meade's letter to Reynolds June 30 included the phrase (to cause the enemy) "to deploy and show his hand."
Meade's plan for Reynolds and the AoP' left wing was straight out of Clausewitz and the teaching of Dennis Hart Mahon.
The first day was excellent, despite what looked like a defeat. After that he should have put his logistical support up against the logistical support of the Confederates. General Lee was a comparative long way from Richmond.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Lee made one big mistake, he was at Gettysburg. When Davis chose not to support Lee’s strategic campaign proposal, marching off into Pennsylvania unsupported was a profound error of judgement.
I don't know if I agree with that. Both Longstreet and Lee were in agreement that something needed to be done and the questions was whether to reinforce, Bragg, Pemberton, or Lee. Clearly Lee is the best of the three. In fact, though many claim Longstreet as a supporter of the "Western Bloc," he actually full-heartedly supported Lee's invasion.

He wrote his ally Senator Wigfall on May 13:
"There is fair prospect of forward movement. We can spare nothing for the Western Armies. On the contrary we should have use of our own and the balance of our armies if we could get them. If we could cross the Potomac with 150,000 men, I think we could demand Lincoln to declare his purpose."

Longstreet also told Wigfall:
"When I agreed with the secretary and yourself about sending troops west, I was under the impression that we would be obliged to be on the defensive here (Virginia)."

The Choice in May of 1863 was either Mississippi or Virginia, and if we follow the timeline, it would have been next to impossible for AoNV Troops to reach either Bragg or Johnston in time to stop the fall of Vicksburg, and in doing so would have weakened Lee's army, which had the best record of beating Union armies before. If Lee's army stays in Virginia, and doesn't invade you are risking the 1864 Overland Campaign in 1863, and Lee would have lost the initiative in losing 2-3 divisions to the West. They also couldn't keep feeding their soldiers where they were at, which was part of the reason Longstreet missed the battle of Chancellorsville. Lastly, the AoP was nearing the end of many of it's regiments 2-year enlistments, and so July onward would give the AoNV the best chance to fight at near parity.

I believe Davis supported the invasion, but in typical Davis fashion, never gave it the troops it needed to be decisive. Davis in a letter to Lee on May 15th wrote to relieve Lee of any concern for Richmond's safety "while you are moving towards the North and West." He also wrote in that same letter "I concur entirely in your views of the importance of aggressive movements by your army." Secretary Seddon also noted that the movement of the AoNV north was "indispensable to our safety and independence."

The issue comes from Davis not being assertive, and clearly not understanding exactly what Lee wanted in his move North specifically, the return of his seasoned troops (Cooke, Ranson, Corse, and Jenkins) roughly 6,500 men, instead he got Pettigrew and Davis. 2 untried brigades in exchange for four veteran units. Not a good exchange. On day 1 you would of had 4 veteran brigades in Heth's division, and while I feel Pettigrew did a decent job on day 1, it's clear that Davis did not. He also exchanged out Colquitt's veteran brigade for Daniel's untried unit, but I think that was more he didn't trust Colquitt.

On top of that Lee wanted Davis to instruct Beauregard to collect all troops not needed near Richmond and the Carolinas and act as a 4th Corps if you will. Lee wrote Davis that it would be better, "to order Beauregard on with all forces that can be spared, and put him in command here, than to keep them there inactive, and this army inefficient from paucity of numbers. Even Longstreet mentions Beauregard in a June 3rd letter to a comrade, when he says "let Beauregard come here with a corps. We want everyone here we can get." I believe the idea being that this Corps operating in Northern Virginia would either keep the Union off it's toes or allow it to operate in the Union rear during the invasion. I will agree Lee should have pushed harder for both of these reinforcements.

To tie it up. Lee got approval for his invasion. Davis supported the invasion. Lee wanted a audacious approach where everything is sent to support the invasion that could be, Davis vacillates and never commits, and so Lee is left to do it alone. Even alone Lee is at as close to parity as he's ever been against the AoP, and so it's still a sound strategy. Sorry for the novel response LOL.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Lee made one big mistake, he was at Gettysburg. When Davis chose not to support Lee’s strategic campaign proposal, marching off into Pennsylvania unsupported was a profound error of judgement.
Lee was entirely dependent on muscle powered logistics. Meade was entering one of the most advanced railroad networks in the world at that time. Lee was Napoleon entering the Russian frontier and Meade was leading an army that was on the doorstep of the 20th century. As soon as Meade made Lee's army concentrate to fight, the US had won.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Meade was applying lessons he and others learned from Dennis Hart Mahon, a professor at West Point. The concept of an "Advance Guard" goes back to Jomini and Clausewitz who called it the "Great Detachment" or "Advanced Corps"
"When an enemy's position is to be reconnoitered, with the view to force him to show his hand; by calling him to call out his troops; then a large detachment of all arms, adequate to the task of pressing the enemy vigorously, and also of withdrawing with safety when pressed in turn, must be thrown forward."
Meade sent forward the I Corps which was supported by the IX and III Corps, (a detachment of all arms, not cavalry alone). It caused Lee to collect in his forces around Cashtown. In turn this allowed Meade to have some basis to measure Lee's depth and intentions. Reynold's job was to force Lee to deploy his forces by offering resistance. The greater the distance the I Corps was from the main body of the AoP required a more protacted fighting and a greater need of support (IX and III Corps). If successful, it could have draw Lee's forces to the AoP. (The Pipe Creek Line)
Clausewitz concluded, "The Advanced Corps is 'never intended to stop the enemy's movements, but rather...to moderate and regulate them so as to make them calculable"
Meade's letter to Reynolds June 30 included the phrase (to cause the enemy) "to deploy and show his hand."
Meade's plan for Reynolds and the AoP' left wing was straight out of Clausewitz and the teaching of Dennis Hart Mahon.
After the first day, Meade could have withdrawn and made General Lee fight on new ground. But George Meade liked the terrain and thought it was as good a place as any for a big killing.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I don't know if I agree with that. Both Longstreet and Lee were in agreement that something needed to be done and the questions was whether to reinforce, Bragg, Pemberton, or Lee. Clearly Lee is the best of the three. In fact, though many claim Longstreet as a supporter of the "Western Bloc," he actually full-heartedly supported Lee's invasion.

He wrote his ally Senator Wigfall on May 13:
"There is fair prospect of forward movement. We can spare nothing for the Western Armies. On the contrary we should have use of our own and the balance of our armies if we could get them. If we could cross the Potomac with 150,000 men, I think we could demand Lincoln to declare his purpose."

Longstreet also told Wigfall:
"When I agreed with the secretary and yourself about sending troops west, I was under the impression that we would be obliged to be on the defensive here (Virginia)."

The Choice in May of 1863 was either Mississippi or Virginia, and if we follow the timeline, it would have been next to impossible for AoNV Troops to reach either Bragg or Johnston in time to stop the fall of Vicksburg, and in doing so would have weakened Lee's army, which had the best record of beating Union armies before. If Lee's army stays in Virginia, and doesn't invade you are risking the 1864 Overland Campaign in 1863, and Lee would have lost the initiative in losing 2-3 divisions to the West. They also couldn't keep feeding their soldiers where they were at, which was part of the reason Longstreet missed the battle of Chancellorsville. Lastly, the AoP was nearing the end of many of it's regiments 2-year enlistments, and so July onward would give the AoNV the best chance to fight at near parity.

I believe Davis supported the invasion, but in typical Davis fashion, never gave it the troops it needed to be decisive. Davis in a letter to Lee on May 15th wrote to relieve Lee of any concern for Richmond's safety "while you are moving towards the North and West." He also wrote in that same letter "I concur entirely in your views of the importance of aggressive movements by your army." Secretary Seddon also noted that the movement of the AoNV north was "indispensable to our safety and independence."

The issue comes from Davis not being assertive, and clearly not understanding exactly what Lee wanted in his move North specifically, the return of his seasoned troops (Cooke, Ranson, Corse, and Jenkins) roughly 6,500 men, instead he got Pettigrew and Davis. 2 untried brigades in exchange for four veteran units. Not a good exchange. On day 1 you would of had 4 veteran brigades in Heth's division, and while I feel Pettigrew did a decent job on day 1, it's clear that Davis did not. He also exchanged out Colquitt's veteran brigade for Daniel's untried unit, but I think that was more he didn't trust Colquitt.

On top of that Lee wanted Davis to instruct Beauregard to collect all troops not needed near Richmond and the Carolinas and act as a 4th Corps if you will. Lee wrote Davis that it would be better, "to order Beauregard on with all forces that can be spared, and put him in command here, than to keep them there inactive, and this army inefficient from paucity of numbers. Even Longstreet mentions Beauregard in a June 3rd letter to a comrade, when he says "let Beauregard come here with a corps. We want everyone here we can get." I believe the idea being that this Corps operating in Northern Virginia would either keep the Union off it's toes or allow it to operate in the Union rear during the invasion. I will agree Lee should have pushed harder for both of these reinforcements.

To tie it up. Lee got approval for his invasion. Davis supported the invasion. Lee wanted a audacious approach where everything is sent to support the invasion that could be, Davis vacillates and never commits, and so Lee is left to do it alone. Even alone Lee is at as close to parity as he's ever been against the AoP, and so it's still a sound strategy. Sorry for the novel response LOL.
Response is fine, except that it ignores Lee’s stated strategic purpose for entering PA. Davis either ignored or refused accept Lee’s strategy. Lee crossed the Potomac with no communications (logistical support) because Davis did not send the reinforcements that Lee’s plan depended on. None of this is my opinion, it is the literal written record of the Lee-Davis communications.

41 miles inside of PA Lee fought a completely unplanned battle in Nowhere, PA. Even had he achieved some kind of tactical victory, he was out of food, horses & ammunition. A retreat back to his base was inevitable. Win he lost, loose he lost, it he incursion into PA was a profound error.

Meanwhile, on TN, Rosecrans opening attack on Bragg’s army was 50 miles wide. That 100 mile advance would culminate in the capture & holding of Chattanooga & Knoxville. That is what a real strategic victory looks like.
 

Wizard of Cozz

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Response is fine, except that it ignores Lee’s stated strategic purpose for entering PA. Davis either ignored or refused accept Lee’s strategy. Lee crossed the Potomac with no communications (logistical support) because Davis did not send the reinforcements that Lee’s plan depended on. None of this is my opinion, it is the literal written record of the Lee-Davis communications.

41 miles inside of PA Lee fought a completely unplanned battle in Nowhere, PA. Even had he achieved some kind of tactical victory, he was out of food, horses & ammunition. A retreat back to his base was inevitable. Win he lost, loose he lost, it he incursion into PA was a profound error.

Meanwhile, on TN, Rosecrans opening attack on Bragg’s army was 50 miles wide. That 100 mile advance would culminate in the capture & holding of Chattanooga & Knoxville. That is what a real strategic victory looks like.
Lee's Strategic goal & factors for invasion were as follows:
1.) Army could not stay on the Rappahannock - It did not offer anything decisive for the Confederacy. Lee says "To have lain at Fredericksburg would have allowed the enemy to collect force and initiate a new campaign of the old plan." While Hooker had lost at Chancellorsville, the Union had improved upon it's understanding of how to attack at Lee's defenses behind the river, and Lee could expect that the next plan would be even harder to forecast.

2.) They couldn't feed their army by staying in Virginia either, Lee in fact could better feed his army by marching it North and living off the land. Richmond could not properly supply Lee's army that Summer with what it need if he maintained his army along the Rappahannock line. Therefore marching North Lee could feed his hungry troops, which he was able to do in abundance.

3.) A move North would pull the AoP out of its fortified lines and disrupt any further Summer offensives it may have planned. At the same time it offered Lee the ability to maneuver against the opponent as opposed to be stagnant waiting on them to attack.

4.) Win a tactical battle to shake Northern Morale and Republican political support. Lee wrote his wife on April 19 "If successful this year, next fall there will be a great change in public opinion at the North. The Republicans will be destroyed & I think the friends of peace will become so strong as that the next administration will go in on that basis." A successful campaign (a tactical victory over the AoP OR the army remaining and foraging in Pennsylvania for an extended period of time). Lee wasn't expecting major logistics and supplies from Richmond he was expecting to live off off the Pennsylvania countryside.

Lee's army whether reinforced OR not could accomplish those objectives, BUT they would have a better chance if Lee was reinforced. Again, he is going to forage for supplies, which gives him a better supply situation then staying in Virginia, and try and maneuver the AoP into a battle that he could win tactically as way of sapping Northern Morale. Considering #1 is arbitrary Lee was able to achieve #2 and #3, but clearly lost #4. All of that doesn't mean though that the strategic thought was wrong. I would love to hear what you think the best strategic decision the Confederates can make in Mid-May would be??
 

neyankee61

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
"Lee was entirely dependent on muscle powered logistics. Meade was entering one of the most advanced railroad networks in the world at that time. Lee was Napoleon entering the Russian frontier and Meade was leading an army that was on the doorstep of the 20th century. As soon as Meade made Lee's army concentrate to fight, the US had won."

True but only if the RRs are working. Gen Haupt was sending 15 trains a day to Westminster by July 4. The Western Maryland Railroad was a single track road. He sent 5 trains, one behind the other, at intervals of 8 hours. Once emptied they returned for more. It was getting the supplies to Gettysburg that was the problem. The Baltimore Pike, the road connection was closed until the afternoon of July 3. Pack mule trains, wagon trains, and uncountable heads of beef stretched the entire 22 miles of the Pike, carrying forage, rations and ammo. The heavy rains hampered the movement on the 4th and into the 5th.

Gen Henry Hunt to his wfe July 4 "I will take good care of myself hereafter, am pretty well, but very hungry. Our supplies are out, but I will buy breakfast somewhere."
Gen Patrick's diary July 4 "Everybady was without anything to eat and waiting for subsistence."
Major Jacob Slagle, Gen Doubleday's aide wrote to his brother that he had nothing to eat from July 1 to 4 "except a few broken crackers."
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Lee's Strategic goal & factors for invasion were as follows:
1.) Army could not stay on the Rappahannock - It did not offer anything decisive for the Confederacy. Lee says "To have lain at Fredericksburg would have allowed the enemy to collect force and initiate a new campaign of the old plan." While Hooker had lost at Chancellorsville, the Union had improved upon it's understanding of how to attack at Lee's defenses behind the river, and Lee could expect that the next plan would be even harder to forecast.

2.) They couldn't feed their army by staying in Virginia either, Lee in fact could better feed his army by marching it North and living off the land. Richmond could not properly supply Lee's army that Summer with what it need if he maintained his army along the Rappahannock line. Therefore marching North Lee could feed his hungry troops, which he was able to do in abundance.

3.) A move North would pull the AoP out of its fortified lines and disrupt any further Summer offensives it may have planned. At the same time it offered Lee the ability to maneuver against the opponent as opposed to be stagnant waiting on them to attack.

4.) Win a tactical battle to shake Northern Morale and Republican political support. Lee wrote his wife on April 19 "If successful this year, next fall there will be a great change in public opinion at the North. The Republicans will be destroyed & I think the friends of peace will become so strong as that the next administration will go in on that basis." A successful campaign (a tactical victory over the AoP OR the army remaining and foraging in Pennsylvania for an extended period of time). Lee wasn't expecting major logistics and supplies from Richmond he was expecting to live off off the Pennsylvania countryside.

Lee's army whether reinforced OR not could accomplish those objectives, BUT they would have a better chance if Lee was reinforced. Again, he is going to forage for supplies, which gives him a better supply situation then staying in Virginia, and try and maneuver the AoP into a battle that he could win tactically as way of sapping Northern Morale. Considering #1 is arbitrary Lee was able to achieve #2 and #3, but clearly lost #4. All of that doesn't mean though that the strategic thought was wrong. I would love to hear what you think the best strategic decision the Confederates can make in Mid-May would be??
Actually, in his letters to Davis, Lee stated that the CSA manpower crisis was reaching a critical point. He stated, correctly, that from the spring of 1863 onward CSA manpower would diminish & Union continue to grow. There was one last chance to strike a mortal blow to Northern morale & win independence. That is what Lee told Davis.

The focus of Lee’s strategy was the war weary & anti-war elements in the North. He stated that Davis should tell the anti-war peace elements whatever they wanted whether it actually reflected official policy or not. The goal was to get Lincoln & the Republican Party voted out of power. His military strategy involved striking a blow that would cause a collapse of civilian morale. All of this in Lee’s letters to Davis.

In simple terms, Lee’s fatal blow to civilian morale involved moving the idle troops in the Carolinas to VA under Beauregard. Concentrated at Culpepper VA, this force would directly threaten Washington. Lee, supported by elements from from elsewhere would Lee’s army would enter PA.

The A of the P would have to interpose between Beauregard & Washington. Lee would then attack the A of the P fixed in place to defend Washington. He & Beauregard would destroy the A of the p & then take Washington. This would be a mortal blow to Northern morale & result in an electoral victory for the peace at any price elements.

As we know, Davis did not support Lee’s plan. As he had throughout the war, Davis was fixated on holding every square inch of CSA territory, this prevented any meaningful concentration for strategic purposes.

When Lee discovered that not even the support elements he requested would be available, he should have scrapped the PA incursion. Lee knew there was little to no chance he could strike the mortal blow to Northern morale that was the stated reason for the incursion. In this case Lee’s natural aggressiveness caused him to make a fatal error in judgement.

A meeting engagement in Nowhere, PA is exactly what Lee’s fatal decision led to. All of this is what Lee did do, not would-a-should-a-could-a done. The PA incursion was a colossal error that lost Lee all hope of retaking the initiative in the future. History is unambiguous on that point.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Meade made a mistake by fighting there. He made Lee's army concentrate and kept it in s Pennsylvania. It wasn't going to be able to stay there for long. Meade should have observed and threatened and struck at the line back to the Potomac.
Nice thought, but that would have violated his orders to keep his army interposed between Lee and Washington and Baltimore at all times.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
In Lee's defense, medical speculation is that General Lee suffered a heart attack. Findings by the Nat'l Institute for health concluded that "the loss at Gettysburg didn’t break Lee’s heart, it was broken when he got there." He died only 7 years later so it doesn't seem hard to believe that he wasn't in good health.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Nice thought, but that would have violated his orders to keep his army interposed between Lee and Washington and Baltimore at all times.
True. Once he made the Confederate army concentrate, he could have yielded some ground and not presented for battle until after Vicksburg and Port Hudson had surrendered. At that point perhaps Lee would have made a different decision and retreated to Virginia.
It would have been a very different scenario.
Nice thought, but that would have violated his orders to keep his army interposed between Lee and Washington and Baltimore at all times.
But it worked out. The war of attrition took a bloody turn.
 
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