LEE'S - Last Chance to Save a Nation.

5fish

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#1
In the summer of 1863, Gen. Lee during the months of May and June had his last opportunity to save the confederate nation. It involved not an engagement with the union forces but a test of wills.

Gen. Lee had a strategic plan for the confederacy that differed from Pres. Davis strategic plan. As it is known Pres. Davis want to fight a defensive war and break the resolve of the north to fight a prolong war. He also believe in trying to maintain the confederate nation's territorial integrity which led to leaving various military units scattered through out the south and being ineffective. He had other failed ideas as well but these two effected Gen. Lee and the south's ability to fight and maintain an effective war effort.

Gen. Lee as it is known wanted to take the fight to union's backyard. His plan was more bold then marching the AoNV into PA. He wanted bring the scatter units and brigades in SC. and NC. to central VA. under the command of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and send them toward OH. He knew the north would constrict it forces in the south to meet two southern intrusion into the north giving a breather to the south of union forces. He also knew if he could or Gen. Beauregard could engage union forces in the union's own backyard and win then maybe a European nation would come to their aid.

Pres. Davis first approved his plan but never implemented it in full. He was unwilling to give up his plan of defensive war and his false belief he was a military genus. He even shorted Gen. Lee almost a division for his raid into the north. Pres. Davis started the war and his strategic plan was going to lose it.

Gen. Lee knew Pres. Davis's strategic plan was failing and it was going to lose the war. Here is the moment of truth in the summer of 1863, Gen Lee could have save the confederate nation from it present path and death. Once he saw Pres. Davis refuse to follow his strategic plan and he lost the test of wills. He should have led a COUP DE TAT. Yes, a coup!

Gen. Lee could have rid the south of a useless civilian government and ended Pres. Davis failed strategic plan. He would have had total control of all military resources and he would have used them more effectively then Pres. Davis. Just think, what Gen. Lee could have done and become if he would have been so bold.

Gen Lee would not have become the Cincinnatus or Washington of his dreams but he would have become the Caesar and Napoleon of the America's.

Yes, semi-democratic south government needed to go and yes, a military reign was needed to replace it or at least a puppet civilian government. Gen. Lee by ending democracy could have saved the confederate nation but he failed to be so BOLD!


The south would have followed Bobby Lee!
 

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whitworth

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#2
Lee the servant of Virginia

I think Lee was one of the last generals in the Confederate army who would usurp his loyalties.

The Confederate States, as a whole, and originally thought of by its civilian leadership, was broken.
Many of the states were already lost by 1863. By then the Confederacy could not sustain a 13 or 14 state country.
Most generals would have written Vicksburg off eventually. The Union had the shorter supply line and the bigger army.

Lee did his best to get the Confederacy into a negotiation position. He had little prospects for victory.
By 1863, the Confederacy had even lost the western counties of Virginia.
At best, the Confederacy could hope for stalemate and a fewer number of its states as a separate nation.
 

gary

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#3
I think a Beauregard offensive in the midwest (via Kentucky) would fizzle as did the '62 invasion. It's more than concentrating the troops. Food, ammunition had to be collected to support the drive. Once the objective or near objectives were known, the Union could concentrate greater forces to isolate or destroy Beauregard's drive. The only chance it would have would be the relief of Vicksburg. That could have resulted in Grant being sacked as another washed out major-general (ala McClellan, Hooker, Burnsides, etc.).
 

5fish

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#5
What Options?

whitworth said:
I think Lee was one of the last generals in the Confederate army who would usurp his loyalties.

The Confederate States, as a whole, and originally thought of by its civilian leadership, was broken.
Many of the states were already lost by 1863. By then the Confederacy could not sustain a 13 or 14 state country.
Most generals would have written Vicksburg off eventually. The Union had the shorter supply line and the bigger army.

Lee did his best to get the Confederacy into a negotiation position. He had little prospects for victory.
By 1863, the Confederacy had even lost the western counties of Virginia.
At best, the Confederacy could hope for stalemate and a fewer number of its states as a separate nation.


First, I agree Lee would be one of the last person's to led a military overthrow of the government.

Your post makes my point. Things were going badly for the south and it all falls back on Pres. Davis mismanagement of the war.

I have been reading about the prelude before the battle at Gettysburg. It is clear the summer of 1863 was the last opportunity for Gen. Lee to change the course the confederacy was on. He knew the policies of Pres. Davis were leading the confederacy to its doom.

The question becomes, how could Gen. Lee change the course the confederacy was on? He tried to change the direction by offering other options but Pres. Davis ignored them.

Where does this leave Gen. Lee? We know he does tried to implement his plan under Pres. Davis's half hearted support and it failed. I see Gen. Lee's only option he had was to overthrow the confederate government and kick Pres. Davis to the curb.

Just Think, what Gen. Lee could of done if he had total control of the south's military resources.

What other option does Lee have in the summer of 1863 to change the course of the war and stalemate is better then total defeat.
 

5fish

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#6
Gary!

gary said:
I think a Beauregard offensive in the midwest (via Kentucky) would fizzle as did the '62 invasion. It's more than concentrating the troops. Food, ammunition had to be collected to support the drive. Once the objective or near objectives were known, the Union could concentrate greater forces to isolate or destroy Beauregard's drive. The only chance it would have would be the relief of Vicksburg. That could have resulted in Grant being sacked as another washed out major-general (ala McClellan, Hooker, Burnsides, etc.).
I believe Lee wanted Beauregard to cut throw WV. and into Ohio but the outcome would have most likely been the same. I am not a big Beauregard fame.

It may not have helped Vicksburg but it may have pulled the Union out of TN.
 

5fish

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#7
Cash??

cash said:
Sorry, but the whole notion is preposterous.

Regards,
Cash
PERPOSTEROUS!! PERPOSTEROUS!! -- WHY??

How would you(cash) have solved Lee's dilemma? Now think, Lee's army is becoming ramshackle and is slowly losing it viability as a fighting force and the prospects of winning the war are fading too all under Pres. Davis's war policies.

Now think, a new course needs to be followed and you offer one and it is ignore for the old failed ways.

My solution may go against our Democratic up bringing but as I see it Gen. Lee should have overthrown the civilian government of Pres. Davis. I believe this would have had a lot of beneficial effects throughout the southern states and the war effort.

How would you(cash) have solved Lee's dilemma? Just surrender! or followed the old failed path cut by Pres Davis's policies and see the death of a nation.
 

whitworth

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#8
The Slave; Not the Logistics

I think one of the major problems is both the student and historians have historically overstated what the Confederates did well, and not where the Confederacy dreadfully fell, very short.
One johnny reb was not going to defeat seven yankees. One johnny reb wasn't ultimately going to defeat even two well armed and supplied yankees.

We all have read of the Merrimac(Virginia) and the Monitor. But no historian seem to pause and ask what happened with no other Virginia to replace it, or pause to see the end of Norfolk as a Confederate possession.
Logistically, who notes that the iron sheathing used on the Virginia to make it an ironclad, was obtained from the rails of the B&O Railroad, hauled back to Richmond, by Stonewall Jackson's army. From the start the Confederacy was in a serious logistical situation. It had its slaves; it lacked foundries, rolling mills, factories and a good intergrated railroad system. It never would have an ample or necessary supply of the latter.
 
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#9
The only plan, within the means and capabilities of the csa in 1863, was Longstreet's.
Move Longstreet and his Corps by rapid rail movent to Johnston and, in retrospect, pick up reinforcements from Bragg on his way to Ms. Relieving Vicksburg (we now know that Roscrans was determined not to attack Bragg until After Vicksburg had been taken.)
IMO, even if successful I do not believe it would have held off the southern defeat much longer that it actually did.
 

5fish

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#10
West young man!

OpnDownfall said:
The only plan, within the means and capabilities of the csa in 1863, was Longstreet's.
Move Longstreet and his Corps by rapid rail movent to Johnston and, in retrospect, pick up reinforcements from Bragg on his way to Ms. Relieving Vicksburg (we now know that Roscrans was determined not to attack Bragg until After Vicksburg had been taken.)
IMO, even if successful I do not believe it would have held off the southern defeat much longer that it actually did.[/quote.


This plan would be only allowing Longstreet to get his butt kicked by his buddy U.S. Grant.

Saving Vicksburg would not have given new life or viability to the southern cause. Only, a radical change in the policies of Pres. Davis could have given the southern cause a chance at viability.
 

cash

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#11
5fish said:
PERPOSTEROUS!! PERPOSTEROUS!! -- WHY??
It shows a complete lack of understanding of Lee's character as well as a lack of understanding of what it takes to run governments and armies.


5fish said:
How would you(cash) have solved Lee's dilemma? Now think, Lee's army is becoming ramshackle and is slowly losing it viability as a fighting force and the prospects of winning the war are fading too all under Pres. Davis's war policies.
Policies of which Lee approved. Why is there such a need to blame others for Lee's shortcomings and mistakes?

I assume you would keep Lee as commander of the ANV as well? How is he, who was already sick in 1863, going to handle the multitude of details of running a government along with the multitude of details of running an army?

The whole idea is preposterous.

Regards,
Cash
 
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#12
LEE'S - Last Chance to Save a Nation

Well 5Fish, since the chance of saving the csa rests outside a military solution. Then looking to Lee to rescue the south from itself is irrational.
Lee had neither the authority nor inclination to save either the south or the csa.
From the written record, Lee's political perceptions and beliefs, such as they were, leave little encouragement that he possessed any political skills or intellect of any particular depth that would make one confident that he could, even if he wanted, to save the south Or the CSA, outside of Va.
 

5fish

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#13
Cash-Opn

OpnDownfall said:
Well 5Fish, since the chance of saving the csa rests outside a military solution. Then looking to Lee to rescue the south from itself is irrational.
Lee had neither the authority nor inclination to save either the south or the csa.
From the written record, Lee's political perceptions and beliefs, such as they were, leave little encouragement that he possessed any political skills or intellect of any particular depth that would make one confident that he could, even if he wanted, to save the south Or the CSA, outside of Va.
I understand everything one reads about Lee is that he dislike politics and beleive the military should obey and follow it's civilian leaders. He would most likely be the last person to lead a coup.

The summer of 1863 it was obvious the civilian government of the Pres. Davis was mismanaging the war effort and their war strategies were not working. It was also obvious that Pres. Davis was incapable or unwilling to chance or redirect the south's war policies and strategies.

If you read about the weeks leading up to Gettysburg, Lee knew the war policies of Pres. Davis were not working and he tried to encourage Pres. Davis to chance his management of the war. He knew well before he before he lead his army north that Pres. Davis was unwilling to follow a knew course for the war.

The questions become: What should Lee do to prevent the collapse of his army and the rebellion?
The answer is Pres. Davis needed to go and a new leader put in charge. Lee has the creditability and the army to lead a coup or support someone else like John C. Breckenridge in a coup.

I bet if Lee wanted. He could have just force Pres. Davis out of office and put the V.P. Stephens in as President.

Bottom Line: Lee knew the present path the rebellion was on was failing and would end in the death of the southern cause. What was he to do or should do?
 

whitworth

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#14
Confederate Railroad Transportation

"Move Longstreet and his Corps by rapid rail movement to Johnston"

It's easy to say that Longstreet could move from Virginia and arrive quickly in Mississippi. In fact it is a rather an oxymoron, that the Confederacy ever did much quickly, by rail. Even Longstreet's move to Georgia, was slow and much slower than the later move of the Union 11th and 12th Corps from Virginia to southern Tennessee.

Too many rail switching to get to Mississippi. Plus there was no available rail, all the way, from Richmond to Jackson. And where would they find the supplies for an entire corps, all along the rail route.

The one thing the Confederacy did not have was efficient movements of supplies. In fact, there was a high level of incompetency by 1863, when it came to rail shipments by the Confederacy.
Even in Virginia, the Confederate railroad system shipped horseshoes to the wrong location, before Lee left for Pennsylvania in June, 1863. His army was severely short of horseshoes, and his horses/mules suffered greatly on the round-trip trek. But then for many historians, horseshoes were never as "exciting and important" as battles.
 

ole

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#15
Lee was every inch a soldier. A McClellan or a Beaureguard might have had the ego to lead a coup, but not a Lee. I do think, however, that he ought to have used his considerable influence to persuade Davis to sue for a negotiated end to the war--preferably, immediately after Chancellorsville.

Just a thought.

ole
 

ole

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#16
Too many rail switching to get to Mississippi. Plus there was no available rail, all the way, from Richmond to Jackson. And where would they find the supplies for an entire corps, all along the rail route.
Totally agree! I'm still amazed that Longstreet was able to get his troops to Georgia -- even partially and just barely on time. Just reading about that trek wears me out.

ole
 

gary

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#17
5fish said:
Saving Vicksburg would not have given new life or viability to the southern cause. Only, a radical change in the policies of Pres. Davis could have given the southern cause a chance at viability.
No, saving Vicksburg wouldn't sustain the viability of the Confederate cause. However, it would show Grant to be another failed general and may have led to his possible removal. Saving Vicksburg would also deny the waters of the Mississippi to the Union.

The Confederacy would not only have to defeat Grant and save Vicksburg, but to sustain itself afterawards and wear out the Union resolve to win, keep its armies intact-much like Washington did during the Revolution. If it really wanted to bolsters its manpower, it would have to emancipate its slaves and arm them. This is something many slaveowners refused to do even at the very end.
 
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#18
IF one is interested in a 'radical' solution to the southern military AND poltical impasse in 1863, that 'might' have actually changed the course of the war. Then the assassination of Lincoln is probably the only 'viable' option. Although, I have stated my belief on other boards that the odds against the csa were so hight that even without Lincoln, a confederate success was hightly improbable.



There was a direct rail link between Va. via Knoxville to at least Chattanooga, available until Burnside took Knoxville just after Gettysburg. There were no 'good' solutions to the south strategic problems, so choosing the most 'likely' to achieve success should be the criteria.
Traveling through Chattanooga, armed with an order (or even a strong urging) from Davis and Lee might also, have pried some more men from Bragg.
Admittedly, the thought of Johnston actually successfully using his reinforced army to any lasting advantage is hard to contemplate, but the presence of a revitalized army on the Mississippi, would certainly disrupt Union plans in the West, Grant would have difficulty in taking Vicksburg and keeping Johnston at a safe distance at the same time. It almost certainly would have delayed the loss of Vicksburg.
Neither Hooker nor Meade were really up to keeping pressure on Lee and any other senior officer in the East were worse than those two. Roscrans was determined not advance his army until After Vicksburg was taken and successfully fended off all orders and entreaties of both Halleck And Lincoln to advance.
I have stated before that the above scenario, would in all liklihood have failed to save the confederacy or even prolong the war much. But nothing is written in stone as to future events and a lucky stroke or blunder 'might' have changed the balance of power in the West. We certainly know that not doing it and allowing Lee to have his way, set the stage for the south's ultimate defeat.



IMO, everyone is underestimating the depths of Davis' obstinatcy and stubborness. As to surrender, Davis would have been as impervious to Lee's blandishment's as he was to all others who thought the unthinkable.
If Lee pressed the matter to the end, he would have had to resign or be relieved. No One, not even Lee would change Davis' mind on this particular matter.
 

5fish

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#19
Radical change!

So maybe it is preposterous to think of Lee leading of supporting a coup that topples Pres. Davis.; but would if someone else lead a coup that topples Pres. Davis? Would Lee follow the knew leaders in Richmond?

Does anyone on this board truly think that Johnston and Longstreet could defeat Grant and Sherman? I putting my money on Grant and company.

In the summer of 1863, had the south broken up its armies into smaller independent forces working alone or together much like the Afghan's did to the Russian's in the 1980's, would this have prolong the war long enough to weaken the north's resolve.

Think smaller units could live off the land easier and off what they take from the union forces. Blockade runner would have the whole coast to drop supplies off instead of the need for ports. Think of the possibilities.

I know the civilian government would have to become mobile or even go into exile. It would force back on the union the care of civilians in the south.

Larry the confederate army would have to behave like your buddy Forrest.
 

cash

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#20
5fish said:
So maybe it is preposterous to think of Lee leading of supporting a coup that topples Pres. Davis.; but would if someone else lead a coup that topples Pres. Davis? Would Lee follow the knew leaders in Richmond?
No.

Regards,
Cash
 



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