McClellan What If

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67th Tigers

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Except we know that Franklin and Sigel have no clue where Jackson is (up to the 11th or 12th at least), and Jackson is well and truly behind them. McClellan doesn't know this, and that's quite the problem.
This simply isn't true. The int reports consistently placed Jackson's Corps in the correct place. Jackson hasn't moved for over a month. His main body went into camps in a square Martinsburg-Charlestown-Berryville-Kernstown ca. 24th September, and didn't move until 21st November.

We have the record of reports of skirmishing on the 11th, and reports of Jackson advancing on the 13th and 14th (estimated at having a force of 40,000 men) causing great alarm in the Federal rear. There are also reports of skirmishing on the 15th and of some prisoners taken, but no total agreement on numbers that I can see. The 300 I expect is exaggerated.
Hardly.

On the 11th (your link is to the wrong page BTW) is simply a false report coming out of Cox in West Virginia, and has Jackson heading NW, not E or S. The 13th-14th is the same - Cox is paranoid that Jackson is heading NW. This is all wrong, and all that happened was the 12th Corps and Cox were told to be on alert. This has nothing to do with the main body, and does not support the argument you are attempting to construct.

It's assuming McClellan moves fast enough to do this, and he doesn't react to the suggestion of Jackson's threat in his rear at all. I'm skeptical of this, and if Jackson is moving earlier than the 13th (which absent the Federal delays after the 9th seems likely, so say the 12th). If he's moving 16-18 miles a day then he would reach Gordonsville on either the night of the 17th or the morning of the 18th, or about the time when McClellan would be ready for battle.

The army was not moving with expectation of battle, and even reaching Gordonsville on the 17th and realizing Longstreet is formed before them, they will take time to maneuver into battle as McClellan realizes that the enemy is forming to meet him (and he may assume Jackson is already there since he placed Jackson further south than he actually was) and so will most likely take to the 18th to form up as the main body will still be arriving by the evening.
Jackson was historically not ready to march until the 21st November. Perhaps it's best to look at the communications of Lee etc.

On 28th Lee orders Jackson to remain where he is, and Longstreet to move to Culpeper, sending Pickett's Division as rapidly as possible there.

On 2nd November, the Federal occupation of Snicker's Gap creates a panick amongst Jackson's Corps. If the Federals cross the Gap then Jackson is isolated and will have to cut his way out. Jackson of course wants to pull out, but Lee is down in Richmond and so there is no-one available to give the order.

On 5th November Lee returns from Richmond, and on the 6th tells Jackson to prepare to abandon his position and march to unite with Longstreet. On the same day Lee write to the Secy of War his assessment and plans; he has misread McClellan and wrongly believes Jackson will prevent McClellan advancing on Longstreet. However, his orders to Jackson in the event this happens are not to raid into the Loudoun Valley (which Lee understands is pointless), but rather to unite with Longstreet via Swift Run Gap. In the same event Longstreet is ordered to retreat to Madison. The next day Lee writes the Secy of War that he issued the order for Jackson to march to unite with Longstreet on the 6th. Stuart thinks McClellan might cut Jackson off, and on the 7th Lee writes that he thinks that isn't so, and he's ordered the whole army to retreat to Madison.

On the 8th Lee reiterates his order to Jackson, and on the 9th writes again, this time replying to a letter from Jackson dated the 7th. Jackson apparently reported McClellan had left Snickers and Ashby's Gaps. Lee (incorrectly) interpreted this as McClellan turning west towards the Shenandoah, and gave instructions to that effect. On the 10th Lee repeats that he wishes Jackson to descend the valley and unite with Longstreet if McClellan isn't being delayed by Lee (which he isn't), whilst Jackson is still talking to his division commanders about trying to obtain enough rations to make the march. The 11th and 12th similar, and on the 13th Lee is puzzled by why "McClellan" has stopped when he had secured the Rappahanock crossings.

On the 14th Lee has worked out that McClellan has no base of operations that Jackson could raid, and hence Jackson's presence at Winchester does nothing. He again asks Jackson to move. On the 18th Lee writes again, replying to Jackson's continued insistence that McClellan's army threatens him. Lee now quite forcefully states Jackson is doing no good and tells him to send at least some of his divisions to Longstreet. On the 18th Lee writes that Burnside's army is making for Fredericksburg, and again asks Jackson to move.

On the 21st November, Jackson starts moving. On the 23rd Lee still doesn't know that Jackson has started to move, telling him to get to Culpeper. On the 25th Lee ingenuously tells the President that it was his decision to leave Jackson there, ignoring the fact that as far as he's concerned, he gave orders on the 6th for Jackson to march to Culpeper, and has reiterated them almost daily. This is the day he received the news that Jackson is actually, finally, moving. His letters to Jackson of that day however indicate that he now believes he is in no danger - Burnside is not as threatening as McClellan was.

Even assuming a worst case scenario where Jackson is still at Winchester on the 13th and McClellan receives word of a potential movement in his rear, this will mean the army stops on the 11th or 12th as McClellan now realizes his dispositions were wrong and there might be a great force behind him. I doubt the march continues for a least a day as he tries to find out what is going on.
Historically, no order Lee gave Jackson could move him. On the 14th he realised that "McClellan" had no rear that Jackson threatened. McClellan of course knew that Jackson did not threaten him, and knew that Jackson wasn't going to march unopposed in Washington as many in the government feared.

That me reiterate that - McClellan had no rear that Jackson threatened.
 

Saphroneth

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So Jackson doesn't move based on Lee's orders of the 6th, 8th, 10th (and at this time Jackson is positively trying to get together the rations to march, so it's not like he's capable but is refusing) and 14th, and doesn't move until the 21st even though it's been clearly stated to him repeatedly that he's to come and join Lee unless he can somehow actively threaten the Union army's rear; he doesn't actively threaten the Union army's rear and doesn't come and join Lee.

This suggests that Jackson couldn't move until after the 14th, which means McClellan beats him to Gordonsville.

Admittedly we can't be certain because just about all of Jackson's correspondence has gone missing, but he showed no sign at all of being interested in moving to join Lee even when McClellan was advancing and Lee was calling for him. The simplest explanation for this seems to be inability to move (or at best inability to move quickly) rather than rampant disobedience.
 
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67th Tigers

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Patent nonsense. Lee was in no way gripped with fear by McClellan's advance, and his writings to Jackson and Davis are completely accurate in regards to McClellan's line of advance or potential line of advance.
Nope. See above.

Jackson was ready to move on the 9th and we have no reason to believe he would be unable to advance to meet Lee. Lee sees McClellan advancing, is prepared to maneuver to meet it, and once the pause is found is baffled. If McClellan advances to Culpeper, and then 'changes bases' to Fredericksburg without giving battle, his dismissal is imminent.
Jackson might have said his corps was in improved health, but we know his horses were breaking down with hoof and mouth, and he'd had to send his trains away because of the lack of forage. Jackson could perhaps retire down the valley, where his trains were grazing. What he could not do is move W, N or E because he could not feed his army.

Jackson was engaged in a long running argument about the lack of supplies sent to him, with the lack of blankets, shoes, food etc. paralysing his corps. Lee for his part was ordering supplies to be held at Gordonsville waiting for Jackson.

He says something like that in 1864, two years later. But we know he had no clue as to Jackson's dispositions, there's no expectation at the time he can catch Lee if he retreats, and he shows no preparedness for battle whatsoever. Any idea to the contrary flies in the face of all the correspondence he sent in 1862.
Jackson hasn't moved in 6 weeks.

On 31st October, McClellan is able to report the accurate location of the whole enemy army to the President. On the same day the movement of a large body of troops (Longstreet) south is observed. The next day he (accurately) reported the enemy at Snicker's Gap, and the following day there was a report that Jackson was coming east through Snicker's Gap. McClellan's reaction is indicative, because he seized the gap and moved on.

On the 3rd int says Jackson hasn't moved, but Longstreet is moving to Culpeper. The cavalry report accurately on the 6th November that Jackson hadn't moved, and Longstreet had come to Culpeper. On the 8th they again report Jackson and both Hill west of the Blue Ridge, and it goes on...

McClellan's general int picture was reported to be Jackson with one or both of the Hill's west of the Blue Ridge, and there is zero reason to doubt that, especially in light on continual report from the cavalry to that effect. If you wish to challenge it, then you should present some evidence that McClellan thought Jackson was elsewhere...

I suspect you've taken some-one's word for it, and I suspect Sears. I think you've been led astray by an extreme anti-McClellan partisan.

There's no record of attack or giving Stuart a "good smack" at all from either side,
Really?

So no action at Corbin's Cross-Roads on the 10th November where Fitz Lee's cavalry brigade drive in Pleasonton's cavalry but run into Sturgis' division and are forced to retreat?
 
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67th Tigers

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For the record, this is not my claim. This is the correspondence with Lee and then the following Union reports detailing their opinion Jackson is moving with 40,000 men as established in the historical record. The reports very well may be garbled, but it is clear Jackson was doing something in the period of time in question or at least skirmishing with the enemy enough and moving to alarm local commanders.
No, it is your claim, since you're stating it.

Jackson was doing nothing, as we've established, and McClellan knew where he was, which we've established. We've established that whilst Lee was initially beguiled by the idea of operating against McClellan's wagons, almost immediately he realised McClellan had no rear there, and the idea was stupid.

Not really relevant if they don't know where he is in order to intercept him is it?
Jackson has to come though a mountain gap that's a hundred yards wide. You think the defenders won't see him?

My belief is Jackson would be ordered to move and support Lee, but the option (as Jackson suggested) to harass the Federal rear remains open as discussed in the correspondence.
That's your belief, but had you read the correspondence then you'd find continual orders to Jackson to move to unite the army. Lee's statement to the Secy of War makes it clear that he regarded his letters as orders. However, it's the Ewell at Gettysburg problem - Lee doesn't write very direct orders, and that why he always struggled getting his generals to follow said orders.

Then you're reasoning is strange. Three things.

1) We know McClellan does not know where Jackson is
2) We know that Franklin and Sigel are being left in McClellan's rear to protect any flanking or rear attack by Jackson (which they had already manifestly failed at)
3) We know McClellan did not expect a battle to be fought in the immediate future.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

(1) is discussed.
(2) is wrong, because there was no action against McClellan's supply lines. Jackson is 40 miles north of Thoroughfare Gap on the day you've invented an action.
(3) is weak, and whilst McClellan expects Lee to retreat, he certainly believes he can catch Longstreet and destroy him.

Why would McClellan return Sigel and Franklin if he believed Jackson was still a threat to his rear,
40 miles...

and on the 30th had telegraphed Washington seeking to cover his *** by saying it would be Halleck's fault when things fell apart. (The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865 , pg. 516)
Nope, McClellan has been trying to get replacement cavalry horses for months. Halleck has falsely claimed that he's been well supplied. McClellan is simply attempting to achieve victory, and sorting out supplies is a major element of this...
 

CanadianCanuck

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This simply isn't true. The int reports consistently placed Jackson's Corps in the correct place. Jackson hasn't moved for over a month. His main body went into camps in a square Martinsburg-Charlestown-Berryville-Kernstown ca. 24th September, and didn't move until 21st November.
See the 1864 report, McClellan had zero clue.

Hardly.

On the 11th (your link is to the wrong page BTW) is simply a false report coming out of Cox in West Virginia, and has Jackson heading NW, not E or S. The 13th-14th is the same - Cox is paranoid that Jackson is heading NW. This is all wrong, and all that happened was the 12th Corps and Cox were told to be on alert. This has nothing to do with the main body, and does not support the argument you are attempting to construct.
Nope. The men in West Virginia are panicked, because of some movement on Jackson's part and skirmishing. This is the only clear evidence we have of panic on one side or another.

Jackson was historically not ready to march until the 21st November. Perhaps it's best to look at the communications of Lee etc.
Or look at the historical situation which generated the delays, which with the long pause by the AotP shows a lot.

On 5th November Lee returns from Richmond, and on the 6th tells Jackson to prepare to abandon his position and march to unite with Longstreet. On the same day Lee write to the Secy of War his assessment and plans; he has misread McClellan and wrongly believes Jackson will prevent McClellan advancing on Longstreet. However, his orders to Jackson in the event this happens are not to raid into the Loudoun Valley (which Lee understands is pointless), but rather to unite with Longstreet via Swift Run Gap. In the same event Longstreet is ordered to retreat to Madison. The next day Lee writes the Secy of War that he issued the order for Jackson to march to unite with Longstreet on the 6th. Stuart thinks McClellan might cut Jackson off, and on the 7th Lee writes that he thinks that isn't so, and he's ordered the whole army to retreat to Madison.

On the 8th Lee reiterates his order to Jackson, and on the 9th writes again, this time replying to a letter from Jackson dated the 7th. Jackson apparently reported McClellan had left Snickers and Ashby's Gaps. Lee (incorrectly) interpreted this as McClellan turning west towards the Shenandoah, and gave instructions to that effect. On the 10th Lee repeats that he wishes Jackson to descend the valley and unite with Longstreet if McClellan isn't being delayed by Lee (which he isn't), whilst Jackson is still talking to his division commanders about trying to obtain enough rations to make the march. The 11th and 12th similar, and on the 13th Lee is puzzled by why "McClellan" has stopped when he had secured the Rappahanock crossings.
On the 14th Lee has worked out that McClellan has no base of operations that Jackson could raid, and hence Jackson's presence at Winchester does nothing. He again asks Jackson to move. On the 18th Lee writes again, replying to Jackson's continued insistence that McClellan's army threatens him. Lee now quite forcefully states Jackson is doing no good and tells him to send at least some of his divisions to Longstreet. On the 18th Lee writes that Burnside's army is making for Fredericksburg, and again asks Jackson to move.

On the 21st November, Jackson starts moving. On the 23rd Lee still doesn't know that Jackson has started to move, telling him to get to Culpeper. On the 25th Lee ingenuously tells the President that it was his decision to leave Jackson there, ignoring the fact that as far as he's concerned, he gave orders on the 6th for Jackson to march to Culpeper, and has reiterated them almost daily. This is the day he received the news that Jackson is actually, finally, moving. His letters to Jackson of that day however indicate that he now believes he is in no danger - Burnside is not as threatening as McClellan was.[/QUOTE]

We know of course this analysis is silly. For one thing, as the correspondence clearly shows, Lee was putting rations in readiness for the men to march. For another, Jackson looking for three days supplies march is nothing spectacular or shows that he could not march (or that he would not march his men without food) or is unwilling to.

Lee's correspondence on the 12th (which you curiously omit) backs up the suggestion that Lee was trusting Jackson's intuition on what to do as Jackson thought there was an advantage to be gained, and Lee trusted Jackson's instinct. However, by the 14th (long after the AotP has stopped and Lee has realized this, the stoppage seems to be his only source of confusion) it is correct to point out that Jackson's remainder in the Valley is superfluous, and that Jackson is making a sticking point.

On the 18th Lee is not "forcefully implying" (odd choice of words) that Jackson is doing no good, he instead states he "doubts" that Jackson is facing a reinforced force of the enemy and "suggests" he begins moving his men to the south. On the 19th though, he does inform Jackson that he does not believe it is necessary for him to stay there. He also states he believes Burnside is moving his army to Fredericksburg.

Then of course, Burnside is moving so slow that he does indeed say Jackson can dally.

As for the 25th, note the previous correspondence. After McClellan stopped he nowhere was 'ordering' Jackson to move. He did indeed leave Jackson where he was.

Yet again, this has naught to do with whether Jackson could/would move if McClellan had continued to advance or made another change of base.

Historically, no order Lee gave Jackson could move him. On the 14th he realised that "McClellan" had no rear that Jackson threatened. McClellan of course knew that Jackson did not threaten him, and knew that Jackson wasn't going to march unopposed in Washington as many in the government feared.

That me reiterate that - McClellan had no rear that Jackson threatened.
Of course, by McClellan's own report from 1864, says he did not realize this since he did not know where Jackson was. These are McClellan's words and denying them is ridiculous.
 

CanadianCanuck

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Nope. See above.
Nothing to see.

Jackson might have said his corps was in improved health, but we know his horses were breaking down with hoof and mouth, and he'd had to send his trains away because of the lack of forage. Jackson could perhaps retire down the valley, where his trains were grazing. What he could not do is move W, N or E because he could not feed his army.

Jackson was engaged in a long running argument about the lack of supplies sent to him, with the lack of blankets, shoes, food etc. paralysing his corps. Lee for his part was ordering supplies to be held at Gordonsville waiting for Jackson.
As already established. However, we know Jackson did some skirmishing on the 11th, which in turn panicked the men in West Virginia.

Jackson hasn't moved in 6 weeks.

On 31st October, McClellan is able to report the accurate location of the whole enemy army to the President. On the same day the movement of a large body of troops (Longstreet) south is observed. The next day he (accurately) reported the enemy at Snicker's Gap, and the following day there was a report that Jackson was coming east through Snicker's Gap. McClellan's reaction is indicative, because he seized the gap and moved on.

On the 3rd int says Jackson hasn't moved, but Longstreet is moving to Culpeper. The cavalry report accurately on the 6th November that Jackson hadn't moved, and Longstreet had come to Culpeper. On the 8th they again report Jackson and both Hill west of the Blue Ridge, and it goes on...

McClellan's general int picture was reported to be Jackson with one or both of the Hill's west of the Blue Ridge, and there is zero reason to doubt that, especially in light on continual report from the cavalry to that effect. If you wish to challenge it, then you should present some evidence that McClellan thought Jackson was elsewhere...

I suspect you've taken some-one's word for it, and I suspect Sears. I think you've been led astray by an extreme anti-McClellan partisan.
This report from 1863 is then still wrong. Jackson was at Snicker and Ashby Gap, which McClellan left open, as already established.

Really?

So no action at Corbin's Cross-Roads on the 10th November where Fitz Lee's cavalry brigade drive in Pleasonton's cavalry but run into Sturgis' division and are forced to retreat?
Not in the manner you're describing it no. Lee reports that it was a minor action and a skirmish. No dramatic battle involving divisions (even Pleasonton doesn't report Longstreet sending a whole division, and Lee doesn't even mention Longstreet) or a big counter charge, just a piece of reconnaissance and a minor skirmish, nothing more. You're greatly embellishing Pleasonton's own embellishment.
 
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67th Tigers

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See the 1864 report, McClellan had zero clue.
Really?

"The reports from General Pleasonton, on the advance, indicated the possibility of separating the two wings of the enemy's forces, and either beating Longstreet separately or forcing him to fall back at least upon Gordonsville, to effect his junction with the rest of the army.
The following is from the report of General Pleasonton:

At this time and from the 7th instant my advance pickets were at Hazel River, within 6 miles of Culpeper, besides having my flank pickets toward Chester and Thornton's Gaps extended to Gaines' Cross-Roads and Newby's Cross-Roads, with numerous patrols in the direction of Woodville, Little Washington, and Sperryville.
The information gained from these parties, and also from deserters, prisoners, contrabands, as well as citizens, established the fact of Longstreet with his command being at Culpeper, while Jackson with D. H. Hill, with their respective commands, were in the Shenandoah Valley, on the western side of the Blue Ridge, covering Chester and Thornton's Gaps, and expecting us to attempt to pass through and attack them.
As late as the 17th of November a contraband just from Strasburg came in my camp and reported that D. H. Hill's corps was 2 miles beyond that place, on the railroad to Mount Jackson. Hill was tearing up the road and destroying the bridges, under the impression that we intended to follow into that valley, and was en route for Staunton. Jackson's corps was between Strasburg and Winchester. Ewell and A. P. Hill were with Jackson. Provisions were scarce, and the rebels were obliged to keep moving to obtain them.​

Had I remained in command, I should have made the attempt to divide the enemy as before suggested, and could he have been brought to a battle within reach of my supplies, I cannot doubt that the result would have been a brilliant victory for our army.
[/quote]

So yes, if you mean by "zero clue" you mean "McClellan knew exactly where Jackson was" then you are correct. In all other circumstances, not.

Nope. The men in West Virginia are panicked, because of some movement on Jackson's part and skirmishing. This is the only clear evidence we have of panic on one side or another.
Jackson wasn't in West Virginia. There is no "skirmishing" on 11th November.

We know of course this analysis is silly.
It is better than wishful thinking.

Lee's correspondence on the 12th (which you curiously omit)
Ah, where Lee tells Jackson he is "too far from the scene of the action", and that "it is plain you cannot delay any longer". Lee was telling Jackson, in the way Lee told people, to move.

Of course, by McClellan's own report from 1864, says he did not realize this since he did not know where Jackson was. These are McClellan's words and denying them is ridiculous.
Except of course, McClellan knows exactly where Jackson is. See above.

Nothing to see.
Then look again.

As already established. However, we know Jackson did some skirmishing on the 11th, which in turn panicked the men in West Virginia.
We know there was a false report from forces far away from Jackson.

This report from 1863 is then still wrong. Jackson was at Snicker and Ashby Gap, which McClellan left open, as already established.
No, it is in fact accurate. Jackson's locations were as per above.

Long story short - McClellan was right.

Not in the manner you're describing it no. Lee reports that it was a minor action and a skirmish. No dramatic battle involving divisions (even Pleasonton doesn't report Longstreet sending a whole division, and Lee doesn't even mention Longstreet) or a big counter charge, just a piece of reconnaissance and a minor skirmish, nothing more. You're greatly embellishing Pleasonton's own embellishment.
It was a clash of a cavalry brigade backed by an infantry division on both sides; McGregg's cavalry brigade and Sturgis' division vs. FitzLee's cavalry brigade supported by RH Anderson's division. Hampton's cavalry brigade was also supposed to cooperate, but the order got lost. Lee was trying to push the Federal cavalry back across the river and hence stop Waterloo Bridge being rebuilt, but they aborted when they came up against Sturgis's Division supporting the cavalry, and failed to penetrate to Waterloo Bridge and disrupt the engineers rebuilding the bridge.
 

Hoseman

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Had McClellan been left to command the AOP indefinitely, the south might well have won the war. Lee would have continued to beat him like a drum.
 

CanadianCanuck

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"The reports from General Pleasonton, on the advance, indicated the possibility of separating the two wings of the enemy's forces, and either beating Longstreet separately or forcing him to fall back at least upon Gordonsville, to effect his junction with the rest of the army.
The following is from the report of General Pleasonton:

At this time and from the 7th instant my advance pickets were at Hazel River, within 6 miles of Culpeper, besides having my flank pickets toward Chester and Thornton's Gaps extended to Gaines' Cross-Roads and Newby's Cross-Roads, with numerous patrols in the direction of Woodville, Little Washington, and Sperryville.​
The information gained from these parties, and also from deserters, prisoners, contrabands, as well as citizens, established the fact of Longstreet with his command being at Culpeper, while Jackson with D. H. Hill, with their respective commands, were in the Shenandoah Valley, on the western side of the Blue Ridge, covering Chester and Thornton's Gaps, and expecting us to attempt to pass through and attack them.​
As late as the 17th of November a contraband just from Strasburg came in my camp and reported that D. H. Hill's corps was 2 miles beyond that place, on the railroad to Mount Jackson. Hill was tearing up the road and destroying the bridges, under the impression that we intended to follow into that valley, and was en route for Staunton. Jackson's corps was between Strasburg and Winchester. Ewell and A. P. Hill were with Jackson. Provisions were scarce, and the rebels were obliged to keep moving to obtain them.​

Had I remained in command, I should have made the attempt to divide the enemy as before suggested, and could he have been brought to a battle within reach of my supplies, I cannot doubt that the result would have been a brilliant victory for our army.

So yes, if you mean by "zero clue" you mean "McClellan knew exactly where Jackson was" then you are correct. In all other circumstances, not.
So he remains pig ignorant and wrong in 1864. There's literally zero evidence for this other than McClellan's misinformed opinion.

Really, I'm surprised you're keeping this up when from 1862 we know McClellan thought quite differently and acted accordingly. He had no intention of pursuing battle, and would have been shocked to find one.

It was a clash of a cavalry brigade backed by an infantry division on both sides; McGregg's cavalry brigade and Sturgis' division vs. FitzLee's cavalry brigade supported by RH Anderson's division. Hampton's cavalry brigade was also supposed to cooperate, but the order got lost. Lee was trying to push the Federal cavalry back across the river and hence stop Waterloo Bridge being rebuilt, but they aborted when they came up against Sturgis's Division supporting the cavalry, and failed to penetrate to Waterloo Bridge and disrupt the engineers rebuilding the bridge.
I suggest rereading the OR if this is what you think. Pleasanton is clearly embellishing the action, and McClellan is using it later to justify a campaign which had no objective and achieved nothing.
 
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CanadianCanuck

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Had McClellan been left to command the AOP indefinitely, the south might well have won the war. Lee would have continued to beat him like a drum.
My contention is that the events of December 1862 would have been virtually unchanged. McClellan's advance gives him few other options and he himself was not prepared for a battle, nor could he continue to just chase Lee's army. He would have been dismissed either in December or January. His lack of results would be his undoing.
 

67th Tigers

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So he remains pig ignorant and wrong in 1864. There's literally zero evidence for this other than McClellan's misinformed opinion.
Or zero evidence that you can see, not having actually looked.

Lets start from establishing where the 4 divisions in question actually were.

DH Hill was at Chester and Thorton's Gaps. On 10th November Jackson reminds DH Hill to destroy the Manassas Gap Railroad, just north of Chester Gap.

AP Hill was at Castleman's Ferry, behind Snicker's Gap.

The Stonewall division were in camp at Bunker Hill, just north of Winchester. The history of the Stonewall Brigade reports that they got the task of destroying the Winchester and Potomac Railroad as far as Kearnysville. The timeline shows this was 16th-17th October, so this can't account for a supposed "move out of the Valley" on 13th November.

Ewell's division also went into camp at Bunker Hill, and stayed their apart from the panic of 2nd November.

In sum, the map Saph posted on the 3rd message in this thread is correct. I think the problem we're having is you've created a movement by Jackson that never happened. Until you can agree that the movement never happened, the problem can't be resolved.

Now, where did McClellan say they were in 1864? Exactly where they really were.

McClellan's army has no rear to raid. That McClellan withdrew piquets from Snicker's Gap once it was not useful anymore did not expose his rear. To modify Saph's map:

Mod%2BSaph%2Bmap.png


Once McClellan moves out of the Loudoun Valley, the possession of it matters nought. If Jackson was to cross into the Loundoun Valley, foregoing the advantage of the Valley Pike, then what can he do? There are only two points at which Catoctin or the Bull Bull Mountains can be crossed; Aldie Gap and Thoroughfare Gap. Until 7th November McClellan had a division of Sigel at the gap, and Bayard's cavalry was watching it, and Price's cavalry brigade (of the Washington defences) had been piqueting that area for months. McClellan's marching orders of the 7th left Price watching Aldie Gap, whilst Sigel concentrated at Thoroughfare Gap.

Suffice to say, Jackson is absolutely zero threat to McClellan's rear, unless teleporters are invented.

Really, I'm surprised you're keeping this up when from 1862 we know McClellan thought quite differently and acted accordingly. He had no intention of pursuing battle, and would have been shocked to find one.
A supposition you've made based solely on your own opinion.

I suggest rereading the OR if this is what you think. Pleasanton is clearly embellishing the action, and McClellan is using it later to justify a campaign which had no objective and achieved nothing.
Why clearly? The rebels sent 2 cavalry brigades supported by infantry to try and force the Federal bridgehead back across the river. They came unstuck when they ran into a dug in infantry division. McClellan's bridgehead held and Waterloo Bridge continued to be repaired.
 

Saphroneth

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It'd be a little odd if McClellan had launched on a campaign that "had no objective and achieved nothing". The rest of McClellan's operations are all in service of an objective, or in some cases a more general goal (e.g. McClellan's general operations in the Maryland campaign are aimed at preventing Lee from continuing to invade the north, doing as much damage to Lee as possible, and ideally defeating him; he successfully stymied Lee's invasion of the North and did heavy damage to Lee).

Of course, if what had happened was that McClellan had been told by Lincoln to move south on the east of the Blue Ridge mountains, then that's exactly what McClellan did - he moved south to the first available point of supply, and was resupplying to move on from there.



Some of McClellan's strategic thinking on the matter of the Rappahanock and the Rapidan is valuable here. We know that McClellan's rating of operations considered crossing the Rappahanock/Rapidan to be the least viable approach historically, below the Urbanna plan, but the Urbanna plan was constructed so as to compel Johnston to retreat from the Rappahanock line and was intended to be no more than half the army moving by the sea; the other half would move by land.
This suggests that in the situation as it obtained in November the only thing that would stop McClellan from moving south is if he thinks that Lee can contest the Rappahanock/Rapidan in sufficient strength to oppose him.

As of early November McClellan knows that Jackson is in the Valley and that Longstreet is not. He may not know exactly how Lee's force strength is divided between the two, but he knows his army is larger than it was at Antietam and he knows that Lee's is smaller; since historically McClellan was quite willing to attack Lee at what he thought were reasonably even odds (to the extent of attacking while much of his force was still marching to the battlefield), he should be willing to attack Longstreet at what he knows to be good odds; only if Longstreet is in an excellent position for a small force to defend will this not be the case.

Historically speaking, Lee at first thought he could not contest the line of the Rappahanock and Rapidan against the Federal troops actually concentrated in what was then Burnside's army; this much is certain, because he pulled back to the North Anna position and only decided to fight at Fredericksburg after he discovered that the delay was such that he could probably have Jackson join him there.

What this means is that McClellan is likely to advance to contact and that Lee will step back as he planned. He doesn't have enough troops to contest the Rappahanock line and if he tries he'll be crushed (the odds are much worse for him than at Antietam or the historical Fredericksburg) but what that means is that McClellan is over the Rappahanock.

What happens after that is more contingent on the decisions of the generals; however, there really isn't anything Lee could do to stop McClellan marching by the flank all the way to the James (as the Rappahanock is the strongest natural barrier preventing that movement). Until Jackson rejoins Lee then Lee can't even really aim to block the road to Richmond successfully, of course...
 
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Saphroneth

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Something else it's worth remembering, IMO, is that any given part of Jackson's strength cannot simultaneously be doing two different things. He can either be issuing forth east of the Blue Ridge mountains or he can go to join Longstreet, or he can split his force between these two roles; what he can't do however is use his whole force in both roles.


If he does not attempt to threaten McClellan's rear (that is, he sends his whole force to join Longstreet via the Swift Run gap) then nothing will happen to cause McClellan to pause; McClellan will operate without disruption, and Longstreet is not of sufficient strength to fight McClellan at least until Jackson has joined him at Gordonsville (a ~100 mile march for Jackson's main body)

If Jackson issues forth from the Blue Ridge gaps with most or all of his force, then he may be able to cause McClellan to pause but he's also seriously risking being cut off; to actually disrupt McClellan's rear he has to force the Bull Run mountains, and if he tries that (against Aldie and Thoroughfare Gaps held in force) it will require enough of an effort that McClellan will be sure where he is.
I am fairly sure that McClellan would be quite happy to choose his actions based on how successful the attempt to force the Bull Run mountains goes. If Jackson fails then McClellan knows for sure that Jackson is in Loudoun Valley and even further from Longstreet; if Jackson succeeds then on the one hand McClellan's supply line is vulnerable but on the other hand there is the opportunity to block Jackson from re-entering Loudoun Valley. This offers the opportunity of destroying all or a major part of Jackson's wing; the Bull Run mountains block Jackson's manoeuvre to the west and McClellan's main body is across the space between the Bull Run mountains and the Rappahanock.

If Jackson splits his forces roughly down the middle then it's sort of the worst of both worlds. He can't concentrate enough force to punch through the gaps held in force, so can't accomplish anything major, and when he does join the other half with Longstreet and Longstreet is fully concentrated it's about 55,000 Present for Lee's main body versus rather more than 110,000 Present for McClellan's.
 

Hoseman

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McClellan always talked a good game but never delivered results. As long as he was the commander of the AOP, the union army in the east was not going to beat Lee and the ANV.
 

67th Tigers

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McClellan always talked a good game but never delivered results. As long as he was the commander of the AOP, the union army in the east was not going to beat Lee and the ANV.
Except, of course, the Army of the Potomac was continually successful in 1862. What was needed was some courage in Washington to fully commit to an offensive course of action.
 
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Saphroneth

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McClellan always talked a good game but never delivered results. As long as he was the commander of the AOP, the union army in the east was not going to beat Lee and the ANV.
Correction; McClellan overcame four of the five defensive lines en route to Richmond despite not getting the resources he said he would require. McClellan consistently laid out the resources he would need to achieve the goals he set out, and he was often promised them but he generaly did not actually get them; during the periods he did have those resources he was on the offensive and doing well.
As just one example, once his army was being supplied in October McClellan launched south across the Potomac within days.

There are thus two possibilities.

Possibility one is that McClellan's estimates for the amount of resources he would need are too large, and that he could have been successful without them.
Possibility two is that McClellan's estimates for the amount of resources he would need are correct, and that not giving them to him was the mistake.

Can you indicate which of these two you believe is the case?
 

Hoseman

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Except, of course, the Army of the Potomac was continually successful in 1862. What was needed was some courage in Washington to fully commit to an offensive course of action.
Continually successful in 1862? Lincoln pushed and pushed McClellan and McClellan waited and waited. When he did move he was slow, indecisive and timid. I don't think it was the lack of wanting an aggressive, offensive commander on Lincoln's part. Lincoln wanted action so I'm not sure where the comment about an offensive course of action.
The AOP had almost zero successes in 1862 unless you want to count Sharpsburg which I call a draw.
Seven Days, 2nd Manassas, Fredericksburg successes?
 

Saphroneth

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So I thought it might be interesting to look at possible movements in the post Loudoun campaigning sequence.


Assumptions: 9th November setting is as per the map

Movement speed for McClellan's troops is eight miles per day on average. They managed twenty miles on the 6th so this seems entirely plausible as an average speed.

Movement speed for Jackson's troops is 16 miles per day along the Valley Pike, ten miles per day otherwise. They were crippled by the same horse problem McClellan had had earlier and Jackson wasn't moving for many days after this (despite orders from Lee), so this seems fairly liberal.

Movement speed for Longstreet's troops is ten miles per day; thus McClellan can't catch Longstreet.


Operational assumptions scenario one:




Longstreet will fall back to Gordonsville once McClellan is within a day's march of Culpeper.
Jackson will move to join Lee by the shortest possible route and through the Swift Run gap, not pausing to unite his troops first.
McClellan will advance his main body to Culpeper and then move on Gordonsville. Forces left at Aldie's Gap and Thoroughfare Gap total to one reinforced division (5,000 effectives) from Siegel's strength, plus whatever is operating out of Washington.


Does this sound like a plausible set of orders for each set of commanders?

The one thing that I think is at question is when Jackson moves. The worst-case scenario for McClellan is that Jackson moves immediately on the 10th at full speed, though historically Lee was ordering him to move and he wasn't.

Historically, per 67th's post earlier in this thread, Lee ordered Jackson to march to unite with Longstreet on the 6th, 8th, 10th, 14th and 18th, with Jackson finally moving on the 21st. The time taken for a letter to go from Lee to Jackson or Jackson to Lee seems to have been about two days (which is why Lee replies on the 9th to a letter from Jackson dated the 7th) and this implies that it should not be possible for Jackson to begin marching in reaction to alternate dispositions from McClellan until the 12th (as in this scenario the dispositions are as historical at least until the 10th - Lee sends a letter on the 10th, it arrives with Jackson early on the 12th and he begins marching that day).


Assuming that Jackson starts moving on the 12th, here's how it looks:






10th November: McClellan advances his main body in two wings. One moves from Warrenton to the bridge at Waterloo and crosses, the other south to Fayetteville VA.
Franklin in the rear wing marches down to Warrenton.



11th November: McClellan advances his right wing from Waterloo to Jefferson VA (now Jeffersonton) and his left wing from Fayetteville to the rail bridge over the North Fork, and crosses the river there. Franklin follows a day behind the right wing.

In two days the left wing has moved about 13 miles plus a river crossing and the right wing has moved about the same distance; they are ready for a faster move the next day and both wings are within about 13 miles of Culpeper.

Longstreet will abandon Culpeper on the 12th; McClellan does not catch him.





12th: McClellan closes on Culpeper from two directions and reaches the outskirts.

Longstreet marches to Cedar Grove and prepares to cross the Rapidan.

Walker marches across the Rapidan.

Jackson begins moving.

Time to reach the Swift Run Gap:

DH Hill is at Front Royal and can either move straight to the Swift Run Gap (52 miles, so 5.2 days to Swift Run) or head to Strasburg (12 miles, so 1.2 days) and then down the Pike to Harrisonburg (48 miles, so 3 days) and then to the Swift Run gap (24 miles, so 2.4 days). Going straight is the superior option.

Jackson is at Winchester, so he's already on the Pike. His trip to Harrisonburg takes about 64 miles, so four days; total time 6.4 days.

AP Hill is just over the Shenandoah from Snickers Gap. His quickest route is to march to Winchester (about 15 miles, so 1.5 days) and then follow the same route Jackson did; total time, 7.9 days.

Once each of Jackson's components reaches Swift Run Gap, it's another 28 miles to Gordonsville (so 2.8 days).

DH Hill will reach Gordonsville at the end of the 19th after eight marches; Jackson will reach Gordonsville early on the 21st after 9.2 marches; AP Hill will reach Gordonsville late on the 22nd after 10.7 marches.






13th: McClellan largely rests the majority of his forces as Franklin comes up. His wagons resupply as best they can at Culpeper.

Longstreet reaches Gordonsville and is now concentrated.



14th: McClellan marches his forces towards the Rapidan, splitting his wings up into three parallel lines of march aiming for Rapidan itself, the fords downstream of Rapidan and the crossing upstream at Barnett's Ford.



15th: McClellan reaches and crosses the Rapidan in two places – Rapidan itself and Raccoon Ford. The force marching to Barnett's Ford does not reach the Rapidan before dark.



16th: McClellan's corps pull back into line, with the force that went via Raccoon Ford making the greatest effort (this is a sixteen-mile march that has been “paid for” by the rest on the 13th; McClellan's average movement per corps is still no more than about eight miles per day). They are now all in the vicinity of Orange Court House.



17th: McClellan advances on Gordonsville but does not attack.

18th Battle situation at Gordonsville.


McClellan has a force totalling:


33,400 effectives under Franklin and Siegel who have marched along the rail route from Culpeper

Average of 29,800 effectives each in two grand divisions that took the flanking routes

All of whom have moved about 70 miles in the last nine days


Lee has a force totalling:
30,850 effectives under Longstreet who have had time to recuperate

DH Hill is eight miles out of the Swift Run Gap but would require an all-day force-march to reach Gordonsville; Jackson hasn't reached the Gap yet, but will over the course of the 18th.
 
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Saphroneth

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Continually successful in 1862? Lincoln pushed and pushed McClellan and McClellan waited and waited. When he did move he was slow, indecisive and timid. I don't think it was the lack of wanting an aggressive, offensive commander on Lincoln's part. Lincoln wanted action so I'm not sure where the comment about an offensive course of action.
The AOP had almost zero successes in 1862 unless you want to count Sharpsburg which I call a draw.
Seven Days, 2nd Manassas, Fredericksburg successes?
What do you mean, Lincoln pushed McClellan and McClellan waited?

Here's the whole course of events.

January and February: before the opening of the campaign season; a move is attempted but fails because of information unknown to anyone on the Union side.
March: Johnston is compelled to retreat from the Manassas area to behind the Rappahanock. Consultation takes place in which Lincoln approves the Peninsular plan, to consist of four corps moved to Fort Monroe by water.
McClellan begins moving troops down to Fort Monroe.
April: McClellan launches from Fort Monroe, compelling the abandonment of the Big Bethel line, and runs into the strong Warwick defensive line. He attempts to outflank it with a naval landing of 1st Corps but they've been stripped away from him; he attempts to force the defences at a weak point but that operation is stymied by a mistake; he sets up siege artillery to blast through the defensive line.
May: McClellan successfully compels the abandonment of the Warwick defensive line. His amphibious flanking move up the York unhinges the Williamsburg defensive position. He marches to the Chickahominy in dreadful weather (the fourth out of five defensive lines between Fort Monroe and Richmond) and crosses it successfully; he is ordered to fix his supply base on the Pamunkey river and in return for this he will get all of 1st Corps back.
June: McClellan waits for weeks for the troops he's been promised and for the rains to stop so that artillery can be moved. When the ground dries - and still without the troops he was promised - he begins his attack on Richmond, taking artillery positions overlooking Richmond. Lee smashes into McClellan's hanging flank between the Chickahominy and the Pamunkey and forces him back to the Glendale position.
July: McClellan has to pull back from the Glendale position to Malvern Hill, and then back to Harrisons Landing where he can be resupplied. He is promised reinforcements, but waits for weeks without getting them.
August: Over McClellan's protests, he is ordered off the Peninsula.
During this time Pope completely screws the pooch with the Army of Virginia and gets himself beaten.
September: McClellan quickly rebuilds the Army of the Potomac, takes it out of Washington, and is the attacker on the bloodiest single day of American combat in history.
October: McClellan waits for weeks for resupply (his army not even getting basic resupplies) while Lincoln argues that McClellan should be heading south after Lee without bothering with the supply situation. Late in October McClellan finally gets his supplies and promptly crosses the Potomac.
November: McClellan is relieved while in the field and on the offensive.



There are several places where McClellan is static, but they all fall into at least one of these categories:
1) A month-long pause while he prepares to break through a strong defensive line.
2) Waiting for troops he had been promised by Lincoln.
3) Waiting for the basic supplies his army needs to function.

So, which of the places where McClellan is static (those being April, June, July and October) do you feel are unwarranted?
 

Saphroneth

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It's worth discussing the kinematics of marching and how it relates to the possibility of Jackson mounting a raid on McClellan's rear area - the rail line between Washington and Culpeper, specifically.

There are two mountain gaps that would admit Jackson's force or a major part of it (at least a division) into the area between the Bull Run Mountains and the Potomac - Thoroughfare Gap and Aldie's Gap.
Thoroughfare Gap is extremely narrow, and the only reason why Longstreet's entire wing broke through it in August was because Ricketts had the area defended only by his cavalry; with infantry defending the gap it's essentially impossible to break through with the force Jackson has on hand. As it happens in my plot I've left a division of Sigel at the gap.
Aldie's Gap is wider, and was picketed by cavalry out of the large Washington garrison. This is where the kinematics issue comes in.

It happens that the route from Alexandria to Aldie's Gap is the line of the Little River Turnpike.
It also happens that the route from Aldie's Gap to the closest point on the rail line supplying McClellan's army is essentially the route to Manassas Station, and does not involve marching along a turnpike.

The route from Alexandria to Aldie's Gap is forty miles. The route from Aldie's Gap to Manassas Station is twenty miles.

This means that, assuming equal marching speeds for a Federal force along good roads and a Confederate force along poor roads, a Federal force out of Washington setting off the moment the head of Jackson's column gets through the gap would arrive at Aldie's Gap at about the same time Jackson's force got there on the return journey.

Thus, a raid on McClellan's supply lines is highly risky - Jackson would explicitly be risking the destruction of his whole wing or of whatever fraction he sent on this raid. It doesn't guarantee that he'd be caught, of course, but it would mean that those troops were totally unavailable for a confrontation around Gordonsville.

Of course, such a raid is unlikely, because the preponderance of evidence suggests that Jackson was unable to move for another week. He didn't move for almost a week after Burnside began moving to Fredericksburg, after all, and it's not like Lee hadn't been asking for Jackson.
 
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