Peninsula questions

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MikeyB

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
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307
Hi everyone,
Couple of very basic questions on the Peninsula campaign.
1) Why didn't the US navy just steam all the way up the James until its guns could siege Richmond? Is the river too shallow or narrow? If the concern is river fortifications, why couldn't the army's sole focus have been to tightly march along the river and clear out installations along the way?
2) McClellan's right flank was under heavy pressure. Why not send cavalry on the left or recon in force to see if you could smash through to Richmond? Was this because he truly believed he was outnumbered 2:1 and Lee's line was impenetrable at every point? Were any of his lieutenants petitioning to do this?
3) When it was clear that Jackson was coming to reinforce Lee, why didn't Halleck order the Valley commands to march onto Richmond overland and either take it, or force Lee to divert forces and relieve Mac?

Mike
 

redbob

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
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6,941
Location
Hoover, Alabama
The answer to question # 1 is Drewry's Bluff and the powerful fortifications there. Anytime the Union vessels attempted to pass they got a bloody nose as their guns couldn't be elevated enough to reach the fortifications. The Confederates held this part of the James all the way to Richmond until Richmond was evacuated. Photos LoC
drewrybesttop (3).jpg
Drewry's_Bluff.gif
 
Last edited:

MikeyB

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
307
The answer to question # 1 is Drewry's Bluff and the powerful fortifications there. Anytime the Union vessels attempted to pass they got a bloody nose as their guns couldn't be elevated enough to reach the fortifications. The Confederates held this part of the James all the way to Richmond until Richmond was evacuated. Photos LoCView attachment 308475View attachment 308476
Not practical to use the army to clear this out and move the navy up? Would seem like a great solution that wouldn't risk Mac's soldiers in a long drawn out battle if you could clear the way for the navy.
 
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Andy Cardinal

Sergeant Major
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Feb 27, 2017
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Ohio
Hi everyone,
Couple of very basic questions on the Peninsula campaign.
1) Why didn't the US navy just steam all the way up the James until its guns could siege Richmond? Is the river too shallow or narrow? If the concern is river fortifications, why couldn't the army's sole focus have been to tightly march along the river and clear out installations along the way?
2) McClellan's right flank was under heavy pressure. Why not send cavalry on the left or recon in force to see if you could smash through to Richmond? Was this because he truly believed he was outnumbered 2:1 and Lee's line was impenetrable at every point? Were any of his lieutenants petitioning to do this?
3) When it was clear that Jackson was coming to reinforce Lee, why didn't Halleck order the Valley commands to march onto Richmond overland and either take it, or force Lee to divert forces and relieve Mac?

Mike
1) Drury's Bluff
2) Poorly organized cavalry (also not sure McClellan understood how to use cavalry. To be fair, not sure any Union commander understood at this point).
3) To protect Washington (which hampered all commanders including Grant -- but Grant was the only one able to overcome that, which is why he won)
 
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