Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Rebforever, Jan 6, 2017.
That would be Hampton. Hampton would have been excellent leadership for the cavalry left behind.
Without a doubt.
Or split up Robertson and Jones. Grumble Jones was a good commander but suffered under the more senior Robertson.
With perfect 20/20 hindsight could the AnV truly win? That is was it even possible for Lee to beat Meade to the same extent Thomas beat Hood at Nashville?
In order for the AnV to advance to Philadelphia or Baltimore it has to thoroughly scatter the AoP then capture their supplies and hope they don't run into more Union troops. At the same time they can't afford heavy casualties as militia will most likely be harrasing them the whole time. Local milita as already killed some forgers.
Lefty, it didn't matter where the battle took place. Lee was looking to engage the AoP wherever he found them. Baltimore and Washington weren't even in the equation. Lee simply wanted to engage and defeat Hookers. Unbeknownst to him Meade was given command by Lincoln and he made several very good decisions that lead to the Union victory. One being remaining at Gettysburg.
My question is more about was using 20/20 hindsight : did Lee have a realistic chance of beating the AoP in the first place? Lee not only has to thoroughly destroy the AoP he can't afford heavy casualties since the Confederacy can not replace their casualties the way the Union can and did.
My understanding is that Lee's ultimate goal in the Pennsylvania Campaign is to destroy either Philadelphia or Baltimore in order to thoroughly demoralize Union public opinion. I don't have a source and I concede I could be wrong. On the other hand it makes sense that ultimately Lee needs to take out a major Union city.
That's totally possible. As I understand it, Lee's intentions were to draw the Union army into the open and destroy them. Then to present Lincoln with terms of peace. Albeit his intentions have been debated for 150 years.
Lee had a terrific chance for a victory. He did not need to thoroughly destroy the AotP. Defeating the AotP and forcing them to retreat out of Pennsylvania would inflict a devastating political defeat on the Lincoln Administration. It would have depressed Northern morale so that Democrats would win the elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania. With Clement Vallandigham as Governor of Ohio, we may even have seen Ohio troops pulled out of the war.
Neither beating nor destroying requires to kill everybody. It would be enough to scatter them. Or to try to bag them piece after piece (a few more 2nd Winchesters) or to bring them into a position where the commander would, be it necessary or not, surrender. Most would do so instead of launching all-out assaults willing to sacrafice everyone. And if Meade had surrendered there probably would be some politicians in D.C. who´d be less eager to man the walls ...
Not to argue it wasn't theoretically possible for the AnV to thoroughly beat the AoP; on the other hand with less men no outside logistical support was it realistically possible to drive the larger AoP out of Pennsylvania?
Lee truly believed he could defeat the AoP and change the tide of war. Was it realistic? He sure came close didn't he. Better leadership saved the AoP. IMO
And I recently read a book called Spies and Scouts of Gettysburg by Tom Ryan which explains why Stuart's absence was so significant. His contention is that the cavalry was used as Intelligence to scout an area before a battle ensued. Without Stuart there was no real way to gain needed intellegence concerning enemy numbers and fortifications. I agree with Ryan wholeheartedly in his book because Lee although being outnumbered at the start, didn't have a sophisticated intelligence network. Lee relied on scouts, the Cavalry and prisoners for much of his intelligence according to Ryan.
Absolutely. The confederates came close to winning on Day 2 of Gettysburg. With a major defeat in southern Pennsylvania, the AotP would have no choice but to retreat. Only one way to do that, and that's south-by-southeast, so they could continue to cover Washington and Baltimore.
[Grabs map] Via Baltimore Pike, maybe?
Lee's intentions were mainly to weaken the will of the North in fighting a bloody war. Lee would fight until he could reach this goal but without enough support this would be impossible.
The ANV didn't need to drive the AOP out of Pennsylvania.
The Baltimore Pike was the primary route Meade would have used for a retreat.
He knew demoralization of the AoP would lead to political unease for Lincoln. Getting Lincoln out of office and provoking peace negotiations were his goal. With Lincoln or without!
Didn't Meade have defensive works he could retreat to at Pipes Creek? Even if the AnV wins at Gettysburg they can't afford heavy casualties. The AnV already did so at Antietam and Chancellorsville.
I am not arguing that Lee could not of won but could he of won a victory and still have enough men left over to defend Virginia?
Or put another way Lee was undertaking an extremely high risk offensive and everything needs to go right. In war that is seldom the case. What would Lee's mathematical probability of success ( assuming it is quantifiable)
I really don't think Philly or Baltimore was in the plans. Even if General Lee had taken Gettysburg, that was all he could have done IMO.
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