What if Longstreet was at Spotsylvania?

Rebforever

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Oct 26, 2012
Two of my favorites, Spotsylvania and Longstreet. Knowing that Longstreet preferred the defensive to the offensive, I think that Longstreet would not have allowed the establishment of the "Mule Shoe". Knowing it's creation would exposure his line to flanking fire and that the shoe created multiple fronts, he would have recommended Ewell extend his line across the base of the shoe to Early's position.
If one would look at the battle lines at Spotsylvania, there is resemblance of the inverted “V” which was used at North Anna. General Lee designed it that way so as to move men around to hotspots on the battlefield.
 

Pete Longstreet

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If one would look at the battle lines at Spotsylvania, there is resemblance of the inverted “V” which was used at North Anna. General Lee designed it that way so as to move men around to hotspots on the battlefield.
You have to give credit where credit is due... when looking at Spotsylvania and Petersburg, you have to wonder how soon the Confederate lines would have collapsed if another commander was in charge. Lee's defensive movements during those campaigns kept Grant at bay longer than most generals would have. I often think that it's Spotsylvania and Petersburg where Lee shines as a commander... although by then his army was on borrowed time. Still impressive nonetheless.
 

Rebforever

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You have to give credit where credit is due... when looking at Spotsylvania and Petersburg, you have to wonder how soon the Confederate lines would have collapsed if another commander was in charge. Lee's defensive movements during those campaigns kept Grant at bay longer than most generals would have. I often think that it's Spotsylvania and Petersburg where Lee shines as a commander... although by then his army was on borrowed time. Still impressive nonetheless.
Yep, and I think he lost 2 good generals at Spotsylvania. Yuell and Johnson.
 

jdawg

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Aug 2, 2019
Everyone has heard the famous question: "What if Jackson was at Gettysburg?" But would the presence of Longstreet at Spotsylvania have changed anything? He personally knew Grant very well, could that have assisted Lee in making certain command decisions? Would Longstreet's knowledge of defensive warfare had made a difference in this campaign?

Upon Longstreet being wounded at the Wilderness on May 6th 1864, command of the 1st corps was given to General Richard H. Anderson (pictured below). Anderson would command Longstreet's corps throughout the Spotsylvania campaign.

View attachment 402332
-Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.-


Anderson won the race to Spotsylvania. Anderson did excellent. I don't Ole Pete could have done better than that. Ole Pete had the slows and he would not have won the race.
 

WScott

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May 6, 2021
Anderson proved his worth and clearly demonstrated his skills at Spotsylvania! I do think Longstreet would have had a positive impact on this battle: defensive skill sets (even with the slows), demonstrated ability to handle defensive and offensive operations (including in the Western Theater), capable of handling large army Corps and he had the confidence of Lee. Longstreet isn't called the Souths "Most Modern General" for nothing.
 

Pete Longstreet

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I don’t understand the “Longstreet was a defensive General” tripe. When I think of Longstreet, I think of the three most devastating and successful Confederate attacks of the entire war... Second Manassas, day 2 Gettysburg, and Chickamauga.
Well said. I think a lot of "Longstreet was a defensive general" comes from his great defensive position at Fredericksburg, and his recommendation to Lee to fight a defensive campaign on Northern soil, especially regarding Gettysburg.
 
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